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What is a HIIT workout? Do your intensity workout in the right way | All you need to know

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Now a days people with their daily hustle and hectic routine, are not able to do the exercise properly and keep themselves fit. The hectic lifestyle has become a new normal and people are giving importance to other things rather than their health. Doing exercise on daily basis is the best way to stay active and fit. However, when it comes to the workout, researchers came up with HIIT i.e. High-Intensity Interval Training. It is said to be started somewhere around the early 1950s. But the HIIT took more than 50 years to be recognized by the general public. Since 2010, HIIT has been a part of the workout regime, be it an athlete, gym goer, or a home workout freak.

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In this blog, you will get to know about HIIT workouts, their benefits, what to eat before and after the HIIT workout and a lot more.

What is HIIT?

HIIT workout- KreedOn
Image Source- Youtube

As discussed earlier, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. As the name suggests, this workout type is of high intensity and is performed for a predetermined time. It includes a series of various exercises performed in succession with having short or absolute no time between the intervals.

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You can have a HIIT session for 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 9 minutes, or 10 minutes as there are no hard-core rules to set the time.

What is the purpose of the HIIT workout?

People don’t have time to run on a treadmill or go through an intense cardio session for hours. And even if they do, they struggle a lot and ultimately fail to reach the goal.

That’s where HIIT come in, it has so many advantages over cardio. Both HIIT and cardio serve the same purpose of burning calories, increasing stamina, and developing heart health. Cardio can be a very tedious and monotonous task. On the other hand, HIIT has an upper hand because it is a fun activity and same results can be achieved in a minimum time. Moreover, you don’t need a gym or expensive workout equipment to do the HIIT exercises. Almost all fitness freaks do bodyweight HIIT workouts.  

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READ | Daily workout routine at home | Smart & Easy way to stay fit

HIIT time intervals

There is no specific rule to determine the total time and time intervals for HIIT workouts. As per your convenience, you can decide to do HIIT for 5 minutes to even 20 minutes. Though the name is High-Intensity Interval Training, you can tone down the intensity level as per your workout standards.

Generally, each set of various exercises is performed for 1 minute. So if there are five exercises, the HIIT routine will be of 5 minutes. So it’s up to you, whether to take a rest between the two exercises or not.

Generally, the 1-minute interval is divided as :

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  • 60 seconds exercise /0-second rest.
  • 50 seconds exercise /10-second rest.
  • 40 seconds exercise /20-second rest.

It is not recommended to go below 40/20 as it will reduce the efficiency of the workout. So for better results, do a single routine multiple times.

HIIT workouts for muscle strength

HIIT workouts for muscle strength- KreedOn
Image Source- Muscle & Fitness

Yes, HIIT is commonly used as a substitute for cardio and to lose weight. However, with proper implementation, HIIT can be used to enhance muscle strength.

It should be noted that HIIT strength training exercises can increase muscle strength, but not muscle size. Theoretically, yes, it can bulk you up, but in practice, it is almost impossible to get the same results as provided by weight training exercises. HIIT bodyweight strength training and HIIT cardio are great combinations to achieve overall fitness.

What to eat before the HIIT workout?

Image Source- Elle.com

As HIIT requires a lot of energy thus it is highly recommended to eat energy-rich and highly nutritious foods. It is quite difficult to do a HIIT workout when you don’t have enough energy in your body. Hence make sure you have the right amount of carbohydrates and protein before the workout. Eat your food at least 2 hours before the workout and there should not be a gap of more than 3 hours between your last serving and exercise.

Following are the food items that you can eat before the HIIT training:-

  • Banana or apple with almond butter.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt topped with berries.

READ | Best Carbohydrates Foods for Athletes & its impact on performance 

What to eat after a HIIT workout?

You will be exhausted after a HIIT session so for that you need a lot of energy. For the best results, eat mostly carbs with protein after your HIIT session. Aim to have a 3-to-1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio in your diet. As you know, adding protein powders to your diet will promote muscle gain and improve recovery.

The combination of carbs and protein gives the muscles exactly what they need and may improve performance in your next workout.

Following are the food items that you can eat after the HIIT training:-

  • Dry fruits.
  • Milk.
  • Banana.
  • Moth beans.
  • Sprouts.
  • Chickpeas.

The point to be kept in mind is that you should always keep yourself hydrated during HIIT training either with water or with various drinks like sports drinks or electrolytes.

What are the Benefits of HIIT over cardio?

HIIT workouts benefits- KreedOn
Image Source- santacruzcore.com
  • Flexible than cardio.
  • Exciting than cardio,
  • Almost the same results as that of cardio with less time.
  • No need to have a separate day for HIIT. You can do it after your daily workout routine.
  • You can do strength training and can work your abs out by including necessary movements and exercise in the time frame.
  • It burns fat even after the workout.

Overall benefits of HIIT

  • Burns more calories.
  • Helps to lose weight.
  • Builds many muscle groups.
  • Improves oxygen and blood flow.
  • Lowers the blood pressure.
  • Lowers the blood sugar level.
  • Stimulates your metabolism.

Who should avoid HIIT workouts?

As HIIT workout takes heart rate to 80-90% of your maximum heart rate and hence it should always be avoided by people with heart disease. It is also not recommended for elderly people as well.

So if you have any doubts, it is better to consult the doctor or fitness trainer.


In general, HIIT serves the same purpose as cardio, but they are more efficient in terms of the time they consume. Even if you don’t have enough time to do an exercise, you can still do a 10-minute HIIT session and can have the same benefits as that a full-fledged workout routine.

A balanced diet with less junk food and proper good sleep should accompany the HIIT workout to get the maximum out of it.

READ | Learn The Best Calisthenics Workout Plan for Beginners

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Saurabh Sameer Karmarkar
Saurabh Sameer Karmarkar
Saurabh’s love for Test cricket has no limits. He indulges himself in listening to experts talking about Test cricket. Saurabh absolutely loves the way Aussies play the game. He is quite new to football, but football fever has taken complete control of him. He is an ardent Bayern Munich fan. Saurabh loves to write about sports. Other than sports, he is a voracious reader, a fitness freak, loves physics, loves to stay away from social media, and a Mechanical Engineer too!


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