What is Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS)?
Weight loss trends come and go, from fad diets to “squat challenges” and other supposed quick fixes that are touted to help you lose weight fast.
However, every once in a while, a science-backed technique or workout routine will gain traction due to its actual ability to offer you a solid outcome, so long as you stick to the plan.
That’s the case with LISS, or Low Impact Steady State cardio routines.
While it’s certainly not as popular (yet) as its big brother HITT, LISS is a viable way for you to get fitter and begin shedding down on your extra pounds.
But, what is it?
It’s like the opposite of HITT.
While HITT, or High Intensity Interval Training, pushes you to your breaking point in a short amount of time, usually having you do something like 45 seconds of all out breath-taking labor and then getting a 15 second break before moving onto the next heart-pounding move, LISS as the opposite goal. LISS has you pick a comfortable level of exertion that you can sustain over a long period of time.
This model is proven by science and by trainers around the world.
In fact, you already participate in LISS sessions yourself when you go lap swimming, take a long walk, or do any other activity that counts as low-impact exercise that you’re able to sustain for a long period of time.
How long that period is will depend on your physical health, your goals, and the activity itself.
LISS isn’t hard on your joints since the exercises are low-impact, like walking or swimming.
They are also good for overweight individuals who cannot handle the stress of heart racing routines but would like to slim down and get healthier.
Bicycling is another great example of a LISS activity that you can use to meet your health goals.
If you just want to stay active, a comfortable cruising pace for however long (in general, you should shoot for 30-60 minutes or more of LISS exercises each day) can help you stay on track to a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, if you are actively trying to lose weight, you’d want to pick up the pace slightly and maybe go for a bit longer each day.
LISS workouts are a great way to maintain your body weight, lose extra fat, and stay active.
Plus, they can be super fun if you choose the right activity for you!
How Often Should You Perform Steady State Cardio Workouts?
Steady state cardio generally involves exercising at a constant pace for a reasonable amount of time.
For example, think about an hour spent swimming in the pool, or thirty minutes jogging at a consistent pace.
What are the benefits of steady state cardio?
Although exercises such as HIIT workouts might be more common now than steady state cardio workouts, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t vary your regime every now and then.
One of the benefits of steady state cardio is that if you are faced with a fat loss plateau or you feel like you’ve hit a barrier in your path to fitness, you can often overcome it with this form of exercise.
If you have been exercising for a while but you aren’t seeing any or many results, you should introduce more cardio into your workout sessions.
While weight training is good for losing weight, building muscle and toning up your body, it isn’t the only type of exercise that you should be doing.
You can engage your body in steady state cardio without any forms of equipment.
Walking, jogging and going up and down the stairs can all be seen at steady state cardio workouts, and you can do these around your neighbourhood and within your home.
Since you can do almost any type of exercise while keeping your heart rate at a steady pace, it’s quite easy for everybody to find a form of steady state cardio that suits them.
How often should you be doing steady state cardio?
Ideally, cardio should be a part of your exercise routine anyway, not just when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau and need something to help move things along a bit quicker.
You should aim to perform a steady state cardio workout around three times per week, alongside strength and weight training for a further three times a week.
Remember that with all types of exercise, you shouldn’t focus solely on one type of exercise, and you shouldn’t push yourself further than your limits.
Although you might want to see quick results, the secret lies with having patience and a well thought out exercise plan.
You can discuss this with a personal trainer in order to develop a workout program which fits your individual requirements and abilities.
How Should Steady State Cardio Make You Feel?
Steady state cardio probably won’t feel “hard”, and that’s a good thing.
Ideally, steady state cardio will make you feel like you can go at the pace forever without stopping.
It won’t be making you feel tired or winded because that’s the idea behind steady state cardio: it’s a routine you can continue for 30 to 90 minutes while maintaining a steady pace, steady breathing, and a steady heart rate.
The idea behind steady state cardio is that it’s going to increase your endurance and stamina while also improving your heart’s health.
That’s right: the more often you use steady state cardio, the more efficient your heart will be at pumping blood throughout your body.
Many of us have been programmed to think that cardio is only “working” if we are covered in sweat and left panting and keeled over at the end of our session.
While that may be the end result of an insane HIIT session, it should not at all be what it’s like for you after a good steady state cardio session.
When you complete a steady state cardio workout, you should feel rejuvenated and even more energized than before.
You should be refreshed from the activity, which got your blood pumping, but not exhausted, dizzy, or winded. If you feel any of these things, it’s because you went too hard and/or too far.
You are not going to experiencing the heart healthy benefits of steady state cardio because you aren’t participating in it correctly.
