High-Intensity Interval Training, HIIT is an extremely popular form of training, and many people include it in their workout schedule to get the best results and achieve their fitness goals. As you might already know, it is a training technique where you give an all-out effort for a short period followed by a period of rest or active recovery. This way you switch from an interval of high intensity to an interval of low intensity or rest. If you need to know more about this training technique, read an earlier blog we have done in detail titled, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). How Does It Work? What Are The Benefits?
With HIIT sorted, have you ever heard of LIIT training or even heard someone talking about it? LIIT training shares some qualities of HIIT training, but the difference in their approach makes them stand apart and equally effective.
This article will discuss LIIT training, its benefits and the significant differences between HIIT and LIIT training. In the end, we will also announce who the winner is and what you should opt for to achieve your fitness goals.
LIIT Training - What Is It?
LIIT, also known as Low-Intensity Interval Training, is similar to HIIT in a way where you work in intervals and get your heart rate up and then slow it down with a rest in between. However, instead of getting your heart rate right up into the high cardio zone like HIIT, your aim here is to increase it to the high end of the fat-burning zone or low end of the cardio zone during your intervals. This means you get the benefits of interval training without pushing yourself as hard as you can or putting yourself at risk of injury with high-intensity cardio moves. It feels much easier to perform, and you can burn the same amount of calories as HIIT if you extend your workout to some extent. LIIT is sustainable in the long term, and it is a much better way of working out for those who have joint issues or are recovering from injury and those who don't want to push themselves to the extreme.
Benefits of LIIT
Improves Strength and Endurance
A low-impact exercise program is recommended if you want to improve your strength and endurance while keeping your joints healthy. LIIT, in contrast to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), does not overexert the body, and you can work at your own pace and intensity level while doing it. Maintaining consistency in your workout routine will help to increase muscle density while also toning your body, improving stability and endurance, and increasing your overall fitness level.
Joint Mobility and Elasticity
Low-impact training has a positive effect on joint mobility and elasticity, which is important for athletes. These advantages will aid in the improvement of your weight training exercises and the development of your physical strength for everyday tasks. It's referred to as functional fitness, and it consists of practical and productive movements that can be performed outside of the gym. In addition, LIIT workouts will lengthen and stretch your muscles, allowing your body to function more efficiently due to the workout. If you want to increase your muscle mass, on the other hand, you'll need to increase your resistance training.
Reduced Injury Risk
There is a risk of injury associated with all forms of physical activity. On the other hand, low-impact workout routines reduce the risks, which is especially important for people who have underlying injuries. As a general rule, high-impact exercise is more dangerous than low-impact exercise because the muscles are forced to contract quickly. Muscle tearing and strain are increased as a result of this practice. The slow and controlled movements of LIIT workouts help alleviate this excess strain on the joints and muscles. It also aids in the strengthening of all of the body's critical muscles, resulting in a powerful support system for the body. The effects of high-impact activities such as constant running, sports participation, or highly intense dancing on your body should not be ignored. Instead of giving up on exercise and sinking into your couch, you should try to find ways to reduce physical stress. Instead, think about incorporating LIIT into your fitness routine. This alternative will allow you to transform your body and become stronger in every way without exhausting your body's natural resources and capabilities. Whatever your reason for wanting to get off the couch and into the gym, LIIT will keep your body moving while preventing injuries from occurring.
Efficient Weight Loss
If you're trying to lose weight, low-impact exercise is a good option, especially if you don't go to the gym regularly. This type of exercise is effective because it can be performed for longer periods instead of high-impact alternatives such as HIIT or Tabata. As a result, there is a greater likelihood of burning significantly more calories. However, one of the most significant advantages of LIIT is its efficiency. This is because LIIT uses your fat reserves for energy rather than relying solely on the readily available glycogen reserves (aka, carbs).
HIIT vs LIIT - Major Differences
Intensity of Activity
LIIT is a workout designed to keep your heart rate at a manageable level while still pushing you to your limits. Approximately 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate would be achieved in this manner. For those who do not use a heart-rate monitor, this will appear as if you are holding a conversation but not singing or you will notice that your breathing has quickened but not out of breath.
A HIIT workout is designed to push you to your upper fatigue limit. This would entail completing as many repetitions of each exercise as possible while exerting maximum effort. An example of a sprinting session would be 20 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest, or a circuit of burpees, jump squats, and push-ups at a maximum effort followed by 30 seconds of rest would be appropriate. Your heart rate should be between 70 and 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate, and you should be sweating and unable to hold a conversation at this point.
LITT is typically much longer in duration than HIIT. Think of a marathon vs a sprint.
When doing LIIT, you are working at a pace that you can sustain over long periods. LIIT sessions for the average person would be about 30-60 minutes.
On the other hand, HIIT is much shorter. This is because you are working at a pace that would not be sustainable for more than around 15 minutes. During those 15 minutes, you're performing various exercises for 20-30 seconds, followed by a brief rest period and then continuing with the next exercise. This resting phase between sets helps you maintain the intensity in each workout set, which delivers faster results.
According to research, you can burn more calories by performing a HIIT session than by performing a LIIT session for the same amount of time in a day.
To understand this better, let's compare a 60-minute steady state run with 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training. You could burn 500 calories during that 60-minute steady state run if you do it at a moderate pace. Once you have completed your run, you will no longer be burning calories. Whereas, you could burn up to 200 calories during that 30-minute high-intensity interval training session. You will, however, continue to burn calories for the next 10 – 12 hours at a rate of approximately 50 calories per hour for the remainder of the day. This means that you can burn between 700 and 800 calories in total.
Pros and Cons of HIIT vs LIIT
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of HIIT and LIIT, which would help you give a clearer picture to choose your next workout.
Pros of HIIT
- Burns more calories in less time.
- It only requires few sessions in a week to achieve great results.
- Enhances metabolism.
- It helps in building and preserving muscle mass.
- It incorporates a lot of variety in movements and feels exciting.
Cons of HIIT
- Need time to recover as your muscle tends to get sore due to the high-intensity nature of the workout.
- Not optimal to be performed every day.
- Can lead to overtraining.
- Increased risk of injury if the technique is compromised.
Pros of LIIT
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Fast rate of recovery
- Easy on joints
- You don't need to push yourself to extreme
Cons of LIIT
- It could lead to a loss in muscle mass if overdone.
- Can cause injuries from overuse (doing the same movements each session)
- It takes more time to perform an effective LIIT workout
Who's the Winner?
While both HIIT and LIIT have their benefits, the differences can help you understand which is better for your training goals.
If you want to lose fat, HIIT will be more effective. This is because HIIT is more intense and, as a result, requires less training time and less training frequency while also burning more calories.
If your goal is to gain strength, HIIT will be a better choice because there is less risk of losing muscle mass.
This isn't to say that LIIT shouldn't be included in your training, as it benefits heart health, endurance, and the lower intensity nature of LIIT workouts, which means your body can recover quickly.
HIIT and LIIT are both amazing ways to shed extra body fat and achieve your fitness goals. So, the simple answer is to do whichever you like the most! HIIT is best for some, while LITT suits others better. Even better if you
perform both to get the best of both worlds and make the most of your workouts. Either way, you're moving, and that can only be a good thing!
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