These terms are often used interchangeably (sometimes with the term AMRAP thrown in for extra confusion). While both are effective, they have individual qualities you should keep in mind.
If exercise is part of your regular routine, odds are you’re familiar with the terms HIIT and Tabata. For years, trainers have been preaching the gospel of high-intensity interval training. From gyms to boutique studios and online workouts, HIIT and Tabata have infiltrated fitness everywhere.
You’ve probably done both types of workouts a million times, but have you done them together? Are they the same thing, or are they two totally separate styles of training? Do you actually know what sets HIIT and Tabata apart? Well, you wouldn’t be the first person to confuse the two.
HIIT and Tabata are similar in a couple ways.
Both focus on using maximum effort over short periods of time with only brief rest breaks.Both have been shown to burn fat, improve endurance and speed, and aid weight loss.So, which should you be doing to meet your particular fitness goals?
What is Tabata, exactly?
Tabata is a type of HIIT—one subsection under the broad umbrella of high-intensity interval training. Specifically, it’s a four-minute workout consisting of 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work at maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest. If a class or workout deviates from this time frame, it’s not authentic Tabata. The exercise method is named after a researcher, Izumi Tabata, who discovered the benefits to this way of training back in 1996. In his study he found that athletes increased their metabolism and improved their anaerobic capacity—the amount of energy you can produce during quick bursts of effort—by doing a Tabata workout five days a week for six weeks when compared to those who performed longer workouts at a less intense pace.
So, what makes something a HIIT workout?
HIIT workouts are more flexible with the time allotted for work and the time for rest. Simply lengthening either period means you’ve entered HIIT territory. By lengthening “on” sections of the workout, you can play around with movements that might not fit in the 20-second Tabata window “Maybe you want to try a jumping jack or a burpee and mountain climber combo—20 seconds isn’t a lot of time to do anything complex, so HIIT workouts are perfect for this type of combination.
Is HIIT or Tabata better for fitness?
Both options are great for fat-burning and muscle-building. Results are shaped by the exercises mixed into your circuits (and, of course, the effort you put in). So, if the goal is to build muscle, add in strengthening moves like triceps dips. If you’re trying to lose weight, amp up the cardio.
At Domin8, many of our classes are HIIT and our Sunday Bootcamp includes both Tabata intervals and HIIT workouts using a combination of different intervals and rest breaks. Indeed our “signature” 30 Minute circuit is based on alternate strength and cardio moves every 43 seconds at your maximum effort.
Why not give one a try…