What is LISS Cardio?

Have you ever heard of LISS cardio? I had not for a long time, but this year I have seen more and more people posting about LISS cardio. So I thought, what is that?

It turns out that LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. It’s all about doing at least 45 minutes of low intensity cardio, 65-75% of your max effort. Yes, this is the long, steady, and sometimes boring, type of cardio that is typically hated. To perform LISS, you can walk, run (at your own comfortable pace), hop on the elliptical, or hike! It may be boring at times, which is why I like to run or walk outside for my LISS. Unfortunately, I have something going on with my ankle so I am out of running commission right now, so I walk or do the elliptical. 

It’s so easy to take yourself outside and walk for 1 hour. And it’s summer! This is the time to get outside. Fall is right around the corner — which I am PUMPED about — so now is the time to enjoy the heat before it starts creeping away. I think Summer and Fall are the best times to be outside, so I like to get out verse staying inside. It doesn’t always happen and plans can change due to weather, but it is so worth it. 

How does LISS cardio help with weight loss?

It’s important to mix up your routine. I’m a big fan of running, swimming, walking, hiking, HIIT (high intensity interval training), strength training, LISS cardio and doing other fun active things like kayaking, bike riding, and playing tennis. It’s important to mix it up so that your body doesn’t get too used to your preferred type of exercise. 

Think about it. We exercise to work our bodies, exercise certain muscles, improve our health, improve our strength, and for several other reasons, but our bodies are brilliant. They adapt. They get stronger. If you are working your body the same way over and over, your body will adapt, get stronger and that work won’t really be much work anymore. We need to change it up.

How do I do that? Easy! Mix up your favorite exercises and activities throughout the week to make up your weekly plan. Do different things on different days, change the time or the intensity (by taking it up or down) or try something completely new! If you have something you love, like running, you can change up the distance, your intensity, your course, or do intervals. There are so many ways you can do this. The options are seriously limitless. Change it up any way you can.

You don’t have to go crazy with it, but aim to do it differently 1 day a week if you typically perform the same exercise 3 times per week. So for running, if you have your course that you love and always do it the same way — maybe you just try to run your best each day (that’s what I typically do) — stick to that 2 days out of the week and do 1 “change up” run. It can be a day of speed work or a day of longer distance where you work a little harder to kick it up at the end. Make it work for you. 

How does LISS work into this? Like I said before, it’s part of mixing it up. But it’s also how our bodies perform during LISS cardio. When you get too fatigued or are working really hard, your body stops using fat for fuel and looks for other sources of immediate energy like blood sugar and muscle glycogen (think immediate sources of energy, like the ones you get from carbs and sugar). When you perform 45-60 minutes of LISS cardio, your body is mostly using fat for fuel. 

How do you control this? Target heart rate. At 120 beats per minute or less, your body will most likely be using fat as it’s main fuel source. Looking to lose fat? Then LISS is for you. Incorporate LISS cardio into your workout routine and see how your body changes. Ready? Let’s make a plan. 

The plan…

A good game plan is to workout or get significant exercise 5-6 days a week. I’m all for get up and move as much as you can, but I also believe in having a rest day. Relax and recharge.

So if you are exercising regularly 5-6 days a week and prefer to “go hard,” you can perform LISS 2-3 days a week and go harder on the other days. 3-4 hard days a week is really good. By incorporating LISS and a rest day, you are allowing your body to recover and still stay active. You are still elevating your heart rate and working your body, just not so intensely. You’re up and you’re moving — you’re doing your body good. 

Want to do more LISS or primarily LISS? No problem! You can be a LISS cardio queen or king and still transform your body. For those who prefer exercising primarily through LISS cardio (think walkers and steady runners), you can do your thing 5, 6 or 7 days a week! The great thing about LISS is that it is low intensity and should typically be less stress on your body.

Walking is the picture perfect way to perform LISS. You can walk your heart out every morning, afternoon or evening and then sprinkle in other forms of exercise throughout the week. Maybe 2 days a week you take a kickboxing or boot camp class, maybe you do yoga, pilates or do some strength training. It’s up to you. My suggestion is to do something that requires strength. Yoga and pilates are fantastic and gentle ways to improve your strength and work your muscles. Need to bump it up or tailor the workout specifically to your capabilities? Strength train in a way that works for you. You can get help from a personal trainer, watch videos online, take a class — whatever, just make sure you are doing the exercises properly so you don’t hurt yourself.

