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Can You Lose Weight With Low-Intensity Cardio

Low-Intensity Steady State or LISS workouts are trending right now and for all the right reasons. Unlike the contrasting option HIIT, where you do intense circuits of exercises with short recovery intervals, LISS training allows you to focus on a steady workout over a long period of time. This helps you climb the slope of stamina at a sustainable and gradual pace instead of pushing you to the limit. That’s why more people are getting interested in this form of training.


Conventional wisdom says you should do intense exercises that create enough sweat to blind you. For people who don’t want that kind of hardcore routine, LIS is a welcome break. However, it also creates some doubts. Can a low-intensity routine help you effectively burn fat and lose weight? Let’s find out.

Fat Burning with LISS

For a qualitative comparison if you think of HIIT as a short sprint, think of LISS as a long marathon. It incorporates different forms of aerobic-based and cardio exercises that are done for a long time at low intensity. Your body needs oxygen to efficiently burn fat. When you train at a lower intensity, your body uses up a constant amplified supply of energy to break down fat and turn it into energy. That means you aren’t over-exerting yourself in your journey to weight loss.


  1. Ideal fat burning zone - Since the definition of LISS is quite broad it can include a lot of exercises. You may be on a LISS routine without knowing it. However, there’s an easy way to identify a LISS exercise. Your body has an ideal fat-burning zone that usually lingers around 70 to 80 percent of your cardiovascular capacity. If your steady-state exercise is in that zone, you can successfully burn fat. If you can identify exercises that keep you in that zone modify your routine around them for optimal fat-burning benefits.


  1. Other heart rate zones - While steady-state exercise with the ideal 70 to 80 percent of your heart rate is the optimal fat-burning zone, you can get other benefits if you go above or below that zone. If you are in the light zone of 50 to 70 percent, you can develop your endurance to last longer through your exercises and marathons. If the exercise keeps your heart rate above the ideal zone, you will be gasping for air and won’t be able to prolong your exercise for a long time.


  1. High heart rate turns it into a HIIT exercise - When your heart rate is high at around 90 percent or more of your maximum limit, you won’t be able to maintain a steady-state. Instead, exercises that make your body do that are categorized as HIIT training since they are intense and can be sustained for a minute or less.

Examples of LISS training

If you aren’t on LISS training, this list of steady-state exercises will help you out:


  • Walking on an incline
  • Fast-paced walking(not sprinting or running)
  • Swimming at a regular pace
  • Cycling at a low gear or low resistance
  • Cross-Training


If you have a heart monitor or a smartwatch that can monitor your heart rate, measure your maximum heart rate with the most intense workout. Then try these LISS exercises to check if you can do them with 70 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 15 minutes.

Duration of a good LISS workout

As mentioned before, you need to spend more time than usual for a LISS workout to be effective. The good thing is LISS doesn’t demand a lot of commitment and is easy to get into for beginners who want to shed extra pounds. If you have combined a few LISS exercises to form a circuit, you should spend at least 10 minutes on each exercise for positive results. However, if you stick to a single cardio machine, exercise on it at a steady pace for around an hour.

Effective Weight Loss with LISS

While LISS is a great way to lose fat, you can get maximum benefits when you combine it with HIIT routines. After you do a HIIT workout, doing a LISS exercise helps you break the stubborn fat(triglyceride bonds) within the adipose tissue. Moreover, the body quickly adapts to change. This alternative routine can help you keep your body trained and motivated for burning more calories and increase lean muscle instead of searching for an easier alternative. A dynamic workout also keeps you interested and prevents boredom from h