28 Jun Should You Do HIIT or LISS For Weight Loss
The debate around should you do HIIT or LISS for weight loss has gone on for eons and will continue to, as each side puts its case forward to why you should do their style of training. I thought it was about time I put my two cents in on this conversation and give you a to do list that will see you hitting your weight loss and wellness goals in no time at all.
I think it is important to start this article off by describing exactly what the two types of training are, before we dive into which one is best for you for the goals you are looking to achieve.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and like its name suggests, it incorporates short bursts of high intensity type training with intermittent rest periods (that can be both active or static) throughout the training period. HIIT can include all types of exercises and is not limited to just cardiovascular training or strength training. Most HIIT sessions will use a combination of both styles of training and is generally quite short in duration with the intensity level being VERY high. This type of training is super-efficient and is ideal for those who have a busy schedule and may only have 20mins to work out and want to get the biggest “bang for their buck”. A popular method of HIIT is called TABATA which has sets of 30 second rounds where you have an all-out effort for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Other popular methods include turbulence training, power intervals, and SIT (Sprint Interval Training).
LISS on the other hand stands for Low Intensity Steady State training and again, as the name suggests is a type of training that is much longer in duration with little to no rest and is performed at a much lower intensity. A LISS session or workout will usually be reserved for cardio type training. Walking, riding a bike, running or hiking are all great examples of LISS, and they are usually 30 minutes or longer in duration. There is nothing new about LISS as we have all been walking or hiking for centuries. Some clever advertising and marketing team on Madison Avenue in New York was probably working for a clothing brand and came up with the concept to name it LISS in order to sell some new style of leggings. That all said, LISS is a great style of training as it can be low impact and doesn’t require much effort. If you have the time in your day to get outside, or inside on a treadmill, and get walking or riding a bike then doing some LISS type training can be great.
Which One Is Best For Weight Loss?
Now that you know what each type of training is, which one is most effective if your goals are to lose fat?
I would say the more important question that you should be asking yourself is, which do you prefer more and which are you more likely to do?
I ask this question to everyone that has ever asked me if they should do HIIT or LISS to help them lose weight as well as any new client starting with me in my coaching program. The reason I do this is because just like an eating plan, the best exercise plan is the one that you will stick to and continue to do for the weeks, months and years to come. If you are looking at exercise for your weight loss and body reshape goals as a 16-week program that your favourite Instagram Fitness Model is advertising, you have already lost. This journey you are on is a marathon and you need to come to terms with that fact quick or else you will forever live in a yo-yo state that has you trying something new every month.
If you love to spend time walking and hiking or riding a bike with friends then do that, if you love to get your workouts done quick but don’t mind putting in the effort and having to wipe away the sweat from your eyes, then do that. I am not saying you need to LOVE the exercise, however if you think long and hard enough, I am sure there is something you prefer to do more than another.
Did you know that sprinting, running or walking 5km all use the exact same number of calories?
Well they do.
The only difference between them is the time it takes to complete the distance. So, whether you enjoy sprints, gym/cardio strength circuits or long walks with friends, pick something you enjoy and can see yourself doing 3-4 times per week for the rest of your life and start today.
Exercise on its own is a very BAD tool to help you on your weight loss journey. While it does play its part and I am a big advocate of getting people to move and exercise on their weight loss journey, you can get great results without exercise at all, in fact I wrote an article on that and you can read it HERE.
Have you ever heard of the quote, “you can never out run a bad diet?”
What it means is that no matter how well designed your training program is or whether you decide to give HIIT or LISS a go, it is your diet that will determine if you lose weight or not. If you go home after your session and decide to eat a mountain of calories that puts you in a surplus and not a deficit for the day, it won’t matter what style of training you have chosen as you will NOT lose weight. Period.
Does that mean you should not exercise at all? Absolutely not! There are a whole host of other benefits to exercising that go beyond just trying to lose weight and including exercise in your daily and weekly routine will pay dividends for the years to come. However, I do not want you to lose sight of the fact that if you are not in a calorie deficit then you will not lose weight.
All Things Equal
So, you are probably sitting there reading this article and want me to get off the fence and pick a side. OK you pushed me into it!
If all else is equal and you are on point with your nutrition and you are open to either forms of training my hunch is that HIIT training is the more effective style of training to help you in your weight loss journey. I come to this decision based on the number of people of I have worked with over the years and hearing the number one reason that people don’t do exercise…. TIME!
With HIIT being a type of training that is be hard, to the point and FAST, this is the key to helping people commit to it and give themselves 3-4 X 20-minute session per week. It also has much more variety in the way it can be delivered and this helps with keeping it interesting in each session you come to. Below you will see some of the favourite sessions I have given my clients over the years and I urge you to give them a run and see how you go. They may look easy, however, if you give them an all-out effort for 20 minutes you won’t be thinking they are so easy when you finish.
These HIIT programs, while they may look easy they will push you in ways that you didn’t think were possible. They will only take you around 20-30mins to complete and will require minimal equipment or setup. You are to complete the circuit of exercises for 20minutes non stop and to only take breaks should you need them, unless the program calls for something specific.
Make sure you have an adequate warm up by going for a slow jog or walk on the treadmill to get the body warm and moving.
All the programs are to be completed as a circuit and to have as minimal amount of rest period as you can handle. Be sure to track your workouts and push yourself to beat your previous session the next time you come to try the workout.
The Hissy Fit
Battle Rope Slams X 20
MB Slams X 20
Mountain Climbers X 20
Burpees X 20
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas
Body Weight Sled Pushes X 20m
Wall Squat Hold X 1min
The Iron Lady
BB Chest Press 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps
BB Deadlift 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps
Chin-Ups 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps
Squats 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps
Complete all 4 exercises exercises at 10 reps then drop a rep and repeat until you get to 0. If you are feeling adventurous, now go from 1 all the way back up to 10.
I hope you enjoyed this article and should you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below or email me at any time.