Hiit vs Liss workouts: Which exercise is best for weight loss and why


It can be challenging to decide which sort of exercise is ideal for you and your goals when there are so many options available.

You might be unsure about whether to add Low-Intensity Steady State (Liss) cardio or High-Intensity Interval Training (Hiit) to your strength training regimen if you’re looking to gain muscle and burn fat.

To make a decision you must first understand the difference between the two.

“Liss is an aerobic activity. Your heart rate and oxygen consumption rise during cardio and aerobic exercise. While the terms aerobic and cardio are often used interchangeably, aerobic exercise uses oxygen, whereas cardio involves your heart pounding”, says Waynne Kilian, a personal trainer at Virgin Active.

What, then, distinguishes Hiit from Liss?

Hiit is high-intensity exercise that lasts 5 – 20 minutes. Liss lasts for a longer period of time (20 – 60 minutes) and is less intense. Hiit burns calories more effectively than Liss.

Liss cardio involves exercising at the same low-intensity rate for a predetermined amount of time, typically at least 30 minutes.

It is carried out steadily so that you can maintain your energy level throughout. Bike riding, jogging, brisk walking, rowing, and swimming are a few instances of this.

Hiit involves short bursts of extremely difficult exercises followed by recovery periods of low-intensity activity or rest.

High-intensity interval training has a transformative effect on your cells. Picture: Supplied

The workouts are designed to push you to your upper fatigue limit. To achieve this, you perform the maximum number of repetitions of each exercise. Because you work as hard as you can throughout each set, Hiit sessions are brief. Circuit training, sprints, burpees, and jump squats are some forms of Hiit.

Lisha Stahnke, a personal trainer and exercise specialist, says, “For a variety of reasons, Hiit is superior to Liss cardio for weight loss.”

Hiit frequently includes strength exercises. Applying tension to your muscles through resistance training gives them the growth stimulus they require.

Liss cardio involves exercising at the same low-intensity rate for a predetermined amount of time, typically at least 30 minutes. Picture: Supplied

The advantage Hiit workouts offer over Liss cardio is that they will ensure the lean mass (muscle) you already have is kept. However, research indicates that Hiit workouts may not generate significant muscle building.

Fitness guru Annabellle Barrat breaks down the pros and cons of Hiit and Liss.

Hiit pros

  • More calories are burnt more quickly
  • Outcomes can be attained with fewer sessions per week
  • Boosts metabolism and keeps muscle mass
  • Combines strength training with aerobic exercise to stimulate the creation of new muscle.
  • Incorporates several different types of movements

Liss pros

  • Increases heart health
  • Quick recovery

Hiit cons

  • Muscle pain may result from the intensity of the workouts
  • Cannot be carried out every day.
  • Could result in over-training
  • Injury risk is increased if workout technique is compromised

Liss cons

  • May result in a loss of muscular mass.
  • An successful LISS workout requires more time

Hiit will be more efficient if fat loss is your primary objective. This is because Hiit burns more calories while requiring less training time and frequency due to its higher intensity.

Since there is less chance of losing muscle mass, Hiit will be a better choice if your objective is to become stronger.

This is not to imply that Liss shouldn’t be a part of your training; on the contrary, it offers advantages for heart health and endurance, and a speedy recovery because of its reduced intensity.

Although Hiit and Liss each have their advantages, knowing how they differ might help you decide which is better for your training objectives.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.



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