Exercise Best Guide to High Intensity Functional Training

Your Complete Guide to High-Intensity Functional Training


Are you ready for a complete transformation in your fitness routine?

High intensity functional training (HIFT) might be your answer.

This type of training combines high-energy workouts with functional movements that are natural in your daily activities.

Another great feature of this training is the time efficiency.

The functional training equipment is basic, which may contain bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, and imagination.

Get ready to take your fitness to the next level with high intensity functional training!

Understanding High Intensity Functional Training

Core Principles

HIFT revolves around three core principles:

  • Intensity: your workouts are challenging and they push you to the limits in short bursts.
  • Functionality: mimics your daily tasks, improving strength, balance, and coordination.
  • Variability: workouts are frequently changed to avoid plateaus and keep it engaging.

Comparison with Other Training Methods

High intensity functional training stands out from other fitness methods by combining these elements:

  • Can be done by anyone, no matter what their fitness level is.

Benefits of HIFT

Physical Benefits

When I first tried this type of training, I have to admit that it was hard.

My training involved isolated movements from bodybuilding, so when I tried this, I was a little bit overwhelmed.

Some of the reasons you should try are both muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.

With a large range of motion, you’ll end up being more flexible and mobile.

I am using it twice a week in my routine.

Of course, those who aim to gain muscle will say that they lose muscle mass.

Indeed they are right, it is better for those who want a lean and muscular body, like I want.

My objective is to be healthy overall, not just big.

The last benefit is that you’ll get better balance and coordination.

Health Benefits

First of all, there is a big difference between being healthy and being fit.

I want to be a part of both of them.

The HIFT training is awesome for cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

If you aim to lose weight it is super effective by burning a lot of calories.

And also gain some muscle.

Your metabolism will thank you later for this choice.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

These days everyone is stressed out, anxious, or having some kind of depression.

Choosing this type of training can lead to the release of endorphins, a natural stress reliever.

Also reduces anxiety and your mood in better.

You know that all that is hard in the end it makes you stronger?

High intensity functional training builds mental resilience.

The nature of this training makes it enjoyable and engaging, leading to higher motivation.

Key Components of a HIFT Workout


I know that you don’t like to warm up your body and want to just train.

But remember, that you don’t want to stay away from the gym and training.

So, do that and start your sessions with a good warm-up of at least five minutes.

It increases blood flow to the muscles, and flexibility, and prepares your body for action.

I am going to give some easy examples of exercises for this:

  • Jumping Jacks are great for elevating heart rate and getting blood flowing.
  • Arm Circles to loosen shoulder joints.
  • Leg Swings to increase hip flexibility.
  • Dynamic Lunges to warm up leg muscles and improve mobility.

Main Workout

Your functional movements, the center of high intensity functional training, are exactly like your everyday activities.

Some of the main movements are squats, deadlifts, push-ups, or kettlebell swings.

To achieve high intensity, workouts should incorporate exercises that elevate the heart rate and push physical limits. Methods include:

  • Interval Training that includes short bursts of workout followed by rest. I use one minute of training and one minute of rest.
  • Circuit Workouts that involve a lot of exercises in a row without minimal rest.

But what about plateaus?

When you are bored and you don’t have the mood to train, what should you do?

I go through this a lot of times when I feel low energy. I feel that I’m not evolving, or it’s not right.

These are my simple methods to get out of that headspace:

  • Introduce new exercises more often into your routine.
  • Modify the duration and the intensity of training.
  • Add some mixed sessions.

Do you know that cooling down is another very important factor in routine?

As warming up is essential, cooling down is the after-training must. It helps your body from a state of exertion to rest. It is also better to add stretch methods for the cool-down part. You can also add some breathing exercises.

Designing Your Own HIFT Program

Before starting a high intensity functional training program, it’s important to evaluate your current fitness level to set realistic goals and prevent injury.

Test yourself to see how you stand with strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Most importantly, how is your heart health?

You can test yourself with a mile run, some push-ups, also some mobility.

By setting goals along the way, you become clear about what you want.

Let’s say I want to make from 50 push-ups a day to 100 in a month.

Choosing the Right Exercises

After you become aware of your fitness level, it is important to choose the right exercises for a high intensity functional training.

This includes functional movements that engage multiple groups.

Deadlifts, squats, push-ups, lunges, or pull-ups if you can do them, are great examples.

Go with your routine step by step, gradually increasing the difficulty.

For example, start with body weight squats and in time add weights.

Here I’ve added a sample routine for you:

  • Warm-Up: 5 minutes of dynamic stretches (jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings).
  • Circuit: 3 rounds of 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest for each exercise (bodyweight squats, push-ups, lunges, planks).
  • Cool Down: 5 minutes of static stretching (hamstring stretch, quad stretch, chest stretch).

Incorporating Rest and Recovery

Recovery is essential to prevent overtraining and promote muscle repair and growth.

You should choose to add rest days, but also remain active. Try light activities like walking, yoga, or maybe swimming. Always ensure at least 7 hours of quality sleep, is crucial for muscle recovery.

But the key here is what you eat. Nutrition is the most important part of your journey.

Having a balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbs for support and recovery. Drink plenty of water, and avoid sodas, alcohol, and other sweet drinks.

Tips for Success in HIFT

  • Consistency is the main key to seeing results with high intensity functional training.

It is wise to have a schedule in advance, and to make at least 3-4 sessions per week. Stay committed and make this the most important part of your life.

I treat my workout routine like my life depends of it. What can be more important than your health?

  • Nutrition is the fuel for your body and helps you in recovery.

My advice is to avoid processed foods and include whole foods with lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs.

It is also important to have a pre-workout meal and a post-workout meal. Before my workout, I usually eat oats with yogurt, forest fruits, and nuts.

Proper nutrition fuels your workouts and aids in recovery, ensuring you get the most out of your HIFT sessions.

Tracking Progress

Monitoring your progress helps you stay motivated and see how far you’ve come.

  • Keep a workout journal to record exercises, sets, reps, and how you feel during each session.
  • Use fitness apps to log workouts, track progress, and set goals.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Be aware of common pitfalls can help you stay on track and avoid setbacks.

  • Prioritize good form instead of using too much weight. Consider hiring a personal trainer.
  • Let your body adapt to the training by using progression.
  • Listen to your body. If it needs more rest, listen and rest.


High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT) offers a dynamic and effective approach to fitness, combining the intensity of high-energy workouts with the practicality of functional movements.

By incorporating HIFT into your routine, you can improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and overall health, all while enjoying varied and engaging workouts.


1. What is High-Intensity Functional Training (HIFT)?

HIFT combines high intensity interval training with functional movements.

2. How often should I do HIFT workouts?

For optimal results, aim to do HIFT workouts 3-4 times per week. Always listen to your body and adjust your schedule as needed to avoid overtraining.

3. Do I need functional training equipment?

HIFT can be performed with minimal equipment. Basic tools like dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and a jump rope are sufficient for many exercises.

4. Can beginners do HIFT?

Yes, HIFT is suitable for all fitness levels, including beginners.

5. How do I prevent injuries during HIFT workouts?

To prevent injuries, focus on proper form and technique for all exercises. Warm up thoroughly before starting your workout and cool down afterwards.

Author: George Petcu | Fit Preneur

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