HIIT Workout For Rapid Fat Loss

Best HIIT Workout For Fat Loss

If you’re a regular reader of my blog I’m sure you’ve heard me on numerous occasions praise High Intensity Interval Training routines also known as a HIIT workout which have been proven to be the best for rapid fat loss.

Basically HIIT workouts are a version of cardiovascular training that uses alternating periods of high intensity work with maximum effort followed by lower intense periods of lower intensity work.

In the study “High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle” in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism they found that a HIIT workout will help the body oxidize fats and carbohydrates meaning you’ll have some awesome rapid fat loss results.

Also another huge plus for doing HIIT workouts is the shorter amount of time you have to spend doing the actual workout.  While most people who are trying to lose fat by jogging on the treadmill for 45 minutes you can be done in 20 minutes and burn a ton more fat than them too.

Of course this is going to come with a hefty price tag because you’re going to have to work your butt off by sprinting during your HIIT workout.  But if you can hang for 20 minutes than you’ll reap the full benefits of this HIIT workout routine.

If you’ve ever seen the sprinters body type then you’ll know they have a very toned and athletic physique that’s also very attractive. And they do all of their training by alternating between high-intensity sprinting and low intensity running or jogging.

But if you’ve also ever seen a marathon runner’s body then you realize they don’t have any muscular development which leaves her body looking unattractive even though it appears to be thin. So without a doubt high-intensity interval training is going to be much more effective way for fat loss when compared to low intensity aerobic training.

The main reason why endurance based training sucks is because it puts your body into an oxygen deficit which basically means your body has to breathe very hard to catch up to the level of intensity is placed on the bottom. When your body gets in the state has to work very hard to bring it back to its normal levels, therefore, burning more calories to do so.

I personally do high-intensity interval training to three days a week on its own or I’ll do it for about 10 min. following my metabolic resistance training workouts. I would recommend doing before your weightlifting routines but it will be better for fat loss if you do them afterwards. But always make sure you warm up properly for 5 to 10 min. at a jogging pace and also cool down for another 5 min. at a very low pace.

Ideally you would be doing high-intensity interval training out in the real world where you can fully sprint but if you don’t have access to an open area such as jogging track you could easily use a treadmill or if you have bad knees you could use a bike. The good thing about high-intensity interval training is you can do it using basically any kind of cardio including swimming, jumping, basketball, stair sprints, etc.

Heck you could even do a work set of sprints and then on the next work set you could easily try in my humble opinion the best fat burning exercise.  Be sure to keep alternating them for a fun way to mix things up in your HIIT workout.

It all comes down to the other right level of intensity and in the end all you really want to make sure that you do is make sure that it’s fun. The more fun it is for you the more likely you are need to do is. As long as you’re able to elevate your heart rate and you request anything. I like to pair different exercises to such as burpees and jumping jacks or sprinting up the hill with jumping rope.

Also make sure after you do your high-intensity interval training workouts that you also use a post-workout recovery drink such as protein shake. The last thing you want to do is do all the hard work is your results are out the window because he didn’t give your body the nutrients it needs to properly recover.

hiit workout

A good rule of thumb is to find a sprinting intensity that feels like a 9/10 on your difficulty scale and then also find one that feels like a 5/10 for the lower intensity part of the HIIT workout.  Also if you can still carry on a conversation on the sprinting part then you’re probably not going hard enough.

My 6 Week HIIT Workout Plan

Warm up by doing some foam rolling and jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes to get loosen up your muscles and tendons while also increasing the blood flow so you can get ready to kill it.

Do each weeks workout 2-3 times per week preferably on non-consecutive days and if you’re combining this workout with resistance training then make sure you do this HIIT workout after you’re done with the weights.

Week 1:  20 minutes; 20 seconds ON / 40 seconds OFF

Week 2: 20 minutes; 30 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF

Week 3: 20 minutes; 45 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF

Week 4: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 60 seconds OFF

Week 5: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 45 seconds OFF

Week 6: 20 minutes; 60 seconds ON / 30 seconds OFF

Wrapping Up My HIIT Workout Routine

Again, make sure you take a few minutes following the workout to cool down just so you can gradually bring your heart rate back down.  I would definitely encourage doing these HIIT workouts in addition to resistance training and it would probably be better if you did each workout on alternating days.

