3 HIIT Workouts for Beginners: Start Interval Training and Sprint Running!

3 HIIT Workouts for Beginners: Start Interval Training and Sprint Running!

This biker loves interval training.

This High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) guide is probably the weightier interval training guide in the galaxy.

My justification for such a unvigilant claim?

We’re really good at this stuff, AND we have dinosaurs and Muppets.

Plus, lots of unconfined gifs:

This runner can't do interval training.

We build custom interval training programs just like the ones in this guide for our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients, including workouts for at home, the gym, or plane while traveling.

In this Ultimate Guide to Interval Training, we’ll cover:

If you're interested in starting a HIIT practice (which you are, 'cause you're here), you may want to try our new app! It contains a fun venture that will take you from sitting on your hovel to a full HIIT workout - with plenty of benchmarks in between for you to find your groove. No guesswork needed, just jump into the app and follow it’s next steps.

You can sign-up for a self-ruling trial right here:

Alright, let’s do this thang.

What is Interval Training? What is HIIT?

These bikers love doing HIIT.

In 2018, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was ranked the number one fitness trend by American College of Sports Medicine.[1]

They wrote:

HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform.

Essentially, HIIT is just pursuit a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run, swim, bike, or row.

Any exercise can be a form of HIIT, but here’s a worldwide routine:

  • Jogging lightly for three minutes.
  • Pushing yourself harder for a minute (run or sprint).
  • Repeating this trundling 4 increasingly times.

Because everybody is rented and overwhelmed, fast results in the least value of time is why most people discover HIIT.

Plus, you can do HIIT with just well-nigh anything, including a jump rope:

Coach Jim showing you jump rope double unders

You may be asking, "Steve, just how short and intense are we talking well-nigh here? Also, your new haircut looks spiffy."

Thank you, you’re very kind.

So let's explore the pros and cons of intervals.

What are the Benefits of HIIT? Why Should You Do Interval Training?

 silhouette of man running towards the sun at cloudy background

The 1996 landmark Tabata study demonstrated the benefits of lattermost HIIT.[2]

Dr. Izumi Tabata, from Japan's National Institute of Fitness and Sports, was obsessed with interval training.

The doctor sought to see exactly what kind of gains were obtained from short, intense, periods of exercise. He conducted an experiment with Olympic athletes on stationary bikes and put them through intense bouts of exercise followed by short periods of rest.

The results were fascinating.

Tabata found:

That 6 weeks of moderate-intensity endurance training did not stupefy anaerobic capacity, but that 6 weeks of high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) may modernize both anaerobic topics and VO2max simultaneously.

Let’s translate that: compared to regular cardio, HIIT had a greater impact on improving BOTH:

  • Aerobic increases (endurance).
  • Anaerobic increases (power).

Even crazier?

Tabata was worldly-wise to demonstrate improvements in his athletes with just FOUR-MINUTE bursts.

So what's happening here?

Simple: your heart is a muscle.

Yes, the heart is a muscle.

If you alimony your heart vibration at a unvarying rate, never expanding it outside of its repletion zone, it will never grow stronger.

By introducing unconnectedness and pushing your muscles outside of their repletion zone, they must transmute and grow increasingly resilient in order to survive.

Intense interval training challenges your heart by constantly forcing it outside of its repletion zone.

In other words: progressive overload – the same concept overdue building strength.

Coach Jim explains 7 variegated ways to unzip progressive overload in this video:

Since Tabata's 1996 study, many other trials have shown the positive impact of interval training.

Here are some of the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training:

#1) HIIT can shrivel lots of calories in a short value of time.

Revving up your effort requires increasingly out of you, including calories.

Batman has to fun whether he likes to or not...part of fighting treason ways running 5Ks (ish).

One study backed this up, finding HIIT burned well-nigh 20-30% increasingly calories than regular cardio.[3]

The researchers stated:

These data suggest that individuals can shrivel increasingly calories performing an HIIT session than spending the same value of time performing a steady-state exercise session.

The name of the game here is “intensity.” The increasingly intense you go, the increasingly calories you’ll burn.

