These two opposing styles of exercise, High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) and Low-Intensity Steady State (L.I.S.S.) cardio are hot right now in the world of fitness. Which one is better? Which one will get you the best results? What are some of the pros and cons? Read more below and find out.

What Is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. A HIIT workout, stems from two main principles:

  • Alternate between short exercises and rest periods
  • Exercise periods are quick all-out, 100% intense bursts of effort

For example, you can sprint on a treadmill as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then walk for another 30 seconds before sprinting again. You can alternate types of exercises and also exercise to rest ratios.


  • Provides shorter workouts so it takes less time
  • Burns more calories
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Very accessible, there are a lot of free workouts online
  • It’s fun and exciting


  • It’s physically demanding and mentally hard
  • It’s exhausting
  • Can be dangerous and lead to injury
  • Requires more recovery time

What Is LISS Cardio?

LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State or Low-Intensity Sustained State. The principle of LISS is simple: Do any type of aerobic activity at low-intensity for a prolonged time period. Low-intensity means that your heart rate should stay between 50-60% of your max heart rate. To calculate your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220. LISS cardio workouts typically last between 30 to 60 minutes.


  • It will get you results
  • It burns calories steadily
  • It is safe to do, minimal risk to injury
  • It is slow and under control
  • No need for recovery time
  • It is gentle enough to exercise daily
  • It is convenient, no need for a gym, special equipment or instructor
  • Great for your cardiovascular conditioning


  • LISS may lead to a plateau and get stuck in an exercise rut
  • It will take a long time to lose weight
  • Reduces your metabolism in the long-run
  • It will not help your body build muscle

Final Word

HIIT and LISS are two completely opposite forms of exercise. Some of the best benefits of HIIT are the drawbacks of LISS and vice versa. It is up to you to figure out what your goals are and how you want to achieve them. In any case, we recommend consulting with a doctor before beginning any exercise program. Better safe than sorry!
Consistency and discipline are the most important factors when it comes to exercising and getting results. If you really want to lose weight, be healthy, get more energized, think about what form of exercise you can you see yourself doing long-term. Find a style of exercise that you enjoy doing and build a habit of doing it regularly. The results will come, you just have to be patient and stick with it.
Always remember to stay safe, be consistent and have fun!
Jennifer Miller
Fitness Coach
Jennifer Miller has been a fitness coach since 2002. She is a regular contributor to Authority Health and many exercise blogs. She has spent years researching and analyzing nutrition and how diet affects the body.
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