HIIT vs LISS - what does this mean in the fitness world and how can they help me?

What is the difference between High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS) Training? Which one should I choose and why?

High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training involves intervals of high intensity exercise with bouts of rest.

As it is high intensity exercise, your heart rate and breathing rate will be significantly increased and you shouldn’t be able to talk in full sentences. This correlates to training zones 4-5, where your heart rate will be >80% of its maximum.

This level of intensity could not be sustained for very long continuously but the bouts of rest allow you time to recover in between.


Time Efficiency – HIIT workouts are short due to the high intensity.

High calorie burn – you can burn a lot of calories in short space of time

Improves fitness– improves cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance

Boosts metabolism – HIIT can increase your metabolic rate even after you have finished your workout.


High intensity – it is high impact and places high demands on the body, recovery time is required.

Increased injury – due to the intensity risk of injury is increased, especially if overused.

Lack of experience – it may not be ideal for beginners.

Low Intensity Steady State Cardio

Low intensity steady state cardio involves performing cardiovascular exercise at a low intensity over long periods.

The intensity is enough to slightly increase your heart or breathing rate but you should still be able to talk in full sentences. This correlates to training zone 2, your heart rate will be around 60-70% of its maximum. Because of the low intensity you can usually maintain LISS activities for periods of up to 60 minutes or more.


Sustainable – it is low intensity and low impact so minimal recovery time is required.

Easy – suitable for all levels of experience, especially beginners.

Low injury risk- the low intensity means less impact and less risk of injury.

Improves overall health – improves cardiorespiratory function and burns calories.


Time consuming – generally takes up more time.

Low calorie burn – fewer calories are burned compared to higher intensity activities in the same time period.

Difficult to improve fitness – LISS has a limited role if you want to improve a fitness variable such as speed, power or acceleration.

Find out exactly how you can integrate these forms of training into your healthcare plan by booking a Discover Your MAHAAH appointment, it’s never too early to think about your health by booking an annual medical health check up.

By Dr Folusha Oluwajana - Fitness Doctor

Disclaimer: Information in our blogs are as accurate and comprehensive as possible. This is general advice and should not be used as a substitute for the individual advice readers might receive from consulting their own doctor. For other medical professionals reading, it is advised to use your own clinical judgement when interpreting the information and deciding how to best apply this to the treatment of their patients. Please see our terms and conditions page for further information on this.

13 views0 comments