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The Ultimate 8-Week HIIT For Fat-Burning Program

The Ultimate 8-Week HIIT For Fat-Burning Program

Better results in less time. What's not to love about HIIT training? Melt fat fast with this scientifically proven blubber-burning program!

As far as cardio training goes, high-intensity interval training, aka HIIT, has been exactly that among serious fitness enthusiasts—a big "hit."

HIIT has nothing to do with becoming a Mafia assassin, although your body fat may feel like you finally have it in the crosshairs.

Jim Stoppani 8-Week HIIT Audio Get the HIIT skinny straight from the mouth of Dr. Jim Stoppani in this audio segment. Click to listen, or download to your mp3 player!
Click play button to listen, or download file instead - MP3 (7.5 MB).

This novel form of cardio intersperses intervals of high-intensity exercise (such as sprinting) with intervals of either low-intensity exercise (such as walking at a slow pace) or complete rest. This style is a departure from continuous steady-state (slow and steady) cardio that most people do at a moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes.

With HIIT, you'll be running (or cycling or whatever) like a bat out of hell for brief stretches, but the net effect when all's said and done is better results in less time.

HIIT

HIIT was developed decades ago by track coaches to better prepare runners. At the time it was known by the oh-so-catchy name of "Fartlek" training, the conjoining of the Swedish words for speed (fart) and play (lek). So it means "speed play," which is a good description of HIIT training.

Growing Body of Evidence

HIIT has crossed over to the fitness industry due to beneficial results established through both anecdotal reports and published research studies.

In fact, studies comparing HIIT to continuous steady-state exercise have shown that HIIT is far superior for fat loss, despite requiring less time to complete.

One of the first studies to discover that HIIT was more effective for fat loss was done in a 1994 study by researchers at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada). They reported that young men and women who followed a 15-week HIIT program lost significantly more body fat than those following a 20-week continuous steady-state endurance program. This, despite the fact that the steady-state program burned about 15,000 calories more than the HIIT program.

The research has continued along the same lines:

The major reason that HIIT works so well to drop body fat to a greater degree than continuous steady-state cardio appears to be due to the greater increase in resting metabolism following HIIT.

10%
NO REST FOR YOUR
METABOLISM

A 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) reported that subjects who followed a HIIT workout on a stationary cycle burned significantly more calories during the 24 hours following the workout than those who cycled at a moderate steady-state intensity.

LOSE 100 MORE CALORIES

In a study presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine by Florida State University (Tallahassee), researchers reported that subjects who performed HIIT burned almost 10 percent more calories during the 24 hours following exercise as compared to those who performed continuous steady-state exercise, despite the fact that the total calories burned during the workouts were the same.

In addition to the increase in resting metabolism, research confirms that HIIT is effective at enhancing the metabolic machinery in muscle cells that promote fat burning and blunt fat production.

30%
FAST-BURNING MUSCLE

The Laval University study that found a decrease in body fat with HIIT also discovered that the HIIT subjects' muscle fibers had significantly higher markers for fat oxidation (fat burning) than those in the continuous steady-state exercise group.

DECREASE YOUR FAT ENZYMES

A study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim), reported that subjects with metabolic syndrome who followed a 16-week HIIT program had a 100 percent greater decrease in content of the fat-producing enzyme fatty acid synthase as compared to subjects who followed continuous moderate-intensity exercise.

And yet another way that HIIT appears to work has to do with getting the fat to where it will be burned away for good.

But Is HIIT A Hit For Bodybuilders?

In a word, yes. While many bodybuilders and trainers argue that going slower and longer with cardio is best to burn fat and protect muscle mass, the opposite appears to be true.

Cardio done at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time will not only help you maintain your muscle, but can actually help you build muscle mass. When you train at a slow and steady pace for a longer period of time, you are training your muscle fibers to be more aerobic and have greater endurance.

HIIT

Do you know how muscle fibers adapt to becoming more aerobic and gaining greater endurance? By becoming smaller and weaker! The smaller a muscle fiber is, the less time it takes for nutrients to travel within the muscle fiber. This speeds up the rate that the nutrients can be burned for fuel.

But even if you think of this from a common-sense perspective, it makes perfect sense. Stating that slow and steady cardio for longer periods of time is best for maintaining muscle mass is similar to saying that curling 5-pound dumbbells for 30 minutes straight will build more muscle than curling 40 pound dumbbells for sets of 10 reps with 2 minutes of rest between sets. See, the higher-intensity workout clearly builds muscle better. If you think about it, weightlifting is actually a form of HIIT!

The research backs this up:

HIIT also helps you to maintain your sanity by getting you done with cardio quicker. I can't think of anything more monotonous than being stuck on a treadmill, stairmaster, stationary cycle, or elliptical machine for a good 30 minutes straight! With HIIT the intensity bursts may be more grueling, but they are short and challenging. That makes the workout more "fun" and completes it quicker.

