Why is it that cardio is always the hot topic of fitness discussion and seems to be the fix all solution to burning fat? As we have all learned and I have written about in the past that cardio is not the fix all solution when it comes to body compositional changes anymore. I will be doing a comparison on HIIT cardio vs LISS cardio, since these two forms of cardio are used the most.
HIIT stands for High intensity interval training, which consists of short sprint intervals coupled with low-moderate intensity work. Now that you have a basic understanding of the two forms, let’s dive into some more detailed stuff.
The more mitochondria you have and the more active they are the greater oxidative capacity you will have for fat loss. It’s supposed to hurt when you’re doing HIIT and if it’s hurting, you’re in an uncomfortable mode and that means you’re doing it right.
Ex: You burn 200 calories over 30 min of LISS, you can cut out 200 calories through carbs or fat and get the same effect as opposed to getting a 24 hour energy expenditure through HIIT cardio. The reason being that your metabolism gets so adjusted to LISS and you constantly have to do more and more and people don’t understand when you are on a low calorie diet, it usually ends up being low carb, so once you are glycogen depleted (stored carbs in muscle), your body is going to look for energy to rely on and guess what it goes after? So, I know most of you are saying well that was done in rats, but rats are very good models for protein synthesis (making of new proteins in muscle tissue) & metabolism because they have similar responses to amino acids and their metabolism.
Now I know a lot of you have gotten the hint as to why HIIT cardio is more advantageous to LISS cardio for muscle retention and fat loss and it seems as if I totally bashed LISS cardio to the ground. So to sit there and say that HIIT is hands down more superior than LISS for improvement in body composition is as bad as saying that 6 reps per set is better than 20. Hopefully, after reading this article you should have a really good idea of what kind of cardio is right for you and how to effectively use it. A common scene really, but it’s uncommon that someone’s efforts actually payoff the way they originally intended.
Be it if you are trying to compete in a bodybuilding show, gain the notoriety from the opposite sex, or just look good for your upcoming vacation.
Fat loss and carbs just don’t go together in the eyes of most people looking to get into shape. Two guys with similar training programs, ages, and weights will often require two different approaches nutritionally.
Use as many carbs as you can, as they will help power through your workouts in the gym, keep your metabolic rate healthy so you can lose fat longer and more efficiently and not just make progress the first month.
So while it’s cool, and I am always intrigued as to what other guys have done to get into magnificent shape, my interest has nothing to do with me wanting to mimic their approaches.
Some guys need to get in 3-4 hard cardio sessions a week, and others can count the number of cardio sessions they do during their whole diet on one hand. Hard work and persistence is going to really make a big difference, the other half will come from using more sound physiological approaches, and not some copy and paste job. On the contrary what you will commonly see is guys abandon the lower rep work for the higher rep work. Such as banning specific macronutrients (fat, carbs and protein) completely, as many popular diets have in recent years. For example the guy who decided to diet on 1,000 less calories than he required, and then binges out of control on the 3rd week of his diet. The most perfect diet will not work if the person cannot adhere to the details that actually matter. New times have rolled in and we have tons of research studies proving that weight lifting is far more superior for fat loss and body compositional changes.
By the end of this article you will have a really good idea of what kind of cardio is right for you and how to effectively use it. An example of this would be a 30 second sprint followed by a 4 minute steady pace walk to cool down and bring your heart rate back to normal and then repeating it. The AT and LT are extremely powerful predictors of performance in aerobic exercise (cardio). When doing HIIT you are above the AT and LT and when you are above the AT and LT you push for greater improvement in metabolism which thus leads to better fat loss over time. Your muscles have these energy producing units called ‘mitochondria’ and this is where ATP are made and fats are burned. HIIT increases mitochondrial capacity and you actually increase the amount of mitochondria you produce. It just doesn’t cut it because it’s just a calorie burn at that time, not 24 hour energy expenditure. From the University of Tampa, FL, shows when you add in LISS you get a temporary boost in weight loss. From Juntendo University in Japan, found that in rats, the enhancement of satellite cell pool caused by endurance training is influenced not by the duration but by the intensity of the exercise. Also, for those that don’t know about satellite cells, increasing the number of satellite cells is necessary in humans because it leads to makings of new muscle fibers and the more muscle fibers you have, the more muscle growth occurs.