For more also take a look at my Treadmill High Intensity Interval Training blog post too for a video demonstration on HIIT training.

Based on my research and from personal experience with my clients HIIT workouts are going to outperform long steady aerobic training every single day of the week. When it comes to losing belly fat aerobic training is the least effective. Once again HIIT is going to create massive amounts of metabolic disturbance also known as afterburn training which will crank up your metabolism for up to 38 hours following your workout.

Give it a shot and let me know about your progress with my HIIT workout plan in the comments below!

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  1. Beth

    May 13, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Are there any specific exercises for this workout?




  2. bill

    May 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    what exactly is the “seconds on” and “seconds off” in the 20 minute hiit workout? is it the amount of time you stay in your heart rate zone once you reach it?


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Hey Bill,

      It’s actually the amount of work to rest ratio you’re performing.

      So the “seconds ON” would be how long you would be sprinting and the “seconds OFF” would be how long you jog/walk.


  3. munassar

    May 16, 2011 at 6:21 am

    hey Trainer josh ! thanks for the tips, well could you also suggest any workouts to be done at home without using any dumbells or equipments ?

    i just have an exercise bike here and nothing else for the moment 🙁


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Hey Munassar,

      I’m currently developing a bodyweight program for fat loss, keep an eye out for it!


  4. jill

    May 16, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Is there other workouts besides using a treadmill?


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Hey Jill,

      You could apply these same methods to other types of training as well. For example you could do burpees or jump squats for the ON time and then do jumping jacks for the OFF time. Also other cardio forms apply such as swimming, biking, etc.


  5. Maria

    May 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Josh, you are amazing! This is soooo awesome. It hurts like heck, but it’s so effective. I did it on the treadmill first, but the second time I was forced to use the eliptical as all the treadmills in the gym were taken (is summer coming?????). It works there too. I think you could use this with just about anything -- stepper, etc. but I do prefer the treadmill. Thank you so much for posting such great tips!


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Glad you liked the HIIT workout Maria!


  6. rose

    June 28, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Hi josh,
    can you give an example for the OFF/ON periods?
    thanks a lot


    • Josh Schlottman

      June 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Rose, for the OFF periods you would be jogging and for the On periods you would be doing an all-out sprint.


  7. Sam

    June 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Just wondering about the part you said that it’s more effective to do 20min HIIT than 45min jogging, is this actually true? I’m altering my workout routine to add the HIIT plan in, but I want to be sure it’s a good idea before I shorten my cardio to around 20min instead of my usual longer cardio routine.


    • Josh Schlottman

      June 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Hey Sam, yes sir. Just make sure you’re doing the HIIT workouts right and making it very intense.


  8. Ivan

    August 6, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Hi Josh,

    The OFF part is supposed to get your heart rate back down from 90% to around 65%, right?
    If so, 30 or 45 second of jog/walk would not be enough. I always need at least 3 min to get below 70%.

    What should i stick to when doing HIIT? The suggested time or the heartrate?

    Thanks very much for help and great work!


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Ivan,

      Yes the times in this workout are more examples then anything. If you’re going by heart rate then you should wait until it gets lower, try walking on the treadmill on the OFF sets to quicken how fast it lowers.


  9. poonam

    August 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

    hello i need to ask 2 things… that..30 sec on and off i got it..could u just tell me the speed on treadmill.and it comes to 60 sec so i have to 20 times right???and second thing..i just dolighter toning at home…so shall i do my toning after the treadmill or before


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Hey poonam,

      As for the treadmill speed just find one that is very difficult for you. An example would be for it to be a 9/10 on the difficulty scale. It’s going to be different for everyone.


  10. amber

    August 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    what type and how much food should be consumed to make this effective and safe?


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Amber,

      A good rule of thumb is to eat until you feel like you’re 80% full. When it comes to fat loss it’s not necessarily how many calories you consume but what kinds of calories you consume.


