Now that we know the difference between HIIT and LISS, what’s the best tool we can use for optimal fat loss? As alluded to from the previous post cardio is cardio, anything that burns extra calories and helps put us into the same caloric deficit is essentially the same tool. So is there a best form of cardio? The answer is hard, while HIIT will burn more calories when compared to LISS minute to minute, it is also very difficult and exhausting to maintain, and if done too often or too long it will negatively impact recovery from other forms of training. Assuming the goal is to lose fat and gain or keep muscle, we want to keep recovery high so we can maximize our muscle retention.
If this is the case, does this mean LISS is the best? Again, not really, since it can take such a long time to burn 500 calories from LISS, a lot of people may simply not have enough time to commit to the LISS sessions every single day.
So where does this leave us? Simply put, the best form of cardio is the one that fits into our own unique lifestyle and preferences.
For instance, a 50 year old person may find it hard to do HIIT since the high impacts and difficulty from doing HIIT can cause pain in joints, on the other hand a 30 minute bike ride can be easy to do and keep up with.
Some people want to do cardio as a way to relax and use it as their own time to think about what they are going to do in their day or wind down after dinner with a walk. On the other hand, some people really hate walking without a purpose on the treadmill or staring at a screen biking. This can mean that someone who prefers taking walks will have LISS suit their personality while someone who is driven by challenges will have HIIT fit their personality. The most important part of picking a cardio routine is to pick the one you will stick with and actually somewhat enjoy doing. Remember, fitness is a marathon not a sprint, we have to consider longevity and enjoying our lifestyle.
Ideally, we would want cardio routines that combine both HIIT and LISS. This will allow individuals to get the best of both worlds. We can feel challenged from HIIT as well as get the relaxing almost meditative benefits from LISS. Cardio is a tool, so why not have access to both.
An example of using both can be to simply alternate cardio styles throughout the week or someone can do a 15 minute HIIT session and then a 15 minute LISS session in the same 30 minute time frame.
At the end of the day, the type of cardio that is the best is the type that an individual will do and enjoy. However, it is always important to keep in mind that the focus should be on strength training to help drive changes how our bodies look. If we are doing so much of any type of cardio that our training suffers, its is likely too much.