How to Start High-Intensity Interval Training: Tips for Beginners

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

HIIT workouts improve your cardiovascular fitness level while burning more fat and calories in less time.


High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a catch-phrase that has gotten a lot of attention lately. It’s touted as being one of the best ways to drop weight and get in shape fast. High-intensity interval training also has a lot of benefits: it’s good for your heart, it gives your metabolism a boost, and it burns more fats than traditional cardio exercise. In memoriam of those who have established the path for fitness beginners to head towards their goals, it is important to realize that high-intensity interval training should be made a crucial part of every routine or regime.

What exactly is high-intensity interval training?

The core foundation of HIIT as a fitness routine involves alternating between periods of low and high intensity exercises. For instance, you can start off with an activity that involves working intensely for a period of 30 seconds, which is then followed by a period of 60 seconds where the focus is to cool off with the help of some basic type of exercise.

These high and low intensity workouts could involve anything from alternating bouts of running and walking to more advanced exercises. These can be selected on the basis of the level of fitness that you currently embody as well as the level that you want to achieve. 

How often should you do HIIT?

If you are new to HIIT, just try one workout per week. However, if you are more accustomed to this sort of regime, you can even choose to include HIIT sessions anywhere between three to five times in a week.

Safety Tips for HIIT Workouts

With the increasing intensity as well as the widening gap between lows and highs within an exercise routine, make sure you follow these rules and safety tips during the process of HIIT:

  • Make sure you give yourself time to both warm up as well as cool down for a period of at least five minutes during the HIIT workout, depending on whether you are at the helm of either the high or the low-intensity phase.
  • Ensure that you get enough rest in between HIIT workouts so that you give your body the chance to recover.
  • If you find yourself already sore, make sure you don’t push ahead, ignoring your body’s signals to stop.
  • When it comes to building ability and endurance, slow and steady is the way.
  • Make sure you modify those movements which might appear to be challenging to you.
  • Make time for cool-off periods during the course of your HIIT workouts, especially when you start to experience chest pain or breathing difficulties.
  • These workouts can be immensely demanding on the body, so make sure you build up your cardiovascular fitness slowly.

As a beginner, designing a HIIT workout for yourself can be quite confusing and difficult, especially due to the lack of proper know-how and experience. At the same time, it is important to understand that workout routine have to be structured in such a way that they match your level of fitness. Make sure you do not put too much load on your body or do too little to push yourself. 

The essence is to adjust your workout in order to ensure that you of not jump into anything too soon and end up hurting yourself when the objective is exactly the opposite. Now, I will walk you through some beginner modules for HIIT workouts that you can use to start your journey towards stability and efficiency when it comes to fitness.

Did you know that exercise routine can be specifically structured to overcome your weight loss plateau?

Program 1: High-intensity Interval Cardio for Beginners

The following program has to be followed for a matter of three or four times in a week. It is specifically built for beginners who are starting their journey in the realm of fitness:

Warm up session involves waking for a period of 60 seconds, a sequence which is repeated 10 times:

  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 15 seconds of walking
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 45 seconds

Program 2: High-Intensity Interval Training for Intermediates

This is a more advanced version of the HIIT and hence, make sure you set a decent enough baseline through the help of the above-mentioned version of the HIIT program before you begin with the same.

The goal here is to get used to the beginner version of HIIT for a period of at least 3 to 4 weeks before you begin with the advanced version for intermediates.

Warm up sessions involve a waking for a period of 60 seconds, a sequence which is repeated 8 times:

  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 30 seconds of squats
  • 30 seconds of walking lunges
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 60 seconds of walking

As you might have observed, HIIT does not necessarily have to be difficult. These only need to be in the form of alternating periods of intense exercises coupled with periods of passivity and rest. These programs can be immensely fun! To make the most out of these programs, make sure you add HIIT to your gym routine today.

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.