Cardio : LISS or HIIT

Praveen Budhrani
Praveen Budhrani

 | 1 minute to read
Exercise Science

Cardio is one most debatable topic around the fitness community. On one side there are people who believe that cardio is not at all necessary and on the other side of the table, there are people who believe you should enter gym only to run on treadmill.

I personally, like to think of cardio as a necessary evil, which needs to be done under the following circumstance; (i) There is no scope left to decrease calories in your diet and the only way to additionally create deficit is by increasing energy expenditure (ii) Cardio really suits your goal of specificity (You are a Marathon Runner or a Sprinter) (iii) If it is being done for medical reasons. Now, when we further drill down into cardio lovers who are purely looking to lose fat, they often tend to believe HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio is much superior to normal LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio saying that **“you know what HIIT burns calories even after you are done with workout and it burns all the day”** What they are taking about is benefit of EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) popularly known as the Afterburn. Think of it as your bike’s silencer which continues to remain warm even for a certain period after stopping engine. Likewise, our body also requires some amount of effort to return to resting state after a strenuous workout and in this process of restoration, we tend to burn some additional calories. While the above inference is true that, HIIT does provide longer duration of EPOC benefits than LISS, however the benefit of that EPOC is often overblown. In one of the research reviews done by Dr. Lyle McDonald, he points out that 80 minutes of HIIT session performed has a lasting EPOC up to 7 hours post workout, however it only amounted to 80 extra calories burned. Therefore, to conclude, the calories burned during workout are more important than calories burned after workout. Further, as per meta-analysis done by Department of Exercise Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia by screening more than 1000 articles concluded that short to moderate intensity training has similar effectiveness as that of HIIT on the body composition measures, although HIIT may be time efficient. So perhaps the primary driver for fat loss should be calorie deficit rather than solely running on treadmill and if you still want to run, running like Hare (HIIT) or Tortoise (LISS) won’t make much of a difference to your goals, so do whatever motivates you to come back the subsequent day and suits your time schedule. Cheers!! Praveen References: https://bodyrecomposition.com/research-review/research-review-effects-of-exercise-intensity-and-duration-on-the-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption.html/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28401638

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