All there is to know about HIIT
New to HIIT? Not sure where to start?
Find out everything you need to know about HIIT training and how it works by clicking the link below.
An efficient way to exercise
One of the most common reasons for not exercising regularly exercise is “I don’t have enough time.”
The NHS currently recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week in order to see health benefits.
The intensity of a HIIT workout means you get a lot done in a short space of time. Highly popular amongst busy professionals, HIIT workouts are great for squeezing in first thing, or right after work.
Is working out eating into your evening? If you’re spending hours at the gym and not seeing results, HIIT can help mix things up a bit. You can complete a HIIT workout in 20 minutes and feel like you’ve been working out for an hour.
30 minutes is all it takes
There is growing evidence to show that three 30-minute HIIT sessions (that include at least 10 minutes of high-intensity activity) could be as good as exercising at a moderate level for 150 minutes per week.
This would mean you could exercise for 90 minutes and get the same benefits as someone exercising for 150 minutes.
What does a 30-minute HIIT workout look like?
If you’re interested in HIIT, you might be wondering what a workout looks like.
Warm-up (Minute 0 to 5)
- Begin jogging or cycling at a steady pace
- Gradually increase your speed every minute until you are slightly out of breath but can still hold a conversation.
Intervals (Minutes 5 to 25)
During the intervals, your aim is to reach 90% of your maximum heart rate – you should be out of breath and struggling to maintain the effort. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can learn about rating perceived exertion according to how you feel.
- Cycle for 60 seconds as fast as you can on high resistance
- Recover for 60-90 seconds at a low speed and low resistance
- Repeat intervals and rests for 20 minutes.
Cool-down (Minutes 25 to 30)
- Jog or cycle at a steady pace for five minute
- Stretch out your legs and upper body.
A HIIT workout for beginners
If you’re all about the visuals, we’ve included one of our favourite HIIT classes for you to follow along with below.
HIIT at home
HIIT has soared in popularity in recent years. That has meant we can all now access great quality HIIT workouts from the comfort of our own homes.
If you don’t have a gym membership or feel uncomfortable in a gym setting, HIIT workouts are great for blasting through at home.
Most HIIT workouts don’t require specialist equipment and are all about bodyweight exercises and quick movement.
Losing weight with HIIT
A 2021 study found that even without taking weight loss into account, HIIT can reduce our total and visceral body fat mass.
The modern consensus around HIIT is that it can be an incredibly effective and efficient way of burning fat and losing weight. This is because the amount of time required to complete a HIIT workout is far less than the time it would take to complete a low to moderate-intensity exercise routine that yields the same results.
In short, HIIT takes up less time and gives a similar fat-loss result when compared with low-intensity exercise.
Mix things up a bit
Tired of your current class? Doing the same workout for weeks, months, and even years will get boring quickly.
The truth is that HIIT rose in popularity because it’s so varied.
The fundamental idea behind high-intensity interval training can be applied to almost every movement and exercise. This means that you can take the movements you love and make your own routine.
All you need is some free space and half an hour.
How many calories does HIIT burn?
Whilst counting calories isn’t the be all and end all of health and fitness, many of us use calories to roughly determine what we eat and how much we exercise.
HIIT is an incredibly effective way of burning calories quickly. HIIT classes are hugely popular amongst people who are on the clock and haven’t got much time to workout.
Estimates vary depending on your size and weight, but an average size person can expect to burn anywhere between 250 and 600 calories during a 30-minute HIIT session.
Last updated Thursday 9 November 2023
First published on Tuesday 21 March 2017