• Lose Weight
    Lose fat while preserving muscles.
  • Get Sculpted
    Go for total body sculpting.
  • Gain Weight
    Build muscle and increase strength.
  • Maintain Weight
    Eat and train for optimal fitness.

What exactly is high-intensity interval training?

HIIT is a cardio-based routine that alternates between periods of high-intensity exercise and lower-intensity exercise. For example, doing an activity where you work very hard for 30 seconds, then ease off for 60 seconds, is an example of HIIT. The high-intensity and low-intensity activities can be anything: even just walking and then running can be an example of HIIT, depending on your level of fitness.

Bottom Line: Alternate periods of high-intensity work with periods of lower-intensity work to get started on your HIIT journey.

How often should you do HIIT?

If you are new to HIIT, just try one workout per week. If you are accustomed to working out, you can do HIIT three to five times max per week.

Safety Tips for HIIT Workouts

With the increased intensity, you can cause more wear and tear on your body, so make sure you follow these HIIT safety tips.

  • Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after your HIIT workouts.
  • Take time to recover from your HIIT workouts.  Take at least one to two days off per week from HIIT workouts.
  • Don’t push yourself if you are already sore.
  • Start slowly and build your endurance and ability.
  • Choose to do the modifications of movements that are too challenging for you.
  • If you ever experience chest pain or difficulty breathing during your HIIT workouts, start to cool down.
  • HIIT workouts are physically demanding, so build up your cardiovascular fitness slowly.

That said, as a beginner to working out, it can be hard to know exactly how to design a high-intensity interval workout for yourself. It’s important to adjust your workout routine to match your level of fitness, so that you don’t jump into anything too quickly and get hurt. Here, I’ll walk you through two beginner high-intensity interval training routines you can do to get your fitness into high gear! The first program is for very new beginners to exercise, the second is for intermediate-level exercisers.

Bottom Line: Start with a high-intensity interval training program that matches your level of fitness, so you don’t get injured.

Program 1: High-intensity Interval Cardio for Beginners

Do the following program three to four times a week when just beginning your workout routine.

Walk for 60 seconds to warm up, then complete the following sequence 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 program is a little bit more advanced, so you should have a decent baseline of HIIT before beginning it. If you do Program 1, above, for 3-4 weeks, you should be ready to move on to Program 2.

Walk for 60 seconds to warm up, then complete the following sequence 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 can see, high-intensity interval training doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to alternate periods of intense exercise with periods of active rest. And it can be fun! To start getting a great bang for your fitness buck, add some high-intensity interval training into your routine today.

    Hold on tiger! I've got something to tell you.

    There is an app that I want to recommend to you. StayWow is a social networking app for fitness enthusiasts just like you! It's a free app.
    People use StayWow to share photographs, post comments, write blogposts, meet new people, chat live, play videos, view GIFs, read articles, ask questions, recommend products and even buy products.
    People can also track steps, calories, distance and see where they rank in real-time as they walk.
    Whether you're completely new to fitness or a seasoned pro, this app will help you reach the next level. Give it a try.

    Written by Anjali Sareen , AFAA Certified Personal Trainer | Doctor of Law (J.D.) from New York University School of Law | Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Marketing and International Business from NYU Stern School of Business
    Anjali Sareen is an AFAA-certified personal trainer, as well as a dedicated runner and CrossFitter. Her undergraduate degree is in marketing and she loves to write and talk about staying fit, as well as help other people get fit!

    Inspire, educate and empower the StayWow community. Become a StayWow Contributor!

    Share it