Whats better cardio for Fat Loss?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or LISS (Low Intensity Steady State)

There is so much confusion when it comes to doing cardio, the truth is which ever one you prefer. When is comes to doing cardio for fat loss its important to understand, cardio is a form of calorie expenditure.

  •  HIIT – ‘Real’ high intensity is essentially working at your maximum intensity anywhere from 10-30 seconds (depending on your fitness level) and resting from 1-5 minutes before repeating that cycle, exercises which you may perform doing HIIT could be sled pushes, battle ropes or sprinting, strongman, as well as many more. HIIT can be quite stressful on the body and will take time to recover. This is often misguided by people like Joe Wicks who would explain a HIIT workout being performed at around 10-30 seconds with 40-60 seconds rest which would realistically be at a moderate intensity, not high intensity. If you are working at high intensity, it should be at maximum effort which is very taxing on the body and should take longer to recover.
  • LISS is performed at a much lower intensity, this would typically be around 30-60 minutes of light exercise, for example cycling, walking, hiking etc… This is less stressful on the body and will not need as much time for the body to recover from, if any.

Both types of training are both going to burn calories. There are three factors to consider when comparing HIIT and LISS.

  1. Time
  2. Personal preference
  3. Recovery

Take into account all three factors when deciding what method to use.

When doing cardio for fat loss, its important to note that daily energy expenditure is the key, therefore we have to ensure that we keep our NEAT (non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis) as high as possible.

NEAT is everything we do which is non specific exercise, things like general movements, walking, climbing stairs, standing up, sitting down, fidgeting, hand movement etc… When dieting and being in a calorie deficit for a number of weeks, when our body weight decreases, its common for our NEAT to decrease, our bodies will try to preserve our energy subconsciously therefore we will progressively move less and less. We must be aware of this and try to make a conscious effort to move more in general.

When dieting, it would be advisable to focus your attention on increasing your NEAT instead of HIIT or LISS. This will help you focus your attention on increasing your daily activity to keep calorie expenditure high, this doesn’t add stress on the body which allows you to push harder during weight training sessions.

Our bodies will adapt very quickly to training stimulus, especially as a beginner, starting off by training 3 weight training sessions per week will be enough, once our bodies have adapted to that, we then use another tool, by either increasing volume, intensity or frequency. If we need to make more progress then we use one of our tools and make a small change. Remembering cardio is a form of calorie expenditure, if we need to be burning more calories, then we use which ever method works best for you and fits in with your lifestyle. HIIT or LISS  should be thought about as tools for when we need to use them.