You can be lean, or you can be strong. But you know what’s even better? To be both lean and strong at the same time. In my decades as a professional fitness trainer, I’ve discovered that – even though it’s more difficult to be trim and muscled simultaneously – high-intensity interval training (HIIT) makes it possible. In this HIIT workout for weight loss, I show you why running intervals to burn fat is a winning idea – and just how much fun it can be.
The video below will prove helpful.
HIIT Exercises for Weight Loss: High-Intensity Fat Burning
HIIT is considered beneficial for you because the intervals help with increased calorie burn:
- HIIT has been shown to increase calorie burn both during and after exercise due to its high-intensity nature, which can help with weight loss or weight management.
- HIIT has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate, which can help burn more calories throughout the day.
Extra Benefits of a Jumping and Running Intervals Workout
Intervals are remarkably effective, yet fat-burning isn’t the only benefit of HIIT. There’s also:
More Enjoyable: What’s fascinating is that jumping and running during intervals is similar to what children (and those of us who are young at heart) do while playing.
Don’t be surprised if, after this workout, your body is humming with endorphins, and your mood is noticeably brighter. Compared to other types of exercise, intervals are just more fun.
Improved insulin sensitivity: HIIT has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help with blood sugar control and may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Improved cardiovascular fitness: Intervals have been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness by increasing the heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen to the working muscles more efficiently. Great for your lungs, too.
Better muscle: There’s a reason that sprinters look lean, strong, and powerful – yet marathoners look simply skinny. Intervals develop muscle!
My All-Time Favorite Fat-Burning Circuit Session
Sometimes I call this workout “Sprint Day,” but, really, it’s a series of speed and agility drills that strengthen and condition the entire body while – and I love this part – burning an astounding amount of calories.
Intervals are challenging, but they can be a lot of fun.
Circuit training combines several exercises – intervals – performed with short rest periods between them.
One circuit is when all of the chosen exercises have been completed.
Multiple circuits can be performed in one training session.
How many times you go through each circuit is determined by your current fitness level:
- Beginners = 2x each circuit
- Intermediates = 3x each circuit
- Advanced Athletes = 4x each circuit.
How many repetitions (“reps”) you do is up to you, but 12 is a good number to shoot for. If you’re a beginner, do fewer. If you’re advanced, do more.
The intensity level for a circuit training session is typically higher than a standard gym workout.
I like to do my circuit training outdoors when possible. However, with simple modifications, intervals can be done inside, too.
INTERVALS WITHIN CIRCUIT A
– Jog Backward
– Jog Forward
– Grapevine (each direction)
– Side Shuffle (each direction)
– Jump Rope
INTERVALS WITHIN CIRCUIT B
– Exaggerated Skip
– Butt Kick
– Knee Up
– Jog Backward
INTERVALS WITHIN CIRCUIT C
– Sprint (light)
– Iron Cross
– Single-Leg Hop
– Jog Backward
INTERVALS WITHIN CIRCUIT D
– Sprint (faster)
– Frog Jump
INTERVALS WITHIN CIRCUIT E
– Side Jumpover
– Hopscotch Backward
– Speed Ladder
– Fastest Sprint
BONUS FINISHER (optional)
– Stair Climb
Tips for Better (and Safer) Intervals
- Your first sprint is done at 55% of maximum capacity;
- Your second sprint is made at 65% of maximum capacity;
- Your third sprint is done at 75% of maximum capacity.
When you finish your sprint, be sure to decelerate gradually so that you don’t trip.
Jogging backward is very good for you (which is why it appears 3 times in this workout).
When you do single-leg hops, I encourage you to be extra conscientious.
Pay close attention to how your feet land (you don’t want to roll an ankle).
I want you to have a healthy HIIT workout, so I encourage you to consider these safety considerations before you start running intervals:
- Limber Up Beforehand: Do a gentle warm-up consisting of light mobility movements and dynamic stretching to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout ahead.
- Progression: If you’re new to intervals, starting gently and progressing slowly, gradually increasing intensity over time is essential.
- Good Footwear: Running intervals can be hard on your feet and ankles, so wearing footwear that provides adequate support is key. Personally, I like a lower heel on my running shoes. But don’t try sprints on the first day wearing brand-new shoes – or you might bruise your Achilles.
- Hydration: Intervals are intense and cause you to sweat a lot, so stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout with adequate water. If you typically follow a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, you might want to add a bit of salt to your water.
Of course, you want to listen to your body and stop if you feel any specific pain during your intervals. I recommend consulting with your medical doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Overall, a HIIT workout and running intervals can be surprisingly effective forms of cardiovascular exercise that offer a variety of benefits for people looking to improve their fitness level, experience weight loss, and get a higher return on their time investment compared to other forms of exercise.