How to Burn Fat With HIIT


How to Burn Fat With HIIT

Feb 12, 2015 //


Have you tried HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)? If you’re looking to supercharge your metabolism and watch the fat melt off – and don’t have a lot of time to spend on workouts – then HIIT is for you. High-Intensity Interval Training workouts can be quick, don’t require any equipment, and can be done outside, at home, or anywhere you happen to be.

What Exactly Is HIIT and How Does It Work?

High-Intensity Interval Training is an exercise where you alternate between periods of extremely high, intense activity and periods of slower recovery periods. An example of this would be sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds, and then slowing to a jog or walk for 90 seconds.

High-Intensity Interval Training offers maximum benefits in minimum time. A study from scientists at McMaster’s University in Canada showed that High-Intensity Interval Training provided the same results in less time than longer, less strenuous periods of exercise at improving exercise performance. Another study revealed that just two HIIT trainings a week improved cognitive function in middle-aged participants.

HIIT builds muscle and cranks up the metabolism, leaving your body burning more calories after your workout is complete. When you engage in these high-intensity exercises, your body experiences the EPOC effect, or “excess post-oxygen consumption.” During the intervals, your body creates an oxygen deficit. Over the next 24 hours, it attempts to fill this oxygen deficit using fat stores to fuel the process. So 20 minutes of intense workout can lead to the next 24 hours of additional fat and calorie burning.

HIIT Workouts That Burn Fat


Instead of spending hours on the treadmill or trail, HIIT train using the 30/90 rule. First, warm up for three to five minutes. For 30 seconds, sprint at your absolute maximum speed possible. For 90 seconds, recover by walking or slowly jogging. If you’re on a treadmill, increase the incline on your high intensity bursts, and lower it back flat on your recovery periods. Repeat 8 to 10 times.


On a stationary bike or bicycle, warm up for three to five minutes. For one minute, push yourself to peddle at your maximum speed and at a medium resistance. For four minutes, recover with a slow speed and light resistance. Repeat four times.


On the elliptical machine, warm up for five minutes at a low to moderate pace. For 30 seconds, push yourself as hard and fast as you can with an increased ramp height and resistance level. Then recover for 90 seconds at a low to moderate pace, lowering the ramp and resistance.

Plyometric Drills

Skater jumps, burpees, squat jumps, knee tuck jumps and single leg knee drives are just some of the plyometric exercises that you can incorporate into an extra effective HIIT workout. Choose five plyo moves, and perform them at maximum explosive effort for 30 seconds each, followed by a 90-second walk or jog in place.

Important Strategies for Doing HIIT

Remember: High-Intensity Interval Training exercises should be done at your maximum possible speed and effort levels. It’s recommended to do HIIT workouts three times a week, and no more than four. If you’re combining HIIT with strength training, it’s recommended to do them both on the same day, allowing for a complete day of rest and recovery after.

Over time, your body will begin to adapt to your HIIT workouts, so it ‘s important to change things up for maximum benefits. Try different workouts on different days of the week. Mix up running and cycling with burpees, mountain climbers, or jumping jacks.

Always give it your all during the high-intensity portion of your workout. You shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation during the intense interval. If you don’t feel you absolutely need that recovery interval, you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough during the intense one.

High-Intensity Interval Training will increase your speed, power, endurance, fitness levels, and metabolic rate, turning your body into a lean, fat-burning machine. In 20 minutes or less, three times a week, you can experience all of the benefits that HIIT has to offer.

Melissa Zimmerman

Melissa Zimmerman is a freelance writer specializing in health and nutrition writing. A California native living in Central Oregon, Melissa enjoys the outdoor adventures and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When she is not kayaking on the river, you can find her in a yoga studio or practicing asanas outdoors. Melissa is a big believer in the power of yoga and healthy food to radically improve anyone's quality of life.

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