top of page
  • Clem Duranseaud

Hiit vs Liss: which cardio is best to lose weight?

HIIT vs LISS which is best to lose weight and lose fat

The great debate of HIIT vs LISS for weight loss continues to make people talk in the fitness world. In this post we will take a good look at the pros and cons of each and why it shouldn't even be a debate.

Table of content

What are HIIT and LISS cardio

Hight intensity interval training is a workout that alternates short periods of intense effort coupled with short periods of very low recovery effort.

For those who have been working out with me, it's exactly what we did back in Vancouver together and what we currently do on Youtube.

HIIT workouts aim to have your heart rate above 80% of your maximum heart rate.

A typical HIIT workout can last anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour.

Low intensity steady state workouts are longer, continuous periods that require less effort throughout. It is your classic cardio session, be it walking, running, cycling, rowing or which ever modality you prefer.

LISS aims to keep your heart rate under 80% (I personally try to be between 60%-70%) of you max heart rate.

This type of workout can last anywhere from 20 minutes to hours.

HIIT and LISS benefits

Keep in mind that BOTH modalities have the typical exercise benefits such as improve mood, reduce blood sugar, help manage weight, help you sleep better, regulate your appetite and help reduce cardiovascular risks.

Both can be done on your own or in a group class.

These are the benefits that each modalities have compared to the other.

HIIT benefits

  • Takes less time to complete.

  • Better for muscle definition

  • Better for muscle strength

HIIT drawbacks

  • Requires a lot of energy meaning you will need a lot of recovery

LISS benefits

  • Easier than HIIT. For beginners looking to add cardio into their fitness routine, liss may offer a simpler entry point.

  • Less effort means less recovery required.

  • Increases your cardio foundation

LISS drawback

  • Takes longer

  • Not as beneficial for muscle definition and strength

HIIT vs LISS which is best to lose weight

When calorie expenditure is equated, one is not better than the other to lose weight.

Read that as many times as you need for it to sync in.

When we are talking about burning fat, both types of workouts are good as long as you burn the same amount of calories. Choosing which one is better for you mainly depends on how much time you have during the day.

This wouldn't be a proper fitness article if I didn't tell you "it depends" on a few things.

So let's dive into the caveats.

Caveat 1: nutrition

Neither forms of workout will help you lose weight if you are in a caloric surplus.

The best way to be a caloric deficit, is to consume less calories aka eat less. Whenever you exercise, you will get hungrier simply because you exercised and you NEED to eat in order to train effectively.

So using exercise to alter your caloric balance isn't the best solution.

Caveat 2: choose the best one for your lifestyle

If you're a busy professional with kids during week days, HIIT is the better option. You'll burn your calories in a short time, give your muscles a good challenge, increase your workout tolerance and be home in time for dinner.

For someone who has more time, LISS is a great way to burn calories, build a robust cardio foundation, and probably feel fresher throughout the week.

Caveat 3: what are your goals?

As always, your goals will dictate which modality you should gravitate towards.

If you are training to for sports or general fitness, HIIT might be more beneficial. If your sports require you to be active for more than 20 minutes at a time, or if you are training for ski season/hiking/outdoor adventures, LISS can be very advantageous for you.

Caveat 4: you should probably do both

In my opinion, having a good mix of HIIT and LISS throughout the week is the best way to reap the most health benefit.

If you only do HIIT, you will run your body in the ground. It's a challenging form of exercise and you need proper recovery for it. So here is the good news! LISS can be a great form of recovery for your high intensity workouts.

Sample workouts

You can check out the Youtube channel which has hundreds of HIIT workouts ranging from 5 minutes to one hour which you can do with or without equipment.

My favourite form of LISS is hiking. It doesn't feel like a workout, you're out in nature either by yourself or with friends and it's always a good time. Best done on weekends though.

During the week, any form of cardio will do the trick. If you're starting out, do 20 minutes at an easy pace.

LISS workout

Hop on a stationary bike

First 10 minutes is the warm up. Pedal at a comfortable pace.

Then do 20 minutes keeping your heart rate between 60% and 70%

Once you get comfortable with that, add 5 minutes to your LISS workouts each week until your reach 3-4h weekly.

The most important thing when doing low intensity workouts is to keep your heart rate under 80% of it's maximum.


Both HIIT and LISS are viable options for weight loss. They offer different benefits that can help anyone lose fat.

Find the option that you prefer to do and remember that using both modalities together is the best way (in my opinion).

Happy training!



1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Feb 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

J'adore lire vos articles qui sont instructifs, concis et clairs.

bottom of page