High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short are often used by the active community during their workouts e.g. “I am doing HIIT for my workout today.” Often enough it is a loosely used term to indicate the type of workout one is training or sometimes is confused with “Tabata” workout.
HIIT is more than just performing multiple sets of different exercises under a given time, usually from 20 to 90 seconds, with the entire HIIT session lasting under 30 minutes depending on the fitness level of the individual. Whereas a Tabata circuit consists of 8 rounds of high intensity exercises in a fixed 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off interval and can be completed within 4 – 8 minutes. The main differences between HIIT and tabata are:
1. Rest and work periods are shorter in Tabata
2. Higher percentage of HRM achieved during Tabata sessions
3. Tabata circuit are generally shorter than HIIT session and can be part of HIIT
So which form of exercise has a better effect? If you are a recreational athlete looking to shed the extra kilos, it may be good to mix things up e.g. if you work out about 3 times per week, consider doing a mix of HIIT and Tabata in your weekly routine. This is to present different training stimulus to your body so that it does not get used to a certain stimulus. If you are a semi to professional athlete, you will be focusing on HIIT and lesser on Tabata, as HIIT allows for almost full recovery between sets to get the most out from the next set.
In conclusion, perhaps the most important factor for beginners is to consider the amount of time spent exercising each week. As you get fitter, you tend to enjoy your workout and the resulting soreness more. Remember to clock about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to enjoy the benefits of being active!
Roy Chan, Senior Manager