  11. rabi

    August 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I just have one question does that on and off time you put up include the time it takes for the treadmill to get to that max speed or slow down to the jog speed because, i find it takes like 5-8 secs so should i start countin when i hit the speed or just as soon as i type in the speed i should hold it from there


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Hi rabi,

      I don’t include the time it takes for the treadmill to speed up to the desired speed I want.


  12. Marilyn

    August 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    HI josh,
    I’m 50trs old and I want to build muscle and lose 25lbs.Is this good for me?
    What meal plan should I follow?..I like the flabby arm workout..which weight s should i use 5. 10lbs..i want some definition..


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Marilyn,

      If you’re looking for a complete nutrition program for fat loss check out my Flat Belly Formula ebook coming out at the beginning of September. It’ll have everything you need to know.


  13. Corrie

    August 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Josh! I’m actually starting this in the morning. I’m going on a diet of lean protien and lots o asparagus. How much and what kind of carbs should I add?


    • Josh Schlottman

      September 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Corrie,

      I would just stay away from processed carbohydrates such as pizza and pasta while also avoiding bleach flour products such as bread. Most of your carbs should come from green vegetables and well cooked beans.


  14. Benny

    September 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Hi Josh, great information you have here. Whenever I fall back on my workouts, I do steppers to come upto speed and lose those pounds that I have put on


  15. Tony N

    September 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Day one….kicked my butt. Looking forward to the rest of the week!


    • Josh Schlottman

      October 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Go for it Tony!


  16. izdiyad

    October 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

    hey josh,

    im 13 and usually dont have enough money to buy anything off the internet. Im overweight but not to the point where its hopeless and i was wondering if you can give me some workouts to lose weight.


  17. Chuck A.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Day 1 last night. Decided at 41, 5’6”, 178 pounds that I am tired of carrying around the spare tire. Started HITT doing 1 min on (6.0 mph) and 1 min off (4.5 mph). My diet included three eggs and ½ cup beans (breakfast), 2 plums (snack) protein and veggie lunch, apple (afternoon snack), and a protein filled dinner. Any suggestions or adjustments? I also need a good weigh training routine to mix in 3 nights a week. My goal – 18 pounds before the end of November (or sooner).


  18. Vicky

    January 19, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Hi Josh, iam 5 ft 5 inches tall & weigh around 70 kgs. I get half hour in the day for workin out. I run medium speed for 4 days a week , & do 50 push ups 3 times a week. Altough i have lost overall fat iam stuck with the last bit of fat in the belly. Since I have a soar back i dont to crunches. Will HIIT help me to burn that final bit of fat. & can i do it in this fashion sprint for 20 secs n slow down for 20 , n continue the same for half hr?


    • Josh Schlottman

      January 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Vicky,

      Yes HIIT will help burn the belly fat but just make sure you’re also doing metabolic resistance training along with eating a clean diet like the one in my Flat Belly Formula book.


  19. Andrew

    February 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm


    I’m on the 6th and final week of the HIIT program, is there another progression or should I start all over with even more intensity?


    • Josh Schlottman

      February 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Hi Andrew, you could also just keep increasing the intensity by adding an incline and increasing the speed of the treadmill if you’re using one.


      • Andrew

        February 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

        What if I’m not using a treadmill?


  20. Rajesh

    March 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    HI! Josh

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    Can you please tell us what to do after 6 weeks? Do we continue the 6th week schedule or start from the first week again?


    • Josh Schlottman

      March 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      I would begin to do variations of this HIIT workouts after 6 weeks. Meaning do different forms of HIIT, play with your work/rest time periods and sets as well as your rest periods. This way you’ll keep getting results and won’t plateau.


  21. AK

    April 4, 2012 at 5:56 am

    “I like to pair different exercises to such as herpes and jumping jacks or sprinting up the hill with jumping rope.”

    LOL. Auto-correction comes up with some interesting replacements.


    • Josh Schlottman

      April 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Ha! I fixed it, darn autocorrect…


  22. Debbie

    April 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Josh, thank you so much your incredibly helpful tips. Not only do you email us good stuff all the time, but you also take the time to answer everyone’s questions politely and in such detail. What a legend!


    • Josh Schlottman

      April 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks Debbie!


