4-week Fat Burner – HIIT Workout

HIIT, short for High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of exercise that uses short workouts to produce amazing results. You can use HIIT to burn fat, lose weight, tone up, and get fit – all at the same time. Unlike many types of exercise, HIIT workouts take minutes and not hours, and that means it’s much easier to do them consistently. 

This workout plan is designed specifically for beginners. Many HIIT workouts are too hard for beginners and so I wanted to introduce you to this great type of exercise slowly and gradually. After just four weeks, you’ll be ready for something more demanding. 

All you need is about 30-40 minutes three times a week and, best of all, you can do these workouts in the comfort of your own home. 

Workout table 

We’ll reveal the details of each workout in a moment, but for now, this is the workout schedule you are going to follow. You will do three workouts per week, on non-consecutive days. 

If these exact days do not work for you don’t worry; feel free to move the workouts to days that fit your schedule better. However, try to avoid doing HIIT workouts two days in a row, e.g. Monday and Tuesday. This is too much for most beginners. 

There are three workouts, and each one increases in difficulty slightly over the four-week period. This will ensure your fitness and fat burning potential increases over the coming weeks. 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Workout 1 Rest day Workout 2 Rest day Workout 3 Rest day Rest day
Week 2 Workout 1 Rest day Workout 2 Rest day Workout 3 Rest day Rest day
Week 2 Workout 1 Rest day Workout 2 Rest day Workout 3 Rest day Rest day
Week 4 Workout 1 Rest day Workout 2 Rest day Workout 3 Rest day Rest day

 

Equipment needed 

HIIT workouts are effective even if you don’t have a lot of equipment available. In fact, for many HIIT workouts, all you need is an exercise mat. A lot of the exercises use bodyweight only, or a few items of easy to get workout equipment such as light dumbbells or a skipping rope. 

For your 4-week HIIT workout plan, you will need: 

  1. Yoga mat or similar – or a folded towel will do 
  2. Skipping rope
  3. Light dumbbells (2-5kg) – or you can use cans of food or water bottles filled with water and/or sand
  4. A towel to wipe up sweat 
  5. A water bottle 
  6. A clock with a second hand or a timer 

Before you start…

Prior planning prevents poor performance or so they say! Make sure your HIIT workouts are as enjoyable and productive as possible by taking a few simple steps before you start. 

1. Set your workout days and times in advance. Setting a workout schedule means you are less likely to skip out on your session and are more likely to develop the exercise habit. I do my workouts at 7am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I even put these times in my diary, so I can’t double-book myself. 

Also, take a few minutes to review the exercises you are going to do each day, making sure you know how to do them. Look at the YouTube videos that I’ve provided with each workout and have a practice so that everything goes smoothly. 

2. Pick a space at home and get it ready for your workout. Move the furniture so you have enough space, get the equipment ready you are going to use, and set up any music you want to listen to before you start. Put your phone on silent so you won’t be disturbed and tell your family and housemates you are unavailable for the next 30 minutes or so. 

3. Make sure you have a timer for your workout. I use my phone and an timer app. 

4. Dress for success remembering that you are going to get hot during your workout. It’s useful to dress in layers so you can more easily control your temperature. 

5. Fill your water bottle so you have it ready and can sip water throughout your workout. 

6. Warm up. Never skip this part of your workout or you could end up injured. You’ll find a warm up to follow in the next section. 

7. Concentrate! For the next 30-40 minutes, forget about work, forget about the news, and forget about what you need to do later in the day. Put all your mental and physical energy into the prescribed exercises.

8. Cooldown. You might be tempted to collapse in a heap once your workout is over, but please don’t. If you do stop exercising abruptly, you are more likely to suffer sore muscles. Instead, follow the cool down routine detailed later in this article. 

9. Record your workout. How did your training session go? You won’t know unless you write down your achievements! As soon as you have cooled down, make a note of how you felt during and after each exercise. That way, you’ll be able to monitor your performance and progress over the next four weeks. Try and do more reps as the weeks pass. 

10. Eat, rest, and congratulate yourself on a job well done! That’s it, the hard work is done for today so now it’s time to put back into your body what your workout took out. Drink a healthy homemade protein smoothie or eat a light carb and protein snack. And remember, the workout you have just completed will take you one step closer to your fitness and weight loss goal! 

