hiit benefits - High Intensity Interval Training


High Intensity Interval Training Versus Endurance Training


Which one is better? Before we answer that question, let’s define each type of training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is any workout that alternates between periods of intense physical activity and periods of less intense activity or even rest.


On the other hand, endurance training is more of a steady effort spread out over a longer period of time. Both can provide an improvement in fitness.


High Intensity Interval Training


For example, a good HIIT workout could be running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walking for two minutes. Keep up this three-minute routine for 15 minutes. In 15 minutes, this routine burns more calories than running on a treadmill for an hour!


And it gets better; a 2011 study done by the American College or Sports Medicine found that just 2 weeks of HITT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.


In addition to improving your aerobic capacity, HITT also:

  • burns more calories during your workout than with endurance training
  • keeps burning more calories up to 24 hours after training
  • develops your heart better
  • does not require any equipment
  • preserves muscle and burns fat instead


Since the concept of HIIT is maximum effort for a short duration of time, followed by a recovery period and this cycle repeated over a set period, you can do it anywhere.


The downside of HIIT is that you should not do it over 2 to 3 times per week as most people need a day or two in-between to fully recover.


Endurance Training 


When it comes to burning calories, you can get the same benefit from endurance training as you do from HIIT – it just takes more time to burn the same number of calories. For example, an endurance version of the run/walk HIIT routine above would be to run at a constant pace for an hour or more; long and steady verses short and intense.


Because with endurance training you are constantly in the aerobic zone so your cumulative energy expenditure is greater during long cardio sessions than it is during 10 to 20 minute interval high intensity training sessions. Consequently, if burning fat and losing weight are your immediate main fitness objectives, then endurance training is better than high intensity interval training. However, HIIT will help you keep the weight off better than endurance training.


Besides the fitness advantages above, due to an increased metabolism, endurance training also provide the following benefits:

  • improves cardio health
  • strengthens joints
  • increases respiratory system efficiency
  • increases mental acuity
  • increases stamina


If time is a scare commodity in your lifestyle, endurance training may not be for you as it does require a large and frequent commitment of time, whereas HIIT requires a shorter and less frequent time commitment. Regardless, working out under either venue is much better than sitting on the couch eating potato chips.



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