HIIT versus Endurance?

…I think you all know my pick!???

I’ve been a huge fan of HIIT training but it’s become even more of a love since having Ella. Any moms out there know that the first 5 months post-partum are the hardest. I mean, I haven’t experienced the teen years yet so I could have no idea what I’m in for, especially if Ella was anything like me (<—scary thought!)

When you are breastfeeding especially there is such a small window of time to do things for yourself {I’m not complaining though!}. I felt like a slave to my precious baby girl and the dreaded breast-pump up until recently—and as far as my workouts went HIIT was a lifesaver!


What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training, a burst and recover aerobic workout that is a (IMO better) alternative to continuous aerobic exercise.

I won’t bore you with all the stuff about stroke volume, heart contractibility, and blood flow to your muscles, but I will tell you that there are great benefits to cardiovascular exercise in strengthening your heart in both methods of training.

However, recent studies have shown that HIIT training has a superior benefit in matters of the heart. According to a study cited in my IDEA Fitness journal this month, 4 repetitions of 4 minute runs at 90-95% of heart rate max followed by 3 minutes of active recovery at 70% maxHR performed 3 days a week for 8 weeks showed 10% improved in blood flow to the heart muscle than did slow, long endurance runs (20 minutes or more at a steady pace).

As far as metabolic adaptions HIIT takes the lead as well. After a HIIT session your caloric expenditure remains elevated as your muscles work to restore metabolic factors to pre-exercise levels. Meaning you will be burning more calories, longer after a HIIT training session than you would during a longer endurance training session!

According to my journal, HIIT came out the winner in the battle of the aerobic titans! It’s a matter of how you incorporate it into your routine. I am a huge fan of tabata style training, but play around with intervals many of different ways.


Today’s workout, for example, I started with a tabata-style warm-up like I usually do. I love switching up between jump rope, high knees, burpees, side shuffle. I enjoy it so much and it really gets my heart pumping. I find myself jamming to music between sets and I am in my own world having a great time.

{tip: find music between 165-180bpm for your workouts! It is an amazing motivator!<—do you have any sites you like?}


My Workout:


Tabata Training (8 rounds of 20 second intervals with 10 seconds rest)

1. Jump Rope 2. High Knees 3. Scissor Jumps 4. Burpees

5. Jump Rope 6. Wide High Knees 7. Burpees 8. Jumping Jacks

I did a few inchworms and lunges too to get more dynamic warm-ups


15 rounds of 50 second intervals with 10 second rest:

1. Deep Sumo Squat w/ medicine ball bounce and toss

[basically a sumo squat, bounce the ball at the bottom, toss it in the air using my shoulders and triceps, catch, repeat]

2. Plank Row [I used 12.5 pound dumbbells]

3. Decline Bench Russian Twist with medicine ball [I bounce it on the ground]

4. Modified Reptile Push-ups [I did them on my knees so I could get deeper and perfect my form]

5. Balance Ball Roll-Out

My abs were still kind of sore from Monday’s power yoga class. She killed our legs and abs. This one teacher loves abs and I love her. My butt cheek was actually twitching uncontrollably in class. I am already feeling the remnants of today’s workout too!


So, speaking of endurance training….guess what!?? I signed up for my very first race!

I am not a runner— my sister in law asked me to join her and my other sister in law in April and I am actually really excited about it. I want to support her, and want to challenge myself with something new!

Ever since having the baby I feel my body is capable of anything. I know it’s not a marathon or anything, but it is a big deal for someone who hates to run–and barely can get through a mile straight without getting bored or dying.

I’ve figured out my issue with running …

Like anything else in fitness, I get overly ambitious. Instead of taking the advice I would give to a client– start slow, ease into it, I jump in full force because I feel I am in shape and workout hard. It’s not the way to do it with running. At least for me. Usually on dreadmill I will go at it hard with sprints. Like 6.5 or even up to 7.0 for someone who doesn’t run—no wonder I could barely do a mile.

The cardio deck has been foreign to me lately, as I enjoy doing all my stuff in the form of HIIT with my own body; but about once a week I’ve been doing a few sprints here and there to switch things up. This week I tried the first couch to 5k workout and thought it was super easy. I took it so slow and what a difference! Speed will come later! Taking this pressure off myself has made running a little more enjoyable. I still prefer my short workouts, but have always wanted to run a long distance. Even if it’s only a few miles straight. Who knows….maybe someday I will do a  marathon. Ha! Not very likely, but I ‘d like to think if my body can go through the second most painful thing in the world, that is could do anything!!

I’m off to bed! Have a great night!

Do you have any 5K tips for me and my sissies????

Do you find yourself doing more HIIT cardio workouts or long endurance cardio sessions?

Philly friends…have you done this Earth Day 5k or do you plan to??

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  • Reply nicole

    I usually do HIIT 2x a week…great for busy busy days! You will rock the 5k!