Warming up 

Every good workout starts with a good warm up. Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for what you are about to do, and also helps focus your mind too. It’s also an opportunity to see how you feel. If your muscles feel sore, tired, or stiff, you might want to take it a little easier today. But, if you feel great, maybe it’s time to push yourself a little harder. 

There are three phases to our warm-up: 

  1. Pulse raiser – this is the part of the warm-up that makes you warm 
  2. Dynamic stretching and mobility exercises – to loosen up your muscles and joints
  3. Exercise practice – a few reps of the exercises in your workout so you can make sure you know how to do them properly  

The pulse raiser – go for a brisk walk, an easy jog, or do some easy skipping for about five minutes, or until you feel warm and slightly out of breath. This will get your blood pumping and increase your core temperature. 

Dynamic stretching and mobility – do ten repetitions of the following exercises to lightly stretch your muscles and get your joints moving: 

1. Squat to overhead reach
Squat down as if you were sitting in a chair. Stand back up and raise your arms overhead. Lower your arms and repeat. 

 

2. Forward and backward leg swings

Lean on a wall or hold the back of a chair for balance. Swing one leg forward and back, making sure the movement comes from your hips and not your spine. Do the same number of swings on each leg. 

3. Side bends

Stand with your hands by your side, knees slightly bent for balance. Lean over to the left and the right, sliding your hands down your legs as you do so. 

4. Waist twists

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent for balance. Keeping your arms relaxed, turn your shoulders and waist and look behind you. Let your arms swing around and lightly touch your back. Swing the other way and repeat. 

Exercise practice – do 3-5 reps of each exercise in today’s workout. Do each repetition smoothly and properly to reinforce good habits. 

The workouts 

Here are your workouts. As you can see, each one gets a little harder as the weeks pass. This will ensure you get a little fitter over the four-weeks, and also gives you the opportunity to practice and master the exercises. 

Workout 1

Exercises Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
1 Skipping  4 rounds 

25 seconds work

35 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

6 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

2 Squats 
3 Jumping jacks 
4 Push-ups 
5 Mountain climbers 
6 Dumbbell shoulder press 
Total workout time 16 minutes   20 minutes  25 minutes  30 minutes 

 

Guidelines for all the workouts: 

Do exercise number one for the allotted time (25 or 30 seconds). Do as many repetitions as you can in that time while maintaining perfect technique. Rest for as long as stated (35 or 30 seconds) and then move on to the second exercise. Again, do as many repetitions as you can in the stated time. Rest once more, and then do the third and the fourth exercise. At the end of the fourth exercise, you will have completed one round. 

Keep going until you have completed all the prescribed rounds (that’s four for weeks one and two, five for week three, and six for week four). 

Your week one workout should look something like this: 

Skipping – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds

Squats – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds

Jumping jacks – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds 

Push-ups – 25 seconds

Rest – 35 seconds

That’s one round!

Skipping – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds

Squats – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds

Jumping jacks – 25 seconds 

Rest – 35 seconds 

Push-ups – 25 seconds

Rest – 35 seconds

That’s two rounds – keep going; only two more left to do! 

Exercise Descriptions 

To get the most from the exercises in these programs it’s important that you do them correctly. That way you’ll get the best results and will minimize your risk of injury. Read the instructions and watch the videos so that your technique is perfect! 

1) Skipping – hold the ends of your rope in your hands with the rope on the floor behind you. Use your wrists to flip the rope up and over your head. Jump lightly over the rope as it approaches your feet. Don’t jump too high – just an inch or so will do. Can’t jump rope? Jog in the spot instead. 

2) Squats – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes tuned slightly outward, hands by your sides or in front of your chest. Push your hips back, bend your legs, and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. 

3) Jumping jacks – stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Jump your feet out to around shoulder-width apart and raise your arms out to the side and overhead. Jump your feet back together and simultaneously lower your arms. Land lightly and repeat. 

4) Push-ups – squat down and place your hands on the floor. Walk your feet back until your arms and legs are straight. Bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor. Push back up and repeat. Can’t do a full push-up? No problem! Just bend your legs and rest your knees on the floor. 

5) Mountain climbers – adopt the push-up position with your arms and legs straight. Bend one leg and bring your knee up and under your body. Quickly swap legs. Keep pumping your legs for the duration of your set. 

6) Dumbbell shoulder press – hold a light dumbbell, a water-filled bottle, or a can of food in each hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Raise your hands to shoulder-level. Push your weights up and overhead to arms’ length, and then lower them back to your shoulders. Keep your core braced throughout. You can also do this exercise with resistance bands. 

