Is Cardio Better than Strength Training for Stress Management?

When considering the benefits of regular exercise, most people immediately think of things like improved strength, stamina, and overall physical health. An additional, often under appreciated use of exercise is its role in stress management. Exercise as stress relief is a well-known concept, but if you want to maximize the benefits of exercise for stress management, is cardio better than weight training or vice versa? This article will look at the topic in more detail.

How does exercise help with stress?

It helps first to understand how exercise aids with stress management. There is a whole field of sports science dedicated to understanding the intricacies of how the body’s systems are linked. On a general level, exercise increases blood flow, optimizes your body’s use of oxygen, and releases endorphins. These endorphins are sometimes called ‘feel-good’ hormones and are the source of what’s known as the ‘runner’s high’ among cardio enthusiasts. This routine makes people feel good and provides a sense of stress relief that is much less common among weightlifters. So is cardio better than weight training for stress management?

Benefits of weight training

The benefits of strength training are well-documented and extend beyond what you’d likely expect. For example, regular weight training can improve strength and build bigger muscles. Still, it also helps lower your cholesterol, reduce the symptoms of anxiety, and can help you maintain an improved posture.

Weight training is anaerobic exercise, which is based on shorter but more intense movements than cardio. ‘Anaerobic’ literally means ‘without oxygen’ and refers to the fact that anaerobic exercises break down glucose in the body without using oxygen. It is different from aerobic activities like running and swimming, which use oxygen, and explains why you don’t hear about a ‘weightlifter’s high.’

Weightlifters may still find stress-relieving, as it is an excellent medium to channel frustration and aggression into pushing yourself to lift heavier weights and for additional repetitions. However, it doesn’t offer the same kind of endorphin-rush that cardio can. The stress relief provided by weight training is mainly dependent on an individual’s ability to channel stress into lifting more, which will work for some people but not for others.

Benefits of cardio

The sense of euphoria from a runner’s high can make you feel like your stress is melting away. However, experiencing runner’s high appears to be relatively rare, with most athletes reporting never experiencing it. So what is actually behind the stress relief experienced by those who undertake regular cardiovascular exercise?

There are two types of benefits to consider, the short-term and the long-term. In the short term, cardio requires a lot of movement over long distances. For many, this involves jogging outside. The benefits of being outside and soaking up the sun in the fresh air are well-documented. Still, cardio also requires you to focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm, pace, and breathing pattern, as well as awareness of your surroundings and the path ahead of you. It provides a natural distraction from the things in our minds that are causing us stress.

In the longer term, cardio promotes the growth of new blood vessels that help transport oxygen to the brain. It’s also thought that regular exercise encourages adult neurogenesis, which creates new brain cells. These brain cells may form in particular areas of the brain and are linked to the overall mood and well-being increases. They also help improve working memory, enable better task-switching, and have a significant anti-depressive effect. It makes the brain better able to cope with physical and mental stress, which is key to effective stress management.

Healthy body, healthy mind

Whether you choose aerobic or anaerobic exercises, there is one consistent conclusion to be drawn from all available scientific evidence. Voluntary movement is one of the best things you can do to help reduce the effects of aging, improve your physical and cognitive abilities and improve your overall health and well-being. 

In terms of stress management, both cardio and weight training can have stress-reducing effects. However, cardio does have some additional benefits over weight training that makes it a slightly better choice for stress management. The use of oxygen that comes with aerobic exercise provides some other benefits for stress management that give it a slight edge over weight training. 

That is not to say that people must choose one type of exercise and only do that. The best course of action may be to incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercises into your routine. That way, you get the benefits of both types of exercise.

Run your problems away

Cardio has the edge when it comes to stress management, so when I say run away from your problems, I mean that for the sake of your health. It may help to go running or jogging outside, as opposed to on a treadmill at the gym. The extra awareness you need when running out can help distract you from your problems, and the time away from your desk and other distractions allows you to think about your situation in a calm and meditative manner. The additional health benefits you’ll get from regular cardio exercise are the cherry on top.

