What is HIIT? How to do it, Example routines, and more...
If you’re curious about what a HIIT workout is, then you’ve come to the right corner of the internet. In this article, we will talk about all things related to this method of exercise.
You will learn exactly what it is, whether it’s something that can benefit you, and you’ll even be able to tell if it can fit into your workout schedule.
First, let me show you what a beginner HIIT workout looks like...
...and then we'll get into the definition of it. Ready? Let's go!
HIIT For Beginners Workout
WHAT IS IT?
Stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The name may sound intimidating, but at its core, it is essentially a variation of a cardio workout. It’s designed to boost your stamina and endurance, along with other benefits that we’ll get into later on in this article.
These type of workouts aren’t designed to tone specific parts of your body, but you can still get stronger from doing them which will lead to overall better definition in your muscles.
So, why is a HIIT workout called as such if it’s just a variation of a cardio workout? Well, that’s because the two are not completely identical.
A cardio workout is made up of different forms of exercise intended to improve your stamina and endurance. It doesn’t really take into account the level of intensity you’re pouring into the exercises themselves.
When you’re following this workout method, the intensity level is a main factor. A workout can be divided into two parts. There’s the high intensity exercise itself and that will usually be followed by a lighter and less strenuous form of exercise.
Aside from the intensity level, the exercises that make up a routine also vary in terms of the time you have to perform them.
The high intensity exercise is usually performed anywhere from around 30 seconds all the way up to three minutes. You will then follow that up with a lighter form of exercise that you can do for the same amount of time, but usually, it’s carried out over a longer period of time.
You Can Also Perform HIIT Workouts With Weights
What Are the Different HIIT Exercises?
This is where the line between cardio and high intensity workouts blur again as there’s not a lot separating the cardio exercises from those intense exercises. You may not even find a difference at all.
Something as simple as running can be turned into an HIIT exercise. You simply have to switch things up as you’re going through the routine.
Start out by sprinting for about 30 seconds and follow that up with a slower-paced 3-minute jog.
Cycling can also be turned into an intense workout provided that you remember to include high and low intensity variants of it into your routine.
The same goes for swimming, although you probably shouldn’t attempt this exercise if you’re not too comfortable in the water just yet.
In addition, exercises that involve specific pieces of gym equipment such as kettlebells, stair climbers, and jumping ropes can also be turned up a notch or two so that they qualify as high intensity exercises.
The important takeaway here is that if you have a favorite form of cardio exercise, you can just turn up the intensity on it and transform it into your go-to high intensity interval training exercise.
Where Can I Complete These Routines?
Your answer to this question will depend on which exercises you are planning to include in your routine.
Obviously, exercises that require the use of specific machines will mean that you’ll have to be at the gym. If you’re going swimming, you have to head to the nearest pool.
For those who don’t have the spare time to use on traveling to the gym or anywhere far outside their home for that matter, that’s not a problem. You can still get a full workout in even if you’re staying at home.
Limitations will be placed on which activities you can do if you’re staying at home, but you can still perform push-ups and other similar exercises.
Let me show you how to perform a HIIT Routine At Home...
Precautionary Measures To Take Before Doing These Workouts
Cardio exercises are recommended for everyone, but these exercises are slightly different.
Remember that these exercises are the ramped up versions of your basic cardio exercises, and that means they will also have a greater impact on your heart.
People who have pre-existing heart conditions may find this type of exercise a bit too taxing. It’s best to err on the side caution here and consult with your doctor first before moving forward with your routine.
According to WebMD, you may also be unable to perform HIIT exercises if you have issues with your joints, muscles, or if you have an underlying condition such as arthritis. Play it safe and ask your doctor before you trying out the exercises.
Pregnant women can take part in HIIT especially if they are still in their first trimester.
Things get tricky later on in the pregnancy and it may be best for you to stick with exercises that are not quite as intense as you await the arrival of your baby.
Are These Workouts Suitable for Beginners?
