The Real Difference Between CrossFit And HIIT

CrossFit and HIIT are two popular fitness trends that you've probably heard about. They are both known for burning a lot of calories in a short period of time, but there are some key differences between how they work. Here's what you should know.

As defined by CrossFit, CrossFit is a "precise combination of exercise and nutrition that has been proven to increase fitness and health for people of all ages and abilities." It is characterized as a lifestyle more than just a fitness program. However, CrossFit is best known for its workouts. Each exercise routine consists of varied functional movements that are performed at a high intensity. Functional movements are actions that mimic those you perform in everyday life, like squats, pushing things, and pulling things.

CrossFit workouts usually last about an hour and are broken into four different selections (via Health). Every gym posts a daily workout of the day (WOD) that all members across the globe perform. While workouts can be tailored to specific fitness levels, each workout is very intense. CrossFit is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but contains its own unique traits.

High-intensity interval training is a broader term

As we mentioned, CrossFit is a form of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This broad term refers to extremely hard workouts performed for short periods of time with little rest in between (via Healthline). This usually results in a large number of calories being burned in a short time span.

There are many different types of HIIT workouts. Simply doing jumping jacks for 20 seconds, resting for 40 seconds, and repeating the cycle would qualify as a HIIT workout. It is easy to find these workouts offered in classes at gyms and fitness clubs. Unlike CrossFit, HIIIT workouts typically last 10 to 30 minutes.

HIIT has also been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which means you'll be burning calories long after you complete your workout. Additionally, it can help you lose fat and gain muscle. However, many HIIT workouts rely on high-impact activities like jumping and skipping, which can be hard on some people. It is best to start any fitness program, whether it be HIIT, CrossFit, or something else, after talking to your doctor and by working with a trainer to ensure you use the best form.