Ever wandered into the gym without a plan or an idea of which workout to do? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!
With ample amounts of information we can find online about resistance training, HIIT workouts and LISS, we thought we should help you understand these types of workouts more and what benefits each of them has.
We turned to Leela Jasmine Sule, our Free Soul Ambassador and personal trainer to understand the differences and benefits between each workout.
Resistance training, or strength and weight training, is the use of resistance or force to exercise your muscles. You move your body against resistance or force with equipment such as dumbbells, weighted bars, bands and resistance machines.
This type of training can achieve a variety of beneficial results. Resistance training isn’t necessarily for bodybuilders, and have a plethora of functional benefits for the everyday woman.
Benefits of resistance training
Some of the benefits include improved body shape, more muscle strength, muscle gains, which itself leads to a higher metabolism.
We asked Leela about her take on resistance training, and she says, “the reason that I go with resistance training the most is that it’s the way to change the way your body works from the inside.”
“If you build lean muscle, you’re basically going to burn more fat all the time because your metabolism is going to be faster so you going to have the ability to stay lean even if you’re not training. If you’re not training that day, your body will still be working at a faster rate than it otherwise would.”
Another benefit she mentioned is the postural benefit. She mentions, “a lot of the time, people do a lot of cardio, they run a lot but they sort of end up hunched over because they’re in a forward tilt position when they’re running and they’re not using any other training styles to counteract that.”
“So they’re not straightening their back or anything with weights. That happens a lot with desk posture and everyone sitting hunched over every day. So weight training is the best way to correct that and strengthen the opposing muscles.”
But why are women afraid to use weights in their work out?
There is a common misconception that women can get “bulky” from lifting weights. Leela dispels this immediately, saying it’s just a total myth.
She says, “you can’t get bulky as a woman because you just don’t have the right hormones.”
This misconception is likely to come from the extreme examples that women see of female bodybuilders.
“The way they train is not something that is achievable for the everyday person. They’ll be doing extreme training, they’ll be eating a lot, like thousands and thousands of calories a day and more than likely, they’ll be supplementing something on the side that isn’t protein shakes.”
“Whereas, with most people and with pretty much all women that I’ve trained, when you train with weights, you just become lean and sculpted not bigger.”
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training which describes a workout that alternates between burst of high-intensity activity followed by a low-intense activity, for a shorter period of time.
The aim during HIIT workout is to train at the highest intensity possible during the short burst and increase heart rate to 80-95%, then allowing the heart rate to drop down to 40-50% during low-intensity activity.
Aim to complete as many intervals of high-intensity bursts during each HIIT session.
Benefits of HIIT
Some of the benefits include improved cardiovascular health, improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels and fat loss.
Leela says, “HIIT is really good for people with time constraints because you can get so much more bang for your buck.”
“It also has a metabolic effect so after you finish your session, your body is still going to be burning fat much faster than it otherwise would.”
This happens due to Excess Post Exercise Oxygen consumption, which is the period post-exercise when your metabolism is still raised. Because of the high-intensity, your body is pushed to a state of high recovery. Meaning that your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate for hours after your workout!
“In terms of that mental side of things, you get that endorphin rush, you get your heart rate up really nice and quickly.”
LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State training. LISS training includes any low endurance and low-intensity workouts over a long duration such as walking, swimming, hiking or cycling at a relaxed level.
Leela says, “when you’re doing long slow duration or LISS, you’re basically just working on your cardio output. So you’re trying to increase how many calories you’re burning with the idea being that if you burn more than you take in, you’re going to lose weight.”
Benefits of LISS
In order for your body to metabolise fat, the body requires oxygen. During a LISS workout, there’s more oxygen available to be used by the body to break down fat. Effectively, our body is using fat as a fuel source.
So, it’s an effective way to improve your aerobic fitness levels and overall health.
Is all cardio created equal?
LISS, unlike HIIT, focuses on aiming for a low-level of exertion over a long continuous period rather than pushing your body to its maximum for a short burst of time.
You burn more calories with fat and oxygen, but the overall net calories you’re burning are less. Your body also adapts very quickly, which decreases the impact of a low-intensity workout.
So while you are exercising your aerobic system, it’s also important not to ignore the benefits of exercising your anaerobic system.
The anaerobic system is what your body uses during a HIIT workout, where your body uses glycogen in the muscles as fuel, and no oxygen is involved in the energy transfer process yet.
Anaerobic training is great for getting stronger and faster, increase endurance and boost your metabolism and your overall physical performance.
However, too much of HIIT could be very taxing on your body and you may burn out faster which may trigger cortisol in your body. Your body will need time to recover and for muscle repair.
Resistance training is great for building muscle and boosting your metabolism. HIIT and LISS cardio are great for improving your cardiovascular health.
Don’t be totally biased either way. Change it up!
Have a balance of all three workouts.
On the days that you’re only doing weight training, you can go for a HIIT workout instead if your muscles are feeling sore. Because that way you are able to get the same metabolic response.
You can treat LISS as a workout on your recovery days. HIIT and LISS cardio are totally different workouts so they can’t really be a substitute for another. When you’re doing LISS, also change it up! Run, row and cycle. That way you’re not using only one range of repetitive motion.
Exercise, no matter which form, is great for you. If you’re exercising and putting in an effort to boost your health, kudos to you!