It’s ironic that High-Intensity Interval Training has the acronym H.I.I.T because it’s exactly how you feel afterward. It is a challenging style of class to teach and fuel your students want to keep going.

When I started teaching HIIT I was intimidated by the timing, the exercise selection, and my ability to keep the energy and motivation flowing in a class such as this. Over time I’ve acquired go-to timing methods, exercise selection and ways to keep the energy going in a HIIT class.

HIIT is one of my favorite styles of training. I have been teaching a HIIT class three times a week for almost two years. I vividly remember my first class 5 years ago when I was starting my fitness path. I didn’t think twice when my friend invited me to join her for a HIIT class.

I recall barely making it through, genuinely questioning my purpose in life, hating my friend and instructor, only to be concluded with an incredible feeling of accomplishment when it was all over.

I was hooked! It felt like the most challenging and effective workout I had done yet.

I am now teaching “Lunch Express”, a 45 minutes class at noon, 3 times a week; intending to pack a punch. That is the whole intention of a HIIT workout. Highly effective in a condensed amount of time.

What is great about HIIT training is its ability to break up the monotony in a client’s sessions. These methods can easily be applied to your training repertoire, not just in a class setting!

HIIT Methods to Implement


I have three main timing outlines I like to use for a 45-minute class or session. These all can easily be modified for one on one or a large class.


For this I use 12-15 stations, depending on class size. For the much larger classes, you can have two people per station and so on.

Each station is a single exercise that is completed for two rounds of 45 seconds, with a 20-second breather between. Followed by 45s-60s rest between stations. Run through the circuit once.

25 x 4

This one is 10-12 stations with a single exercise at each. Each station has four rounds of 25s with a short 15s rest between each. Each station is followed by a 60s rest. The circuit is performed for one full round.


Tabata timing is well known but I can’t overemphasize how effective it can be to get an awesome workout in. Especially with a big class because you can have up to 4 students per station.

There are four stations that can have 4-8 exercises each, performed for 20 sec with a 10 sec rest between each. There are 8 rounds total.

With the 4 exercise format each exercise will be done twice, with the 8 format each exercise done once. The 4 station circuit is completed twice.

People exercising

Exercise Selection

Here are some example workouts that you can try with your students or clients.


1- Step Back Lunge

2 – Dumbbell Curl to Shoulder Press

3 – TRX Chest Press

4 – Leg Levers

5 – Russian Twists

6 – Med. Ball Slams

7 – Wall Sit w/ DB front lifts

8 – Skiers

9 – Goblet Squats

10 – Bent Over Single Side Kettlebell Row

11 – Weighted Toe Reaches

12 – High Knees holding Medicine Ball

25 x 4

1 – Resistance Band Chest Flies

2 – TRX Mountain Climbers

3 – Romanian Dead Lifts

4 – DB Hammer Curls

5 – Forward Lunge

6 – Plank w/ alt. Shoulder Taps

7 – Bicycles

8 – Stability Ball Leg Curls

9 – Side Plank Hip Dips

10 – Jump Rope


Station 1

– Squat Jumps

– Burpees

– Jumping Jacks

– Plank Jacks

Station 2

– Slow Mountain Climbers

– Full sit up w/ overhead press

– Alt. Leg Lifts

– Plank w/ alt. arm reaches

Station 3

– Squat to twist elbow to knee

– Lunge Pulse holding Medicine Ball

– Alt. Side Lunge

– Single Leg Heel Lifts

Station 4

– DB side lifts

– TRX Row

– Front Squat to OH press

– OH DB triceps ext.

With Tabata keep in mind the students only have 10s to move to their next exercise. Keep the exercises similar so the transfer is easy and clean.

Motivation and Energy

This was one of the more challenging aspects for me to figure out. Most of it is reading your class and communicating with them. See what works for them, what kind of motivation actually gets them working hard and giving their best effort.

  • Set the mood for the students.
  • Come into each class excited and ready to teach.
  • Let them know how awesome it is that they got themselves there.

This feeling will be infectious and they will want to be there as well. One of the hardest parts of working out is arriving. Once they are there, help them by encouraging and driving them through the whole class. Some days it takes a little more effort on our part to get the student or client to give their best, but this is all a part of the work. We are here to promote a consistently healthy lifestyle.

HIIT is such a great mode of exercise and a fun style to teach. If you keep yourself excited about the class and the exercise selection creative, your students will leave each feeling exhausted and accomplished! I highly recommend using this as a way to change up your client’s sessions and be as effective as possible.

If you want to know a little more about HIIT’s roots and another timing method, check out HIIT Workout Using AMRAP Protocols.


Alex has her A.S in Exercise Science and is a certified Personal Trainer with NFPT and NSCF. She recently traveled to India to gain her 200 hr yoga teacher certification where she studied the ancient practice at its origins. Alex has spent time teaching yoga in Spain while volunteering at a yoga retreat and is currently working at her local college instructing two fitness courses. Alex wants to share with her clients and students the mental, physical and emotionally healing qualities of exercise and movement. She believes everyone should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and strives to thread that concept throughout her career.