Battle of the Workouts: LISS vs. HIIT


It’s summer 2017 and you’re looking your best. Congratulations—you deserve it! Of course, staying committed to your fitness journey never ends, it only gets better. And even if you haven’t started yet, it’s never too late to get that body you’ve always dreamed of…zero excuses!

The key to succeeding in health and wellness is to work out smarter, not harder. Let me show you how by sharing the stories of two of my clients…


Client #1 – Julia

Julia is a single mother of two who works full time and attends night school while also taking care of her kids. She trains with me three times a week, is a very strong woman, and loves to lift heavy. I feel like she lets a lot of aggression out by doing so.

Although Julia is active and works out hard and has a great physique, she carries a few extra pounds of fat around her midsection (can you relate?). We all know those love handles are hard to say goodbye to, so I recommended she do a LISS cardio session after our weight training to help burn down that last inch of flab covering her strong abs while keeping her hard-earned muscle.


The LISS Low-Down

LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio, and requires you maintain the same pace for a set period of time. (This is completely the opposite of HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training.)

Although the benefits may not be the same as HIIT, LISS is a worthwhile addition to your workout routine. These Low Intensity Steady State workouts are as simple as they come; you perform your workout at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes or more, aiming for a heart rate of 120 to 150 beats per minute.

LISS is an aerobic type of training that can target stored fat, plus it requires a lot of oxygen. Keep in mind our body will always want to use muscle for everything, which is why we need to keep that heart rate at a mid- to low steady and focused rate so you can hit the target heart rate and train your body to use stored fat for energy instead of muscle.


Client #2 – Roxy

Roxu, a 22-year-old from Malibu, California, has never stepped a foot in a gym. She recently gained a few pounds and needs help working it off, but she’s not one who takes direction easily—especially at an age in which she feels she knows it all. When she reached out to me, she basically begged me to snap my fingers and magically make her bikini ready for a few pool parties coming up this summer. After our consultation, I suggested a weightlifting regimen workout for her so she could start building solid muscle and tighten things up.

One way Roxy will see fast fat-burning benefits with weights is by focusing on a HIIT workout, which requires you give all-out effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short, sometimes-active recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.


Why and When You Should HITT It

HIIT workouts are a bit more difficult because you need to perform your workout at 90 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate for two minutes or less, and then back off for a preset rest time interval of two minutes or less. By repeating this cycle six times or more—two minutes on, two minutes off—this “anaerobic” type of training won’t rely on oxygen only because it’s fueled mainly by carbohydrates. This makes you breath harder and burns more fat than LISS training.

Roxy will benefit from this type of workout more than Julia because she doesn’t have solid muscle to burn; instead, this will build her stamina, pump more oxygen in her body, and introduce her muscles to working out.

If you do HITT training correctly, not only will you burn fat while in the moment, but hours later. Your heart rate will keep beating at a higher rate, which could burn a few extra calories even when you’re at rest.

If you’re training hard in an attempt to gain muscle, adding HIIT workouts might not be the best idea. That’s when LISS is ideal as it’s a low-impact workout that can actually help increase blood flow to damaged muscles and reduce any post-workout stiffness you may feel from weight training or other heavy workouts.

Working out is all about choice, but no matter what you choose, it will require hard work. Now, have at it!


Luis’ Advice to Ladies: “Lifting weights will not make you look like a man. Don’t be scared to lift heavy, and remember to squat deep and low!”


Social media info:
IG: @HandsomeLuis

Photo credit:
Photo courtesy of @LAfilmingco

By Luis Loya

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