Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Pre-Workout
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Beginner
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Intermediate
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Advanced
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout
Fitness Plan - Post-Workout

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)


Strive to perform four to six intervals of HIIT exercises one day per week for 18 to 25 minutes. Justin Check demonstrates some of the most ideal exercises you can do at this level in the video below:

Here is a rundown of what a typical high intensity interval training routine might look like at the intermediate level.

  1. Warm up for three minutes.
  2. Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. Ideally, you should push yourself to "failure" — this is the part of the exercise where you can no longer maintain good form, but still be able to perform another repetition.
  3. When you reach failure, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to continue the exercise for another 10 seconds, as you just don't have that much oxygen left to contract your muscles.

    You should be gasping for breath and feel like you couldn't possibly go on another few seconds. It is better to use lower resistance and higher repetitions to increase your heart rate.

  4. Recover for 90 seconds, still moving, but at slower pace and decreased resistance.
  5. Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery up to seven more times. However, at this level, you will likely only be doing four to six. As you get fitter, just keep adding repetitions gradually until you're doing eight during your 20-minute session. Remember never to do these exercises more than three times a week or you will compromise your recovery.

Know your target heart rate zone to maximize your workout

It’s vital for you to determine your heart rate and work out until you reach your optimal heart rate zone, or the state wherein your body can perform better and retain that same energy for a period of time. The heart rate zone can be classified into three levels:

  • Aerobic/low-intensity — 50% to 75% of maximum heart rate (MHR) or HRR
  • Anaerobic/moderate-intensity — 75% to 85% of MHR or HRR
  • Anaerobic/high-intensity — 85+% of MHR or HRR

If you’re unsure about your MHR or HHR values, you can compute them through these ways:

  • MHR — Declan Connolly, Ph.D., recommends getting your heart rate up as high as you can through this method:1
  • "A simple test I have proposed over the years is going out onto an outdoor track, jogging 400 meters (1/4 mile) as a light warm-up, then running [the same distance] as fast as you can. Repeat that entire sequence two more times, for a total of six laps — three jogging and three fast [running]. Check your heart rate right after the third set. Whatever that number is after the last lap is a good indication of your MHR."

    If you’re unable to run for whatever reason or if you’re prone to injury from running, you can do this exercise on a stationary bike or other machine. Make sure to use the same set structure and time sequence. Consult a personal trainer if you need assistance.

  • Heart rate reserve (HRR) — Dr. Bryant Walrod, team physician at Ohio State University, suggests a different technique that involves first calculating your MHR using this formula: 208 minus (0.7 x your age).2
  • If you are 25 years old, your target maximum is 190.5 beats per minute. Walrod claims this formula becomes more accurate as you get older. Afterward, find your RHR by either using a heart rate monitor or counting your heartbeats for 60 seconds when you are sitting down in a relaxed state.

    Finally, use those two numbers to calculate your HRR as follows: MHR minus RHR equals HRR. Waldrod notes that your RHR will drop as you get fitter. Your RHR will change if you're consistent, so make sure to check the number at least annually. Some say that HRR provides a better target heart rate to achieve optimum levels of exertion based on both your maximum and RHR.

+ Sources and References