HIIT – Invigorating Routine for a Slimmer Body and Focused Mind

HIIT for people who are not fitness enthusiasts, this word inspires images of sweating and panting until complete exhaustion. For those who practice it, it recalls feelings of blissful fatigue after an invigorating and sweaty workout. High-Intensity Interval Training is a strategy that implies short bursts of intense movement that strategically uses overload and recovery to achieve outstanding results in the body.

What is HIIT?

It involves intense movement, strategic pauses, and sweating a lot! It loads progressively one muscle group after another so that you achieve a complete body workout. And at the same time, while one muscle group is working, another is resting, so there is a balance between overload and recovery time. 

During the short but fierce exercise sessions, you push hard and give all you’ve. Then follows a short still or active rest. This way, the heart rate is up into that fat-burning zone.

The training periods vary from 20 to 90 seconds of exertion, but they can seem an eternity when you are pushing yourself to the max. Because of this, there is the post-workout burn effect that allows many HIIT practitioners to get lean fast.

The recovery periods are essential because if you skip them, you will not be able to push yourself to the maximum during the coming exertion. 

This way, your muscles are pushed outside their comfortable limits and demanded to grow. This is why HIIT sessions retain muscle while burning fat simultaneously. 

The Benefits of HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training works the body to its maximum potential while requiring little time investment. “I don’t have time” is no longer an excuse with HIIT! It also requires no specific equipment or gym membership, so “I do not have money” will not work with that too. You can adapt HIIT to your level, skill, and physical capacity.

It speeds up the metabolism up to 48 hours after the workout. It also strengthens the blood vessels and the heart excellently. It increases your cardiorespiratory endurance and performance in high-intensity exercises. One of the most notable benefits is that HIIT lowers your resting heart rate and reduces blood pressure issues.

Studies with type 2 diabetic patients show that over 12 weeks, HIIT improves the ability of the body to make use of sugar in the blood, improving glucose metabolism and reducing blood sugar levels significantly.

According to studies in HIIT training, it is the fastest method to shed fat while retaining maximum muscle mass and toning the muscles

The short HIIT sessions improve your muscle’s ability to consume oxygen, an effect similar to that obtained with regular biking or running. HIIT exercises increase the blood delivered around the body in one pump, also known as stroke volume. 

HIIT workouts also have very stimulating effects on the mind as they increase focus and mental strength, requiring the willpower to push your body to its limits without holding anything back. 

The science of HIIT

By alternating maximum exertion, overload, and recovery, you facilitate your body toward physiological adaptation that leads to increased performance.  

An exciting aspect of HIIT training is the EPOC effect. EPOC means excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or the afterburn effect. In lay terms, your metabolism keeps working hard and burning calories hours after the workout. We observe this phenomenon when the body consumes more oxygen after exercise than in the pre-exercise period. 

After the workout, your metabolism does not only restore its normal function in terms of blood hormones and oxygenation, body temperature, and regular heart and breathing rate. The body works harder during the post-HIIT session to replenish the anaerobic resources called Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) used during the workout. These molecules are the energy storage within the cell. When exhausted, these need to be refurbished aerobically (with oxygen).

How to Practice HIIT


After a HIIT workout, the body needs at least 48 hours to recover. This is why professional trainers advise practicing it not more than three times per week. 

Basic health requirements

HIIT requires a basis of good health, a moderate level of strength, and mobility. If you are above 55 or have any specific health condition or injury, you must consult your health advisor before taking on HIIT. 


For beginners, the weight of your own body is more than sufficient equipment.

 However, you can introduce some equipment to your routine as you progress. This can be any aerobic fitness device such as an elliptical, fitness bicycle, or treadmill. If you are an outdoor person that loves to exercise outside, you can include sprinting or biking uphill for the effect of HIIT. An essential tool for HIIT enthusiasts is the skipping rope. 

If you feel the equipment is not for you, then you can use jumping jacks, printing in place, or high knees as a replacement to maintain your heart rate high enough.


The essential element of HIIT is to obtain maximum exertion in a short period. You must keep the intensity level to the max. 

But you need to exercise caution in determining what your maximum levels are. You can do that by checking yourself after a routine that lasts about half an hour. If you feel you can do more, you are not giving it your max. Another way to see this is to check if you can talk and work out simultaneously. If you can, then you are not giving your best.

You must gradually increase the intensity to ensure you are not holding back. 


Rest periods are crucial to HIIT, as they determine your ability to give your max in the training periods. Your body needs to recover its exhausted anaerobic resources aerobically. This shift is what gets you in the fat burning quickly. 

These recovery gaps do not require you to lie down motionless. You are already in recovery mode by simply switching to a less demanding movement or position. Walking in place or plank are some of the options. 

The proportion for high-intensity periods to recovery intervals is 1 min to 2 min. To push hard for 1 min, and you recover for 2 min.


Usually, a complete training session, including the active rest and recovery periods, lasts up to 30 minutes. Overdoing high-intensity training can result in injury and other unpleasant conditions, and you want to avoid that. 

In conclusion:

Three HIIT sessions a week will make up to 1h and 30 minutes out of your weekly sessions, less than 15 minutes per day if we divide that. So this is less than 1% of your time. The excellent health benefits of this training are much greater than the time investment and the effort you put in! So, do not wait any further. Try it out for yourself!


How to prevent muscle burn during HIIT?

First, you need to allow at least 48h between sessions. Secondly, you need to take note of how you feed yourself to help your body recover its needs. You also need to get enough sleep to maximize recovery time’s benefits.