What is LISS?
LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State cardio. For most people this equates to a steady but fast pace walk for an extended period of time (usually 35-45 mins)
Why do we do LISS?
Although slower and timelier than running, LISS actually burns the most fat. When we exercise our bodies need to find sources of energy to use. Fat needs oxygen to be metabolised for energy so If we want out body to burn fat when we workout, we need to be exercising at a low enough intensity that we are able to take on enough oxygen. If our bodies don’t have enough available oxygen we will most likely be using other sources of energy such as glucose or glycogen instead. (This is only a very basic description a more detailed explanation can be found in the Education section of your BBG guide or SweatWithKayla app.)
What do I do for LISS?
As a stay at home mumma with no access to a gym I personally rely on the great outdoors for my LISS.
One of my most cherished roles as a caregiver and home maker is looking after and getting out with my mischievous and energetic Husky Loki (aka Loki-Cokes, Cokey, Lou-Lou, Boo Boo, …yes he goes by all these super masculine alpha dog names, haha.)
As a sled dog he demands lots of physical activity and exercise, so LISS is as much his routine as it part of mine. Lets just say, it’s part of the schedule come rain or shine.
We usually walk outdoors for around 45 mins. I will have Loki on a leash and my baby girl in her ergo 360 (having tried lots of slings, wraps and baby carriers I can’t recommend this highly enough. Maddie is 14 months old now and I still use it every day and have never suffered from a bad back or shoulders or a sore neck. It’s fantastic.) Our usual routes take us both down hill and uphill and I use my apple watch to make sure that with all the extra weight I’m carrying, that I stay in my fat burning zone. If I start to see my HR zone climb too high I just slow right down until it returns to where I want it to be. Since I began BBG this is the only type of exercise I have used for LISS.
Other ways you can do LISS at home.
If dog walks and nature are not your bag or like me you live a significant portion of the year in wet or freezing cold temperatures… there are many other ways you can get your low intensity cardio elements done in the comfort of your own home.
Obviously, if you are lucky enough to have the space and budget for it, you could always use a treadmill, stairmaster, stationary bike or cross trainer for LISS at home. Although a little on the boring side, 40 mins on one of these machines provides an excellent way to keep it steady, to control the intensity and to stay in your all important fat burning zone.
Equiptment free home LISS
Now we get to the interesting bit…
A little while ago on my Instagram I put this very question out into the fitness blogosphere
“What can I do for LISS indoors, if I don’t have a treadmill etc”
My lovely Insta-friends came right to my rescue and answered with some wonderful, imaginative and super fun alternatives, although some a little less ‘steady state’ than others… ( Someone did suggest ‘bedroom gymnastics’ as a LISS, but we agreed that with the… how shall we say… varying tempos and potential for elevated heart rates, it’s probably better suited for a HIIT. But hey! Who am I to jugde? Maybe you’ve got the slow and steady thing nailed – excuse the pun. In which case, go get it girl!… get down and do some healthy living lovin’).
Anyway, now for some suggestions you can do with your clothes on and kids present ….
- Fitnessblender (suggested by @nora.bbg and @bri.fit.bbg)
There are over 450 workout videos to choose from on this free fitness channel. The variety is insane so try and look for fat burning workouts over 30 mins long. There are also Pilates videos you could use and even cardio videos that specify ‘no jumping’ in the title so hopefully it’s a good indicator that its lower intensity.
- Blogilates ( suggested by @athina_chantal)
This is a popular Pilates based channel by Cassey Ho. A lot of the videos are under 15 minutes so again selection is key. Just from having a quick nose around her playlists I managed to find a suitable ‘Pilates for beginners’ and a ‘total body workout’ for 30 mins each.
- Dance Classes ( suggested by @sarah_evelyn_laurence)
Possibly my most favourite suggestion, but also the most unpredictable in terms of guaranteeing a steady heart rate. It seems like such fun though, so all you can do is try a few different ones out, monitor your HR and see. (If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, go by breathing, are you getting enough oxgen? Can you hold a conversation easily while doing this exercise?) Suggested video titles were, Active Salsa, Beginner Zumba, and @lovesweatfitness Barre classes ( this one I am definitely going to try as I think ballet style dance is probably the perfect intensity for LISS and it would be such a graceful way to spend 30 mins in my normally busy and hectic household) .
What a great way to do LISS and work on flexibility! I’ve been advised (by a friend who is a yoga teacher ) that to keep your heart rate in a fat burning zone you would have to keep moving during yoga for it to accutally count as LISS but It can be done. I’ve not experimented with this myself so it might involve some initial trial and error on your part until you get it right. Maybe consider some different practises of yoga and see how it affects your heart rate.
(My lovely friend @yogitulip uses Tara Stiles Strong videos for a yoga/LISS home workout, so that might be a good starting point.)
Steady State Step ups
You know those weighted step ups we do as part of the BBG resistance circuits? Well @sweat.rain.coffee told me she uses this exercise at home on a low box or step, as her LISS. Do it without weights and keep it steady as if you are walking up stairs. It’s a super simple solution for a home LISS workout and apparently it’s great for clearing your head too.
I loved ALL the ideas that my friends shared with me, which I why I am passing them on to you.
(Just to clarify they are not methods I have personally used yet, but I know lots of us struggle for indoor LISS ideas, so I thought it would be a useful article to write in case anyone was really stuck).
Please comment or let me know if you’ve got any other great suggestions for low intensity cardio… there must be so many more and I bet lots of us would love a break from our normal routine and to try something new.