HIIT Me Down! (High Intensity Interval Training)

What is HIIT Training?

If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground on the fitness front, then you no doubt would have heard a lot about HIIT training in recent times.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and it involves doing a number of short but intense exercise sessions, separated by less intense exercises for recovery.

For the average practitioner, a normal routine will go something like: warm up period, a number of sets of intense exercise at about a minute long, each set being split with light work at about 50% intensity, followed by a cool down period. Workouts will normally last anywhere from 5-30 minutes.

This is by no means a set formula, and different people will have varying degrees of intense workout and recovery, but a general rule of thumb is that your intense sets should be twice as long as your recovery period.

Benefits of HIIT Training

From a weight loss perspective, HIIT training has some big benefits. This type of training makes good use of the afterburn effect, where your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is raised after an intense workout as your muscles try to rebuild and refuel.

This means that not only will you be burning a tonne of calories during your workout, but due to the spike your metabolic rate experiences in the hours/days after a workout, you’ll continue to burn more calories (than normal) just sitting on the sofa!

There are also considerable fitness benefits too. Studies have shown that HIIT training can improve your body’s maximal oxygen uptake (or VO2 max, as it’s known), essentially meaning the amount of oxygen your body can utilized in one minute of intense exercise. Basically, a higher VO2 max means you can work harder for longer during exercise.

It has also been shown in tests that just two weeks of high intensity interval training can improve your aerobic fitness to the same degree as six to eight weeks of endurance training.

HIIT Training at Home

Don’t think you need a gym membership to try HIIT training, it can be accomplished right in your own front room, with nothing but your own body weight.

Exercises like the ones below that get your heart rate up for about 30 to 60 seconds are fine for HIIT training.

You could try trying stringing together a few different minute long exercises and separate them with 30 seconds of light jogging on the spot. Repeat that 3 or 4 times and you’ve got a 15-20min work out right there!

It can really be that simple. As long as you are really getting your heart rate up and engaging the various major muscle groups in the body, then there is no reason why you can’t do HIIT training at home.

HIIT Exercises

Here are a few examples of some of the exercises you can try for a home HIIT workout.


If you’ve tried these before, you’ll know they’re not easy. You should also know, however, that they are superb for getting the heart pumping as it involves the whole of your body. Your chest, shoulders, lower back, abs, legs and hips are all targeted in this tough exercise.

High Knees

They may look easy, but don’t be fooled. Trying to pump out High Knees for a whole minute can be challenging. Which is why they’re perfect for HIIT training. They hit your abs, hips, thighs and calves the most.


Your leg muscles are massive, which is why doing squats raises your heart rate like almost no other exercise. Doing this for a minute could be a challenging for you, but it’ll be worth it.

Press Ups

Your chest is also a very big muscle, so press ups will also do a very good job of making you sweat. If you struggle to do normal press ups for long enough (most people will) then try doing them on your knees.


Another one that focuses of those fat leg muscles, lunges will certainly make you feel the burn, while getting that heart rate up where it needs to be.


Over recent years HIIT training has become very popular, and for good reason. Knowing what we know now about the most effective ways to burn fat- adding high intensity exercise to our workouts – then it’s not surprising that this type of training has come to the forefront.

HIIT training not only improves your overall fitness, but it’ll raise your body’s metabolism and get those fat burnings going both during, and after your workouts.

Also, given the fact that there is very little standing in your way to giving this a try, i.e. you don’t need a gym membership or any equipment, then it really is a perfect type of training for your fat loss quest, and to ignite that much wanted afterburn effect.

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