If you are confused about if circuit training and HIIT are the same things, it's easy to see why. A lot of times people will unwittingly use these training terms interchangeably. But the reality is that circuit training and HIIT are not the same. Here’s how they differ.
The main difference between circuit training and HIIT is the intensity of the workouts. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, after all. But you do perform exercises in circuits, which is most likely where the confusion stems from.
When doing a HIIT workout, the main goal is to perform the exercises with the maximum amount of effort that you can for a short burst and then take a short rest period. A simple example could be doing an all-out sprint for 15 seconds and then walking to recover until you can exert a maximum effort sprint again. HIIT workouts are great especially if you do not have a lot of time, since most of these workouts are only about 15-20 minutes. Which is really all you need (or can do) when you are putting in as much effort as you can into each movement.
Many workout programs can fall under the umbrella term of circuit training. You will see the term used a lot for group fitness classes. Generally, a circuit training workout will look like this; a series of exercises performed one after the other with little to no rest in between sets. Typically, there are around 8-10 exercises per circuit. Exercises can either be rep based or time based (30-60 seconds per exercise). The entire circuit is completed once or twice more.
Many people enjoy circuit training because it is inviting to people of all skill levels. They are relatively short to complete as well, being around 30-45 minutes long.
If you are curious to try out both HIIT and circuit style training, join our Junkyard crew! We offer a range of classes including both HIIT and circuit, or you can make your own and use our facilities to get the job done! Take a look at our schedule to see what upcoming classes we have.