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Is HIIT or LIIT better for fat loss

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What is HIIT vs LIIT (LISS)?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) vs Low Intensity interval training (LIIT) are two polar opposite ways of training, and they both provide different benefits to our body, but which one is better for fat loss?  

We are about to answer that for you. But before we do, we would like to discuss 2 energy systems that our body uses depending on the different exercises that we do:.

What are the two energy systems?

1) Aerobic energy system  is an energy system that your body will mainly tap into if the exercise is low-to-moderate intensity for a lengthy period of time. Because it is for a lengthy period of time at a steady and manageable intensity, your body will be able to inhale and deliver oxygen to your muscles in time. A good example of a workout that would use an aerobic energy system, would be a 30-minute jog. This energy system mainly uses fats and carbs to fuel a workout.  

2) Anaerobic energy system – is an energy system that your body will tap into during a high intensity workout that is usually completed in a short period of time. During HIIT, your body cannot inhale and deliver the oxygen in time for your muscles to use, as you continue to exercise you will run out of breath much quicker and the lactic acid will build up in your muscles. When the lactic acid builds up in your muscles, you will begin to feel that ‘burning’ feeling prompting you to stop as your muscles become fatigued and cannot function properly. An example of an exercise during which anaerobic energy system is used, would be a 100/200m sprint. This energy system mainly uses carbs to fuel the exercise.  

With this in mind, let’s dive into our discussion! 

What is High Intensity Interval training (HIIT)?

HIIT is a workout that is very high intensity and usually runs for a short period of time. Normally designed to get you breathless very quickly. Examples of high intensity workouts, 1 minute burpees as fast as you can or an 100/200m sprint.  

The benefits of high intensity interval training

HIIT mainly uses an anaerobic energy system as it is short and very high- intensity where your body cannot inhale and deliver enough oxygen to your muscles to continue the workout for longer. 

During the actual workout your body will mainly lose the pre-consumed carbs and sugars. When you begin any type of exercise, it takes your body 15-30mins to burn the digested carbs and sugars. Therefore, as HIIT is normally quite short and explosive, this simply means it will not give your body a chance to begin the fat burning process.  

However, HIIT is AMAZING for speeding up your metabolism. Metabolism refers to the number of calories your body is able to burn every day at rest. For example, an average person will burn 150-200 calories during their sleep. If your metabolism speeds up, you will be able to burn much more than an average person, thus creating a bigger caloric deficit. If you wish to find out more about metabolism, metabolic adaptation and metabolic rate, check out our other article for more detail.  

Caloric deficit is fundamental for fat loss therefore, although HIIT mainly burns carbs and sugars during the workout it has an impressive effect on your metabolism post-workout.  

The drawbacks of Hight Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a great way to speed up your metabolism, but it is unsustainable. It is heavy on your bones and very difficult, so most people prefer LIIT. If you have any injuries or fragile bones, we would suggest staying away from HIIT. 

What is Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)? 

LIIT is a type of exercise that is low in intensity and lasts for a lengthy period of time. An example of LIIT is a 30-minute jog. LIIT uses an aerobic energy system as your body has the ability to deliver enough oxygen to your muscles to support the workout. During LIIT, your body will firstly use carbs and sugars but after 15-30 mins of exercising, your body will begin to use your fat reserves to fuel the rest of the workout. 

Benefits of Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT/ LISS)

During LIIT, your body will use both, carbs and your body fat reserves. So, you can do LIIT for as long as you can to burn as much fat as possible during the exercise.  

Drawbacks of Low Intensity Interval Training

It only has a mild effect on metabolism after the workout. Therefore, you’d need to do the exercise for much longer if you wish to see results faster.  

So, is LIIT or HIIT better for fat burning?

HIIT vs LIIT? If you ask us, our answer would be a mixture of both. Think about it. If you do HIIT for a longer period of time, you will burn fat during the workout as well as burn calories post workout. It’s kind of best of both worlds. It would be difficult we won’t lie, but you wouldn’t have to spend every day doing both HIIT and LIIT, you could simply do it 2-3 times a week for 30-45 mins and you would turn your body into a fat burning machine! 

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