If you’re a regular reader of my blog I’m sure you’ve heard me on numerous occasions praise High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT workouts, which have been proven to be the best for rapid fat loss.
Basically, HIIT workouts are a version of cardiovascular training using alternating periods of high intensity work with maximum effort followed by lower intense periods of lower intensity work.
In this study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism the researchers found HIIT workouts increased fat burning by 60% in the participants over a 3 week period.
Another huge plus for HIIT workouts is the shorter amount of time you have to spend doing the actual workout. While most people try to lose fat by jogging on the treadmill for half an hour you can be done in 20 minutes while burning a ton more fat than them too.
This is going to come with a hefty price tag as 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.
Best HIIT Workout For Fat Loss
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. This is HIIT.
If you’ve also ever seen a marathon runner’s body they have no muscular development leaving their body looking unattractive even though it appears to be thin.
High-intensity interval training is going to be much more effective for fat loss when compared to low intensity aerobic training.
This 2015 study found HIIT training to be superior to endurance training for improving VO2max of healthy, young middle aged adults.
And in this new 2018 study participants shredded 4.3% bodyfat after 7 weeks of HIIT workouts.
HIIT workouts are superior to endurance training as the former puts your body into an oxygen deficit. This basically means your body needs more oxygen to return to its normal resting state therefore you’ll be burning more calories. Oh yeah!
When your body gets in this oxygen deficit state it has to work very hard to bring it back to its normal levels burning more calories to do so.
This is known as the Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), but I like to refer to it as the Afterburn.
Afterburn Training = Massive Fat Loss
One of the biggest fat loss advantages of HIIT workouts is the Afterburn effect. This is where your body can keep burning fat way longer after you’ve finished your workout.
Just imagine yourself sitting on the couch the night after completing a HIIT workout having your fat burning engines going full force even though you’re not doing a thing.
Having your metabolism elevated throughout the next day and a half is like having a side business that automatically deposits money into your checking account while you’re sleeping. Wouldn’t that be nice!
For a while the EPOC was known as the oxygen deficit, and it’s the recovery process your metabolism goes through to go back to the pre-exercise levels.
With low intensity cardiovascular exercise it doesn’t take very long, but with the best HIIT workouts it can take up to a day and half.
As your body burns calories around the clock you can fully expect your fat to practically melt off your body.
This is the best exercise investment you can make for you body. You’ll be able to do the work for only 20 minutes earlier in the day then have your body burning fat while you lay on your bed watching TV and playing with your smartphone.
The good news is you can keep doing these HIIT workouts and still get the Afterburn effect.
As long as you’re keeping the intensity high and varying your workouts your body will continue to burn calories with the EPOC as it works to bring itself back to a pre-exercise level.
Just make sure you don’t end up burning yourself out as these workouts can be pretty intense on your body.
Every once in a while if I have the time I’ll go on a long run outside just to mix things up and give my body a break.
But you won’t get near the same benefits of an Afterburn workout if you’re just hopping on an elliptical of a while.
The intensity isn’t nearly the same as one of my best HIIT workouts below. They’re the fastest weight loss workout plans for men and women.
10 Killer HIIT Workouts
A1. Burpees 3×8
A2. Pullups 3×16
A3. Jumping Jacks 3×32
A1. Sprint up a big hill 3×6
Walk back down the hill
A2. Pushups 3×20
Rest 60 seconds then repeat
A1. Mountain Climbers 3×50
A2. Bicycle & Rotates 3×40
A3. Kick-ups 3×30
A4. Knee Grab Situps 3×20
A5. Plank-to-Pushups 3×10
Ropes + Kettlebells
A1. Kettlebell Swings 3×20
A2. Jump Rope 3×100
B1. Kettlebell Goblet Squats 3×15
B2. Jump Rope 3×100
A1. Sprint up stairs 5x
A2. Pushups at top 5×20
Walk back down
A3. Skater Plyos 5×20
A4. Planks 5×45 sec.
Medicine Ball Extreme
A1. Heavy Medicine Ball Slams 4×15
A2. Medicine Ball Mountain Climbers 4×30
A3. Wall Ball Tosses 4×15
A4. Medicine Ball Russian Twists Slams 4×30
Treadmill Sprints > Burpees
A1. Incline Sprint on Treadmill 5×30 sec.
A2. Burpees 5×10, 8, 8, 6, 6
Sled Pushes + Sprints
Push a sled about 50 yards for this one. If you don’t have access to a sled try putting dumbbells on top of some towels on a hardwood floor.
