Become a Better Cyclist: Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

In this blog we will take a closer look at two of the most dominant forms of cardio: HIIT and LISS. What do the acronyms mean, why should you do them, and which is better for getting in shape?

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. As the name implies, HIIT revolves around doing cycles of high intensity – typically around 90-95% effort or heart rate – followed by short rest periods.

Sprints (on foot or on your bike), swimming and rowing can all be excellent HIIT exercises. It can be configured in a number of different ways, with one of the more common options being four intervals of 4 minutes broken up by two minutes of active rest between. Going for shorter and more intense cycles is also possible, where 1:20 of intense effort followed by 40 seconds of rest is popular.

HIIT’s leads to short, but intense workouts that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. It will greatly increase your stamina, and the intense effort will be very demanding for your muscles. Don’t be surprised if your legs feel like jell-o for a couple of days afterwards!

What is LISS?

LISS, the acronym for Low Intensity Steady State, is opposite HIIT on the cardio spectrum, and it is a far more common way of exercising.

Less physically taxing than its above counterpart, LISS involves steady exertion over a longer period of time, usually somewhere around 40-65% of your heart rate. This is how our wonderful members commute to work, and can also be done through brisk walking, jogging and swimming.

You typically won’t have periods of rest when doing a LISS workout (though there’s nothing wrong with that), and it can last for as short as 30 minutes and as long as several hours. LISS will burn more calories than HIIT due to lasting much longer, but will be less efficient in increasing your maximal oxygen uptake.

Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

The two are often seen as diametrically opposed training styles. In reality, the fact that they have different strengths and weaknesses means that they complement each other very will. Doing both will likely be better for you than doing just one.

During aerobic training such as LISS, the intensity is low enough that oxygen is constantly available to your muscles. HIIT and other anaerobic exercise is performed at a high enough level of intensity that the body relies on additional energy stores like ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and glycogen to fuel the body instead of just oxygen.

Doing HIIT workouts and pushing into your body’s red zone, so to speak, will increase your VO2 max, your maximal oxygen uptake. Both exercise styles will burn calories and fat, and help maintain a healthy heart and strong muscles.

In the end, the only “best” way to get in shape is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy enough that you will stick to it and continue doing it! For most people, it is irrelevant that HIIT is better at increasing your VO2 max. The most important thing you can do is choosing a form of cardio that you enjoy.

It simply doesn’t matter how optimal a workout is if you don’t do it. So go ahead and enjoy your rides and workouts, however you personally prefer doing them!

Are you cycling to work or thinking of starting? Our state of the art facilities offer more than 400 bike parking spaces utilising the latest German engineering, secure personal lockers, plenty of showers, on-site bicycle repairs and valet laundry service, all on King George Square in the heart of Brisbane CBD!

Learn more about our wonderful amenities on our website or book a free 7-day trial to try it yourself!

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

 

 

 

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.


Let Lockdowns be the Catalyst for Positive Change

With strict restrictions in place for many weeks, traffic in Brisbane has been drastically reduced. Rush hour now sees far smaller traffic peaks, and congestion is virtually non-existent compared to what it was like two months ago.

Non-essential workers are either working or staying at home, and many are getting a feel for cabin fever for the first time. One positive thing that’s come out of our collective lockdown is that people are going outside and enjoying their local footpaths and bikeways. But that presents its own challenges!

Recommended: Number of Bicycle Thefts Increases Alongside Number of Cyclists

Let’s just say that Brisbane’s cycling infrastructure still has room for improvement, especially in the CBD. Bikeways aren’t exactly available everywhere, and footpaths are often not in the best of shape. The number of bike lanes have definitely increased over the last few years, but we still have a way to go. In fact, both Melbourne and Sydney were ranked in the top 40 cycling cities in the world for 2019, but Brisbane is nowhere to be found on the list.

Brisbane City Council have spent years and millions of dollars improving and expanding a road network that is currently under capacity while pleas for improving city cycling have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Even now, the Lord Mayor is fast tracking $350 millions worth of road projects. In other major cities around the world, they are taking advantage of the decreased city traffic and are closing streets, implementing lower speed limits, and building dedicated bike lanes. Cities like Paris, Milano, Manchester, New York and Berlin are giving city roads back to their people.

It feels like the tide was turning. Our devastating bushfires increased the public awareness of the climate crisis, and the fact that we need to take action now. With traffic levels lower than in decades, this would be the perfect opportunity to pivot towards making Brisbane city green.

Over 100 Australian health and transport experts have published an open letter that calls for the government to enact urgent measures to support safe walking and cycling during our current pandemic.

