Are you wondering what a HIIT class is? Find out all there is to know about HIIT group workouts with this complete guide.
What does your workout routine look like?
Some of us work out regularly but aren’t seeing the same results as we used to as our motivation drops. Others of us don’t work out at all, not knowing where to start or what the best workouts are for our goals.
But working out can be both effective and easy by participating in a HIIT workout class!
Keep reading to learn about what a HIIT class is and how you can implement them into your training schedule.
What a HIIT Class Is
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are a popular kind of exercise that involve exerting your maximum energy during short periods of time.
HIIT workouts require you bursts of high-intensity strength and cardio exercises followed by brief periods of recovery. It’s almost like taking an hour-long workout with moderate intensity and squeezing it all into a period of about 10 to 30 minutes.
Not all high-intensity workouts are HIIT, though. HIIT is a particular kind of workout. The key factor that separates HIIT workouts from the rest is your exertion level.
You should be giving it your all for those 30 seconds, which should be up to 95% of your energy level. Then you’ll rest for a brief period before you do it again. At the end of a HIIT workout, it’s normal to feel wiped out.
HIIT workouts are usually considered both strength training and cardio workouts. They often include cardio like jumping jacks and strength training like squats or lifting weights.
The magic of a HIIT workout, though, is that it will always be considered cardio due to the speed of exercise. Even if you spend all of your HIIT intervals with weights or doing pushups, you’re still moving fast enough to engage in cardio.
What are the Benefits of HIIT Workouts?
HIIT’s popular for a reason – it provides numerous benefits in just a few minutes. Along with matching the benefits of longer periods of exercise, it also has its unique health benefits.
Get Results From Shorter Workouts
Since HIIT workouts are typically 20 to 30 minutes long, they’re a popular choice for people looking to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule. But these workouts are convenient for another reason: you’ll burn more calories during a HIIT workout.
Researchers compared the effects of 30 minutes of HIIT, weight training, running, and biking. They found that HIIT burned 25% to 30% more calories than any other form of exercise in the study.
Even more impressive, the members in this study exerted maximum effort for 20 seconds, then rested for 40 seconds. This means that they burned significantly more calories in 1/3 of the other groups’ workout times.
So even if you only have 15 minutes to squeeze in a fast workout, you’ll benefit more than if you were to go on a 45 minute run at the gym.
Gain Muscle, Lose Fat
HIIT workouts may be one of the best fitness regimens to help you lose fat. They’re especially helpful for fat loss in those who are overweight or obese.
Along with regular moderate-intensity exercise a few times a week, HIIT exercise is often just what the body needs to jumpstart the weight-loss process.
HIIT workouts trigger the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, both of which drive the breakdown of fat. Specialized receptors known as adrenergic receptors cause this breakdown of fat.
What’s even more interesting is that these adrenergic receptors are found in deep fat that surrounds the internal organs of the body rather than the outer layers of fat.
HIIT workouts therefore may be responsible for lowering fat stores near the inner abdominal region, which has been said to be the unhealthy fat region of the body and one of the hardest to get rid of.
And engaging in workouts will build muscle over time. Any time you’re sore after a HIIT class, your body’s building muscle. HIIT classes make it truly possible to gain muscle and lose fat in just a few minutes a week.
Burns Calories Long After Your Workout
With HIIT, you won’t just burn calories during your workout. Your body will function at a higher metabolic level for hours after your workout ends.
Several studies have shown that a HIIT workout keeps your metabolic rate high and engaged throughout the day. The metabolism increase is even higher than if you were to jog or exercise. And this metabolic increase tells your body to start using fat rather than carbs.
Can Improve Oxygen Consumption
Oxygen consumption is your muscle’s ability to use oxygen. This consumption is necessary during workouts. The more intense, the more oxygen you need.
And HIIT workouts can improve oxygen consumption. Consider this 2016 study that followed two groups. One group worked out for 10 minutes using interval training, and the other groups worked out for 50 minutes.
Even though the second group worked out five times as long, they saw the same amount of oxygen improvement as the first group. Other research has shown similar results: internal routines lead to great oxygen consumption maxes than other forms of exercise.
Over time, this will create a snowball effect. You’ll start doing better at your HIIT workouts, which in turn will help you generate more oxygen for even harder workouts.
With increased oxygen consumption, you’ll also find that you’re more athletic in general. Other workouts like lifting, cardio, and yoga can become easier. You may also be strong enough to work out more frequently, which may help you get results even faster.
Optimal Choice for Mental Health
Working out can be stress-inducing for many people, especially those who aren’t frequent gym-goers. Lifting weights next to seasoned lifters may be intimidating, and running on a treadmill for an hour isn’t pleasant.
When you go to a HIIT class, you’ll likely find that there won’t be as much pressure. You’ll be surrounded by a group of people, so you can blend in if you get lost.
