Do you ever feel that when you are trying to find information about what exercise is best to transform your body, you are bombarded with so much ‘gym’ lingo that you think you missed the vocabulary lesson during English class? What on earth does HIIT, LISS, HIRT all stand for? And, what do they actually mean for you trying to learn the fastest and most effective way to transform your body? At Active8me we love to sort fact out from fiction. So, here are the glossary of terms you need to know. Just as importantly, we discuss how each workout can contribute to getting that lean and toned body you want.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
Wherever you turn today someone is referring to HIIT training. HIIT this, HIIT that. But what is it? This type of workout focuses on numerous quick bursts of hard output followed by rest periods. You rapidly increase your heart rate and allow it to somewhat (but not fully) decline during the rest period between sets. What gets confusing is the diverse types of HIIT workouts.
Weights based workouts tend to be the most common form of HIIT training we read about. Crossfit and F45 workouts have made this popular in recent times. But, it is worth remembering that these circuit and interval based workouts have been around for a long time. A HIIT workout is nothing new – it is more that the term ‘HIIT’ has become trendy in recent times. The term HIIT doesn’t just refer to gym-based workouts, they come in a variety of forms. It could be a sprint running workout; a cycling based HIIT workout involving sprints; a rowing based HIIT workout with intervals. Paddling, swimming, rowing, running – they can all be HIIT based workouts. What’s common is the intensity and varying heart-rate structure of the workouts.
A HIIT or miss to transform your body?
Studies suggest that you burn a lot of calories both during and long after your HIIT workout has completed. So, during your short, intense burst of HIIT exercise you may use the stored glycogen (sugar in your cells), but significantly, you also continue to burn calories (from a variety of sources) after you have completed your workout.
This physiological process is referred to as EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) or better known as “afterburn”. It is where your body is forced to expend more energy to make up for the metabolic deficit (by replacing energy) and return to its pre-exercise condition. This means that you can burn more total calories overall. This is the main reason that HIIT based workouts have become so popular in recent times. For more on this read our 10 Tips to Lose Weight, Get Lean and Get Toned. HIIT workouts are quick, convenient and effective workouts for weight loss and fitness.
The truth HIITs hard
HIIT workouts are high intensity in more ways than one. They are both physically and psychologically demanding. This means it can be taxing on your muscular system (be warned, you will feel sore!) as well as feeling drained from mentally having to push through your workout. Of course, this may also have positive impacts in building mental resilience and associated self-confidence in knowing you will transform your body.
The risk of injury is generally higher during HIIT workouts if/when your technique becomes compromised due to fatigue, and it certainly isn’t the type of workout you can do every day, as recovery is important for muscle repair and adaptation. HIIT workouts are effective and we like them, but not every workout can or should be high intensity. They form an essential component of an overall balanced program. However, HIIT should not be your only training, as we see all too often these days.
HIRT – High Intensity Resistance Training
HIRT is merely a form of HIIT training using weights and resistance training. You perform a series of strength training exercises for a set number of repetitions, over a set time, with limited recovery. Thus, your heart rate remains elevated and your muscles have very little time to recover before working again.
Will HIRTing transform your body?
A HIRT workout can contribute to both weight loss AND lean-muscle gain. Making this the perfect combination to transform your body into a lean, toned machine! This is important because the reason many people never get toned is failing to realize that muscle is your best fat burner. Therefore, you miss out on the benefits that come from weights and resistance training. You lose weight, without changing your body composition (ie. you haven’t lost much fat in the process). You are lighter without being leaner. Read more about this in our free giveaway “Why Many Women Never Get Toned”
Like other forms of HIIT workouts, a HIRT workout is a time effective solution to burning more calories in less time, especially if you compare it to steady state cardio (LISS) or typical resistance training. Plus, you can knock out your whole-body strength training and cardio routine with one quick blow. You can use your own body weight as resistance to start with and up your gains with weights as your strength improves.
