How to Build Your Own Hiit Workout Routine

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HIIT Workout


HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a key component in all of my Jessie’s Girls Fitness Training Programs – and for good reason. HIIT can help you in achieving aesthetic goals faster as well as improve your heart health and endurance. HIIT is a fantastic way to get a quick and effective workout in when you are pressed for time.


HIIT is high-intensity bursts of exercise for a short amount of time followed by short to moderate rest periods. High Intensity means exercising at a greater intensity than you could otherwise handle for a longer period of time. During the Intensity portion, the goal is to raise your rate to 80-90 percent of your maximum heart rate. During the rest period, you allow your heart rate to recover to 60-65 percent of your maximum. So an example workout would be short 20 second sprints at maximal effort, followed by 40 seconds of rest for recovery, repeated for 10 minutes or more (Note that your max effort and recovery times may be shorter and/or longer than this example, based on your fitness level.).


HIIT has many benefits when added to one’s training program! First, HIIT burns more calories during and AFTER exercise when compared to steady state cardio exercises. HIIT will speed up your metabolism and have it firing all day long – this increase in calorie burn helps make changes in body composition (ie. fat loss). However, beyond fat loss, there are additional benefits to training in this way.

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HIIT workouts have been shown to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Anaerobic exercise is the energy system used to perform exercises within the first minute, such as weightlifting. Aerobic exercise is the energy system that kicks in after 2+ minutes of exercise, such as steady state cardio. HIIT has been shown to improve both systems due to working both energy systems in one workout.


To incorporate HIIT into your training, try one of the exercises below for 20-60 seconds in an all-out effort, followed by a rest period of 45-90 seconds. The rest period needs to be long enough for your HR to return to 60-65 percent of your maximum. The amount of time it takes to reach your max of 80-90 percent and return to 60-65 percent will vary from person to person.

To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 226 (226 – your age = Maximum Heart Rate). Once you have this number, then determine what 80-90 percent would be for the intensity portion of the workout, and what 60-65 percent would be for the rest portion of the workout. My numbers are listed below (using 90% and 60%):

226 – 35 = 191 Beats Per Minute (bpm) (Maximum Heart Rate)

191 x 90% = 172 bpm (90 percent effort)

191 x 60% = 115 bpm (60 percent effort)

So if I were to do a HIIT session, I would want my heart rate to get up to 172 bpm (I stop the exercise when I hit my 172 bpm) and for my rest session, I would want my heart rate to trickle back down to 115 bpm. It should be noted you don’t want to strain your cardiovascular system, namely your heart, while performing HIIT, so don’t go beyond that 90 percent maximum effort threshold. I highly recommend wearing a heart rate strap if possible to make sure you are hitting these targets during your training session.


  1. Calculate your high intensity (90 percent) heart rate, and your moderate intensity (60 percent) heart rate.
  2. Choose from the list of exercises below:
    1. Pop Squats
    2. Skater Hops
    3. Box Jumps
    4. Ladder Climb
    5. Alternating Jump Lunges
    6. Jumping Jacks
    7. Jump Rope
  3. Perform the exercise you chose from the list above until you reach 80 – 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  4. Rest until your heart rate slows down to 60 – 65 percent of your maximum heart rate (DO NOT start back up again until you have reached the appropriate heart rate).
  5. Once you have reached your moderate heart rate, begin the exercise again, working up to your 80 – 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  6. You will repeat the working/resting intervals as many times as you can within 25 minutes.
  7. The ultimate goal is to get through seven to eight total intervals in each session.
  8. If you can only get three intervals in 25 minutes, don’t worry about it, remember practice makes perfect and in no time you’ll be able to see how you progress!

HIIT can really be done anywhere which is another reason why it is so amazing! HIIT is a guarantee for improving both your body aesthetic and your heart health.  So, if you are looking to up your game in your training, HIIT is the way to go!

To get an even more in-depth look at HIIT training and how it can be incorporated into a workout program, check out my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs! Customized nutrition (custom to YOU), comprehensive detailed weight training, cardio and HIIT workouts are all included (plus SO much more) – check out my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs today!

2020-01-28T13:53:06-08:00Jessie’s Blog, Training|5 Comments


  1. Angelea September 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Do you recommend warming up or cooling down for these efforts? If so how long would you recommend? Thank you!!!!

    • Jessie Hilgenberg September 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Yes! Always warm up or cool down. I usually warm up for about 5-10 minutes or until you feel that you are ready to go!

  2. Kelly Gitter October 13, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Great tips for a better workout. Set your workout schedule for a month & then feel changes in you.

  3. Rtf November 1, 2017 at 5:14 am

    What if I have injured knees and feet from years of high impact and can’t really get through plyo? Would you recommend something like spin instead?

    • Jessie Hilgenberg November 1, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Spinning would be great! You can also incorporate interval training to get your heart rate up 🙂

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