HIIT: All you need to know about it and the best videos to follow at home

If you always stick to jogging long distances around your neighbourhood, you are missing out on one of the trendiest fitness regimes. No, it’s not yoga – it’s HITT!


What is HIIT?

Source: UCHealth

HIIT are workouts that usually combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. They are usually a mixture of aerobic and resistance training. A stricter definition would be referring to workouts that alternate hard-charging intervals, during which a person’s heart rate reaches at least 80 per cent of its maximum capacity usually for one to five minutes, with periods of rest or less intense exercise.

In essence, what differentiates HIIT from your usual steady-paced exercise routines is the intervals. In these intervals, your heart beats much faster than usual due to higher-speed and higher-incline bursts.

Why is HIIT so effective?

Source: SOMO Community Care

HIIT is a time-efficient way to get the benefits typically associated with longer bouts of traditional cardio. One well-established benefit of HIIT is for your heart: the intense intervals can boost cardio-respiratory health with a smaller time investment. That means an improvement in VO2 max, a measure of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use.

Research has repeatedly shown that people can burn comparable amounts of calories in HIIT routines lasting 20 minutes, compared to longer continuous exercise routines of 50 minutes.

Many HIIT routines also lead to an “afterburn” or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” — a period of elevated calorie burn after you exercise.

Okay, but why do people actually love HIIT?

Source: Madbarz

Fitness professionals voted HIIT as the third top fitness trend for 2019 in a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine, and interval-based workouts are now popping up seemingly everywhere. But health benefits aside, why are people so hooked on this?

One of the main reasons is that HIIT is a very efficient form of exercise that can be done anywhere, any time.

Many of us are too busy to hit the gym, or too lazy to get out of our house. However, you can adapt HIIT to whatever time and space constraints you have. Even if you have zero equipment, that’s perfectly okay. Even if you don’t have access to a gym, or have any equipment with you, you can still do HIIT on the go.

Certain forms of exercise can also get very boring, especially if you are running the same routes or stuck on the treadmill. However, HIIT routines are constantly changing and always forcing you to work as hard as possible, so the workouts tend to finish before you even know it, leaving absolutely no time for boredom.

Consider me sold. Which HIIT channels should I start watching?


SELF has a wide range of HIIT workouts that you can follow, from simple home workouts to tough regimes that really force you to sweat it out.

Besides watching their HIIT workout videos, you can also view other videos on healthy eating tips, nutritious recipes, and fitness advice.

Subscribe to SELF here.

Popsugar Fitness

You won’t get bored from working out, at least not with Popsugar Fitness’s HIIT routines. Be it working on your abs (with a celebrity-approved workout!), or bursting some dance moves with great music, Popsugar Fitness offers something for every preference and fitness level. You may even find yourself exercising more often in order to try all the fun routines!

If time permits, be sure to also check out Class FitSugar. It is a do-it-along-with-us real-time workout show hosted by Anna Renderer who will inspire you to sweat alongside fitness experts and Hollywood celebrity trainers.

Subscribe to Popsugar Fitness here.

Fitness Blender

Fitness Blender was started by a husband-and-wife team, Daniel & Kelli, who enjoy sharing unbiased workout, nutrition, and health information. Their channel has over 550 free full length workout videos, and they release new workouts every Monday.

Each video has the workout structure, equipment, and warmup/cool down clearly labelled. The progress bar at the side is also great motivation for you to push just a little more, even when you are exhausted.

Subscribe to Fitness Blender here.


HASfit is another popular channel with over 60 million people using their workouts. It offers over 1,000 full length, free workout routines and complete 30 – 90 day fitness programs for all goals and fitness levels. You can start slow and take your time to progress to more difficult workouts as you get fitter.

Each video also shows you how many calories you have burned throughout the workout. It certainly feels good to know you are burning so many calories!

Subscribe to HASfit here.

Emi Wong

Emi is a Hong Kong-based certified advanced personal trainer who quit her full-time job to be a Youtuber. Her channel focuses on workouts that she personally uses to stay fit (just look at those toned abs!). Hence, you know that they are definitely effective in helping you achieve your goals.

You can check her playlists, labelled by time and targeted body area, to see which ones will suit you best. Just five minutes is enough for you to get a good HIIT workout done!

Subscribe to Emi Wong here.