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LISS v HIIT, which is better?

LISS v HIIT, which is better?

Which training method is best for you, LISS or HIIT? Well... it depends.

Read on for the lowdown on both techniques, helping you to apply the most appropriate method to your own programme depending on where you are in terms of your fitness goals.


We’ve all heard of high intensity interval training, but what really is it? It is a period of hard work followed by a period of rest. It has been glorified for being quick and effective, it can also be done pretty much anywhere with pretty much anything! Great for those who are short on time and who have been training for a while.

Real HIIT workouts are seriously tough, if done properly. If you can keep it up for hours on end you aren’t pushing hard enough in the work period. Meaning it might be time to cut back on the work time and up the ante!

It can be a great way to fit in a quick workout that will still get your heart pumping and rev up your metabolism, not just during your workout but for a significant amount of time post workout. It can also really help to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

HIIT will mainly use carbohydrates as an energy source as its need a quick and large supply of energy.


Low intensity steady state exercise is not as common as the aforementioned HIIT. When you hear LISS you should think of steady state cardio.

It could literally be walking around the park, or even the shops. Certain training groups have been using this for a long time, bodybuilders love to utilise this type of cardio, normally fasted, to burn fat and prevent muscle catabolism.

In this fast paced world is it time to slow things down a notch and workout in a different way? LISS could be a great place to start if you are just getting back into exercise and need to familiarise yourself with getting out of breath or help you get used to being in the gym setting.

A treadmill or bike are easy and safe and will act as a stepping stone to other more intense types of exercise if that is the path you choose to go down.

LISS can also aid recovery, studies have shown that increasing blood flow to muscles without over exerting them, e.g. on rest days can, can decrease muscle soreness and increase muscle recovery.

If you are injured or are on your way back to full fitness this can also be a great way to keep things ticking over but at a lower level, enabling you to stay active without losing touch with fitness.

Working at this lower intensity level utilises fat as an energy source which obviously can have its benefits for those looking to reduce their body fat.

Which is better?

30 mins of HIIT or 30 mins of LISS will have totally different effects on your body but both can be beneficial. One type of exercise is not better than the other, they will both contribute to your health and wellbeing. As your life changes and develops you may find you use one type of training more than the other and that is fine.

If you always do HIIT try some LISS and if you always do steady state cardio try some HIIT. Changing things up can be exciting and keep your body on its toes.


the author

Izzy Jeffs

Izzy is a British champion javelin thrower and has competed in two Commonwealth Games finals. She has competed for Great Britain on several occasions. Izzy is a personal trainer and spends a lot of time training in the gym, building muscle. When she is not training at the track or in the gym, she is eating. You’ve got to eat big to get big! .