HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of workout that alternates between periods of extremely high-intensity and low-intensity activity. At its heart, HIIT is about pushing your body to its limits and giving your all during the high-intensity intervals. By the end of your workout, you should feel completely drained, and if you don’t, you probably didn’t go hard enough.
HIIT workouts can be particularly effective for people who don’t have much time to workout. By pushing yourself to extremes, you can pack a lot of calorie-burning punch into a very short time frame — even just 10 to 15 minutes.
However, if you’re new to working out, be careful not to push yourself too far — start slow and ramp-up the intensity over time. HIIT is one of the most challenging types of exercise you can put yourself through, so consult with your doctor before beginning, especially if you have any health conditions or cardiovascular issues.
Benefits of HIIT workouts
HIIT is a cardio workout pushed to the max. Since it is fundamentally an aerobic, cardiovascular activity, it shares all the same benefits as regular cardio. These include:
The true impact of HIIT routines comes in their intensity. While a typical cardio workout might last 30 minutes, a HIIT routine may only last 10. However, HIIT’s intensity makes up for its reduced time investment. Even if you’re only working out for 10 minutes, you’d be sprinting for half of that, meaning that on average you’d be hitting the same intensity, but in a shorter time frame.
Dangers of daily HIIT workouts
Given how effective HIIT can be, many people who are trying to lose weight or get in shape think that doing a HIIT routine every day will help them burn fat faster. However, when it comes to HIIT, less is more: pushing yourself to do a HIIT routine every day can easily lead to overtraining and injury, which can keep you off the mat for quite a while, slowing down your weight loss and training efforts. Plus, even without the risk of injury, it’s important to let your muscles recover after such an intense workout.
In reality, if you feel like you have enough energy to do a HIIT workout every day, you’re probably not hitting your true limits anyway, and you’d be better off pushing harder during less frequent workouts than trying to go halfway every day.
Remember: HIIT is all about alternating between periods of high intensity and rest, so make sure you give yourself rest days as well so you can recharge. Ideally, you should be doing a HIIT workout two to three times a week max.
If you do other forms of training as well, break up your week so that you have at least a day or two before hitting the same muscle groups with HIIT. For example, if you have a leg day, give yourself a break before doing HIIT — don’t schedule them back to back.
Example HIIT routines
To get a better idea of what a HIIT routine is like, here are some sample workouts.
Start off with a sprint for 30 seconds. Immediately follow this with 45 seconds of squat jumps, then 20 lunges for each leg and 50 calf raises. Rest for one minute and repeat the circuit three more times.
Start with 30 seconds of pullups, followed by 60 jumping jacks. Then, do 20 burpees. Rest for one minute before repeating the circuit three more times.
In this workout, you’ll rest between each exercise. Start with 10 lunge jumps, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Then, perform 20 push-ups and rest for 30 seconds. Follow that with 30 squats, 40 chair dips, and 50 mountain climbers, resting 30 seconds between each exercise.
How to get started with HIIT
Unlike other types of workouts, HIIT doesn’t require any equipment. In fact, most routines don’t even require a mat, so all you need is a good workout video to follow along with.
Tream makes it easy to find calorie-burning HIIT workouts from top trainers from around the world. Just search by tags and categories to find trainers and workouts that fit your needs and experience level. Found too many workouts to do at once? Just add them to your playlist so you can come back to them another day.
Once you’ve found a trainer you like, follow them to get notified every time they post a new HIIT workout. New videos are uploaded daily, so it’s never a challenge to find workouts that will keep you motivated and inspired to meet your fitness goals.
With Tream, you don’t have to choose between the convenience of a home workout and the personal connection you get from being in a fitness class. It’s easy to message your trainer with any questions, and you’ll be notified when they respond. You can also comment on your favorite videos to offer advice, ask questions, or get motivation from your fellow Treamers.
If you’re ready to burn calories, get a great workout, and realize the full potential of your body, check out our full selection of free HIIT workout videos, no signup required.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is never intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.