Weight Training Vs HITT

Weight Training Vs HITT : Which is Better for Weight Loss?

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Weight Training Vs HITTWeight training vs HIIT, this has been a topic of controversy for quite some time now. I personally have favored the weights over high-intensity workouts, but that’s just me. That being said, I still incorporate both into my routine because I know each one provides each of its own individual benefits. Which one is better for weight loss though? With any routine, no one workout is better than the other if you don’t actually enjoy it. If I told you cardio works the best for weight loss, but you know you’ll quit a week into it, then there’s no real benefit from you incorporating cardio. The best routine is the one YOU KNOW you’re going to follow through with. 

In high school, I was in a weight lifting class where we did THE SAME EXACT ROUTINE EVERY TIME. Not only did I become bored beyond belief with this routine, but I actually hit a plateau. Once that class was over, there was a period of time where I wanted NOTHING to do with weight lifting. This was because I had such a negative association with weight lifting. I soon realized exercising was not as boring as the class made it out to be.

Ok, end of my tangent.

Weight Training Vs HIIT

So, what is High-Intensity Interval Training? It is short, intense, unsustainable bursts of physical activity, combined with short periods of rest. This can be incorporated with running, jumping, lunges, squats, etc. Generally, most people associate it with running in spurts on a treadmill, quickly followed by a quick recovery period. An example of this would be sprinting on a treadmill for 30 seconds with 90 % of maximum effort, followed by 2 minutes of a decreased pace, and then repeated and so on.

Some of the initial benefits of HIIT are an increase in growth hormones, catecholamines (a hormone that helps burn fat), and significantly lowers insulin resistance. (1) In one particular study, GH levels were 10 times higher an hour after the exercise was performed. (source). HIIT may cause the after-burn effect, meaning you are still burning calories even hours after your workout. There’s still a lot of debate on how long the after-burn effect actually lasts. There are a lot of studies claiming EPOC (after-burn) can last up to 48 hours after your workout, but there is not enough evidence to prove this that this is actually accurate.

Let’s review, so what are the Pros of HIIT?

  • Increased GH levels
  • Lowered insulin resistance
  • Increased fat burning
  • Afterburn effect (at least a for a couple hours after workout)
  • Improved heart rate variability

What are the downsides of HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training is EXTREMELY difficult because it takes A LOT out of you. You also increase your chances of injury. In one study, a small portion of the participants opted out of the program because of the injuries that they incurred during that study. (source)  Because of how strenuous HIIT is on the body, you can only perform HIIT 3 times a week. More often than not, people tend not to follow through with this type of exercise because of how strenuous it is on the body.

The name High Intensity should have been a dead giveaway, but hey, what do I know. 


How does this compare to weight lifting/strength training?

Weightlifting/Strength Training we already know causes an increase in muscle mass (hypertrophy), increased strength, improves bone and joint strength, improves body composition.

What are some of the lesser known facts about strength training?

Strength training has been shown to decrease body fat SIGNIFICANTLY!

One particular study that followed subjects paired into three different groups showed that the group incorporating diet with strength training lost 21.1 pounds of fat in a 12 week period. This was comparing diet, a diet with cardio, and diet with strength training. The strength training group yielded the best results, being 35% higher than the cardio subjects, and 44% higher than the diet-only group. (source)

Another study showed that strength training causes an afterburn effect for up to two hours after the workout. (source)   

So, what are the pros of strength training?

  • Increase in strength
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Improved body composition
  • Major fat loss benefits
  • The potential for after-burn effect

So, what are the cons of strength training?

We have all watched the gym fail videos, if not, here’s a good one!

Bottom line, nobody wants to be that person at the gym. If you don’t know what you are doing or have bad form, you risk injuring yourself because you are performing a movement that puts more impact on the body.

It is apparent that BOTH HIIT and strength training play a big role in weight loss. There really is no right or wrong answer for which style you should use for weight loss. It all comes down to preference.

My take on all of this would be use both! As I told you before, I DEFINITELY favor the weights over HIIT workouts. Regardless, I still use both. There’s no reason why you can’t incorporate a combination of the two into your fitness schedule as well. They both have their upsides and downsides. At the end of the day, you have to do what works best for YOU!

One major key factor to remember here is NO MATTER which workout style you prefer, neither one is going to make much of a difference if you aren’t eating properly! Exercise accounts for 10-15% of your weight loss success, the rest of the battle happens at the dinner table.

Both HIIT and Strenght Training are excellent ways to lose weight! The key to weight loss success is to ALWAYS have a plan in mind.

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