Our narrow footpaths and limited bikeways make it nearly impossible to maintain social distancing, and it is putting us all at risk – especially now that there are more people out walking and cycling than ever before!

If you want to read the open letter, you can find that here in full.
You can support this national campaign by signing the petition on change.org.


Our 7 Top Tips for Cycling in the Rain

It’s that time of the year in Brisbane. Days of high heat, followed by days of suffocating humidity, followed by days of torrential downpour. It’s a familiar cycle for anyone who has spent more than one summer in Brissy.

Can you still ride your bike on rainy days in Brisbane? Absolutely! In fact, the cool change can be very welcome at times. But there are some modifications you should consider making, and we’ve tried to compress our top tips for wet weather riding into this blog post!

1. Lights (camera and action optional)

Lights are always important, but they are rarely more important than in the rain. Not only is it darker because it’s overcast, but drivers in cars have worse visibility in the rain. Making sure you are visible to everyone on the road needs to be your number one priority in the rain. Speaking of…

2. Waterproof hi-vis jacket

Your jacket should probably stay true to the ethos of keeping you seen and keeping you alive. Bright fluorescent colours will do wonders for that.

Your jacket should also be waterproof. As most experienced cyclists will know, the combination of windchill and being soaking wet is gruelling, and should be avoided if you can. Remember, though, that your waterproof jacket needs to have adequate ventilation because riding in the equivalent of a plastic bag is also a terrible experience.

3. Overshoes, gloves and a cap

When riding in cold conditions, it’s important that we do our best to cover and protect extremities because they will be affected first and worst. That means feet, hands and head.

Water resistant overshoes will keep your feet dry while you push pedals in the rain, and are a godsend. Waterproof gloves are also great, and will add a layer of protection from the windchill of the lowered temperatures.

The vents on your helmet are invaluable during scorching Brisbane summer days…. During those infamous afternoon storms? Not so much. Simply adding a cycling cap will keep most of the windchill off you. Plus, the peak should give your eyes some protection from rain droplets.

4. Wear glasses

Apropos protecting your eyes from the rain! The roads are slippery, cars seem less trustworthy, and the last thing you want is to get hit in the eye by a big raindrop. Dark glasses aren’t a good choice when it rains, so you should opt for clear or yellow lenses.

Water and droplets collecting on your lenses are also problematic, and many people avoid glasses for this reason, but you should know that there are hydrophobic sprays that treat your lenses and help you avoid this entirely!

5. Lower your tyre pressure

Riding in wet conditions means that you need to worry about your road grip, especially if it’s the first rain in weeks, as if often the case in Brisbane. Oils that have been building up in cracks of the road surface for a long time will be lifted up by rainwater, and will now be on your tyres and in your path. Not to mention, the wet is slippery in itself!

Lower your tyre pressure to give yourself a larger contact surface with the road and improve your grip. Some cyclists lower their tyre pressure by as much as 10-15 psi, but you should find what you’re comfortable with. You’ll be less efficient, but more safe. Ultimately, that seems like a good trade-off to us.

6. Avoid white lines

Many of you may have been unfortunate enough to experience how slippery the white lane markings can be in the dry, and they are even more dangerous in the wet.

Take extra care to be aware of the white lines, and try to avoid them if possible – especially on corners or zebra crossings.

7. Slow down and ride to conditions (and avoid puddles)

Riding in wet conditions isn’t inherently dangerous, it just carries more risk than perfect weather. Knowing this is half the battle, and changing your riding to suit the conditions is the other half. In general, it’s smart to slow down and take it easy. Now is not the time to push for a PB on your favourite route. Taking corners more slowly, as mentioned above, is very important. You should also take extra care to slow down if you’re on a route you’re not familiar with.

If at all possible, you should avoid puddles. Not just because they’ll splash you with dirty water, but more importantly because you have no way of knowing what hides underneath the surface.

We can all imagine what could happen if you ride into a deep pothole or a puddle hiding a big rock going at 40 km/h.


Top 8 Christmas Gift Ideas for Cyclists

It’s that time of the year, and you’re out of Christmas gift ideas for the cyclist in your life. You’re in luck, because we’re about to give you our 8 top Christmas gift ideas for the cyclist in your life!

1. A good travel mug

A well-made travel mug for your morning cup of coffee of is simply a must-have in a country like Australia, where coffee culture is a big part of most people’s morning rituals. Rather than skulling your coffee of choice before hopping on the bike to work, a good travel mug will let you bring your jolt of energy with you.

