All HIIT and no LISS

HIIT versus LISS is the great and ongoing cardio debate in the fitness industry. Which is better? Experts have been battling this one for years, and there are so many conflicting opinions about this topic that it’s hard to know what to believe. We want to dispel some myths about HIIT and LISS cardio training and help you decide which is right for you.


HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and consists of short, very intense periods of maximum effort followed by slower recovery periods for a shorter, more efficient workout. Examples of HIIT exercises are star jumps, squats and burpees.

Benefits of HIIT:

  • Increases metabolism – HIIT boosts your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after you finish exercising so you continue to burn fat even when you’re resting
  • Burn more fat – you can burn more fat in less time as the intense nature of the exercise sends your body’s repair cycle into overdrive.
  • Time efficient – As HIIT sessions are short (usually between 4 and 30 minutes) they can easily be squeezed into your day, even if you have a busy schedule!
  • Can be done anywhere – Many HIIT use only your own bodyweight so you can easily exercise at home. Weights and machinery can be incorporated if you prefer though.

However, due to the high-impact, demanding nature of HIIT, you should do no more than 3 sessions per week as there is a higher risk of injury.


LISS cardio stands for low-intensity steady state cardio which is a steady form of exercise where you keep your intensity low but your effort consistent. LISS cardio often lasts between 30-60 minutes. Examples of LISS cardio are power walking, slow jogging or steady swimming, rowing or cycling.

Benefits of LISS:

  • You will recover quicker – recovery is an important part of working out and if you overdo it with HIIT then fatigue can set in and actually impede progress. LISS cardio increases blood flow to damaged muscle tissues and boosts recovery!
  • You will build up your aerobic fitness – LISS is great for developing your aerobic fitness level and increasing your cardiovascular endurance.
  • You can do it more often – LISS can be carried out much more frequently than HIIT due to it being lower-impact and less damaging.
  • It is suitable for everyone – LISS is less physically demanding so if you are just starting out on your exercise journey or fear repeated injury then LISS cardio is still available to you to help you lose fat and get fit!

The bottom line is that you should listen to your body and do the type of cardio that you have a personal preference for, because at the end of the day you want to be able to maintain it without injuring yourself or becoming bored or unmotivated. All cardio is beneficial to your overall health, so as long as you incorporate some into your lifestyle then it doesn’t matter how you go about it as long as it’s safe and right for you. Our advice is to mix both HIIT and LISS cardio workouts into your exercise regimes to get the benefit of both!



Writer and expert