If you’re short on time but still want to burn through your exercise routine, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be the best option to get the most out of your workouts.

HIIT is a popular form of exercise because of its effectiveness in helping people achieve their fitness goals, said Roger Franco, assistant director of fitness at Crunch Fitness in Fort Greene, New York. Newsweek. It involves performing an exercise in a short interval of high intensity, followed by a short interval of rest or active recovery.

“As opposed to moderate-intensity or long-duration exercise, HIIT significantly improves various health-related factors such as muscle power, fat and weight loss, and other health-related benefits such as prevention cardiovascular or metabolic diseases,” he said.

How Long Should HIIT Workouts Be?

HIIT workouts should last between 30 and 50 minutes, said Steve Stonehouse, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM-CPT) certified personal trainer and director of education for STRIDE Fitness. Newsweek.

“Duration ultimately depends on the intensity of your intervals, but usually half an hour feels like enough,” he said.

Franco said a typical HIIT workout involves alternating multiple sets of 30-second sprints with 30-second walks or doing a circuit of bodyweight exercises. Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Most HIIT workouts typically last anywhere from 10 minutes to over 30 minutes, he said.

Women doing a high jump during a HIIT workout.
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Dr. Yuri Feito, Board-Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM), said Newsweek that the duration of your HIIT workout also depends on individual training goals and fitness level.

For beginners, it is advisable to follow a program that includes the same “work and rest time intervals”, such as 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off.

For more advanced individuals, “the benefits are greater when rest periods are a fraction of the work interval,” the exercise physiologist said, as the combination of 30 seconds on and 15 seconds off rest.

It’s important to keep in mind that “high intensity” can be different for everyone, Feito noted.

Most people tend to think that HIIT workouts “should always include near-max work intervals,” but that’s not the case, he said.

“There is evidence to suggest that even a single minute of high-intensity activity improves markers of health,” according to the ACSM fellow.

Men doing squat exercises outdoors.
A group of men doing squat exercises outdoors.
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How Often Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

Feito said there was no formal recommendation that HIIT workouts should be limited to a certain number of days per week. For most people, two to three times a week, with a day off in between, should be appropriate, but the frequency also depends on the person.

For beginners, it would be safe to start with just one day, see how they feel the next day, and progress from there based on their ability, Feito said.

Franco said HIIT programs are typically scheduled three to six times a week. While duration and frequency are relevant factors in creating successful HIIT programs, “exercising at 80% to 95% heart rate capacity is crucial to ensuring desired results,” he said. .

HIIT workouts are more exhaustive than other workouts due to their high intensity and minimal rest. But one of its key features is being able to change the intensity based on the individual’s fitness level and goals, he added.

A woman doing rope lifting exercises indoors.
A woman doing rope lifting exercises indoors. Typical HIIT workouts usually involve 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest.
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Stonehouse said: “You can do HIIT workouts several times a week, but I wouldn’t recommend every day as they are high impact workouts. You will want to take at least one day off between HIIT workouts to give your muscles and the joints have time to recover.”

He suggested alternating HIIT workouts with other types of exercise, such as yoga, Pilates, cycling or rowing to maximize your week and prevent burnout.

Feito advised anyone interested in participating in this type of training or any vigorous exercise to consult with a medical professional before beginning the program.

Franco agreed, noting that “a competent assessment of a client’s mobility level, endurance level, and fitness goal is fundamental to designing a safe and effective program.”

An experienced trainer can help you assess and build the most appropriate HIIT program for you, determining the duration, frequency and type of exercise to use in a circuit, he said.

A man running outdoors.
A man running outdoors. A typical HIIT workout involves alternating multiple sets of 30 seconds of sprinting with 30 seconds of walking or doing a circuit of bodyweight exercises.
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How long does it take to see HIIT results?

Feito explained, “That’s a difficult question to answer because there are many variables that will impact the results of any training program.”

Factors such as number of sessions, additional exercise routines, changes in eating habits, among others, will impact the time frame in which you will see results. These variables need to be individualized for anyone doing HIIT or any other type of exercise program, he said.

A woman doing the mountain climber exercise.
A woman doing the mountain climber exercise moves on a mat during a HIIT workout.
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Stonehouse agreed, noting that the time it takes to see results will vary depending on how often you exercise and other factors such as diet and sleep.

“If you consistently do a few HIIT workouts a week, you’ll likely start to see results within a few weeks, such as improved endurance, lean muscle mass, VO2 max, and maybe even a loss of weight. weight,” he said.

Feito said most inactive adults who start a high-intensity program will likely start seeing results within six to eight weeks. Most changes occur first in the body without significant “visual” appeal.

“Visual changes are often dependent on nutritional changes that accompany physical labor. For people who are currently active in more moderate-intensity labor, this timeline may be different,” the exercise physiologist said.

A man taking a break during exercise.
A man taking a break from exercising, leaning forward with his hands resting on his knees. For those new to HIIT training, it is advisable to follow a program that includes the same work for rest time intervals.
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