By mixing and matching your exercises and workouts and incorporating LISS to your routine, you can and will transform your body. Of course it is also best to pair your routine with healthy eating habits and to make this routine a habit. Consistency is the biggest key. Stay consistent, and you are on the road to reaching your goals.

Til next time! 🙂

Good food. Good moves. Good tips. Good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

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The Perfect Summer Dinner: A Grass-fed Burger and Veggies

Summer is all about being outside and firing up the grill. Am I right? But the grilling staples — burgers and hotdogs — can get unhealthy real quick. Here’s a meal that is all about the grill and all about eating good food that’s also good for you.

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I got everything for this meal from Garden of Eve Organic Market out on Long Island. This is a grass-fed burger, garlic pesto, red pepper, yellow squash and zucchini. All it took to make this was the food, some seasoning, the grill and some foil. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take your grass-fed ground beef and separate into sections depending on how many burgers you want to make
  2. Mold each section into a burger shape without over working it
  3. Put a thumbprint into the center of each burger to prevent it from bloating and season each burger
  4. Rinse and chop your veggies
  5. Optional: lightly toss your veggies in a little bit of coconut oil and seasoning
  6. Skip the oil if you want and toss your veggies in some seasoning 
  7. Create a pouch out of 2 sheets of foil (double up!) large enough to fit all your veggies in (this can be pouch or boat-like)
  8. Load your veggies into the pouch and add a little bit of water to the pouch so the veggies can steam (a little water at the bottom of the pouch is all you need)
  9. Seal pouch by pinching and securing the foil
  10. Grilling time depends on your meat and your grill, but generally speaking you can grill your burger on its first side for about 5 or 6 minutes — once the juicing start oozing out, it’s good to flip
  11. On the second side, grill for about 3 or 4 minutes (generally 1-2 minutes shorter than the first side) — always check your burger before eating to make sure it is cooked well enough
  12. Let your burgers sit for 5 minutes before serving
  13. Grill veggies at the same time, on a separate part of your grill, for about 10-12 minutes

Once everything is done and taken off the grill, plate and serve it up with some garlic pesto on top of your delicious burger!

This meal is so fresh, quick and easy to put together. It is a true summertime dish that you don’t have to fear. And of course you’re free to make this dish however you like. If you want to add a bun or something else, it’s your call!

Food is something that fuels us and feeds the cells in our bodies, but it’s nothing to freak out over either. While I prefer to cook like this at home, once in a while I go out and get something amazing like this:

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This is also a grass-fed burger from an amazing restaurant that used wholesome and fresh ingredients in Greenport, Long Island, named Salamander Cafe. If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend it! You also have to get their famous lemonade with mint. Trust me.

Like I said: grass-fed burger with fresh lettuce, green tomato and sweet potato fries. My meal took a while to come out because of some confusion in the kitchen, so they gave me a kale salad with green tomatoes on the house! Amazing. See how you can make indulging good for you? That burger with all the fixin’s is good for the body (grass-fed with veggies) and the soul (because it’s insanely delicious and there’s just an indescribably good feeling that eating an awesome burger gives you), while the kale salad bumps up the good-for-the-body part of the whole meal. 

Restaurant tip: if something goes wrong with your food, try not to sweat it — you might get something really cool out of it on top of feeling good about not getting angry with the staff. Sounds like a win-win to me! 🙂

If you’re going out or cooking at home, don’t sweat it! Think ahead — know what you’re going to do ahead of time. Chris and I set out to Greenport for lunch, and I knew I wanted a burger. I saw grass-fed on the window and we walked in. Knowing what you truly want ahead of time helps you make the best decision while dining out. I also like to save my indulgences for when I go out. I enjoy cooking as healthy as I can at home. Find your preferences, stick to ’em and plan, plan, plan! Within reason, of course. Live for the moment and enjoy as much as you can. But a little guidance never hurts. 

