The two most precious commodities in life are time and health. Without either, you won’t get very far. But finding time for our health is one of the biggest struggles today. This is where the benefits of HIIT exercise can help.

Approximately 50% of people bail exercise programs in the first 6 months due to lack of time. Doing HIIT exercise can save time and kill calories without eating into your busy schedule.

There are many benefits of HIIT exercise. It’s not only highly effective for weight loss and heart function – It’s also great for those who are time-poor. If you only have 10 minutes to spare, there’s no reason you can’t squeeze in a quick HIIT workout.

What is HIIT?

It stands for High-Intensity Interval Training (also known as burst training).

Basically, it’s bursts of intense exercise done in short intervals. For example, doing as many starjumps as you can in so many seconds. The aim is to push yourself as hard as you can go with recovery periods in between.

HIIT exercise has been around for a while, dating back to the early 1900s. Science indicates it goes back further as part of our evolution. In ‘caveman times’, humans would do short sprints to catch food or avoid animal attacks. Their ability to burn fat with excessive oxygen allowed them energy for hunting treks.

Amazing Benefits of HIIT Exercise

  • No equipment is necessary.
  • You don’t need much space.
  • Reduces insulin resistance.
  • Firms skin and reduces wrinkles.
  • Builds muscle.
  • Suppresses appetite.
  • Major calorie burner.
  • Improves functions for those with chronic disease.
  • Improves blood pressure.
  • Improves brain function.
  • Boosts libido.
  • Ideal for busy people.

Doing HIIT exercise can reduce the risk of overtraining. Not to mention it prevents boredom (like spending hours on a treadmill)!

Benefits of HIIT exercise

Burst Your Way into Fitness

HIIT is popular because it provides a combination of results in less time. It helps you build muscle, burn fat and increase your stamina and endurance. By mixing high intensity with low intensity, it disrupts the metabolic system and produces excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). This, in turn, creates an ‘afterburn effect’ (the energy the body burns to recover from intense exercise).

Benefits of HIIT Exercise – Save Time

The afterburn is great news for someone trying to juggle a family and career. Some HIIT exercises are as little as four minutes, ranging up to 15 or 30 minutes. Since the exercises are versatile, you can find any routine to suit your schedule and fitness level.

A study was conducted with overweight and obese adults, performing HIIT and moderate‐intensity continuous training. Both forms of exercise showed a significant reduction in body fat. However, HIIT required 40% less training time for the same results.

Is HIIT Good for Losing Weight?

Yes, the after-burn HIIT can produce can last 48 hours or more, post-workout.

Insulin plays a major role in your metabolism and weight loss. Performing HIIT can help stabilise your blood sugar, which then affects your insulin sensitivity.

HIIT also assists in balancing hormones that directly affect your weight:

  • Leptin – this gives you the sensation of feeling full, so you don’t overeat.
  • Ghrelin – this gives you the munchies for salty or sweet food.

HIIT helps control your cravings. Ghrelin is also released from stress, but the ‘happy endorphins’ from HIIT can combat stress too.

This exercise method is known to improve body tone and performance in a matter of weeks. For best results, it’s recommended you build up to 20-minute sessions or longer.  And don’t forget to watch what you eat. Add fuel to your HIIT workouts by eating food that boosts energy.

Benefits of HIIT exercise - HIIT the ground running

Where Can I do HIIT Exercise?

Virtually anywhere. Since there’s such a wide range of manoeuvres, you can do it outdoors or in the small space of your living room. HIIT is the perfect exercise at home because it can be as simple as running on the spot or using stationary equipment.

Types of HIIT Exercises

You can incorporate just about any exercise into a HIIT routine. Such as core exercises and these strength training techniques.

You can do it with:

  • no equipment – jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, lunges, squats etc.
  • cardio equipment – elliptical trainers, treadmills, exercise bikes etc.
  • weights – bicep curls, snatches, kettlebell swings, resistance bands etc.

You can also do HIIT with outdoor cardio exercises, such as jogging/running in intervals, doing pool sprints, or cycling at two speeds.

>>Get lean with these top 10 core exercises<<


As you explore the world of HIIT, you’ll come across the term Tabata. This is a form of HIIT where you go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds and repeat eight times. The total workout is four minutes.

It was devised by scientist Dr Izumi Tabata in 1996. He discovered that a four-minute HIIT session improved the cardiovascular and muscle system more effectively (by 28%) than those doing moderate-intensity workouts five days a week.

Free Tabata timer here.

How to do a HIIT Exercise Routine

You can do various interval times and sets and build upon them as your fitness improves. As a beginner, you’ll need longer recovery periods. Over time, you can increase the work-to-recovery ratio.

During your ‘work’ period, you should try to reach 80 – 95% of your maximum heart rate. In the ‘recovery’ period, you can rest completely or slow to at least half the speed.

