HIIT V's LISS | Sustain Nutrition

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James Walker | Director


H.I.I.T = High Intensity Interval Training

L.I.S.S = Low Intensity steady state

**Zero spoiler alerts!!!

The age old question ‘’Who would win in a fight between Batman & Superman?’’ with the obvious answer always being Chuck Norris of course (also guilty of letting the dogs out I’m told…)

Now having not yet seen the film I can only presume that it ends in some kind of stale mate, or perhaps they become friends and retire to Kentucky to become melon farmers I suppose only time will tell.

But who are you? Team Superman or Team Batman?

Now from this tenuous link to another equally passionate rivalry, which is better intervals or steady state?

There are going to be avid fans of each and some people in the middle, the avid fans are going to want to see one superhero smash the other to bits where as the middle diddles are singing ‘’why can’t we be friends…’’

Myself personally I’m in the middle, both Hero’s (systems) have there own pros and cons & in a ideal world both would be utilised in a training program at different times depending on the individual.

So lets break it down…

LISS – Batman

Pros – Easily accessible (Human)

Low skill level needed (no super powers)

Low impact

Can be performed high frequency

Cons –

Time consuming

Not much ‘’bang for the buck’’

Body adapts quickly

Limited methods

So whilst LISS can be performed anywhere (get your shoes on and go for a walk) and by pretty much anyone it does have its draw backs.

Your body loves to become efficient to save energy, it will happily adapt to stimulus to cope with it – so that 40min hill walk you have been doing for the last 3 months might have burned 350cal the first few times you did it but now your body has learned and will adapt elsewhere by down regulating metabolism. So while the walk will burn the same calories your body will slow down in other areas.

Thats a big problem as you have to constantly do longer at it to burn more calories, not ideal for anyone with any kind of work or social commitments. Theres only so many times you can increase the incline or resistance or go faster before it stops being low intensity and with time as most peoples biggest issue you cant add 5 minutes a week forever.

LISS work also promotes recovery and is much more sociable than becoming a huge pile of sweat and drool on a treadmill (I’m very conscious of not sprinting on treadmills near people as sweat flies off my elbows and tears from my beard…..I hate running!)

HIIT – Superman

Pros – Time efficient (faster than a speeding bullet!)

Has ‘Afterburn’

Many variables (Different powers for different situations!) 

Increases work capacity.

Cons –

High intensity – not suitable to everyone (Alien)

Requires recovery (Kryptonite)

Higher skill level needed (performing movement when fatigued)

Whilst HIIT training is awesome for burning up a truck load of energy in a stand alone session or as a bolt on at the end of a weights session it is not suitable to everyone, with it being so highly demanding it requires further recovery and so cannot be used as frequently as steady state cardio.

HIIT can be periodised though, as in you can change more than just the time you perform it, work and rest periods can be manipulated as recovery quickens as well as adding more reps or rounds.

The demand put on the body during HIIT work also causes an ‘afterburn’ effect where the body uses more energy (calories) to get back to it normal state.

HIIT work will also help you in your weight training workouts. Your bodies will recover quicker between sets meaning more work done or same work done in less time = greater intensity.

So which is best I hear you cry???

It really does just depend, as you can see both have pros and cons, personally we would recommend a blend of these, obviously with a solid foundation of good nutrition and a excellent weight training routine.

The biggest dependent is going to be time, how much spare time you have will determine what methods you should use.

In an ideal world you could train with weights 4 times per week with 8-12mins of HIIT at the end of each session, twice a week do some LISS work for 45-60mins – go for a walk with the dog/cat/family, take the kids swimming, go for a bike ride etc.

Avengers ass………no wait!……..Think Justice League training routine!

Saying one is more important than the other is like saying which bike wheel is better the front or the back….you kind of need them both! If time is your constraint, go for HIT, if ability to work at high intensity limits you through age or injury then LISS is probably better suited for you.

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