HIIT: A Complete Guide

HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is what all fitness enthusiasts are talking about these days. This popular workout regimen has become the most trending form of exercise as it gives you the best results in less time. But if you are not familiar with such workouts, then this guide is just for you. We are here with everything that you need to know about High-Intensity Interval Training.

What is HIIT?

HIIT, also known as high-intensity interval training, is a technique that alternates periods of high intensity with periods of active or rest recovery. This means that you will have consecutive rounds of high-intensity exercises and breaks one after another. Because of this, these workouts lift your heart rate to 80-95 percent for a short period, ranging from 5 seconds to 8 minutes, depending on the workout you have chosen to perform. Afterward, it backs down for a recovery interval lasting equally as the workout period. The varying intensity of these intervals pushes your body to work harder than normal while maintaining your heart rate at a steady level. Eventually, you burn more calories in a short time.

What are the Benefits of HIIT Workout?

Right from its inception, the whole world is raving about High-Intensity Interval Training and its benefits for your body. And while there are many, we have listed a few of them here:

HIIT: An Efficient Form of Workout

HIIT is an ideal workout form for people with a busy schedule. It is good to opt for this session if you have a busy routine but want to stay active. According to recent research, you may achieve more progress with 15 minutes of interval training than you would with other exercises like jogging on the treadmill for an hour. Two weeks of HIIT can improve your aerobic capacity remarkably. 

Burn More Fat with HIIT

Besides burning a good amount of calories from your body, you can also burn more fat with HIIT. Even after several hours after your HIIT, your metabolism stays elevated which allows you to burn even more calories. And as you burn calories, your body will start using the stored fat in your body as an energy source. Thus, burning more fat from your body.

HIIT for A Healthier Heart

HIIT and cardio share a common benefit, they help to improve your heart health. The short sprints of exercises require your muscles to burn more energy anaerobically as there is not enough time for oxygen to produce additional adenosine triphosphate. According to a study carried out in 2006, people could ride their bikes twice as long as before after performing eight weeks of HIIT sessions. This training benefits your heart health significantly.

No Equipment for HIIT

The common activities involved in HIIT workouts such as jump roping, running, biking, and rowing work great for high-intensity interval training. It means you do not have to use any equipment to exercise. Fast feet, high knees, or anything plyometric, including jump lunges, work well to up your heart rate, helping you reap the benefits of the training.

Prevent Muscle Loss with HIIT

When you are on a diet, it becomes difficult to not lose muscles along with fat. But when you pair your diet with a steady workout training such as HIIT, you lose weight without losing your muscles. According to many proven studies, weight training and HIIT allow you to preserve your hard-earned muscles.

Improve your Metabolism

Besides helping you lose weight without disturbing your muscles, HIIT also improves your metabolism. This training stimulates the production of your human growth hormone by 450 percent within 24 hours after finishing your workout. HIIT allows you to burn more calories and slows down aging. 

Is HIIT Suitable for all Fitness Levels?

One of the best things about high-intensity interval training is that you can pair it with any exercise and different intervals of intensity. This factor also makes it suitable for all fitness levels. Individuals with special conditions may also participate in HIIT to witness the best results. Whether you are a beginner or a gym freak, you can definitely go for a HIIT workout made for your fitness level. When you perform HIIT workouts, intensify your exercise interval so that your heart rate reaches up to 80-90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

How often should I do HIIT Workouts?

HIIT is intense workout training which means that it may be hard on your body. Thus, the frequency of HIIT should be lesser than other forms of training. We recommend performing it not more than two times a week. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should keep a gap of two or three days between your two HIIT training sessions in a week. Since your body takes time to recover, you will feel exhausted if you do not allow your muscles to recover. The ideal duration of HIIT workouts should be 30-60 minutes.

