High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Weight Training | What is the comparison here and how each are unique in their impact

  • HIIT training and Weight training are two of the most popular fitness training regimes.
  • Both HIIT and Weight training are effective for muscle building and weight loss.
  • If your main goal is muscle gain, then focus more on weight training.
  • For someone who wants to burn fat or lose weight, regardless of the body type, HIIT training is more effective.
  • Regardless of the training type, your pre and post workout health nutrition is also a key factor for expected results.
  • A good and smart fitness strategy is to combine both training routines along with a nutritious diet.
  • If you are beginner fitness trainer it is best to train with a personal trainer for at least 3 to 6 months.
  • For home based gym, it is essential that you have the full knowledge and undersatinding of proper form.
  • Whether you are weight training or HIIT pro make sure that you have the proper gym gear.

HIIT vs. Weights

Are you a beginner who is stepping into the world of fitness?

If yes, then before the fight over ‘HIIT vs. Weight training’ overwhelms you, here’s a comparison article that you must read!

Both HIIT and weight lifting are popular fitness training routines. 

Each routine has its workouts, benefits, duration, etc.

Source : Unsplash.com

The confusion begins when people look for an effective and faster way to either lose weight or gain muscles.

The most frequently asked question about HIIT and weightlifting is which one burns the most calories in minimum time.

Another thing that confuses people is whether to choose HIIT vs. weight training for muscle gain?

Let’s take a look at both fitness training routines and find out which one is better.

Comparison Table – Is HIIT better than weight training?

 HIIT TrainingWeight Training
Duration10 minutes to 30 minutes20 minutes to 30 minutes
Other NamesCardio trainingStrength training
Fitness Goals/BenefitsImproved aerobic and anaerobic capacity, fat loss, and overall body fitnessMuscle gain, Muscle endurance & strength, weight/fat loss.
Post-Workout Diet/MealHigh-protein and antioxidants diet including eggs, blueberries, avocado, and green leafy vegetables etc.High-protein, moderate carbs, and low-fat diet including eggs, meat, leafy green vegetables.
Types of WorkoutsSprinting, biking, jump ropes, and other bodyweight exercisesBrute Strength Powerlifting, Quick Circuit Training, Isometric Weight Training, High-Volume Training  
Equipment/Machines UsedNot necessarily; it can be done without equipment as well.   Bike, treadmills and dumbbells.
Barbell and weights
HIIT and Weight Training : Comparison

Strength Training vs. HIIT Training – An Overview

To understand the strength and cardio (HIIT) training better, the best way is to look into the differences and similarities of the two training sessions.

Weight vs. HIIT Training: Similarities

Although the two fitness training types are different, there are few similarities as well.

–       Improve Overall Health and Fitness

Both High-intensity interval training and weight training are effective for improving your overall health and fitness.

The workouts build your stamina, improve your mental health, regulate blood flow, build muscle endurance, improve heart rate, and increase agility and focus.

–       Improves Performance:

Do you know that you can maximize your performance with either type of fitness training?

Yes, you are reading it correctly.

Both weight and HIIT training improves your performance.

However, the process is different for each training.

While the HIIT increases performance by improving agility, endurance, and mobility, weight training enhances the weight-bearing abilities by creating a solid interworking relationship between the lower and upper body.

So it means whether you are a cardio fan or strength trainer, you will notice a significant improvement in your overall performance.

Source : Unsplash.com

–       Ideal for Muscle Gain:

Most people get stuck between whether to go with HIIT training or functional strength training for muscle gain.

The good news is that both workout routines are effective for muscle build.

Although there is a misperception that muscle gain is only possible with weight lifting, HIIT training increases muscle mass.

Not just the muscle mass, but HIIT, aka cardio workout, also improves muscle endurance and strength.

–       Best For Fat Burn/Weight Loss:

Many people wonder, “Is HIIT or weight training better for weight loss?

You will be surprised that both training types are effective for weight loss.

