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HIIT Me Up! History of HIIT Workout [Infographic]

‘Sorry! I can’t today. I have an important presentation to prepare for.’

‘Workout! Not this week. I need to finish a few chores and then have a few guests coming over.’

‘I am terribly busy with work and kids. Let me try working out next week.’

These are the common excuses we give or hear from others for not working out regularly. The fast-paced lifestyle is detrimental to our fitness. It leaves us with little or no time to focus on the health of our bodies and mind. We often feel pressured to find an effective and time-efficient way to work out. HIIT or high-intensity interval training workouts are a fitting answer to this.

HIIT promises us the best workout in the least amount of time. The trendy fitness regimen packs in short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or low-intensity exercise, all within 20-40 minutes.

So, regardless of how time-crunched you are, 20 minutes of HIIT a day can make you fitter, stronger, and leaner before you know. High-intensity interval training also boosts metabolism and offers cardiovascular benefits. What’s more? The workout is safe, can be done by people of all age groups, and needs no fancy gym equipment. All you need to do is take appropriate precautions to protect yourself from workout injuries and you are ready to go.

No wonder, HIIT is in hype lately! In fact, a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine reveals that HIIT is among the top three fitness trends for 2020.

Though HIIT has been applied in athletic training for nearly a century, it only got popular over the past decade. Today, HIIT is being promoted and practiced in every gym and fitness studio as it helps individuals raise aerobic and anaerobic stamina while burning fat. Let’s take a peek into how this popular and effective workout type evolved.

Here’s an interesting infographic that will take you through the history of HIIT. Later, you will also find valuable information on how HIIT works and how to get the most out of it. You will also find effective tips to get the most out of your HIIT sessions.

Important Points to Remember When Considering HIIT Workouts

HIIT may sound intimidating to anyone who hasn’t tried it before. But the fact is, HIIT workouts for beginners and pros can be effective and devoid of injuries, provided you know how to do it.

Here are a few important tips to slay your HIIT workout!

1. Don’t miss the warm-up! Plan a two to a five-minute muscle-warming session before you begin.

2. Wear the right training or running shoes as it will allow you to perform quick HIIT movements with ease.

3. If you are working out at home, consider installing a safety rubber surfacing that will offer adequate cushioning and reduce the risk of workout injuries.

4. Eating the right food can make a huge difference in your workouts. Consider including a moderate to high-carb meal about three to four hours before your HIIT workout begins.

5. Keep yourself hydrated. Muscles cannot perform without electrolytes and you need to replenish the water level in your body after sweating it out on the treadmill or during any other workout.

6. Avoid exerting yourself. The idea is to complete your 20-minute workout, not to overuse and strain muscles. Doing so will only lead to injuries and reduce your performance.

7. Keep your intervals short – ideally, less than two minutes.

8. Remember to breathe! Your body needs oxygen to keep the energy flowing.

9. Mix up your workouts to challenge your body and make the session enjoyable.

10. Get adequate sleep for proper recovery.

Training Methods That Use HIIT

Besides HIIT, you may come across a few terms like Tabata or Circuit training. These workouts are similar and use HIIT. Read on to know more about them.


Tabata is like HIIT but with specific parameters. In a four-minute Tabata workout, you need to alternate between 20-second intervals of max-effort bursts (your 100 percent max) effort with 10-second intervals of rest for eight rounds.

As you would have read in our infographic above, the protocol was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a researcher in Tokyo in 1996.

Consider HIIT as an umbrella term that includes all types of high-intensity and interval-based workouts. That said, Tabata is a specific type of HIIT that has super-short work intervals and even-shorter rests intervals when compared to HIIT which can be 20 and 40 minutes of complete work.

Circuit Training

It is a type of body conditioning that involves endurance training, resistance training, high-intensity aerobics, and exercises, all performed in a circuit. So, it sounds similar to HIIT but with no rest between each workout. The rest period (lasts for 30 to 60 seconds) comes only at the end of a circuit.

As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)

As the name suggests, you’ll perform as many reps of a single workout as possible of a specific exercise for a set amount of time.


A huge applaud to you if you’ve made up your mind to kickstart your HIIT workout regimen. Go for it!

When starting this workout regimen several questions and concerns may cross your mind. Here’s a ready list of FAQs on HIIT that will quell fears, concerns, and misconceptions you may have regarding the trendy and effective workout.

1. What HIIT Means?

HIIT is high-intensity interval training, a technique that combines intense bursts of exercise, followed by short and sometimes active, recovery periods. This combination keeps the heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

The high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen, causing oxygen shortage. Thus, the body asks for more oxygen during the recovery phase. This afterburn effect (commonly referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC) is the reason why your body keeps burning fat even after the workout.

2. Does HIIT Reduce Belly Fat?

Yes! HIIT workouts transform your body into a fat-burning machine, thus dropping fat from all parts of your body, including the belly area. A considerable amount of studies have shown that HIIT can burn fat and improve the total exercise capacity and sports performance.

A meta-analysis published in Sports Medicine revealed that HIIT is a time-efficient strategy to decrease fat-mass deposits, including abdominal and visceral fat mass. Another study revealed that people following the HIIT regimen three times a week for 20 minutes each lost 4 pounds of body fat in 12 weeks.