HIIT Ratio Examples:

20 seconds on/10 seconds off

30 seconds on/15 seconds off

30 seconds on/30 seconds off

40 seconds on/20 seconds off

YouTube has plenty of interval timers you can use.

Beginners HIIT – No Equipment

Beginners HIIT – With Weights

And there are sessions like this that cater to people with bad knees or mobility issues.

Make no mistake, HIIT isn’t easy. A few minutes can feel like a long time when you’re going full speed. But research confirms that people reported more enjoyment doing HIIT than moderate-intensity exercise, despite it being more physically demanding.

How Many Times a Week Should You do HIIT?

The most common recommendation from trainers is 3 times per week. Due to the high intensity, it’s important to allow time for your body to recover (and the ‘afterburn’ is still in play).


HIIT may not be for everyone. If you’re brand new to exercise it’s best to work on your base level of fitness. It’s recommended you seek advice from a trainer and/or medical physician first.

  • Not recommended for people with heart complications.
  • Not recommended during pregnancy.
  • Warm-up and cool-down exercises still apply.
  • Wear appropriate shoes to avoid strain or injury.
  • Beware of objects around you, and kids or animals that may get underfoot.

Get Extra Credit with HIIPA

What’s this, isn’t one acronym enough? HIIPA stands for ‘High-Intensity Incidental Physical Activity.’ It can coincide with your weekly routine. Basically, it’s about seizing opportunities throughout your day to do movements that get the heart pumping. Check out these 5 ways to use HIIPA for ideas.

Take 10

Don’t burn yourself out running around like a headless chicken – burn calories instead. In doing so you’ll increase your energy and improve your health, enabling you to achieve much more in your day.

The benefits of HIIT exercise eliminate time constraints (and excuses). The next time you have a few minutes spare, give it a try.

Got a favourite HIIT routine? Leave a comment and let me know.


  1. Hi! I love this post, and I love HIIT! I couldn’t agree more with how much it benefits you. High-intensity works outs are my favorite because like you said they save time and the results are undeniable.

    I’m a busy momma so I knew I wanted to get rid of the pooch before I got pregnant again and the best way to do that was through HIIT workouts. Let me tell you, I am 9 months out from having a baby and thanks to HIIT workouts I now have my six-pack back and have seen my arm muscles grow and become more defined.

    I highly recommend HIIT workouts to anyone looking to lose weight, tone, and tighten. Plus there’s no excuse because it literally takes a maximum of 30 minutes and some HIIT routines can be done in 10 minutes. So even if you’re busy it’s easy to squeeze in 10 minutes.

    Great post thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Madysen, glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like you’re getting all the awesome benefits of HIIT, good for you! It’s so flexible, how you can switch it up with all different types of exercise. That’s interesting to hear it helps with post-pregnancy too. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Cool! Exactly what I was looking for! I don’t have much free time in my day and I would really like to train more (actually I’m not really training…) so I think this is perfect to fit my schedual. You gave me all the info I needed, now I just need to find some exercises to do 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  3. Great explanation of what HIIT training is. What I like most about it is that as you mentioned, it can be done on multiple different things. I have done it quite a bit on ellipticals. It’s definantly different from your normal workout. The most I’ve ever done is probably 15 minutes in intervals of 30 seconds. It is definantly a good change for any workout routine. I’m glad you put the precautions as well concerning who should consult with their doctor before doing this. Although you did have something about beginners using it, I would think that a beginner would at least need a base of aerobic fitness concerning their HR and oxygen consumption.

    This is for sure a great tool to use for anyone that is pressed for time, or just wanting to lose weight. Great information.

    • Cheers Justin, glad you liked it. I do a lot of HIIT on the elliptical too, very effective, 15 minutes is an awesome effort! Thanks for pointing out the precaution for beginners. I’ve seen many beginner workouts that involve basic standing manoeuvres, but I agree it’s important to have at least a base level of fitness. I definitely encourage those with no exercise experience to seek advice first. For sure, it’s a great tool for people with little time, that’s how I first discovered it! Thanks for reading.

  4. Hi, this is great! It’s definitely very useful for those who are constantly busy! I will definitely try this out! ASAP! I do want to lose a few pounds but I needed a little motivation. Thanks for the info

    • Hi Sandy, I’m glad you found it motivating. For sure, HIIT is highly effective and can fit into your schedule. All the best with it! Thanks for reading.

  5. Hi there, this is a really great post. I enjoy doing HIIT workouts. It’s really shocking how tough Tabatas can be when you think they’re only 4 minutes long! I wasn’t familiar with HIIPA so thanks for introducing me to it, will definitely be reading up more on this.

    • Hi Tamika, I agree 4 minutes can feel like a long time during Tabata! I just love how efficient it is. HIIPA makes a great side component. Hope you enjoy, thanks for reading.


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