Get into HIIT: EōS Guide to High-Intensity Training

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, combines cardio and strength training. It’s designed to push your body in short bursts of time. At first, it may feel like HIIT really stands for highly intimidating and intense training. However, this workout style is great for beginners due to the minimal equipment required, the ability to easily modify exercises, and the adaptability of the intensity to meet your needs.

Let’s cover the benefits of HIIT, what to know about HIIT workouts and learn four types of HIIT circuits to rock your first HIIT workout today!

What You Will Learn

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

What Are The Benefits of HIIT?

Thanks to the workout style’s many benefits, HIIT is becoming an increasingly popular way to get and stay in shape. Explore some of the top benefits of high-intensity interval training:

  • Efficiency: HIIT’s efficiency stems from short intervals, incorporating short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This approach maximizes calorie burn and cardiovascular benefits in a shorter timeframe, making it ideal for those with busy schedules. HIIT’s post-exercise metabolism boost also ensures continued calorie burn even after the workout, maximizing efficiency and results.
  • Convenience: HIIT workouts can be done anywhere with minimal equipment, making them perfect for people with busy schedules or limited access to a gym. HIIT offers a convenient and effective way to stay active at home, outdoors or in a gym setting.
  • Improved Cardio Health: HIIT has been shown to improve cardiovascular health by increasing the heart rate and improving circulation. It can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and enhance overall heart function.
  • Weight Loss: The perks of HIIT for weight loss are multifaceted. HIIT workouts elevate calorie burn during and after exercise to target fat energy stores and promote lean muscle retention, which supports you in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  • Variety & Adaptability: HIIT workouts can be easily modified to suit individual fitness levels, preferences and goals. They can incorporate various exercises, including cardio, strength training, plyometrics and agility drills, keeping workouts exciting and challenging.



What is HIIT? How Does It Work?

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, involves short, fast-paced bursts of activity followed by brief periods of rest (E.g., 30 seconds of mountain climbers and a 10-second rest). This method maximizes calorie burn and increases cardio efficiency faster than continuous, slower-paced workouts.

Is HIIT Good for Beginners?

One of the biggest myths about HIIT is that it’s only suitable for individuals who are already fit. In reality, HIIT workouts can be tailored to any fitness level. Beginners can start with shorter intervals and lower-intensity exercises. Then, they can gradually increase the intensity as they become more comfortable with the pace.

How Often Should I Do a HIIT Workout?

Generally, beginners should start with 1-2 HIIT sessions per week and increase their frequency as they become more familiar with the pace. Intermediate to advanced individuals can increase the number of sessions to 3-4 times per week, allowing for at least one day of rest between sessions to promote recovery and prevent overtraining. It’s important to listen to your body, pay attention to signs of fatigue or excessive soreness and adjust your frequency accordingly.

Incorporating a mix of HIIT with other forms of exercise, such as strength training and low-impact activities, can also help you maintain balance and prevent burnout. Consulting with a fitness professional can provide advice based on your individual needs and goals. EōS has several Certified Personal Trainers you can consult to find specific recommendations to fit your needs.

Is HIIT Good for Weight Loss?

HIIT is great for weight loss because it burns calories during and after workouts. It excels at targeting stubborn fat while preserving lean muscle mass. Its short, intense bursts of exercise make it time-efficient, and its adaptability allows for varied workouts that keep things exciting and challenging.

However, it’s crucial to combine HIIT with a balanced diet and listen to your body to prevent overtraining and injury. Always seek guidance from a healthcare professional or certified fitness trainer before starting any new exercise regimen.


4 Cardio HIIT Circuit Workouts For Beginners

Pick one of the circuits below to complete. Or combine multiple circuits for a more challenging workout.

5-Minute Warmup

Before you jump into any of these fast-paced workouts, we recommend starting a light jog or brisk walk. Then, do dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm circles and lunges to warm your body.

Circuit #1: Bodyweight HIIT

Repeat the following circuit 3 to 4 times.

  1. Jumping Jacks (45 seconds)
    Start with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump your legs apart and raise your arms overhead. Then return to the starting position. Maintain a steady pace and focus on coordinating your movements to maximize cardiovascular benefi
  2. Bodyweight Squats (45 seconds)
    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, keeping your chest up and knees behind your toes. Push through your heels to stand up, focusing on maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement.
  1. 3. Mountain Climbers (45 seconds)
    From a plank position, quickly alternate bringing your knees toward your chest while keeping your core engaged. Maintain a steady rhythm and avoid sagging or arching your back to maximize effectiveness and minimize strain on your lower back.
  2. 4. Burpees (45 seconds)
    Start from a standing position. Then, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, quickly return to the squat position and jump up explosively. Focus on performing each rep with proper form and intensity.
  1.  5. High Knees (45 seconds)
    Stand tall and lift your knees toward your chest alternately at a high pace, pumping your arms to maintain speed. Focus on driving your knees upward and engaging your core throughout the exercise to maximize intensity and effectiveness.