Watch out for HIRTing yourself…
You need to ensure you maintain correct form, paying special attention to your movements when you begin to fatigue. It is this problem that is the most commonly criticized factor of Crossfit based workouts. By their very nature they are taking technical movements and doing these under fatigue environments. Is it any surprise then that many people get injured?
In the same vein, it is not recommended to concentrate on one specific area (like you would with traditional weight training) as you may overdo the workout on smaller muscle groups which can also lead to increased risk of injury.
Remember, HIRT training is certainly not an ‘everyday’ activity as your muscles need time to recover and repair for you to reap the rewards.
LISS – Low Intensity Steady State cardio
As the name suggests a LISS workout refers to a cardio based workout where you maintain the same pace for a set time, but at a lower intensity. Some good examples of LISS training include brisk walking, light jogging, riding a bike – all where you are able to hold a conversation while doing the activity. Basically, LISS is any exercise that requires about 50 to 65% of your max heart rate. Many wearable devices can calculate your maximum heart rate for you or alternatively you can use the rough estimate of 200 – Your Age, eg. If you are 27, your max heart rate would be 220 – 27= 193.
Benefits of a LISS workout
LISS workouts are an enjoyable way to ease into exercise, especially if you are a beginner. It can be very social and not too taxing on your body to begin with as it’s generally low impact. It is great for building endurance and can be utilised effectively as active recovery from harder workout days.
LISS workouts can also be good for fat burning and thereby improving your health and weight. But first let us explain a key (and often misunderstood) difference between LISS and HIIT workouts when it comes to burning calories. At lower intensity levels for sustained steady state cardio workouts you call on your fat reserves as energy, so your body effectively starts to burn fat. (This is because your body uses the “aerobic” manner in which to produce energy – it uses oxygen in the process). This means that a higher percentage of your energy comes from fat during this type of training.
However, whilst a higher percentage of fat is used during the workout, this does not equate to as much total fat burned compared to higher intensity exercise. Higher intensity workouts can help you burn more total calories over the day because of the aforementioned “afterburn” effect. In this way, the total calories expended are not just time dependent but intensity dependent. This is another reason why HIIT based workouts have gained so much notoriety in recent times.
When LISS doesn’t transform your body like you thought it would
You may have started an exercise regime, where you thought jogging was going to be the ideal way to transform your body. You probably lost some weight to begin with, but ended up plateauing and you don’t seem to be able to kickstart that weight loss to achieve the improvement in your weight loss or waistline. Sound familiar? The reason for this is your metabolism readily adjusts to the low intensity exercise. You become efficient at only burning the minimal calories required to complete the workout session.
For your fast-paced world, where fitting everything in is often difficult, LISS can become more difficult to fit in as it literally takes time. You need to dedicate longer chunks of time (minimum 45 mins).
What’s the best workout to transform your body?
While there is no shortcut to lose weight, torch fat, improve your health or to transform your body we hope you have gained some insider tips (and a whole new workout language) that will help you get more burn for your buck when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.
With your new lingo and knowledge, here’s 3 takeaway tips to transform your body:
- Exercise should be challenging, but above all it should be rewarding and fun! Yes, that’s right, we want you to actually enjoy being active, moving your body and maximising your ability and energy. Whatever type of training works best in your life is often the place to start. You are more likely to successfully incorporate and maintain an exercise regime by doing what you like most. Choose what works best for you but incorporating some form of resistance/ strength training is an absolute must. Your body is your own laboratory to experiment with. We are here to give you the tools and the method so you can improve your health and transform your body. Join us today and share your transformation journey with us!
- Do HIIT based workouts that incorporate compound exercises. They are time efficient and effective. HIIT will not only help you burn fat, but help you maintain or grow your lean-muscle mass. (Remember though that they are not the only type of workouts you should do. And, there are many different types of HIIT style workouts, so mix it up!).
- HIIT, HIRT, LISS workouts – they all have a place in an overall balanced program. It is why at Active8me our experts design our programs to incorporate a mixture of workouts. They include high intensity exercise, low intensity exercise, cardio based workouts, weights based workouts, active recovery and rest. We know from experience what works and we’ve put it all together so you don’t have to waste time trying to work it out.