#2) HIIT for lowering thoroughbred sugar. Managing thoroughbred sugar is really important for health, not just for diabetics.

Those trying to lose fat should be enlightened of their thoroughbred sugar and respective insulin levels.

The good news for our current discussion? HIIT has been shown to help lower and manage thoroughbred sugar levels.[6]

#3) HIIT for heart health. Touching on the "antifragile" topic again, HIIT has been shown to help with overall cardiovascular health.

It does so in the same way traditional endurance training does, but at a fraction of the time (almost half).[7]

Alright, let's yack well-nigh how to unquestionably do some interval training.

What's an Example of Interval Training? How to Do Interval Running

Man running in a gym on a treadmill

The key to HIIT is stuff worldly-wise to go from "easy" to "difficult." All sorts of variegated exercises can get you there:

  • Aerobic (cardio).
  • Bodyweight (strength training).
  • Resistance (weight training).

HIIT is often associated with running (aerobic), so we'll devote this section to just that.

The easiest way to experiment with HIIT would be to run.

Mr. Gump ran like 1,000 5Ks when he crossed America.

Here's how to start with a vital HIIT running workout. Go to a park in your neighborhood. Warm-up with some light jogging, upper knees, and mobility – leg swings, arm swings, etc,

And then uncork your workout!

  • Run/jog at a brisk pace for 30 seconds.
  • Jog/walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes.
  • After your rest, shoot for flipside 30-second run/jog.
  • Continue until you get tired or without well-nigh ten "push/rest" intervals.

And BAM! You just did HIIT.

Don't get disheartened if you find yourself stopping a lot during your first week of HIIT training.

Andy Dwyer hates running, but I bet he'd like HIIT more.

You'll be surprised how quickly you get largest at this!

Also, "running" or "jogging" is subjective. Whatever walking fast ways to you is great. Do that for your periods of intensity.

It should be noted, that the unshortened "Couch to 5K" concept rests on interval training through running.

It's all wrenched lanugo into "walking," "jogging" and "running."

If you're curious, trammels out our in-depth Hovel to 5k review. If you want to start interval training, "Couch to 5K" could be a good way to do it.

More of an indoor person?

Consider a treadmill, where it unquestionably sets intervals for you based on your desired difficulty.

Just be shielding on it…

Pay sustentation to your running technique or things can go wrong!

We'll be talking well-nigh machines a lot increasingly in the next section, but a treadmill is all you need to do a HIIT workout.

Experiment with the speed and incline to find a setting that you would consider "intense." Many machines can be programmed to flip between this and an "easy" setting.

And you know what that means¦ boom! It's built for HIIT.

When we designed NF Journey (our superstitious new app), we used an “intense” and “easy” interval switch for most of the workouts.

If you want, you can sign-up for a self-ruling trial right here to see what I mean:

How do HIIT Workouts Work? (More HIIT cardio to segregate from)

Biking is perfect for HIIT.

There are a lot of variegated aerobic exercises for HIIT cardio.

For example, you could jump on a bike, which is like HIIT running but with wheels (duh):

Kermit loves interval training on his bike.

Every spin matriculation is based on HIIT cycling (SoulCycle, Flywheel, or plane your local gym now has spin classes).

They're popular for a reason, and you can make a friend or two!

Here are some increasingly examples of interval training:

  1. Elliptical. If it has a dial for resistance, it can be used for interval training. For a couple of minutes, go on low resistance (0-2 level). Then zombie up the resistance for one minute (up to 8-10). Repeat this process 12 times, which will requite you a 20-minute workout.
  2. Stair Climber. Much like the elliptical, unorganized between periods of low intensity for two minutes, then one minute for upper intensity. The difference with the climber is the dial will tenancy the speed of the stairs. Be careful.
  3. Rowing Machine. Start with a two-minute warm-up. On minute three, row like you're stuff chased by the Kraken for a full 60 seconds. Then reservation your breath. The rowing machine might be nonflexible to do for a full 20 minutes, since it's a lot of upper body. Shoot for ten minutes at first.
  4. Jumping Rope. Jumping rope is a full-body exercise. Also, it's fun. There's no dial here, your own soul controls the pace of the jump. Follow the same two-minute easy, one-minute intense as above. Jump rope can moreover be washed-up with friends!

