HIIT Vs. Cardio: What Should I Do?

HIIT training has gained a lot of attention recently in the fitness world and for a lot of good reasons. With all the new studies coming out and different people saying different things it can get pretty confusing about what information to really follow. Luckily, you stumbled on this great article right? 😉 I’ll attempt to give you some insight so you don’t wander in the gym unprepared. However, before I get into all that let’s start off by answering this question. What is HIIT anyway?


HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training is a form of exercise that features short bouts of intense anaerobic activity followed by brief periods of recovery or rest. A HIIT workout typically lasts less than 30 minutes and has great fat-burning capabilities. Other benefits may include an increase in metabolism, preservation of muscle despite losing weight, and a healthier heart compared to those who don’t engage in anaerobic activity.

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Cool Down/Stretch after HIIT Class

If you take a look at the research you will find that most people conclude HIIT training offers about the same or more benefits as cardio training. The difference is that HIIT training will do it in a fraction of the time. With that being said, you probably aren’t too surprised to hear that there is a huge population that find it pretty difficult to workout over longer periods of time. So for those people with that difficulty this new idea of HIIT training can sound very appealing. Especially, if you have so much going on you don’t have a lot of free time to work out.

So why even delve any further, that’s the answer right? Skip the cardio and bring on the HIIT!

Well not so fast…

What a lot of people won’t tell you is that HIIT is really freaking hard. It takes a lot more to recover from HIIT then it does with cardio. Not everyone can manage doing a HIIT workout on a consistent basis and although, cardio can be boring for some, it can be a lot easier because the intensity is much lower. So with that in mind, let me tell you a little about cardio.


Cardio stands for Cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is any movement that gets your heart rate into the aerobic zone. Cardio is great for decreasing recovery time and reducing DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. In other words, it’ll help make sure that you are recovered and ready for your next workout! Cardio and HIIT share some of the same benefits but each form of exercise has its specialty. Unlike HIIT, cardio may require much longer sessions in order to receive the most benefits. When you think HIIT think short and fat burning and when you think Cardio think longer and more recovery.

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Now I know what you’re thinking… I told you I was going to make all this information less confusing right?

Well here it is, you can spend all day analyzing the information of what’s better or worse, but the reality is that they both have value. The real importance lies in answering this question…

What can I do in order to continue to workout consistently?

Sometimes that includes a little cardio and sometimes that calls for a heavy bout of HIIT. Ideally, you should be working with your trainer to find out just what mix is right for you. Nothing is more important than being comfortable!

I admit sometimes the information can be a bit overwhelming or intimidating but it never hurts to try something new. I hope this could inspire you to get out there and explore for yourself (safely of course) so that you may begin to connect some of this information with personal experiences, and get a better sense of what you should be working on the next time you step into the gym. That’s all I have for now!

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to check out our RisFit Training Guide for a full body workout plan that includes HIIT training, resistance training, and more…


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Chris 😊

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