CrossFit vs. HIIT: Which Is the Superior Training Method?


People are becoming more conscious of their health and fitness over the years as evidenced by the industry’s steady growth of 3% for the last 10 years.

There’s no doubt that technology plays a huge part.

The internet, for instance, makes it easy to see what other people are up to. People taking good care of their health can inspire thousands of others to do the same. Smart wearables like a fitness smartwatch also make people conscious.

Keep in mind, though, that there are correct ways to go about your fitness. Some of the popular workouts today are CrossFit and HIIT.

Which is right for you? Keep reading to learn about CrossFit vs HIIT and see how they are so different.

1. What Is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It involves periods of intense exercises followed by short rest periods. Its creator, Dr. Tabata, found that this allowed athletes to build their muscles while improving their cardiovascular ability and stamina.

During the intense exercises, your heart rate goes up to 90% maximum. Breaks then help bring down the heart rate and engage the anaerobic system. This helps you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

What’s in a HIIT Workout?

It doesn’t follow one plan, and you may choose what exercises you want to do. The important thing is that you alternate between intense exercises and rest. 

For example, you may choose to sprint for one minute and then rest for the following 30 seconds. Then, you sprint again for a minute and then rest.

You can, of course, use other exercises. An example would one minute each of burpees, mountain climbers, planks, and lateral lunges with 30 seconds of rest in between.

The number of repetitions is also up to you. As your fitness improves, you can reduce the rest time as needed.

2. What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit involves a variety of high-intensity movements. As such, it borrows some elements from HIIT. It also incorporates other disciplines, like weight training, gymnastics, calisthenics, and so on.

It trains and tests various limits of your stamina, strength, endurance, power, speed, coordination, balance, accuracy, agility, and flexibility. It emphasizes specific movements over specific times. For this reason, it’s worth investing in the best smartwatch for CrossFit.

It’s a fairly new fitness regimen that was only formally established in 2000. However, you can say that its founder Greg Glassman had been developing it since his teenage years.

What’s in a CrossFit Workout?

CrossFit workouts are also called WODs (workout of the day). You follow a set routine for that day, and you aim to complete it as fast as you can.

Fran is the name of the most popular CrossFit WOD. It involves 21, 15, and 9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. For the thrusters, men usually do 95 pounds while women do 65 pounds.

3. CrossFit vs HIIT

Some might still get confused between CrossFit and HIIT. That’s understandable considering that both can involve doing different types of activities in one session.

Both are overachievers, as well. They pack a lot into a workout, and as such, they should be under the supervision of a trained coach.

If the differences between CrossFit vs HIIT still aren’t clear for you, let’s break down each one further.


HIIT aims to improve two components of a complete fitness regimen: aerobic and anaerobic fitness. On the other hand, CrossFit aims to improve your power, balance, flexibility, and coordination on top of your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

As such, the right fitness regimen for you will depend on what your goals are.

HIIT can be better for weight loss as the short bursts of activity are great for burning calories. But, CrossFit might be the better choice for building muscles and strength.


As we said above, both CrossFit and HIIT are both overachievers. They can be difficult for many, especially those coming from a sedentary lifestyle. Although HIIT incorporates rest into one workout, it will still make you struggle if you’re not used to high-intensity movements.

CrossFit isn’t easy, either, but it has a community that may make WODs easier for you to go through. There’s a sense of camaraderie in CrossFit gyms, which is helpful if you’re a beginner looking for some guidance.

Regardless, you should always find a coach to train you in both HIIT and CrossFit. Not doing so may result in injuries.


HIIT is popular for bringing results in the shortest time possible. The intensity of the exercises allows you to do a complete workout in a shorter period.

It usually doesn’t go over 40 minutes, and it can be as short as 4 minutes. The maximum time for a session should be 60 minutes with warm-up and cool-down included.

CrossFit WODs usually take you an hour in the gym. The classes usually begin with a gymnastic or strength component. They also might involve a stretching and mobility component at the start or end of the class.


HIIT workouts include a lot of bodyweight exercises. Because of this, you can easily do these at home. You can ask a professional to give you exercises that you can follow for the whole week, for example.

You may need fitness equipment in some exercises, but you can always do other movements. This isn’t always the case as it depends on your goal, but it’s easy to buy equipment for your home for many HIIT exercises.

CrossFit has some bodyweight exercises, too. However, many WODs require special equipment. As such, you’ll have to go to the gym.

A CrossFit gym is a huge part of the experience, anyway. Many sign up to this regimen for that reason.

Find the Right Workout for You

What we can learn from this CrossFit vs HIIT article is that there’s no superior workout. It all depends on what your goals are and what you can stick with.

After all, the type of workout doesn’t matter when you give up halfway through.

But why stop here when there’s more to learn when it comes to working out and staying fit? To discover all the workout tips you need, we encourage you to continue checking out our library of health guides right here!