Here’s Your Next Fat-Torching HIIT Workout

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The Merits of High Intensity Interval Training

In the 21st century, the name of the cardio game is HIIT, and for good reason: it works damn well.

High Intensity Interval Training has been widely discussed and dissected, so I will not rehash this overmuch. However, in the event you are one of the 19 people left who does not realize why you should be doing HIIT, I will touch on the main points.

More reliable sources of fitness information to recommend shorter and more intense cardiovascular exercise for the purposes of fat loss. High intensity intervals (with work portions being 85% VO2 max to supramaximal) firstly are shorter, increasing what I will call training economy. Not only does HIIT  get you out of the gym faster, but it burns more fat. 

Why? Central to the science of HIIT is the principal factor in fat loss: energy deficit. It’s become pretty clear that high intensity exercise results in greater caloric expenditure than low or moderate intensity cardio for any given duration. In addition, compared to other training methods, HIIT results in considerably greater Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The great part there is that EPOC is fueled primarily from the oxidation of fat; therefore, not only are you expending more energy, but more of it is coming from fat.

Put simply, harder is smarter.

But wait, there’s more!

High intensity exercise puts an enormous stress on the fast-twitch fibers of the muscles you’re using during training. This stress results in those fibers becoming more metabolically efficient, and this effect culminates in your body allowing you to rely more on fatty acids for fuel as well developing greater lactic acid tolerance; overall making you bigger, faster, stronger, leaner, harder… you get the idea.

Furthermore, High Intensity Intervals have a great “afterburn” effect.

That is, because of the aforementioned increase in EPOC (as well as a number of other factors), doing HIIT not only burns a lot of calories during the exercise, but it keeps your metabolic rate elevated for an extended period of time—up to 48 freakin’ hours.

Essentially, you can perform a HIIT workout on Monday and still be burning calories from that workout on Wednesday. Obviously, if you perform High Intensity Interval workouts two to three times per week, you can walk around with a consistently elevated metabolic rate.

When you factor in the caloric deficit from dieting, as well as your normal weight training, you can see how adding HIIT into the mix will lead to extreme fat loss.

As for which form of cardio to use in your HIIT workouts, there are a lot of options, from jump rope to bodyweight exercises, but just to get you started off, I like sprinting.

… and since I don’t wanna leave you hanging, here’s a quick 12 minute HIIT sprint workout you can try tomorrow.

12 Minutes of Hell: The HIIT Challenge

Warm up with a 4 minute jog.

Run with at least 85% of your VO2 max during the “work” periods, and slow it down to a walk or a very slow jog for the “rest” periods. Ready?


Keep in mind, this is a fairly advanced program, but the great thing about it is that you determine how hard it is. Just run as hard as you can. If you can’t keep the pace, don’t sweat it, slow down. Continue with this program twice per week.Cooldown: 2 minute jog, 1 minute walk

If you don’t vomit at least once, I will be either very impressed, or call you a little bitch. Depends on my mood.

What’s your favorite way to do HIIT? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

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  • Jason C

    Hey Roman, This relates to your 666 sprinting guide. You say do sprinting first then training. My only issue with that is that I tend to push my max in training and I don't think I'll be able to lift higher amounts on squats if my legs are exhausted from sprinting. In this case is it okay to train first then sprint? Jason

    January 16, 2012 at 2:11 am

  • Brandon

    I thought I'd just put this on here for those of us who like doing sprints: Audacity is a free audio-editing software. You can upload two or three mp3s and generate a tone at the different intervals. This way, you don't have to stare at a watch and worry about wiping out when you don't notice the rock/branch/pothole/small child in the middle of your way.

    February 4, 2010 at 2:53 am

  • John Romaniello

    Great suggestion. I do these with kettlebells, and I also work them in to some cardio programs I have. I normally get my cardio in with my athletes (I train groups of 3-4) so we do round robin cardio workouts. The 5 of us will set up 4 stations, and rotate through, with 4 people always working and 1 person resting. We do this HIIT style, and like you we love doing KB and DB swings. Thanks for the input!

    August 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm

  • Per

    A little contribution to the limitless assortment of HIIT-variations. My morning HIIT-routine consists of: 8 x one arm dumbell swings (squat down with the db between the legs, then explode up and bring the db to eye level like a front raise, change arms after 8 reps when using an overhand grip, or switch hands mid-air if using a neutral grip) 50 "reps" jump rope or jump for 30 seconds, whichever comes first (or lately, 15 burpees since my neighbour complained that the sound of the plastic rope woke him up at 6.30 every morning) 12 push-ups Repeat twice without stopping, rest 25 seconds and then go again = 2 sets. Start with 6 sets add one every 3rd workout and go to 15. One advantage is that you can do it on a very small space without need for good shoes or access to a place to run. Dumbbells can of course be considered an investment if you don't have any. Or, do these at your gym instead of hopping on the treadmill,.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:06 am

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