Why LISS Is The New HIIT

Why LISS Is The New HIIT

With so many workouts taking notes from the punishing HIIT school of thought, it’s easy to experience instant fatigue – both mental and physical – from 6am spin sessions and bootcamp-style classes. While there’s no denying the body-boosting powers of HIIT, the benefits of its low-intensity counterpart, LISS (Low Intensity Steady State), shouldn’t be ignored.

Rated by fitness experts for its ability to kick-start weight loss, increase blood flow and promote oxygen delivery within cells, here’s what you need to know about LISS and the workouts to try now...

1. Keep An Eye on Heart Rate

If HIIT is a calorie scorcher, consider LISS a slow simmer, where energy is still burned even if you don’t emerge from your workout coated in sweat. Just remember to keep your finger on the pulse – literally. LISS workouts need to be low-intensity but finding that sweet spot in your BPM can be tricky without a heart rate monitor. The official recommendation is to keep your heart rate between 50-70% of your personal maximum; as a gauge, you should still be able to hold a conversation while working out.

2. It’s Versatile

Because LISS is essentially a framework for cardio, there are myriad different types of movements that fit the bill: walking, jogging, swimming, Pilates, yoga – basically anything that will get your heart pumping but not completely racing. If you’re a gym bunny, head to the treadmill, rowing machine, cross trainer or stair-stepper, many of which are often equipped with heart rate monitors.

3. Body Benefits

Scientifically speaking, working on your endurance encourages your heart’s left ventricle – the cavity that pushes blood out to the rest of the body – to increase in capacity. That means more oxygen gets delivered to organs, supporting better overall health and fitness. At the same time, low intensity workouts promote recovery and physiologically prep your body for its next workout, helping you to go harder next time you hit the intervals.

4. Mix It Up

Before you hop on to the cross trainer for the fifth day in a row, know that you shouldn’t rely on LISS workouts as your one-and-only form of exercise. Your body adapts over time, so if all you do is low-impact workouts, you’ll miss out on the benefits of HIIT. In other words, if you’re looking for more muscle and less fat, LISS alone won’t cut it. If you’re a cardio junkie, try swapping one of your workouts for a LISS session – studies have shown LISS promotes recovery by increasing blood flow to damaged tissues and further research shows low-intensity workouts help to flush toxins out of the body faster than it would if you went a day or two without exercise.

Want in? Keep scrolling to discover the low-intensity classes to book now...

XTend Barre

Raising the barre in the low-impact world is XTend Barre, which combines the lengthening and sculpting benefits of ballet with the strengthening and toning effects of Pilates. More dance-focused than other barre workouts, but oof, these sessions sure will hone and tone key areas like the core, glutes, legs and arms. Prepare to be achy for a couple of days after.

Get two weeks of unlimited classes for £49; visit XtendBarre.com 

Ten Pilates

Widely known to be one of the best classes for sculpting and toning your body, Reformer Pilates is having something of a moment and Ten’s classes are some of the best around. Get ready to use muscles you didn’t know you had and prepare to feel that burn the next day. Just make sure to start with a beginner’s session to get to grips with the basics before going up a level, no matter how fit you are.

Classes start from £15; visit Ten.co.uk  

Paola’s Body Barre

Paola’s cult bottom-tightening, waist-whittling classes are still going strong in the capital, and now she’s popped up at Chelsea’s uber-cool KXU. PBB Signature is where you’ll find her classic, Pilates-based moves, but if you’re looking for a challenge, sign up for the PBB Burn classic, which includes plenty of barre work alongside hand-weight exercises.

Classes start from £28; visit PaolasBodyBarre.com 

TRX at Equilibrium

TRX (Total Resistance Exercise) is taking the fitness world by storm for its ability to whip anyone and everyone into shape. Using just two straps and your own body weight to engage muscles, TRX is a low-impact way to build strength and get your heart beating. Check out Equilibrium, based in Shepherd’s Bush, which offer some of the best TRX classes in the capital.

Classes start from £25; visit WeAreEquilibrium.com 

Louisa Drake Method

Professional-dancer-turned-personal-trainer Louisa Drake is the queen of LISS. Her iconic LDM Flow is essentially yoga plus stretching, gently raising the heart rate for a long-lasting endorphin boost, while her LDM Sculpt (dynamic Pilates with weights) works its magic to tone and tighten. Keep an eye out for the newly-launched LDM Refine, a full-body workout that takes place on a foam MOTR, a cylindrical device that promises the results of a reformer class without the hefty price tag.

From £18 per class; visit louisadrake.com

Burn Strength Yoga

A yoga class for yoga-phobes, Burn Strength Yoga (aka BSY) is the workout to keep on your radar. An hour-long session incorporates cardio and strength to raise your heart rate and endorphins, alongside a yoga section to stretch out and keep cortisol levels in check. Expect improved flexibility and mobility after just a couple of sessions.

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