What’s the Difference Between HIIT Training & Circuit Training?
Two women running through a HIIT workout

What’s the Difference Between HIIT Training & Circuit Training?

If you’ve ever stepped foot into a fitness center or searched for online workout routines, chances are you’ve come across the terms “HIIT” and “circuit training.” These two fitness methods have gained immense popularity for their effectiveness in burning calories, building strength, and improving cardiovascular fitness. However, they are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among fitness enthusiasts. Today, we’re here to decode the mystery and shed light on the significant differences between HIIT training and circuit training.

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?

HIIT, short for high-intensity interval training, is an exercise strategy that alternates between short bursts of highly intense exercises and brief periods of rest or low-intensity activities. The main goal of HIIT is to push your body to its maximum capacity during the intense intervals, making it one of the most efficient ways to burn fat and improve cardiovascular fitness. HIIT workouts usually last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, making them ideal for those with busy schedules who still want to reap the benefits of a high-intensity workout.

What Is Circuit Training?

On the other hand, circuit training is a form of strength training that incorporates multiple exercises targeting different muscle groups in one continuous sequence. Typically, a circuit consists of up to 10 exercises, each performed for a specific duration or a set number of repetitions. Unlike HIIT, there are usually no rest periods between exercises, and participants move quickly from one station to the next. Circuit training allows you to challenge various muscle groups while keeping your heart rate elevated, providing both strength and cardiovascular benefits.

How Is HIIT Training Different From Circuit Training?

When trying to decide which workout routine is right for you, it’s beneficial to consider the differences between HIIT vs. circuit training. Here’s how they differ in intensity, goals, and structure:


The first key difference between HIIT and circuit training lies in their approach to intensity. While both methods are known for their high intensity and calorie-burning capabilities, the way they achieve this differs. HIIT focuses on short bursts of all-out effort followed by rest periods, which can be ideal for individuals looking to maximize their calorie burn in a short amount of time. On the other hand, circuit training maintains a moderate intensity throughout the session, combining strength and cardio exercises in a continuous flow, making it perfect for individuals who prefer a more constant pace and less extreme exertion.


Another significant distinction between HIIT and circuit training is the targeted training aspect. In HIIT, the primary goal is to boost cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. While it can involve bodyweight exercises, it usually doesn’t incorporate heavy strength training or focus on isolated muscle groups. On the contrary, circuit training is designed to target specific muscle groups and improve overall strength. It provides a well-rounded workout that helps to build muscle while also burning calories through the cardio exercises included in the circuit.

In terms of the emphasis on muscle groups, HIIT workouts generally focus more on lower-body exercises due to their cardio-intensive nature. Moves like squats, lunges, and jumps are commonly incorporated into HIIT routines. Meanwhile, circuit training can be customized to target specific areas, such as the upper body, lower body, or core, depending on the exercises chosen for the circuit.

One common misconception is that HIIT is primarily for weight loss and cardiovascular benefits, while circuit training is for building muscle. In reality, both methods can contribute to weight loss, muscle building, and overall fitness. HIIT workouts are great for burning calories, but they can also help build muscle endurance and enhance athletic performance. On the other hand, circuit training may not burn as many calories as HIIT in the same amount of time, but it’s an effective way to strengthen and tone muscles.


Moreover, the structure of the two training methods varies. HIIT workouts often require minimal or no equipment, making them highly accessible and suitable for all experience levels. They rely on bodyweight exercises like burpees, high knees, or mountain climbers to raise the heart rate. Conversely, circuit training can be more diverse, using a combination of bodyweight exercises, resistance training, and various gym equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands. This variety makes circuit training a versatile option that can be adapted to different fitness levels and preferences.

Find the Perfect Fitness Routine at Bria Method

Regardless of which training method you choose, both HIIT and circuit training have their unique advantages and can be effective tools for achieving your fitness goals. If you’re looking for high-energy, intense exercise and quick results, HIIT may be your preferred choice. On the other hand, if you enjoy a more well-rounded, dynamic workout that strengthens different muscle groups, circuit training might be the better fit.

Are you ready to take your fitness journey to the next level? At Bria Method, we offer a variety of HIIT workout classes tailored to meet your individual needs and preferences. Our certified instructors will guide you through challenging and fun sessions that will leave you feeling stronger, healthier, and more energized. Whether you’re interested in HIIT for building muscle or losing weight, we have something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the power of high-intensity workouts. Sign up now and unleash your full potential!