Trying out any new form of exercise can be intimidating. This is especially true if you’ve only recently begun working out regularly.
Since these type of workouts are, by their nature and name, meant to be very intense and potentially challenging, should you just steer clear of them altogether if you’re still a newbie to exercising?
I can certainly understand if you’re feeling hesitant, but there’s no need to fear these routines. As mentioned earlier, they are basically just ramped up versions of cardio exercises and those are among the most basic forms of exercise.
The key here is to simply manage your workload.
Ease into it, and yes you can do that.
Instead of sprinting for three minutes and following that up with a 5-minute jog, scale things back a bit when you’re starting out so that you don’t place too much strain on your body. 30-second sprints that are paired up with 3-minute jogs are great if you’re just conditioning your body for the rigors of this particular routine.
From there, you can gradually increase the intensity as you see fit. After trying out 30-second sprints for two weeks, try and ramp it up to 45 seconds or even a whole minute for your third week.
The barrier of entry into these type of workouts are not high by any means because you can simply go at your own pace. Utilize that freedom to get the most out of your workouts.
How Many Times A Week Should You Do HIIT?
Similar to how you will be best served to ease yourself into this training by not cranking the intensity up to 11 right away, it’s also a good idea to set a lower cap on the number of times you’re taking part in this type of workout if you’re still new to it.
Taking part in three workouts per week is a good approach early on because you’re giving your body ample time to recover.
You can conduct your workout on a Monday, rest or just take part in some light training on Tuesday, and then continue your high intensity training on Wednesday.
Going with that kind of approach also provides you with some time to properly evaluate your body in the aftermath of an intense workout.
You can’t really tell how your body will react until after you’ve gone through them, so take a cue from how you’re feeling the day after to map out the rest of your workout schedule.
Once you’ve gotten a feel for how your body will react to a day of high intensity training, you can decide if you can do three per week or potentially more.
Don’t push your body too much though. There’s not much to gain from undergoing HIIT training on a daily basis.
The so-called “afterburn” effect of your HIIT workout can last for up to 48 hours. By completing HIIT routines on a daily basis, you’re not really getting additional benefits.
If your goal is to benefit from these workouts every day, you can perform them five times a week and just let the afterburn effects take over during your rest days.
Are HIIT Workouts Good For Weight Loss?
Now, it’s time to tackle what is arguably the most important question when it comes to HIIT workouts, and frankly any type of workout for that matter.
The question: Will it help me lose weight?
The short answer to that question is yes, they will indeed help you lose weight. It can help with burning both calories and fat.
It can also help with lowering your blood sugar levels, although that is not necessarily a key part of losing weight.
Another important thing to note is that they can significantly affect your metabolism. This is the “afterburn” effect we discussed earlier.
It boosts your rate of metabolism and that helps with the more efficient burning of the calories in your body. Even as you’re resting, the effects of the workout are taking hold and zapping away those calories.
High intensity holds a distinct advantage over their steady-state counterparts. That benefit is the fact that you can complete an entire workout in a shorter amount of time.
Since the time investment you need to make for an HIIT workout is not as significant, it will be easier for you to find room for it in your schedule.
Sticking to your workout routine is not going to be an issue if the time commitment is not that big.
To put it simply, you can exercise more effectively if you decide to go with HIIT workouts.
If you’re now considering integrating these exercises into your weekly routine, that has a great chance of turning out to be a hugely beneficial move for you thanks to all the health benefits you can receive right away and in the long run.
There’s no denying the fact that incorporating HIIT exercises into your workout routine is going to be a significant adjustment at first, but you’ll get used to them sooner rather than later.
If you’re still trying to work out an exercise plan that actually makes sense for you and your schedule, you should really give it a try.
In exchange for a relatively small investment of your time, you can reap incredible benefits that will help you get in and stay in great shape.
Let us know if this workout was helpful to you, and please share this article if you're not too sore! 😉
Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover