Picking the Right Workout for You

There are so many varieties of cardiovascular exercise that people can choose to do to meet their health goals or needs. Low-intensity steady state (LISS) and high-intensity interval training (HITT) are two types frequently discussed. Everyone is always searching for the most efficient workouts. This article will help you learn more about LISS and HITT workouts and help you decide which may be the right workout for your body and lifestyle. Picking the right workout for you doesn’t have to be hard.

What are the different types?

Let’s start with the definitions of both forms of exercise. LISS involves energy output at a consistent and steady pace for a given amount of time. Typically individuals will use heart rate monitors from a chest strap or wristwatch to keep track of their effort through heart rate. HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity effort which is then followed by lower effort during rest intervals.
Through many research studies and an understanding of basic physiology principles, LISS involves the body’s use of fat to fuel this activity. Whereas, HIIT utilizes glycogen and carbohydrates as its source of fuel. Research also shows at the end of a workout, the amount of calories burned is roughly the same between the two exercise forms. Choosing the right option for you comes down to what is best for you in the time allotted for your workouts.

The Differences

To have a better understanding as to which exercise type to choose and why, there are a few key components to take into consideration. LISS will take a longer time to finish but will put decreased amounts of stress on your body. HIIT takes less time to complete for the same given effect but puts an increased amount of stress on the body due to high intensity, hard-to-finish nature of the exercises when performed correctly.

LISS Example

For example, for a LISS workout, if you have 45 minutes during the day to go for a walk and this is aimed at elevating the heart rate into a fat-burning zone, I would recommend keeping the heart rate at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This can be done on a walk outside at a pace consistent with these heart rate levels or walking on a treadmill. Other forms of exercise can be used as well with LISS workouts. It will take you longer to achieve your workout with LISS, but the stress placed on your body will be less.

HITT Example

An example of a HITT workout would be if you have 25 minutes during the day for a workout. You can do interval workouts of 40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest. You can add any movement variation you would like. Below would be considered a sample HIIT workout.

  • minute 1: Squat
  • minute 2: Reverse Lunge
  • minute 3: Plank
  • minute 4: Burpee
  • minute 5: Run in Place
  • minute 6: Repeat minute 1

Continue to repeat until you get through 25 minutes. 

Starting a Workout

When deciding which is right for you, first and foremost your overall safety with working out should be considered. You should be cleared by a medical provider before starting either a LISS or HITT workout. Next, you should consider your body’s ability to move and give yourself the appropriate level of challenge. Some people may enjoy the high-intensity workout, while others may be more willing to do a low-intensity, longer-time workout. Last, you should consider the time you have available to workout. Everyone is busy these days, so getting in a workout as efficiently as you can is always a plus!

Regardless if you are more of a LISS workout or a HITT workout type, finding the right type of workout is important to keep yourself consistent and working towards your goals.

Joe has a passion for treating the overhead athlete and ensuring safe movement patterns for these individuals. He spends his off time coaching and working with baseball athletes through STiKS Baseball Academy in Waukesha. He also coaches the varsity baseball team at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.