What Is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

By Marc


HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a style of training that involves alternating between periods of high intensity exercise and moderate to low intensity exercise, usually at a ratio of 2:1 and for a period of 5-30 minutes. For example, a simple running HIIT workout would involve sprinting for 30 seconds, lightly jogging for 15 seconds and then repeating this cycle for 5 minutes.

HIIT has become increasingly popular in recent years with many people praising its efficiency, effectiveness and fat burning properties. However, other health and fitness experts have criticized HIIT and advised people to maintain a consistent, moderate intensity as they train. This article will be focusing on the positives and negatives of HIIT and discussing how you can use it in your health and fitness regime.

The Benefits Of HIIT

HIIT has plenty of plus points and is definitely something you should consider if you want to add some variety to your training regime. The section below highlights the main benefits of HIIT:

1. Short Workouts: If you lead a busy lifestyle or simply want a fast workout, HIIT is ideal with each workout taking no longer than 30 minutes to complete.

2. High Calorie Burn: HIIT burns off a substantial 500 calories per 30 minute session which makes it one of the best options for losing weight.

3. Enhanced Fat Burning: HIIT burns fat at a much higher rate than steady state cardio and is an excellent way to lower your body fat percentage.

4. Higher Levels Of HGH: HIIT enhances HGH (Human Growth Hormone) production within the body by as much as 450%. HGH stimulates muscle growth, burns body fat, reduces the visible signs of aging and much more.

5. Increased Cardiovascular Fitness: Just a few HIIT sessions each week will fire up your cardiovascular fitness, enhance your energy levels and improve your stamina.

6. More Enjoyable Workouts: HIIT is fast paced, fun and no two workouts ever have to be the same.

The Drawbacks Of HIIT

Despite it numerous health benefits, there are a number of potential drawbacks to HIIT and these are listed below:

1. Higher Injury Risk: HIIT places a large amount of pressure on your body and has a high injury risk compared with gentle, steady state cardio exercises.

2. Longer Recovery Times: HIIT workouts take an average of 2-3 days to fully recover from, so you can’t perform them every day.

3. Not Specific: HIIT workouts don’t develop the specific skills that are required to excel in certain sports or fitness disciplines.

4. Not Suitable For Beginners: HIIT workouts require a high level of fitness and if you’re just beginning your fitness journey, they’re not a viable option.

How To Use HIIT In Your Training Program

To fully enjoy all the benefits of HIIT, you should use it in combination with your existing training regime and do a maximum of three 30 minute HIIT workouts each week. This will give your body plenty of time to recover from each HIIT workout and significantly reduce your chances of getting injured.

When it comes to integrating HIIT into your existing training program, there are lots of options and you can be creative as you like. The section below contains some sample HIIT workout ideas to get you started:

1. HIIT Bodyweight Workout: Choose up to 20 bodyweight exercises and then perform each exercise for 1 minute at high intensity and 30 seconds at low intensity for a total duration of 5-30 minutes.

2. HIIT Cycling Workout: Cycle for 1 minute at high intensity and 30 seconds at low intensity for a total duration of 5-30 minutes.

3. HIIT Dumbbell Workout: Choose up to 20 dumbbell exercises, grab a light set of dumbbells, then perform as many reps as you can within 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds for each exercise for a total duration of 5-30 minutes.

4. HIIT Sprint Workout: Find a spot where you can sprint freely and then start sprinting for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds for a total duration of 5-30 minutes.


If HIIT isn’t currently part of your training program, I hope this article convinces you to give it a try. While it does have some drawbacks, when used sparingly and combined with other styles of training, HIIT can be highly beneficial and help take your fitness to the next level.

Marc Ouellette is a Certified In-Home Personal Trainer, Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and Owner of Personal Training Alliance.

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