A Simple Guide To High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Modern day life has a way of making us feel time-crunched and pressured to find the most effective ways of making use of our waking hours. The trendy fitness regimen high-intensity interval training (which is also called HIIT) epitomises this feeling.

A HIIT training program promises the best workout in a minimum amount of time. Runners have made use of interval training for more than 100 years, alternating between sprints and jogging in order to improve their endurance.

However, HIIT didn’t really go mainstream until about a 10 years ago, when exercise physiologists began to publish multiple studies proving that intervals could deliver the biggest health improvement for workout time.

What Is HIIT?

The term ‘HIIT’ refers to a very specific type of training. Despite popular belief, it’s possible to do interval training without essentially doing a real HIIT workout.

What Does A HIIT Routine Look Like?

The hallmark of a HIIT routine is repeated, extremely hard bouts of work, interspersed with periods of recovery – usually with a ratio of 20 to 30 seconds of intensity followed by 15 to 30 seconds of rest, or less-intense exercise. During your HIIT training work intervals, you’ll be challenging yourself nearly to your max.

A HIIT training program for beginners is the opposite of going for a long, easy run where you need to ration your energy in order to sustain the activity for longer. And it’s a little different from what you probably have seen labelled as “HIIT” in gen-pop exercise classes.

Most exercise protocols called “HIIT” would actually be more accurately described as circuit training or interval training.

How To Start HIIT Training

For your HIIT workout routine to be effective, you need to go into it with a plan. This means that you need set your work and rest intervals in accordance with your current fitness level.

For a HIIT training program for beginners, try to begin with a 1:4 work to rest ratio. For instance, you might do 15 seconds of work, then rest for approximately one minute. As you gain in fitness, you are able to reduce the ratio to 1:2 for a 30 second effort which is followed by one minute of rest.  Next, decide on the length of your HIIT workout. When you are just starting out, 10-15 minutes is enough to kickstart results.

Finally, the HIIT training guide advises you to choose the exercises that you are going to use. For sprint training, you could cycle, run, row or swim. For strength training, you could use exercises which target a variety of muscle groups, such as burpees, push-ups, or crunches.

A HIIT Training Program For Beginners

This HIIT bodyweight circuit is the ideal HIIT training program for beginners. It doesn’t need any equipment, which means you are able to do HIIT in the comfort of your own home.

This HIIT routine is an AMRAP-style workout. This means that you do ‘as many reps (repetitions) as possible’ for each and every single HIIT exercise in the set time frame. AMRAP-style HIIT routines are great for beginners because your progress over time can very well be quite obvious. As you exercise for a set amount of time, you can track your progress through the number of reps you are able to pack into each set period.

Remember to pace yourself when you start your HIIT training program for beginners. You should be pushing yourself hard and attempt to do as many reps as possible, however you don’t want to overdo it. It’s important to do a good warm-up before your HIIT workout so that you can prepare your muscles and assist with reducing the risk of injury.

Trifocus Fitness Academy - HIIT

HIIT Training Guide

Here are some more examples of HIIT training


This machine has a dial for resistance and it can be used for interval training. For a number of minutes, go on low resistance (0-2 level) and then crank up the resistance for 60 seconds (up to 8-10). Repeat this process 12 times, which could give you a 20-minute workout.

Stair Climber

Much like the elliptical machine, alternate between periods of low intensity for two minutes and then one minute for high intensity. The difference with the climber is that the dial will control the speed of the stairs.

Rowing Machine

Begin with a two-minute warm-up. On minute three, row as hard as you can for 60 seconds. Then catch your breath. The rowing machine could be hard to do for a full 20 minutes as it’s a lot of upper body work. Shoot for ten minutes at first.

Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy

If you would like to discover more about HIIT workouts, then you should really do our HIIT and Functional Trainer Course. For more information, please follow this link.

Trifocus Fitness Academy - Onlne CPD course