August 2023

Top 10 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

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Top 10 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Raise your hand if your calendar is completely full these days (raises hand). What if you could maximize the benefits of your workout in a fraction of the time? High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for busy exercisers who want an effective workout, OR for seasoned exercisers wanting to level up their current workout routine. It has steadily grown in popularity over the last decade and was even voted as a top fitness trend in a 2020 survey by the American College of Sports Medicine.

So, what exactly is HIIT? Vox explains that “HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.” Most HIIT workouts last between 10 and 30 minutes, though some versions can be as short as five minutes. The work-to-rest ratio can vary, but it isn’t uncommon to see something like 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest per exercise. Most HIIT workouts consist of several rounds of approximately three to six movements.

Why is HIIT training so effective? Incorporating these brief, high-intensity aerobic intervals (where your heart rate reaches roughly 80 percent of its maximum capacity) delivers a laundry list of health benefits, ranging from improved cardiovascular health and endurance, to increased metabolism, increased cellular turnover, and improved blood sugar regulation. Do these advantages have you doing a double-take? Read on for more of the incredible benefits you’ll get from incorporating HIIT into your current workout routine. (Note: it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new type of exercise regimen, including high-intensity interval training.)

1. HIIT Workouts Are Short

Short and sweet is our love language. And one of the primary benefits of HIIT training is that the workouts are brief. The catch is that you’ll need to give it your absolute all. We’re talking about a heart-pounding, sweat-dripping, quads quivering finish to every workout. While the workout is tough, keeping things short allows you to put everything you have into those high-intensity intervals (when it really counts), achieving more of the benefits of your regular exercise routine in less time.

HIIT workouts are no joke, but with a short warm-up and cool-down on either side of your HIIT session, you can still be out of the gym in 40 minutes or less. Better yet? Adding a quick HIIT workout to your regular exercise routine allows you to level up that sweat session and capitalize on the rewards.

2. HIIT Workouts Burn Tons of Calories—Even Once the Workout Is Over

HIIT workouts aren’t just quick, they’re also effective. Ideally, you’ll want to really push yourself during the high-intensity portion of the workout to roughly 80% of your max heart rate. (A quick shorthand to estimate your max heart rate is to start with 220 and deduct your age.)

The harder your body works, the more calories you burn. As Self explains, “Working harder = higher oxygen intake = greater calorie burn.” And according to a 2015 study, researchers found that 30 minutes of HIIT training burned 25 to 30% more calories than 30 minutes of steady-state cardio exercise, like running or biking.

What’s more? Your calorie burn won’t stop after you finish your final rep. Pushing your body hard during your workout forces it to use more effort to bring you back to normal once your exercise session is done. The short bursts of high-intensity work in a HIIT session activate your post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means you continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished exercising.

3. HIIT May Help Burn Extra Fat

While it’s true that adjusting your nutrition will have the biggest impact on fat loss, exercise can also help to boost your dietary efforts. Putting your body through the challenge of a HIIT workout will quickly raise your heart rate, forcing your body into overdrive, which will burn extra calories. Some studies have shown that HIIT can assist in weight loss efforts, including a 2012 study that found that overweight participants performing three, 20-minute HIIT sessions per week lost 4.4 pounds of body fat over three months without any changes to their diet. Incredible, right?!

4.  HIIT Workouts Can Improve Your Heart Health and Cardiovascular Endurance

We’re all about heart health, and as we’re sure you’re well aware, exercise has been shown to help improve heart health in a major way. HIIT workouts are no exception. Research indicates that HIIT workouts can reduce blood pressure in adults at risk of developing hypertension, while another study suggests HIIT may even be more effective at lowering blood pressure than moderate-intensity exercise. A HIIT workout forces your heart to work extra hard in order to pump oxygen to your hungry muscles. Over time, performing regular HIIT workouts will make your heart more efficient. Additionally, your muscles will also become better at using the oxygen received by your heart.   

5. HIIT Workouts Can Also Build Muscle

Many people love HIIT for its cardio benefits, but the HIIT workout format can also incorporate strength elements. HIIT works especially well for bodyweight movements, like air squats, lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups. Adding these elements into your HIIT workout will help you build muscular endurance as well as improve your muscle mass. Unlike steady-state moderate-intensity cardio workouts (which tend to promote muscle loss), HIIT workouts actually preserve the muscle you’ve already built. You will see your strength improve and notice that your body may look leaner and more toned. Cool, right?!

