HIIT vs. CrossFit

  • HIIT and CrossFit are both high-intensity workout routines with few differences.
  • Though there are many similarities, both HIIT and CrossFit are different workouts.
  • HIIT, High-intensity interval training, aka HIIE (High-intensity intermittent exercise) or SIT (Sprint interval training), is a combination of intense workouts that raise your heart rate to 90% and more extended periods of low-intensity exercises to bring down the heart rate by engaging anaerobic respiration/energy).
  • CrossFit is an all-rounder workout regime that involves Olympic weight-lifting, calisthenics, plyometrics, mobility training, and gymnastics.
  • HIIT training can be between 4 minutes to less than 40 minutes.
  • CrossFit workouts can last between 6 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • It is essential to understand proper form for both routines, have proper nutrition & diet (post & pre-WOD), and use a dynamic warm-up exercise.
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Whether you are going to the gym to burn fat or improve your strength, you have various workouts to choose from.

Each workout type has certain features that make it unique.

Each one will help you develop different muscle groups and achieve different goals.

However, if there’s one common benefit for everyone is improved stamina and overall fitness.

Two of the most popular workout types that are currently trending are HIIT and CrossFit.

Experts recommend both to help improve fitness and stamina.

Both workouts are unique in the way they help you achieve these goals.

Before deciding on whether you want to go with HIIT or CrossFit, you should understand both properly.

It’s essential to know the benefits of each workout.

But to perform HIIT and CrossFit properly, you should know the factors that make each workout unique.

It includes the time to complete the training, the intensity, and, most importantly, the fitness goals that the workout will help you achieve.

HIIT vs. CrossFit – Fitness Goals and Bodytypes

You might wonder that HIIT and CrossFit must be designed for different goals and individuals!

To your surprise, both training programs benefit the same fitness goals and same body types.

Whether you want HIIT training or CrossFit, you need a mesomorph body type.

A mesomorph is a body type with a naturally high muscle to fat ratio, even weight distribution, and higher muscle twitch fiber proportion.

Such body types have better endurance, hence respond well to weight training.

Compared to other body types, mesomorph body types tend to lose weight or gain muscle mass quicker and efficiently.

According to an encyclopedic analysis published by BTWB, the minimum BMI for high-intensity training is 28 for men and 24 for women.

If your goal is to:

  • Lose fat efficiently,
  • Build endurance
  • Develop muscle strength,
  • Gain muscle mass,
  • Improve agility & speed,
  • Improve flexibility, coordination & balance

Then HIIT training and CrossFit workouts are an ideal routine for you.

In addition to the above goals, HIIT training also improves your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

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HIIT: An Overview

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training.

It refers to exercises done at a high intensity for short periods.

Although it has been incorporated into the training routines of many athletes for decades, HIIT recently gained popularity!

HIIT often involves training particular anaerobic exercises, which are usually done at close to maximum intensity.

These exercises are not done for long durations, but the reps are generally more.

With HIIT workouts, you may be doing exercises for 20 seconds at a time with more than five reps in a set.

The rest period is crucial in HIIT training as it is one of the main factors that define this workout.

In many cases, the rest period is a few seconds less than the rep duration.

However, it can also be more, depending on the type of exercise you are doing.

For example, some workouts may include 40 seconds of high-intensity exercise.

They may then incorporate 20 seconds of rest in between each rep.

Others may be the opposite and may have 40 seconds of rest.

It all varies based on the type of exercise and the amount of energy that it involves.

But, the high-intensity aspect is common in all HIIT exercises.

Types of HIIT workouts

In most cases, HIIT workouts involve a lot of cardio work.

This may include short sprints, skipping, fast treadmill running, riding a bike, and other exercises to improve cardio.

These exercises are great for getting the heart to pump more blood and adjust to different intensity levels.

They are also perfect for improving your overall stamina.

It is often thought of as a workout designed to help develop speed; many long-distance runners use this training method.

Regardless of your specific fitness goals, incorporating cardio exercises into your routine is essential.

Many fitness experts recommend doing at least 15 minutes of cardio daily.

The HIIT is a great way to maximize the benefits of this cardio training.

HIIT training can also be used with workouts designed for muscle growth.

Strength-based workouts using the HIIT method often involve higher reps with short periods of rest.