Use Jefit App

Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

10 Reasons to Do More Strength Training and Cardio

Each bout of exercise has the power to improve our body both physically and psychologically. We have a tendency with exercise, however, to judge if it’s actually working by what the bathroom scale reads. Weight loss only tells half of the story. There are many areas that regular exercise improves when it comes to our body. Many of which are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of those strength training and cardio benefits.

Strength Training Benefits

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. So, if you’re looking to rev up a slow metabolism and stay functional as you age, you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • It will prevent sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10 percent or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Resistance training plays a role in disease prevention, as with type 2 diabetes.
  • Improves the way the body moves, resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • Preserves the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age. Women can expect to lose one percent of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause). Read Strong Women, Strong Bones for more information on the bone loss.

Cardiovascular Exercise Benefits

  • Aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels. Read The Inner Runner by Jason Karp, Phd and Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD for more on this topic.
  • Regular cardio exercise, like jogging, hiking, jump roping, “loads” the bones of the lower extremity, in turn, making them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger. Reduces your resting heart rate enabling your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in risk of disease.

There are many reasons to continue strength training and doing cardio exercise on a regular basis. We looked at just the tip of the iceberg here today.


Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

Try Jefit: Just Named Best Online Strength Training Workout

Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

4 Reasons You Have Low Energy at the Gym

Despite what sport or workout you do, recovery is crucial. Without taking the time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining and making yourself more prone to low energy and injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do recovery methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Different Recovery Methods to Avoid Low Energy

How to Recover from Cardio

Hydration is key to help avoid low energy. You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more.

If you’ve only done moderate level cardio, then It’s best to stay away from sports drinks that are marketed towards athletes. These drinks contain high levels of added sugar that aren’t needed for moderate workouts.

You can drink these sports drinks and other liquids with electrolytes after longer cardio sessions.

How to Recover from HIIT

HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, consists of short bursts of extreme exercise followed by rest break. This definitely gets your heart ramping up a lot quicker than LISS or moderate exercise. You’ll also be burning calories after your workout thanks to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen it takes to restore your body to its normal state. HIIT boosts this process.

As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). This way, you are feeding your body the fuel it needs by letting your muscles grow and restore glycogen stores.

HIIT is very taxing on the body so it is best to give yourself one full day in between to recover. Doing it every day or even multiple times a day can really increase your risk of overtraining. Do yourself a favor, and take a break in order to avoid bouts of low energy from too much intense exercise.

How to Recover from Running

After a run, you would have sweat quite a bit. So, surprise, surprise, you will need to restore your fluids. Water and/or electrolytes is your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drink/snack that you can have. It embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need, and of course, it’s delicious.

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

Just remember to incorporate rest days into your schedule. Running puts a lot of stress and pressure on your joints, so it’s crucial to give them a break. At least one rest day a week is ideal, and maybe even two.

If you find it difficult to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sedentary the entire day. Go for a walk, or do some low-impact activities. Swimming is a great one because it takes the stress off your joints, while still allowing you to get some exercise in.

How to Recover from Strength Training

As strength training focuses primarily on building your muscles, you’ll need to make sure you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a workout. You would have depleted your muscle stores so it’s important to refuel. This will aid in recovery, help avoid low energy, as well as promote muscle growth.

You’ll also need to ensure that you drink water and have a good, filling meal. Stick to the 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio to maximize recovery. You have probably heard the perfect recovery drink with this exact ratio is chocolate milk.

The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, such as back, shoulders, legs, etc, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week.

If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a days rest in between to recover.

Just Listen to Your Body

While the general rule of thumb is to give the same muscle group a rest day, minimum, in between workouts. Otherwise, you risk overtraining. And at the end of the day, just listen to your body. If you’re feeling the effects of training that transcends beyond normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then take a break. You won’t ruin your progress by taking a couple of days off, in fact, you’ll probably help it. Use a foam roller post workout to help recover faster and help with DOMS.

Make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll facilitate the muscle recovery process and help to speed it up. It might be a good idea to foam roll as well. This will lessen the recovery times for each activtity.

