What's Interval Training? 3 Ways To HIIT It & Quit It

HIIT…what is it?

By Owner, Trainer & Instructor Nedra Lopez-Matosov

You hear this word thrown around everywhere; it is the hottest new trend in exercising for fat loss. Or is it? Actually, High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT has been apart of the fitness world for more than 40 years. Simply put, it is a method of training where you perform repeated bouts of high intensity effort, followed by varied recovery times.

In the past, HIIT was used primarily in training Athletes, and became mainstream because of it’s time efficiency and many health benefits. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT training has been shown to:

  • Improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Reduce insulin sensitivity
  • Improve cholesterol profiles
  • Decrease abdominal fat and bodyweight while still maintaining muscle mass

Though HIIT is great for so many reasons, it does require a large amount of energy output in a short period of time, so a good amount of rest is needed for your body to fully recover. Nowadays many people assume the harder the workout, the better, and spend all week abusing their bodies in hopes of seeing a change. It’s actually when you vary workouts in strength, flexibility, recovery and HIIT when your body will change the fastest. Remember HIIT means high intensity and not high impact, so you can still get a great workout in without doing damage to your joints. I’m not saying that jumping is bad for you, but you have to be conditioned to do so. If you aren’t sure, than you probably aren’t!

What is HIIT? The P.E. Club

Here are some of my favorite HIIT Cardio, Strength and Tabata workouts:


METHOD: You can use any form of traditional cardio equipment (treadmill, elliptical, bike, rowing machine, etc.). Your “sprint” part of the interval should be performed at your max output, so push yourself! Your “walk” is designed to help bring your heart rate down, but not completely back to rest, so make sure you keep moving.

TOTAL TIME: 15min.

  1. 3min. warm up @ Steady pace (walk)
  2. 1min. Sprint
  3. 30sec. Walk
  4. 1min. Sprint
  5. 30sec. Walk
  6. 1min. Sprint (Start with 6 Sprints the first week and go up each week)
  7. 30sec. Walk
  8. 1min. Sprint
  9. 30sec. Walk
  10. 1min. Sprint
  11. 30sec. Walk
  12. 1min. Sprint
  13. 3min. cool Down @ Steady Pace (walk)

HIIT TYPE: Strength

METHOD: You can spice up any strength training routine by adding in some quick cardio intervals to keep your heart rate up. Keep it simple, think burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc. As far as your weights, make sure to choose a challenging weight and take a 60 sec. break between each round. (DB=dumbbell).  Make sure to stretch well after!!

  1. Warm Up: 
    1. 1 min. Plank
    2. 15 Push-ups
    3. 20 Bridges
    4. 30 sec. Mountain Climbers
  2. 3 Rounds
    1. 12 Squats w/ DB Press
    2. 12 DB Bent Over Row
    3. 30sec. Mountain Climbers
  3. 3 Rounds
    1. 12 DB Chest Press
    2. 12 Reverse Lunge w/DB Bicep Curl
    3. 15 Burpees w/push up

HIIT Type: Tabata 

METHOD: Tabata training is a method of HIIT where you perform 4 different exercises of your choice at maximum output for 20sec with 10sec. rest in between each. First Warm up for 5min. before you begin, then perform 8 cycles of the 4 exercises for a Total Time of 21 minutes, and make sure to stretch well after! Here is an example…

  1. Warm Up
    1. 5 min. jog
  2. Tabata: 8 cycles
    1. 20 sec. Push-ups
    2. 10 sec. Rest
    3. 20 sec. Alternating Reverse Lunge
    4. 10 sec. Rest
    5. 20 sec. Mountain Climbers
    6. 10 sec. Rest
    7. 20 sec. Reverse Crunch
    8. 10 Sec. Rest

Whether you are new to HIIT, or have been doing it for years, make sure to incorporate it into your fitness routine as a compliment to it, not your main focus. It’s important to keep your workouts constantly varying in intensity and duration. Most of all listen to your body… if you’re tired…sleep, if you’re hungry…eat clean, and if it’s your day to push yourself…HIIT.

New to HIIT? Experience a full round of Tabata with us in TRX Bootcamp!