Concurrent Training: A Meta Analysis Examining Interference of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise. Satellite cell pool enhancement in rat plantaris muscle by endurance training depends on intensity rather than duration. With the hot months on the horizon, everyone at the gym starts talking about their upcoming diet and how excited they are to get the ball rolling. Much like the judges don’t get on stage and caliper myself and the other competitors, neither will that young lady at the beach.
Some people might need to diet on 100 grams of carbs, others might require double or triple that amount.
I enjoy reading these protocols because it confirms the notion that we are each very unique and a wide array of approaches do work.
Not only is it a waste of time, but there could be better things you can spend fluff time at the gym on. The main reasons behind this is one, they have a hard time holding on to strength because they attempt to keep volume at offseason levels. I have had my share of slip-ups, but also from working with countless bodybuilders over the years.
Be it the 80’s with their extremely low fat approaches, or in recent years the ketogenic type diets. Or perhaps a diet were you must eat 8 meals a day to keep the metabolism fast (which is more fitness folklore) and one day misses a meal and loses his mind.
But, even though we have these new findings, people still don’t get it and people still want to sit on the bikes reading magazines about Kim Kardashian’s divorce for hours and hours. LISS stands for Low intensity steady state cardio, which consists of purely low-moderate intensity work.
There are 2 ways that muscle can burn glucose (blood sugars) and that is through aerobic work (with air) and anaerobic work (without air). Studies show that you get greater fat loss through high intensity training because of the increase in oxidative capacity.
If you do LISS all the time, you’re basically trading calories in and calories out and you can cut these same calories through diet and still get the same effects. HIIT caused more muscle retention because when you’re doing LISS (say fast paced walking) you’re not activating muscles the same way as if you were lifting weights. So, what’s interesting about this finding in this study is that when the rats performed HIIT, they got muscle stimulation and that’s because HIIT overloads the muscle.
I feel they both should be incorporated into your routines since each have specifically different effects. HIIT is quicker, proves to be more effective for fat loss, creates metabolic changes, and helps with muscle retention but not everybody can do HIIT. Check out his 5.62934% bodyfat!” Truth is you are either in shape or not, and aiming for bodyfat percentages is a waste of time, a distraction at best. While you will have to cut out some of your carbs when you start your mission towards getting lean, usually the amounts that are cut are too extreme.
One thing is for sure, most folks low ball their carbohydrate threshold and diet on too little food. It would be great because I would no longer need weeks and weeks to get a feel for a client’s metabolic rate. However as intriguing as these protocols are, what most likely makes these athletes successful is trial and error over the year, attention to detail, and being consistent. For example prehab work, foam rolling, as in all the things that will help keep you healthy and progressing for a long time. This is why I am a fan of moderate approaches, because if you swing the pendulum too hard one way, it’s going to push back just as hard.
You’ll have a hard time dieting in the real world where you can’t always eat every 90-120 minutes. Diets that leave both variables unaccounted for are usually setting up people for failure, rather than helping them reach their full potential. Do as you please, but I know I’m one of those types of people that want to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to training.
An example of this would be walking on the treadmill or riding the bike and being able to hold a conversation (we tend to see a lot of this at gyms).
For example, long bouts of LISS cardio is considered aerobic work and weight training or HIIT cardio can be classified as anaerobic work. Whereas with LISS you’re only burning calories at that precise moment, there’s no 24 hour energy expenditure (boost in metabolism) and it hurts you down the line because your body adjusts to it and you end up needing more to lose fat.
This happened because their metabolism completely adjusted to that and that became their new set point to what they had to do just to maintain.
So when you sprint you have hip flexion, knee extension, and these are all weightlifting movements.
