What is HIIT?

HIIT training is talked about a lot as having some great fat burning benefits but not many people know exactly what it is.

What exactly is HIIT Training?

HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, is a type of interval training (you probably guessed that!). In general, interval training involves alternating short intervals of higher intensity followed by recovery intervals. HIIT effort intervals are not meant to be any longer than 30 seconds, with recovery intervals being 1:1, 1:2 or 1:3 in length. However, for best results, the effort intervals should be 100% effort, each effort interval should exhaust you.

It’s the 100% effort that makes HIIT training a form of training that needs to be planned and thought out. You don’t just add it to your routine and do it as much as possible. The REAL textbook form of HIIT is not for beginners.

What are the Benefits of HIIT Training?

  1. The After Burn
    A true HIIT workout will create and “after burn” effect. This is where the body continues to burn energy, after the workout has finished. The energy burn comes from the body to replenishing the muscle’s energy stores (ATP) and repairing muscle tissue, among other things. Without getting too technical, the HIIT method relies on exhausting our stored muscle energy source (ATP) which only takes a short period (around 30 secs). Once this is exhausted, the body then needs to use oxygen to replenish these stores, which burns energy. This can only happen when the intensity is dropped and you do the recovery interval.
  2. Shorter Workout Times
    To get this “afterburn” and ensure you aren’t over doing it, these HIIT workouts only need to be about 10 mins long. If you are hitting that 100% effort mark, you probably won’t be able to do much more, Very time efficient, .

Here Are the Rules You Need to Follow

Because this type of training is designed to exhaust you energy system, your body needs time to recover adequately. So here are a couple of rules to guide you:

  1. If you are a beginner or not experienced at HIIT, start with lower intensity interval training.

    During the effort intervals, push you effort up to no more than 50 – 60%. Once you get comfortable with that after 6 – 8 weeks, increase it to 60 – 70% and repeat. Keep increasing the effort of the effort intervals every 6 – 8 weeks. Be sure to do at least 2 sessions of interval training every week. If you are doing only 1 session every week or even skip some weeks, slow your progression down too. Whatever you do, don’t push yourself too hard too soon.

  2. Wait 48 hrs between each HIIT session
  3. Doing a HIIT session at most 3 times a week is recommended.
    You can do other forms of training, low intensity cardio or high rep, lower weight resistance sessions to break up the HIIT sessions. Target different parts of the body in these other workouts, so they get a chance to effectively recover.
  4. The length of each effort interval and recovery interval should be 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3. The effort interval should be no longer than 30 secs.
  5. Warm-up and cool-downs are important parts of these HIIT workouts, allow at least 8 mins for both, on top if the workout itself. The effort intervals are highly intense. It’s important, in order to avoid injury, to be sure to prepare you body for the work out.
  6. The recovery intervals should be low intensity and active, like a walk.


Before you start any new exercise program, seek medical advice to ensure it is safe for you. When exercising, always listen to your body, don’t push beyond your limits. When starting any new type of exercise, ease yourself into it and allow your body time to adjust to the new demand.

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