3 Big Fitness Trends Explained: HIIT, Tabata and CrossFit

Unless you’ve been living under the rock for the past couple of years then you have probably heard of HIIT, Tabita and CrossFit. Although each training methodology hasn’t hit the mainstream fully, but the components of each are evident in bootcamps that everyone runs these days and in workout videos such as P90X. So, what is HIIT, Tabata and CrossFit?

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT is an exercise methodology that involves short but intense workouts using  periods of intense effort followed by short rest periods.  Typical work to rest ratio is 2:1.  If you run for 30 seconds then you jog for 15 seconds. Although most people will mistake this for an actual fitness routine, however this is just a strategy that can be applied to almost any cardio and other fitness routines.


Tabata Training is basically HIIT but has more defined work to rest ratio and amount of sets to be performed, as based on an original study Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. by Tabata I, et al.  Another thing that I noticed is that when someone is doing a HIIT Tabata Training they usually use some form of resistance or weights. Whereas HIIT usually involves strictly cardio exercises such as running, biking, skipping, etc.  But the principle is the same in both methods, work hard for X minutes then rest for X/2 minutes or variations of it.


CrossFit is a fitness training methodology that incorporate cardio, weights, gymnastics, and other full body movements into its routines.  If you’ve ever been to a bootcamp, you’ve probably done a light version of CrossFit.  This training methodology was also made popular by the film ‘300‘.  The film’s cast utilized this training method to forge elite gladiator physiques.  Unlike your boring routine at a gym, where you move from station to station working one body part at a time at a snail’s pace.  CrossFit routines aimed at developing your strength and cardiovascular capacity.  At one station you might be doing push-ups off the medicine ball, the next one flipping tires, then hanging crunches, then skipping rope and so on. It’s a full body workout. There’s virtually no limit on what types of exercise combination you can put together.

Why are these training methodologies becoming popular? Because they work, you don’t need to spend hours doing it and they are a lot of fun.

Let me hear from you. What are your thoughts? Have you done this type of training?

*image courtesy of Eric Nelson Photography

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  • Christopher Vaughn

    I like how you mentioned if you’ve ever been to Boot Camp you’ve dont CrossFit. In Basic Training we did CrossFit, it was a relatively new concept that even our Drill Sergeants were learning but our class lost the more weight per soldier than any other class before, and even significantly improved overall strength of the soldier.

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  • Irma Niza Jamal

    Hi, I am new to the world of fitness and workout and as I was looking for suitable cardio/exercises for myself, I came across these 3 words alot and have gotten really confused about it. I have been asking around and the answers I received all uses big fitness terms that confused me even more. This is the best layman’s terms answer that I have gotten and it actually made sense! I get it now. Thank you so much for this post! =D