The Ultimate Guide to HIIT

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The Ultimate Guide to HIIT: Burn Fat, build muscle, increase endurance

If time is of the essence and your goal is to burn as much fat as possible in the shortest amount of time, look no further than High Intensity Interval Training.

The benefits don’t stop there. HIIT has been proven by research to provide a number of other health benefits, making HIIT cardio a no-brainer to include in your workout routine.


An HIIT workout, is one in which instead of doing one long session of an endurance exercise at a steady pace ie. Jogging on the treadmill, your workout is 10-20 minutes in length and done in a series of intense bursts. This is an example of an HIIT workout using running as the example

10 sets of 30 second Hill sprints followed by 90 second of a fast walk as active rest.


  1. Increased Endurance and Power
  2. Extreme Fat Burning Effects (Afterburn Effect)
  3. HIIT supports muscle growth

1. Increased endurance and power

When it comes to executing high intensity activities, carbs are our main fuel source stored in the muscle. When we exercise, our body uses these carbs, stored as glycogen to do high intensity work. In order to do higher intensity work, we need more energy reserves to fuel ourselves, but not in the form of fat.

HIIT has been proven to not only recruit more muscle tissues, but also have been proven to increase your ability to store glycogen. This means the more HIIT you do, the more energy your body will have to do higher intensity work.

This could mean getting that last rep at the end of your bench press, or squeezing that last squat on your new max lift.

Micro progressions like this can mean pounds of more muscle and faster fat burning over a shorter period of time.

2. Extreme Fat Burning Effects (After-burn Effect)

High Intensity intervals will kick your metabolism into over drive while you’re doing it. in other words, they raise your total energy expenditure

In fact, research has shown that HIIT cardio will burn more fat than any kind of slow and steady exercise in just 10% of the time.

In addition, HIIT also increases the after-burn effect of exercise. This is also known as the Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption effect. After an intense HIIT session, your body will continue to burn fat long after your workout is done. It works like this:

  • When you subject your body to such intense stress, your body goes into an oxygen debt because it has to recover after such a tough workout.
  • This forces the body to work hard to recover and stabilize your organs, heart and hormones back to a resting state.

This means that as your body is stabilizing itself you are using energy to return to a resting state and burning more calories while you do it!

3. HIIT Supports muscle growth

Your body has two types of muscles, fast, and slow twitch. Fast twitch are responsible for strength and explosiveness, and slow twitch are responsible for endurance. Building your endurance is great if you want to run a marathon, not so much for people that want to look great on the beach.

If you have ever compared the build of a long distance runner to that of a sprinter, you will see the dramatic difference of muscle definition and size of the sprinter. This is because HIIT builds on your fast twitch muscle fibers, making you stronger, bigger, and more explosive.

How to incorporate HIIT into your workout routine

1. Sprints

Sprinting is the easiest way to incorporate HIIT into your routine and the best part is you can do it anywhere. You can use a hill or even do it on a beach for added resistance. Here is an example HIIT sprinting workout based on your experience level:

  • Beginner: 20 seconds sprint 40 seconds recovery x 10 *
  • Intermediate: 30 seconds sprint 30 seconds of recovery x 10 *
  • Advanced: 40 seconds sprint 20 seconds of recovery x 10 *

* Does not include three-minute warm-up or cool down.

Once you can complete the advanced level and need more of a challenge, try adding a slight incline for variation, or try the exact same workout on a stationary bike.

2. Barbell Complexes
Barbell complexes are a little more advanced, but tend to be my favorite type of HIIT workout because they incorporate weight training.

The idea behind them is simple. You perform 6-8 reps of 5-6 Barbell exercises one after another with no rest in between. After the circuit you rest for as long as you need to in order to complete another set. You repeat this for 10 minutes straight.

You can check out this video for an example of barbell complex workouts you can try.

3. Gym Bike Sprints

These can be done either on a stationary gym bike. These are also known as “wingate” sprints. To do these, set the bike on a low level, start to pedal as fast as possible then immediately crank the resistance up to high.

You should last about 20 seconds before you are pedaling at a very slow spin at which point you stop and rest for 90 seconds.

7x20 Second sprints 90 Second rest


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