Endurance Training or High-Intensity Intervals, Which One?

Endurance Training or High-Intensity Intervals, Which One?

Have you ever contemplated whether you should do longer cardio or high-intensity interval training (HIIT)? This training is a burst-and-recover cycle that provides a viable alternative to endurance training. It combines short bursts of high-intensity exercise with low-effort rest periods. There are several factors to consider when deciding which workout is best for you, HIIT or endurance training? Your age, fitness level, and fitness goals are some of the examples that will help you determine the best choice. Through HIIT, you can get more fit, lose weight and boost overall athletic performance. While endurance training takes more time, offers just as many benefits and fewer risks for injury.

Benefits of HIIT

HIIT affects your metabolism much more than endurance training. This is because cardio exercises turn stored fat into energy in a process called anaerobic metabolism which requires a lot of oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism transforms glucose and a stored source of glucose called glycogen into energy during high-intensity workouts. Lactic acid can begin to build in the muscles in the absence of oxygen. This triggers the familiar burn associated with intense exercise.

In addition, HIIT generates energy through both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. In the presence of oxygen, aerobic metabolism converts fat, protein and carbohydrates to energy during moderate-intensity workouts. This dual metabolic mechanism causes hormonal changes that cause fat to be burned more effectively. It also aids in the regulation of the insulin response, allowing for better control of blood glucose levels.

Drawbacks of HIIT

The most apparent disadvantage of a HIIT program is that you only get out what you put in. Many athletes struggle because the duration of the training needs extra attention. Some athletes are still unable to conduct the intervals at the appropriate intensity to obtain acceptable results. This is due to the time constraint placed on HIIT trainings with the added pressure to exert during a fixed time period. Therefore, to excel at HIIT sessions, you would have to go through trainings. 

During HIIT, glucose and glycogen are quickly depleted causing you to feel exhausted faster. It is tough to stay motivated when you’re in constant physical discomfort at every workout. Maintaining motivation is difficult with intense workout like HIIT. During the session, you will sweat profusely, your legs will burn, your heart will pound and your lungs will scream for oxygen. High-intensity interval training is about working hard and getting out of your comfort zone. Many give up without a personal trainer or a daily class to keep their motivation levels up.

Finally, HIIT isn’t an exercise you can do everyday. The intensity of HIIT exercises require at least a day or two of recovery if done correctly. Maintain consistent HIIT sessions with proper workout scheduling and discipline. 

The Importance of Endurance Training

Endurance training helps you to remain active for longer because you are never depleted of oxygen. Pushing yourself to 60% to 70% of your MHR, a healthy stress level of your heart rate will lower your resting heart rate (RHR) and blood pressure over time. All of which are indicators of better cardiovascular health.

Burning 2000 calories is easy with a full day of endurance training like hiking, running, or cycling. Being able to enjoy the rewards of being outdoors, exercising will be more pleasant with a reduced risk of burnout and the added benefit of shorter recovery periods.

Workout newbies could find the simplicity of endurance trainings more appealing. You can jump on a treadmill, walk a while and call it a day. Some athletes may find the lessened burden of endurance trainings an ideal workout. Although more time will be sunk in, you will still get substantial results through endurance trainings. Patience is key here!


Consider what is the purpose of your workouts. Are you trying to achieve drastic results or are you aiming to train consistently over time? Do you generally gravitate to more intense training or consistently active training? These are the questions you would need to take into account when deciding between HIIT or cardio exercises.  


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