This dino loves jump rope for HIIT.

So far we've just been talking well-nigh aerobic exercises.

Let's imbricate our other categories, of bodyweight and resistance.

What Are the Weightier HIIT Exercises? (Two Other Forms of Interval Training)

The woman rower in a boat, rowing on the tranquil lake

"Steve, this all sounds great. But I hate running!"

Confession: So do I.

So I get my cardio in other forms!

Here are some bodyweight exercises to get going on HIIT:

  • Burpees. Stand up, then squat down, kick your legs out, do a push-up, bring your legs when in, and explode up into a jump. Try to do 20 repetitions, then rest for two minutes. Repeat until you hate yourself:

  • Push-ups. For 20 seconds, do as many push-ups as possible. Rest. Then do it again. If you're worried well-nigh proper form, trammels out our push-up guide and watch this:

  • Pull-ups. Same idea as above, do pull-ups for 20 seconds, then rest. If you can't do a pull-up, we got you covered in our pull-up progression guide:

Let's now yack well-nigh some Weight Training Examples for HIIT:

  1. Kettlebell swing. For ten minutes, do 20 kettlebell swings on every minute.Coach Staci showing you the kettlebell swing
    This will be intense, and worthy of congratulations when you're done. Trammels out our 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout for everything you've overly wanted to know well-nigh kettlebells.
  2. Battle ropes. If your gym has wrestle ropes, they'll be a unconfined tool for HIIT. For intensity, the value of slack in the rope determines the load. The increasingly slack on the rope the tougher, and increasingly intense, the workout. Also, don't get stuck in just up and lanugo movements. Some variation will help target variegated muscles.
  3. Weight lifting. The hair-trigger piece will be moving from one exercise to flipside quickly enough. For example, hustling from the seat printing to the lat bar: we undeniability this spin training!

To wordplay your next question: yes, you can moreover do spin training as a form of HIIT.

Circuit training is going through a sequence of exercises, or stations, when to back.

Coach Lauren explains the ins and outs of spin training in this video:

So in a spin you could go from push-ups to pull-ups, when to push-ups, only resting transiently from one exercise to another.

Circuit training would be perfect to mix into a HIIT workout, since you can diamond your spin to be very intense.

Check out our post for 15 Spin Training Routines to segregate from.

Plus, there's a Batman workout subconscious in there. You're welcome.

We create custom HIIT programs for rented people like you that are ACTUALLY fun. If you’re looking for a supportive mentor to guide you and tell you exactly what to do each day, we got you covered!

If you just want a beginner spin to get started with, you can try out our Beginner Bodyweight Workout Routine. Plus you can download a self-ruling worksheet to track your progress with this spin when you join the Rebellion below:

Exercise Bikes›Upright

Reach B-201 Magnetic Exercise Cycle for Home Gym Indoor Upright Stationary Bike for Smooth Cycling Experience

Buy Now

ADJUSTABLE SEAT: This Fitness Bike Features An Adjustable Seat That Accommodates Various Heights And Aids Proper Body Posture During Exercise, Making It More Conducive To Attaining Your Workout Goals In A More Comfortable And Safe Stationary Bike.

Oh, what’s that? You want to have plane MORE fun while getting the benefits of HIIT?

Let's get crazy with Interval Training

Sure. Let's think outside the box:

Basketball, tennis, soccer, and Ultimate (frisbee) are AMAZING styles of exercise that use interval training (it's all start and stop!).

Run here, reservation this, and wait for the next round to start.

That's what we're looking for in a HIIT workout.

So pick a form of FUN exercise that gets your heart racing faster and slower throughout the worriedness (yes, I suppose plane THAT worriedness would count).

Is HIIT Good for Losing Weight? Is Interval Training Good for Losing Weight?

