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 🙂

    Ive recently discovered hiit workouts and I’m just wondering if doing only hiit 3/4 times a week is good for weight loss / maintaining weight? or do I need to be doing More? I do a bit of yoga on top of my hiits but that’s it really as I’m quite busy with work.


    1. Depends on the workouts and your experience level. You can definitely do 3-4x per week. But if you’re just starting out, I would start with 1-2x and work up.

  2. Came across this article and I have a question regarding over-training (to anyone that has a comment):

    I am 37, 6’2, 238 lbs. By BMI definition, I am overweight. Not the point. I train HIIT sprints 3x a week, HIIT stat bike 6x a week and weight train 4x a week. Been athletic my whole life and have never stopped.

    Question: Wouldn’t over-training be defined specifically to an individual? My HIIT sprints are 40 on and 20 off x 10 and HIIT stat bike is 20 on and 10 off x 20. I haven’t felt fatigued at all and I’ve been doing HIIT ever since the Tabata protocol was the thing back in the 90s.

    Just looking for some thoughts as I agree with the statement about impairing recovery (sprains, breaks, etc).



    1. If you have a good amount of muscle, then BMI is a useless measurement. Yes overtraining totally depends on the person and situation. If you feel fine, then keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. If you can all out sprints for 30 seconds you are a freaking super hero. You should really be sprinting. 8 seconds tops. Never start from the hole, always jog into the sprint. Do about 5-6 sprints with a walk back rest. You should be puking by your last sprint. Then do your freaking 25 minutes of lifting. Never do this more than twice per week.

  4. Would doing a 40 minute HIIT workout after 30 minutes of weight training, but still only doing the HIIT workout 3-4 times a week still be safe?

  5. Hi Keith,

    I’ve worked out all my life and never eat processed food, etc etc….found out I am genetically predisposed high cholesterol and heart disease and at 57, 5’3, 125 pounds had a heart attack 🙁 Getting back to working out 5 days out of 7 am trying to loose 15 pounds as after attack and a little inactive after I gained some weight. Anyway am wanting to ask if I am on the right track………HIIT on treadmill, total 20 minutes of brisk walking (3 miles p/hr) for 60 seconds and then 30 seconds at (3.5 miles p/hr) followed by 25-30 minutes of weights every second day and the other days, aerobic warm up of 10 min followed by 30 minutes of Yoga…………am I on the right track to loosing the needed weight at 1400-1500 calorie diet?

    xo…thanks so much as I haven’t had anyone help me with this answer

    1. You really dont need to workout 5 days per week if you dont want to overdo it. 2-3x per week with a focus on your diet will get you to your goals. Yes cals seem good.

  6. Does hit can help you gain muscle?
    I used to have great muscle on my legs but since I left exercising because of work I started to lose muscle, can HIIT help me recover my muscle since I don’t have so many time for weightlifting?

  7. I am looking for weight lose I want to ask 2 or 3 days a week are enough to do or I do more. Or any better suggestions.

  8. Right now I’m doing two crossfit sessions a week. One day incorporates progressive squat weight training followed by a 10-20 minute metcon. Another day incorporates progressive deadligt training followed by a 10-20 minute metcon. I feel the metcons are similar to a HIIT workout (fast pace, high intesity, running, kettlebells, pushups, olympic lifts, etc). Aside from that I do a low-moderate intesity 3 mile jog/run once a week.

    Primarily my goal is to cut fat and I know you need to weight train to keep muscle. I’m approximately 15% bodyfat trying to get to 10% and at a moderate caloric deficit.

    My question is, will this type of training hinder muscle gain?

    1. it’s hinder it if you’re training so hard that you begin to lose strength in your main lifting workouts. You can lose 95% of the fat you want via diet alone so i would really focus on that more than your workout.

  9. Can I do hiit workout after weight training thrice in a week? Will it lose all my remaining body fat like fat loss?

  10. If I weight train 4 times a week, is it ok to do 10 minutes of hiit after each weight lifting session. Sometimes 4 continuous days in a row?

  11. I know this is an older article but I’m hoping you’ll still see my question.

    I love HIIT and mostly do a 1min/2min or 30s/90s sprint interval session that lasts around 18-20min. I used to run half marathons and always loved intervals.

    I am now in my early 40’s (F43) I have started to incorporate more structured weightlifting into my routine. My new plan goes Upper Mon, Lower Tues, Upper Thursday and Lower Friday. I also do a full body restorative Yoga session on a Sunday. Wednesday and Saturday are rest days.

    I would love to know where you think I would be best to place my HIIT sessions? I am guessing it is a bit much to do HIIT after each lifting session? So do I add on Upper days or Lower days? And what (if any) cardio on the other lift days?

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    1. i would do HIIT on upper days or on your off days. It’s typically hard to do on lower days after you just hit legs

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