CS.Fit | Casey Simmons


Your HIIT Questions Answered

Your HIIT Questions Answered


You have probably heard of HIIT workouts even if you’re just starting your fitness journey.

High-Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT, has become a popular type of workout. This type of workout helps many accomplish their fitness goals. But like other health/fitness things, there can be a lot of questions and confusion about how the workout works in such a short amount of time.


CS Fit is going to help clear up the confusion and answer some commonly asked questions like:

  •       How long should I do a HIIT workout?
  •       What level of fitness do I need to be to do a HIIT workout?
  •       How often should I do the workouts?

Q: What exactly is a HIIT workout?

A: As mentioned above, HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This is a workout style that requires short intervals of going all in (intense cardio) followed by a rest period. Since your body is working in overdrive, your heart rate increases allowing you to burn extra calories.

If you are really reaching the highest intensity for your body, the increased fat-burning potential can continue for DAYS after the workout is done.

While the name HIIT training may sound scary, it’s basically just alternating between intense periods and rest periods.

Q: What are the main benefits of HIIT?

A: 2 reasons people love HIIT

  1.       It can help burn more calories
  2.       It can produce something called the afterburn effect

The afterburn effect is when you continue burning fat after you’re done working out. Your body needs to work harder to deliver more oxygen to your muscles which is why you are burning calories longer.

Q: How long should I be doing HIIT?

A: HIIT workouts should be between 30-60 minutes with warm up and cool down included. The hardcore portion of the workout should typically be done within 15-20 minutes. It is not advised to take the workout longer because you may not be pushing yourself to the intended intensity and you won’t have the chance to reap the afterburn benefits.

You need to be getting your heart rate in a zone that is close to your maximum heart rate during work periods. Every person’s maximum heart rate is different, and you need to monitor what intensity is hard for you.

If you are just beginning your fitness journey, your maximum heart rate may be something to work towards. Starting out, you may need to aim to get your hear rate at the lower end of the target heart rate zone.

The intensity can also be changed by changing up the work-to-rest ratios. Beginners may use a 1:2 ratio, meaning you train all out for 60 seconds and then rest for two minutes. As you do more HIIT workouts, you may transition to a 1:1 ratio which is hard cardio for 60 seconds and then resting for 60 seconds before repeating.

As you get more advanced, you may choose to shorten the tough periods going from 60 second to 45 seconds. Shorter work periods mean you should increase the intensity because you don’t have to do the exercise for as long.

Just keep in mind that you want to progress to a harder work to rest ratio, so you can reduce the length of your rest too.

Styles of HIIT workouts


Tabata involves 20 seconds of maximum work time, followed by 10 seconds of rest, usually for 8 rounds. Each round lasts 4 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but trust me when I say, you will be soaked with sweat by the end!


Every minute on the minute, or EMOM, is when the entire workout is broken up into one-minute intervals. During the 60 seconds, your aim is to complete a specific amount of reps of an exercise before the end of the interval.

The only rest you get is if you complete all the reps before the 60 seconds is up. After every minute, you’ll start a new minute and repeat the process.


As many reps/rounds as possible, or AMRAP, is when you repeat an exercise or rounds of several exercises, as many times as you can within a certain timeframe. This style of training is used for athletes and conditioning and is designed to push your body to its max.

HIIT Cardio

HIIT can be cardio, strength exercises, or my personal favorite – both!

It also isn’t necessarily always high-impact. While you may think things like burpees and tuck jumps are the best HIIT exercises, you can actually do HIIT sprints using an elliptical, treadmill, or swimming using the work to rest ratios mentioned earlier.

Here are a few ideas for getting in a HIIT cardio workout:


If you have never done boxing before, you will see how tough it really is! Getting all the jabs, upper cuts, and hooks in is no easy task! Some people may say that boxing is not only a great workout, but it’s also a great way to shake of your stress from the day. You don’t have to go in a ring or follow any Rocky montages, but working a heavy bag or speed bag will definitely get your heart rate up.

Jump Rope

Jump rope is one of the great exercises that involves a lot of muscle groups while also getting your heart racing. It’s great for coordination, it’s inexpensive, and you can pretty much do it anywhere. It’s small so you can carry it on vacations or if you travel for your job. There are also weighted jump ropes to help you tone up.

If you have the jump rope moves down, try incorporating them into your interval training. You can include some high knees or double-unders to make it extra challenging.


How often should you do a HIIT workout?

You might already be sold on how great high-intensity workouts are. Maybe you’re even tempted to increase the number of workouts you’re doing in this style, especially since it is a short workout. 


Before you start doing HIIT workouts every day, remember that your body needs recovery time, especially after such an intense workout. 


Just like any form of exercise, if you are not getting sufficient rest you can put yourself at risk of overtraining or an injury. Make sure you are taking a break for a day or two between each session since HIIT requires so much from your body.


Include HIIT in your fitness routine

Even though HIIT workouts are short and sweet, they can have benefits for your body long after you finish the workout. Don’t be scared to try this style of workout! Mixing your workouts up can help you to avoid a plateau and it keeps working out interesting.