HIIT Bike vs Running: Which is Best for Me?

We all want quick results while investing little time when it comes to fitness. Becoming healthier, slimmer, faster and stronger is something most people want but only a handful is truly committed to it and all the sacrifices included.

A common rule of fitness was that people had to join a gym and dedicate, at least, one hour a day in order to achieve the desired results. Our fast world is becoming faster every day. As a result of this, we have the need to do things quickly and accomplish good results despite the little time we have. Past fitness gurus claimed that it was impossible to achieve results without the proper time investment.

Nevertheless, here we are, enjoying of fitness disciplines like HIIT, which give us huge results without that hourly investment every day. HIIT, which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, is a workout style that is quickly growing in popularity these days. Its philosophy consists in massive physical effort in short time periods, proving more results with little investment.

HIIT workouts make athletes to push the boundaries during small blocks of time, making intervals, and applying more effort in every phase. Because of this methodology, a full workout can be done in less than 30 minutes, having guaranteed results. Along with its potential, we find variety: HIIT is available in many forms and we are about to know two of them.


What is HIIT Bike?

When we talk about HIIT bike, we are referring to the HIIT workouts made on a bike, preferably a stationary exercise bike. These short workouts may take the toughest, seasoned cyclists to his or her very limits. Both aerobic and anaerobic conditions are quickly enhanced after a few well-performed sessions. In case you don’t have a bike at home, here is our guide on the best exercise bike for HIIT.

Having in mind the concept of HIIT bike, we must dig into the details we care about: is it for you? It depends. Do you have an exercise bike at hand? Do you like to ride a bike indoors? Why is not possible to perform HIIT bike workouts outdoors?

If you have an exercise bike and like to use it, you basically have everything you need. During a 20-minute HIIT workout, all your fitness conditions will be tested. Despite this, the risk of injury is low. Now, why is not possible to do it outside?

HIIT bike implies big efforts in short periods of time. So, if you do it on a traditional bike outside, that would mean that you should go at really high speeds, which comes to be dangerous, even with the right equipment. This way, doing it at home is the safest bet.


What is HIIT Running?

On the other hand, HIIT running represents workouts involving jogging and sprinting. Because they include moving outdoors, they may seem more exciting and entertaining for those people who spend a long day trapped in an office and want to breathe some fresh air.

If we fall in comparisons, we can say that HIIT running is the most physically demanding type of this training by far. Intense sprinting is something most people cannot do more than ten seconds without feeling they are going to die. This means that it can be more effective even while doing really short workouts, under 20 minutes.

Because of the great demand HIIT running implies, it’s capable of giving us more benefits in less time. Our bodies become stronger, faster, and more flexible through HIIT running. On the track, a really good HIIT running workout can be:

  • 40 meters of full-speed sprinting
  • Two minutes of soft jogging
  • 40 meters of full-speed sprinting
  • Three minutes of soft jogging
  • 50 meters of full-speed sprinting

On paper, a workout like this may seem easy to do. The truth is that execution is way different. Just remember to get some good HIIT shoes.


This is My First Time Workout Out

Yes, we haven’t stop saying that both styles in our HIIT cycling vs running dilemma are really demanding and take athletes to their very limit. But what about those individuals who are in their early stage of fitness, just beginning to work out?

Don’t worry about it. Even people who are out of shape can start with HIIT bike or running. There are friendly workouts, designed for people who is beginning and need to get in good shape as soon as possible. Shorter intensity intervals are the right way to start and make progression without losing motivation.


What is Best for Muscle Building?

This is a tricky question. When it comes to HIIT cycling vs running, people discard the chance of building any muscle. They think that by using this heavy cardio, it’s impossible to generate gains in muscle. The truth is, in fact, quite different.

On one side, HIIT bike workouts can perfectly give us muscle gains in our legs, as long as we complement our routine with the right nutrition. On the other side, HIIT running demands more from our body, engaging more muscle in less time. We get tired faster but almost every single muscle is being broken down, making the most from a good diet. For muscle building, HIIT running is the winner.


What is Best for Losing Weight?

Defining an undisputed winner here is simply impossible. HIIT cycling workouts can take, on average, 20 minutes and demand a lot of effort from our legs, abs, and lower back. A huge amount of calories is burned here, for sure.

But again, HIIT running engage more muscle into the workout, which implies a major use of resources. More calories are burned during and after the workout. Because this style of training has more capacity of building muscle, the metabolism rate maintains high even hours after the workout. Both are great for weight loss, but we are inclined to say that HIIT running do it faster.


The Bottom Line

The HIIT cycling vs running dilemma is really hard to answer. At the end, it will only depend on the personal preferences and the availability of the resources. If you don’t have a bike, go for running. If you don’t have a place to run, the bike comes handier.

Nevertheless, HIIT is something you cannot simply miss.