The Ultimate Guide To HIIT

October 11, 2016 | 458 Comments


HIIT workout routine

Alright, I can’t stand it anymore.

My mind is about to fucking explode.

I’m so sick and tired of seeing these incredibly overweight people slave away on the treadmill day after day in hopes of losing weight.

It’s a god damn epidemic and it needs to end now!

But if people continuously insist on working the treadmill, they might as well start doing something that actually gets them results. And yes, I’m talking about HIIT.

This article will be your ultimate guide to HIIT – what it is and how you can start using it to build your dream body in less time than ever.

An overview of HIIT

What is HIIT?

And no, despite what everyone thinks, HIIT doesn’t stand for  Herpes, Is It Tight?

HIIT stand for High Intensity Interval Training and it’s basically a form of exercise that alternates periods of high intensity exercise such as sprinting with less intense periods of exercise such as walking.

So for example, a HIIT workout routine might have you doing 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 90 seconds of rest.

Pretty simple, right?

How long do HIIT workouts last?

Due to the extremely intense nature of HIIT workouts, they typically never last for more than 20 minutes. An effective HIIT workout can actually be done in about 10-12 minutes if you structure it correctly.

Do I need a treadmill to do HIIT?

No, it’s possible to do HIIT on any cardio machine such as an elliptical, stair master, bike, or rowing machine but HIIT tends to be most effective on the treadmill. You can even do HIIT outside without any equipment if you want.

How often can I do a HIIT workout?

I typically recommend people to do HIIT right after their weight lifting session. I’m not a huge fan of doing HIIT on non-weight lifting days since I like to keep those days 100% rest days.

How often can I do HIIT?

Limit your HIIT workouts to no more than 3x per week. Don’t try to do more, especially if you’re doing heavy lifting since this will more than likely lead to overtraining.

Do I need to do HIIT to lose fat?

No, HIIT or any type of cardio is definitely not necessary to lose fat. When trying to lose fat, the most important thing to do is to create a calorie deficit and perform some sort of resistance training to preserve muscle mass.

Benefits of HIIT

Well, let’s see:

  • You no longer have to slave away on the treadmill for 60 minutes at a time.
  • Because HIIT is an anaerobic activity like weight lifting, it will actually help you preserve muscle mass.
  • You boost HGH levels, which help you burn fat and preserve muscle.
  • It mimics real life situations where you actually perform short intense bursts of activity. Because seriously, in what real life situation would you have to run 3 miles?
  • HIIT actually shapes and tones your lower body quite nicely. For those who have very bulky looking legs, HIIT can act as a nice substitute for direct leg exercises.

Disadvantages of HIIT

Like all good things in life, there are unfortunately some downsides to doing HIIT.

  • This is not a workout for lazy people. If you’re going to do HIIT, then you can’t half-ass it. If you’re told sprint for 30 seconds, then you better perform an all out sprint for 30 seconds (For help, imagine yourself being chased by a cheetah).
  • HIIT can definitely impair recovery. This is not a workout that you can do every day. If you do HIIT every day, then you could be looking into some serious overtraining problems.
  • Also, if you’re doing a super low calorie diet, I definitely don’t recommend HIIT.
High intensity interval training workout

My 2 favorite HIIT approaches

There are countless variation of HIIT, each with varying work to rest ratios.

Below, I have listed my 2 favorite HIIT approaches:

Approach #1 – 30 seconds work, 90 seconds rest

The first time I ever did HIIT, this was the approach I used. To do this workout, do the following:

  1. Get on a treadmill and perform a light warm-up by doing a fast walk/light walk for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Slightly increase the incline to about 1.5.
  3. Amp up the intensity on the treadmill so that you performing an ALL OUT sprint for 30 seconds.
  4. Decrease the intensity so that you’re back to a walking pace. Walk for 90 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps three and four 7-10 times.

Approach #2 – Stop and go method (15 seconds work, 10 seconds rest)

This is another approach with HIIT that I’ve been experitmenting with lately, and it’s quickly becoming my “go to” HIIT routine. This approach to interval training is a bit more unconventional but it’s definitely effective.

Also, this approach can only be done on a treadmill.