Workout with Jefit

Track your training, record your progress, and customize your workout plan with Jefit. Jefit is a workout log app that provides you with all the tools you need to hit your fitness goals. We even have a members-only Facebook group where you can connect with like-minded people and share fitness and nutrition tips and advice.

Here Are The Highest Calorie Burning Exercises to Choose

The following article takes a look at the best movements to choose when you want to use the highest calorie burning exercises. There are many exercises that are available to you when working out from home or the gym. But what are the best options from a high caloric expenditure stand point? We have looked through the research and various articles to bring you that list.

These types of exercises are great individually or when mixed into a circuit or high-intensity training session. Obviously, the heavier the person, the higher the caloric expenditure per minute of exercise. Just a reminder when you look over this and other types of data like this.

Various Factors Affecting Calorie Burn

There are many factors that go into determining how many calories someone expends during exercise. Here is a great article on that topic by Robert Robergs, PhD and Len Kravitz, PhD. Here are eight factors, many of which you can manipulate, that will influence your calorie burn.


Basically, the more you weigh, the greater amount of calories you expend during exercise. Pretty simple.

*Type of Exercise

Cardio-based workouts typically involve higher calorie burning exercises. They usually burn more calories than other types of workouts like strength training or doing yoga. The key word here is intensity. Finally, there can be a different outcome with a well-designed exercise program. See the study, found below, by Falcone and colleagues reporting a HIIT session out performing a cardio workout involving men as test subjects.

*Exercise Intensity

The higher the intensity, the more calories you end up burning per minute. If I can get all exercise physiology on you for a moment…for every liter of oxygen you consume during exercise you expend about 5 calories. Keep in mind, the harder you breathe during activity, the greater the oxygen intake resulting in a higher caloric expenditure. Not to mention an elevated EPOC hours after your exercise is done.


Stands for excess post oxygen consumption. The higher the exercise intensity, the higher the “after burn.” Meaning, your body continues to expend calories long after the workout is finished. For this to happen, though, it has to be a very heavy lifting day or a HIT type workout. The intensity needs to be very high during the workout. As in, you couldn’t carry on a conversation because you’re breathing so hard.

*Compound Movements

When you perform a total body movement like a deadlift or push press exercise, you’ll burn more calories than say a concentrated biceps curl.

*Men Typically Burn More Calories than Women

This is simply a result of most men having a higher percentage of muscle mass than most women. This is not always the case however. Over the years I have run stadium stairs with female Olympic and college athletes. I can attest, some female athletes can out do any guy… it can be a truly humbling experience!

*Current Fitness Level

There are many benefits to living a healthy lifestyle. Staying in great shape allows an individual to work harder in their workouts and in turn, elicit a greater calorie burn during exercise.

*Your Age

The older the person, the less calories they burn in a given period of time. This is due to muscle mass. As we age we lose muscle and this affects metabolic rate and calorie burn.

Highest Calorie Burning Exercises for Short Duration

A Men’s Journal article compared four different activities, using a 5-minute testing period, to rank the highest caloric expenditure.  The four different exercises included: body-weight exercises, jogging, swinging a kettlebell, and jumping rope.  All are great forms of exercises and you need minimal equipment to perform each exercise. They determined jumping rope was number one, when it came to a 5-minute workout, burning 79 calories while the body weight exercises, consisting of push-ups and pull-ups, came in fifth using 51 total calories.

Jumping rope is a great training tool and should be used more prior to a workout. To continue on the topic of jumping rope, it has been reported that 10-minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to jogging for 30-minutes. Interesting numbers, though, especially the kettlebell swings being higher than pushing and pulling your body weight for 5-minutes. This was probably due to the subject getting more total swings with a kettlebell during the 5-minute period.

1st – Jumping Rope (79 calories/5-minutes)

2nd – Swinging a Kettlebell (63 calories/5-minutes)

3rd – Jogging (53 calories/5-minutes)

4th – Push-Up & Pull-Up combo (51 calories/5-minutes)

Men’s Journal

Here are a few great activities that the next study can hopefully look at. Compare the effects of 5-minutes of cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing, jogging up hill, HIIT using a bike or rower, an Assault bike (Schwinn Air-Dyne), Concept 2 Cross-Country Ski, CLMBR, and stadium stair running.