Thus, even with a low time commitment, HIIT can considerably reduce unhealthy visceral fat, leading to healthy weight loss. So, tone those abs now by sticking to your high-intensity interval training workouts.

3. What Is the Best HIIT Workout to Burn Fat?

We have a 20-minute HIIT workout regimen for you that will help you challenge your body and burn fat and calories. The workouts mentioned below will focus on each part of your body. Try to do as many repetitions during each 45-second interval. Rest for 15 seconds before repeating the workout.

3 rounds – 45 seconds workout – 15-second break before you start the next.

  • Push-Ups – Try to work with traditional push-ups. If you aren’t able to complete it, place your hands on a stable chair instead of the floor. You can also do the push-ups with your knees resting on the floor.
  • Squats – If you need assistance when performing squats, use a chair for support. Remember to place your feet under your hips and the body weight on your heels.
  • Butt Kicks – Try to kick your right heel up to touch your bottom and repeat for the other heel.
  • Tricep Dips – Place your hands on a chair, a settee, or a low table, with your back it. Spread your legs straight out while balancing on your palms. Bend low from your elbows as far as you can and then get back to the original position.
  • Side Lunges – Place your body weight on your heels and your toes facing forwards. Now, step to the left in a deep lateral lunge while keeping your knee above your toes. Repeat for both legs.

If you are doing your HIIT workout at home, remember to do so on a safety rubber surface. Further, HIIT workouts can strain your heart rate. If you suffer from cardiovascular disorders it’s wise to consult your doctor before starting.

4. Is Doing HIIT Everyday Bad?

Though HIIT is a safe and effective workout, you need not do it every day. When you take a break every alternate day, you are still giving your body time to recover. And guess what? Your body is still burning calories due to the afterburn effect.

Also, whether you are a beginner or a pro, too much HIIT will not give time for your body to recover and leave you susceptible to injuries. Over time, you may see a decrease in performance or performance plateaus, a possible weight gain, and overuse injuries.

5. How Long Does It Take to See Results with HIIT Workouts?

There’s no universal time as to when you’ll see results with HIIT. The time taken to see a definite increase in the endurance levels and loss of weight comes down to the individual and their lifestyle choices. Some people have also lost one to two pounds of adipose tissue at week one.

To reap maximum benefits of HIIT workouts, aim at doing them two to three times per week.

6. How Many Calories Are Burned 20 Mins HIIT?

In a complete 20 min HIIT workout, an individual can burn anywhere between 9-13 calories a minute. However, a few individuals also burn around 16 calories a minute.

7. What Are the Advantages of HIIT Training?

HIIT is highly popular for the world of benefits it offers. Here are a few –

  • It’s an effective and time-efficient workout.
  • It builds muscle mass and burns more fat than other workout regimens.
  • It improves metabolism.
  • It strengthens your cardiovascular activity and boosts endurance.
  • You can do it from anywhere; so, no need to go to the gym. Just secure a corner or a room at home for your workouts and you are all set to roll!
  • It doesn’t demand any fancy equipment.
  • It can be tailored as per your individual needs; hence, anyone can follow this workout regimen.

The advantages of following a HIIT workout regimen are endless. So, go ahead and kick your HIIT workout into high gear!

8. What Are the Disadvantages of HIIT Training?

Though HIIT is an effective workout option for individuals with varying fitness levels, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of. Read on to know the risks and plan your workout accordingly.

  • Workouts like burpees and box jumps are great to train abs but increase the risk of injuries.
  • Overuse of muscles can cause injuries and joint strains.
  • If you have little or no prior experience, you may need to prepare your body with weeks of lower-intensity training.
  • HIIT tests one’s stamina and is tough. However, this is an upside and downside of HIIT. Some fitness freaks seem to enjoy this aspect of HIIT workouts.

HIIT is too short so it cannot be your sole workout. Consider mixing it with traditional cardio or strength training.

HIIT FAQs – Rapid-Fire Questions

You can safely assume that we love Tim Ferris and the rapid-fire questions that he throws at his guests towards the end of an episode. So, here goes the rapid-fire round!

A – HIIT versus Running?

Running is primarily for working out your leg muscles. HIIT, on the other hand, focuses on several other muscles, burn fat, and improve your performance when running!

B – HIIT versus Weights?

Weights are an effective way to build muscle mass. Both HIIT and weightlifting can help in weight loss; yet, HIIT is more effective in burning calories compared to traditional weightlifting. Ideally, you should try HIIT workouts with weights to boost your metabolism and help in fat loss.

C – HIIT versus Cardio?

Cardio is aerobic as it needs oxygen and is fueled mostly by stored body fat. In contrast, HIIT doesn’t exclusively depend on oxygen. It’s fueled by the carbs stored in your body.

HIIT is any day better than cardio as it makes you breathe harder and leads to more fat burn in comparison to steady-state cardio.

Let’s HIIT It!

And that’s it! Now that you have all the information related to HIIT workouts and how it can help you lose weight and burn fat, it’s time for action. Regardless of how busy you are HIIT can help you achieve your fitness goals like no other workout. So, use the tips shared above to include HIIT in your routine. Like our article? Let us know what you do to get the best out of your workouts in the comments below. Also, check our blog for more great reads on working out and staying fit and safe!

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