High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are known to be an effective form of training and an even more popular trend in fitness. Essentially, the basic form of this exercise regime constitutes bursts of intense and unsustainable activities partitioned by recovery periods, where the body is kept in motion at a comfortable pace or at complete rest. The ratio of duration and frequency for recovery and work period vary widely based on the individual’s fitness level and the type of activity. This inevitably leads to an almost extreme strain of physical endurance where the body is able to burn calories and fat at a much faster rate than even a traditional level of workout. It is recommended that HIIT be performed no more than three times per week in order to allow time for the body to heal.

Once the core concept of HIIT is implemented, the workout can be executed through various forms of exercise including cycling, sprinting, burpees, or push-ups. Its popularity, however, is credited to its vast potency to reduce weight, improve cardio, massively boost metabolism, and enhance the individual capacity for endurance levels as well as muscle mass. In fact, due to the elevated metabolism, most of the calories and fat that is burned off, occurs within the 24 hours following the activity in an “after-burn effect.” The workouts are relatively short, averaging around 30 minutes, and produce results much sooner than a traditional level of workout. The main point of the work periods is to work as hard as possible and achieve about 80 per cent of your maximum heart rate. The recovery periods, to recuperate as quickly as possible, usually require activity below 50 per cent of maximum heart rate.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are Low Intensity Steady-State (LISS) workouts that function to provide an almost opposite experience of fitness training. Essentially, this regime involves a steady rate of exercise at about 60 per cent of the maximum heart rate, but for longer durations and without any recovery phases or periods of rest. For example, going for a brisk walk would fall under this category of workouts. Although LISS workouts last for around an hour, their low-intensity nature allows an individual to train basically every day and as much as needed, unlike HIIT which severely limits the amount of training done in a week. As well, LISS has most of the same benefits as HIIT, including burning calories and improving cardio, especially relating to respiratory health and blood flow. Although often misconstrued for beginners, LISS can be applied to both the inexperienced and advanced individuals within the gym, as well as serve as a medium for adopting higher intensity workouts. Not to mention, LISS is much superior in terms of putting less pressure on the joints through its low impact training methods.

Some of the other benefits to be considered are that LISS is much easier to stick to and has a better effect on your mind by facilitating the reduction of stress. In fact, the RAWC has also taken advantage of this recent health trend, and offers group fitness classes on high-intensity interval training workouts to get students more involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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