Wouldn’t it feel great to have the same, if not better results from an exercise routine that requires less time and no fancy equipment?

According to the latest research, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) might help you lose weight faster, especially abdominal fat. Our quick guide will help you get started with HIIT workouts for weight loss.

HIIT is an exercise technique in which you switch between your maximum capacity and rest phase for a few seconds to minutes, followed by set repetitions 1. You can perform HIIT anywhere, any time without the use of any equipment. E.g., You could walk at your normal pace for 5 minutes, brisk walk for 2 minutes, and then slow down for 3 minutes. Repeat that five times for an intense HIIT workout.

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Are HIIT Workouts Good for Weight Loss?

According to nutrition and fitness coach Kim Raubenheimer, “HIIT is an effective strategy in addition to Nutrition for weight loss.” Emerging research also shows HIIT workouts can help with weight loss. Some studies have even found high-intensity interval workouts to be more effective for targeting belly fat

One study investigated the effectiveness of a 12-week HIIT program (3 per week) in 20 overweight/obese men. Results showed a significant reduction in their waist circumference, BMI, and fat mass percentage. They also found that HIIT reduced total cholesterol without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol 2.

In a 2017 study, 43 obese young women received either HIIT or prolonged MICT (moderate-intensity continuous training), or no training for 12 weeks. The study found that both groups had similar weight loss results; however, HIIT appeared to be the predominant strategy due to its time efficiency 3.

In another study, 27 middle-aged obese women completed 16 weeks of either low or high-intensity exercise training, and one was a control group. Results revealed that HIET significantly reduced abdominal fat while no significant changes were observed in the low intensity or control groups 4.

Health expert and best-selling author Lori Shemek, PhD, shares about the four health and fitness benefits of HIIT in a tweet:

Best High-Intensity Interval Training Workouts for Weight Loss

The best part about high-intensity interval training workouts is that you don’t need to go to the gym or need any fancy types of equipment for it. You only need to spend about 20-30 minutes working out to reap the same, if not better benefits you would than other aerobic exercises. Below are some example exercises for each level of HIIT.

High-intensity interval training for beginners

As a beginner, your primary focus should be on warming up into HIIT workouts and experimenting with a variety of exercises to determine which one you enjoy the most. Here are a few beginner-friendly high-intensity interval training exercises.

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Jumping jacks High-intensity: 20 secs | Rest: 20 secs
Burpees High-intensity: 20 secs | Rest: 20 secs
Jump rope High-intensity: 20 secs | Rest: 20 secs
Jump squats High-intensity: 20 secs | Rest: 20 secs

All of the above can be considered as one set of HIIT. Repeat the routine 3-4 times. It might look easy, but you’ll likely feel the intensity of the workout before you even finish the first set. Feel free to extend the rest duration to 1 minute if you find it difficult in the beginning.

Intermediate high-intensity interval training workouts

As stated earlier, you only have to focus on increasing the intensity, duration, and repetition of your exercises when you reach the intermediate and advanced stage of HIIT. With that in mind, here’s a sample routine you can practice.

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Jumping jacks High-intensity: 60 secs | Rest: 30 secs
Burpees High-intensity: 60 secs | Rest: 30 secs
High Knees High-intensity: 60 secs | Rest: 30 secs
Mountain climbers High-intensity: 60 secs | Rest: 30 secs

Repeat the set 2-3 times for a powerful fat burning workout.

Advanced high-intensity interval training workouts

At this stage, you can focus on increasing the number of exercises or exercise duration and repetition. Aim for a 20-30 minute HIIT workout session.

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Here’s a sample advanced HIIT workout:

Squats: 40 secs
Jumping jacks: 20 secs
Sidekicks: 40 secs
Push-ups: 20 secs

Repeat the set 7 times and with a 2-minute rest between each set.

4 Week High-Intensity Interval Training Workout Plan for Weight Loss

Here’s a 4-week plan to help you get started with the HIIT workouts for weight loss. This is an example guide, so feel free to swap exercises to suit your mood and circumstances.

IMPORTANT: Do a few minutes of warm-up exercises such as light jogging and stretching before doing HIIT exercises to prevent injury.

Week 1: Warm up phase (beginner friendly)

It’s important to start with a warm-up phase, especially if you’re a beginner to HIIT. Week 1 is all about training your body to become suitable for HIIT. Walking and running are two of the easiest ways to experiment with HIIT, which is why we’ve included them in the first two days of the week.

