Minimum time invested, maximum training efficiency: this is the HIIT workout!

How does a HIIT workout look like and what are the types of HIIT workout? What are the things we have to pay attention to regarding our diet? You will find the answers to these questions in our article!

Minimum time invested, maximum training efficiency: this is the HIIT workout! - BioTechUSA

In our busy, multi-tasking world nearly all areas of life are dotted with solutions, which help us save time (such as multifunctional electronic devices, fast food restaurants, fitness-wellness complexes complemented with health care services). In general the people of our current world have lots to do, have little free time, still want to live well, which requires a sporty physique. The high intensity interval training method could be the best alternative for those having a very busy schedule, as those who already know this method are well aware that this is not a pretence “magical solution”, but a tried and tested and extremely efficient method, supported by several experiments and professional reasons. The efficiency of the method with respect to fat loss rivals the efficiency of regular, long cardio trainings, moreover it can be even better!


What does HIIT mean, and how is a HIIT training built up?

High intensity interval training refers to a group of workout methods, which are characterised by the alteration of high and low intensity workout parts according to a given rhythm/dynamics.

Namely it means that maximum power, speed, explosivity -for example sprint- is followed by walking, but you do not stop.

The duration of the series of exercise is only 5 to 10 minutes, or maximum twenty to thirty minutes, which can include cardio elements (running machine, elliptic trainer, cycle), own body-weight exercises (skipping, running, rope skipping, burpees), or even exercises involving weights (goblet squat borrowed from crossfit, wall ball, stiff legged deadlift, biceps curl).

This method has several benefits alongside the elimination of long and monotonous workouts (replacing 1 or 2 workouts per week with internal training): aerobe and anaerobe capacity improvement, less oxidative stress on the body, if exercised regularly insulin tolerance is improved, higher fat loss compared to traditional methods, higher growth hormone emission during HIIT (this hormone is also called as the “youth hormone”, which slows down aging).


Classic HIIT- workout duration models:

  • 20 seconds exercise – 10 seconds rest, or 30 seconds exercise – 30 to 60 seconds rest (when you improve, you can reduce the rest period), for 8 rounds.
  • You can also choose shorter durations, for example 8 seconds exercise, 12 seconds rest, for 50 to 60 rounds.
  • You can also increase the intervals and reduce the number of rounds within one workout session.

HIIT workout types - BioTechUSA

HIIT workout types

1. Tabata

This workout is not the right choice for beginners, it is recommended especially for those who are more advanced with their workout. It means a full body-weight, extremely short but an extremely intense form of exercise with an unlimited combination of the exercises.

One unit of the Tabata training lasts only 4 minutes, but within this duration the 20 second super intense exercise intervals are followed by 10 second rest periods and are repeated 8 times during the 4 minute duration. If you are doing your training at multiple stations, the rest is just enough to move from one station to another. To start with, you will only be able to do one or maximum two rounds (and we do not recommend doing any more as a start!), but as you improve you will be able to do 4 to 5 rounds later on.

You need to choose and combine the exercises according to your goal: if your goal is to achieve lean muscle, choose high knees (or jog in place), front lunges, squats, dynamic squats, press-ups, mountain climber, box jump and rope-skipping. If your goal is to build muscle, go for exercises with a medicine ball, dumbbell or kettle bell. For example squats with weight, squat to shoulder press, shoulder press, various versions of swing, chin-ups, or any other less complicated exercises involving weights.

Avoid Tabata if you suffer from heart- and coronary diseases!



What does this acronym mean? This English acronym refers to “as many rounds as possible”, which means that you need to as many rounds or laps as possible within a certain time interval. This method is frequently applied in crossfit, as part of the workout, but it is also a great separate workout unit.

Namely for example the expression “AMRAP 4 burpee” means that do as many burpees as possible within 4 minutes, well as many as possible according to your own level. You can also set your personal records, for measuring your own improvement.

The duration of the AMRAP varies, it can be 10 minutes, but can also last for 40 minutes. If you practice AMRAP on a regular basis for a substantial duration, you can achieve dramatic improvement in your stamina.

If you are a beginner in the world of AMRAP, make sure that your initial workouts are no longer than 10 minutes, and during these 10 minutes do for example three rounds of 25 sit ups. Later on you will be able to do four or even five rounds during the same duration. Your final goal could be a 30 minute AMRAP workout doing the following set of moves as many times as possible: 20 swing bell, 20 burpees, 20 box jumps, 20 dips supported by the edge of a bench or box, 20 full sit ups.

Quantity should not come at the expense of quality! “As many as possible” should not mean that you are performing the movements incorrectly or that you rush through the exercises, as quality execution is crucial in terms of efficiency.

