Guide to HIIT Training

Guide to HIIT Training

5th October, 2016

HIIT is short for high-intensity interval training, which is a workout technique that has become exceptionally popular as of late. HIIT involves intense, quick bursts of exercise, which involve the participant going all out and giving one hundred per cent. This is then followed by a short recovery period. The recovery period may be active, but it will be at a much slower pace. So, why have we all gone mad for HIIT? And, does it work? Read on to discover more.

Why HIIT works

The theory behind a high-intensity interval workout is that it keeps your heart rate up, allowing you to burn more fat in less time. For a more technical explanation, HIIT creates Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which is basically an after-burn effect experienced after a workout. After your short, intense training period, your body will ask for more oxygen to recover. This is because HIIT increases the body’s need for oxygen while training, and this generates an oxygen shortage. This process is the reason why HIIT helps people to burn more calories and fat than they would during standard steady rate and aerobic workouts.

The benefits of HIIT

Now you know the concept of high-intensity interval training, so let’s take a look at the benefits in further detail.


  •          It’s challenging – Once you have done your workout, you feel a sense of achievement, as you know you have pushed yourself to the limits. A lot of us are guilty of looking for quick fixes when it comes to exercising, but, if you don’t sweat, it’s not working. You won’t have this problem with HIIT.
  •          You can do it anywhere – You don’t need to go to the gym for this type of workout. There are many HIIT workouts available online that do not require any equipment, and thus can be done in the comfort of your own home.
  •          It’s convenient – As you are burning more calories in less time, you do not need to spare several hours a day to workout. In fact, most HIIT workouts are 30 minutes or less. This makes them ideal for people who are time poor, which, let’s face it, most of us are!
  •          Increases your metabolism – One of the best things about HIIT is that it speeds up your metabolism. Once you have completed your workout, you can expect to experience a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours. This means you will continue to burn fat once you have finished working out.
  •          You don’t lose muscle, but you will lose weight – If you have been on a quick-fix diet, you will know that you often lose muscle mass, as well as fat. Steady-state cardio can also lead to loss of muscle. However, research has proven that HIIT workouts ensure that the majority of weight loss comes from fat stores.
  •          Improves heart health – Research has shown that HIIT can improve heart health. One study concluded that participants could bicycle for twice as long once they had completed eight weeks of HIIT workouts.

Getting started

As HIIT is so popular and advocated by fitness experts all over the world, there is an abundance of resources available to help you get started. If you take a look online, you will find plenty of high-intensity interval training videos that you can follow. The sheer number of videos and guides on offer means that you can add variety to your workouts too, ensuring you never get bored or fed up.

When starting out, it is a good idea to go for a simple routine. After this, you can incorporate new moves, and you can increase the length of time you exercise for. Here is a ten-minute routine to get you going:


  •          Jabs – Jabbing is a boxing move. Start with your left foot in front of your right foot, with your hips facing the right side. You are then going to use your left arm to punch forward. After this, use your right arm to throw another punch. When your right arm crosses over your body, you should let your body rotate. Make sure you switch sides, so that you are working all parts of the body.
  •          Jumping Jacks – No doubt you have heard of jumping jacks, but we’ll explain them just in case! Begin with your arms by your sides, your feet hip-width apart, and make sure you are upright. To begin, jump your feet out to the sides, and raise your arms to the side at the same time. Repeat this as quickly as you can.
  •          Sumo Squats – Finally, we have sumo squats. Stand with your toes pointed outwards to a 45-degree angle, and make sure your feet are hip-width apart. Next, lower yourself, ensuring your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your chest should be upright, your back flat, and you need to keep your weight in your heels. Then, push back up to the position you started at, and repeat.


This is a simple HIIT workout to get you started. Remember, this is interval training. So, go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, for example, and then rest for 10 seconds. It is a good idea to slowly march during the 10 seconds, as this keeps your body active.

All things considered, no matter whether you loathe exercising or you are a fitness fanatic, HIIT is clearly something that is worth incorporating into your daily routine. With workouts lasting for less than 30 minutes, there is no excuse!  

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

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