HIIT vs. Running: Why This Trainer Wants You To Do A High-Intensity Interval Training Workout

Certified Personal Trainer By Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT
Certified Personal Trainer
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on HIIT and bodyweight fitness. She lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
5 Reasons To Ditch Your Run (And Do A HIIT Workout Instead)

Although there are tons of you out there who actually love the idea of lacing up your running shoes and going for a run, there are also plenty of those among us—myself included—who would rather do anything than go for a long, slow run.

The good news is that there are other ways to work out that will also help you get fit and healthy. One example is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. In fact, in my experience with clients, HIIT workouts can actually get you faster results in less time than running will. Here are a few benefits to consider HIIT vs. running:

1. You'll get strong.

While running will definitely help get your heart rate up and boost your conditioning, HIIT workouts are a better option if you’re looking to actually get stronger. Incorporating exercises like squats, burpees, pushups, and plank variations into your workout will not only help you work up a sweat in no time, you’ll feel noticeably stronger within just a couple of weeks of consistent HIIT workouts.


2. You'll do more work in less time.

Steady-state runs do burn a lot of calories during the run, but the moment you’re finished with your run, that calorie burn goes back to normal. Contrast that with HIIT training, where there’s actually an afterburn effect up to 24 to 48 hours post–HIIT workout. Your metabolism will be running higher after an intense workout, meaning you’ll end up burning more calories overall despite the shorter workout time.

3. It'll work your entire body.

Because of how efficient HIIT training is, you can pack a lot of moves into a really short amount of time to work your entire body in a single quick session. Combine exercises like push-ups, squats, and mountain climbers to get a full-body workout in less time than it takes to run 2 miles.

4. You'll get in better shape for your favorite sport.

While steady-paced running will get your heart rate up and help boost your endurance to a certain degree, adding a HIIT workout a few times a week will skyrocket your fitness level. This will ensure you can engage in your favorite sport—whether it’s a team sport like soccer or basketball, an individual sport like boxing or martial arts, or even parkour or adult gymnastics—without getting overly tired.

And when you don’t get tired easily, you can really focus on working on all the cool skills you want to do.


5. HIIT will push your personal limits.

While you may feel good and break a sweat after a 15- or 20-minute run, spending the same amount of time doing a HIIT workout will test your limits in a much different way.

Work hard enough and not only will your muscles feel the burn, but you’ll also be challenging yourself and pushing yourself to new limits you never thought you’d reach. Because you can do anything you put your mind to!

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