    February 9, 2012 at 8:57 am
  • Reply Lisa

    I’m a huge fan of HIIT…just because I am impatient and I like to do things fast and in a short amount of time. Occasionally with a client, I’ll do longer cardio, but generally I stick to the short stuff, and then go on walks (more for recreation than a workout) with my mom or a friend when it’s nice out.
    I do sometimes think it would be good for me to get a better balance of the longer cardio in there (I used to default to doing an hour on the AMT or elliptical everyday), but I don’t really enjoy it anymore.
    I ran for a while—and had the same issue. I was athletic and fit, so I ran fast and far too soon. I started training for a marathon, and ran up to 14 miles a few times…until one day when I hurt my knee (for no specific reason–just overuse I think). I could barely walk to my car, and 3 years later, it’s still not right and I can’t run more than a mile (I got an MRI at one point and there’s no damage). I read that a major problem with running is that people can get into cardiovascular shape quickly, but it takes years to build up the joint/tendon/ligament strength that it takes to be a real runner. So, people are likely to get hurt if they just decide to be runner and then run like one. The body/heart/muscles can push the joints to injury without realizing they’re not ready for the workload.
    I screwed that up—it sounds like you’re doing it right!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:03 am
    • Reply laury

      Exactly what you said! I had issues with my akles and knees so I stopped running. i know it was because I always went at it harder than my joints could handle. Sometimes for as much as I know and as long as I’ve been doing this–I can be so stupid as far as my own well-being!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:29 am
  • Reply Maria@healthydiaries

    I LOVE LOVE tabata training! I was too cheap to buy a gym boss, so I downloaded and app called tabata trainer for like a buck or two and it works like a charm! I will be doing this workout on Saturday morning 🙂 I’ll have to download some of those songs too, great idea!

    I am not a runner by any means. I was at a point last year where I really wanted to get into running and managed to run a 5k. I was pretty happy with that, since I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping. I’m a very slow runner and just accepted that I wouldn’t be running at a 7 or 8 minute pace(more like a 10). Just do what you can and don’t compare yourself to other runners 🙂

    February 9, 2012 at 9:27 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks for the advice! Great to know…and yes the other reason I would go so hard is I didn’t want the chick on the treadmill next to me to think I was a weakling hahaha

      February 10, 2012 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Tara Burner

    Congrats on signing up for your first race

    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 am
  • Reply kaitlin @4loveofcarrots

    I am obsessed with HIIT it is amazing and I feel so good after. Just gave fun at your 5k it goes by so fast you will be like wait its already over?

    February 9, 2012 at 9:57 am
    • Reply laury


      February 10, 2012 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Therese

    I am intrigued by this HIIT and tabata. I’ve never heard of it until recently. They sound like fun and really get your heart rate up there.

    I was never a runner up until a couple of years ago. I took it slow at a slow pace and now I can do a couple of races a year. Take it a slow pace and work your way up. When I’m training, every week, I’ll do at least one longer slow run and a shorter fast run to mix it up.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:31 am
    • Reply laury

      They are so much fun! You would love it. I love how you get short bursts of work and short rest, it makes working that hard less intimidating. It really gets those endorphins going!

      Thanks for sharing about the running! It gives me hope to know you now race a few times a year after never running before!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:32 am
  • Reply the delicate place

    i would love to take a yoga class with you! i actually never attended a formal class—only done dvd’s and yoga download programs at home! you know i prefer HIIT and i’m not a fan of running that much either (i went through a phase in 2008 and did a HM and called it quits for like 2 years after that lol. my advice for the 5k is to start your training slow, i.e. jogging for 10mins at a time, then 15, 17, 20, 25, 27 & 30min. if you jog at 6mph on the treadmill for 30mins you’ve nearly run a 5k! i also know people that like doing the run/walk and often it’s more efficient to do those bursts if you don’t have the endurance to do the whole thing continuously. good luck! x

    February 9, 2012 at 11:17 am
    • Reply laury

      I would LOVE for you to take this class with me! You would love it, Melissa! It’s so athletic and tough…not like traditional yoga! It kills me every week!!!

      Yes, I could only do the 6.0 or so for a minute at a time in intervals and it was killing my joints! I hope to work up to that, it would be awesome to be able to run that speed fora few miles straight. Now I am just focusing on slow and long for the running, and hopefully all of my HIIT training comes in handy!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:34 am
  • Reply Felicia (Natural + Balanced)

    I am all about HIIT!! Time saver, better workout than endurance/long runs, makes me happy, and better results seen. Its an all around winner 🙂

    February 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Healthy Diaries

    Good luck on the 5k! Maria & I ran our first 5k last summer and had so much fun! We’re definitely not runners! I trained by starting of slow and then slowly building. HIIT really helped with my endurance.

    I’m a HUGE fan of High Intensity Interval Training and it’s pretty much the only way I can run on the treadmill. Not since I’m pregnant, I do walkingincline HIIT and it’s still a really good workout!