Workout 2

Exercises Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
1 High knee running  4 rounds 

25 seconds work

35 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

6 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

2 Lunges 
3 Planks 
4 Curl and press
5 Step-ups 
6 Skipping  
Total workout time 16 minutes   20 minutes  25 minutes  30 minutes 

 

Exercise Descriptions 

1) High knee running – for this exercise, simply run on the spot as fast as you can, bringing your knees up to about hip-height. Pump your arms and try not to lean back. 

2) Lunges – stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Take a large step forward, bend your legs, and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor. Stand back up and then do another repetition with the opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for the duration of your set. 

 

3) Planks – lie down on the floor with your arms bent and elbows under your shoulders. Lift your hips up off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, and legs form a straight line. Hold this position, but not your breath, for the specified time. Keep your abs braced throughout. If a full plank is too hard for you right now, bend your legs and rest on your knees instead. 

4) Curl and press – with a weight in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Starting with your arms by your sides, bend your elbows and curl your weights up to your shoulders, and then press them up and overhead. Lower the weights back to your shoulders, and then down to your sides. That’s one rep – keep going! 

5) Step-ups – stand in front of a sturdy chair or at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Step up and place one foot on top of your step. Bring the other foot up to meet it. Step back down to the floor leading with the same foot. Change legs and do another step-up. Hold weights in your hands if you want to make this exercise harder. 

6) Skipping – you’ve done this exercise before, so you should know how to do it now! See if you can go a little faster, or even try doing some double unders, where you turn the rope twice per jump. 

Workout 3

Exercises Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
1 Shadowboxing  4 rounds 

25 seconds work

35 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

5 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

6 rounds 

30 seconds work

30 seconds rest  

2 Prisoner squats 
3 Crunches 
4 Thrusters 
5 Chair dips 
6 Burpees
Total workout time 16 minutes   20 minutes  25 minutes  30 minutes 

 

Exercise Descriptions 

1) Shadow boxing – shadow boxing is a fun way to get fit, burn fat, and work off stress! Start in a boxing stance and jump lightly on your feet. Throw lots of different punches at an imaginary opponent. Move around as much as you can to mimic making yourself a harder target to hit back. 

2) Prisoner squats – place your hands on the back of your head. Push your elbows back and open up your chest. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat. Try not to round your lower back. 

 

3) Crunches – lie on your back with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your temples. Without pulling on your head or neck, lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Lie back down and repeat. If you find this exercise hard, place your hand on your thighs instead. 

4) Thrusters – hold your weights at shoulder-height. Stand with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and squat down as far as you can without rounding your lower back. Stand back up and then press your weights up and overhead. Lower your weights back to your shoulders and repeat. 

5) Chair dips – sit on a sturdy chair with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the side of the seat. Straighten your arms and lift your butt off the chair. Swing your hips forward slightly. Bend your arms and lower yourself down until your elbows are bent to around 90-degrees. Push back up and repeat. 

6) Burpees – stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Bend your legs and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back and into the push-up position. Do a single push-up. Jump your feet back up to your hands and then leap up into the air. Land on slightly bent knees and then do another rep. If this exercise is too hard right now, feel free to leave out the push-up and/or the jump. 

Cooling down and stretching 

Congratulations; you’ve finished your workout! Don’t collapse in a chair just yet though, you still need to cool down. Cooling down ensures your heartrate decreases gradually, pumps oxygenated blood into your muscles so they recover faster, and can also help prevent muscle soreness. 

To cool down properly, you will need to do two things: 

  1. Pulse lowering cardio – to gradually return your heart and breathing rate to normal 
  2. Static stretches – to reduce muscle tension and increase flexibility 

Pulse lowering cardio – do another 3-5 minutes of easy cardio, such as walking, jogging, or skipping. Slow down gradually over that time so that by the time you have finished your breathing rate has more-or-less returned to normal. 

Static stretches – hold each of the following stretches for 30-60 seconds to keep your muscles loose and flexible. Do not bounce or jerk, and ease into each stretch gradually. As you feel your muscles relax, try and take the stretch a little deeper. Breathe deeply throughout and make sure you ease off if your muscles start to burn or shake. 

