High Intensity or Long Slow Distance? Which is better?

Why is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is so popular?

More importantly we dive into how effective it really is and compare it to steady state training aka Long Slow Distance (LSD). 

HIIT became popular in the early 1970’s then booming with the Tabata method study conducted in 1996.

Studies showed significant reductions in body fat over 4 weeks with training 8-10 min sessions 4x times per week.
We thought we found biological gold…


Since these original findings HIIT has taken the world by storm.

Intensity = results…


Prior to 1970s the majority of experts in the lab and on the field agreed long slow distance (LSD) training multiple times per week was optimal for increasing fitness and fat loss.

The benefits of Long Slow Distance (LSD) are of course still valid.
The top ones being eccentric cardiac hypertrophy (stronger, healthier heart), lower resting HR and higher respiratory threshold.


Fat burning!

If both training methods burn fat why would we not just choose the one which takes less time…
Isn’t HIIT more time efficient...
Which is better…
What is best for you…

Scientists and coaches have written books which span the distance to Brazil and back on this topic.

The answer like many things is, “It depends”.

Our opinion at Creature lies somewhere in the middle.
To be the best most well rounded capable human possible we need it all.

It is helpful to think about our bodies from an evolutionary perspective.
We have not evolved much since our hunter gatherer ancestors.
We are just more bent over, tired and sick.
Back on the plains of Africa we needed to walk 20+ kms per day (LSD) but also needed the ability to rapidly evade predators at maximal speeds (HIIT).
Both are important, we should train both.

We encourage you to evaluate your weekly training.
Having a good balance of both LSD and HIIT each week has shown to lead to better sleep, faster recovery times between intervals and a leaner body composition.
More than just doing one or the other.  

1 more thing…

Beware of the intensity mindset.

What’s the intensity mindset…?

One of our favourite American coaches Joel Jamieson who trains elite athletes and everyday people puts it best...

“The mindset that intensity is what drives results and there’s no gain without pain has been around in fitness for a long time.
But the rise of ...Tabata intervals and boot camp classes in the last ten years has only ingrained it deeper and deeper into the fitness culture.
Unfortunately, there’s one big problem with the intensity mindset: it doesn’t work.
In fact, it often ends up causing more harm than good in the long run.
I’ve come to realise (and I have proof) that it’s the single biggest reason so many people put in the work and yet ultimately fail to reach their health and fitness goals.”

To summarise his findings, James places a big focus on ensuring his clients are recovering from their sessions and only hitting it hard when their sleep, nutrition and stress levels allow for it.

By regulating for this he sees far greater results.
You can read more here - https://www.8weeksout.com/2017/11/21/recovery-driven-fitness/