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HIIT and LISS training: How we can make the most of them to lose weight

When talking about cardiovascular training protocols , surely all of you will come to mind a training method : the HIIT method. This method is characterized by performing a high intensity cardiovascular work in short periods of time, saving us training time if we do not have a lot of time to train.

But how many of you have heard about the LISS training method ? The acronym LISS corresponds to the abbreviation of Low Intensity Steady State, and it is a low intensity training but joined to a constant effort during a long period of time (from 30 to 60 minutes approximately).

Basic differences between HIIT and LISS

HIIT training

The HIIT style training is characterized, mainly by its duration (it does not exceed 20 minutes) and by the intensity (80-90% of our FCM). Due to the intensity , it is not recommended to perform more than 2-3 HIIT sessions per week . In addition, the system for obtaining energy, being short and explosive efforts, will be the fosfageno system.

Although they are the efforts of sprinters themselves, there are runners in the background who incorporate HIIT training to their routines in order to improve their brands. Through the HIIT training sessions , we will be able to increase our VO2Max , that is, our maximum oxygen consumption. Increasing this data is useful because it will allow us a better performance in aerobic tests and will take longer to tire us.

LISS training

The LISS training sessions are long-term sessions (usually lasting at least 40-45 minutes) performed at a medium-low intensity (60-70% of our maximum heart rate ).

A clear example of a LISS session would be marathon races, ultra trails … That is, long-term tests in which it is more important to maintain a constant rhythm than to have explosive speed .

HIIT or LISS? What is better for burning fat?

The first thing we must say is that both systems allow us to burn fats from our body, so we could say that both are effective methods. If both are effective, which is the best?

To answer this question, we must analyze all the aspects that make up a training session: time spent in the session, calories burned (approximate), effects caused in our body …

  • Time invested in the session: the sessions HIIT type are without a doubt the winners in this aspect, since a session HIIT usually lasts 20 minutes .
  • Calories burned during the session: In a session of HIIT , you can get to burn up to 15 calories per minute , which would give us a total of about 300 calories per session of 20 minutes).

In a session of LISS (or what would be the same of cardiovascular exercise at moderate intensity at 60-70% of our maximum heart rate), we usually burn an average of 57 calories every 5 minutes, which would give us a total of 513 calories in a 45 minute session.

  • Side effects: This is one of the advantages of HIIT over LISS. With the sessions LISS, our body once we finished the session, for practically in the act of burning calories, while with the HIIT, the burning of calories can be extended for 24 hours after having finished our session, hence interleaving is recommended the sessions of LISS between sessions of HIIT.
  • Variety: The LISS sessions are “flat” sessions and without the possibility of varying and innovating in the training. However, HIIT sessions allow us to change exercises and, therefore, vary and we do not do two equal sessions.

Are HIIT and LISS suitable for all audiences?

The HIIT is a training protocol aimed more at people who already have a base and a physical condition, because they are high intensity training not suitable for beginners.

As for the LISS , or what is the same, the classic cardiovascular exercise, we must draw attention to the issue of the previous physical condition, as more and more people are running without an effort test that allows them to know their physical condition and how far you can force your body. In addition, knowing this information will be useful later on to be able (or not) to incorporate HIIT workouts into our fat burning routine.

Therefore, assuming that you do not have any limitation when exercising, if you want to maximize fat burning with cardiovascular exercise, the best option would be to combine HIIT sessions (two or three a week) with intense training sessions. moderate or LISS (one or two sessions per week would be fine, since more than two might be overloading the body too much.

If you have little time, opt for the sessions HIIT type, as long as you have a basic physical condition that allows you not to die in the first session.

Science and HIIT: How to use HIIT to lose weight?

In the year 2009, Tjønna et al. published the study entitled Aerobic interval training reduces cardiovascular risk factors more than a multitreatment approach in overweight adolescents in which studied the effects of aerobic interval training in overweight adolescents. This training protocol was two sessions of HIIT a week for three months, and the results could not only be observed after these three months of training, but eight months after the end of the study, the results were still being observed.

The adolescents in the group that performed the interval training protocol indicated that they were excited about the variation provided by the program and so encouraged by their own perceptions of better physical fitness that they were motivated to continue the interval exercise on their own after the experimental period of 13 weeks.

The control sessions after the completion of the study were carried out at three and twelve months, and some of the results obtained in the aforementioned study were:

  • Greater increase in VO2Max in the group that underwent the HIIT protocol than in which only performed a multidisciplinary approach (exercise, dietary and psychological advice).
  • The group that performed HIIT improved endothelial function compared to the group that underwent the multidisciplinary approach at three and twelve months.
  • The results in the reduction of BMI, percentage of body fat, mean arterial pressure and increase of the maximum oxygen pulse were better for the group that performed the HIIT training protocol.

It is based on this study that we can say that two HIIT sessions per week are enough to observe the benefits of this type of training.

Therefore, observing the results of this study and other consulted, and based on the recommendation not to perform more than three HIIT sessions per week, we could plan a weekly cardiovascular training protocol in which we performed two sessions of HIIT alternated with another two sessions of LISS, because although the results are better in the patients who performed HIIT training, in which all the authors agree is on the suitability of combining both methods for a better use and better results in the reduction of the fatty percentage, perimeter abdominal and cardiovascular risk reduction associated with overweight and obesity.

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