    February 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    • Reply laury

      Great! I am looking forward to the 5k!

      Yes, while being pregnant it’s much smarter to focus on the endurance training! I didn’t really do any HIIT, just long sessions on the elliptical which is why I think I hate it now haha

      February 10, 2012 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Kris |

    I much prefer the HIIT style too because my cardio stinks…or I just hate long cardio…one of the two 😉 I love this workout and I’ll do it today!!! This quick workout will burn fat and tone you up???



    February 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes, I used to be able to sit on the elliptical (a long long time ago) for like 90 minutes at a time. Boooooring.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Tiffany @ Snack Snark Bark

    Congrats on signing up for your first race! I did the Couch to 5K program to prepare for mine but gave up running soon after. I liked challenging myself with it but am just not into running, I will take doing weights any day over there. I like HIIT but rarely challenge myself to do it and need someone to push me!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm
    • Reply laury

      Love weight training. I go back and forth with all of it.

      My sister in laws are doing couch to 5k and I am going to dowload it too–great program!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:37 am
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I haven’t jumped on the HIIT wagon yet… I think because I find that endurance aspect a lot more mentally challenging – to endure – and cathartic. Plus, I don’t like gasping, haha. Personal preference. But that’s just because I have the time. If I am crunched for time, HIIT would be my weapon of choice.

    As for the race, just enjoy it! I’d rather not have everyone believe you must run long distances to enjoy a race or even to stay fit… I personally find I’m at my best when I’m not logging a bunch of miles.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    • Reply laury

      It is definitely more mentally challenging. I know part of my issue is probably my head because when I have great music and don’t think as much I can definitely go harder….that just wasn’t good for my body!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:39 am
  • Reply jen

    i LOVE HIIT mainly bc it goes by so fast! my husband and i signed up for our very first 5k, in June, and im so clueless with running. i have a bad attitude towards it 100%. Ill definitely be checking out these comments for some good tips!

    February 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm
    • Reply laury

      Couch to 5k! I think that was the best advice!! Focus on going so slow to start…if you can go slower, you’re not going slow enough. This makes it less intimidating and your body will adapt better!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:41 am
  • Reply Nicole

    I love Tabatha’s training! I just started teaching it recently and am a big fan. Your blog is great, I like the format. Keep it up! Nicole. from Vaancouer

    February 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm
    • Reply laury

      Thank you, Nicole!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:41 am
  • Reply Jess @ Blonde Ponytail

    Hey! I am a fellow fitfluential and totally agree with this post. Though I am runner, I certainly prefer HIIT workouts and know they are effective long after you complete them!

    February 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm
  • Reply Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I think there is a place for both – I love both HIIT and endurance (as a runner). I think the HIIT can really help with endurance for runners. Congrats on signing up for the race too!

    February 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm
    • Reply laury

      So true! They both have their place just this article in particular was comparing them as far as working your heart and which burns more calories longer–from a science aspect! I do think we need both though!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:45 am
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    I do HIIT style workouts most days of the week but do an endurance or all strength workout maybe once a week. Being pregnant, I’ve definitely had to change my workouts so if I do a long power walk/jog it’s kind of like a good recovery day. I am happy with myself for keeping up with exercise though. It has helped so much and I am right on track with my weight gain. It slowed way down this past month as I started to not be as hungry and could work out more efficiently. I had to get a physical for my new job and I told the lady I didn’t want to know my weight…yet she blurted it out to the entire office. Thanks. BUT I was fine with it bc it was exactly as much as I needed to gain. I’m up about 8 lbs, which is great for being almost 17 weeks and I feel I’m healthy. 🙂 Body image is totally improving!

    February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am
    • Reply laury

      I’m so happy to hear that, Erin!! Yey for good body image!! Boo for the dumb lady! Glad you handled it well though.

      As far as working out whilt pregnant I did no HIIT. I just did more endurance. I think that’s why I hate it now!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Lisa

    I love HIIT workouts. Bodyrock is by far my favourite. I love the workouts you post as well, I’ve tried lots of them and they are killer 🙂

    February 10, 2012 at 11:33 am
    • Reply laury

      this made me smile 😀

      February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm
  • Reply Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction

    Hi girl! I just found your blog through Facebook and I love it! I can’t wait to read more of your posts!
    I love HIIT style workouts. I did my first Tabata style workout two days ago and now I am hooked! They are so quick but still efficient and challenging. I tend to get bored by doing solely cardio for a long period of time!

    February 10, 2012 at 11:50 am
  • Reply Pure2raw twins

    Just HIIT workouts for us we never we really run anymore find it now too boring haha our bodies just seem to like our intervals so we stick to that 😉

    February 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply Meg

    girl I love you and your posts 🙂 I too love HIIT much better than long distance/steady state. Your tabata intervals look awesome, too 🙂 my fav are high knees. so challenging, but so good!

    February 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm
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