High-intensity interval training or bodybuilding? Getting to the gym, choosing a strength-training method, and figuring out which method is right for you can be frustrating and confusing. With all of the options available, there’s just no easy way to figure out which training regimen is right.
Here are two of the most popular training methods broken down. The principles behind each training method and how they influence body composition. The journey to getting healthy goes a lot smoother when knowing which training program will help reach optimal fitness goals.
Not all training programs are the same.
Bodybuilding is about physical appearance. This means big muscles and low body fat, which is accomplished by heavyweight training workouts. High-Intensity Interval Training/HIIT workouts focus on performing high-intensity exercises in large volume repetitions quickly to raise an individual’s heart rate, cycling between high intensity and rest. This is accomplished by using:
- Cardio exercises
It’s important to understand that different training methods will affect body composition differently. Body composition is about painting an accurate picture of what’s going on in the body. The key is to break down:
- What each training program looks like
- What it does
- How to choose the program that’s best for the individual
- Gaining Lean Body Mass
- Losing Fat Mass
Bodybuilding at its core is about gaining muscle while minimizing body fat. Minimizing fat is a key to building a muscular-defined physique and requires a detailed focus on protein and calorie intake. It is the emphasis on aesthetically increasing muscle size and reducing body fat. Bodybuilders focus on higher reps and lighter-weight workouts. This encourages muscle hypertrophy. Other factors in bodybuilding are:
- Adequate cardio
- Consistent protein intake
- Calorie restrictions
- These are important aspects of this type of regimen and building visually impressive musculature.
This impressive musculature is not only for looks, as it can help with fat loss as well. This is because resistance training/weight training can burn many calories and lose a substantial amount of fat. The Department of Exercise Science study showed that 10 weeks of resistance training could reduce fat weight by 1.8kg and increase resting metabolic rate by 7%.
For the average person, if the focus is on building visible muscle while keeping a low body fat percentage, bodybuilding is a great choice. Ideal body composition focuses on keeping fat content to a minimum without compromise.
High-Intensity Interval Training/HIIT
Modern training programs like CrossFit utilize HIIT-style workouts. HIIT burns calories through workouts that significantly increase heart rate. The exercises are short, loaded with mini-breaks in between high-intensity sets designed to test cardio. The focus is on high repetitions. However, HIIT workouts are so intense that professional trainers recommend individuals only train 2-3 times a week to avoid overstressing the body. There are bodybuilding exercises included like:
- Tricep dips
However, they are done with different goals in mind. The priority of a HIIT workout is to reduce fat, improve cardio, and develop some muscle.
Scientists from Ohio State University observed more than 40 subjects at all levels of cardio fitness. Over the next 10 weeks, the subjects completed a variety of HIIT workouts. The scientists realized that the individuals were developing a more capable cardio system, and their body fat percentages were dropping significantly.
- If the goal is to get stronger and lose weight, then bodybuilding is the best option.
- If the goal is to have stronger cardio and lose serious weight, HIIT workouts are the best option.
No matter what training program is chosen. Remember that achieving a healthy body composition that the individual feels comfortable with is the most important thing. Making positive changes and achieving optimal health is the objective. Both workout strategies can be incorporated into a regular strength training regimen. Both training methods can be challenging, but the health benefits are absolutely worth it. Contact us today to help figure out which training regimen will achieve optimal health.
Ross, Leanna M et al. “High-intensity interval training (HIIT) for patients with chronic diseases.” Journal of sport and health science vol. 5,2 (2016): 139-144. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2016.04.005
Westcott, Wayne L. “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health.” Current sports medicine reports vol. 11,4 (2012): 209-16. doi:10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825dabb8
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