A lot of gyms want  to embrace the popularity of high intensity interval training by introducing HIIT sessions. However, many think they need to invest thousands in to functional training zones, accessories and HIIT cardio equipment in order to offer their members a this type of class.

Time Fitness is a community based independent gym which has found a way to incorporate group HIIT sessions to help combat quiet periods at the gym, using nothing more than their existing fitness equipment. Here’s why, and how, they did it.


HIIT sessionsTaking the Initiative

After a little research through member feedback, Time Fitness found out that members felt there was a shortage of 30 minute classes. These members wanted to get in and out of the gym quickly as they could, only dedicating a small portion of their busy schedule to training. For many of the members, the 45 minute classes already on offer were too long to fit in.

Time Fitness also found that between the hours of 12pm-3pm, the gym was at its quietest and needed an influx of activity.

To kill two birds with one stone, the gym initiated 30 minute group HIIT classes during those quiet times. These would appeal to those who work in the vicinity as well as mums who have kids in afternoon sessions of nurseries.

They now run a few different types of group HIIT sessions, using nothing but existing traditional gym equipment, and have found these to be more popular than initially expected.


easy HIIT sessionUsing Interval Training with Cardio Equipment

Using a varied combination of intensities and timers, Time Fitness offer a structured HIIT class that can be applied to any piece of CV equipment. If using traditional treadmill to carry out intervals, remember to use the machine’s motorised speed and incline adjusters, and not to jump on and off the belt while it runs at high speed.

At Time Fitness, they use MyZone heartrate belts to measure and compare exertion levels, which makes the group sessions suitable to all fitness levels. However, incline, speed, cadence, calories and power feedback can of course also be used to set the intervals.

The following two examples use an indoor cycle as the gym equipment of choice, but these can be translated to any CV equipment you have at your facility.

Session Sample: Hill Climbs

  • Warm up: 3 minutes at level 6, cadence 90-110
  • Training: 4 blocks of 5 minute hill climbs at level 8, cadence 60-65
  • Rest: 3 blocks of 2 minutes cycling at individual’s recovery pace
  • Alternate between Training and Rest
  • Cool down and Stretch

Session Sample: Sprint Pyramids

  • Warm up: 2 minutes at level 6, cadence 80-110
  • Training block 1 (x5): 40 seconds sprint, member’s own sprinting level – 20 seconds recovery
  • Rest: 2 minutes recovery pace ride
  • Training block 2 (x5): 30 seconds sprint, member’s own sprinting level – 30 seconds recovery
  • Rest: 2 minutes recovery pace ride
  • Training block 3 (x5): 20 seconds sprint, member’s own sprinting level – 40 seconds recovery
  • Cool down and stretch

gym circuit class hiit sessionGym Circuits

In a gym circuits class, Time Fitness use the fact that the gym floor is quiet to their advantage. Different machines will be allocated as stations, and used within the HIIT session. Not only does this give their members a chance to get a full body workout– it can also give the members some exercise time on equipment they may not usually be comfortable using.

Using larger pieces of gym equipment means you are creating easily identifiable stations for the circuit.  This circuit uses three stations in the gym’s cardio zone, with extra free weight and accessory movements included to complete the circuit.

Sample Session:

  • 30 seconds rower
  • Walking lunges with Bicep Curls using free weights
  • 30 second continually increasing speed runs on treadmill*
  • Squat and shoulder press with a kettlebell
  • 30 second stepper or stair climber
  • Step up / Press up combination using a mid sized plyo box

*Traditional treadmills must speed up gradually, meaning you ‘waste’ time getting up to your top speed. In a circuit situation, you can turn this in to an advantage by allocating a set amount of time to the treadmill stations in which members need to build up to, and beyond their sustained sprinting speed.  Curved/Self Powered treadmills are a good alternative for circuit style sprint work.


barbell lunge hiit sessionsTabata

Tabata based circuits follow a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off pattern. If you are planning on hosting this type of HIIT workout, remember to pick exercises which combine well together, to minimise the transition time between them.

For example;

  • Weighted Squat with Slam Balls
  • Slam Ball Slams

Or

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees
  • Step Ups

Give these sessions a try! Time Fitness were surprised by the momentum these short sessions quickly gathered and would suggest other gyms give them a try. Their quiet afternoon times have become busier, members are enthusiastic and staff find them easy to set up and execute. Let us know how you get on.


Time Fitness is an independent gym in Cupar, Scotland run by Origin Fitness. The facility is used for product testing, campaign trials, training demo’s and other services we offer our customers. If you wish to find out more about Time Fitness, you can see their case study here.