 

DAYS EXERCISE TIME
Day 1 Walking
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 times
Day 2 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 times
Day 3 Jump rope
  • Highest speed: 30 seconds
  • Rest (slow down or walk): 1-2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 times
Day 4 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 times
Day 5 Biking
  • Comfortable speed: 3 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 3 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time
Day 6 Walking
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time
Day 7 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time

 

Week 2: Increasing exercise intensity

In week 2, you can start increasing the intensity of your HIIT workouts gradually.

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DAYS EXERCISE TIME
Day 1 Squats

Burpees

  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • Repetition: 5
  • 1-2 minutes rest between each set
Day 2 Elbow Plank
  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs rest
  • Repetition: 3-5
Day 3 Jumping jacks

Side to side jumps

Raised arm circles

  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • 1-minute rest between each set
  • Repetition: 5-7 times
Day 4 Half jacks

High Knees

Reverse Lunges

  • 15 secs
  • 15 secs
  • 15 secs
  • 1-minute rest between each set
  • Repetition: 3-5 times
Day 5 Jumping jacks

Reverse Lunges

Bridges

  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • Repetition: 5
  • 1-minute rest between each exercise
Day 6 High Knees

Squats

Reverse Lunges

  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • Repetition: 3-5
  • 1 min rest between each set
Day 7 Walking
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time

 

Week 3: Increasing duration & repetition

At this stage, you’ll be increasing the duration and repetition of your HIIT exercises. Aim for a good 12-15 minutes workout.

 

DAYS EXERCISE TIME
Day 1 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time
Day 2 High Knees

Climbers

Jumping jacks

  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • Repetition: 3-5
Day 3 Elbow Plank

Reverse Lunges

  • 15 secs
  • 15 secs
  • Repetition: 4-5 each
  • 1 min rest between each set
Day 4 Walking
  • Comfortable speed: 2 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1 minute
  • Slow down: 2 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5 time
Day 5 Jumping jacks

High Knees

Reverse Lunges

  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min rest between exercises
  • Repetition: 2-3
Day 6 High Knees

Squats

Climbers

  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • 20 secs
  • Repetition: 3-5
  • 1 min rest between each set
Day 7 Elbow Plank

Reverse Lunges

  • 15 secs
  • 15 secs
  • Repetition: 4-5 each
  • 1 min rest between each set

 

Week 4: Feeling the burn, for longer

At the advanced stage, you should aim for a total of 20-30 minute workout during each session. You’ll be increasing all three aspects of HIIT: types of exercises, duration, and repetition.

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DAYS EXERCISE TIME
Day 1 Elbow Plank
  • 30 secs
  • Repetition: 5
  • 1 min rest between each rep
Day 2 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 5 minutes
  • Highest speed: 1-2 minutes
  • Slow down: 3 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-5
Day 3 Jumping jacks

Reverse Lunges

Butt kicks

Squats

  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min rest between each exercise
  • Repetition: 2-3
Day 4 High Knees

Jumping jacks

Butt kicks

  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min
  • 1 min rest between each exercise
  • Repetition: 5
Day 5 Squats

Reverse Lunges

High Knees

  • 30 secs
  • 30 secs
  • 30 secs
  • 1 min rest between each
  • Repetition: 6
Day 6 Running
  • Comfortable speed: 5 minutes
  • Highest speed: 2 minute
  • Slow down: 5 minutes
  • Repetition: 3-4
Day 7 Elbow Plank
  • 30 secs
  • Repetition: 5
  • 1 min rest between each set

 

Conclusion

Research supports the claim that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are great for fat loss, especially in the abdominal area. It’s also time efficient and produces the same, if not better results than regular aerobic exercises.

Takeaways

  • HIIT is a type of exercise that requires short bursts of high intensity (your full potential) paired with short intervals (rests).
  • HIIT has been proven to be useful for weight loss in the same, if not, a better rate than some regular aerobic exercises.
  • If you have any medical conditions, please consult with your doctor first to determine if you’re healthy enough to practice HIIT.
  • Start with a week or two of beginner-friendly exercises (short duration and repetition) before progressing to intermediate and advanced stages.

REFERENCES:

  1. Boutcher SH. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. 2010 November 24 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/

  2. Khammassi M et al. Impact of a 12-week high-intensity interval training without caloric restriction on body composition and lipid profile in sedentary healthy overweight/obese youth. 2018 February 26 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5833956/

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