In the same way that all bodies aren’t the same, not every workout is meant for every person. High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has long been touted as the ultimate fat burner, with a high workload and vigorous bursts of exercise, compounded with minimal rest. Low-intensity Steady State (LISS) incorporates moves like walking or swimming, doing lower-intensity cardio for a consistent pace and longer period.
“The first step is making the decision to be active”
Vanessa Laise, personal trainer and fitness manager at HealthyFit for Women
Drum roll please: Which one is better? The answer is purely subjective and requires a focused look at your goals. Personal trainer and fitness manager of HealthyFit for Women in Mamaroneck, Vanessa Laise says that as long as you’re moving, you’re doing something right. “The first step is making the decision to be active,” she says. “From there, it’s sorting out what your needs are. Is the goal to lose fat, to gain strength, or just to form a routine? Answering those questions will guide you in the right direction.”
Laise recommends that for someone at the beginning of their fitness journey, or someone who may be prone to joint problems, LISS is a great way to dip your toe into the workout world. In that same vein, if you’re a high-functioning athlete, adding some LISS into your routine fights off overtraining and burnout.
However, if the goal is to add fire to your fitness, Laise recommends integrating one to two HIIT classes into your programming. “When my clients come to me after hitting a hard plateau, my first question to them is about what they’re doing to train their aerobic and anaerobic thresholds specifically.” Our bodies have two different types of muscle fibers, Laise says. Type 2 are your fast-twitch muscles, made for explosive movement, which are utilized during HIIT. For adding more weight onto your deadlift or cutting time off your sprints, integrating this type of workout is vital.
“What’s great about HIIT is you’re building lean muscle but you’re also amping up your metabolism,” she says. “You’re still burning calories hours after the workout is over, and your body will tap into fat storage for energy to get you back to your baseline.” Even though it doesn’t burn as many calories in a short amount of time as HIIT does, there is still a place for LISS in your routine. “LISS-based movements are excellent for working on your cardio endurance,” says Laise. “One of the cornerstones of marathon and distance running is putting a focus on steady-state movements.”
The TL;DR is simple: a healthy mix of both activities — if your body is saying all systems go — is an excellent way to change your weekly routine, give your muscles what they need, and keep your joints protected. And if you’re looking for a place to accomplish all of them, the women-only gym offers a variety of group-fitness classes that range from high-intensity formats to stretching and stability.
Workout Playlist Inspo
We asked our editors what beats get their blood pumping for a workout.
“Anything by .38 Special.”
—Michelle Gillan Larkin, Copy Editor/Deputy Food Editor (and kid/teen yoga instructor)
“Stronger by Kanye West (before he went crazy) or HandClap by Fitz and the Tantrums.”
—Jenn Andrlik, Westchester Home Editor
“I’m all over the place. For a good leg day, I’m all heavy metal. For a run, it’s almost always Ke$ha.”
—Cristiana Caruso, Style & Travel Editor (and master personal trainer)
“The Thrill by Wiz Khalifa.”
—Ryan Noel, Digital Editor