I love being in the fitness industry. Some of what I love about it is that there are so many ways to achieve a goal. So many variations and approaches to make sure your client gets what they WANT but also what they need. The downside is that it is the Information Age and clients read something and take it way to literal. This in many cases can really derail someone from achieving their goal. In a world where some is good so more must be better we generally end up cutting our nose to spite our face. I most commonly see this in the world of HIIT and LISS.
What is HIIT? High Intensity Interval Training. Like the name suggests this is where our activity is at HIGH intensity for short intervals. Intervals are a period of time followed by rest. An example would be 20 seconds of high knees followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated over a period of time or a number of sets. Sounds good right? It is. However, here is where the problem begins. Fitness recommendation for HIIT is 2-3 days a week for 20 minutes or less. However, when it is marketed it states that HIIT training burns FAT 9x more effectively than steady state cardio. When an individual sees this they immediately get excited and say ill do HIIT everyday for an hour as my cardio and that will help me shed those pounds! WRONG! Moderation is the key to life right. There is such thing as overdoing a good thing. One observation I’ve made is that when we train the body to handle high intensity for long periods off time we diminish its effectiveness. Our body responds to this high intensity burst physiologically which creates its (9x) more effective but not if the body is used to it. It’s not as shocking to the body. My point to HIIT is use it like it’s prescribed and you will see desired impact. Overuse or underuse will leave you guessing on what’s to come. Would you grab the pill bottle labeled take 2 per day with food and decide 4 must be better? (If you answered yes I can’t help you)
LISS: Low Intensity Steady State Cardio – this is an exercise where you maintain your heart rate for 30-60 minutes in the 60-70% range of your target heart rate max. An example is a brisk morning walk. Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint and www.marksdailyapple.com, says that we should walk minimum 3-5 hours a week. Walking is LISS but again we here this and when we get to the treadmill we push that speed to 6.5 instead of 3.5-4 and get our heart rates elevated to 80-90% because more is better right? NO! LISS can be done daily and if done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or post workout when glycogen is depleted it has great fat burning effects. You mean walking is good for us? Yes! It can also be amazing for our cardiovascular health.
What does all this mean? HIIT and LISS both have a place in your workout routine. They are both highly effective but more so when used as prescribed. I spend so much time telling my clients to workout less and eat more. It kills me because when I say this and they do the opposite I’m the one that gets to stare their disappointment in the eye because they have not hit their goal. As fitness professionals we prescribe exercise. We choose healthy combos to get you where you want to go. The prescription is most often well thought out and sometimes needs fine tuning but definitely on track. You leave read some things say to yourself an extra 10 minutes won’t hurt right. WRONG! It does and it leads to burnout, failure to achieve goals, adrenal fatigue, depression and giving up. Do HIIT 2-3 times a week for 20 minutes or less, do LISS everyday if you can, maintain the right heart rate and stick to 30-60 minutes. Most importantly eat right and learn that less may be more!