Good food, good tips, good moves, good for you.

xo Kim, Running on Good

How to Stay on Track While Working

For many people, it is hard to stay on track at work or while working. I have actually been experiencing the opposite — I stay on track really well during the week and while at work and tend to indulge here and there on the weekends. The absolutely biggest key to staying on track is being prepared. If you are prepared, you are golden. To prepare well, you need to know your body and your habits, then plan accordingly. Knowing myself and planning accordingly, this is how I prepare for the week ahead:

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I’m fortunate enough to not have to do a full food shop right now, but I still try to get to the store so I can buy my own necessities, especially ones for work. This is just a snapshot of a few of my staples:

  • organic oats or granola — I like Nature’s Promise Organic Oats or Organic Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats and Ola Granola (found at Stop and Shop)
  • organic coconut palm sugar — for oatmeal, coffee and other sweetening
  • unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk — I like Silk and So Delicious brands because there is no carrageenan. I use this for coffee at the office.
  • greek yogurt — I’ve been getting Chobani 100 recently because it’s all natural and only has 7 g of sugar; that’s half the sugar of other greek yogurts, unless they are plain. I’m not really a fan of the plain, so I consider this to be pretty good! I have these as a snack or part of my lunch.
  • fruit — for snacking or to pair with lunch
  • organic gluten-free superfood crackers — I am LOVING Mary’s Gone Super Seed Crackers. I usually have a few with lunch.
  • organic bars — Also loving Pure Organic bars (banana coconut and chocolate brownie). I have these on hand for when I need a snack between breakfast and lunch.

Other great staples:

  • organic baby spinach — for salads and smoothies
  • organic dark chocolate — for a delicious treat that’s also nutritious. I LOVE this organic, nonGMO, fair-trade and soy-free THEO dark chocolate made with coconut!

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  • nut butter — this vegan Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter is amazing. It has no sugar and is made with coconut oil. I like to either have some with my Mary’s Gone Crackers or have a little scoop before I head home to workout.

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  • nuts — it’s always good to have these on hand. I usually go with roasted unsalted almonds but am now trying a cashew pistachio almond mix from Back to Nature — made with these 3 nuts and sea salt.

I like to pack a salad for lunch and aim to have some meat with it, like chicken or a turkey burger. But when I eat breakfast at 5 am and eat dinner at 6:30 pm, a simple salad at 11:30 am is just not enough. And that’s okay. So I aim to have a source of protein around 9 am, when I start to get a little hungry (a yogurt, a bar or some nuts), and I have some crackers and fruit or a yogurt with lunch, depending on what I had for a snack. I have a pretty big lunch, but I need that to get me through the rest of my day.

I then try to have a little something before I workout since I don’t get home til about 4:30 pm. This could either be a scoop of peanut butter, a handful of nuts, a banana with peanut butter or simply a piece of fruit if I am doing something light like going for a bike ride or taking a walk. Fueling up before a workout helps your body prepare for the workout ahead and can actually lead to burning more calories during and after your workout. It also helps me from being ravenous by the time I eat dinner.

We cannot be afraid to eat or underestimate the power of our food — our bodies need nourishment from good food.

I dedicate 12 hours a day to work alone between commuting and being at the office. Adding in a workout and anything else that comes up in the evening adds up to a long day! But I’ve adjusted quickly and amazingly. I go to sleep early, eat smart and workout regularly; all of which have helped me tremendously. I could not do this if I did not take the time to plan. Sure, sometimes I don’t want to prepare my lunch the night before, make my breakfast or stop at the store after a full day’s work, but I do it because I know the next day I am going to say to myself, “Thank goodness I went to the store,” when I get hungry at work or “I am so happy my breakfast and lunch are already made,” when I’m getting into my car at 4:50 am.

Planning will make or break you. You either suck it up and do it or wish you had later on. Which would you prefer? And when you get hungry at your desk, it’s nice to know you have this waiting for you in your drawer /in the refrigerator:

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I hope this encourages you to prepare and choose wisely!

Good food, good tips, good moves, good for you

xo Kim, Running on Good