Preface: This is not an article about whether or not low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio is superior to high intensity interval training (HIIT).  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.


In a recent article on dobetterfitness, the cortisol response to a typical diet/exercise pattern among beginners was explained:

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is released by:

  1. Dieting
  2. Excessive Cardio
  3. Stress over diet

Cortisol has cross-reactivity with aldosterone which controls water retention.  The higher your cortisol levels the more water you retain.

While the reason for starting such an aggressive program of reduced calories and increased exercise is probably the desire for fast results, it often leaves people burned out and farther away from their goals.

There are several good reasons to consider a more relaxed, but consistent, program of LISS.  Such as uphill walking, stair climbing, rows or elliptical skiing with high resistance.  Some relevant benefits include:

  1. LISS is terrific for fat oxidation.
  2. More intense exercise requires more recovery.
  3. LISS is easy.

Granted, if you have goals outside of fat-loss, you wouldn’t necessarily want to implement LISS.  For example, if you want to see improvement in your race times, muscular endurance or VO2 Max (maximal oxygen consumption) you would want to tailor your training with a progressive protocol.

Some people simply don’t enjoy LISS, and that’s ok.  This is offered as an alternative to what you may think you need to do in order to lose weight more rapidly.  LISS is standard for bodybuilders looking to cut down their body fat % without sacrificing lean muscle mass at low caloric intakes.

It can work for you, too.

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