HIIT for Beginners

Beginner woman doing knee high exercises for HIIT
Doing knee highs for HIIT at home

When you come right down to it: most of us are beginners when it comes to HIIT.

That makes it common for most people considering the addition of high intensity interval training (HIIT) to their workouts to have questions.

We want to know if it’s really effective and if we will really see the results we read about?

These are good questions, because unlike most exercises we do, HIIT is quite tiring and takes a lot of forced energy and determination on your part.

So, we naturally wonder if HIIT exercises are going to be worth the effort?

I can assure you it is — without a doubt!

When it comes to burning fat and getting you ripped — HIIT delivers the goods on all fronts.

7 Common Questions About HIIT for Beginners

1. How long do I need to work out?

Typically, about all you’ll need to do is 15 minutes of this exercise.

There are some HIIT methods like the Tabata Protocol where the exercise session is only last about 4 minutes.

The basic idea is to workout at 100% for 20 seconds and then rest, or slow down, for 10 seconds.

Repeating this about 8 times is going to get your body steaming.

You are going to be surprised when you discover that even with only 4 minutes involved this workout is so powerful and potent that people who engage in it are in fat burning mode for hours after it’s done.

While Tabata is extremely demanding, you can opt for easier HIIT styles where you exercise for 1 minute and rest for 30 seconds and so on.

What really matters is that you give your maximum effort during the training.

If you do it right, you’ll be exhausted within 15 minutes.

There’s really no need to go longer than that.

HIIT is so effective that it simply doesn’t require long, boring sessions of exercise.

2. Should I train on an empty stomach?

No, it’s not recommended to do HIIT training on an empty stomach.

Unlike fasted cardio which is done at a much slower pace, HIIT will require you to have energy — a lot of energy.

The best way to provide that energy for your workout is to have a small meal about an hour or so before you work out.

A slightly elevated blood sugar level will give you more energy to train harder.

3. Will I need any special equipment?

Besides comfortable workout clothes, you don’t need any other equipment if your HIIT workout is only made up of bodyweight exercises.

As you progress, you may wish to get dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, a jump rope, stability ball, exercise band, etc.

This will allow you to add more resistance to your training and make it more challenging.

HIIT can be combined with virtually any exercise – including this Recumbent Bike.

4. Do I need to join a gym?

You could always join a gym, but you don’t need to.

One of the biggest benefits of HIIT is that you really don’t need much equipment or space.

In fact, you could do an entire 15-minute workout in your office cubicle at work. You just need the right exercises.

So, if your budget is tight and you don’t want to fork out money for a swanky gym or cardio machines to use at home — don’t sweat it.

Keep the sweating for the HIIT session that you can do in the privacy of your own home with no equipment other than your own body weight.

5. How often should I do HIIT workouts?

Ideally, you should do it 3 times a week. You don’t have to do more than that.

Here’s a post about how many times a week you should do cardio.

Each session will have you burning calories at an accelerated rate for hours after your workout and it’s important to let your body get the rest it needs.

6. Will I see fast results?

You can expect to start seeing some serious results in 3 to 4 weeks.

HIIT is very effective for burning fat.

If your workout has lots of leg training, you’ll see yourself gaining more muscle too.

In any case you will find that high-intensity-interval-training starts to tone your body and depending on your training methods can build muscle mass.

7. Consecutive days or spread out?

It’s imperative to always spread out your HIIT sessions.

If you do one on Monday, you can do a weight training session on Tuesday, followed by another HIIT workout on Wednesday.

Many people worry that they’ll not be exercising enough.

After all, it’s just 15 minutes on 3 days a week.

The good news is that HIIT is so powerful that you’ll see mare and better results with just 3 days — than with 7 days of training in other styles of exercise.

The reason we take a day’s break in between is to give the body’s central nervous system a break.

If you overdo HIIT, you’ll release the stress hormone, cortisol into your system. You want to avoid that and get sufficient rest between sessions.


HIIT is one of the best ways to exercise.

Adopt it as part of your training regimen and you’ll be amazed at how powerful it is.

One of the major benefits of using HIIT is you reap great health benefits with much less time involved than other exercise techniques.

The American Heart Association advises us to get about 2 hours of moderate exercise a week, or 1 hour of robust high intensity exercise a week to maintain the best health and fitness levels.

Even though I don’t buy into this excuse, most people say they don’t exercise regularly due to time constraints?

Whether you are a beginner to exercise or just getting into HIIT, you can easily combine both high intensity and low intensity into your workouts.

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