Beginner’s Guide to HIIT and Workouts for Every Fitness Level!

Okay, so you have probably heard the term HIIT by now but may be wondering what on earth this is. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise where you combine intervals of intense exercise with short bouts of rest or low interval training. HIIT is highly effective for burning many calories in a short amount of time. Wait WHAT? Burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time? Sounds too good to be true. Well its NOT. Here is why –

During the high intensity intervals, you are working at an “intense” load for a designated amount of time – usually 30-60 seconds. You then rest for a short amount of time, ususally 10-30 seconds. During this rest time, your heart rate does not have enough time to come down and you continue to burn as many calories during this rest as during the intense level. Repeating this format for a 5-10 minute circuit is highly effective at increasing strength and endurance all while burning mega calories. Repeat your 5-10 minute circuits 3-4 times for max results. After the session is complete, your body will continue to burn calories at a higher level because of a concept called EPOC or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. What this means in English is that you have a defecit of oxygen in the body from burning so much during exercise that you now burn calories trying to replenish the body’s regular levels of oxygen for some time afterward. Pretty fantastic right? The key is getting the right amount of intensity during the circuits. You have to be ok with going pretty hard for the intense periods of time. That does not mean doing exercises with poor form or hurting your body, you just have to work really hard to your own capacity in this time.

A great timing app for HIIT workouts is this one here for free on iTunes!

Here are some awesome workouts for you to try at all levels of fitness! Be sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes with some light cardio – walking is a great warm up!

1. Beginner HIIT workout

3x5min Circuits: Set your timer for 30s of intense and 30 seconds of rest for a 5 minute cycle. Repeat three times and include the following exercises:

1. 30s Burpees – 30s rest

2. 30s Knee Push Ups – 30s rest

3. 30s Air Squats – 30s rest

4. 30s Ab Plank – 30s rest

5. 30s Alternating Lunges – 30 rest

2. Intermediate HIIT Workout

3x7min Circuits Set your timer for 45s of intense and 15 seconds of rest for a 7 minute cycle. Repeat three times and include the following exercises:

1. 45s Burpees – 15s rest

2. 45s Push Ups – 15s rest

3. 45s Air Squats – 15s rest

4. 45s Ab Plank – 15s rest

5. 45s Alternating Lunges – 15 rest

6. 45s Mountain Climbers – 15s rest

7. 45s Plank Up Downs – 15s rest

3. Advanced HIIT Workout

4x7min Circuits Set your timer for 45s of intense and 15 seconds of rest for a 7 minute cycle. Repeat four times and include the following exercises:

1. 45s Burpees – 15s rest

2. 45s Push Ups – 15s rest

3. 45s Jump Squats – 15s rest

4. 45s Plank Up Downs – 15s rest

5. 45s Jump Lunges – 15 rest

6. 45s 1 Push Up, 4 Mountain Climbers – 15s rest

7. 45s Plank Hip Tips – 15s rest

The purpose of the timed segments is to try to do as many PERFECT repititions of the exercise as you can. Once you feel the form starting to wane, rest briefly and start again. Take your time with the exercises. Form is more important than number of repititions. The reps will come over time. If for any reason you are getting pain or feeling uncomfortable with any of the exercises stop them.

HAVE FUN!

Danielle Boyd