Another benefit of HIIT is that you can do it almost anywhere with any piece of equipment—or without any equipment at all! Although it can be, HIIT does not have to be done on gym cardio equipment. The possibilities are virtually limitless. You can use it with a jump rope, with weights, with strength bands, with your body weight.

HIIT

So consider doing less slow and long workouts in the cardio area and do more HIIT. The benefits will be maximal fat loss due to a ramping up your resting metabolism and fat burning enzymes, while building muscle, all in a minimal amount of time.

The Beginner-To-Advanced 8-Week HIIT Program

The following program can take you from HIIT beginner to HIIT stud in 8 short weeks.

  • It starts with a work:rest ratio of 1:4 in Phase 1 for a total workout time of just under 15 minutes.
  • Phase 2 bumps up the amount of time in the "work" phase, bringing the ratio up to 1:2 and the total workout time to 17 minutes.
  • In Phase 3, the rest ratio is cut in half, bringing the ratio up to 1:1. The total workout time increases to 18.5 minutes.
  • Finally, in Phase 4, the rest ratio is cut in half again, raising the ratio to 2:1 and the total time at 20 minutes. This will put you in the advanced ranks for HIIT.

The suggested time of each phase is just that—suggested. If you need to spend more than two weeks at a particular phase before moving up, go for it. Ditto if a phase seems too easy and you want to jump right up to the next phase.

You can do these workouts using tools, such as a jump rope, or simply doing jumping jacks, or sprinting, or working on a stationary cycle. Use your imagination. Just follow the work-to-rest intervals as indicated.

Phase 1 (1:4): Weeks 1-2
  • 15 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 60 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 15-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 14 minutes



Phase 2 (1:2): Weeks 3-4
  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 60 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 17 minutes



Phase 3 (1:1): Weeks 5-6
  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 30 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

Repeat another 11 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 18.5 minutes



Phase 4 (2:1): Week 7-8
  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 15 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

Repeat another 25 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 20 minutes




Six Weeks to Sick Arms

Jim Stoppani

References:

  1. Boutcher, S. H. et al. The effect of high intensity intermittent exercise training on autonomic response of premenopausal women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(5 suppl):S165, 2007.
  2. Gorostiaga, E. M., et al. Uniqueness of interval and continuous training at the same maintained exercise intensity. European Journal of Applied Physiology 63(2):101-107, 1991.
  3. King, J. W. A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women (thesis). East Tennessee State University, 2001.
  4. Meuret, J. R., et al. A comparison of the effects of continuous aerobic, intermittent aerobic, and resistance exercise on resting metabolic rate at 12 and 21 hours post-exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(5 suppl):S247, 2007.
  5. Paton, C. D., et al. Effects of low- vs. high-cadence interval training on cycling performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(6): 1758-1763, 2009.
  6. Smith, A. E., et al. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6:5, 2009.
  7. Talanian, J. L., et al. Exercise training increases sarcolemmal and mitochondrial fatty acid transport proteins in human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab IN press, 2010.
  8. Talanian, J. L., et al. Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. Journal of Applied Physiology 102(4):1439-1447, 2007.
  9. Tjonna, A. E., et al. Superior cardiovascular effect of interval training versus moderate exercise in patients with metabolic syndrome. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(5 suppl):S112, 2007.
  10. Trapp, E. G. and Boutcher, S. Metabolic response of trained and untrained women during high-intensity intermittent cycle exercise. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Dec;293(6):R2370-5.
  11. Treuth, M. S., et al. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 28(9):1138-1143, 1996.

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About The Author

Jim holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant for numerous celebrity clients...

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LiftStrong21

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LiftStrong21

Great, thanks for the help.

Dec 20, 2011 9:36am | report
 
cyborg939

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cyborg939

How many times a week should I be doing the prescribed workouts?

Dec 25, 2011 1:48pm | report
 
joesirois

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joesirois

3 times a week

Mar 26, 2012 9:22pm | report
goyettecj

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goyettecj

Has anyone actually have gone out and done this? If not then let me be the one that does it and comes back to talk about it....ready....set...GO!!~~

Jan 16, 2012 12:50am | report
 
seanxhxc

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seanxhxc

I can't speak for results, but in the article it mentioned that HIIT is a psychological break from the longer, steady state cardio, and that I can definitely vouch for. I row for my school and i'm on the ergometer(rowing machine) 3-4 days a week, and there's nothing more relieving than hearing my coach say "Okay, today we'll do 3 minutes on, 1 minute off, 7 times" as opposed to "Okay, today you'll be rowing for 45 minutes." That being said, knowing that you'll be done faster encourages you to push yourself harder during the "on" periods, at least for me. I definitely prefer HIIT to steady-state cardio, and if the facts from this article are true, that makes it all the better! Good luck

Feb 12, 2012 6:53pm | report
milena78

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milena78

Awsome. Will try it

Article Rated:
Jan 26, 2012 2:59am | report
 
dozey05

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dozey05

looks really good an i have just started this last nite an i was wondering has anyone done this with some before an after pics? an what were the preformance gains at the end of this? cheers

Jan 31, 2012 11:06pm | report
 
gettinsexy

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gettinsexy

Hey did u try?!