If you think you are going too hard during your steady state cardio sessions, the simple answer is to slow down and decrease the difficulty.
If you’re swimming, try an easy stroke at a comfortably pace that you feel that you could sustain forever.
If you’re cycling, avoid inclines and take an easy winding trail at a casual speed.
If you’re walking, just pick a path that you can meander down without feeling like you’re straining to make it.
Steady state cardio should make you feel like the workout itself is near effortless.
Although you can up the difficulty somewhat, your heart rate should stay between 120 and 150 beats per minute for the entire time you’re participating in the activity.
That’s the range in which you’ll get to experience all the positive benefits associated with steady state cardio that those HIIT lovers will simply never truly understand the power of.
How to Make Cardio Training Less Boring
Cardio is a necessity if you are looking to shed your extra weight and slim down, but it’s not always as fun as it’s cracked up to be.
Sure, you’re first 5 minutes running on the treadmill can feel extremely freeing–especially when it’s storming out and it’s your only option to get you legs moving–but after so long, a cardio routine can begin to feel monotonous and very draining of your motivation and energy.
Luckily for you, there are lots of ways for you to make cardio training fun and motivating while promote your fitness goals.
1) Mix Things Up
Not only will using lots of different activities help keep your excited about your workouts, it will also help promote fat loss by keeping your body guessing. In addition, it will help you avoid injury.
When you stick to just one activity, it’s easy to overwork specific muscle groups, leading to an overuse injury before you know it that can keep you off your cardio routine for weeks or even months as you recover.
That’s why it’s important to mix things up.
While you might do a lower body evoking bike ride today, tomorrow it might be a full body swim and, the next day, perhaps you’ll go for a brisk walk or jog.
Participating in lots of different activities will help make sure you’re targeting all your muscle groups and keeping yourself interested.
2) Skip The Gym
While it may sound counterintuitive to your workout routine to forego your nightly gym routine, this is along the same lines of the above: do something different! Although you can probably find lots of new machines at the gym that you haven’t used before, the best way to avoid cardio boredom is to get in your daily cardio with the help of a fun activity.
One of the best ways to get in your daily cardio without thinking twice about it is to get your friends or family involved.
A social sport or activity will get you running around with some friendly competition in no time at all, and you won’t even consider it exercise as you’re doing it.
Although multitasking can sometimes reduce your productivity throughout other parts of your day, when it comes to your cardio routine, it should be encouraged.
Don’t hesitate to watch TV, read a book, or rock out to your favorite songs as you enjoy your cardio.
If you find yourself getting bored still, try picking an upbeat playlist and putting things on shuffle so you stop counting the minutes left on the timer.
Bring a friend along to chit-chat with. Having an accountability partner can make all the difference!
How to Perform Steady State Cardio At Home
Steady state cardio comes in many forms and it happens to be a fantastic type of cardio for you to perform at home.
Lack of equipment and bad weather are no excuse for putting off your steady state routine! Steady state cardio is basically any type of moderate intensity activity that you can sustain for a long period of time.
This might include fast bicycling, running, and even speed walking depending on your current abilities and your health and fitness goals.
Swimming is also a great example of steady state cardio, but again, any activity that you can sustain for a long period of time at moderate intensity could be considered steady state cardio.
Even jumping jacks!
With all of that in mind, there’s probably no surprise that forming your own at-home steady state routine is simple.
If you don’t have any at-home workout equipment, simply doing body weight cardio training, like jumping jacks, and other no-equipment-needed moves can help you complete your steady state workout without even leaving your house.
Light jumping jacks, running in place, butt kicks, and countless other cardio moves that you can do with little space and no equipment can all be put into your steady state routine.
However, when doing these moves, be careful you don’t go from moderate intensity to high intensity.
Start at a pace that you feel like you could keep up forever, which would be low intensity, and then take it up to a comfortable and sustainable pace that pushes you a bit but doesn’t leave you panting in one or two minutes time.
If you find yourself going too far or feeling too challenged, you are probably doing a high intensity move, which also has its benefits.
However, to enjoy steady state cardio, you need to be sure that you stay at a moderate intensity.
Usually, it’s easier to do so when jogging or running outside, when lap swimming in a pool, and so on.
At home, you might choose to invest in a jump rope or even a stationary bicycle so that you can enjoy the benefits of steady state cardio in a fun and comfortable way.
And, with all of that in your head, you should take note that you don’t even need a gym to complete your steady state routine.
Your house, the local park, and countless other places are ideal for steady state cardio workouts.