Q. I'm looking to get my cardio on! Will HIIT make all my fat-burning dreams come true?

Well, I'm not sure doing high-intensity interval training will make your dreams come true, but it will send your body into fat-burning overdrive! If you do it right, you can burn a grip of calories in less than 30 minutes per day. So lack of time is no excuse.

The main concept of HIIT is to train in intervals of differing speeds. One of the most important things to remember while doing HIIT is never allowing your body to adjust to one intensity level.

You can do interval training with many different exercises: sprinting or jump-roping, using the treadmill, stair-mill, stationary bike or the elliptical; you could even use the punching bag or do box-jumps. The key is to push through the high-intensity intervals and lower your heart-rate during the low-intensity intervals.

All-out sprinting on an inclined treadmill is riskier than jogging steadily, so stay focused during your HIIT sessions. This demanding training method needs complete concentration from your mind and your body - no weak sauce.


What makes HIIT training so effective as a fat burner is that it produces excess post-oxygen consumption, a.k.a. EPOC. A study performed by Jeffrey W. King of East Tennessee State University showed that HIIT increases the resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours.

Meaning: the fat-burning party isn't over once you step off the treadmill - it keeps going and going and going!

Another study by M. Sanchez Pacheco found that rats which performed high-intensity exercises lost more fat than the rats which performed low-intensity exercise. The rats which exercised at 80-90% of their maximum heart rate lost a significant amount of body fat compared to the rats which exercised at 60-70% of their maximum heart rate.

Many research studies found that long endurance activities like marathon running can cause muscle catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue. Muscle catabolism can sometimes last up to 7 days after the endurance activity takes place.

HIIT training on the other hand, can help increase speed, power, endurance and metabolic rate, helping you burn fat faster. Professional athletes incorporate HIIT into their workout routines because it has been proven to improve athletic performance.

I use HIIT to maintain my conditioning all year; I find it particularly effective when preparing for photo-shoots. My clients use it too! Their biggest fat-loss transformations come from doing HIIT sessions.

Big HIITFor optimum fat burning, perform a HIIT workout at least three times per week.

HIIT workout
Treadmill running
1 set, 100 m (walk 200 meters (30 mins total))
Shadow boxing
Punching-Bag Burn-outs
1 set, 60 sec (2 min rest (30 mins total))
Jumping rope
1 set, 90 sec (3 min rest (30 mins total))

HIIT It Right

To prevent injury, start HIIT sessions with a good warm-up and end them with a proper cool-down.

Also, because you are going to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time and may be prone to cramping, make sure you constantly keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water before, during and after the session.

  1. http://etd-submit.etsu.edu/etd/theses/available/etd-0412101-214442/unrestricted/king0417.pdf

About the Author

Obi Obadike, M.S.

Obi Obadike, M.S.

Obi Obadike, M.S., is a celebrity trainer and fitness author who holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Phoenix (Phoenix, Arizona).

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Hiit Workout