Beginner HIIT Workouts

What is a HIIT workout?

A HIIT workout is a workout that utilizes the High Intensity Interval Training methodology where you give 100% effort for short bursts of time and then take a short break to recover and then go back into the 100% effort interval and repeat. Once you can no longer give 100% effort in the interval, you should stop as your workout will no longer be HIIT. (Sidenote: Just because it’s not HIIT doesn’t mean that it’s not a good workout!)


What are the top 2 recommendations for 30 minute HIIT workouts for beginners?

1) Running – Running is the easiest HIIT workout to do that can be done either outside or in the gym. To turn a run into a HIIT workout simply intersperse periods of sprinting with periods of jogging, walking, or rest depending on your fitness level. For example, you could do a 5 minute run at a moderate pace to warm up and then head into a 60 second sprint at your absolute fastest speed, then stop and rest for 1-2 minutes and go again. Remember, HIIT is all about the intensity and not the time spent at that intensity so if you can only give your best sprinting effort for 45 seconds then do that. Do not give a 50% effort for double the time and expect the same fitness results. HIIT only works if you truly do the workout at your highest intensity. During your high intensity interval your effort should be a 10/10. This will look different at different fitness levels but you need to give it your all at whatever level you are currently at. As you do more HIIT workouts, your 100% effort intervals will become longer as you naturally become more fit.

2) Bodyweight HIIT Workout-  A bodyweight HIIT workout takes a little more planning and coordination than running (since you need to figure out which moves to do ahead of time) but once you get your routine down it should be easy to perform anywhere – at home, the gym, or outside. If you are doing this workout at home make sure you are wearing sneakers to prevent injury. The easiest way to do this is to follow along with a list or a video until you learn the moves. If you’re looking for extra variety you can use an app like Mission Lean which specializes in HIIT workouts for the lean body.

What equipment is needed for HIIT WORKOUTS?

You don’t need any equipment. If you are running on a treadmill, then you need the treadmill… but if you don’t have one then just go outside! Also, it can be more comfortable to have a mat or towel for the bodyweight HIIT workouts but it is not necessary.

How many colories does A BEGINNER HIIT workout burn?

With running, you typically burn 80% of your weight for every mile that you run so track your distance and then multiply it by your weight and by 0.8. So if you weigh 130lbs and you ran 2 miles altogether during your HIIT running workout, you will have burned around 208 calories. If you do one of the above bodyweight HIIT workouts you will likely burn 200-300 calories in the 20 minutes it takes you to complete the workout which is high. Again, this depends on your current weight and the intensity at which you are working.

But I would urge you not to focus on calories burned. Focus on improving your fitness — increasing the speed at which you run or the agility with which you do the bodyweight exercises. HIIT brings so many more health benefits than just burning calories like extending the length of your telomeres (and has been scientifically proven to help you look and feel younger as well as live longer) and ramping up your metabolism (so you’re burning more calories all the time, not just while you’re working out.)

How many days a week should you do beginner HIIT workouts?

If you are very, very fit you can do these workouts up to 2-3 times a week and do a more moderate or low intensity workout on other days. However, if you are a beginner I would do a high intensity workout 1x per week and low intensity workouts 2-4x per week to supplement until your fitness level improves. You should do whatever workout is your favorite. If you love running then keep doing HIIT runs. However if you get bored doing that then definitely intersperse with bodyweight HIIT workouts to stay motivated.


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