A1. Push Sled 4x
A2. Sprint down and back 4x
A1. DB Alternating High Punches 4×20
A2. DB Half Jacks 4×20
A3. DB Renegade Rows 4×20
A4. DB Swings 4×20
A5. DB Situps 4×20
A1. Box Jumps (about knee high) 5×10
A2. Pushups 5×15
A3. Alternating Step-up Hops 5×20
A4. Cross-body Mountain Climbers 5×30
The Awesome Benefits Of HIIT
Now you know the fat burning machine your body turns into with HIIT workouts there are some other awesome benefits.
The big one is you’ll increase your levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) up to 450% for 24 hours to help you burn more fat, build more lean muscle and it’ll even help you look younger.
Don’t worry about getting huge bulking muscles if you’re female. At most you can expect to be thinner, leaner and more physically attractive with your new toned body.
Unlike traditional steady state cardio the lean muscle you have won’t go away when you’re doing HIIT workouts.
Your hard earned muscle will help to burn more calories while toning and shaping your body.
One thing I really love about High Intensity Interval Training is you can do it literally anywhere. Whenever the weather is nice and want to mix things up I’ll go outside for my workout.
It’s a great way to get some sunshine and enjoy your workouts instead of being stuck in a gym all the time.
You’ll love how the workouts for HIIT are challenging and always different.
A lot of the time when you hop on a treadmill for a jog it can be super boring. You’ll find enjoyment out of pushing yourself with a new HIIT workout every time.
The one thing about these challenging workouts is they always keep things fresh!
The Perfect HIIT Mix
High Intensity Interval Training should be done around three days a week on its own or for about 10 minutes following Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) workouts.
It will be better for fat loss if you do them afterward your weightlifting workouts. Always make sure you warm up properly for 5 to 10 min. at a jogging pace before going full HIIT and then cool down for another 5 minutes at a very low pace.
Ideally you would be doing High Intensity Interval Training out in the real world where you can fully sprint such as a high school track or hills at a park.
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 throw in some rope slams. Or you can do burpees, kettlebell swings, box jumps or medicine ball slams.
All the different tools and exercises you can use in a HIIT workout making things fun and are literally endless.
Just be sure to keep alternating them for a fun way to mix things up so things don’t become stale. When it comes to working out keeping things fresh with variety will make your workouts more enjoyable otherwise it’s easy to get bored with doing the same old routine.
The more fun the workout is for you the more likely you are to do.
As long as you’re able to crank your heart rate sky high with alternating periods of intense exercise then you’re definitely doing a killer HIIT workout.
Make sure after your High Intensity Interval Training workouts you also use a post-workout recovery drink such as protein shake.
The last thing you want after all your hard work is to throw your results out the window because he didn’t give your body the nutrients it needs to properly recover.
6 Week HIIT Workout Plan
Warm up by jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes, doing some jumping jacks or riding a bike to get loosen up your muscles and tendons while increasing your blood flow priming your body to crush the workout.
Do each weeks workout 2-3 times per week preferably on non-consecutive days. If you’re combining this workout with resistance training then make sure you do this HIIT workout after you’re done with the weights.
A good rule of thumb is to find a sprinting intensity that feels like a 9/10 on your difficulty scale. Then find one that feels like a 5/10 for the lower intensity part of the HIIT workout.
If you can still carry on a conversation on the sprinting part then you’re probably not going hard enough.
Here’s the HIIT workout breakdown…
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
Here I am demonstrating how to properly use the treadmill for HIIT workouts so you can burn massive amounts of fat without hurting yourself.
Wrapping Up My HIIT Workout Routine
Again, make sure you take a few minutes following the workout to cool down to gradually bring your heart rate back down.
I would definitely encourage doing these HIIT workouts in addition to resistance training. It’ll would probably be better if you did each HIIT workout on alternating days.
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 just isn’t as effective. I’m not saying traditional steady state cardio isn’t going to burn fat because it will.
It just turns out HIIT will work better while taking less time and being more fun.
But everybody is different so in the end if you really love going on long runs and bike rides for your workouts then in the long run you’ll be better off doing just that.
In the end, either training program isn’t going to burn all the fat you want off your body if you’re not following a proven nutrition system. I personally designed The Flat Belly Formula nutrition system to maximize fat loss along with HIIT workouts to give you the best of both worlds.
You can’t out train a bad diet so it’s absolutely vital you’re watching what you put into your body.
Then mix in some of the best HIIT workouts above and you’ll turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.