HIIT vs LISS: What is The Best Type of Cardio For Me?

HIIT vs LISS Cardio. These are buzzwords in the fitness world that will probably never die…

Everyone knows that cardio is an essential form of exercise, but when it comes to HIIT and LISS (High-Intensity Interval Training and Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio, it leaves a lot of people lost for words.

It’s confusing, right?

Unfortunately, not knowing the difference means you won’t get the results you want from your workouts.

There’s no sense in wasting time on an exercise bike if you aren’t sure that it’s bringing you the outcomes you are looking for!

HIIT vs LISS: What Are The Differences?


There are two types of exercise, both of which use blood sugars as fuel:

  1. Aerobic
  2. Anaerobic

Put simply, aerobic work uses air, while anaerobic does not.

To be more precise:

During the aerobic phase which kicks in after about 2 minutes of your exercise, your body will transfer energy to your muscle using oxygenated blood. Your blood containing oxygen and blood sugars will be pumped through your veins feeding the working muscle with much-needed energy…

The anaerobic system kicks in during short intensive intervals of physical activity lasting up to 2 minutes. During this high-intensity period, oxygen is not yet involved in the energy transfer process as your body is primarily fueled by stored glycogen from within your muscles

If you have not guessed it by now; low-intensity cardio (LISS) is considered aerobic, and high-intensity (HIIT) anaerobic.


Blood sugars are burned slowly throughout the duration of LISS workout, while during HIIT, your body uses quick bursts of energy as it powers its muscles.

These quick bursts trigger metabolic changes within your body, supercharging your metabolism.


Reference:positivemed.com – 10 Interesting Facts About Metabolism

Any form of exercise will speed up your metabolism, however, HIIT training has been proven to be more effective than most.

Calorie Loss

Another major difference between the two types is how calories are burned.

With low-intensity steady-state cardio, calorie-burning only occurs while you exercise. Say you burn 700 calories an hour during a run – a one-hour workout will give you a 700 calorie loss.

HIIT goes beyond this, offering a major advantage when it comes to weight loss:

During HIIT, your heart cannot deliver sufficient oxygen to the muscle mass, and your oxygen supply is put into debt. Your metabolism is effectively put into overdrive, burning calories at an increased rate long after your workout!

With HIIT training, you get double the value: burning calories both DURING and AFTER your workout.

You might have heard of it – that’s what is commonly called the ”afterburn effect” for you!

Low-Calorie Diets

For those on a low-calorie diet, low-intensity cardio may be a more sensible choice than HIIT. For you, a longer, lower intensity session will bring better results.

Studies have concluded that low-intensity cardio coupled with low-calorie diets is more effective in burning fat, rather than muscle. -And muscle loss is rarely desirable!

HIIT And LISS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is LISS or HIIT Better For Fat Loss?

If done correctly, I regard HIIT as a better form of exercise principle than LISS if fat loss is your main goal. I say if done correctly because doing HIIT the right way really goes hard on your body.

You will need to work at least 80% of your maximum heart rate to be in the high-intensity zone, something not everybody is cut out for. If you are not able to keep this kind of intensity throughout your workout, LISS might be a better option for you:

When doing LISS, your aim is 65% of max heart rate – and you are cruizing in your burning zone. Yeah, your workout will stretch out and last for longer – but if HIIT is too hardcore LISS training is still a better long term alternative,

Can You Do HIIT and LISS Together?

Sure you can do HIIT and LISS together! You not only can do them together, but you should do them together. If you stick to one kind of workout methodology your body will get used to it, and results will come slower.

Mix things up. Surprise your body. Experiment.

Mixing HIIT and LISS training in the same workout routine, or just switching between the two when doing cardio will both be beneficial and increase your results. Why not do a strength session based on the principles of HIIT, followed by a session of low-intensity steady-state training?

Your body will love it!

How Much Weight Can You Lose With LISS?

How much weight you can lose with LISS depends on several questions:

What is your current weight?

For how long will you be doing your LISS training sessions?


Doing LISS alone will not necessarily help you lose weight. As with everything exercise related, you will need to adjust your diet to match your fitness goals! But if you eat fewer calories than you burn – doing LISS can help you lose just as much weight as you want it to.

Weight loss starts with YOU!

If you are serious about losing weight, I highly recommend you consult a personal trainer – they really are not as pricy as you might think! Check out the Fyt personal training pricing – investing in a couple of hours to get you started is worth every dollar!

Hight or Low Intensity? Choosing The Right Form of Cardio

Weighing The Pros And Cons

Now, while the list of benefits for high-intensity training – aka HIIT is long, there are some valid reasons it might not be your cup of tea…

Cons of high-intensity interval training:

  • Should not be done every day
  • Stressful for joints
  • Physically and psychologically demanding
  • Should not be used as a sole form of exercise
  • Can lead to muscle loss coupled with low-calorie diets
  • Pushes your heart rate to the limit

As you can see from the above list, HIIT workouts are what their name suggests: INTENSE! They may not be a sustainable long-term form of exercise for you.

If the list above looks scary, LISS cardio is likely to be better suited to your needs.

Low-intensity steady-state training:

  • Longer time required
  • Can be used to speed up recovery
  • More suitable for elderly
  • More suitable for people with low levels of fitness
  • Can be an intermittent part of a HIIT workout regime

So, Which Type of Cardio is The One for Me?

HIIT or LISS cardio? We have seen that both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so deciding between the two really depends on your individual aims and preferences.

HIIT (high-intensity) cardio is a faster, more efficient solution for fat loss and building muscle, yet it is hard on the body and mind. If you are seeking maximum results from your workouts and don’t mind a bit of pain, high-intensity training is your cup of tea.

LISS (low-intensity) is safer and easier on the body, and better for those starting out their fitness regimes as well as the elderly. Low-intensity exercises can be eased into and built up slowly. If you don’t mind spending longer on your workouts, low-intensity cardio is a perfect option!

Final Words: LISS vs HIIT – Both is Better Than “NIC” (No-Intensity Cardio)

So, HIIT vs LISS – what should you choose?


Either you do HIIT or LISS cardio – they’re both better than NO-INTENSITY cardio.


Being active is essential in keeping your health in good shape, both mentally and physically. Find a type of exercise suited to your lifestyle and interests and stick to it!

After a couple of weeks doing cardio becomes a habit, and after a few months, you might even think it’s fun!

Every living creature should engage in some form of cardiovascular activity at a minimum once per week – at least if you aim to live a healthy, long life…

One last thing:

Before you go, be sure to check out and bookmark my killer list of cardio exercise articles – PACKED with exercises, workout routines, and actionable tips!

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