HIIT (high intensity interval training) is short, intense bursts of near maximal activity followed by even shorter, fixed periods of rest. Conversely, LISS (low intensity steady state) is any form of cardio that is carried out at a set pace whilst staying well within your aerobic capacity and maintaining a steady heart rate throughout. Both forms of training are beneficial and have their place within a well balanced training programme but here are a few reasons why you might choose HIIT over LISS...

HIIT can be over and done with in 30 minutes or less!

(Talk about bang for your buck!) To put some perspective on it, you will be out of the shower and halfway home before the poor soul slogging away on the elliptical even breaks into a sweat. Whilst LISS does have many benefits, it’s no secret that HIIT will make you fitter, quicker. A study conducted in 2008 by Gibala et al, showed that 2.5 hours of HIIT produced a similar muscular effect to 10.5 hours of endurance training.

When you’re powering through your HIIT workout you barely have time to glance at the clock... 

...let alone obsessively watch it. You’ll come to rely only on that little beep that says you can rest and then that double beep that says go, go, GO! Jogging away on the treadmill however, makes it far too easy and tempting to start clock watching, and as I’m sure you all know, that is the kiss of death. The seconds drag, the clock hands start to go backwards, we’ve all been there. It’s not pretty.

Long steady state cardio has long been touted as the most effective way to burn fat however, there have been studies carried out more recently that show short, sharp HIIT workouts to be just as effective! During HIIT the body is forced into an oxygen debt due to the anaerobic nature of the workout, in response our oxygen consumption is increased for up to 24 hours, which in turn leads to a raised resting metabolic rate. Meaning you will be burning extra calories, just by breathing!

You can do it absolutely anywhere and need minimal equipment.

Is it blowing a gale outside or chucking it down in a biblical fashion? No worries, push that sofa back a foot or two and voila! You’re good to go! You prefer running? No worries, sprints are exactly the same thing! Short, high intensity periods of work, work, work, work followed by an even short period of rest, then repeat (repeat, and repeat again!).

Due to the explosive, total body, plyometric nature of HIIT you’ll be toning those arms, lifting that bum, nipping in that waist, turning into a lean mean HIITing machine! Sadly, jogging just doesn’t have quite the same effect.

Although I’m personally a lover of endurance sports, I’m well aware of the long term effects of pounding the pavement day after day, year in year out. Impact is great for bone strength but it must be combined with proper rest allowing the bones to heal and grow stronger. Repeated impact with minimal resting time will only lead to injury later down the line. Last but not least, all those sprints, squat jumps and burpees will leave you feeling (and looking) like a total badass! Need I say more?

So, what are you waiting for? Happy HIITing!

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