Can I also build muscle with HIIT workout? - BioTechUSA

Can I also build muscle with HIIT workout?

High intensity interval training offers an effective solution not only for those wishing to lose excess weight, but people wishing to build muscle can also achieve their goals easily with HIIT workout.

Let’s review a few reasons for HIIT in terms of muscle building:

1. As previously mentioned, HIIT is a full-body workout regime, thus we can also train and strengthen those muscles, which we otherwise would forget about during a traditional workout in the gym.

2. Not to mention the fact, that by performing 2 to 3 HIIT workouts per week, we can train a given muscle group on multiple occasions.

3. This workout regime increases the level of growth hormone and testosterone and reduces cortisone production (this so-called stress-hormone is known to be a stubborn muscle-eater, so we need to keep it at bay!).

4.  The short, but extremely versatile trainings offered by HIIT will help you to get over the stagnation caused by your previous monotonous, “never-ending” and boring workout routine; therefore you can start improving soon!


Things to pay attention to when doing high intensity interval training

  • Due to the dynamics of this workout it is clear that we do not recommend it to beginners. During a maximum intensity sprint we can pull a muscle a lot easier, not to mention the fast and high-impulse movements by also adding resistance training. Therefore it is recommended to improve first the strength and stamina of the body by lower impact workout (for example medium intensity jogging for longer duration).
  • HIIT is not recommended to people with extreme excess weight wishing to lose weight.
  • Diet plays a crucial role; avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before your workout in order to avoid feeling unwell and pay special attention to meals after your HIIT workout.
  • It can be combined with other exercise regimes, but you need to know that HIIT has a lot longer regeneration period, thus we can easily over-exercise ourselves.
  • Many people forget about the importance of warming up and stretching before and after HIIT, because the duration of the pre- and post-exercise are very similar to the entire workout duration, thus it shortens the break-out section. If this is skipped, the risk of injuries is a lot higher compared to other workout regimes.
  • When setting up your workout plant, avoid too long intervals, but maximise intensity in order to achieve actual results.

Things to pay attention to when doing high intensity interval training - BioTechUSA

HIIT and the right diet

No matter what kind of sports you do, if your goal is to achieve spectacular results, workout is crucial, and you also have to pay attention to your diet. It is worth adapting our diet to the given type of exercise we do, as the nutrients taken up by our body are built in our muscles during training. Runners, weight-lifters and HIIT enthusiasts require different nutrients. Here you can find a few foodstuffs to support your body when doing interval trainings:

1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the best foods after a workout. They’re a powerhouse of nutrition, with a significant amount of protein and healthy fats in a proportion ideal for our body. Eggs are also considered a complete protein source. This means that they contain all nine of the essential amino acids, which have been linked to aiding in muscle recovery (which, we know is critical in the case of HIIT). They can be prepared in a variety of different ways, we recommend hard-boiled eggs with whole wheat bread, tuna salad or as spreads.

2. Blueberries:

This fruit is recommended mainly as a snack after workout, as our energy storage depleted due to intense workout can be quickly replenished with fruit sugar. Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, dietary fibre, vitamins and protein. Our body requires them, because all forms of exercise cause some type of (positive) stress and imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Therefore it’s important to include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet to restore the imbalance. Blueberries are also recommended with your post-workout protein shake, oats or yoghurt.

3. Avocado:

This fruit is rich in magnesium, which is excellent for muscle recovery. It also contains potassium, vitamins C, K and B6, all of which contribute to the normal immune operation of the body and are anti-inflammatory nutrients, which can help reduce inflammation in the body (e.g. muscle fever, muscle pain). We can use avocado for smoothies, scrambled eggs, sliced up for salads or as a dip.

4. Green leafy vegetables, salads:

Similarly to Chinese cabbage, arugula or baby spinach, these vegetables besides their very low calorie content are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are also recommended for pasta dishes and shakes besides the traditional salad dishes.

HIIT and the right diet - BioTechUSA

It is true also for HIIT, similarly to all workout methods, that if your goal is to loose fat, it is not enough to exercise regularly but you also have to follow the right diet. In one of our following articles we will also help you designing a complete diet, but there are several useful ideas available on the internet or in specialised books as a starting point for your new diet. Until then we would certainly recommend foodstuffs with a beneficial impact in order to boost your meals. HIIT will help you to save time for other things in your everyday life (for example cooking healthy), as a wife, working mother/father you can also achieve amazing results, by working out only 15 to 30 minutes a day. You can also perform the own-weight exercises in a small place without any training materials required.


Panna Plézer

Sports trainer

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