There are many different brands, styles, colours and sizes available. They can just slot into a side pocket of your backpack as long as they are airtight. What if you want to enjoy your coffee while cycling to work?

2. Portland Design Works Bar-Ista Cup Holder – $18

The Bar-Ista’s design is as clever as its name, and is a gem for those of us who want to enjoy a cup of coffee – or tea – on our morning rides. It comes in two different clamp sizes, and will fit most flat and riser handlebars. Might not be suitable for the most hardcore road cyclists, but could be a clever gift for most other cyclists.

The Bar-Ista is available from Portland Design Works’ website and Amazon.

3. Universal Phone Mount – $13

Some riders are fine with stuffing their phones in jersey pockets. This is for those who aren’t. Fastening your phone on your handlebars will not only keep it high and dry, but will also allow you to use your phone as a GPS when doing new rides and routes.

There are many similar phone mounts in this category. The one pictured above is by Roam.

4. Garmin Edge 530 GPS Bike Computer – $449

Image source: CyclingTips.

The Garmin Edge 530 is the only real hi-tech bike accessory we’re recommending today, and it’s for good reason. It’s a great choice for those who want to take the step up from using their phones to a dedicated GPS.

The small form factor hides an incredible suite of metrics and features that are suited for road cycling and mountain biking alike, and the 20+ hours of battery time will keep you going for a long time. Particularly smart is the physical buttons, which are much easier to operate than a touchscreen while you’re riding.

5. Giro Aether MIPS Helmet – $399

Image source: BikeRumor.

The Giro Aether MIPS has everything you’d want in a helmet. Safety, aerodynamics and venting is all present in the Aether in spades. Obviously $399 is quite a big investment for most people, but the venting really convinced us to recommend this.

Giro’s testing shows that the Aether’s big vents can keep your head 2 degrees cooler than their competing helmets, which is something that every Australian rider will want going into our warmest months!

6. Cygolite Dash Pro 600 and Hotrod 50 Bike Lights – $66

A good light is an absolute must for riding in the morning or after late nights at the office, and the ability to see and be seen can be a lifesaver.

This particular combo can be found on Amazon for $66.

7. Ass Savers Fenders – $12

While lights and helmets can save your ass in a metaphorical sense, Ass Savers Fenders will save your ass in a more literal sense. Made for those who don’t want to rock a permanent fender, the Ass Saver will clip on under your seat when you need it.

With the peak of  Brisbane’s storm season coming up, this is a great little stocking stuffer for the cyclist in your life. Find Ass Savers on Amazon for just $12.

8. Pactimo Men’s Ultra-Lite Rain Jacket – $38.50

Image source: road.cc

Like the Ass Savers Fenders, the Pactimo rain jacket is designed to be a great solution for an emergency weather event. It is durable, light and small, but water-resistant enough to get you through those Brisbane summer afternoon showers.

Weighing in at just 117 grams, it packs away to be small enough that you can bring it with you in a jersey pocket on those humid and overcast days where anything can happen at any time.

It also looks really good.


The health benefits of cycling

Regular physical activity is extremely important for our health. In particular, it can protect you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis. Riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems cyclephotoassociated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is also fun, cheap and good for the environment.

Cycling is:

  • Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
  • A good muscle workout – cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.
  • Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget.
  • Good for strength and stamina – cycling increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
  • As intense as you want – cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but can be built up to a demanding physical workout.
  • A fun way to get fit – the adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly, compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require special times or places.
  • Time-efficient – as a mode of transport, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise.

And cycling regularly has several health benefits such as:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Riding to work is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health.

As well as the many health benefits of cycling, there are also several economical, environmental, social and mental well-being benefits of regularly riding your bike.

Information retrieved from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits


Brisbane Councillor Schrinner visits Cycle2City

Great to catch up and show Cr Adrian Schrinner Cycle2City facilities and discuss future opportunities. We thank Cr Schrnner for taking time to vist and discuss bringing bigger and better options to our members. Cycle2City prides itself on innovation, we were one of the firsts to introduce such a facility to Brisbane. We provide an alternative to public transport with high quality, safe and secure bike parking, showers, lockers and support services at great value for money so that cycle commuting becomes the absolute pleasure it should be.

Our facilities are superior to most End of Trip Facilities found amongst newer buildings. Did you know you get your own locker, hot shower and a fresh daily towel to use all for the low cost of $4.88 per day (12mnth membership). We also offer great discounted rates to businesses either small or large in Brisbane. Be part of the Cycle2City movement by joining today or contact us directly reception@cycle2city.com.au

https://cycle2city.com.au/become-a-member/