What Is The Difference Between HIIT And Interval Training

What Is The Difference Between HIIT And Interval Training
The terms “high-intensity interval training” (HIIT), and “interval training”, are used quite often in the fitness industry. The thing is, they are two completely different types of workouts, but can often be confused and interchanged.

Both of these forms of exercise have benefits and can be beneficial to someone’s goals regarding their health and wellness. But, how do you know which one is right for you and your body? Let’s break down each of these training styles so you can decide which is best for your overall goals.

What Is HIIT Training?

Time is typically of the essence for most people, after all, skipping out on physical activity due to time constraints is one of the top reasons that people push their exercise to the back burner. With school meetings, work conferences, and everything in between, it can be hard to fit in the recommended amount of movement every day, until you do HIIT.

HIIT has become a highly popular workout regime for many people – and for good reason! Effective and efficient, HIIT is a fabulous resource for those looking to get the most bang for their buck – and in a short time frame. Workouts are typically formatted in order to be done in under half an hour, which means you have more time for things outside of the gym while still getting a killer workout, and reaping the benefits from it.

Think about it like this: you are working the hardest that you can for a period of 20-30 seconds at a time, and then performing a lower intensity movement for the same amount of time. This continues until there is complete fatigue, with hardly any break at all.

This quick turnaround ratio of hard work to moderate work definitely stresses the muscles and therefore requires more oxygen and repair during and after your workout. This can lead to an increase in stroke volume and increased aerobic capacity. On the flip side, injury can be prevalent with HIIT, due to form breaking down as the workout progresses. This type of workout is ideal if you’re looking to improve your metabolism and aerobic/anaerobic systems, but if you’re someone who might push too hard at the start, it’s best to get a trainer to tag along to ensure you can hold form appropriately.

What Is Interval Training?

This type of exercise is similar to HIIT, but with some very distinct differences – there are still periods of all-out movement, but then followed by a period of rest. Think 30 seconds of hard work, and then 20-30 seconds of rest, or minimal exercise. This rest period built-in, however long it may be, allows for the person to be able to go a bit longer than they normally would doing HIIT with no break at all. This allows for the periods of work and rest to be more variable than HIIT training, which typically wouldn’t have an all-out burst of work for 2 minutes.

Interval training has similar benefits as HIIT. You will end up saving more time by incorporating an effective workout into your daily routine. You don’t need any equipment, and you’ll improve your overall aerobic base by building up your cardiovascular health. Injury is a risk with interval training as well, and any exercise, for that matter, but interval training can be a bit more adaptable to those new to exercise or who would like to start at a slower pace to build up their endurance.

HIIT vs Interval Training

Let’s break these two training methods down. HIIT training really turns its attention towards going 110% during the work phase followed by moderately paced “breaks”. Interval training can be moderate from the get-go and be at a low/resting period during the break. All in all, both of these forms of training are highly beneficial, and can promote improvements across multiple health and wellness spectrums depending on your goals and ability levels.

Both HIIT and interval training can be done in various ways. You can hop on the treadmill and sprint followed by short bouts of jogging or walking to keep your intensity up or you can rest on the side rails to let your heart rate come back down. You can also incorporate these two training styles into weight lifting, cycling, rowing, or really any other type of exercise.

Whichever form of movement you choose, know that you don’t have to jump right into either HIIT or intervals, you can slowly add one or two higher intensity pieces to your workout for a chosen time frame, and then ease back until you’re ready to add more. You’ll notice that your overall aerobic capacity and stamina will improve over time, and you’ll be on your way to a quick, efficient, and effective workout!

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