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HIIT vs. LISS: Choosing the Right Cardio Workout for Your Fitness Goals

Calibrating for the Tour de France and a 100m sprint are two very different things. 

But they have their foundations in cardiovascular exercise.

Cardio is an essential component of any fitness routine. The important matter, for Olympians to laymen like you and me, is that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) are two popular cardio workouts with distinct characteristics that can feed different activities. 

In this blog post, we will compare HIIT and LISS to help you choose the right cardio workout based on your fitness goals, preferences, and fitness level. Whether you aim to burn fat, improve endurance, or enhance overall fitness, understanding the differences between HIIT and LISS will enable you to make an informed decision and optimize your cardio routine.

Understanding HIIT:

HIIT involves short bursts of high-intensity exercises followed by brief rest periods or lower-intensity recovery exercises. It is characterized by its maximal effort during work intervals and the ability to challenge both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

Understanding LISS:

LISS, on the other hand, is a low-impact and steady-state cardio workout where you maintain a consistent intensity over an extended period. It usually involves activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming at a moderate pace.

Benefits of HIIT:

  • Efficient Fat Burning: HIIT workouts can lead to a significant after-burn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), resulting in increased calorie burn even after the workout.
  • Time-Saving: HIIT sessions are typically shorter than LISS workouts, making them ideal for individuals with busy schedules.
  • Cardiovascular Endurance: HIIT improves both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, enhancing overall cardiovascular fitness.
  • Muscle Preservation: HIIT can help preserve lean muscle mass due to its shorter duration and intense nature.

Benefits of LISS:

  • Sustainable: LISS is more sustainable for longer durations, making it a suitable option for beginners or those with physical limitations.
  • Stress Reduction: Steady-state cardio can have a calming effect on the mind and body, reducing stress levels.
  • Low-Impact: LISS activities are gentle on the joints, making them suitable for individuals recovering from injuries or with joint issues.

Choosing the Right Workout for Your Goals:

  • Fat Loss: HIIT is effective for fat loss due to its calorie-burning potential and EPOC effect. However, LISS can also contribute to fat loss when performed consistently.
  • Endurance Improvement: Both HIIT and LISS improve cardiovascular endurance, but HIIT offers an added advantage by challenging anaerobic capacity.
  • Muscle Building: If your goal is muscle building or preserving muscle mass, shorter and less frequent HIIT sessions might be more suitable, while LISS can complement your training routine without overly taxing the muscles.

Combining HIIT and LISS:

For a well-rounded cardio routine, consider combining HIIT and LISS workouts. Incorporate 2-3 HIIT sessions per week for intense calorie burning and cardiovascular fitness. 

On other days, engage in LISS activities to promote recovery, maintain endurance, and improve overall cardiovascular health.


Both HIIT and LISS offer unique benefits, making them valuable additions to any fitness routine. Choose the right cardio workout based on your fitness goals, time availability, and physical capabilities. 

Incorporating a combination of HIIT and LISS into your routine can lead to better fat loss, enhanced endurance, and improved overall cardiovascular health. Remember to listen to your body, gradually progress in intensity, and have fun while challenging yourself in your cardio journey. 

As you get used to the grind, you can browse through a trusted online pharmacy like Gym Pharmacy to get the supplements and nutrition you need to maximize these exercises’ payoff.

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