There is a type of cardio workout in the world of fitness that is classified as Low Intensity Steady State (LISS).

This type of training has different benefits such as primary fat burning, active recovery (for those who have high intensity workouts as part of their daily routines), and a stress buffer for the mind and the body’s ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints. Incorporating this type of workout will also help in minimizing the risk of injury.

Heart Rate


While you are executing this type of training, a key component is your heart rate and keeping it between 60 – 70 % of your maximum heart rate.

Here’s a formula you can use in order to calculate your training heart rate. First subtract your current age from 220 (220 – your current age = your maximum heart rate). Next multiply your maximum heart rate by a percentage range of 60 to 70%. This will give you your LISS training heart rate.

To give you a perspective on the intensity level, you could use a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being relatively still like reading or watching a movie, and 10 as a workout that puts you at the brink of a “point of no return”. Now you can set your level to be around a 3 or 4.

Start out at 30 minutes for the overall duration, then work up to 45 minutes, then 60 minutes. As you work more with this approach on a consistent basis, you will be able to pick up the pace, but it will feel like you are exerting yourself at the same level.

The energy system you will be tapping into is the aerobic system

Since your heart rate will be lower than training in the cardio training zone, your body will be mostly burning fat for its fuel. If your heart rate goes higher into a state of being anaerobic, your body will be burning mostly glucose for its fuel. You will be burning calories during both types of training, it is just a matter of which type of source it will use.

So by keeping your heart rate in the 60-70% training zone, it will help ensure that your body will burn fat as its primary source of fuel.

LISS cardio workout_2

Here are a few additional reasons that make LISS popular

The activity is not so intimidating – swimming or walking for example are easy entry level exercises compared to immersing yourself into a boot camp class.

After you build your endurance, you can take on higher levels of intense exercise, if that is your objective. Also, with low effort you can get positive results when you combine time and intensity.

So, you can implement this type of training into your routine, along with a balanced diet (pre, during, and post workout), but keep in mind that if you only do the LISS training, it can lead to a negative yield in your basal (base) metabolic rate and lean muscle mass. This means that you could possibly lean out, but you will lose strength.

In order to maximize your efforts, you should combine the LISS with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in order lose the fat. That is because HIIT is great at breaking up the hard to burn fat and LISS is great at metabolizing it. So there you go the “one – two punch”!

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