Things to Know about HIIT as a Beginner

Are you excited enough to perform your first-ever high-intensity interval training? If yes, make sure to check out the following before your first HIIT workout:

Basic Bodyweight Exercises are the Key

You need to get comfortable with the basic bodyweight exercise before you jump on the bandwagon of HIIT. You do not have to be a fitness freak for HIIT workouts as even basic bodyweight exercises are enough before you begin HIIT. For instance, master the ability to squat aptly without pain, balance on one leg without wobbling, plank for 30 seconds, or perform basic push-ups. You shall also understand the difference between engaging your core and doing a hip-hinging movement. Basic bodyweight exercises will take you a long way in your HIIT regimen.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

If you are performing sports-specific HIIT, such as running or cycling, pick appropriate clothing to feel comfortable. Include apparel such as cleats, bicycle shorts, running shoes, high-impact sports bras, and others into your workout wardrobe. You will sweat a lot during HIIT sessions. Thus, wear sweat-absorbing clothing to feel comfortable and keep skin allergies and rashes at bay.

Start with a 20 Minute HIIT Circuit

Are you wondering about the ideal duration of a HIIT workout? In that case, you will be glad to know that a 20-minute HIIT session is good enough to start with. HIIT sessions can range in duration where some are as short as 20 minutes while others may extend up to 80 minutes. If you are a fresher, do not over challenge yourself and start slow. Once you are comfortable handling 20 minutes without feeling over-fatigued, you can increase the duration with time. Whatever duration you are choosing, be consistent with your workout routine to build up stamina with time.

Keep Pushing Yourself

You will never achieve desired results if you keep practicing within your comfort zone. For the best results, it is advised to always push yourself to the limit. During the high-intensity bursts, push yourself to 80 to 90 percent of your maximum effort. It is your hard work that will make your HIIT effective. Self-motivation can take you places, after all.

Recovery is Essential

While working hard at the gym or at home for weight loss, it is vital to take planned breaks. It helps your body and muscles to recover. Thus, performing HIIT a maximum of two or three times a week is a good idea. Your muscles require 24-48 hours to recover after any strenuous activity. Thus, it is essential to take a rest.

Combine HIIT with other Exercises

HIIT is an excellent form of training. But it shouldn’t be your only form of training. If you want to follow a well-rounded exercise program, make sure to train your body with other types of resistance training as well. You can go with normal body weight training, weight training, cable training, resistance band training, and much more. 

Not for Everyone

As HIIT training is becoming immensely popular at gyms and all over the internet, most people want to try it out. But do you know such workouts are not ideal for everyone? If you have tried HIIT in the past and felt that it’s not meant for you, do not go back to performing it. There are so many ways to break a sweat and challenge your body. Find what works best for you.

Best HIIT Workouts for Beginners

In case you want to get started with such high-intensity workouts as a beginner, you are in luck! Here, we have listed down the best HIIT workout for beginners. Perform them regularly to attain the best results:

Jump Rope Interval Workout

  • Mountain Climbers: 45 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 20-30 repetitions
  • Front Plank: 1 minute
  • Jump rope: 1 minute

Resistance Band Finisher

  • Jump Rope: 1 minute, followed by a minute of rest
  • Dips: 12-15 repetitions
  • High Knees: 30 for each knee
  • Curls with Resistance Bands: 20 repetitions

Lower Body Interval Workout

  • Sprint: 30 seconds
  • Squat Jumps: 45 seconds
  • Lunges: 20 for each leg
  • Calf Raises: 50 repetitions

Abs Interval Workout

  • Crunches: 50 repetitions
  • Sit-ups: 15 repetitions
  • Hanging Knee Raises: 15 repetitions
  • Oblique Crunches: 20 repetitions on each side
  • Half Burpees: 20 seconds rest

For all these 4 High-Intensity Interval Training workouts mentioned above, you need to follow all of the exercises of a given workout in the circuit. This means that you need to perform each exercise one after another to complete one circuit. And once one circuit is done, you can take a break for 1 minute. You can then repeat these circuits 3-4 times with 3-4 breaks after each to complete your workout.

Battle Rope Interval Workout

You can perform this movement with a rope by putting it around a stable immovable object. Ensure that each of its ends comes off this immovable object with equal distance to grab easily. Grab the rope. Alternate your arms, such as one arm going up while the other comes down. Let your hips stay fixed while you perform this movement. Repeat 10-20 times.


Now that you know everything about high-interval intensity workouts, it’s time to put on your yoga pants, hit the gym, and sweat it out. We hope that this guide has helped you learn more about the basics, benefits, and most importantly different HIIT workouts that you can try out at your home! If it helped you in any way, make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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