1. Standing calf stretch 

Place your hands against a wall at about shoulder-height. Step back and, with your rearmost leg straight, gently press your heel down toward the floor. Move your foot further back to increase the stretch. 

2. Standing quadriceps stretch 

Stand with your feet together. Bend your left leg and use your left arm to pull your foot in toward your butt. Keep your knees close together and use your right arm for balance as required. 

3. Seated adductor stretch 

Sit on the floor with your legs bent and the soles of your feet together. Pull your feet in as close to you as you can. Sit up straight, grasp your ankles, and put your elbows on your knees. Gently push your legs down toward the floor. 

4. Supine assisted hamstring stretch 

Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift one leg and loop a belt or band over your foot. Use your arms to support the weight of your leg. Gently pull your leg upright to stretch your hamstrings. Keep your head and shoulders on the floor throughout. 

5. Figure-four lower back stretch 

Lie on your back with your legs straight. Extend your arms out on the floor at shoulder-level. Bend your left leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Grasp your left knee with your right arm. Pull your leg over to the side and down toward the floor, twisting your torso as you do so. Keep your outstretched arm flat on the floor. 

6. Sphynx stretch 

Lie on your front with your hands flat beneath your forehead. Gently push with your arms and lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor. Support your weight on your elbows and relax. Make sure you keep your hips on the floor throughout. 

 

7. Kneeling hip flexor stretch 

Kneel down on the floor and then move one leg forward so that you are in a split stance. Keeping your body upright, ease your hips forward to stretch your hip flexor muscles. Slide your rearmost leg further back to increase the depth of the stretch. 

8. Doorway pectoralis stretch 

Stand in an open doorway. Place your forearms on the doorframe so that your elbows are level with your shoulders. Lean forward to stretch your chest muscles. 

 

Stretching tips: 

  • Breathe slowly and rhythmically. Do not hold your breath  
  • Picture the target muscles stretching – like a rubber band 
  • Gradually increase the depth of each stretch as you feel your muscles relax 
  • NEVER bounce or jerk while you stretch – you could injure yourself 
  • Make sure you do not tense up any part of your body while you stretch. Pay special attention to your face, neck, and shoulders
  • Ease off if you feel your muscles shaking or burning. You have stretched too far and risk pulling a muscle 
  • Stretching during your rest days is a very good idea! 

Tips for recovery after your workouts 

What you do straight after your workouts is just as important as what you do during them. The few hours immediately after your workout can have a big impact on your recovery, and the sooner you recover, the sooner you’ll be able to exercise again.

Use these tips to maximize recovery and ensure your workouts are as beneficial as possible. 

1. Do your cool down! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (it’s that important), always do your cool down. It’ll only take you a few minutes but will have a big impact on how you feel tomorrow. 

2. Eat some carbs and protein. HIIT takes a lot out of your body. It depletes muscle glycogen and also causes muscle breakdown. To recover and get fitter, as well as fuel your next workout, you need to eat carbs and protein shortly after you finish your workout. A homemade protein smoothie containing fruit is a good place to start. 

Or, if you prefer to eat solid food, some rice or pasta plus vegetables and some grilled chicken or fish is a good choice. The sooner you can eat (healthily of course!) after exercise, the faster and more completely you will recover.  Nutrition Guide – What, When and How Much to Eat.

3. Drink more water. While you should have sipped water throughout your workout, you may still finish your session dehydrated, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Your body needs to replace the water lost during exercise otherwise you will delay the recovery process. Make sure you consume plenty of water, even after your HIIT workout is done. 

4. Try some contrast showers. Alternating hot and cold showers increases microcirculation in the same way massage does. This flushes your muscles with oxygen and removes lactic acid. Doing this will help speed up recovery and could reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.  

5. Take some time to relax. If you can, enjoy a nice break after your workout. Sit quietly and reflect on what you have achieved before rushing off to your next task of the day. This calmness creates the perfect scenario for recovery, lowering stress hormone cortisol levels. 

6. Share your achievements. Feeling really happy about your workout? Tell someone! Sharing your achievements is a good way to boost your self-esteem and, who knows, you might inspire whoever you tell to try these workouts too!  

7. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep will do wonders for your recovery. Most people need 6-8 hours per night, but after a hard workout, you should view 8 hours as your minimum. Go to bed a little earlier and turn the lights off a little sooner to make sure you get all the restorative sleep you need.  

