Can You Do LISS and HIIT on the Same Day

Can You Do LISS and HIIT on the Same Day?

When training for fat loss or to improve your general fitness levels and body composition, you’ll find that you are one of two types of people:

  • Those that want to do as little as possible to see results
  • Those that want to do more to speed up or enhance results

While you probably know more people that fall into the former category, there are those of use that are always eager to do more and push the limits when it comes to fitness. For cardio specifically, I often see people asking “can you do LISS and HIIT on the same day?”

You can do LISS and HIIT on the same day and this combination can actually speed up fat loss. When following this method, it’s best to do LISS after HIIT as HIIT will breakdown and mobilize fat stores whereas some steady-state cardio will help to burn the metabolized fat. 

For most people, one form of cardio can be considered too much with people wanting to know how to cut without cardio at all! For those wanting to speed up progress on their fat loss journey, I’ll cover just how you can combine LISS and HIIT on the same day for surprising results. 

Can You Do LISS and HIIT on the Same Day

Combining cardio is not something that’s new. In the past, I’ve covered whether you should do HIIT before or after weights, or whether you can skip cardio with weight training and it’s rare to see many people wanting to actually do both on the same day!

The approaches you can take with cardio are extensive (though not limitless) and before you read on the most important thing to keep in mind is that the best form of cardio is one that you enjoy and/or can stick to in the long-run. 

Adherence and consistency are the two most important things and the person that nails their calories, gets stronger in the gym, and walks just 8,000-10,000 steps per day will make considerably more progress than the person that does 20,000 steps, a spin class, and some HIIT session but then gives up after 4 weeks. 

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, the simple answer is yes, you can do LISS and HIIT on the same day. Not only that, it can even be more beneficial than doing both separately and lead to better faster results so let’s look at some of the reasons why. 

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is arguably the most favored and effective way to burn body fat for most people. I’m not saying it’s the better option but the high-intensity effort and shorter workout time is something that appeals to the majority of people. 

This is because you burn significantly more calories per minute (up to 500 calories in 30 minutes) with HIIT than with LISS (300 calories in 30 minutes). Typical HIIT training involves 15 – 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 15 – 30 seconds of light to moderate movements.

This could be a 20 second sprint followed by a 20 second light jog or brisk walk. This cycle is repeated for a specific duration of time and can be done in rounds. 

Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS) is mainly used by those that want a low impact, energy preserving form of cardio whilst still getting the cardiovascular and fat loss benefits. LISS is done over a longer duration of time ranging from 30 – 60 minutes but the intensity level remains consistent. 

Examples of LISS include walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming with the goal to get the target heart rate of around 60%.

While both approaches are different, they both focus on metabolizing fat and breaking it down from adipose tissue which is the goal when dieting and implementing any form of cardio. The key, however, is that you not only break down the fat from adipose tissue but then burn it when it’s freely floating around the bloodstream as triglycerides. 

This is where combining the two forms of cardio is useful. HIIT is very effective at fat mobilization while the introduction of LISS can help burn the mobilized fat stores. This means that it can be beneficial to do both LISS and HIIT on the same day. 

Should You Do LISS After HIIT

If you are looking to combine LISS and HIIT then you should always do LISS after HIIT for two reasons. 

Firstly, the energy requirements for HIIT are much greater and it’s, therefore, best to do this when you are fresh. You can still do it after LISS but you won’t reap the same benefit if you are already fatigued before attempting HIIT. 

LISS is far less taxing on the energy systems and maintains a lower heart rate so you’ll find it much easier (and effective) to perform HIIT first in the workout. 

Secondly, for the reasons mentioned earlier, HIIT is excellent at metabolizing fat from adipose tissue and by following a HIIT session up with LISS, you’ll see a dual benefit of LISS burning the free-flowing triglycerides. 

Don’t make the assumption that this combination will lead to far superior fat loss results as we are talking about very marginal gains when taking this approach. The HIIT or LISS on its own will provide 99% of the results so combining them is far from necessary. 

The combination will however help with that extra 1% which is why you’ll still find it recommended to follow up a HIIT session with LISS. 

Is It Ok To Do Cardio After HIIT

HIIT is a form of cardio and it can be very confusing when people wonder if you can then do additional cardio afterward. When you phrase it in this way it does sound confusing, it’s kind of like saying can you lift weights after powerlifting.

When you drill down to it though, HIIT targets the type 1 fast-twitch muscle fibers which are explosive and utilized for muscle growth. While you can do traditional forms of HIIT like sprinting (which builds muscle, have you ever seen Olympic sprinters?) many choose those that also work in some form of resistance training. 

Battle ropes, bodyweight circuits, and even HIIT style weight training can be utilized for both muscle growth and fat loss so when you consider it like that, the question is definitely a little less confusing. Cardio will therefore be a form of LISS-style training and it’s definitely ok to do this after HIIT sessions. 

The reason being that they both work with different muscle fiber types and energy systems so can be complementary rather than opposites. Just ensure that when taking this approach you still keep the training session below 1-hour in total. 

Anything over this and the lactic acid and cortisol levels will negate any benefit you get from training for longer, especially when it comes to cardio. 

Is LISS or HIIT Better for Fat Loss

If you’ve been following along so far, hopefully, I’ve demonstrated that both LISS and HIIT serve a purpose when it comes to fat loss, and rather than trying to find which one is better, you should instead consider how you can find time to include both. 

Firstly, you should always choose the form of cardio (or training, diet, etc…) that you can stick to for the longest period of time. It doesn’t matter what the research says about a new method for quicker/better results, if you don’t think you can stick to it for the long-run then you won’t see the results. 

People make excellent progress with their physique just by walking 10,000 – 20,000 steps per day and enjoying a podcast, playlist, or just nature whereas others go at the sprint intervals hard and equally see the fat melt away. 

The key is consistency and neither approach is better, the best option is the one that you can stick to and progress with for the longest duration. 

Studies show that over the same period of time using three sessions per week of LISS or HIIT, the group performing HIIT lost more body fat. There’s the fact that HIIT burns more calories in the same period of time as LISS.  

With that said, HIIT would appear to be better than LISS for fat loss. 

You can, however, make use of the combination of LISS and HIIT cardio which will lead to more fat loss than if you did just one by itself. The reason for this is that both forms of cardio impact the body (and fat loss) in a unique way. 

If you want to just get fitter, I’m not too sure about the best option but for body composition and fat loss, the combination of the two forms of cardio will yield the best results. This is mainly due to the fat metabolizing and fat-burning properties of the two. 

Summary

Not only is it possible to do LISS and HIIT on the same day, but it can also be beneficial for fat loss and may produce better results than if you only did one type of cardio. 

When following this approach, you’ll want to do your 10 – 20 minute HIIT session first in order to breakdown and metabolize body fat and then 20 – 30 minutes LISS in order to burn the metabolized fat that’s floating around in your bloodstream after HIIT. 

You are free to combine and use any form of cardio from both approaches that you want, sprints, swimming, cycling/spin, rowing, stairs, hill sprints… The list is endless but the bottom line is that you can do LISS and HIIT on the same day!

What Next

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