HICT vs. HIIT: How are they different?

Exercise and diet are vital components to maintaining vibrant health. In an effort to get the best results in the shortest amount of time High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and the High-intensity circuit training (HICT) have been developed to achieve fast results in less time.

HICT combines resistance and cardio training in one workout. It alternates between lower and upper body exercises and periods of both low and high-intensity action in a single workout. One of the biggest benefits of high-intensity workouts is the afterburn, which is the number of calories the body burns after the workout has ended. Also known as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the afterburn ultimately boosts the metabolic rate.

Traditional workout recommendations include a mix of 20-40 minutes of cardio 3-4x per week and separate strength training sessions on alternate days for another 30-60 minutes. HICT offers a different approach by combining both cardio and strength training in a single workout. With this form of working out, we strengthen the heart, build muscle, and burn an abundance of calories while saving time.

HIIT is made up of short maximum intensity sprint bursts along with short resting periods and has been around for many years but the tipping point came with Dr Izumi Tabata’s research. In the 1990s, Dr. Izumi Tabata worked with Irisawa Koichi, a coach of the Japanese Skating team, to develop the protocol of shorter maximum sprints bursts followed by very short resting periods. This approach maintained and even improved the peak performance of these elite skating athletes.

HIIT consists of short bursts of intense workouts followed by short lower intensity recovery periods. Research shows that HIIT is the most effective and efficient way of working out as it lasts for 10-30 minutes and though quick, produce twice the benefits of moderate intensive workouts.

The exercise chosen for HIIT can vary, including biking, sprinting, jumping rope, swimming and some bodyweight workouts. Here’s one example of a HIIT workouts using stationary bikes: 30 seconds of cycling at a high resistance as fast as possible, followed by a minute of easy and slow cycling with low resistance. That would be one full HIIT round or repetition and for the workout to be effective, it’s recommended to complete 4-6 repetitions per workout.

The amount of exercise and recovery time will vary depending on the selected activities and the exercise intensity. Regardless of exercise, the high-intensity intervals have to involve very short periods of intense, rigorous exercise as a way of speeding up the heart rate followed by short periods of rest to recover. In addition to offering the benefits of long-duration workouts with less time, HIIT workouts also increases endurance and improves body composition.

Regardless of whether you choose HICT or HIIT, high-intensity training is an efficient and fast way of burning body fat and losing weight while creating an afterburn effect. These workouts are designed to be efficient and effective whether your goals are to increase strength and endurance or lose fat and weigh less.