LISS – The new workout that actually works

-Dec 28, Jenny Paul , Fitness -

If you’re deterred by exercise because the very thought of pounding the treadmill or jumping on a spin bike makes you break out into a cold sweat then LISS workouts could be for you!

Embarking on a new fitness regime can be a daunting prospect, not least if you’ve been made to believe that only heart thumping, sweat inducing workouts will get you the results you want.

HIIT sessions – high impact interval training, where you exercise at your max for a minute and rest for 30 seconds for a quick 20-30 minute fitness burst – have become the go-to workout, but it’s lesser known sister LISS is now getting some well deserved attention and here’s why:

Low Intensity Steady State fitness stomps out the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy and shows you don’t have to max out your heart rate to get in shape, lose weight and feel good about yourself – sounds like a no brainer right?

What is LISS training?

LISS is low intensity cardio exercise where you maintain the same pace throughout your entire workout. Think going for a long walk, a brisk bike ride or a gentle jog. Your maximal heart rate will generally be around 60 percent. 

HIIT sessions on the other hand focus on quick bursts of high intensity cardio, followed by short rest sessions. If your heart rate hasn’t reached at least 85 percent of capacity you haven’t worked hard enough with HIIT.

How long do my LISS sessions need to be?

You will need to exercise for longer to achieve the same results as a HIIT session but we’re still not talking about hours upon hours on a treadmill. 40-60 minutes is ideal and you can do this several times a week.

What are some examples of LISS workouts?

For those looking to get an outdoor workout then walking, cycling or jogging are good options, so long as you pick a pace that you can maintain steadily for the duration of your workout without your heart rate raising too high.

If you’re in the gym then the rowing machine, elliptical, stair-stepper or treadmill are ideal to exercise on. Just remember the aim isn’t to get too puffed out. Wearing a heart rate monitor can help keep you at a steady pace too.

Is LISS only for people who are new to exercise or out of shape?

LISS sessions are a great addition to anyone’s workout regime and can be done every day if you have the time.

“If you are looking to build up your fitness or haven’t exercised in a while, LISS is a great way to do this,” says world renowned fitness guru Kayla Itsines – who made the phrase famous and is an advocate for LISS workouts. “This is because LISS generally doesn’t place a lot of strain on your body, meaning it may be done several times per week.”

Does LISS burn fat?

It absolutely does. In fact Kayla insists; “walking burns the most fat per calories compared to jogging and sprinting”.

Why? It’s been shown LISS supports fat loss due to the fact that when we workout at low to moderate intensity, fat is the main source of energy, so we are fat burning.

Exercise at a high intensity and carbohydrate is used as the primary source, with fat coming in second.

Why else is LISS good for me?

“Not only is is great for your body, but it is great for your mind and can help to relax and de-stress you,” says Kayla. 

Plus because it’s low impact it means less chance of injury and you don’t need any special equipment to do it either. Get a group of you together and make it a social occasion. If you’re sticking to low intensity cardio you should be able to keep up a conversation. 

Did you enjoy this article? You might also like to read How Exercise Can Help Ease Symptoms of the Menopause and Meghan Markle on Yoga, Walking and Dry Brushing.

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