Does HIIT Work for Beginners?

HIIT simply isn’t for everyone who exercises. Done correctly it’s radical, to say the least. Putting out more energy than you dreamed possible for short burst, and then resting for mere seconds before going again isn’t for the weak of heart.

However, the results of HIIT are ridiculously over the top for the mere minutes spent exercising. But, does HIIT work for beginners, or is only for the seasoned workout enthusiast?

The fact is- most of us are beginners with HIIT exercise because few people are using it, and fewer are doing it correctly. So, it’s natural and important to have and to ask questions about this High Intensity Interval Training.

Besides wondering what it is, the first questions most people have are “is it really effective?” and “will HIIT work for beginners?”

They’re good questions, because HIIT is quite a bit different than a traditional workout where you spend a lot of time gabbing with friends between sets.

HIIT takes all the energy you can muster for a few seconds, and during the rest interval, you are too busy catching your breath and getting your heart settled down to gossip.

Even though a normal workout including warm-up time lasts less than 30 minutes, the effort it takes is enormous.

So, it’s worth asking “is a HIIT workout worth it, with so little time spent”?

And I can assure you that without a doubt if you’re up to it, it’s worth it.

When it comes to weight loss and toning your body, HIIT is the answer beyond all expectations.

7 Questions Beginners Ask About HIIT

1. How long do I need to work out?

You can figure on about 15 minutes if you’re doing it right and getting the most out of the workout. The Tabata Protocol is the most extreme form, takes the least time, and produces the best and fastest results.

These sessions rarely last more than 4 minutes, because few could go longer. It’s fast and furious, and the way I like to do it.

Basically you workout at 100% of everything you can possibly do for about 15-20 seconds, and then rest for 10 -15 seconds.

When you do that, there’s nothing left to go on with after 4 minutes.

These workouts generally involve your entire body.

Both your upper body and lower.

That and the sheer intensity of a session takes all the energy and focus you have at your disposal.

As a beginner, you do not want to start out like that.

You do want to put out at 100%, but adjust the times.

Especially the rest intervals.

It may take several minutes to get your breath but then go back to it for as long as 15-20 seconds, or less.

Doing this routine 8 times is all you will want.

Tabata Protocol is the most demanding exercise I want.

However, you can reap plenty of benefits by stretching the time out to exercise for about a minute and then rest for 1/2 minute.

The thing that matters is that you are all out. No matter the time,

if you aren’t at 100% of everything you have to exert, it won’t be much different than any other workout style.

Demanding this effort from your body and mind for 15 minutes will have you exhausted.

So, you will not need to go on after that and you won’t have to worry about if HIIT is effective.

2. Should I train on an empty stomach?


There is an exercise protocol known as fasted cardio, said to burn more fat , but this isn’t it.

Fasted cardio is done at a pretty slow pace, but HIIT exercise requires all the energy you can bring.

So plan on having a small meal about an hour or so before you work out. That way your blood sugar level will be elevated and provide the needed energy to give it your all.

3. What Special Equipment Will I Need?

HIIT doesn’t require any equipment, only putting out all the energy you have for a few seconds.

Workout clothes, and if you’re doing HIIT on cardio equipment you need that. However, a lot of these workouts are done with only your bodyweight.

The only special equipment might be an egg timmer you can hear to know when to stop. I like a smartwatch with a heart rate monitor and a stopwatch.

As you get further into the drill you might want to use things like a jump rope, exercise bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, battle ropes, and on and on.

Adding these into your workouts means you start using resistance training for different and more results.

HIIT can be combined with virtually any exercise – including this Recumbent Bike.

4. Do I need to join a gym?

You can join a gym or not, that’s why it is good for anyone.

In a gym, you can use their cardio equipment if you don’t have your own at home.

However, it’s possible to do the whole workout in your office at work with no equipment. The important thing to remember is you can take any exercise and use it for HIIT.

Think about that for a minute.

You can use jumping jacks, pushups, a step stool to step up and back down.

In fact you can run in place or anything else that will get our heart rate up and out of breath. It’s all about the intensity of the session. It’s real and it works.

So, if you don’t have a gym membership now, you can do plenty of HIIT without it.

Do it in your own home with your own body weight, or go to the gym. It’s your choice.

5. How often should I do HIIT workouts?

As a beginner and you are exerting all you possibly can for as long a total workout as possible, no more than 15 minutes, once a week.

There might be some push back about this, but if you do HIIT one day a week and other workouts 2 or 3 times that same week, that’s all you need.

After you have been actively pursuing this technique for a few weeks, then you can decide for your self.

Once a week is plenty for me. One session burns a lot of calories, and your body needs time to recuperate. .

Here’s a post about how many times a week you should do cardio, but it’s really more for steady-state workouts.

6. Will I see fast results?

Think about this:

If you are serious about your sessions and doing more traditional workouts the rest of the week, one time a week, you can expect to see serious results in 3-4 weeks.

About this time, you will know how effective it is for burning fat, and you will notice a remarkable improvement in energy levels.

In any case you will find that high-intensity-interval-training starts to tone your body and depending on your training methods can build muscle mass.

7. What If I Want More HIIT Days?

If you want more days, remember that it is vital and essential that you spread the days out.

Be sure to give yourself at least a day to rest from High Intensity workouts. Do one on Monday, weights Tuesday, and another on Wednesday.

Don’t worry about not exercising enough.

If you do 15 minutes 2 or 3 times a week it’s plenty.

HIIT is so powerful you will see more results after a few sessions than you dreamed possible.

You must remember that it’s imperative to let your body and nervous system rest after a session no matter what.


HIIT is one of the best ways to exercise. Start including it in your regime and be amazed at the results. You will reap great health and weight loss benefits with far less time than any other method.

The American Heart Association advises us to get about 2 hours of moderate exercise a week, or 1 hour of robust high intensity exercise a week to maintain the best health and fitness levels.

Even though I don’t buy into this excuse, most people say they don’t exercise regularly due to time constraints?

Whether you are a beginner to exercise or just getting into HIIT, you can easily combine both high intensity and low intensity into your workouts.

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