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As a strongman competitor, Darren has pulled 50,000 lb trucks and dead lifted 805 lbs. As a competitive bodybuilder, he has won Provincial Super-heavyweight & Overall titles. As President & CEO of FREAK Fitness, he has coached his clients to hundreds of Novice, Provincial/State, National, and IFBB Pro titles. Having been involved in the sport of bodybuilding for over 20 years, Darren has his finger on the pulse of the local and international bodybuilding scenes, and will be keeping you informed through his column, “Freak Fitness."
LISS, MISS Or HIIT Cardio For Fat Loss
Are you a proponent of LISS, MISS or HIIT cardio for fat loss?
I’m a proponent of all three forms of cardio for fat loss. It all depends on my client’s individual body type, goals, athletic history, feedback, and current rate of progress.
For my bodybuilding clients who possess a lot of muscle mass and who are just starting the pre-competition phase, low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio is sufficient to start the fat-loss process. Because of the large metabolic demand that is put on a heavily muscled bodybuilder during cardio, LISS can be quite productive for a long time without having to move up to a higher intensity. Once fat-loss progress plateaus, I either increase the duration of the cardio session or increase intensity to medium intensity steady state (MISS) cardio. What I decide to have my bodybuilding client do will depend on the client’s amount of body fat left to lose, his or her current energy levels, and the time available to do cardio.
For my clients who compete in physique, women’s fitness, figure, and bikini, my cardio prescriptions start out similar to my bodybuilding clients, but I will consider taking it to the next level, high intensity interval training (HIIT), in certain cases.
I prefer to rely on LISS and MISS cardio prescriptions as my main exercise options for fat loss, but in the case of the women’s fitness competitor who could benefit from increasing her speed and power for her routines, I would consider HIIT cardio to improve athletic performance.
A client who has an extended athletic background in medium- to long distance running presents another case for me to consider prescribing HIIT. Because this particular client may already possess a high level of aerobic conditioning, LISS or MISS may not be enough to generate the stimulation needed to achieve the level of fat loss he or she needs for the stage. So, HIIT may be prescribed two or three times weekly to take that client’s fat loss to the next level. True HIIT is potent medicine, so it must be used with caution because it can exhaust a competitor very quickly.