Is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) the best exercise for weight loss?

Posted by Harmony Stagg on

The question remains: Does slow and steady win the race or does HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) win the race for fat loss? Here is what we found out:

In recent years, new and exciting forms of cardiovascular exercise have emerged, with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a clear frontrunner. This shorter form of cardio has been gradually replacing more conventional forms of cardio exercise such as long jogs, walking or distance cycling, which are all known as Low Intensity Steady-State (LISS) exercise.


The main reason for the switch?


HIIT is said to be superior for health and fitness as well as fat loss, not to mention it takes less time to accomplish. Those who have very little time to hit the gym now have a more efficient option that still gets the job done.


What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?


High Intensity Interval Training uses high speed, explosive movements for short periods (usually 10 to 30 seconds), separated by short breaks, (also usually 10-30 seconds).


What is Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) Cardio?


Low intensity steady state cardio entails maintaining a steady, but moderately intense pace, like in jogging or cycling, for a more prolonged period (usually 30 to 60 minutes).


HIIT has been claimed to burn more calories overall, improve fitness to a greater extent, and help boost health.


But, while some of these claims may have merit, the majority of them may have been overstated. Below, we look at the similarities and differences between the two forms of cardio to help you decide which one should be included in your routine.

Benefits of HIIT and LISS

As counterintuitive as it may seem, these two types of cardio routines are actually very similar in terms of their benefits and their effects on the body.


Both are effective in developing aerobic fitness and can burn a significant amount of calories to help you lose fat. From a health perspective, both can also help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol and may even help boost mental health.


This is because HIIT and LISS raise the heart rate, which causes an increase in fat burning.


Both forms of exercise can also be carried out using a range of different exercises, from jogging to cycling or rowing for long distance training, to bodyweight exercises and weightlifting for HIIT training.


So, whether you're looking to do HIIT training or steady-state exercise to get in your cardio, you can still obtain all the health benefits and variety you desire.


Main Differences Between HIIT and LISS

The main differences between both forms of cardio are the time they take to complete and the intensity at which they are performed. However, there are one or two small but unique benefits that may be useful for certain trainees.


Firstly, HIIT has been shown to provide similar health and fitness benefits to steady-state training at only a fraction of the time, with HIIT usually only taking a quarter of the time.


Secondly, HIIT takes place at a much higher intensity, at usually 70-100% maximum effort compared to 60-75% maximum effort for steady-state exercise.


This means that HIIT can also develop your anaerobic fitness, which can be useful for athletes who compete at high intensity, which is one unique benefit to this form of cardio.


Another unique benefit of HIIT is that it may be useful for experienced athletes who already have a high level of fitness and require a higher level of effort to keep making progress in cardiovascular fitness.


Which is Better for Weight Loss?


If you’re a high-level athlete or someone short on time, HIIT may be the better choice of workout. HIIT increases Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which are the extra calories you burn after exercise, by up to 14% versus the EPOC from LISS which is measured at around 7%. So if you were to burn 500 calories during your HIIT workout, you can burn up to 70 calories more even after you have completed your workout for a total of 570 calories burned.

 More calories burned means greater weight loss, so for best results, HIIT is your best option!

For more informative blogs on all things Health, Fitness, Fashion & Lifestyle or to browse the most functional activewear, no matter what type of exercise you do, you can find it at  


Gaesser, G. A., & Angadi, S. S. (2011). High-intensity interval training for health and fitness: can less be more?. Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(6), 1540-1541.


Gillen, J. B., & Gibala, M. J. (2013). Is high-intensity interval training a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness?. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 39(3), 409-412.


Keating, S. E., Machan, E. A., O'Connor, H. T., Gerofi, J. A., Sainsbury, A., Caterson, I. D., & Johnson, N. A. (2014). Continuous exercise but not high intensity interval training improves fat distribution in overweight adults. Journal of obesity, 2014.


Paquette, M., Le Blanc, O., Lucas, S. J. E., Thibault, G., Bailey, D. M., & Brassard, P. (2016). Effects of submaximal and supramaximal interval training on determinants of endurance performance in endurance athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports.for more informative blogs on all things Health, Fitness, Fashion & Lifestyle 

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