While scrolling through the Instagram feeds sometimes people tend to misinterpret the foundation of personal fitness.
Cardiovascular training has always been an integral part of any fitness regime, whether you are a bodybuilder or a sports athlete, every training plan involves some kind of cardio.
Cardio is basically any activity that gets your heart pumping and cardio can be broadly classified into two categories; low-intensity cardio and high-intensity cardio.
Many people have developed a perception that exercising at higher intensity is a key to fat loss, but that’s not true.
While high intensity seems to get all the limelight, one should not neglect the benefits of low-intensity cardio sessions.
This article is going to cover everything about LISS and how it's beneficial to achieve your body goals.
What does LISS cardio mean?
LISS stands for “Low-Intensity Steady State” cardio.
As the name implies, LISS involves aerobic activities at a slower pace for an extended period of time.
The main idea behind LISS is to perform an exercise at a comfortable pace with a goal to keep the heart rate around 50 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate.
LISS is also known as:
- Low-intensity cardio
- Steady-state training
Common examples of LISS are brisk walking, jogging, hiking, and cycling at a comfortable pace.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:
Do a google search, “best cardio for fat loss”.
The majority of the workout you get on search results are based on High intensity.
But problem is, HIIT can be really hard and exhausting for the majority of the population and there has to be an easier choice for someone who is looking to cut down excess weight.
For a long time now, people have neglected the benefits of low-intensity cardio just because they are just too easy and boring.
There are some practical benefits of LISS over HITT, so let's discuss them in detail.
Low-intensity Cardio Benefits
Sometimes we complicate fitness while fitness can be achieved quite easily.
People who do HIIT understand the post-workout feeling, HIIT consumes a lot of energy and sometimes leaves you exhausted for the entire day.
1- LISS is appropriate for all age groups
LISS is for everyone, whether your age is 20 or 70, anyone can enjoy the benefits of LISS.
LISS involves low-impact workouts that are easy on joints.
This is one of the biggest factors why I recommend low-intensity cardio. Unless you are a fitness geek, HIIT is hard to sustain once you start getting older.
2- LISS aids fat burning
Many people think that HIIT is the best way to burn that stored fat. Wrong!
LISS uses stored fat as the primary source of fuel and HIIT uses stored glycogen as a source of fuel. HIITs require quick energy and that's the reason the body uses stored glycogen.
A 2014 study states “continuous exercise at low intensity improves fat distribution in overweight adults”.
Photo by Blue Bird:
3- LISS is easy to recover
Post-workout recovery is something the majority of the working professions struggle with.
HIITs are hard to recover from and you are required to have balanced meals, massages, cold water dips, and other therapies to optimize the recovery.
LISS is easy on the body and does not requires extraordinary recovery methods.
Example: walking for 30-minutes is always easier than 10 rounds of 100m sprints.
4- Improves cardiovascular endurance
Slow jogging, cycling, walking, or any other form of cardio that keeps you at a relatively low heart rate for a prolonged period of time is a key to building endurance.
According to a report from Harward health, walking only 2.5 hours a week can reduce your chances of heart disease by up to 30%.
5- Easy to do at home
All you need is a treadmill or a static cycle and you can do your daily cardio while watching your favourit show or while having a conversation with your partner.
Drawback of LISS
The only drawback I see with LISS is they are time-consuming and boring sometimes.
But planning your LISS right can help you overcome the drawbacks, you can hear podcasts or audiobooks to enjoy multiple benefits.
Tips to improve your results
Do some bodyweight training
Even if you are training for weight loss, don't skip the strength training.
Strength training not only strengthens your joints but also increases calorie burning by boosting your metabolic rate.
Some bodyweight workouts like squats, pushups, lunges, and pull-ups are enough to become a stronger version of yourself.
Track your calories
Regular cardio won't help if you are eating more calories than your body requires.
Use a calorie tracking app to track the food that you are eating.
Calorie tracking will make you well aware of the number of excess calories you are having on a daily basis.
Doing cardio first thing in the morning has added benefits.
The body’s glycogen reserves are at their lowest in the morning and doing some low-intensity cardio will force the body to metabolize stored fat for energy.
If you find it difficult to train empty stomach then you can have a scoop of whey protein to support your training.
Energize your cardio session
A sip of coffee or green tea not only improves cognitive functioning but also boosts the basal metabolic rate which helps in burning more calories.
Your quality of sleep plants an important role in your overall health. The quality of sleep affects your physical and mental health, it also defines our ability to fight disease and develop immunity, and our metabolism and chronic disease risk.
If you find it difficult to achieve a restful sleep then try our SLEEP WELL formula, it contains a blend of natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to help with restful sleep and also improve the quality of life.
Why Do Bodybuilders Prefer Low-Intensity Cardio?
People who take great pride in doing HIIT and consider low-intensity training as an inferior form of training should think again.
Do you ever wonder why elite bodybuilders prefer low-intensity cardio like stepper, and incline walks? The answer resides in the factor below:
1- The purpose
The purpose of cardio is to burn extra calories and to help the person to stay in a caloric deficit, low-intensity cardio is the perfect way to burn a few hundred calories without putting too much stress on the body.
2- Fat loss is the priority
HIIT uses muscle glycogens which can impact the lifting performance while at the gym.
In their cutting phase, their priority is to melt down stored fat without influencing the strength training session.
3- LISS supports the recovery process
LISS not only torches up fat but also supports faster recovery by improving blood circulation throughout the body.