  1. Get on a treadmill and perform a light warm-up by doing a fast walk/light jog for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Slightly increase the incline to about 1.5.
  3. Jump to the sides of the treadmill (the parts that aren’t moving) and set the intensity to a point where you’ll be doing an ALL OUT SPRINT.
  4. Jump back onto the belt and sprint for 15 seconds. When jumping back on the belt, make sure you hold the railings at first. Remember, the treadmill is moving EXTREMELY fast, so hold the railings.
  5. Jump back to the sides and make sure you hold the railings. Rest for 10 seconds
  6. Repeat steps four and five for 10-12 minutes.

Make sure you’re progressing over time

HIIT is just like weight lifting – you need to continuously progress.

Doing the same workout day in and day out isn’t going to benefit you. Every time you do a HIIT workout, you need to try your best to progress forward.

This means increasing the speed, increasing the incline, increasing the total amount of sprints done, or decreasing the rest time. As long as each workout is slightly harder than the next, then you’re good to go.

Stop running, start HIIT-ing

Look, I’m not saying that traditional running is completely useless. It’s just not the magic pill that everyone makes it out to be.

I mean, there are situations where running is better than HIIT (e.g. training for a marathon), but most people do endless amounts of running in hopes of losing weight and in that case, running isn’t the best solution.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have on HIIT in the comments below and if you guys found this article helpful please consider “liking” an sharing it with your friends.

P.S. Rusty Moore just came out with a new cardio workout program called Visual Impact Cardio. I normally don’t like to push products too much on my site, but this is honestly the best complete cardio workout to help you lose weight right now. It combines both HIIT and low intensity cardio in strategic ways to help you get in the best shape of your life.

Visual Impact Cardio review

458 Comments - Leave Your Thoughts

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  1. Hey there,

    I smoke and have been for 13 years so my stamina isn’t quite where it used to be. My question is, when I am doing HIIT on the treadmill, I like to run at 9 MPH which for me is intense but I can go faster if I needed to.

    Does it matter if I am going 11 MPH or 9 MPH as long as I am doing 7-10 cycles every other day? by the 7th cycle I’m already spent and this is my 2nd week introducing HIIT on a treadmill into my workout routine.

    Thanks!

    1. Yes absolutely, but you need to be more careful as you are more prone to injuries.

      I’d start off slow and do it on an elliptical or something to get used to the high intensity.

  2. I am 44 year old.My hight is 5.5.weight is 78 kg.First i warm up on treadmill on 6 speedfor five minutes,then i run on a treadmill on 12 speed and my duration is 200 seconds,then i rest on treadmill and my speed is 5 and its duration is 100 second.,i do this exercise 6 time a day…..after this i walk on tread mill incline 12 to 10 for five minutes.this best for me or change.thanks

  3. HIIT EXERCISE….200 SECONDS WITH 12 SPEED AND THEN 100 SECONDS REST SIX TIMME.MY HEIGHT IS 5.5 WEIGHT IS 78 KG AGE IS 45 YEARS.I WANT TO LOSE BWEIGHT PLZ TELL THE IDEAL WEIHGT FOR MY BODY.THIS IS ENOUGH FOR ME OR DO MORE….

    1. 200 sec? That’s way too much and you’re not really doing HIIT if you’re able to do it for so long. Just follow the article’s advice.

  4. “HIIT actually shapes and tones your lower body quite nicely. For those who have very bulky looking legs, HIIT can act as a nice substitute for direct leg exercises.”

    If I understood it correctly, you’re implying that I could do HITT instead of a normal weight lifting leg day?

    Beacuse that’s what I have, “bulky looking legs” and right now I’m trying to lose fat to get more slim/toned legs. So would you recommend me doing HIIT cardio on what would be my normal Leg day?

    If yes, do you have any sources as proof as why it would work?

  5. Are you saying that I can exchange my leg day in the gym with HIIT cardio if i have bulky legs and wants to get slimmer legs?

