Alternatives to HIIT

5 mins read

80/20 Training

The 80/20 training is practised by competitive runners or even amateurs who are trying to hit their new personal best. This regiment requires you to train at a low intensity for 80% of your runs and at a higher intensity for the remaining 20% of your workouts. You do not need to be running your heart out every session to the point where you want to collapse or until your heart is beating out of your chest. Studies have shown that those that train with an 80/20 split perform better than those that are training at a moderate to high intensity (i.e. same intensity) for all their workouts. If you are not able to follow the 80/20 split, it is fine to train with a 75/25 split which means if you train 4 times a week, you should train at a low intensity for 3 days and high intensity for 1 day of the week. The closer you stick to the 80/20 split, the better your results would be.

Low-Intensity Steady State(LISS)

HIIT requires a burst of effort approximately 70 to 90% of your max heart rate for a shorter interval followed by a rest and then repeating the cycle and it is usually completed within 15 to 30 minutes.

LISS on the other hand requires you to perform at around 50 to 65 %of your max heart rate but for longer durations. For LISS workouts you may not be burning calories after your workout unlike HIIT however during a LISS workout you could be burning more fat.

To burn the fat your body requires oxygen, in LISS workouts your body can take in more oxygen than performing HIIT or running. Some of the common LISS workouts are walking, hiking, swimming or even casual cycling. A great way to include this into your daily cycle of life would be to go for walks after or before your meals or even as a break for your work.

Interval Training

The dynamics of interval training is similar to that of HIIT. It requires you to exert your body at full capacity for a required time or distance. If you are training for a 5-minute mile or a 2.4km run you would probably set a time interval to complete a 400m interval.

People who perform interval training already know that they are going to be burning calories but their main goal is to clock faster times. If you perform interval training, over time you would observe an increase in speed, endurance and oxygen intake and capacity.

Let us use a very common physical test dreaded by every able-bodied Singaporean male, the 2.4km run. If you want to run a 2.4km under 11 minutes and 30 seconds, each lap needs to completed in 1 minute and 55 seconds. So you could conduct your intervals in the following combinations:

  1. 1 lap at 1 minute and 50 seconds followed by a rest of the same time as you take to complete the lap. Completing 6 to 8 laps would be sufficient for you to see results within 2 weeks or less that is if you do not cheat yourself
  2. 1 lap at 1 minute and 50 seconds followed by a rest of the same time as you take to complete the lap(s). After resting, run 2 laps under 3 minutes and 40 seconds before resting for the same duration as you take to complete the lap(s). Complete the remaining 3 laps in reverse order(2 laps followed by 1 lap). You could perform 6 or 9 laps for this combination.
    Set your target pace according to your target timing. The rule of thumb is that you should be running your intervals at a faster lap time than your average lap time of a 2.4km run. Your first day on the track should be used to gauge exactly how fast your current timing is so that you would know how far you are from your expected goals. From here you can start to formulate your training plan.


Each workout has its purpose and benefit. So choose the workouts that best suits you and the one that you could see yourself enjoying so that it becomes a lifestyle than a chore.

  1. Fargo, M. (2017, October 20). What exactly is LISS & what’s it good for? Your full guide to the fat burning exercise. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Womenshealthmag.com website: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/strength-training/a703183/what-is-liss-low-intensity-steady-state-exercise/
  2. Daniels, J. (2010, January 15). Interval training tips for runners. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Active.com website: https://www.active.com/running/articles/interval-training-tips-for-runners
  3. Fitzgerald, M. (2016, May 26). Using the 80/20 rule to balance triathlon training intensity. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Trainingpeaks.com website: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/using-the-80-20-rule-to-balance-triathlon-training-intensity/
  4. Itsines, K. (2017, April 9). Why LISS should be part of your workout routine. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Kaylaitsines.com website: https://www.kaylaitsines.com/blogs/education/liss-cardio\
  5. Tigar, L. (2020, July 30). Everything you need to know about your heart rate and HIIT. Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Well+Good website: https://www.wellandgood.com/heart-rate-zones-hiit/
  6. What is 80/20 training? (2019, June 4). Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Runnersworld.com website: https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/motivation/a27718661/what-is-80-20-running/

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