How to Build Your Own HIIT Workout

Become an expert at burning fat!

Sprinting is a great exercise for your HIIT workout.

Following a predesigned workout can be really helpful! It eliminates the guesswork, which can save you time and stress. That said, those “one size fits all” programs aren’t always the most effective option. We all have different needs, limitations, goals, and timeframes to work within. Access to equipment also varies from person to person. That’s why we want to help you create your own routine! Learning how to build a personalized HIIT workout can help you stay on track to your fitness goals and take your results to the next level.

What is HIIT?

Rest during your HIIT routine is very important!

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. This form of training utilizes high-intensity bursts of exercise followed by recovery periods to optimize cardiovascular endurance and fat loss.

Classic versions of HIIT put just as much focus on the rest periods as they do the working periods. For instance, during the high-intensity portion of the workout, you want to push yourself as hard as possible. But to be able to do this, you must not cut your rest periods short! 

You can make sure you’re pushing yourself hard enough during the exercise portion of the workout by utilizing the RPE scale, or rate of perceived exertion. This is a scale, usually measured from one to ten, that is used to determine how hard the body is working. When you’re performing your HIIT exercise, you’re going to want to be around a 9 or even 10. A 9 on the scale represents “very hard activity” while a 10 is “maximum effort”. As we said, you’re going to need to PUSH yourself!

Eating to Support Your Training

Our banana smash oatmeal is loaded with delicious flavors and made with healthy ingredients to give you energy all day long.

Before you begin your HIIT routine, you’re going to need some energy! Fueling your body is crucial to being able to work at an intensity of a 9 or 10 on the RPE scale. We highly recommend eating a high protein meal that is moderate in carbs and healthy fats about 60 to 90 minutes before you plan on exercising. Some great meal ideas are:

  • Two eggs with a slice or two of whole-grain bread.
  • Chicken and rice with some veggies.
  • A sandwich or wrap with some lean protein like turkey or tuna.
  • Greek yogurt with some granola. 
  • A shake or smoothie made with protein powder, peanut butter, and banana.

You might also want to check out: The Best Pre-Workout Recipes For Optimum Results

How to Build Your Own HIIT Workout

Jumping rope is a great exercise to get your heart rate up when you build your own HIIT workout.

Building your own HIIT workout is really simple! Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: How Much Time Do You Have for Your HIIT Routine?

This is where you will decide how much time you have to workout! We recommend building a HIIT routine that is anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour long. Of course, if you only have 5 to 10 minutes, anything is better than nothing! 

Step 2: How Many Rounds of Exercises Do You Want to Perform?

Now that you’ve decided how long you can work out, you can begin thinking about the exercises. How many rounds do you want to complete? Let’s say you’ve only got 15 minutes. We recommend choosing three exercises and performing five rounds. Alternatively, you can use five exercises and perform three rounds. Once you make that decision, it’s time to choose your exercises!

Step 3: What HIIT Exercises Do You Want to Focus On?

There are a variety of moves you can perform in a HIIT routine. Some are total-body while others are lower- or upper-body specific. Feel free to build a routine that focuses on any of them! Here’s a list to help get you started:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Plank Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Power Steps
  • Burpees
  • Single Unders (Jump Rope)
  • Double Unders (Jump Rope)
  • Squat Jumps
  • Split Squat Jumps
  • Star Jumps
  • Plyometric Lunges
  • Alternating Lateral Lunges
  • Sprints
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Push-Ups
  • Plyometric Push-ups
  • Russian Twists
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Box Jumps
  • Alternating Later Step-Up

Step 4: What Is Your Difficulty Level?

Beginners should start by performing each exercise for 20 seconds with 40 seconds of rest after each move.

Intermediate level participants should perform each move for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise.

If you consider yourself advanced or really want to push yourself, perform each exercise for 40 seconds with a 20-second rest following each move.

Step 5: Set Your Timer and Get your Sweat On!

Finally, now that you have your workout laid out, it’s time to get to work! When you’re ready, start the timer on your phone or stopwatch and begin. Remember to push yourself! The harder you work, the better your results will be.

Once you build your own HIIT workout, be sure to let us know which exercises you chose. How long did you workout? We want to hear about it in the comments below.

If you enjoy high-intensity interval training, you might also like to try these popular predesigned workout routines:

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This post may include affiliate links.

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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