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For a great all-round workout, you can’t go wrong with a HIIT class.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and comes packed with cardio and strength benefits.

This is another group exercise that has massively increased in popularity over the last few years, and there’s plenty of reasons for this.

You can burn calories, build muscle, and improve your cardio fitness.

But a HIIT class isn’t easy, so if you want to have a go, brace yourself for a tough workout.

What is a HIIT Class?                

The first thing to know about a HIIT class is that it is often short. Most of these classes will end after around twenty minutes, which may sound very quick, but that’s kind of the point.

Twenty minutes of high-intensity exercise can have the same effect as forty minutes of moderate exercise, so if you’re short of time, then this could be the perfect choice for you.

The growth of popularity for HIIT classes has stemmed from the ease at which they can be accessed via YouTube, with people like Joe Wicks amassing millions of views for his videos of quick workouts that are packed with effect (he even did a HIIT class in the O2 Arena).

So, if you’re reading this and wondering how it is possible that you can work out for a short period of time and burn hundreds of calories, let me run you through just what goes on during a HIIT class.

What do you do in a HIIT Class?

HIIT classes can feel intimidating to beginners, but they are accessible to everyone.

A HIIT class is led by a trainer, who will have a plan of the workout in his mind. This workout will start with a warm-up with the aim of loosening up everyone’s muscles and getting participant’s heart-rates up so they can begin to burn calories.

Some exercises you may find in this section of a HIIT workout are things such as jogging on the spot, performing star jumps, or doing some light muscular work such as lunges or squats.

Once you are loose, and after around five minutes of warm-up exercises, the main workout begins.

Depending on the level of class you choose the exercises in the main section of a HIIT workout may vary, but more often than not they will consist of exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, mountain climbers and high knees.

Again, these exercises will be given to you by your trainer in short bursts, with a short period of rest after everyone. Common HIIT session durations include 30 seconds active / 30 seconds rest, 40 sec / 20 sec , 45 sec / 15 sec, 50 sec / 10 sec and so on.

This can be tough, and the trainer will definitely push you to your limits, but one of the great things about performing a HIIT workout with a group is that you’re all in it together and being part of a group as you all get through the class can be a huge boost.

Once the main section of the workout is done, there will be a cool down. This will cover roughly the final five minutes of the workout and will aim to slow your heart rate down with exercises such as walking on the spot as well as stretches to loosen your muscles.

How to Prepare for a HIIT Class

As we’ve mentioned, HIIT classes aren’t easy, so it is important you come prepared.

Here are three top tips on how to make sure you’re ready for a HIIT workout.

  • Wear the Right Clothing – You’re going to be working up a sweat and putting your body through it’s paces during this session, so make sure you’re not wearing clothing that will be too hot or will restrict your movement. T-shirt, sports bras, and shorts are always handy when it comes to HIIT. And of course, don’t forget your sweat towel and water bottle!


  • Find the Right Class – Make sure you do your research before walking into the gym. HIIT classes can look deceivingly easy from the outside, but that is far from the truth. It is a good idea to start at a level you can handle and incrementally build from there. This way, you will get to know your body, the time it takes to recovery, and the intensity and length of HIIT workout that it can handle.


  • Brace Yourself – Your body and mind need to be ready for a workout. This means ensuring you have adequate sleep and energy to get through the workout. This also means performing stretches and mentally preparing for a gruelling 20 minutes. Try introduce yourself to some people attending the class, and the instructor, to provide some camaraderie to help get you to the end of the workout. If you do get there, there are plenty of great results you will soon begin to see.

Are HIIT Classes Good for Weight Loss or Muscle Growth

The great thing about HIIT is that it does both!

While you may not build muscle at the same rate as doing specific resistance only training, performing exercises such as planks, push-ups and squats are certainly going to put some strain on your muscles and lead to more definition and growth.

It all depends on what kind of HIIT you want to do.

If you are looking to build your cardiac capacity, tone your muscles and burn some calories, look for a HIIT classes that focus on more bodyweight exercises or light weights. However if you would also like to improve strength and muscle look for HIIT classes that incorporates more resistance type exercises using heavier dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.

All HIIT means is that you perform an exercise which is followed by a short period of rest over and over for a period of time.

Whether losing weight or building muscle, for a busy person who has to fit their workouts into a tight schedule, there aren’t many workouts better for your body transformation journey than this one.

Looking to Joing a Northwood HIIT Class?

If you like what you’ve read and you live around the Ruislip, Eastcote and Harrow areas, then why not pop down to your local gym in Northwood and try out a HIIT class for yourself.

With classes of varying levels of difficulty, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you in our list of classes.

And if you want to know more, then get in touch today.

And for more information on the different group exercise classes we can offer you, why not visit our yoga, spinning, Pilates and circuit training guides?

Matthew Morris