HIIT vs. Running for Weight Loss – The Debate ENDS Here!

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HIIT vs. Running – Which is Better for Weight Loss? Question Answered!

With many of us living very busy lifestyles, it is important for us to find ways to incorporate our exercise routines into a limited time frame.

For this reason, the rise in popularity of short but effective workouts, such as HIIT, has risen significantly.

Let me tell you about the benefits of HIIT vs running, so that together, we can compare the pros and cons of each.

There has been a long and endless debate about which type of workout is the most beneficial.

Is HIIT better than running? Which option is the best for weight loss? Can you train for both at the same time?

This article will answer these questions and put an end to this debate once and for all.

man doing push ups in outdoor

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Workouts incorporate a range of different exercises and can include weights and gym equipment.

However, body weight exercises are just as effective and even more convenient.

Want to find out more about HIIT Training?

Well, you’re in luck.

Have a read of this article, which will give you the lowdown on HIIT:

Pros of HIIT

  • Quick and effective
  • Convenient – can be done anywhere
  • Interesting – exercises can be changed daily

Cons of HIIT

  • High risk of injury due to repetitive excursion of the same muscle groups
  • Poor form
  • Difficult for beginners

Pros of Running

Cons of Running

  • Time consuming
  • Risk of injury – Achilles heel, plantar fasciitis, shin splints (ouch!)
  • Repetitive (boring???)

What is Best for Beginners?

man sprinting

Look, I’ll be honest with you here.

Running is better than HIIT for beginners as it gives you the option to build up your stamina as you build up your training routine.

More importantly, you can go at your own pace without the pressure of having to raise your heart rate to see the effects.

In order to get the benefits of HIIT you must be training at a certain level which can be quite difficult for if you are new to exercise.

Or if you have worked out in the past but have never pushed yourself to your limit (you know who you are!)

Running is also described as steady state cardio, which means that you are training at a high intensity level for a prolonged period of time.

Beginners take note; this is extremely useful for you as it will help to improve your overall fitness.

Once you see an improvement you can start to add some variety. Maybe you want to increase your running speed, or work on those hill sprints?

This will allow you to build up your strength and endurance over time, which will, in turn, prepare you for when you start your HIIT training.

It is important to remember that you should take it easy when starting any new type of workout.

Listen to your body and enjoy those well-earned rest days.

Is HIIT Better Than Running?

couple doing set of box jumps in crossfit gym

This really depends on the results you want to achieve.

Are you aiming to complete a long-distance race? If yes, then you must run at least a few times a week.

While training for HIIT can be an effective way to build endurance and stamina, it does not prepare your body for the intensity of running a half marathon, marathon or potentially even longer.

However, if running isn’t your thing, but you want to get fit and lose weight, then HIIT certainly is the better option for you.

Which is Better for Weight Loss?

I can’t lie to you; running is good for weight loss, but if you want to see good overall results, then you should incorporate HIIT in to your workout routine.

HIIT focuses on many different parts of the body which means that you can lose weight and tone up all over your body.

It also allows you to target certain areas of the body, which running does not.

Of course, if you really want to shed weight you also need to put down those carbs and cakes and follow a strict diet plan.

Diets work differently depending on the individuals, but you can check out our fitness upgrade program.

Do I Have to Choose Between Running and HIIT?

young woman runner running on city road

Most definitely not; you can use a combination of running and HIIT to complement each other.

There are many benefits to doing this.

Muscle balance

Running focuses on the leg muscles, whereas HIIT helps to work other muscles too.

Not only does this improve strength over all, which will improve your running, but it helps you to avoid injury as you are not overworking certain muscle groups.

Active recovery

Running incurs lots of different injuries and occasionally, runners are advised to give up what they love temporarily, in order to recover.

However, as you lose fitness much quicker than you gain it, runners often battle through the pain in order to maintain their fitness levels. This can have very damaging long-term effects.

Taking part in HIIT classes, however, gives the opportunity for runners to have active recovery; still getting a workout while avoiding those muscles which are suffering from aches, pains and injuries

Avoid boredom

Doing too much of one specific thing can be extremely boring.

Changing up your exercise routine means that you are still motivated to work as hard as you always have been doing

It’s a really good idea for runners to cross train and vice versa. Read more about it here.


So, it’s official, the HIIT vs running debate is over.

This article clearly shows that a combination of HIIT and running is actually the most effective workout plan for a successful all-around exercise regime.

Quick and effective HIIT sessions, combined with long distance running, can have a great overall impact on the body and the mind, and can be incorporated into various lifestyles.

More importantly, a combination of the two can be extremely fun!