The benefits of HIIT workouts seem endless.  Celebrities show off their stuff on Instagram and personal trainers and fitness pros love talking about how awesome HIIT workouts are.  But, many people are scared of HIIT because they think it’ll be too hard or that they won’t be able to keep up.  Instead of starting off at the highest level, why not work your way up with what I call MIIT?

Scared of HIIT | Adrenal Fatigue

What is MIIT?

The name of my boot camp classes implies that they are extremely hard.  Boot camp brings to mind sergeant-like trainers yelling at you to work harder, push through and basically knock yourself out with exertion.

Many people also perceive cardio dance workouts and old-school step aerobics as too basic, though.

This leaves many fitness instructors with a conundrum.  Do we want our classes to come across as too easy, or do we use words like “boot camp” or “HIIT” and risk scaring away potential clients?

Playing off the concept of HIIT, which is High-Intensity Interval Training, I like to call my classes MIIT, or Medium-Intensity Interval Training.  My goal is to get your heart rate up and boost your strength within the comfortable limits of your own body.  For most women, this comfort zone falls into a medium intensity workout.


Health Benefits of Interval Exercises

Interval exercises and workout programs are very popular and with good reason.  Have you heard of Insanity, P90X or metabolic conditioning classes?

The reason interval workouts are so popular is that they tend to be more effective than steady-state exercise.  Intervals allow you to push your limits for a short period of time while giving you ample time to rest between cycles or exercises.

When you work out at your maximum level, you create stronger muscles and improve oxygen consumption.  Therefore, you boost your metabolism.  Flexibility, agility and stamina also can improve drastically with interval training.

A good interval class will ensure your body is moving along all 3 planes of motion:  forward and backward, side to side, and rotation along your spine.  Steady-state exercises like swimming, running, cycling or rowing rarely hit all 3 planes of motion, leaving you weak in some areas and more prone to falls and injuries.


Don’t Be Scared of HIIT

You are in full control!  You know your body’s limits.

There’s no need to be scared of HIIT workouts when you understand the science.  Intervals are assigned in circuits with rest either between each exercise or at the end of a set of 3-4 moves. Each interval lasts 20 – 60 seconds (and you shouldn’t do more than 2 minutes of continual exercise in a circuit).  Rest periods vary: the shorter the rest between exercises, the harder you work.

Some people are scared of HIIT workouts because they fear injury.  This is a valid concern, too. Instructors who try to push you beyond your limits can cause pain and injury to muscles, joints and other body parts.

I know how hard it is to maintain proper form when someone is yelling at you to push harder or go faster.  And this is usually when injuries occur!  But, follow a MIIT workout instead and you’ll stay safe and injury-free.

And, can more easily psych yourself up for a MIIT workout on days you don’t feel motivated.


Work Out Safely

Proper form is crucial to your safety.  If I see someone struggling to maintain good form, I’ll ask them to slow down or even stop so that I can help correct their alignment.  Joints are designed to move in specific ways so pushing them beyond those limits can lead to tears, sprains and strains.

With MIIT workouts, you have ample opportunity to focus on good form before adding in speed or additional weights.  You can still get a great workout from medium-intensity intervals and you might even forget that you’re scared of HIIT too.


What Does a MIIT Workout Look Like?

The anatomy of a MIIT workout is the same as the HIIT workout.  The only difference is that you don’t push yourself beyond your limits and perform those crazy tuck jumps.  (Of course, if you want to do those tuck jumps, you go right ahead!)

HIIT workouts are typically 15-30 minutes long and are great for people with little free time.  When you work out at your maximum for short periods, you’re still getting all the awesome health benefits from a full workout.

If you prefer to do medium-intensity workouts, you can push these a bit longer because you aren’t straining your muscles as hard as in HIIT.  However, you’re still going to get a great workout!

Plan your intervals and rest time, assign exercises that target as many muscles and planes of motion as possible, and set your timer.  You’re MIIT workout is ready!

Scared of HIIT | Adrenal Fatigue

MIIT Exercise Examples

You’re probably wondering what medium intensity exercises work best for a MIIT workout.  Well, luckily you have tons of options.

In the fitness world, we are taught to provide our clients with options.  We might choose a basic exercise like the squat and ask you to perform 15 reps.  This is your medium intensity exercise.  People who need lighter intensity may only be able to do 7 reps or they may only be able to perform a half squat, and that’s okay.  One high intensity option for the squat is the squat jump; the tuck jump is an even higher intensity option.

Essentially, anytime you need to jump, hop, go fast or perform a lot of reps, you’re doing higher intensity exercises.


A MIIT Workout Can Be Done Anywhere

One of my favorite things about most HIIT classes is that they incorporate mainly bodyweight exercises.  This means you don’t need any equipment and you can do them just about anywhere!

So, I’ve created a 20 minute MIIT workout (with high intensity options) for you to do at home, at the gym, on vacation or the park.


Here’s what you need:  Your own body, dressed appropriately with good athletic shoes, and a flat surface.  And, a timer app or clock with a second hand is important!

Here’s what you’ll do:  Perform each exercise in order as stated below.  Finish each circuit before moving onto the next one and note the intervals and repetitions for each.

Warm Up

First, warm up.  Move every limb and rotate around your spine.  Hop, jog on the spot, do half squats, and any other move to get your heart rate up.  Warm up for about 5 minutes.

Circuit #1 (Tabata Circuit):

Intervals:  8 cycles of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 4 minutes.  Do once.

Exercises:  Alternate between push-ups and mountain climbers.

Circuit #2 (Insanity-Style Circuit):

Intervals:  4 cycles of 30 seconds of work in a row, followed by 30 seconds of rest after each circuit.  Do this circuit 3 times total.

  1. Bodyweight Squats (or Jump Squats)
  2. Alternating Reverse Lunges (or Lunge Jumps)
  3. Burpees (go slow for medium intensity or go fast, add a push-up or a jump for higher intensity)
  4. Alternating Forward Kicks (or add a hop between kicks)

Circuit #3 (Abdominals):

Intervals:  4 cycles of 30 seconds of work in a row, followed by 30 seconds of rest after each circuit.  Do this circuit 3 times total.

  1. Plank (from knees, elbows or hands – your choice)
  2. Triceps Dips (they’re harder the further out your feet are from your body)
  3. Russian Twists (lift your feet off the floor and keep your arms straight for higher intensity)
  4. Inchworm (add a push-up at the end to make this tougher)

Remember, you can rest up to 2 minutes between circuits, too, if you need more recovery time!

You can also add some dumbbells or kettlebells to increase intensity if you prefer not to jump.

Cool Down

Cool down with some light stretches, easy walking and other slow and controlled movements to bring your heart rate down.


Create Your Own Workout!

If you’re not sure how to create your own MIIT or HIIT workout, grab this FREE TEMPLATE to get started!

A HIIT circuit should last no longer than 2 minutes of continuous exercise, while a MIIT circuit can last longer.  And, remember to rest using ‘active recovery’ for the best health and fitness benefits!

Scared of HIIT | Adrenal Fatigue



Still scared of HIIT workouts?  HIIT doesn’t have to be crazy hard.  Remember, you control your body, not that loud boot camp instructor!

I recommend beginning with medium intensity moves for any interval workout.  Slow movements like squats, push-ups or lunges help you understand proper form.  You need good form before you add more intensity or resistance to stay safe.  Master your form and then go ahead and push yourself harder and try HIIT!


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