    1. Not a 1:1 substitute.

      If you’re a beginner, you should build up a solid base for your legs first, after that you can cut back on volume and do more HIIT

  6. Lost 50 pounds doing HIIT on an elliptical. (kind with no arms). Was very confused by all the different HIIT formulas.Finally settled on the following:

    1. Warm up for 5 minutes or light sweat whichever takes longer.
    2.Go as fast as I can as long as I can
    3. Pedal slower until heart drops to 100
    4. Repeat 2 and 3 for 35 to 40 minutes
    5. Cool down for 5 minutes

    Been doing this for over 7 years .

    To me, exercise should be fun. There are enough rules and stress all day long. Don’t need to be looking at a watch or timer for my workout. I’m not training for the Olympics.

  7. I workout 4 days a week and have 3 rest days. One of these rest days is an absolute rest day. Two of the rest days I do 20 min hiit of 30:30 sec. I do the third hiit session immediately after my shoulder workout for 10-15 min,since its a little shorter workout. This hiit session is usually running up and down the stairs for 30 sec and rest 30 sec. Please let me know what you think. Im open to critisism and suggestions. Thanks

  8. Hi,

    My workout pan goes like dis…

    Saturday- Chest + Abs
    Sunday- HIIT (Sprint 30 sec sprint, 120 sec rest, total 6 reps)
    Monday-Rest
    Tuesday- Shoulder + Abs
    Wednesday – HIIT (Sprint 30 sec sprint, 120 sec rest, total 6 reps)
    Thursday -Rest

    I haven’t started follwing dis…but i m planning to follow. Is it ok? i want to loose fat…

      1. Nope….it was jus a sample…cz I wud b doing other body parts such as shoulder, legs in different days…so wat I’m asking you is…is it a good way to loose body fat by following dis…weight lifting, HIIT and rest…

  9. what do you think about this routine
    monday – upper body + hiit
    tuesday – lower body
    wednesday rest
    thursday – upper body + hiit
    friday – lower body
    saturday – hiit
    sunday – rest

    im a 17, girl, 114lbs 18% body fat and 5’3”

    1. Depends how your workouts are structured, but if you’re a beginner (which i’m guessing you are based on your age), this is a bit excessive. I would bring it down to 3workouts per week and 1-2 HIIT sessions.

    1. Not directly, but depending on the workout, if you’re losing strength because your HIIT routines are too intense, then you might want to back off a bit. Also make sure you’re eating enough.

  10. I don’t do any exercise at all and have just started doing my first 20 minute hiit workout.. would doing this 3-4 days a week be enough to see a difference over time?

  11. i normally work out in evening I do two different body parts daily with two rest days. I have recently started doing hiit in the mornings some on training days. Can I alternate hiit with longer aerobic type work outs every other morning not on rest days tho? Or is that to much?

    1. Hard to say without knowing more details about your routine and how long the aerobic workouts are, but if it’s not extreme, sure.

      1. I am following the short cut to size. I am three weeks in. I want to do hiit every other morning and run 3-5 miles on the other days. In 8 weeks I will follow the shortcut to shred. I am 5”10 225 looking to get down to 190

  12. If you keep amping up the intensity.. won’t it just become ridiculous one day? how long do you wait before switching it up?

    1. There are different ways to progress besides just increasing speed. For ex, you can increase the length of the session, decrease rest times, increase incline.

  13. Dear Mike,
    Your article is really interesting & i enjoyed it a lot.
    I have a question if you can answer.

    I have lots of stubborn fat with 15-20% body fat. I am doing my weightlifting about 1 hour after the breakfast for 1.5 hours & i am considering to do the HIIT/TABATA just after the work out for 20 min . Coz i do not have time to do the exercise for 2 times.
    I take whey protein,casein protein,fat burner ,BCAA, Amino tablets + prework out, Glutamine. But after reading this article i think i take this in wrong times. please help me on this.

    Thanks
    Theekshana

    1. My name’s not Mike, who’s Mike?

      Your supplements are largely irrelevant. You need to make sure you’re eating in a calorie deficit above all else.

    2. Omg. You are taking too much irrelevant supplements.. you take both whey and casein? “Amino” tablets and Bcaa (what do you think it is? Go check it)? Also glutamine and fat burner and a pre workout? Who is your trainer? He/she must be a complete dumbass. Honestly I have never seen a person taking all these 7 major supplements at once. Anyway, as Keith said, above all these supplements,make sure you are eating in a calorie deficit.

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