3-Step Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

Love yourself enough to work harder!

Have you heard of HIIT? It’s an extremely popular form of exercise these days! (…and for good reason.) High-Intensity Interval Training allows you to build muscle and shed fat in a very short amount of time. This 3-Step Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training tells you everything that you need to know!

What Is HIIT?

High- Intensity Interval Training is a form of intense cardiovascular exercise. The goal is to elevate your heart rate for a certain amount of time with short recovery periods in between. A form of HIIT, Tabata training, is a 4 minute grueling workout. You perform an exercise at the highest intensity possible for 20 seconds with a 10 second break. Complete 8 total rounds to finish the Tabata workout.

Some people enjoy performing HIIT so they increase the length of the workout to 15, 20 and even 30 minutes. The AHA recommends getting in 75 minutes of HIIT exercise each week, as opposed to 150 minutes of moderate intensity steady-state cardio.

Why Should You Do It? 

HIIT offers many benefits, included but not limited to:

  • Maintains and/or builds muscle.
  • Boosts metabolism to burn more calories, resulting in fat loss.
  • Improves cardiovascular health and stamina.
  • Saves time, which makes it more likely for us to remain consistent.

Who Can Perform It? 

HIIT is a great workout for anyone, however, it may be too difficult if you’re just getting into your fitness routine. It is recommended that you have achieved some level of fitness before adding in HIIT to your workout regimen. Of course, you can always start with Tabata (4 minute) exercise. You can do anything for 4 minutes! As your level of fitness increases, you can also increase the amount of time spent practicing HIIT exercise.

3-Step Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

1. Don’t Neglect the Warm-Up!

While HIIT is great due to the fact that it can be done in such a small amount of time, many people forget or straight up ignore warming-up. This can lead to all sorts of injuries. Don’t skip the warm-up! 5 to 10 minutes of light to moderate intensity exercise can go a long way in preventing injury and keeping you on the right track!

2. Start out Simply and Slowly.

Don’t over-complicate it. Traditional HIIT is completed on a treadmill or a track. Your high intensity exercise would be a sprint and your recovery period could be a rest or a slow walk. If you don’t have access to a treadmill and/or can’t run, there are numerous other exercises that can give you just as good of a workout. Squats, jump squats, lunges, jumping lunges, burpees, mountain climbers and jumping jacks are just a few of the exercises that you can perform. You can choose to stick with just one exercise or incorporate multiple. Just, keep it simple.

If you’re new to HIIT exercise, you can start small. For instance, perform 15 seconds on 15 seconds off. As it gets easier you can do 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off and then 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off and so on… I don’t recommend jumping right into 15 minute HIIT sessions if you’re new to the game. Start with 4 minutes and slowly increase over time.

3. Give it your ALL.

When we’re talking about the high-intensity portion of your workout, that means that you should be working as hard as you can for that time segment. HIIT is meant to challenge you. What’s that saying? “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” That applies to HIIT. If we want to make changes we must work for it. Give it everything you’ve got, girl!

A Few Extra Notes…

HIIT is a fantastic way to shed those extra pounds. These short periods of intense exercise can go a surprisingly long way! It is important to note that you will see greater progress when combined with a strength training routine and healthy diet. It’s an excellent choice when you’re schedule is too tight to make it to the gym or if you need to get a little extra energy out! I highly recommend giving it a shot! Also, if you want to focus in on building muscle mass you can hold weights during your HIIT workout.

If you’re interested in trying HIIT, try one of these Fat-Blasting Workouts!

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Erin Miller

Erin is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. She is also a Performance Nutrition Coach, certified through the Clean Health Fitness Institute. Some of Erin’s favorite hobbies include hiking, kayaking, and hanging out at the beach, although weight lifting is her greatest passion. She says, “Weight training is one of the most empowering things a person can do. Not just seeing, but feeling yourself transform… There’s just nothing else like it.”

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