  23. Christian

    April 6, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Hi Josh,

    Im doing a full body workout 3x a week with weights. However there is no cardio involved, except for the warmup. I was therefore considering implementing the HIIT Workout afterwards (outside -- not on a treadmill). However i was wondering if this might be too much for the body at once? And if I should perform the HIIT workout on the days “off” from the gym?

    Looking forward to your response!


    • Josh Schlottman

      March 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      I’d definitely would recommend bringing in some HIIT conditioning into your workouts. Even adding 10 minutes of HIIT on the end of your workouts would help you drop some fat quickly.


  24. Adam

    April 26, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Hi Josh, I’m just wondering is it full on 20 minutes of HIIT or can it be a 5 minute warm up at the start, then do the intervals, then cool down for 5 minutes?


    • Josh Schlottman

      April 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Hey Adam, yes I actually recommend doing a warmup along with a cool down in addition to the 20 minutes of this HIIT workout.


  25. andrew

    May 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    hey josh,
    when you say pair exercises like sprinting and jump rope, do you mean, sprinting 20 sec and jumping 20 sec, or sprinting 20 sec and jogging 20 sec then jumping 20 sec and jog 20 sec? thank you


    • Josh Schlottman

      June 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Hi Andrew, I would recommend just picking one of those and doing it for the HIIT workout. For example, jump rope for 20 seconds, rest for 40 seconds, then jump rope for 20 seconds, etc.


  26. Yuri

    August 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Hola Josh!

    Today was ny first day of HIIT and its awesome! By eating healthy and being consistent, how long will it take for someone to see results? Thank you 🙂


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

      Hi Yuri, it all depends on where you are right now and how far you have to go.


  27. sahil

    August 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Hey josh im just wondering if sprinting the length of a soccer field and walking back, doing this 10 times, would that be a good hiit workout for fat loss because I really hate keeping time like you said, e.g. 30 seconds on and 40 seconds off.


  28. Scott Hilton

    October 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    This was a very informative article, great job! I have a question I have been doing a workout that goes something like this; I’ll do six 5 minute bouts of cardio, treadmill, rowing elliptical etc. and in between I do anywhere from 4 to 5 different resistance exercises. When I am on the treadmill I start at 6mph for 1 min, then 10mph for 30 sec then back to 6.0 for 1min 15sec then 10mph for 30 sec then down to 4mph for 1min 15sec then to 10mph for 45 sec. Is this a good plan? Is this a proper way to do HIIT training? Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Hey Scott, sound like you have the cardio part right for the HIIT workout. I would try separating out your resistance training from your cardio though.


  29. Gregory Powell

    November 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hi josh
    I am trying to lose body fat in my stomach to make my six pack show. If i follow the routine that you have listed how many days a week should i do it i wanna try and lose alot of body fat and how many minutes do i put on the treadmill.


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Gregory, follow the plan laid out above. Also make sure you’re following a proven fat burning diet program as well.


  30. david

    December 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    soo do you repeat this 2o times since its 20sec on and 40sec off?


  31. suzanne

    January 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    What is the differance between tabata..and hitt .


    • Josh Schlottman

      May 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Tabata traditionally follows a 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest formula while HIIT isn’t restricted to any particular time format.


  32. Your Name

    March 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Can I do this routine as a stand alone workout or do indeed to incorporate it with another workout routine? I am trying to lose weight.


    • Josh Schlottman

      March 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      You can definitely incorporate it into another workout plan. In fact, you’ll get better results!


  33. Amy

    June 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Are the Insanity workouts considered HIIT workouts? These are usually 3 minutes on and 30 seconds off for 30-45 minutes.


    • Josh Schlottman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      You can count the Insanity workouts as HIIT, but there are way better HIIT workouts out there you can be doing than Insanity.


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About Josh

josh-and-dogHi, My name's Josh and my life mission is to help as many people in the world possible to achieve their goals in health and fitness. I believe we're all worthy of having the body, mind and soul of a happy and strong person. I've been training since I graduated with a degree in Nutrition and after I received my Certified Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) certification. I'm looking forward to giving all I can to get you to your goals. 💪