What is HIIT?

Anyone that knows me or has trained with me will know that I love a good HIIT workout, but what is it and why is it good?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, a workout made up of periods of intense exercise broken up with periods of rest or gentle recovery. It is usually made up of anywhere between 20 and 40 seconds of intense exercise and then 10 to 30 seconds of rest or less intense exercise.
Note: By intense, I mean getting breathless (about a 7 or 8 of effort on a scale of 1-10), really pushing yourself – that way the rest period will be all the sweeter!

HIIT workouts can last anything between 10 minutes and an hour, obviously, the shorter the time period, the more intense the work should be.

I tend to focus on cardio moves for HIIT workouts, that way you can really push yourself without too much worry about causing injury. However, I don’t think it’s really feasible for most people to keep up such intensity for a full 45 minutes to an hour so in a full training session, so I usually include some strength/resistance work in there too, I would stick to the timing, but reduce the need for intensity and concentrate on form for the resistance moves.

Examples of HIIT workouts:

  • Find a road or park with lampposts or trees evenly spaced, walk for 10 markers and then run as fast as you can for 10.
  • Grab a skipping rope and skip as fast as you can for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.
  • Perform mountain climbers for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, perform burpees for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, shadow box for 40 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat until you can’t go on any longer!
  • Tabata – Saved for the more advanced level. This is a really intense workout, the timing for Tabata is 20 seconds work with 10 seconds rest.


  • It’s quick
  • Needs little to no equipment
  • You can do short sharp bursts throughout the day
  • Burns fat
  • Increases cardio capacity
  • Releases endorphins
  • Increase fitness levels


  • It’s hard work
  • You will get sweaty
  • You will get breathless
  • Can be more difficult to maintain good form
  • You have to have a good level of fitness to start with otherwise it can be difficult to reach the intensity levels required to see results

Should I do HIIT?
As always, it depends! If you like the sound of it then yes, you should definitely give HIIT a go, a quick workout that gets your heart rate up and your muscles pumping!

If you don’t like it, then it’s probably not the type of workout for you however, there are many different types of HIIT and it’s worth trying a few different combinations before you write it off completely.

Want to know more? Ask away in the comments below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Always consult your doctor before trying out any new exercise regime and always ensure you warm-up before your workout and cool down afterwards.