Niagara Gazette

Features

May 30, 2013

"FIT FOR LIFE: Cardio 101: Working harder means faster results in the gym

Niagara Gazette — Have you heard fellow gym members using words like “hit” or “liss” when discussing cardio training?

These are important words in my gym.

“Hit” is actuallly HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which consists of short sprints coupled with low to moderate intensity work.

We have our clients sprint on an elliptical for 15 seconds and then go at a normal pace for the next 45 seconds to bring the heart rate back to normal, then repeat for a pre-determined number of times.

LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State Cardio, which consists of purely low- to moderate-intensity work. An example of this would be walking on the treadmill or riding the bike and being able to hold a conversation (we tend to see a lot of this at corporate gyms).

Let’s look a little further at the science and benefits of each.

This is a simple test: If you can carry on a conversation, you are performing LISS.

When doing HIIT you push for greater improvement in metabolism which leads to better fat loss over time. You would do HIIT for less duration of about 20-30 minutes of total work versus 45-60 minutes of typical cardio. When you can save time and have better results you have a winning workout.

How does HITT improve your metabolism?

• Adding muscle tissue — In the progressive overload theory, your body adapts to the stress you place on it, so you must continually find ways to increase the demands you place on your body, such as shorter rest periods between sets, increasing weights used, increasing volume (doing three sets instead of two) or adding in another weight training day.

• Increase your muscle’s oxidative capacity — Your muscles have these energy-producing units called “mitochondria” and this is where fats are burned. The more mitochondria you have and the more active they are, the greater oxidative capacity you will have for fat loss. HIIT increases mitochondrial capacity and you actually increase the amount of mitochondria you produce. Studies show that you get greater fat loss through high intensity training because of the increase in oxidative capacity.

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