Some of the Highest Calorie Burning Exercises for Longer Duration

There was another report that I came across, with somewhat different results, that looked at calories burn for 10 to 30-minutes of activity. The group used an energy calculator from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The study did acknowledge that every body is different and while one routine may work well for one person it might not be as efficient for another. Here are the results from that particular study. Keep in mind these numbers were based individuals who weighed only 130-pounds.

1st – Running/Jogging – 206 calories per 30-minutes

2nd – Hiking – 176 calories per 30-minutes.

3rd – Biking/Cycling – 5.5 mph – 117 calories per 30-minutes

4th – Jumping Rope – (fast pace) – 115 calories per 10-minutes*

5th – Walking (moderate pace) – 97 calories per 30-minutes

6th – Weightlifting – 88 calories per 30-minutes


Obviously, if you are are 200-pound male, these numbers would be significantly higher. Again, the different calorie outputs for jumping rope (for 5 and 10 minutes) most likely, had do to bodyweight and speed of jumping (i.e., pace or rpm or # of toe taps).

In one last article, Harvard Medical School reported calorie burn for over 100 different activities. The group looked at the difference in calorie burn for 30-minutes of activity for 125, 155 and 185-pound individuals. They also did not report if they were men or women, or how much lean muscle they had, so keep that in mind. They just looked at overall bodyweight.

What The Exercise Research Says

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Falcone and colleagues, compared the energy expenditure of single exercise sessions using resistance, aerobic, and combined exercise involving the same duration. The test subjects were young, active men. All sessions were 30-minutes. The resistance training session used 75 percent of their 1-RM, the aerobic session, on a treadmill, used 70 percent maximum heart rate. The high-intensity interval session (HIIT) session was done on a hydraulic resistance system (HRS). The HRS workout used intervals of 20-seconds of maximum effort followed by 40-seconds of rest. The HIIT session using the HRS had the highest caloric expenditure of the three workouts. The data suggest that individuals can burn more calories performing HIIT with HRS than spending the same amount of time performing steady-state exercise.

A 2012 study at Colorado State University found that test subjects who worked out on a stationary bike for less than 25 minutes, with just a few sprints mixed in, expended an additional 200 calories a day, due to excess-post oxygen consumption (EPOC) or commonly known as the after-burn effect.

The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reviewed interval training. Subjects exercised using high-intensity intervals. The total amount of calories expended one-hour post workout was 107 percent more than low-intensity, short duration exercise. And 143 percent more than with low intensity, long duration exercise! That’s because interval exercise peaking at levels above a 70 percent maximum-intensity effort, speeds up metabolism for up to three hours after exercise – a benefit not found with low-intensity exercise.

Hopefully this article sheds more light on this topic regarding the best exercises to choose when the main interest is high calorie burn.

Stay Strong With Jefit

Join the millions of members who have had great success using the Jefit app. The award-winning app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

Learn the Nuances of High Intensity Interval Training

Sometimes you may feel you need a PhD just to understand the differences between all the cardio terminology. For example, do you grapple with how to perform a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session or a Tabata protocol? Do you understand the subtle differences? Not to worry, most people from my experience don’t really know either. The following information includes insight on some of the more well-known cardio terms that are used.

Cardio Terminology: The Difference Between HIIT and Tabata

Two of the main differences in these protocols are time and intensity. Tabata is completed in just four-minutes using maximal intensity. In respect to rest periods, Tabata has shorter rest periods then HIIT, which are always 10-seconds. Other HIIT protocols have longer recovery periods, typically 30-seconds to one-minute but sometimes up to two-minutes. Finally, Tabata involves 8 rounds of intense exercise using a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio (20 seconds on and 10 seconds off). The total workout time equates to only 4-minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down. Keep in mind, your heart rate and breathing are really elevated and you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation during that time.