Sep 2, 2013 2:39am | report
gettinsexy

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gettinsexy

Hey did u try?!

Sep 2, 2013 2:39am | report
Rquintana1

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Rquintana1

This is a great format and very detailed workout. Thanks

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Feb 23, 2012 11:36pm | report
 
yuvraj30

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yuvraj30

hitting this system from tommorow

Mar 5, 2012 2:42am | report
 
svguan

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svguan

Informative and helpful article! Thanks!

Mar 5, 2012 7:27am | report
 
L72

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L72

Great info Doc

Mar 19, 2012 12:28pm | report
 
Hakanson

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Hakanson

Excellent read!

Mar 19, 2012 7:23pm | report
 
jrp859

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jrp859

I absolutely love hiit, it works wonders and in just a few weeks i started shedding fat fast! Used to do it on the ellipticals but now i do it on the rowers and stairs!

Mar 20, 2012 6:18am | report
 
sw49pr

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sw49pr

This WOULD be a great article IF Jim gave any sort of specification about how many times/week to do the workout.

Do you recommend HIIT 7 days a week? Once a week? At the end of strength training or on off days?

Let's be a little more specific with the workout here, Jim.

Mar 20, 2012 7:25am | report
 
dzo1

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dzo1

It starts with a work:rest ratio of 1:4 in Phase 1 = 1 day on 4 days off

Phase 2 bumps up the amount of time in the "work" phase, bringing the ratio up to 1:2 = 1 day on 2 days off

In Phase 3, the rest ratio is cut in half, bringing the ratio up to 1:1. = 1 day on 1 day off

Finally, in Phase 4, the rest ratio is cut in half again, raising the ratio to 2:1 = 2 days on 1 day off

Hope that helps! Cheers!

Mar 20, 2012 4:47pm | report
L72

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L72

@dzo, those ratios are for the work/rest periods performed on your HIIT movements.

If u read the 2 studies Dr.Jim refered to...1 study they did HIIT 3 times a week

Mar 20, 2012 10:44pm | report
BossOfTheElite

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BossOfTheElite

"One study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported that male subjects following a 6-week HIIT program (done for 15 minutes per day at a ratio of 2:1 for exercise-to-rest, 3 days per week)"

It depends what your useing it for though if its your only workout then 3-5 times a week is plenty if its replacing cardio in your regular w/o and you still go to the gym then 2-3 days a week would be lots as you could use it as an active rest day or a mourning fat burning session before your w/o. don't do it everyday or your will likely go into an 'over trained' state.

Chris TheBoss Smith.

Mar 25, 2012 3:08am | report
sbrooke

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sbrooke

Good article Jim. Very convincing statistics behind the HIT. I will incorporate this as I change up my lifting schedule here in about two weeks. Certainly on my off days and perhaps after my lifting sessions if I have anything left in the tank. Unless anyone thinks that will not allow proper muscle recovery. Thoughts?

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Mar 20, 2012 8:35am | report
 
sbrooke

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sbrooke

Good article Jim. Very convincing statistics behind the HIT. I will incorporate this as I change up my lifting schedule here in about two weeks. Certainly on my off days and perhaps after my lifting sessions if I have anything left in the tank. Unless anyone thinks that will not allow proper muscle recovery. Thoughts?

Article Rated:
Mar 20, 2012 8:37am | report
 
Spindel180

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Spindel180

I've read that doing cardio after your workout can raise your test. levels.... Its a good thing

Aug 30, 2012 12:11pm | report
powerdripper

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powerdripper

I agree that I would like to see how many times a week Jim recommends doing this.

However, for those wondering how many times a week they should be doing this...until Jim replies. I have read in other articles in M

Mar 20, 2012 9:17am | report
 
jwethall

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jwethall

I know HIIT has been scientifically and clinically proven to be effective for burning fat and weight loss, but every time I've done it I've lost muscle and had to start over. Different strokes for different folks I guess, but my stubborn *** body only responds to the long tortuous low intensity cardio early in the am (on an empty stomach), or after a good bout of resistance training. Just a word of caution to those who might have similar endo-mesomorph physiques.

Mar 20, 2012 9:53am | report
 
Irondiesel58

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Irondiesel58

This article is not complete because in another article it tells you that your muscles will get smaller but in the next phase you'll actually end up with your muscles getting much bigger then a regular workout. I'm finding HIIT never a complete workout with each phase set in print. I'd love to try it but not until I know exactly what I'm doing. Phase one is to do a 15 minute workout doesn't seem like much and then your to do nothing for 4 days? Is this how it is or am I missing something?

Jan 30, 2013 12:50pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 185 Comments

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