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HIIT Workouts

HIIT Workouts: How Long Does It Take For HIIT Results?

Do you want to maximize your cardiovascular fitness? High-intensity interval training can help you get there in 6–8 weeks. And if you are interested in losing fat by opting for HIIT exercises, the achievement of the desired results will solely be based on your own ability to maintain a calorie deficit, which high-intensity interval training can help you with; nonetheless, HIIT exercises can not alone help with weight loss.

So in order to discover the right time durations for HIIT exercises to deliver their results, you need to learn and develop an in-depth understanding of the science behind high intensity interval training, losing body fat, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness.

What is High-Intensity Interval Training?

Commonly referred to as HIIT workouts, high intensity interval training has been gaining popularity rapidly. HIIT exercises are a type of physical training that are designed in a way where the person does repeated sessions of high intensity efforts, with rest and recovery at regular intervals.

The duration in which we need to push our body to perform high intensity workouts, can range anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long and are physically performed at 80% to 95% of our maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself.

Then the rest, which is the recovery period for the body, will last just as long as the workout itself; and at 40% to 50% of the estimated maximal heart rate. The entire HIIT workout session can last from 20 to 60 minutes, with the person alternately switching between exercise and rest.

Types of High-Intensity Interval Training


You can easily melt your fat rapidly, by pushing your body into an intense workout for just 4 minutes.

There are two exercises that traditional TABATA HIIT workouts offer: regardless of the physical activity you opt for, start working out and push your body to a max for the next 20 seconds, and then give rest to your body for 10 seconds; only to go back to intense workout for another 20 seconds, and continue going the same way until you complete the whole 4 minutes.


EMOM is the abbreviation for “every minute on the minute” – EMOM is designed to challenge the strength and capability of the body to recover, by maintaining high intensity workout and minimum time duration for rest, which also forces your body to learn to adapt.


Complexes is a very simple type of HIIT workout – with the objective to develop your grip’s strength and willpower, along with improving your metabolism; this is done by picking up a kit and just holding on to it without letting it go until the HIIT workout session concludes.


AMRAP being the abbreviation of “As many rounds as possible”, basically refers to getting as many reps done as possible within the decided time duration.

Key Benefits of HIIT

High intensity interval training has proven to show improvement in terms of:

  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Cholesterol profiles
  • Abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
  • HIIT can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time
  • Your metabolic rate is higher for hours after HIIT exercise
  • HIIT can improve oxygen consumption
  • HIIT can reduce blood sugar

How Many Times You Can Do A HIIT Program In A Week?

In comparison to the steady-state endurance exercises, high intensity interval training exercises are much more tiring; which is why people doing HIIT workouts mostly require a longer duration for rest and recovery.

An appropriate way to start with HIIT training is to initiate one HIIT workout a week, bundled with other steady-state exercises. And once you think that your body is prepared for much more intense workouts, you can gradually start adding one HIIT workout each week.

What Are The Safety Issues And Mistakes You Should Avoid?

One should never skip the warm-up part of the workout, since it’s an immensely important part, regardless if the exercise is strength-based HIIT or cardio-based HIIT. Your warm should generally consist of physical activity that involves mobility moves such as hip-opening stretches and thoracic spine rotations, as well as squats. Warm-up is also important, as it is responsible for preparing your body and mind for intense physical activity.

Another common mistake that people make with HIIT workouts is planning a long workout session. Since high intensity interval training requires you to go all-out with your strength, it is nearly impossible, and even dangerous if tried for a duration of 45 minutes.

Lastly and in fact, the most important one too, never to underestimate how important it is to have an adequate duration to rest and recover. Prioritizing frequent, intense workouts but overlooking the days of recovery or not giving it its due importance, will definitely lead to deteriorating performance and physical capacity; along with an increased chance of sustaining an injury, fatigue, or burnout.

How To Create Your Own HIIT Workout Routine?

There are several appropriate ways of incorporating HIIT workouts into your exercise routines, in a gradual manner, helping you develop enough endurance and stamina for it.

First off, you need to opt for the physical activity that you think would suit you the best and can be maintained with a high intensity workout – physical activities such as running, biking, jumping rope, etc.

Secondly, the duration of the workout and the rest interval can be determined and decided using test and trial methods. You can start working out, and you will learn your physical capacity with intense exercise, helping you settle down on the specific workout and rest durations, tailored to your body’s requirements.

Here are a few tips listed below, that can enable you to develop a custom HIIT workout for yourself:

  • Pick a modality you’re familiar with at lower intensity. For example, don’t go all-out on running if you have not done any jogging lately.
  • If you deal with joint pain, begin with a lower-impact modality such as cycling or swimming.
  • Take long enough rest periods. You can maintain sufficient intensity for HIIT only if you take rest periods equal to or longer than your work periods.
  • Keep work periods under 30 seconds. Work periods longer than 30 seconds will be difficult to sustain at the intensity required to count as HIIT.
  • Start with just a few cycles twice per week. HIIT training is very demanding, especially when doing higher-impact modalities. Adequate recovery between training sessions is a must to avoid injuries.

What Kind Of Health Conditions Can Be Treated From HIIT Training?

When we talk about HIIT workouts, it may seem inappropriate for people with chronic diseases to maintain such rigorous physical activity – however, research, as well as conducted experiments, have proven that HIIT workouts are safe and appropriate for people with even diseases as chronic as lung disease, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease; based on the rest intervals and overall shorter duration of the exercise.

People who are suffering from heart disease or are in the process of consuming blood pressure medications can always customize the HIIT workouts by choosing to have longer warm-ups and even rest intervals.

Having said that, HIIT workouts have also been shown to help with depression more than MICT in people with major depression or bipolar disorders, without reported adverse events.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 01/09/2023

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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