Fitness Classes vs. Going Solo: What's the Best HIIT Cardio Workout?

03 Nov, 2016

Train like champion

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is becoming wildly popular for a reason—you can torch calories, build endurance, increase strength, and improve your cardiovascular efficiency, all in about 30 minutes.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is becoming wildly popular for a reason—you can torch calories, build endurance, increase strength, and improve your cardiovascular efficiency, all in about 30 minutes.

In a HIIT workout, you combine low-to-moderate intensity intervals with high-intensity exercise. For example, imagine jogging on a track for a minute, then sprinting at full speed for 30 seconds, followed by walking for 30 seconds, and repeating the sequence. These bursts of high intensity workout time have been shown to boost athletic performance much more than doing steady, moderate cardio.

Because HIIT can combine a wide array of workout options, you can put together your own plan or decide to take a class focusing on HIIT instead. Which is best? The answer depends on what you need and your fitness style. Here are the advantages and drawbacks of each:

Class Act

There are numerous classes that use HIIT strategies to keep you moving and motivated. For example, you might choose Cardio Power Hour for intense drills intermingled with interval training that keeps your heart rate up. Or pick Body Blast in order to work every muscle in a super fast-paced sequence.

Classes are often best for staying motivated. A group setting helps many people stay on track, and an instructor can point out proper technique, especially if you’re using equipment. Many people feel that they can push themselves a little more (or a lot more) when in a group than if they were on their own. An instructor helps there, too: if you’re trying to get a great interval workout, you have to make sure you’re really maximizing the peaks of the workout, not staying at a consistent pace. A friendly reminder from an instructor can be exactly what you need.

Lone Wolf

If you’re also interested in putting together your own sequence and HIIT workout plan, that works, too. Going solo for a HIIT workout is appealing because you can focus on certain moves you’ve been wanting to try, and you’re not relying on an instructor to include those in class time.

For example, you may want to do only plyometrics for a session or use only kettlebells or a BOSU ball. By putting together your own sequence, you can add anything you like. You have the ability to go at your own pace, which can be appealing, but if you are just starting your fitness journey, we recommend working with a personal trainer to make sure you’re maintaining proper form and hitting heart rate targets.

A personal trainer also helps with one of the big drawbacks of working out alone: staying motivated to challenge yourself. The push that comes in group settings like a class will be harder to achieve if it’s just you and your best intentions.

Blend It Up

One of the best ways to get the benefits of HIIT is to blend classes with solo workouts. You can take a few classes—either a few of the same one or a variety of classes that use HIIT—and then incorporate those moves into your own gym time.

That way, it’s likely you’ll have better form and know what works best for you. Also, doing this kind of out-of-class session will usually increase your efficiency during classes.

No matter what track you choose, it’s worth giving HIIT a try if you haven’t already. Whether you’re putting together your own sequence or trying a class, HIIT may be just the fitness hit you need. If you’re ready to take the leap, sign up for a UFC GYM Free Pass today.