High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on Rest Days – Merits and Demerits

HIIT has been gaining a lot of popularity in the fitness world. Many people are often curious if it is okay to do HIIT on rest days. Well the answer is:

Yes, you can do HIIT on rest days but not like a regular workout. You should only do it to keep yourself active on a rest day. Do activities like jogging and running only. This will keep your metabolism going without disturbing the recovery process.

Other than that, if you are planning an HIIT activity like Tabata on rest days, than it won’t be a good idea because it can hamper your recovery.

Remember no pain no gain is only a myth, and exercising beyond physical limits can cause an injury that not only will stop your progress but also take you months back in terms of workout progress.

How Often should you do an HIIT workout?

The best frequency for HIIT workouts is 3-5 times per week. HIIT workouts are known for their efficiency in burning fat and building muscle but they are quite strenuous on the body.

Between two heavy sessions of HIIT workout, there is always a need of rest and food nourishment to recover the body for next workout.

If you missed a HIIT session, then it doesn’t mean that you can do it twice the next day. 3-5 times per week means that you can easily manage and make at least 2 days a week your full rest days so that the body can recover back.

Check out disadvantages of hiit if done more than 3-5 times a week.

HIIT Cardio on Rest Days:

You can do HIIT Cardio on rest days but only if it is something like a light jog or a leisurely bike ride. Those activities won’t hurt your progress. Your metabolism will keep going, and it will prevent you from gaining weight.

But contrary to that, if it is heavy cardio like the one you do on regular days, then it’s a big no. You need those rest days to allow your muscles to recover and grow.

Regular cardio on rest days is more of overdoing cardio, which can hurt you in many different ways. Check out these 12 alarming signs of too much cardio.

Workouts good to do on rest days instead of HIIT:

If you want to work out on your rest days, the best way to spend your rest day is by doing low-intensity exercises such as:

  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • or even doing some lightweight training.

How do you lose weight on rest days in HIIT programs?

You don’t lose much weight on rest days in HIIT programs, but rest days are necessary for weight loss in an indirect way.

On a rest day if you eat the right food and stay active, it will help you recover for the training days, and will boost your energies, which then can be utilized in training and burning more fats.

Though you can still lose weight on rest days, if you are fasting or eating less than your daily calories burn.

Just don’t starve yourself on rest days, if it’s fasting do it in a manner that won’t cause a long-term weakness in the body.

Fasting is beneficial with workouts but don’t fast regularly on rest days.

Things you can do to keep a rest day active:

The idea of a rest day is to give your body time to recover and rejuvenate. But what if you want to keep it active? Here are some things you can do:


Swimming is a great way to stay active without putting too much stress on your muscles. It’s also a good way to cool off in the summertime.


Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while staying active. It’s also good for the environment! Just don’t forget your bug spray if you’re hiking in the summertime.


Biking is another great way to get outside and enjoy nature while staying active. Make sure that you have some biking gloves though because biking can be hard on your hands!

You can also do indoor light workouts like yoga, stretching, Pilates, or some light weight training.

3. Can you do nothing on rest days?

Yes, doing absolutely nothing on rest days is also an option. It will help your body recover well and rejuvenate. But if you don’t want any procrastination on workout days, keep your rest days active.

You do not need to go and do something strenuous on rest days. A walk, light stretching, or a gentle yoga session is enough to stay active.

The key point is to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Doing nothing is one of the good options but it is not supported by fitness industry experts. Why?

Check it out in a 5 minutes video below:

Is 1 rest day a week enough?

It is commonly believed that one rest day a week is enough to recover from the workout. A common reason given is that it will keep you in a routine of workouts, and resting more than 1 day a week can disturb the workout routine.

You can’t deny this argument for all workouts, but when it comes to cardio and HIITs, resting 1 day a week is not enough. You have to give your body a rest of 2-4 days a week, and take care of your diet to make the best use of workouts.

However, there can be exceptions. One rest day a week can be enough.

We should be aware of the fact that it is not necessary for everyone to follow the same guidelines when it comes to workouts.

It depends on how much a person is used to exercising and their physical condition.

Truth is that if you want to get the best results, you need to listen to your body, if it can bare work out every day, there is no harm in it.

Pro swimmers workout 7 days a week!

There are also people who can’t workout every single day because of their family or work commitments.

In this case, they can take one rest day a week or more than 1 day a week provided that it won’t disturb their routine of workouts.

Can rest days be back to back?

Yes, rest days can be back to back from workout especially in cardio and HIIT workouts because the body may need more time to recover from the strenuous exercise.

In order for your muscles to grow, they need time to rest and repair themselves after a workout.

If you don’t give them a break in between workouts, they will never have the chance to rebuild and grow.

It’s important for your muscles to have enough time off in between workouts so that they can recover and rebuild themselves.

Will you gain weight from a rest day?

The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. It depends on what you do with your rest day. If you spend the day eating and drinking especially unhealthy, then yes, you will gain weight from a rest day.

But if you use your rest day to lightly exercise, stay active and eat healthily, then it’s possible that you won’t gain weight at all.

What should you eat on HIIT rest days?

Fitness enthusiasts and people in weight loss programs are often confused about what they should eat on HIIT rest days.

Some believe that it is best to stick to a low-carb diet, while others believe that it is best to eat carbs on this day.

The truth is, you can eat pretty much anything on HIIT rest days. The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your diet.

If you are not in a mood to spend too much time cooking, you can easily make these quick meals rich in carbs and proteins within 5 minutes.

Can you do push ups on HIIT rest days?

Push ups are a good exercise for the upper body and can help to strengthen the muscles in your chest, shoulders, arms, and back.

However, most people do not think about their core when they are doing push-ups. The core is important because it helps to stabilize your spine and protect your back from injury during exercise or other activities that put stress on your spine.

When you are doing HIIT exercises you should be focusing on strengthening your core muscles as well as other muscles in the body that have been neglected during workouts.

So yes, you can do pushups on rest days from HIIT workouts, it will help you work the upper body while HIIT is working on your core.

Is it bad to fast on a rest day?

Many people believe that it is bad to fast on a rest day, but this is not true. The truth is that fasting on a rest day helps reset your metabolism and give your digestive system a break.

There are many benefits of fasting on a rest day. For example, it can help you lose weight, lower blood sugar levels and improve your immune system. It also gives your digestive system a break from the constant work it does during the day.

Check out the health benefits of fasting.


As you can see, there are both pros and cons to HIIT workouts on rest days. When deciding whether or not to do HIIT on your rest days, it’s important to consider the level of fitness you have currently achieved as well as your overall personal preferences.

We hope this article has helped you get a better idea of how to decide whether or not HIIT on rest days is right for you!

For more information on these types of exercises, do check out our other articles in the fitness section, and don’t forget to share this one on Facebook or Twitter. 🙂