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Is HITT Effective?

Michael Gersic provides advice on the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT).

HIIT is a type of workout that excites many people in the world of sport, where individuals seek fast ways to burn fat and gain more muscle.

Below you can find all information about what HIIT is, its advantages, how the training structure is designed, and which common mistakes to avoid.

A time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness

Research has confirmed that HIIT is one of the most effective training types to improve cardiorespiratory and metabolic health.

It is useful if users would like to quickly and efficiently get rid of excess fat, gain more muscle mass and provide themselves with more energy.

Users can achieve these benefits in the shortest possible time, which is ideal for anyone who does not have the time or desire to devote many hours a week to sports activities. For effective results, the exercises must be performed correctly.

HIIT consists of two training elements

It is vital to keep in mind that the training consists of two key elements:

1. Shorter high-intensity interval

You need to perform the movement with an intensity of 80 percent of the maximum heart rate. It is necessary to perform an exercise as intensively as possible so that the body proceeds outside the comfort zone. The optimal time for a shorter interval should be 15 to 25 seconds.

2. Longer low-intensity interval

A shorter high-intensity interval is always followed by a more extended low-intensity interval session that should last from 60 to 240 seconds.

During this interval, you need to calm the heartbeat, and generally gain enough energy for the next high-intensity exercise.

A light jog on the spot or movement around the room is recommended during the longer low-intensity time. Do not sit down, keep moving.

The Optimal structure of HIIT

To properly structure HIIT training, it is vital to follow specific rules:

Number of intervals

The combination of shorter and longer intervals should be repeated five to eight times.

Training time range

The entire workout should last from 10 to 30 minutes. Progress will be faster when working out for 30 minutes compared to 10 minutes.

Time and interval adjustments

The optimal number of intervals and the total training time varies depending on:

  • Physical condition,
  • Chosen exercises or activities,
  • Deciding whether HIIT is performed as a stand-alone workout or with other activities.

HITT offers three main benefits

The benefits of HIIT exercises, which are making this type of training so popular worldwide, are directly related to progress, so it is crucial to know what to expect from this exercise while following all the previously mentioned rules.

Higher values of oxygen volume lead to a quicker body transformation

VO2MAX stands for the maximum amount of oxygen the body can consume. In general, the higher the VO2MAX values, the faster the body transformation or desired results can happen.

It happens because the body consumes more oxygen, which means that a person can exercise faster and harder, which is also the purpose of HIIT exercises, to push the body out of the comfort zone in a shorter intense interval.

Diverse training structure without repetitive routine

With various exercises, it is possible to structure the training that there is something new every time. Choosing between different exercises allows you to avoid a routine, which otherwise quickly reduces motivation.

The optimal ratio between the time spent and the final results

A fast-paced lifestyle with many daily responsibilities requires a lot of time and energy. It means that we can fall into the trap very quickly when we cannot find a free training schedule. That is why High-Intensity Interval Training is such a convenient and time-adjustable choice.

Due to its specific training structure, you can achieve the same effect in just 20 minutes as in 1 hour of classic cardio training, consuming an average of 250 kilocalories. HIIT is an excellent alternative if you realize that you are running out of time for a one-hour run, swim, or bike ride during the day.

HIIT for gaining muscle mass and losing fat

High-Intensity Interval Training is structured in a way that allows you to gain muscle mass and at the same time, get rid of the excess body fat.

Burning the fat

HIIT has proven to be very efficient for individuals who want to get rid of fat. The reason lies in the fact that people, who use HIIT, create an optimal caloric deficit faster and easier, and on the other hand, they control their appetite with much less effort.

Gaining muscle mass

Complex HIIT exercises positively affect muscle mass, which is a good thing because more muscles mean more calories spent per day. Simultaneously, the exercises provide a firmer and more attractively shaped figure.

Three common mistakes when doing HIIT

It is good to recognize the most common mistakes, as they can often nullify the potential of interval training.

Warming up

HIIT is a type of workout where it is necessary to reach the maximum at the first short/intense interval. Therefore you must warm the body up before starting. Otherwise, the effect of training will not be so efficient, and injury risk will be higher.

The Intensity of the shorter intervals

You can achieve key advantages of HIIT exercises on the condition that you perform a shorter high-intensity interval by trying to reach your maximum. It is essential for the best possible results to "grit your teeth", as they say.

Time to regenerate

HIIT is the type of workout that subjects the body to high physical strain, so regeneration is crucial. Because of this, it is not recommended that you place HIIT training daily on your exercise schedule. It is enough to include this type of exercise in the program from 2 to 3 times a week, and other activities.

Additional directions

You can also perform High-Intensity Interval Training as part of running, cycling, or swimming when a low-intensity interval follows an intense sprint.

To sum up, a combination of effective HIIT and a balanced diet should help get fit and improve your overall well-being.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • GERSIC, M. (2021) Is HITT Effective? [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Michael Gersic is a co-author of a website related to a healthy lifestyle. He has created online HIIT training and diet programs, which have already helped more than 10,000 people across Europe.