Matt and I recently realized that we are going home to Texas in less than a month, and we need to get our booties in gear as far as looking as awesome as possible for our return home goes. You know? Haven't seen our friends/family in a long time, and we want to look our best!
That means we need to dial back on the Waffles and Dinges (ugh. so good) and dial up on the cardio. We have incorporated more of both HIIT and LISS cardio into our weekly workout routine -- note: that DOES NOT mean we are dropping our weight lifting routine at all. We're keeping that up, as always.
Anyways, I figured now would be a good time to talk about these different forms of cardio -- what they are, what they're good for, and how often you should do them.
I'm not going to argue that one is objectively better than the other, because I believe that each type of cardio offers it's own benefit. And what makes sense for you in this season of your life may be different from what makes the most sense in your next season.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
What is it: HIIT is interval training, and could be applied to a number of different cardio activities. To do HIIT training you just have to utilize intervals, alternating high intensity with low intensity. This could be running sprints, doing an Insanity-type workout, burpees + box jumps + high knees + rest, etc.
What does it do: HIIT is great for fat loss. It helps make you a better, stronger athlete.
When/how often should I do it: If you are trying to lose fat and maintain muscle, this is your best bet. I do this 2-3 times a week (20 min long) to compliment my weight lifting workouts. The cool thing about HIIT is that it takes a shorter amount of time to burn the same amount of calories as LISS.
Low Intensity Steady State (LISS)
What is it: LISS is steady state cardio. This could be as simple as going for a walk, going for a jog, taking a bike ride, etc. Basically, what makes it LISS is that you're not at your max effort level (like you would be running sprints), and you maintain a pace throughout the whole workout.
What does it do: LISS is great for cardiovascular health. It's also great for weight loss, but if done in excess (without proper nutrition), it can cause you to lose some gains.
When/how often should I do it: Most health coaches would recommend about 20 minutes a day of steady state cardio (walking your dog, going to work) for cardiovascular health. I like to add on a couple easy runs each week as well -- just 1 or 2 (40 min long). The cool thing about LISS is that you can do it more often without hurting yourself.
Since I'm trying to "cut" right now, or lose fat, I'm doing more HIIT than LISS. But once I start training for the Brookly Half Marathon, I'll ramp up my LISS training.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have questions.