Tips for better rest days 

You can’t exercise flat out all the time. If you try, you’ll soon end up tired and injured. If that happens, you’ll stop exercising altogether and you’ll never get fit or lose weight. However, as important as rest days are, you shouldn’t be entirely sedentary on the days you don’t do HIIT. In fact, some activity on your rest days can really help. 

1. Walk, walk, and walk some more. One of the reasons I love walking so much is that I can do it even when I’m tired, like the day after an HIIT workout. It infuses your muscles with oxygen, burns calories, but is gentle enough that it improves recovery instead of interfering with it. Try to clock up between 5,000-10,000 steps on the days that you don’t do an HIIT workout. 

Find out more about walking in our walking guide. 

2. Stretch anything that still feels tight. Stretching is already part of your cool down, but more stretching is never a bad idea. Take a mental inventory of your muscles and spend a few minutes stretching anything that feels tight. A great time to stretch is after a nice, relaxing, warm bath. 

3. Think about your next workout. How did today’s workout really go? What did you enjoy? What did you find tough? What will you do differently next time? Spend a few minutes thinking about your next workout, planning how you will make your next one even better! 

4. Prepare some healthy meals to eat. We’ve got lots of healthy recipes on Days to Fitness, and your rest days are a good time to make them and then freeze them for later. That way, on the days you are tired from your HIIT workout, you’ll have plenty of healthy food to eat and are less likely to derail your progress by eating junk food. 

5. Launder your workout clothes. Make sure you wash your workout wear on the day you use it. That way you can wash it using a short cycle to save energy, and it’ll be dry and ready for the next time you need it. If you do this, you won’t be able to use the excuse “I have nothing to wear” for missing your workout. 

6. Create some new workout playlists. If you listen to the same workout music over and over again, it can lose its motivating qualities. You’ll get bored of it and what was once really motivating music will just become background noise. Spend a few minutes during your rest days coming up with some new workout playlists. Most music subscription services will suggest music based on the things you like. Use this as an opportunity to discover new songs and artists. 

7. Get ready to do it all again! One workout won’t make you fit, toned, or help you lose weight. Instead, you need to exercise consistently, and the sooner you fix that idea in your mind the better. Today might be your rest day, but tomorrow you’ll be back to doing your HIIT workouts. Start thinking (and getting excited about) tomorrow’s workout. Make sure you have everything in place to that it goes without a hitch. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How hard is this workout?

High intensity interval training is a hard type of exercise, but that’s why it works, and why you only need to exercise for a few minutes at a time. That being said, while you do need to work hard, your workouts should not be painful. Your muscles will burn, and you will be out of breath, but that discomfort should be very manageable. If you find that any of the workouts are a little too hard for you, just do a few less reps, slow down a bit, or rest longer between exercises. 

2. What should I expect after four weeks? 

Four weeks isn’t a lot of time but if you do the workouts consistently, you should notice that your muscles feel more toned, your clothes are a little looser, and you don’t feel so tired after each workout. You may also find everyday tasks like climbing the stairs are easier and you have more energy in general. Your results will depend on how healthily you eat and what you do on rest days too. 

3. Should I work out in the morning, afternoon, or evening? 

The best time to exercise is the time that suits you best. I like to exercise first thing in the morning so that I know I’ve done my workout for the day and that I am free to get on with the other tasks I have planned. I know other people who prefer to work out at lunchtime, or after work. I have one friend who always does his workout an hour or so after he has eaten his dinner but before he goes to bed. 

Bottom line: the best time to exercised is when you know you can do it consistently. Try mornings, afternoons, and evenings and see what works best for you. When you have found the right time, make sure you stick to it to make your workout a habit. 

4. How much time do I need for the workouts? 

Because HIIT workouts are short, you won’t need to commit a lot of time to doing them. As you can do them anywhere, even at home, you shouldn’t have to waste time traveling to and from a gym either. Each workout lasts around 20 minutes and with your five-minute warm up and five-minute cool down, you should only need about 35-40 minutes from start to finish. That’s about two hours or 1.2% of your week. 

5. Should I eat during the workouts? 

As each workout is only 20-30 minutes long, you shouldn’t need to eat anything for added energy. In fact, because you’ll be exercising quite hard, eating could make you feel sick. Your energy will come from the glycogen stored in your muscles and the food you ate a few hours before. You should, however, drink water during your workout to prevent thirst and dehydration. Just sip water whenever you get a break but don’t drink too much. A stomach full of water can be as uncomfortable as a stomach full of food. 

