Tuesday , March 19 2019

How to modify your existing workout routine to HIIT, and burn fat fast

HIIT is the thing most talked about at a gym, and for good reason:


For those of you who know about HIIT, here I will be describing how you can modify your existing routine to get HIIT benefits from it,

For those who are new to what this all means, stick around, as HIIT, can be your ticket to burning fat faster.


Sounds interesting? then read on:


Firstly, for those who are new to exercising and would like some more information in this area, you might want to read further into this post:

12 Things every Beginner should know about Strength Training


So, what exactly is HIIT?

HIIT or High Intensity Interval training, is when you raise your exercise intensity to almost the maximum that you can do, with short rest breaks in between.


Now, what is all the hype about this kind of exercise – what are the benefits of HIIT?

This is what happens when you go all out and exercise close to your maximum,

Firstly, your heart rate increases and so does your endurance to do any exercise.  This in turn increases your metabolism.


Secondly, there is a deficiency of oxygen caused in your blood. Your body will try to get this oxygen when you rest and this is what will start burning fat at a very high rate. This is called EPOC (Excess post exercise oxygen consumption).

In a study just a 2 week HIIT workout increased the fat burning capacity, during exercise in moderately active women.   (1) (2)


Thirdly, you can do HIIT exercises with any routine, you do not need weights. Body weight exercises can form a good deal of your HIIT routine.


Why is it different from a normal workout routine?

In a normal workout you will probably do a squat, wait for some time, remember that you have to message your friend, chat for a while, and return to the next set after say, about 10 minutes…. 😊


But in HIIT, you will be only focussing on your routine and go all out and workout.

I for one never take my cell phone to the gym. Just find it too disturbing…

Here you will be doing one workout, keeping a very short interval and then moving on to the next set of the exercise, even before you can recover fully.

In the interval, you might even want to do some light activity like stretching or walking around.


Now let us see how we can modify your existing routine to get a HIIT effect out of it.


For all these exercise, you will be keeping time. Either use a clock, stopwatch, or just use the stopwatch on your mobile phone.

Just to be on the same page here…depending on your physical condition, these following exercises might either be easy or hard. You can add on or reduce them as you wish. Remember it is your workout and no one elses.

Always consult your doctor before starting out on any exercise routine, especially if you have a known medical condition.


That being said, let’s move on.



New to exercising, and want to know the basics, you can read this post.

12 Things every Beginner should know about Strength Training



So, let’s keep it simple.

The main idea in HIIT will be:

  • To Push yourself to the maximum number of reps you can in an exercise set, and
  • Then keep a very small interval in between sets, say about 30 to 60 seconds.


Let us see the examples:

Say you are doing these 3 exercise routines:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squats
  • Push-ups


Let’s see how we can get an HIIT effect from them:

First, your routine must start with a warm up


Then moving on to  Workout A – Jumping Jacks:

Set A1: Start with the jumping jacks for about 60 sec,

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds,

Set A2: Do a second round of jumping jacks for 60 sec,

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds,

Set A3: Do a third round of jumping jacks for 60 sec,

You should be sweating profusely by this time….

Rest: Now, wait for another 30 sec

HIIT Jumping jacks


Then, move on to the next exercise Workout B – Squats:


Set B1: Do as many squats as you can do.

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds

Set B2: Do the second round of squats, as many as you can do again,

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds

Set B3: Do a third round of squats, as many as you can do again,

Rest: Wait for another 30 seconds

HIIT Squats


and move on to the next exercise Workout C – Push-ups:

Set C1: Do as many push-ups as you can do.

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds

Set C2: Do the second round of push-ups, as many as you can do again,

Rest: Wait for 30 seconds

Set C3: Do a third round of push-ups, as many as you can do again,

HIIT Push-ups


At the end of this routine, you should be out of breath. Here you will be getting into anaerobic exercise mode as we saw earlier where you are creating a deficiency of oxygen in your body.

If you do the math, this exercise routine has not taken more than 15 – 20 minutes. But you will notice that you have pushed your body to a limit during these few minutes and it would have a greater effect than most other longer routines.


This is just an example, but you can modify your own workout to match these principles.

Some points of caution:

  • As you will be pushing your body to a limit here, it would be a good idea to start a bit slowly and work with what your body can cope. Also, ensure that you consult with your doctor before this.


  • If you start getting any pain during any exercise, stop. I have written a whole article about pain. Some are good and some are bad, and how you can tell the difference. You can read it here:

Pain: The good, the bad and the ugly


  • Always warm up before any exercise routine, to get your body ready for the workout, and stretch after the routine.


Some FAQ’s about HIIT:

  • Can I use HIIT to spot reduce fat, especially on my waist and thighs?

A: Spot weight reduction is just a myth, if you do 100 crunches daily you will not get a set of six pack abs. This is because even though you might have highly developed abs, they will not show till you burn off the fat around them. This goes for any exercise. Spot reduction is not possible unless by surgery, which I do not recommend. However, with HIIT the rate at which you burn fat is increased and thus it will become easier to reduce fat all over the body.


  • What should I eat when I do HIIT?

A: Before any exercise, it would be wise to get some starter nutrition like a small portion of fruit. After the workout, try getting some good protein. Whey protein works well here, but do not worry if you do not want to go down that route, any protein will do, (like a bowl of Lentils (Dhal), chicken, Hummus, etc.)


  • How often should I do HIIT?

A: As HIIT is a very strenuous exercise routine, I would suggest doing this only about three times a week and also keep a day’s gap in between exercise routines.


  • Can Weight Training be included in HIIT?

A: Yes, definitely. You can convert a weight training routine into a HIIT routine by following the method above.





HIIT forms a good exercise option when you are looking into weight loss. When done right you can reap the Fat burning benefits of HIIT days after an exercise is done.


Have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below…

About Kneller

Kneller Fernandes is the founder of “Stay Fit n Young .com”. He is a NESTA certified "Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist". He lives in Mumbai with his wife and two kids. Know more about him here.

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