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HIIT vs LISS: Which Cardio Is Right For You?

HIIT vs LISS: Which Cardio Is Right For You?

By Myprotein Writer Tyler Stark


Cardiovascular exercise has numerous amounts of health benefits for everyone, whether just starting out on your fitness journey all the way to becoming a dedicated bodybuilder.

Nonetheless, the age-old question that everyone seems to be asking about is, “what are the best fat burning exercises?” or more specifically, “what type of cardio is right for me?”

While both have their pros and cons, questions like “which one should I do?,” “for how long?,” and “what exercises should I do?” all come into play. Depending on your goals, each would aid in overall health.

Let’s take a look into how you can properly benefit from performing the right cardio for you, whether it be HIIT or LISS…

LISS Cardio


LISS (Low-Intensity Steady-State) cardio has been around for a long time and rightfully so. It’s a basic, no strings attached way to get your body in to some great shapeCrosstrainer LISS.

For fitness newcomers, LISS is a wonderful way to get them on the ground and running – literally.



– Walking

– Jogging

– Cross trainer


Most individuals particularly care about the way their body looks in a swimsuit or with their shirt off at the lake, so this is the first baby step in helping get some of that stubborn body fat off.


LISS workouts


Walking is the best way to start a LISS cardio. It’s low impact, you can do it virtually anywhere, and you will reap great rewards.

Start out walking for 20 consecutive minutes at a brisk yet manageable pace.

Beginning with 20 minutes is standard because the body starts to channel into the fat storage and the burn mode once you’re around the 20 minute mark based on intensity.


LISS cardio walking


To start with, perform this type of cardio 3 times a week for 1 month then increase either the time, pace, or volume of the workouts.

To mix it up, try rowing, jogging or swimming for some other alternatives.

Although LISS is not known for being the most effective way to burn fat off your frame, it is a tried and true plan that has worked for many to get in shape.

LISS is effective. Anyone from professional fitness athletes to your grandma and her walking buddies can perform this type of cardio!


LISS Benefits


Apart from enhancing your appearance, LISS is good for your body.LISS Healthy heart

Performing low-intensity exercise is easier on the joints as well as being easier on your heart.

Although this may never have crossed your mind, LISS cardio relieves a ridiculous amount of stress on your body by doing this less strenuous type of workout.

By performing a less strenuous workout your heart rate is ultimately lower and thus gives more time for the heart to contract and release the blood being pumped.

By being completely filled, this triggers the heart to grow over time and produce and pump blood more efficiently all the while reducing your heart rate and risk of high blood pressure/heart attack.


HIIT Cardio


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) cardio has recently jumped onto the scene within the last 20 years.HIIT Sprinting

Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata is said to have been the father of HIIT cardio with his intensive research in how to squeeze long bouts of cardio into short, intense bursts.

With extensive research done, HIIT cardio does prove to be the winner when it comes to burning fat – especially for those wanting to shed the pounds relatively quickly.

A study done back in 1994 at Laval University in Quebec, Canada showed that HIIT cardio (when done correctly and intensely) burned fat on the test subjects 9 times faster than the more conventional steady state cardio.


HIIT workouts


HIIT cardio does require a little more planning and precision than hopping on a treadmill… but you will reap the benefits.

A typical workout would consist of maximum effort work periods lasting no longer than 2 minutes followed by brief rests for a similar time.



– Sprints: 30 sec/ Rest 30 sec for 10-12 minutes

– Bodyweight Squats: 30 sec/Rest 30 sec for 10-12 minutes

– Rowing: 30 sec/Rest 30 sec for  10-12 minutes


HIIT rowing


HIIT workouts – Tabata


Tabata workouts (fashioned after the creator of HIIT cardio) are more intense versions due to the decreased rest time between intervals.

For a typical workout, the time needed should be no longer than 15 minutes to complete.


Beginners: start with 8 minutes of intervals of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for the full time.

You can use this method with the previous workouts listed or add these to the drawing board:


– Kettle Bell Swings

– Lunges

– Timed Swimming

– Push Ups/Pull Ups



HIIT Kettlebell


HIIT Benefits


The primary benefit of HIIT cardio is ultimately fat loss due to its ability to increase your metabolism and keep it spiked for the following 24+ hours.


HIIT fat loss


Athleticism and overall joint health is also improved due to the explosive matter in which each exercise is formed – not to mention the fact that it only takes 10 or 15 minutes!

However, as the saying goes, “less is more”. This is especially true for beginners trying to really get after it.

Unlike LISS cardio, HIIT is very taxing on the Central Nervous System by constantly causing your heart rate to be at maximum capacity without letting your body have enough time to rest before training in a similar way.

So with no ability to recover, there is no way for you to make any progress thus causing over training and ultimately being burnt out.


Take home message


So…Which cardio is right for you?

The answer: It depends mainly on your specific goals.


Beginners: Perform LISS cardio a couple of times a week then add 1 or 2 HIIT sessions the following month.


Advanced: Add more variety to your already intense cardio sessions by changing up the exercises.  Get in tune with your body and have fun with whatever your cardio you choose to do… Make adding some cardio to your life a habit and reap the benefits of a healthy life!


Happy cardio lifestyle



Writer and expert

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