However, you won’t be lifting heavy weights with this type of workout.

Most of the workouts will include bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats, or kettle-bell swings.

These exercises are explosive and designed to burn a lot of calories in a short period.

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Body Type/Fitness Goals HIIT is Good For

Mesomorph body type, fat loss, cutting, or efficient fat loss

Common mistakes to avoid during HIIT workouts

While HIIT workouts are not that difficult to execute, there are a few things that you should avoid to prevent injury.

Perform workouts with proper form is essential to gaining maximum fitness and muscle growth benefits.

1.    Going In With Full Intensity at Beginning

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing HIIT is that they begin with full intensity.

While HIIT does involve high-intensity training, you still have to complete a 20-30 min workout.

By going on the full intensity at the start, you won’t be pacing yourself properly.

As a result, you may end up exhausted before completing the workout.

Therefore, it is always best to go on high intensity but at a more manageable pace.

2.    Incorporating Heavy Weights

Another common mistake with HIIT is that people try to incorporate heavier weights in the workouts.

HIIT was initially designed to improve cardio, which is why it often avoids weightlifting exercises.

If you want to use it to build muscle as well, then try and use smaller weights.

The key is to incorporate faster, explosive movements to get the most out of your workouts.

Bodyweight exercises are perfect for HIIT, which often include many pushups, squats, and burpees.

3.    Not Warming Up Before HIIT

Just because a HIIT workout is high intensity does not mean that you should not warm up before starting.

In fact, following a proper warm-up routine is even more critical with this type of workout.

Not only does it get your muscles in good shape, but it is also crucial for preventing injury.

Warming up should include a lot of stretching and slow exercises.

Dynamic stretching is also preferred before you start your workout as it can improve performance.

Benefits of HIIT

There are many benefits to doing HIIT workouts.

You may achieve some of your fitness goals with other workouts.

The HIIT workouts are designed to provide multiple benefits in a particular session.

Some of the expected benefits of HIIT include:

–       Helps build endurance

One of the common fitness goals that most people have in mind is to build muscle endurance.

HIIT workouts are great for improving the oxygen consumption of your muscles.

This is great for building endurance and will help you to complete more intense workouts.

Studies have shown that HIIT workouts can also help lower blood pressure and improve your heart rate.

This will help prevent many common heart problems and improve your overall health.

–       The perfect workout for people with limited time

According to people, not having enough time to perform an exercise prevents them from fulfilling their fitness goals.

While this may be true for workouts that require hours, the HIIT workout does not take up much time.

It is one of the best workouts to do if you have limited time.

Many HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

This is great for people who have busy schedules and can’t take out a lot of exercises.

–       It helps you burn fat.

The high-intensity nature of HIIT training is excellent for burning fat.

If you are exercising for health reasons or staying in shape, HIIT training can provide you with all the benefits.

HIIT is what you need regarding fat reduction and reduced blood sugar levels.

Studies have shown that this type of workout can help you burn the most harmful fat reserves.

By doing a few HIIT workouts each week, you will see the benefits very soon.

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CrossFit: An Overview

If you’ve been into fitness training, then you’ve probably heard of CrossFit.

Even if you have never tried out the program before, you may have a few friends who boast about the benefits.

You may be wondering if it is a particular type of workout or a gym system.

While it started as a gym, CrossFit is a program designed to maximize the benefits of shorter training.

It is pretty similar to a high-intensity workout but with varied exercises designed to build speed, strength, and mobility.

The CrossFit model is quite popular throughout the world, with more than 13000 gyms practicing it.

A CrossFit workout usually entails warmup exercises, a unique daily exercise, and a mobility session.

It is designed to mimic everyday movements to provide the perfect workout.

Some parts of this workout are also quite intense, so it is excellent for improving anaerobic capacity.

One of the main factors that make CrossFit unique is the culture surrounding the training sessions.

Most of the workouts are done with other gym members, as this helps with motivation.

CrossFit gyms also have trainers who coordinate the exercises and help members achieve their specific fitness goals.

This system is excellent for ensuring consistency, which is why CrossFit gyms are getting more followers each year.

Types of CrossFit Exercises

Many CrossFit programs involve bodyweight exercises designed to improve stamina and muscle endurance.

These exercises often include squats, lunges, pushups, pull-ups, and other bodyweight exercises.

