5 Fat-Burning hiit workouts for Any Fitness Level

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5 Fat-Burning HIIT Workouts for Any Fitness Level

By Tania Dakka

You sweat. You slave. You spend hours in the gym every week. But you aren’t getting the results you wanted.

Before you give up, try HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training is Dr. Martin Gibala’s answer to long stints in the gym. In his study at McMaster University in 2010, he discovered that the same cardiac benefits achieved with steady state exercises (hours on the treadmill every week) can be attained through short burst workouts like Tabatas or intervals of cardio.

But if it gives the same cardiac benefit, why is it better?

In a study done in 2001 at East Tennessee State University, J.W. King discovered that HIIT participants maintained an extra 100-calorie burn over the 24 hours following an HIIT session. Because the workout is more strenuous, it therefore requires more energy to recover; hence the continuous calorie burn.

So wearing yourself out for a few minutes can do your body more good than longwinded bouts of steady state exercises.

But going at it all out sounds exhausting! It’s not. It’s exhilarating.

Once the endorphins from an HIIT workout take hold of your soul, there’s little you can’t do. Just like with running and other aerobic exercises that produce them, those powerful little hormones PUSH you. And they push you to feel good, as well. And when they interact with the receptors in your brain, you feel no pain (well, you feel less of it, at least).

So if you haven’t tried HIIT, do it today. Once you’ve experienced the feeling of, “OMG! I can take on the WORLD! WOW!” after a kick butt HIIT session, you won’t go back to the boring routine of step, step, step on a treadmill!

So who can HIIT?

Whether you’re a newbie or a vet to fitness, HIIT could be the answer you were looking for to bring you results that you haven’t been getting with regular workouts. This kind of workout rocks because it can be applied to any exercise, modified for any fitness level, and doesn’t require any equipment (unless you want). So no matter if you’re brand new or are a veteran to fitness, HIIT will burn your fat better than anything you’ve tried before.

It should be noted here that even though you burn more when doing HIIT workouts, that isn’t a license to abandon proper diet and nutrition. You still have to avoid junk and eat clean to get lean whether doing HIIT or any other type of workout.

And without further ado…let’s take a look at 5 great HIIT workouts that will get your body rockin’ and your fat burnin’!

(*Gratuitous legal disclaimer: Don’t forget to check with your doc before beginning any workout routine. And be sure to warm up 3-5 minutes before your workout and stretch your muscles after your cool down.)

HIIT Aerobic Exercises

Aerobically speaking, here are 3 ways you can squeeze in a powerful yet short cardio routine:

  1. 20 seconds of Sprinting, 10 seconds of walking using a treadmill (or not…try the road or your backyard) repeat 8 times.

  2. Create a jamming playlist on Youtube of 4 songs that PUMPYouUp. And shadow box for 3 songs; rest for 1. Then repeat 2 more times. (This my fave and a GREAT stress reducer if you’re feeling agitated)

  3. High knees or jump rope for 20s and rest for 10s for 8 rounds.


These exercises require ZERO equipment and will burn you from the inside out.

Now for the muscle-building (and therefore even more fat-burning) effect, try any or all of these sets:

Do the following exercises for 20s of work/10s of rest for 8 rounds:

  • Squats

  • Pushups

  • Dead lifts

  • Triangle pushups

  • Hanging leg raises

  • Burpees

Repeat 7 more times.

HIIT Time Challenges

For time challenges, you go all out for a set number of reps, timing yourself. The next time you hit that workout, challenge your previous record.

  • 20 Pushups

  • 20 Squats

  • 20 Knee Raises

  • 20 Burpees

Each set with 10s of rest in between. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 500 reps.

HIIT Pyramid Workout Routines

These exercises are great for a burn out. The first three rounds, you increase your reps by five. The last two are descending numbers of reps. For example:

  • Round 1- 10 reps

  • Round 2 -15 reps

  • Round 3 -20 reps

  • Round 4 -15 reps

  • Round 5 -10 reps

This can be applied to any exercises you choose to, but here’s a good place to start:

Lunges, Squats, Burpees, and Reverse Pushups

For a BONUS SUPER killer, apply the above workout set to these exercises for double your pyramid pleasure:

  • Ninja jumps (From a kneeling position, jump to a squat position)

  • Burpees

  • L Sits (Hanging, keep y our legs parallel to the floor while pulling your body upward) (holding for 20s)

  • Row and Clean

There you go…5 (+1 Bonus for you) Fat Burning HIIT workouts to power you through your week! I guarantee once you see how simple AND effective they are, you’ll never go back to traditional workouts!

What’s stopped you from trying HIIT before now?


King, J.W. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese premenopausal women (thesis). East Tennessee State University, 2001.

Jonathan P Little, Adeel S Safdar, Geoffrey P Wilkin, Mark a Tarnopolsky, and Martin J Gibala. A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms. The Journal of Physiology, 2010; DOI

University of Bonn. “Runners’ High Demonstrated: Brain Imaging Shows Release Of Endorphins In Brain.” ScienceDaily, 3 Mar. 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2012.

Photo Credit: ostill via ShutterStock

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