According to studies, you can burn calories with both cardio and strength training.

For someone who wants to burn calories regularly, weight/strength training is practical.

On the other hand, if you wish to burn the same amount of calories in less time without putting as much effort into weight lifting, opt for HIIT. 

Weight vs. HIIT Training: Differences

If both strength and cardio workouts have the same benefits, how come people are constantly debating over Functional weight training vs. HIIT?

How can someone assess which one is better?

While choosing which one is better is different, several things separate HIIT from weight lighting.

Here’s how weight training is different from high-intensity interval training.

–       Equipment

One of the significant differences between strength training and cardio is the equipment.

Most of the workouts in Hiit training use your body weight.

It means that you can do cardio even without investing in equipment.

The no-equipment activities make hiit more convenient as you can perform exercises anywhere, anytime.

In comparison to Hiit, weight lifting requires specific equipment like a barbell, bench, and dumbbells.

–       Timing

Another major difference between the two workout types is the duration.

For desired results, you need to perform strength training for about 60 minutes every day.

On the contrary, doing HIIT workouts regularly for 20 minutes will give you the same results.

Not just the overall workout duration but also the time length for individual exercises also varies.

Compared to weight lifting, the HIIT training is fast-paced with raid succession exercises without a rest period.

–       Effort

When it comes to functional weight training vs. HIIT, the factor distinguishing both training types is the effort.

Although HIIT training is performed in rapid successions without breaks, it is less draining than weight lifting.

Why? Because in weight training, the trainer has to lift heavy weights using both their upper and lower body.

Source : Unsplash.com

–       Overall Result

Researchers have been studying various workout routines and their effects on our bodies for a long time.

After tons of research, studies, surveys, and observations, researchers and fitness trainers have concluded that cardio vs. weight training for belly fat – cardio (HIIT) is more effective.

In addition to fat-burning, HIIT is also effective for mobility and overall cardiovascular health promotion.

Unlike weight training, HIIT boosts the excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC) levels.

It means for someone whose fitness goal is weight loss/fat burn, HIIT is ideal.

But does HIIT build muscle? Is it equally effective?

The answer is NO!

If you want to increase your muscle size (muscle gain), then go for strength training!

HIIT does help build muscle, but the results are very minimal and take longer than weight training.

HIIT vs. Weights – Which Is Better?

There is nothing carved in stone rule that either HIIT or weight training is best/effective.

Which routine is best for you depends on your fitness goals, training schedule, body type, and training level.

However, even if you are a beginner, the best strategy is to combine HIIT training and Strength training.

Yes, it is true!

Can you build muscle with HIIT training along with fat burn? A big Yes!

But can you lose fat or burn calories with weight training? Yes, yes, and Yes!

So don’t you think that it’s better to include both pieces of training in your fitness routine?

Should You Do HIIT or Weight Training First?

If you have made your mind about combining cardio and strength training, you need to follow a schedule.

Practically it is not humanly possible to train with both HIIT and weights on the same day.

It is because both routines are exhausting and consume a great deal of energy.

Therefore, you should make a weekly HIIT and Weight training schedule.

You can ask your trainer to make a schedule, or you can follow the following:

DayTraining Type
MondayWeight training for upper body
TuesdayHIIT training
WednesdayRest or brisk walking/jogging
ThursdayWeight training for lower body
FridayHIIT training
An Indicative Combined Workout Schedule (HIIT and Strength training)

Find The Balance!

The secret of fitness training lies in finding the balance between different workouts.

While relying on the same routine may seem easy and comfortable, but that’s not smart.

Even if you are consistent, there comes a time when doing the same workout won’t give you desired results.

So a good practice in fitness training is to include several exercises in your routine.

Regardless of your fitness goals, body type, or training level, when you combine HIIT with strength training with proper pre and post-workout nutrition, the results will amaze you!

Work smarter and not harder.

What does it mean?

Simple, just take advantage of different training types to maximize your results and achieve your goals effectively!

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