What is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?

High Intensity Interval Training


HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a form of interval training alternating short, intense anaerobic bursts with less intense recovery periods to elevate heart rate and maximize calorie burn.


  • HIIT workouts alternate intense exercise spurts like sprints, plyometrics or resistance training for 30 seconds to a few minutes with 1-2 minute active rest periods.
  • The varied intensity challenges the cardiovascular system more than steady-state exercise and induces excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
  • HIIT improves anaerobic power, boosts metabolism, maximizes fat burning, and builds muscular endurance in less time.
  • Beginners should start slowly with 10-20 minute HIIT sessions 2-3 times per week before progressing duration and intensity.


  • Bodyweight HIIT circuits of burpees, mountain climbers and jump rope
  • Tabata style 20 seconds maximal effort, 10 seconds rest

Related Terms

  • EPOC, anaerobic exercise, interval training, plyometrics, cardio intervals

Common Questions

  • Is HIIT better for fat loss? Yes, the metabolic demands and EPOC burn more calories.
  • Can I do HIIT daily? It’s recommended for beginners to limit HIIT to 2-3 days a week to prevent overtraining.
Focused woman wearing black tank tops practicing boxing with trainer high intensity interval training

Do Not Confuse With

  • LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio like jogging – Not the same intensity spikes.
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