Circuit #2: Walking HIIT

Repeat the following circuit 3 to 4 times.

  1. Brisk Walk with High Knees (45 seconds)
    Engage in a brisk walk on a treadmill, around the block, or even through your home. Lift your knees high with each step. Maintain a steady pace and engage your core for stability throughout.
  2. 2. Side-Step Squats (40 seconds)
    Perform side-step squats by squatting down and taking two steps to your right and two steps back to your left, all while staying in a squat position. Keep your chest up, knees behind toes and core engaged for stability.
  3. 3. Inchworms (45 seconds)
    Start in a high plank position and walk your hands forward a few steps. Walk them back toward your feet, maintaining a straight line from head to heels. Focus on engaging your core and maintaining control as you move.
  4. 4. Power Walk (45 seconds)
    Briskly walk as fast as possible, pumping your arms vigorously to increase your speed and intensity. Focus on maintaining a strong and steady pace, engaging your core and breathing rhythmically to maximize the cardio benefits of the exercise.
  5. 5. Backward Lunges (45 seconds)
    Step backward into a lunge, ensuring both knees bend at approximately 90-degree angles, with your front knee aligned over your ankle. Return to standing by pushing through your front heel. Alternate legs for a balanced workout. 

Circuit #3: HIIT for Abs

Repeat the following circuit 3 to 4 times.

  1. Plank Jacks (45 seconds)
    To perform plank jacks, start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Jump both feet out wide, then back together, maintaining core stability. Alternate jumping in and out while keeping a steady pace. Ensure you engage your core throughout the movement for optimal results.
  2. 2. Russian Twists (45 seconds)
    Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Engage your core muscles. Twist your torso to the right and left for the duration of the interval.
  3. 3. Bicycle Crunches (45 seconds)
    Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides. Lift your shoulders off the ground and bring your right elbow toward your left knee while straightening your right leg. Alternate sides in a pedaling motion, bringing each elbow toward the opposite knee. Focus on engaging your core and keeping your movements controlled.
  4. 4. Reverse Crunches (45 seconds)
    Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your palms facing down. Lift your legs off the ground, bending your knees at a 90-degree angle. Use your lower abdominal muscles to lift your hips off the ground and bring your knees toward your chest. Lower your legs back down with control, but do not let them touch the ground between repetitions.
  5. 5. Low Plank Hold (45 seconds)
    Maintain a forearm plank position, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core muscles and keep your hips level with the rest of your body. Hold this position for the specified duration, focusing on breathing deeply and maintaining proper form.


Circuit #4: HIIT for LEGs

Repeat the following circuit 3 to 4 times.

  1. Goblet Squats (45 seconds)
    Find a free weight (try a kettlebell or dumbbell), hold a weight close to your chest, squat down, and then stand back up. Keep your movements controlled and maintain proper form throughout. Choose a comfortable free weight that allows you to perform the exercise correctly.
  2. 2. Curtsy Lunges (45 seconds)
    Start with your feet together, then step sideways, bending one knee while keeping the other leg straight. Push your hips back and return to start, alternating sides for a balanced workout. Maintain a steady pace and focus on proper form throughout the movement.
  3. 3. Standing Lateral Leg Raises (30 seconds on each side)
    Perform standing lateral leg raises by standing tall. Lift one leg to the side as high as possible, then lower it. Repeat on the opposite leg. Keep your movements controlled and focus on engaging the muscles on the side of your hip. Maintain a steady rhythm and avoid swinging your leg to ensure proper muscle engagement.
  4. 4. Glute Bridges (45 seconds)
    Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Lower back down with control. Focus on maintaining a neutral spine and engaging your core throughout the exercise. Repeat for the specified duration, focusing on quality repetitions rather than speed.
  5. 5. Side Squat Walks (45 seconds)
    Squat down into a comfortable position. Take ten steps in one direction while staying in the squat position. Keep your chest up, knees behind toes and core engaged. After ten steps, reverse direction and take ten steps back in the opposite direction. Focus on maintaining a steady pace and proper squat form throughout the movement.

Five-Minute Cool Down

Cool down for 5-10 minutes. Go on a slow walk on the treadmill or do a light cycling session. Then, wrap up with cooling and relaxing stretches to allow your blood pressure and breathing to return to normal.

You Did It!

Congratulations! You’ve just completed a complete HIIT workout! Every ounce of effort you put in is a testament to your strength and determination. With each workout, you’re one step closer to reaching your fitness goals. Keep pushing, striving, and believing in yourself—you’ve got this!

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