This mermaid is interested in HIIT for weight loss.

My guess is that you're reading this vendible considering you're trying to get the most efficient "bang for your buck" when it comes to getting in shape.

And HIIT is a unconfined form of exercise and COULD help with weight loss.

I will, however, lower some of these outlandish claims that exist in the media.

For example, Time magazine calls HIIT "miraculous" in one article.[8]

That's a little much, plane for me, who writes for a living on why you should work out and likes using hyperbole for effect.

Seriously, I'm largest at it than ANYBODY ON THE PLANET.


Cardio, strength training, and HIIT all have many benefits.

However, a meta-study reviewed HIIT compared to steady-state cardio, specially looking at fat loss.

The results?

They found no real difference.[9]

The Doctor saying "it doesn't matter"

As researchers noted:

Regular exercise is an integral component of long-term weight management. However, unless implemented in very large volumes, short-term exercise in isolation (including HIIT) is unlikely to produce clinically meaningful fat loss.

What’s that mean?

As long as your energy expenditure is the same (and you’re in a caloric deficit), steady-state cardio is equivalent to HIIT for fat loss.

In other words, if you want to lose soul fat, how you eat will be responsible for 80% of your success or failure.

It doesn’t matter how many intervals you do – it's not gonna help you lose weight if you don't moreover fix your nutrition.

You can read our Beginner's Guide to Healthy Eating if you want increasingly information, which will help you build a plate like this:

If your meal plate looks like this, you're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for weight loss.

And if you want to download our self-ruling 10-level Nutrition Guide to help you fix your nutrition starting today, you can do so by signing up in the box below:

Getting Started with Interval Training

These pirates are ready to do some HIIT.

When it's time to whop your high-intensity interval training, think well-nigh the following:

  1. Frequency. This would be the number of intervals in your workout.
  2. Intensity. How nonflexible are you going in each interval?
  3. Time. How long are your intervals and rest periods?

Maybe you start out doing 3 intervals of intense running.

Once it becomes routine, bring it up to 4.

Maybe you zombie the resistance on your stationary velocipede to "8" during your intense interval. When it becomes normal, bring it up to "10."

Maybe you do pull-ups for 20 seconds. When you've got a good handle on that, aim for 30 seconds.

This mindset will alimony you up-and-coming in interval training.

A group of allies can help with victory

Consistency is the name of the game here. Even just doing a HIIT workout once a week will help you progress in all three categories.

For increasingly ideas on how to modernize workout consistency, trammels out this video from Mentor Jim:

Oh, and if you want help withal the way, don’t forget well-nigh our Online Coaching Program:

Mistakes to Stave When Doing High-Intensity Interval Training

Don't wrongness people by doing HIIT wrong.

There's a lot to consider when embarking on a HIIT practice.

No matter which routine you end up starting with, make sure you follow these words of wisdom:

  1. Ease into it. As the saying goes, "you must walk surpassing you can run." The importance is towers a HIIT practice. If you need to go "less intense" surpassing progressing to "intense," that's fine. It'll help build your aerobic capabilities (endurance), which will be important when working on intensity. Start with walking.
  2. Keep proper form. Doing your movements correctly will help prevent injury. Here’s how to run properly. This is plane increasingly hair-trigger in your later intervals, where you may be worn-out and tired. If you find yourself breaking form, go superiority and slow down. Intense isn't worth an injury.
  3. Get rest. Our persons unquestionably build muscle while we are resting. So take some "off days" from your HIIT practice. Want to stay zippy on these days? Do some fun exercise!

Take it easy, focus on your form, and make sure to prioritize rest.

HIIT Timer Recommendations

A timer is unconfined for doing interval training.

HIIT centers on doing intervals.

One moment it's intense, the next you're onto a short rest break.

A good way to know when it's time to go from one sequence to the next is a timer. A loud "beep" can tell you when it's okay to reservation your vapor or when you have to kick it in gear.