6. HIIT Workouts Are Incredibly Versatile

It’s like they say, variety is the spice of life! And one of our favorite benefits of HIIT training is the versatility and variety of this workout format. We love the variety of movements you can add into a HIIT workout so that no two sweat sessions are ever the same. You can also incorporate additional equipment, like lightweight dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells into your HIIT workouts to help to keep the sessions fresh, exciting and consistently challenging. Whatever fitness goal you want to accomplish, you can create a HIIT workout to support it.

7. HIIT Workouts Can Increase Your Metabolism

Alongside improved cardiovascular health and preservation of muscle mass, an additional benefit of HIIT training is the impact it has on your metabolism. Studies have shown that you can gain a boost in metabolism for hours after a HIIT workout, primarily due to the increased production of HGH, or Human Growth Hormone. Human Growth Hormone is a naturally occurring hormone that systematically declines in production as we age. During the high-intensity intervals of a HIIT workout, your body is working above its typical energy threshold, triggering the release of HGH. Higher levels of naturally occurring HGH translate to a boost in protein production, mobilization of fat for energy use, and increased caloric burn post-workout, making it a key player in overall metabolic health and vitality. Not to mention its role in cellular turnover and tissue repair post-exercise.

8. You Can Do HIIT Workouts at Home

As you already know, we love a workout that can be done anytime, anywhere. Because HIIT is such a versatile exercise format, you can perform HIIT workouts anywhere, including the gym, your home, or even at your local park. For example, a HIIT workout may include movements like high-knees, wall push-ups and burpees. These movements can be done from anywhere and typically don’t require equipment, so if you can’t make it to the gym, you can still enjoy the benefits of interval training from the comfort of your own home!

9. HIIT Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Intense physical activity creates a high demand for energy. Because our muscles use glucose for energy, we send glucose directly to those hard-working muscles during exercise. HIIT workouts recruit a greater number of muscle fibers which in turn increases energy expenditure, as a result, our muscles use up larger amounts of blood sugar. A 2014 study found that just one HIIT session could regulate a typical spike in blood sugar more effectively than a continuous moderate-intensity level workout could for adult individuals.

10. You Can Find Plenty of HIIT Classes at Jazzercise

HIIT workouts are designed to push you to your limit, which might make it difficult to follow through on HIIT exercise sessions on your own. Performing HIIT in a class environment is the best way to keep yourself accountable, and the motivation from your fellow classmates can give you the extra boost needed to successfully complete the rigorous workout. Also, trained instructors can design HIIT workouts that are tailored to your goals and will help you to enjoy all the benefits HIIT has to offer. At Jazzercise, we offer several classes that embrace bouts of high-intensity exercise to keep you pumped! Our Power Sculpt format, in particular, utilizes the HIIT methodology.

It's no secret that HIIT workouts pack a pretty serious punch when it comes to total body health and wellness. From improved cardiovascular health, to increased metabolism, increased muscle retention and more, these highly efficient, incredibly versatile workouts are an ideal way to get the absolute most from each exercise session. And because they are short, while still being highly effective, they make for the perfect addition to your current workout routine, allowing you to maximize your results in even less time.

If you want to give HIIT a try but aren’t sure how to begin, join one of our supportive and welcoming classes in-studio, OR check back with Jazzercise On Demand for an all-new HIIT-based specialty program! We can’t wait to dance with you!


I'm looking for senior citizen classes. I still work M-F.
8/18/2023 11:21:18 AM

Wendy smith
Is it online jazzer ise
5/30/2022 5:27:15 PM

Teresa Hall
Where is a location near zip code 46307
5/15/2022 12:47:49 AM

Elizabeth Bernhard
Do u have any classes in the Poughkeepsie are?
5/13/2022 3:53:42 PM

Karen Riera
Need a workout class I am 60 years old
5/13/2022 3:45:24 PM

Lori Soukup
Thanks so much for the information and explanation of HIIT workouts and benefits. It really helps motivate me when I'm reminded of it. Thanks again and keep it coming please.
5/13/2022 3:27:14 PM

Teri Fukushima
I would like to try a Jazzercise class. Used to do Jazzercise in the 80’s!
5/13/2022 2:49:01 AM

Nancy Schiano
Sounds fantastic would like to know the days and times of these classes and locations
5/13/2022 12:40:53 AM

Rayette Wallace
How do i sign up for at home access and how much?
5/12/2022 8:35:25 PM

Janine Chiara
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5/12/2022 6:14:07 PM

Johnnie C Levy
I find this very interesting. I would love to get the details of when live classes in Wilton Manors, Fl.
5/12/2022 5:49:16 PM

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