HIIT vs Hiking – What’s Better for Weight Loss?

Hey Angels and Alphas,

We all know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to weight loss, and there are countless science-backed strategies you can try that will help you achieve your goals. But the most important thing has always been to adopt healthy habits such as drinking more water and moving your body. 

These are things you can incorporate in your day-to-day life, and when it comes to training for weight loss, HIIT and hiking are both two habits you can adopt pretty easily into your life.

For people who want to start easing into regular cardio practices for their health, walking or hiking are great entry points. Research shows they’re great at improving heart health, aiding weight loss, and improving your mood. 

One piece of research that surveyed more than 50,000 regular walkers found that walking was associated with a 20% reduction in risk for all-cause mortality. That’s huge!

Once you’ve gotten on track to a regular walking habit, it could be a great potential challenge for you to switch to a new variation and keep things new and exciting. 

Both hiking and HIIT fit the bill. 

So today, we’re here to break down the pros and cons so you can decide between the two.


High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, can sound pretty intimidating. 

To be even more specific, the whole “high-intensity” part. That being said, this workout technique, which involves intense bursts of activity mixed with comfortable rest periods, is actually one of the more beginner-friendly types of training. Research has shown this type of training can improve your athletic performance, strength, and cardiovascular health, as well as skyrocket your metabolism for a few hours.

This type of training has been long proven to be an effective way to build muscle, burn extra calories, and increase your metabolic rate so you’re burning more fat.

When it comes to hiking, you can choose your own adventure. It’s generally easy to adjust your work effort in a way that best suits you. For example, maybe you pick up your speed for 20/30/60 seconds at a time, then ease back into a comfortable rest period. You can also choose your terrain so you can add more or reduce the resistance of your training, be it on a flat surface, hills, sand, even the pool.


Hiking is exactly what it sounds like: heading for the hills and doing some incline walking. This specific type of workout will target the posterior chain of your body, your hamstrings and glutes, and it will spike up your heart rate so you burn more calories.

You can easily tackle the outdoor hills and reap the calming effect of nature. Just be aware that, if you’re doing incline walking indoors on a treadmill, you should never hold on to your sides as this reduces the overall hiking effect and leads to poor body mechanics.

Similarly, one more thing you have to remember is that what goes up must come down. You have to take into account your way back as downhill places will put more load on your thighs and joints. If your legs aren’t strong enough, this is a recipe for knee pain later on. This doesn’t mean you should avoid hill walking or running, but basic exercises such as bodyweight squats and even lunges will help you develop the muscular foundation you need to sustain long hikes.


While HIIT offers a big calorie burn for a short amount of time, hiking allows you to push yourself to the max. A good rule of thumb you should follow is to have at least one low-intensity training day between two days of HIIT. 

Hiking is a great fat-burning workout, but it can be very stressful on your joints if you don’t take the necessary precautions. But if you don’t have any pre-existing knee issues and you love to hike outside in the nature, hiking might be a better choice for you.


Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference. But now that you know the benefits and applications of each type of training, you will be able to pick one or even incorporate both types of walking so you can stave off boredom and mix up your schedule. At the end of the day, the best type of training is one you’ll do consistently, so whatever you choose to pursue, make sure it’s something you can see yourself sticking with.

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