Here’s your quick workout tip, giving you the chance to learn how to work smarter in minutes so you can start exercising right.
unless you have been Having lived under a weight rack for the past decade, you’ve heard of HIIT. Short for high-intensity interval training, a regimen that involves short bursts of all-out effort alternating with aggressive rest, it’s become the go-to training method for anyone looking to lose weight, build endurance, increase athleticism, and fast track about any fitness goal.
But here’s the thing: While extremely effective, HIIT can also be incredibly stressful on the body (if you’re doing it the right way). Do it more than a few times a week, and you increase the risk of overtraining and injury, both of which can hinder your progress and shorten your results.
That’s why top trainers still don’t hesitate to incorporate the OG cardio training method – Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) training – into their clients’ weekly training routines. A less extreme protocol is the perfect offset for a HIIT workout, and it could be just the performance and fitness level game changer you’ve been looking for in your own training program.
What is LISS?
Low-intensity steady-state training is in some ways the opposite of HIIT. While HIIT involves repeated bursts of maximum effort (take the Tabata workout’s 20-second all-out effort as the classic example), LISS is all about sustained effort. If you have ever jogged, walked or cycled long distances, or been active for long periods of time during which your heart rate has been slightly elevated (50% to 65% of your maximum heart rate) but still able to hold a conversation, you have completed LISS .
The reason LISS ranks second to HIIT in many training programs is that it’s the tortoise of HIIT. Like HIIT, LISS can help you burn fat, build stamina, and improve athletic performance—but it will take you longer to achieve these results. There is also the participation factor. For some people, running, pedaling, or swimming for more than a few minutes can feel endless.
So why bother doing LISS? As mentioned above, your body can only handle so much HIIT, and LISS can help you recover faster from these high-intensity workouts, while also supporting you in achieving your larger fitness goals. (You may prefer LISS to HIIT. That’s allowed too!)
How to Incorporate LISS into Your Training Program
Alternate high-intensity workouts (eg, HIIT, circuit training, weightlifting, etc.) with LISS. These lower-intensity workouts can also be a particularly useful “active recovery” option on days when you want to increase your heart rate and calorie burn while still allowing your muscles to repair and adapt. For this reason, LISS works especially well on weekends—but don’t limit yourself to traditional LISS events.
Of course, walking, jogging, easy swimming and leisurely cycling are all ways to incorporate LISS into your daily life. But so is yoga. In fact, any activity that raises your heart rate while still allowing you to keep talking counts. The key is to maintain a low to moderate activity level for at least 20 minutes — just enough to break a light sweat, but not enough to leave you out of breath.
Trevor Thieme is a Los Angeles-based writer, strength coach and former fitness editor for Men’s Health. When he’s not helping others stay in shape, he divides his time between surfing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking and trying to keep up with his 7-year-old daughter.