HIIT vs. Interval Training: What’s The Big Difference?

HIIT vs Interval Training: if you’re wondering what’s the big difference, read on!

HIIT vs. Interval Training: What's The Big Difference?

HIIT-style training is often confused with Interval style training. Both of these workout styles comprise short bursts of a variety of exercises with short periods of rest in between.

Modern-day times have seen the rise in the popularity of many different forms of exercise, all with their own list of benefits and unique twists.

When paging through any magazine or looking at popular workout videos, one style seems to be at the forefront; HIIT-style training (High-Intensity Interval Training).

In the last decade, we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of HIIT-style training, thanks to fitness gurus like Kayla Itsines, Emily Skye and Jen Widerstorm.

Why is HIIT so popular?

It’s quick, doesn’t require a lot of space and there is a high probability that you will find some form of HIIT class at your local gym.

But is it as efficient and successful as some have suggested?

A recent study was done by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences and the Karolinska Institute, both in Stockholm, has shown that although HIIT-ing it hard every few days a week has its advantages, it is not the most efficient form of exercise.

HIIT vs Interval Training: What’s The Big Difference?

HIIT-style training – a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises.

HIIT vs. Interval Training: What's The Big Difference?

Workout structure: high-impact exercises (sets) done in short bursts (30sec – 1min) with a short period of rest in between each set.

Examples: cross-fit and the BBG-program.

Benefits: good for a time-crunched schedule and it’s a fast way to become fit and lose weight.

Detriments: sets/exercises aren’t done for a long enough time period; it is difficult to maintain the same level and standard of activity needed for HIIT to be successful; you rest 3 to 4 times a week, which reverses the benefits and results of training; your body tires out and the mitochondria suffers long term.

Interval Training – aerobic exercises.

HIIT vs. Interval Training: What's The Big Difference?

Workout structure: lower impact exercises where heart rate is 80% and above max. capacity for longer periods of time (three-five minutes) per interval (set) with short periods of rest in between.

Examples: 4-by-4-Norway; 10-by-1.

Benefits include; heart health, prevention of heart disease; weight loss.

Detriments: it may take longer to see results.

Which is best for your workout?

Either form has benefits, and both are time-efficient.

It will depend on your style of training and what you’re physically capable of doing. It’s important to remember that the emphasis should be on intensity.

Keep your training session under an hour, any longer and it will have diminishing returns on your results and health.

As with any workout style that you choose, it is important to enjoy the workout, otherwise, you won’t be able to maintain it, no matter how fast you see results.

To read more about what’s best for your health and fitness routine, click here.


Reinette Steyn

Sport & Fitness Editor

I remember when I was still a young girl I would sit in front of the class to listen to all the stories and ask the most questions. I had a desire to know more, of everyone and everything and I guess that's where my love for writing and telling stories started. After studying Journalism, I became a teacher and a coach. Working with the youth has brought me immeasurable pleasure in hearing and telling more stories and I hope to share even more incredible stories through this platform.

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