You’ll also be guided by an instructor who will help you do the workouts correctly and keep the whole class engaged. If you have health concerns or limitations, your instructor can help you alter the workout so you can still participate.
And since you won’t be working out every single day, you won’t feel overwhelmed by your HIIT workout routine. Short workouts of 30 minutes only 3 times a week are much more manageable than hour-long sessions five times a week. On your off days, you can mentally reset for your next workout.
Furthermore, you’ll start to see results from HIIT quickly. Whether it’s losing weight or improved oxygen consumption, just a few weeks will make the difference.
You’ll be encouraged to keep attending, whereas you might need to wait months before seeing results with a traditional workout plan.
What Does the Typical HIIT Workout & Class Look Like?
The key to any HIIT workout is engaging your body in maximum energy usage followed by a period of rest. Your HIIT workout can be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Rest periods can be anywhere from half to double the time you spend working out.
Take this HIIT workout that’s about 15 minutes.
- Pushups for 45s, 15s rest
- Squats for 45s, 15s rest
- Butt kicks for 45s, 15s rest
- Tricep dips for 45s, 15s rest
- Side lunges for 45s, 15s rest
- Repeat 3 times
Here’s another effective outdoor HIIT workout you could try that’s just 8 minutes long.
- Sprint as far as you can for 45s, then 15s rest
- Jump rope as many times as you can for 45s, 15s rest
- Jumping Jacks for 45s, 15s rest
- Burpees for 45 seconds, 15s rest
- Repeat twice
For more of a challenge, your HIIT workout could be about 30 minutes long and look something like this.
- Plank hold for 60s, 30s rest
- Squats for 60s, 30s rest
- Pushups for 60s, 30s rest
- High knees for 60s, 30sr rest
- Burpees for 60s, 30s rest
- Crunches for 60s, 30s rest
- Repeat 3 times
The key to a successful HIIT workout is to challenge your body without over-extending yourself. In the first few workouts, you may have to stop in the middle and take rests. After a few sessions, though, you should be able to keep up with the group.
If you’re still having trouble, you may not be doing a HIIT workout that’s right for your body. Consider trying another class or modifying the workouts. Remember there’s no right answer, and fitness is different for everyone.
Do I Need to be Fit to Join a HIIT Class?
HIIT is a great workout choice for people of all fitness levels, including people with special conditions. That being said, you shouldn’t engage in HIIT workouts without a baselines fitness level.
A base level of fitness is different for everyone, but it’s generally considered to mean you’ve completed training 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes over several weeks before.
If you have little prior workout experience, you may need more time. If you’re getting back into a fitness routine after some time off, you may adjust more quickly.
Most importantly, remember that your workout is about maxing out your heart’s capabilities, not keeping up with the other people in the class. Your HIIT workout should get your heart rate up from 80% to 95% of your maximum heart rate. Everyone in the class will be at different fitness and experience levels, so do what you can to focus on yourself.
And for those of you who are at a higher fitness level, you can still benefit greatly from HIIT workouts. A HIIT workout can challenge new groups of muscles and test your endurance.
A weekly HIIT workout can be a great way for you to track your progress and set goals for the next week. For instance, say you find yourself more tired after certain workouts than others. You can target certain muscles in upcoming workouts.
How Often Should I Do HIIT Workouts?
We all want to get in shape as quickly as possible, so the idea of a quick workout that will get great results seems like the perfect daily workout.
But HIIT workouts are called “high intensity” workouts for a reason, and they’re not meant to be done every day.
If you find that you can do a HIIT workout five or more times a week, you’re doing it wrong. You should be engaging your cardiovascular system to its fullest extent, so much so that your body needs the next day to recover.
Doing HIIT workout or three days a week is the optimal workout schedule for your body. You’ll challenge yourself and see results without overextending your physical capabilities.
For the best results, do a HIIT workout every other day or every two days, leaving at least 24 hours between sessions. During your off days, schedule yoga to give your muscles a break and stretch out your sore spots.
And if you choose to do a HIIT workout every day? There will be several consequences.
The first will be that you’re at risk of injury. When you don’t give your muscle tissue enough time to repair between workouts, you’re simply re-opening that tissue again and again. Eventually, your body will wear out.
And your mind will, too. Your workouts won’t be effective if you’re not allowing yourself to mentally reset, leading to burnout. You’ll feel fatigued, not to mention filled with dread at the idea of going to the gym.
Master Your Fitness Regimen
Now that you’re well versed in what a HIIT class is and HIIT benefits, you’re ready to start mastering your fitness regimen.
Whether you’re an athlete signing up for a HIIT class for the first time or someone who’s trying to establish a new fitness routine, you’re on the right track to physical and mental success.
And you don’t have to do it alone. The Regymen Fitness team is happy to guide you through your fitness journey and help you achieve your desired results.
Try a workout, and start to transform your mind and body!