HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a training technique where a person exerts 100% of their energy on an exercise for a certain amount of time, and then has a rest period before resuming a high intensity interval. The time intervals in a HIIT workout are based upon a persons physical abilities. In other words, the recovery periods in-between intervals of intense exercise will depend upon how long it takes for someone to go "all out" on their next high intensity period.

HIIT can be performed in various ways, such as running, riding a stationary bike, performing body weight exercises, or even by lifting weights in a HIIT format. To better understand how HIIT works, we have provided two examples below.

HIIT workout #1

30 seconds of high knees or running in place

30 seconds of rest

30 seconds of squat jumps

30 seconds of rest

30 seconds of mountain climbers

30 seconds of rest

30 seconds of pushups

30 seconds of rest

30 seconds of lunges

30 seconds of rest

*Repeat circuit 4-5 times

HIIT workout #2

30 seconds of running “all-out”

1 minute of walking or complete rest

(You can either run outside or on a treadmill)

*Repeat circuit for 15-25 minutes

The examples above are just an introduction to varieties available within the world of HIIT workouts. HIIT workouts can be catered to an individuals ability, so if you are at a more advanced level of personal fitness, you can include more intense exercises and have shorter rest periods. If you are a beginner with fitness, you can take it slow, and choose low impact exercises to lessen join stress.


1. HIIT Increases Metabolism/Helps Burn Fat

HIIT speeds up your metabolic rate by giving the metabolism a boost the lasts for hours after a workout has ended. While steady state cardio has it benefits, HIIT is unique because even after a workout has finished, the body is still burning fat. (1) Research has shown that during a HIIT workout, the body used fat stores for energy instead of carbs, making it more effective than steady

state cardio. One study showed that two minutes of HIIT with sprinting increased the metabolism over a a 24-hour window as much as 30 minutes of steady jogging.(2)

2. HIIT Burns A Significant Amount of Calories in a Short Amount of Time

Another benefit of HIIT is that you can burn more calories in less time than other types of cardio. One study has found that HIIT burned 25-30% more calories in less time than steady running and biking. (3)

3. It's One of the Most Efficient Workouts

This is one of the most appealing benefits to HIIT workouts is the time efficiency and the convenience that it offers. HIIT can be done almost anywhere you want to do it, and it can be done without any equipment. The average time period for a HIIT workout is 15-30 minutes, which is an amount of time that works well for most people, even if they are busy.

4. HIIT Can Help You Gain and Preserve Muscle

Although weight training is the best way to build muscle, HIIT exercise can contribute to muscle mass building. (4) HIIT is also a type of cardio that promotes the preservation of muscle mass.

5. HIIT Can Lower Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that HIIT workouts can help lower blood pressure as much as steady state cardio (5) and improve insulin sensitivity more than traditional steady state exercise. (6)

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24773393

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27747847

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23438230

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22710610

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25395872

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25395872