These exercises are performed at a high with short periods of rest between intervals.

This is quite similar to other high-intensity training programs, but the workouts are pretty different.

CrossFit also makes use of different weights designed to help you build muscle strength.

These include dumbbells, light bar weights, and other weights that can be used to build muscle.

The trainer will typically assign weights according to your level of fitness.

You will also gradually build up the reps and increase the weight as well.

One of the critical features of a CrossFit program is the “exercise of the day,” which can be found in the CrossFit training guide.

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Common Mistakes When Doing CrossFit

CrossFit exercises are challenging and ever-challenging training.

Raising the bar indeed brings benefits, but so do the risks.

If not careful, it may lead to severe injury.

It’s better to stay safe and avoid the following common mistakes when doing CrossFit training:

1.    Not Building The Base

Training harder sounds easy and quick, but it’s neither wise nor safe.

Many CrossFit enthusiasts jump right to heavy weight lifting.

In simple words, they avoid entirely building a solid foundation, resulting in muscle soreness and stiffness.

Train smarter, not harder!

Take on-ramp classes if you are CrossFit Beginner.

It is recommended to take at least a six-week program to grasp and master CrossFit movement patterns.

2.    Neglecting WarmUp

Warm-up exercises are designed to prepare our muscles for workouts.

They increase the blood flow to our muscles, which allows us to perform our routine correctly.

As a result, it prevents the risk of injury and exhaustion.

Despite the importance, people often overlook warm-up before CrossFit!

It increases the risk of injury and prevents you from performing correctly and reaching your full potential.

According to experts, it is best to use a dynamic warm-up including full-body movements, mobility work, and body-weight skills before the CrossFit routine.

3.    Overtraining

Off-days are essential for CrossFit training.

Many fitness enthusiasts get too addicted to the routine that they start to over-train.

It leads to burn-out and exhaustion.

So, it’s recommended to do CrossFit training in moderation.

4.    Sacrificing Form

One most significant mistake that especially beginners make is prioritizing quantity over form.

In an exercise, the most important thing is the proper form.

When you compromise the form for more reps, you increase the risk for injuries.

CrossFit exercises are high-power output workouts with heavyweights.

If done right, CrossFit bears exponential benefits.

However, incorrect movements can only make you suffer.

5.    Avoiding Post Workout Nutrition

After an intense workout, our body requires proper nutrition.

Most people trying to burn more calories skip post-workout diets.

In reality, they are not avoiding calories but depriving their body of energy.

Your body requires a diet with proteins, carbohydrates, and some amount of fats.

It will help your muscles to recover faster and effectively.

Benefits of the CrossFit workout

–       It helps improve anaerobic capacity.

Like other high-intensity training programs, the CrossFit training program is designed to improve your anaerobic capacity.

It is also suitable for enhancing endurance.

Studies have shown that the CrossFit workout is excellent for improving the oxygen capacity of the muscles as well.

You will start to notice an improvement in the number of reps you can do at a high intensity.

–       Great for burning calories

If you are looking for a workout that will help you burn many calories, CrossFit training is just for you.

Studies have shown that the high-intensity workouts used in the CrossFit program are great for burning the maximum amount of calories in a short time.

–       It helps improve muscle strength.

Another significant benefit of the CrossFit workout is that it targets all the important muscle groups.

Each activity is designed to help build strength in specific muscles.

The varying types of exercises are changed each day to help you work for all your muscle groups.

–       Great for improving flexibility

While many traditional training programs place a lot of emphasis on strength conditioning, CrossFit workouts are great for improving flexibility.

Many of the exercises also involve body parts ignored in typical workouts, such as the toes and fingers.

If you are looking for a training that is complete, then you should try out CrossFit.

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Which one is better: HIIT or CrossFit?

When choosing which workout type is best for you, there are a few factors to consider.

CrossFit is the complete workout and involves a particular pattern designed to target all muscle groups.

HIIT training is a more broad term that can be applied to various exercises.

Some trainers refer to the CrossFit workout as a type of HIIT training.

However, one notable difference is the time taken to complete each one.

Typical HIIT workouts may not last for more than 20 minutes, which CrossFit workouts usually take an hour or so.

It’s all up to you to decide whether you have the time to complete a CrossFit workout or not.

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