6. How can I avoid getting sore muscles? 

Sore muscles are part and parcel of hard exercise. Experts call this type of ache delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. DOMS indicates you have asked your muscles to do more than they are used to. In exercise, this is no bad thing. DOMS should be mild and never so bad it makes moving uncomfortable. 

You can minimize DOMS by always warming up properly, stretching after your workout to relax your muscles, and staying active during rest days. If you are new to exercise, it’s also a good idea to ease yourself in gently and avoid doing too much too soon. 

If your muscles are really sore, a warm bath can help, as can a light massage. 

The good news is that DOMS becomes less common and less severe as you get used to exercising so it should only become less of a problem. 

7. What should I do on rest days? 

It would be a mistake to be completely sedentary on your days off. If you don’t move much, your muscles will start to tighten up, and your metabolism will slow down. Also, you won’t burn as many calories as usual. 

However, it is supposed to be a rest day and that means you should avoid doing intense exercise. Exercising hard will interfere with recovery and that will make your next workout much harder than it should be. 

I suggest going for a walk on your rest days, or even a light swim or jog. If you don’t want to exercise, play some easy sports, play with your kids, or go and do some chores in the garden or garage. 

Being active on your rest days will also help prevent DOMS. 

8. Who should not do these workouts? 

Exercise is good for everybody’s body. However, because HIIT workouts are quite intense, they might not be the best type of workout for some people. People who should not do these workouts or who should speak to their doctors before starting include: 

  • Pregnant – 2nd trimester onwards 
  • Obese or very overweight
  • People who have never exercised before or have not exercised for a long time 
  • People with diseases such as coronary heart disease, or a history of strokes or heart attacks 
  • People with severe joint pain such as knee arthritis 
  • People with severe asthma
  • People with hypertension (very high blood pressure) 

If you are unsure whether HIIT is right for you, make sure you ask your doctor before start. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise, only that you might be better off following a walking program or a jogging program before you start something like HIIT. 

9. I’m not in shape; can I still do these workouts?

To get the most from HIIT, you need to have a basic level of fitness. Otherwise, you might not even finish the first workout. I suggest doing a walking program or a jogging program to build a basic level of fitness before you start HIIT. Once you have done that, you should be ready for beginner HIIT workouts. Take it easy to start with and ease yourself in gently. You’ll soon start to get fitter! 

10. Can I start today?! 

Yes, yes, YES! Subscribe and receive your first workouts today! 

11. Will I burn fat with these workouts?

HIIT does burn fat, but not that much. At least, not while you are exercising. Instead, your body uses glycogen for energy which is actually more important. It’s only when you deplete your glycogen stores that your body can burn fat. HIIT burns calories, and lots of them. That’s much better than burning just a little bit of fat. 

Your body does burn fat, but that happens mostly after you have finished your workout. Your metabolism speeds up for several hours after exercise, and during that time fat is the main fuel. This is called the afterburn effect and is one of the reasons HIIT is such a good workout for weight management. 

12. Can I lose weight following these workouts?

Yes, but only if you also pay attention to your diet. Losing weight means burning fat, and your body will only do that is you create what is called a calorie deficit. When you are in calorie deficit, because you are eating a little less than normal, your body will have to get some of its energy from your fat stores. 

Exercise can help you lose weight, but it won’t work unless you also follow a healthy diet and eat a little less. 

13. How many calories will I burn per workout? 

The number of calories you will burn depends on how hard you exercise, how heavy you are, and how fit you are, so it’s impossible to answer this question accurately. Plus, your metabolic rate will be faster than normal for several hours after each workout. I estimate that you’ll burn 200-300 calories per workout, but that’s not the whole story as the post-workout afterburn effect will add a lot to this number.  

14. What should I eat before each workout?

You can do these workouts in a fasted state because your body is going to be using the glycogen already in your muscles for energy. That’s why I like to do my workouts first thing in the morning. 

If you exercise later in the day, you should make sure your last meal was 1-3 hours before your workout. That way your food will be digested, your stomach will be empty, and you should feel comfortable and ready to work out. 

On the days I train later in the day, I eat a light meal of carbs, usually rice or pasta, some vegetables, and a little protein in the form of grilled chicken or fish. This is easily digested and also gives me extra energy for exercise. 

