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LISS Workouts Vs. HIIT Workouts: Which Is Better?

Working out on a regular basis can be a challenge, both physically and mentally. Many people struggle with finding the motivation to keep exercising every day.

This is especially the case if your workout regimen is difficult and intense – and it is for this reason that LISS workouts have become such a hit.

Young people exercising on cardio stepper in gym

LISS stands for Low-Intensity Steady State. It refers to a way of working out at a moderate state, without the goal working up to maximum capacity. It offers many of the same benefits of higher intensity workouts while offering its own unique advantages as well.

The goal of LISS is to reach a cardio workout level without putting excessive stress on the body. This makes it an excellent workout for people with arthritis or back pain, along with those who are new to following a regular exercise schedule.

These are the main characteristics of LISS workouts:

  • Cardio level – The ideal cardio level for this type of workout is between 60 and 80 percent of maximal heart rate. To calculate that rate, take your age and subtract it from 220. Then calculate 60 and 80 percent of that number.
  • Steady state – A LISS workout involves raising your heart rate and then staying at a steady state. That means not pushing yourself to the limit at any time.
  • Length – The workout is usually between 40 and 60 minutes, longer than most higher intensity workouts.


If you are health conscious, you have likely heard about High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These exercises involve working out at maximum capacity for 1 minute, then resting for 30 seconds, then repeating the cycle until the end of the workout. The HIIT workout has a proven track record of rapid weight loss and building cardio stamina.

The desired heart rate for a HIIT workout is at least 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. For example a 40-year-old woman has the average maximum heart rate of 180. Take 85 percent of that, and her heart rate should be 153 during a HIIT workout. That's significantly less than the LISS desired range of 108 to 144 for the same 40-year-old.

The HIIT style of workout has been popular for many years now due to its rapid, dramatic results. However, you may be surprised to discover that a LISS workout can give you results similar to a HIIT workout over the same time frame – according to a recent study.

In this study, two groups of people were asked to work out, with half participating in HIIT workouts and half participating in LISS. Both groups exercised five times a week.

The study found that both groups lost the same amount of weight. The weight loss happened because both groups were burning similar amounts of calories, despite the difference in intensity.

Advantages To LISS

LISS offers similar benefits to HIIT, but it also has its own unique advantages as well, including:

  • Faster recovery – HIIT workouts leave you feeling drained and take longer to recover from. LISS offers a less draining, faster recovery.
  • Higher aerobic fitness – Steady state exercising actually builds aerobic fitness and endurance, much better than interval training.
  • Fewer injuries – HIIT requires going at full force, which makes a person more prone to injury. LISS is easier on the joints, which makes injury less likely to happen.
  • More likely to stay with it – Reaching a healthy weight and fitness level requires a person to stick with exercise. HIIT's draining workouts turn many people away. LISS participants are more likely to stay with it.

If you are comparing workouts, the LISS is going to stand out for its results as well as its safer approach. To learn more about LISS or other workout options, contact the experts at Matrix Age Management in Amarillo.

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Tags: Women's Health, Exercise, Men's Health

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