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HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training) are two of our fitness classes that we often get asked about, mainly because people don’t know what on earth the difference is!

They may sound pretty much the same, but they’re not, so we’ve written this quick blog to help you to understand what we mean when we say HIIT or HIRT, as well as the benefits of each type of training.

One crucial distinction is that HIRT is Neil’s favourite type of training – but don’t let that influence you! Many people (including Neil!) enjoy both HIIT and HIRT training, but which is best suited to you will depend on your personal preferences as well as your fitness goals.

So, what is the difference then? Let’s discuss!

High Intensity Training

Both HIIT and HIRT are high intensity, cardiorespiratory training techniques.

High intensity training is a more efficient form of exercising compared to more traditional aerobic exercise because it aims to get as much done as possible within a given time period, meaning that you can invest less time in working towards an optimal level of strength. Perfect for those of us who lead a busy lifestyle!

The benefits of high intensity training techniques include:

  • Helping to lower blood pressure
  • Decreasing body fat
  • Increasing muscle mass
  • Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) or ‘bad cholesterol’
  • Increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) or ‘good cholesterol’

What is HIIT? 

As we’ve already mentioned, HIIT stands for ‘high intensity interval training’. Essentially, this type of exercise is cardio-focused and involves short periods of fast and strenuous exercise, followed by a period of rest.

The intervals of exercise can be anywhere between 20 and 60 seconds in length and are repeated a number of times, following an ‘exercise then rest, exercise then rest’ structure, for a total of 30 minutes in the case of our classes.

Most often, HIIT training is associated with running and cycling and uses minimal equipment. Mostly body weight is used, but occasionally light weights are used too.

Benefits of HIIT

There are lots of benefits associated with high intensity interval training! And although results vary from person to person, here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Weight loss (whilst maintaining muscle mass)
  • Increased aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels
  • Decreased abdominal fat
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased insulin sensitivity (which helps your muscles to use glucose for energy)

What is HIRT?

So, where HIIT training is conditioning-based, HIRT is resistance-based – as becomes more obvious when you know that what it stands for: ‘high intensity resistance training’.

Like HIIT training, it also involves short but intense exercise periods followed by periods of rest. However, unlike in HIIT training, it includes heavier resistance exercises to incorporate strength and cardio training. Therefore, HIRT training can involve heavier, slower reps and often includes the use of equipment. Again, our HIRT classes are 30 minutes in length.

Benefits of HIRT

High intensity resistance training also has several benefits, including:

  • Increased muscle density
  • Boosted metabolism
  • Increased aerobic and anaerobic endurance
  • Burning more calories than endurance cardio
  • Weight loss (whilst maintaining muscle mass)

Does high intensity training sound like something you’d enjoy? You can try both our HIIT and HIRT classes for free by signing up to our free week trial. No tie-ins, just unlimited free fitness classes and gym use for a whole week.