HIIT VS LSD. Which one to do and why?
Updated: Mar 17
So recently I’ve covered what HIIT is and what LSD training is and how you can do each of them.
But which one should you do?
Why do HIIT instead of LSD? And vice versa.
If you’ve read both, then you might be able to work it out for yourself. But lets look at a side by side comparison and look at the pros and cons of each method. And help determine which is the right method for you to do.
Well first off, I want to say that there isn’t really a right or wrong. Both will help improve your cardiovascular system and both will help with weight loss, which are the most popular reasons that people do these cardio methods.
Also, you don’t have to do one or the other. You can train both. There’s no reason why both methods can’t play a part in your program.
But let’s look at comparisons and see why you should be them and if there’s one that you should favour.
So although you can train both in theory, doing HIIT isn’t for everyone.
For a start, as the name suggests, it’s high intensity. This typically isn’t good for beginners or people new to this style of training.
I have clients who come to me who are overweight, out of shape, maybe have some joint issues because of all that.
Getting them to do hill sprints because it’s good cardio and burns calories is stupid.
They’ll collapse after one round. Because you have taken someone a 0 and threw them in straight at 100.
Think of it like weight training. If someone wanted to get stronger, you wouldn’t put a load of weight on the bar and tell them to lift it.
No. You scale is back so that it is manageable for them.
So making someone who is going to be wrecked if you got them to jog a mile, to then to hill sprints, it’s common sense that that’s not going to work.
Also, high intensity usually means intense movements such as sprinting, jumping etc.
Now it doesn’t have to be, but if you look at typically HIIT, this is what’s involved.
So exercises like burpees, plyo lunges, jumping squats etc, are not good exercises to get people who are overweight, out of shape and typically then have joint issues like I mentioned before.
Now yes like I said, it can be made simpler by doing lower impact exercises but it doesn’t quite have the same effect. The reason that those more explosive type of exercises are used is because there are challenging and difficult to sustain.
Having to do 30 seconds of plyo lunges is for example is difficult to keep doing because you’re constantly having to do an explosive movement.
So f you are a beginner or completely new to HIIT, it is maybe better that you get a specific HIIT program to meet your needs.
If you go to a HIIT class where there’s people are incredibly fit and train there several times a week, you are not going to be able to keep up with them in a million years and you are either going to over do it, do something that is too difficult for you can get injured.
So even though it’s not what you picture when you think of a typical HIIT class, you can make it suit you if you’re a beginner as long as the exercises, rest period and exercises duration is designed to suit you.
Now I mentioned that HIIT can be tough on your joints as there’s explosive movements, but there is a similar issues to training LSD too.
Although it is nowhere near as hard an impact, repetitive impact can be a real issue. Especially when it comes to running.
How many people have you head complain about knee or ankle or even back pain from running?
I bet it’s quite a lot. And I’ve been one of those people.
Now this could be because of running technique or muscle imbalances that put more stress on certain parts.
But any sort of repetitive impact can add up to cause issues.
And it’s not even the impact. It’s the fact that it’s sustained for a long period of time.
Take cycling for example. Cycling is completely non-impact. However you have to spend a long period of time seated and with a slight lean forward.
Regularly doing this can cause issues with hips from sitting and back issues from leaning forward.
So whether is repetitive impact or having to constantly hold a position, doing these for a long period of time which is typically done in LSD training, can cause issues.
So maybe intense short busts would be easier on your body as you’re never having to sustain an exercise or position for too long.
HIIT is also just tough on your body. You can’t train sprints every day but you could run 5k every day.
It is very easy to over train doing HIIT which can lead to injuries or illness due to the intensity of the exercise.
This is why pairing the two is great. If you do HIIT one day, your body might not be ready to go again the next day. Whereas you could do LSD instead as it’s nowhere near as intense and will still help improve your fitness.
It can be also difficult to get your head in the game to do HIIT. It can be hard to do that for LSD too but at least it’s more relaxed steady paced.
Yes, there’s plenty of times I dread running cause I’m not a big running fan. But all I need to do is get my earphones and blast some music, go nice and steady for 5k and that’s it.
Which as knowing I’ve got to go to the gym and jump on the assault bike and do multiple rounds of tabatta can feel soul destroying. I’d much rather a gently 5k run than busting a gut on the assault bike doing tabatta.
Like I said at the start, there’s no real right or wrong. But depending on your circumstances, there could well be a right or wrong one.
This is why I wanted to look at this. Because HIIT has become so trendy recently, it could be easy to think “I’ve heard a lot about that, I want to do it”, when it’s actually maybe not that suited for you. Just cause it’s popular doesn’t mean you should do it cause everyone else is.
And I know a lot of people complain and see LSD is boring cause it goes on and on doing the same thing. Yes that can be true. But if you’re starting out, you’re not going to be spending hours on the treadmill. Put some music on and 20 minutes will be enough to get you started and something to build on.
And as you build on it, then you might have the strength and fitness to do HIIT. So now you can mix it up between LSD and HIIT.
I hope after reading this that it’s a bit clearer on each method and what each as to offer. It’s very easy to get sucked into what other people are doing or what’s popular. Hopefully now you can make a better-informed decision on what’s right for you.