15. What should I eat after each workout? 

You should eat 1-2 hours after exercise to make sure you restock your muscles with glycogen and provide your muscles with what they need to recover. That means more carbs and protein. Again, I usually eat something like a baked sweet potato, and some vegetables and a little chicken or fish. 

16. To lose weight faster, can I do these workouts every day? 

You could, but I don’t recommend it. HIIT is a hard type of exercise, and it’s important that you have adequate rest and recovery between workouts. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting tired, sore, and injured. 

Instead, I suggest doing three HIIT workouts per week e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then doing some walking or easy jogging or swimming on the days in-between. 

If you feel you need to do more exercise than this, you are probably eating too much. If this is the case, clean up your diet and you won’t need to do more workouts. 

17. Are these workouts safe for the heart? 

Providing you have no underlying medical conditions, HIIT is safe for your heart. However, because your heart rate is going to get quite high during each workout, it’s important you do a gentler form of exercise if you have any history of heart disease. Also, make sure you speak to your doctor before starting if you are unsure about any aspect of your heart health. 

18. Will I lose muscle with these workouts?

Absolutely not! You are going to be using all your main muscles during the HIIT workouts and that will preserve or even slightly build your muscles. They aren’t going to get bodybuilder-big, but HIIT will certainly tone and strengthen your muscles. Muscle loss is much more likely if you do long periods of low intensity cardio – like jogging for an hour at a time. 

19. What should I wear for these workouts? 

Because you will probably do these workouts at home, you can wear whatever you are comfortable in. I wear loose-fitting shorts, a t-shirt, and my running shoes in the summer, and a light tracksuit in the winter. Because you are going to warm up fast during an HIIT workout, I suggest wearing layers, so you can take off extra clothes as you heat up. A zipped hoodie is ideal. 

20. Can I change the workouts? 

If you don’t like any of the exercises in the workouts, or don’t have the necessary equipment, it’s perfectly fine to swap the prescribed exercises for something else instead. For example, if you don’t have a skipping rope, you could jog on the spot instead. Or, if you don’t like lunges, step-ups are a good alternative. 

However, if you make changes, it’s important that you don’t change the spirit of the workout. For example, if the workout asks for push-ups and you do crunches instead, that’s too big a change. But, if you did shoulder presses instead of push-ups, that would be okay. 

If you are unsure about changing the program, drop me an email and I will suggest an alternative exercise. But, if you can, do the workouts as they are written because they are designed to work! 

21) Do I need extra protein after my workout? 

Extra protein may be helpful, but only if you don’t exceed your daily calorie requirement. I sometimes have a homemade smoothie after my workout if I don’t have time to eat a regular meal. 

22) Can I listen to music while I exercise? 

Music can really help keep you motivated during your workout. I always exercise with music I the background. You could use earbuds or a Bluetooth speaker or just put on your stereo. I have created several workout playlists made up from my favorite motivating music and I suggest you do the same. Alternately, there are some great ready-made playlists on Spotify, I-tunes, Deezer, and YouTube. 

23) What shoes should I wear for my workouts? 

Because some of the workouts involve high impact or jumping exercises, I think you should wear shock-absorbing running shoes for your workouts. You don’t need the most expensive shoes as your workouts are only short and not all the exercises involve jumping. A light, cheap pair of shoes should be more than enough. 

24) Is it okay to drink coffee before my workout? 

Drinking coffee before a workout can give you energy if you feel like you need a boost. The caffeine also helps you burn fat a little more efficiently by making more fat cells available for energy. On the downside, coffee may make you want to go to the bathroom which, if it happens during your workout, could interfere with your exercise session. 

If you do drink coffee before your workout, only have a small cup, don’t add sugar or milk, and make sure you use the bathroom before you start. 

25) Do I need to monitor my heart rate during HIIT workouts? 

When you do regular cardio, i.e. walking, running, or swimming, your heart rate needs to be inside your aerobic training zone (60-90% of your maximum) for your workouts to be effective. 

During HIIT, your heartrate will probably go higher than this which is why this type of workout produces better results in less time. You are also going to busy doing the exercises in your workouts do keep stopping to look at your heartrate during your workout. 

By all means wear your heartrate monitor or activity tracker if you have one, or even your activity tracker, but don’t worry too much about the numbers they display. 

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Warm-up, stretching and exercises for a complete 4 Week HIIT workout. All you need to start losing weight today.

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Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m so happy that you’re here! I've shared my story here

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