HIIT workouts burn fat and get you fit in record time.
But HIIT isn’t just for advanced sporty people.
Here’s how to get going with HIIT workouts when you’re just starting out.
Myth-Busting HIIT Workouts
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has always been a mainstay of my client training – and my own!
This kind of training is fantastic for fat loss, fitness, and health, and it’s never boring.
But people think you need to be fit to do it.
The truth is, HIIT is a fantastic way to get fit, and with the right guidance you can find HIIT workouts for every level.
If you’re a beginner, coming back to exercise after having kids, or feeling unfit, here’s how to get started with HIIT.
What Is HIIT?
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training.
This means you’ll be doing short efforts of work, interspersed with a gentler recovery exercise or complete rest.
But of course, “intensity” is different for everyone. A pro athlete needs to go much harder with their intervals.
Someone who’s just starting to work on their fitness should find an intensity that challenges them. HIIT is personal and grows with you.
As long as you’re working to a level of 8-9/10 intensity for the intervals, you are doing HIIT!
Why Does It Work So Well?
HIIT gets the desired results in as little as 4 minutes of work (there’s a well-known form of HIIT
called Tabata training which totals 4 minutes – and it’s a tough workout!)
HIIT works because of the intensity of the intervals, and the controlled length of the recovery periods.
You work hard, and then take just enough of a break to feel you can go again. But your body is working hard throughout – it never gets complete rest.
And HIIT helps your body burn more calories and fat after the session.
You push harder than you would during a regular cardio session, and this creates “EPOC” (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Put simply, regular HIIT workouts will make your body burn more fuel even when you’re not exercising.
How Often Should You Do HIIT?
HIIT workout are short, and you might be tempted to do one every day.
But I would advise you stick to 2-3 a week whilst you are building up your fitness.
Remember, your connective tissue and central nervous system take longer to adapt than your lungs and muscles!
Start with a couple of HIIT sessions a week, put everything into them, and focus the rest of your enthusiasm on the other key area of change: your nutrition, daily movement, healthy habit, and mindset.
Drop me a message if you need help with this.
How To Create A Beginner’s HIIT Workout
There are a number of ways to create a HIIT session.
One of my favourites is to choose two exercises that challenge different parts of your body and pair them up for a set timeframe.
You could also set yourself a goal of sets or reps and do them “for time”, try a “ladder” style workout, or choose 2-3 exercises, set the timer for 5-10 minutes and see how much work you get done.
Check out my YouTube channel for plenty of guided workouts including HIIT sessions.
Beginners HIIT Session To Try
I sometimes design HIIT sessions for my clients using dumbbells or kettlebells (which I take to them), or even a treadmill or rowing machine if they’ve got one at home.
But by far the easiest way to get started is with a bodyweight HIIT workout.
Here’s a pyramid HIIT session I designed for a client.
It goes from a high number of reps and descends to a low number.
Focus on doing the movements well, rest when you need, and push to 8-9/10 intensity when you can. I’ve added an alternative if you need to adapt any exercise.
Do 6 reps of each pair, then 5, then 4, all the way down to 1 – and then move on to the next round.
Repeat until you’ve done 1 rep of the final pairing of the final round!
Exercise 1: burpees (adapt to remove the jump)
Exercise 2: sit-ups
Exercise 1: kneel to stand (kneel down and stand back up in a continuous movement) or forward stepping lunges
Exercise 2: squat jumps (adapt to bodyweight squats, removing the jump)
Exercise 1: push-ups (adapt to on your knees)
Exercise 2: shoulder tap plank (hold a plank position and tap your opposite shoulder with one hand for one rep)
Give this one a try and let me know what you think.