LISS is safer, but takes twice as long to accomplish similar things and it still has its place for fat loss in moderate amounts, from a pure calorie burning standpoint (meaning only to burn calories & not make changes to your metabolism).


As a competitive bodybuilder and contest coach, I get to hear my fair share of rants from these guys and it’s the same issues over and over.
I will get asked often “so how man carbs should I take when dieting?” The answer is simple: as many as you can while still losing fat at the desired pace.
When you diet on less carbs than you require you will see the following occur: You will come out flying at the start, and then it will drastically slow down, and from there you will likely have to apply more aggressive protocols.
Actually it would not be a good thing because there would be a “secret diet’ that would be applicable to everyone, and in turn I would be out of business.
Quite often I will get curious inquiries from clients about dedicating a whole workout to abs in an effort to tighten up the mid-section. The latter is still one of those bodybuilding fables that I wish would go away, but like fanny packs they are still a sight for sore eyes at gyms today.
However, so much of this can be avoided by not sweating the details that don’t matter and avoiding specific pitfalls. The AT and LT are a great test for HIIT and LIIS cardio because it gives a great predictor of which type of work produces ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).
With HIIT you are burning calories at the moment but you actually change the muscles metabolism and it boosts your metabolism because you increase the mitochondria density of your muscle, so you increase the muscles oxidative capacity and you really do burn more calories. My intentions weren’t to favor one form of cardio and bash the other, even though it sounded like that. All joking aside, there is enough variation from individual to individual that one diet plan simply can’t fit all. For these guys almost anything will work, and let’s be blunt for a moment, if you were genetically predisposed to being muscular and lean you would likely not be reading this article. Which still leaves me in awe since we can’t spot target fat loss, and why would a bicep grow when you use it, but the torso muscle shrink and tighten up?
In reality, if you want to keep your hard earned muscle, you need to continue lifting heavy throughout your diet.
When designing a diet for someone, I never hand them an envelope labeled “the diet” as for the numerous reasons discussed above it just doesn’t work that way.
ATP is a quick burst of energy that we get in our muscles when we contract them (Ex: every time you do a bicep curl, you are getting a quick burst of ATP). What most people don’t realize is you have to put your body in an uncomfortable mode and use the max energy expenditure.
During a low calorie diet, LISS cardio is more catabolic (muscle wasting) towards muscle as opposed to HIIT cardio being much more muscle sparing.
My intent was to educate and notify you that times have changed and science is proving some good stuff with HIIT cardio. In this article we will name a few of the most common traps that slow down, discourage, often leave cutting phases unfinished, and with results that leave so much more to be desired. Truth is a little goes a long way since abs are involved in some of the bigger movements we do in the gym, and also what works best for other muscles works best for your ab development. If it’s getting harder to hit those heavy sets I would first abandon the higher rep work so that I can save my energy, and recovery for the heavier weights. So, it’s really hard to argue with this study because the point about HIIT activating hip and knee movements. What if you get callipered at the 8% you were aiming for, but don’t quite look the way you anticipated?
Weighted ab exercises in the 5-12 rep range, at about 3-4 sets twice a week is more than enough. If they have foods that lead to binges we get rid of those right away, if they have special occasions coming up were food will be eaten we adjust.
High intensity training will hit the AT and LT, that’s what causes the body to make metabolic changes. Real definition and true sculpting is going to come via fat loss, but like any other muscle in your body it can be very well developed, but if you are not lean enough it won’t show. The last few weeks where things can get tough at times, as not only does the weight seem heavier, but energy can take a hit.
If they are a busy mom and eating six times a day is too much, well then we will only eat three times a day.
Also, by doing high intensity work you are activating muscle fibers and anytime you activate muscle fibers you are primed for growth. Which brings me to my next point: bodyfat testing in general is pretty hit or miss, at least all the affordable ways are. This is why I never have my clients send me bodyfat percentages in their weekly reports to me.



Weight loss goals 2016
Lifting weights burn more fat than cardio
Belly fat reducer as seen on tv


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