I want to lose weight. Should I take a long walk or do a short HIIT workout? (MSN)

Posted: May 15, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in MSN on May 15, 2023.


I want to lose weight. Should I take a long walk or do a short HIIT workout?

By Tiffany Ayuda

If you had to pick the better runner — a sprinter or a marathoner — the answer would depend on the type of race. In a 200-meter race, the sprinter will have an edge over the marathoner, but if it calls for, say, 18 miles, the marathoner will outrun the sprinter.

That’s how you should think about high-intensity interval training and low-intensity steady state cardio. One type of workout isn’t necessarily better than the other, but one might be better suited for you, depending on your fitness goals.

What exactly is the difference between HIIT and LISS cardio? HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of intense effort with periods of rest or active recovery. There are many ways to do HIIT, but some of the most popular work-to-rest ratios are 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest, 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest, or four minutes of alternating between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest (also known as a Tabata).

LISS cardio is low-intensity exercise, such as walking, jogging and cycling, at a relatively easy pace.

“If you’re looking to do a marathon, mud run or endurance-based activity, put some energy into LISS. But if you’re looking to be more explosive, athletic or build muscle, HIIT workouts are best suited to help you do that,” says personal trainer Rafique “Flex” Cabral.

To help you decide which type of exercise is best for you, here are different scenarios where HIIT or LISS could be more beneficial.


HIIT helps you build and maintain moderate amounts of lean muscle mass. It also produces an after-burn effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, says Cabral. EPOC is the amount of calories you burn long after your workout is over, and HIIT is the most effective workout for stimulating EPOC, according to the American Council on Exercise.

The after-burn effect of EPOC can last anywhere from 12 to 48 hours, according to the ACE. “(With HIIT) you will produce an after-burn effect with 25% more calories burned post-workout compared to going for a run or walk,” says Reed, and your metabolism can be boosted by up to 10% for three days after a HIIT workout. “Maintaining a routine that involves HIIT training three to four times a week will help compound that post-workout effect on your metabolism,” Cabral explains.


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