Spice up Your Workout Part 2: HIIT

In this series we look at some of the most effective training styles to spice up your workouts, including some free workouts for you to download and try!

We’ve already looked at AMRAPs, so now lets take a closer look at HIIT training, a must for anyone wanting to take their fitness to a new level.


High Intensity Interval Training is a form of interval training where you repeat all out bursts at maximal effort (90-100%) followed by recovery periods of around 50% effort. The length of HIIT workouts ranges from 4 minutes to 30 minutes, with repetitions varying in length. A general ratio of 2:1 is used for the work:rest periods. For example if you sprint for 30 seconds, then you’d walk for 15 seconds.

HIIT is a really effective way to increase VO2 Max (your true fitness level). So the next time you are doing a steady state workout (such as walk, run, swim or ride) try 5 x 30 sec sprints followed by a 15 second recovery.

Download your free HIIT Sprint Session.

Benefits of HIIT

  • Efficient: Research suggests that fitness benefits gained happen much faster than steady state training, meaning those short 15 minute HIIT workouts can still get you great results.
  • Burns fat: Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout (versus a steady state workout at a lower intensity) but because your body was overloaded it kicks into repair mode, burning more fat and calories for the next 12-24 hours.
  • Stoke that Metabolism: Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) increases the more lean muscle you have, HIIT training helps to build lean muscle.

Be Careful of:

  • Overdoing it: More is not necessarily better when performing HIIT. Stick to the 4-30 minute timeframe and listen to your body regarding the frequency. If you’re performance is not improving, you’re feeling stiff, sore and drained, chances are you’re overdoing it.
  • Under-doing it: On the flip side, don’t shorten your workouts assuming you are going to burn truck loads of calories doing HIIT. Keep an eye on total calorie burn per workout, and how true your maximal intensity really is.

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5 thoughts on “Spice up Your Workout Part 2: HIIT

  1. Hi Michelle and friends, just wondering what are best cardio to do for rest periods or in betweeners when afflicted with achilles heel issue?
    Love doing HIT but sometimes if skips and jumps etc get ONE sore achilles

    1. Hi Sally – That does sound painful! We’d recommend you see a health care provider such as a physiotherapist or osteopath to have this checked out. Pending medical clearance you could opt for lower impact options such as swimming or using the cross trainer or rowing machine if you workout at a gym. Cycling indoors and/or outdoors may also be an option during this time.

      All the very best for a speedy recovery!

      12WBT Support Crew

  2. I have always been super fit but when I got to 35 I had a steady weight gain that I could not get off with 1 hour exercise bike sessions regularly, boot camp, weight training, boxing, anything. HIIT was THE ONLY thing that worked to get my body back. I get on my exercise bike for 25 minutes a day about 5 days a week. I put it on the highest setting comfortable and I warm up very slowly for the first 5 mins. Then I do 15 seconds as fast as I can go, followed by 15 seconds recovery – I do this for 5 mins. Then I switch it up to 30 seconds as fast as I can go followed by 30 seconds recovery for 5 – 10 mins. If I am feeling up to it I push an extra 5 mins into the middle of that interval using 45 seconds high intensity on and 45 seconds recovery. I wind down with the 15 seconds on and of for 5 mins.

    Honestly – the best thing I ever added to my workout. It has improved my fitness overall. Even when doing standard training like running, I do a 5 K run once or twice a week that has a set of 100 stairs at each end. I used to be lucky to run the whole way. Now I run to one end, do 5 sets of stairs, run back and do a couple more.

    TRY HIIT!!!

  3. I was looking at doing hit locally but I was wondering how HIIT would go with someone who suffers from a arrhythmia?

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Hi there. We recommend that you check with your doctor or physio to see whether HIIT is suitable for you. Everyone is different so it’s best that you get some specific advice for you. Let your HIIT trainer know as well, so that they can provide recommendations and modify the workout for you, if necessary. Good luck!

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