The one key word in all of these cardio definitions is INTENSITY. The workout time is less than steady state cardio, therefore, it has to be performed at a higher intensity level. As explained by leading HIIT expert, Martin Gibala, PhD, author of the One-Minute Workout. “The harder you go, the shorter the duration and the fewer intervals you need to achieve the same benefits of a much longer endurance-training workout.”

The Obsession with Intervals

Athletes have been using forms of interval training since 1902, a runner by the name of Joe Binks was one of the first athletes to understand the value of this type of training. By 1910-12, it started gaining more popularity after a few Finnish Olympic runners won Gold medals using intervals as part of their training. It wasn’t until 1930, though, when Franz Stampfl, who coached Roger Bannister (world’s first sib-4-minute miler), took interval training to new heights. He is considered the person who “was responsible for introducing the notion of interval training as we know it today (Noakes).”

The idea behind interval training is to push your body past anaerobic threshold (typically 85 percent of maximum heart rate) for a desired time. Following this, you return back to more of a comfortable aerobic threshold before repeating this sequence for “x” amount of intervals depending on your proposed training outcome. The final goal is to improve your overall performance level.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT has gained popularity because it brings an understandable “to do” message that gets across to the public. Meaning, health guidelines continue to push 150-minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Another option for that is 75-minutes of vigorous exercise per week to accumulate health benefits. The issue however is most people don’t get close to reaching those numbers. HIIT is more manageable, more challenging yes, but doable. High intensity interval training is simply a method of training where the intensity of the workout is manipulated, in an undulating fashion, for a specific period of time.

I like to think of HIIT as the driver of the bus and all other cardio-type workouts (terminology) as unique features of the bus. Think of it like HIIT being the parent and their kids are Tabata, Fartlek and Intervals, all belonging to the same family but yet slightly different.

A big take away from HIIT is the following. The harder and faster you can work in a training session, the less time you need to exercise. Go as fast as you can using short bursts. As a results, you can get the same endurance benefits but with less than 5 percent of the time exercising hard. Not to mention you’re working out only a third of the time compared to someone doing traditional or steady state cardio (i.e. 150-minutes a week) for longer duration.

Who Created Tabata and What is it?

Why none other than Mr. Izumi Tabata, PhD, a Japanese research scientist. He actually had a little help from a Japanese Olympic speed skating coach but that’s a story for another day.

What is it? Tabata training is a method of endurance training. A 4-minute workout sounds way too simple I know but trust me, it’s not! The original study used a type of stationary bike and had test subjects perform seven to eight 20-second, all-out sprints, each separated by just 10 seconds of rest. Following 6-weeks of training college students, five days a week, participants increased their aerobic fitness by 14 percent.

By comparison, a second group – who performed more traditional steady state exercise on the same bike for 60 minutes – experienced an increase in aerobic fitness by only 10 percent. In other words, the 4-minute workout was found to be more effective than an hour of cycling at a moderate pace. Even more significant was the fact that the Tabata participants saw a 28 percent improvement in anaerobic capacity. This was the first study of its kind that showed both aerobic and anaerobic benefits received from biking.

What’s a Fartlek?

The word fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. Think of it as continuous running with intervals mixed in. The intensity of the intervals used depends on how good the person feels that day. Back in the 1930’s coaches started using this type of training with their athletes. According to the Science of Running website, “fartlek training was a very informal type of training where you vary the speed based on the athletes feel. This means you vary the speed throughout the run often times alternating fast/slow, or fast/medium, or medium/slow.” 

Keep in mind, the different forms of interval training mentioned here are basically, high-intensity interval training. Each of which is very strenuous on the body and require only 1-2 sessions a week to obtain real benefits. More is not better when it comes to interval training. The focus should be about quality of training not quantity.

Workout and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members are having great success using the Jefit app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.


Noakes, Tim, Lore of Running (4th edition), Human Kinetics: IL, 2003.

Gibala, Martin, The One-Minute Workout, Avery: New York, 2017.

HIIT or LISS: Which One Will Get Me Better Results?


While we all know that getting in daily exercise is important to everyone, there is much debate about what kind of exercise is best for us, especially with cardio training. There are two popular forms of cardio HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Cardio). Each has their own pros and cons, so if you are wondering whether to do HIIT or LISS, here is what you should know.

