HIIT VS LISS – What’s Best For Fat Loss?

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HIIT VS LISS – What’s Best For Fat Loss?


This is something we get asked quite often, so I thought it’s about time I write a short blog about it.

Chances are, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of ‘HIIT’ before.

HIIT is a ‘buzz word’ that is floating around the interwebz right now, it’s the ‘in thing’.

All you have to do is flick on Instagram and you’ll find nearly 2 MILLION hashtags for it. The body coach AKA Mr Joe Wicks is the latest celeb to promote it.

It’s often promoted as the ‘be all – end all’ of fat loss, when in reality, it’s just another tool in the tool box that can be used to lose fat. There’s nothing special about it but the media will allow you to believe it’s the holy grail of fat loss.

I personally used to be very biased towards HIIT and I actually believed it to be superior to LISS, but now that I’ve properly looked at the research, tested it with myself and used it in the real world with clients, here’s my thoughts on the subject now.

The term ‘LISS’ isn’t so popular so you may not have heard of it. Most people just know it as ‘cardio’ or ‘running’. For many years this has been the ‘go to’ form of exercise for weight loss.


What is HIIT?


It stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a method of training where you perform short, high intensity bursts of exercise at maximum effort followed by a recovery period of either rest or an active rest.

You can perform hit using just bodyweight or you can incorporate machines or free weight. There’s a ton of variations that you could use when doing HIIT so I won’t bother listing any, a simple google search will reveal loads.



  • It doesn’t take up much time (roughly 10-20 minutes)
  • It’s FUN
  • You can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time
  • Can be done with or without equipment


  • It’s physically demanding
  • You need to have a decent level of strength, core & mobility
  • It’s harder to recover from compared to LISS
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • More chance of developing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness aka sore as F***)


It’s main ‘selling point’ is the ‘after burn’ effect that HIIT has on the body. Whilst this does happen, it’s often blown way out of proportion and the amount of calories that the body burns ‘after’ your HIIT workout is not of a great amount.

What is LISS?


LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. It’s a method of training popularized by bodybuilders & Rocky (you know the scene when he’s running through the streets, yeah?)

You would typically perform low intensity cardio over a long period of time, usually in around 30-60+ minutes. LISS can be performed using many different exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or if you’re in a gym you could use a cross trainer, rowing machine or stepper.

  • It’s easier and less fatiguing
  • You can burn a lot of calories during 45-60 minutes of continuous exercise
  • It’s great for beginners
  • Can be done with or without equipment



  • It takes 2-3 times as long as HIIT
  • Fairly monotonous
  • Loads of stress on the joints


So, what’s better for fat loss?


It depends…

It depends on:

  • Your previous exercise experience (training age)
  • Your current fitness level
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your mental strength
  • How much time you have


If you’re fairly overweight and never exercised a day in your life, LISS is going to be the best option for you. It’ll allow you to burn a shed load of calories without the need to hammer yourself into the ground. You won’t feel as sore or beat up after performing LISS which will help with adherence to the program.

However, if you’re fairly experienced and don’t have too much time on your hands then HIIT is probably the best option for you. You’ll be able to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.


Wrapping up


HIIT is great for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time but can be harder to recover from especially if you’re already weight training 2-3 times per week.


LISS is great for beginners as well as well experienced people as it allows you to burn a lot of calories without putting too much demand on the body.

So at the end of the day, it’s totally your choice. You will more than likely burn equally as many calories whatever you choose to do. As long as you are in a calorie deficit and doing some form of exercise, you will burn fat, period.

About the Author Peter Kolatowicz

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