HIIT Basics

By: Keith Scott

HIIT (High intensity interval training) is nothing new. In fact, athletes have been doing this type of training for years. It has caught on lately with the fat loss community and for good reason. HIIT works and it works well. What is the down side? It is very difficult and because of that, not many people stick with it. For a detailed explanation of what HIIT is and why is works, check out a blog article I wrote about it here.

So you are training to get rid of that extra bit of weight that is still lingering around the belt line. Maybe you are trying to jump-start the fat loss battle. Whatever your reason for wanting to rid yourself of those extra pounds, HIIT mixed with a good, sound resistance-training program and proper eating will result in major fat loss. Here are the basics to get you started:

  1. HIIT is intense on your whole body, so make sure you clear it with your doctor before starting on a routine like this.

  1. If you are a beginner, find a machine such as a stationary bike and start with that. The bike will give you more bang for your buck and allow your to ease into this type of training.

  1. Warm up for 5 minutes or until you have a small sweat going.

  1. Start the intervals by increasing the resistance on the bike to a moderate level and pedaling as hard as you possibly can for 15 seconds. After the 15 seconds, bring the resistance back down and slow down your pedaling.

  1. “Rest” at this level for the next 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds is up, ramp up the resistance and the speed of pedaling again for another 15 seconds.

  1. Perform this same cycle for a total of 6 times.

Key points: You must pedal as hard as you can for that 15 second “on” interval. Take it easy, but still pedal during the “rest” interval. Also, raise the resistance on the machine to a moderate to high level each time out. You may not be able to keep your same speed each time, but your goal should be to stay close to what you started with. In other words, if you were able to get your RPM’s up to 100, try to stay within that number by 5 or 10 points each time out.

Try this HIIT routine after you do your resistance training session. If you are a little more advanced, you can up the number of the “on” interval by 10-15 seconds, or lower the rest interval a bit. Be warned; even the best conditioned people have trouble with HIIT when it is done properly.

In the next installment, I will talk about other ways to perform HIIT routines and just how you can incorporate it into your overall program for maximum fat loss.




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4 Responses

  1. Angie says:

    Gotta love HIIT! Best for fat burning! Short and effective!

  2. HY says:

    I’ve been wondering why lifting sessions themselves don’t count as HIIT…

    you’ll be lifting hard for a set, take some rest, then going hard again… isn’t that kinda like HIIT?

    Maybe ME work with few reps and long rests don’t count, but if you’re doing mid-high reps/set, it kinda looks similar. or am I missing something?

  3. Jimi Varner says:


    Good stuff. Very informative reminder of the basics. I have found with my clients (and personally) that to get the most out of HIIT, it’s best to cycle in a long, steady-state day (jog/run 3 – 4 miles) with 2 HIIT days. I have found that I recover better and for some odd reason, steady-state cardio helps to increase of daily energy (I find I can get more done in the same amount of time), but again, to qualify myself, that’s if I do 1 or 2 steady-state sessions, not 5 or 6 like those cardio-addicts…..

  4. Carlos says:

    Weight training can be considered anaerobic exercise depending on the duraation of the sets, when done in a circuit fasion, covering the whole body, sets laasti 45-70 secs, it can be as effective a fat burner as HIIT. Be sure to check out Gajda circuits in Thibaudeau’s Destroying Fat on T-Nation.