Is HIIT or LISS Better For Me?

LISS – Low Intensity Steady State Cardio

LISS or Low Intensity Steady State Cardio, is a form of aerobic (“with oxygen”) exercise. This means that improves your oxygen intake. LISS is typically performed for 30-60 minutes at a steady pace with limited changes in speed or intensity. It is referred to as low intensity as you usually only hit 45-65% of your estimated maximum heart rate.


If you are comparing HIIT or LISS, LISS is advantageous in a number of areas.

Less demanding on the body

Because it is low intensity, it is less demanding on the body. It is also easier on the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Less injury risk

It also means that the risk of injury is also much lower than other alternative forms. You are moving at a steadier pace so you are not pushing yourself too hard, with can be hard on the body.

Better at initial fat burn

One of the best benefits of LISS is that it is better at fat burning than HIIT, initially. You use the fat stored in your body as the primary source of energy as opposed to glycogen. This is why when people start doing LISS, they see great results.


However, there are some downfalls that might mean turning to other forms of cardio for the results that you want.

Longer sessions

While the sessions themselves are not as taxing as HIIT, this means that your workouts will be much longer; you are not using as much energy as fast. If you are busy or don’t have much time, LISS may not be the best option for you.

Less motivated to workout

Following on from that, because the sessions are longer, you may be less motivated to actually get started in the first place.

Only burns calories during the workout

Another downfall of LISS is that you only burn calories while you are doing the workout. Unfortunately, once your session is done, you will not continue to burn calories afterwards.

The body adapts quickly to LISS

While I mentioned that LISS is great for fat burning initially, the keyword here was initially. This is because your body will quickly adapt to your LISS workouts, meaning that the once-great results you may have seen at the start will not last long.

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

On the other hand of the spectrum is HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT has become a buzzword in the fitness industry, gaining momentum in popularity.

HIIT consists of shorter more intense sessions of 10-60 seconds of work. This is alternated with rest or light activity time (this is where the interval part of the name comes in). HIIT brings your heart rate up to 70-90% of your maximum heart rate.

Unlike LISS, HIIT is anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise because your body uses more oxygen than it can be supplied. This why with HIIT, you will run out of breath more quickly and your muscles will burn (caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles). The rest periods in HIIT are important because it allows your body to clear the lactic acid and rebuild oxygen levels.


Here are some advantages of high intensity interval training that may help you decide between HIIT or LISS.

Shorter sessions

If you are deciding between HIIT or LISS, the time factor may be a big key to consider. HIIT sessions are much shorter and more time efficient than LISS sessions. This is because the intensity levels are higher so you will become fatigued quite quickly.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Unlike with LISS, HIIT workouts help keep your body burning calories long after your session is done because of EPOC. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, refers to the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its normal metabolic level (called homeostasis).

The body has to work hard to rebuild the oxygen levels up that it lost during the session, which is why you continue to burn calories and fat post-workout, even for up to 24 hours.

Better for long-term fat loss

While people see great results with LISS at the start, HIIT is better for long-term fat loss results.

Helps with muscle retention

One reason why people tend to avoid cardio is that they do not want to lose muscle. HIIT helps with retaining muscle because it includes weight training and movements that activate the muscles the same way that strength training does.


More demanding on the body

Due to the high intensity nature of HIIT, you do place a lot more stress on the body. This also means that there is an increased risk of injury.

Longer recovery time

It does take longer to recover from a HIIT workout so due to the physical demands, it can be challenging to complete HIIT workout every single day so you will have to find alternate workouts in between to give your body a break.

Can be intimidating for beginners

It can be intimidating for new people to give it a go at first. It does look intense because it is intense but also very rewarding!

So Should I Choose HIIT or LISS?

The final answer does depend on your preference and lifestyle. If you find yourself skipping workouts because you’re dreading the hour-long jog, then try giving HIIT a go. If you hate the intensity of HIIT, then turn to LISS. A good idea, however, would be to do both on alternate days and rotate between the two so that you can reap the benefits of each.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.