Here are 5 HIIT timers you can try out:

  1. Runtastic. Don't let the name fool you, this self-ruling app is for increasingly than just running. You can customize for many variegated interval workouts, depending on what exercise you go with. And the interface looks slick.
  2. Seconds. It's self-ruling and customizable to any form of HIIT. It can moreover integrate with your music, which is pretty sweet.
  3. Seven. If you're new to HIIT, Seven would be a good app for you. It's free, plus it has illustrations for exercises. You moreover get to customize your own virtual personal trainer, which may be the future of fitness. The bots are coming…
  4. Sworkit. First off, it's a clever name (taken from "Simply Work It.") Second, it's free. Third, it can exhibit your workout, goals, and calories burned. I like it.
  5. J&J Official Seven Minute Workout. This self-ruling app from Johnson & Johnson is unquestionably really awesome. It has premade workouts you can segregate form based on your fitness level, or tweak them to make it your own.

Also, we need to talk well-nigh interval timers. Most of the apps referenced are completely customizable.

For example, you can transpiration the intense interval from 120 seconds to 90 seconds.

This is hair-trigger considering it's up to you to decide how long you can do intense vs. rest.

Generally, folks recommend one minute of intensity and then two for rest when doing HIIT.

However, this all depends on the individual, and exercises performed.

For example, burpees are tougher to do than jumping over a rope:

The infamous burpee bodyweight exercise!

So finger self-ruling to make changes like 30 seconds of intensity and three minutes of rest. Make it your own.

Whatever way you chose to do HIIT, is fine, as long as you unquestionably do it. The benefits of HIIT kick in when going HARD for you.

In other words, you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to get the benefits of HIIT.[10]

A light jog totally works. Just don’t do it in a mascot costume.

Running - just don't fall over!

As we discussed, if you're consistent, you'll improve.

So don't stress well-nigh where you have to start.

For now, download an app and get going. Ours will help you train with HIIT too:

I hate multiple choice. Pick a HIIT workout for me!

This lego loves running for HIIT.

Let's power walk as our form of HIIT.

This is an example of a beginner HIIT workout we might prescribe for our Coaching Clients who are starting to train for their first 5K.

Let's do seven intervals, two minutes each:

  1. Warm-up. For three minutes, walk at an easy pace.
  2. Intervals. For the first 60 seconds, power walk, like you're trying to write-up someone to the front of the line at Starbucks.
  3. For the next 60 seconds, just walk.
  4. Repeat six increasingly times.
  5. Cool down. You can do some increasingly light walking, or a little bit of stretching here would be great.

Total time: 20 minutes.

Wayne is stoked that he made his small transpiration for weight loss.

I want to stress, that you can do just well-nigh any exercise in mart for this routine. Just minus "power walk" and add "push-ups and bodyweight squats"

It'll still be a unconfined HIIT workout.

"But Steve, that's still multiple choice!"

Right, right¦ sorry. Stick to power walking! Done!

How to Start Interval Training now

These two girls jump for their interval training.

Do our power walking routine above. It's a unconfined place to start.

Remember, our goal at this stage is to “build the habit.

We can work on "whoa, that was intense" later.

If you’re looking for EVEN MORE stuff to do, we have a few options for ya:

1) Check out our popular 1-on-1 coaching program. You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you largest than you know yourself and program your workouts and nutrition for you.

2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Trammels out Nerd Fitness Journey!

Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise increasingly frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your self-ruling trial right here:

3) Enlist in the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box unelevated to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It'll help you start incorporating interval training into your workouts.

There are a zillion ways to do HIIT, so don't let the options paralyze you.

Pick one. Anyone. And get to it.

Interval training, in any form, is a solid fitness nomination and a unconfined practice to have in the workout arsenal.

Any questions?

Which HIIT workout style is your favorite?

Leave it in the comments below!


PS: Make sure you trammels out the rest of our content on interval training:

  1. The HIIT Workout for Home
  2. How to Do Tabata Sprints
  3. Should You Do Hovel to 5K?


All photo credits can be found in this footnote.[11]

The post 3 HIIT Workouts for Beginners: Start Interval Training and Sprint Running! first appeared on Nerd Fitness.