Blog Fitness Trainings HIIT Training HIIT Workout Weight Loss: Tips To Get Started & Simple Exercises To Try

HIIT Workout Weight Loss: Tips To Get Started & Simple Exercises To Try

When it comes to losing weight, the most common type of workouts that many tend to gravitate towards is cardio. While basic cardio works well for weight loss, it can get boring real fast which leads to many people falling off their weight loss journey and giving up on their goals. If you love cardio and would like a new and exciting way to do it, then think about trying out HIIT workouts for weight loss. HIIT workout weight loss exercises have consistently been among the top most popular types of workouts over the past decade or so and with good reason. Keep reading to find out the best HIIT workouts for weight loss, how to use HIIT workouts for weight loss at home, and much more.


What Are HIIT Workouts?

Also known as High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT is a broad term for workouts that combine short periods of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods. A typical workout session can last anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes with most of the workouts being your basic cardio exercises, just elevated to a more intense level. 

It should also be noted that while HIIT is typically done just using your bodyweight, some people prefer adding weights to their routines to maximize fat burning and heart health.

Are HIIT Workouts Good For Weight Loss?

While HIIT workouts are good for a number of health benefits, a good percentage of the people looking to get into this type of workout routine are looking to get rid of some fat, lose the muffin top and see the number on the scale go down.

So, how effective are HIIT workouts for weight loss? HIIT exercise routines are incredibly good for weight loss – a fact proven not only by testimonials online, but also by several studies. For example:

  • In a study published in the Physiological reports journal in 2013, researchers found that not only can doing just 20 minutes of a HIIT cycling burn about 230 calories, but this single exercise helped increase their total daily energy expenditure (amount of calories you burn in a day through the basal metabolic rate (BMR), activity levels, and the thermic effect of food metabolism) by about 10 percent (an extra 62 calories).

When it comes to losing weight, we need our bodies to burn calories instead of storing them. Calories not burned are stored as fat in the body which leads to increased visceral fat and weight gain. With this in mind, we see that burning an extra 62 calories a day goes a long way in helping you achieve your weight loss goals (12).

  • In 2015, a comparative study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, compared how many calories male test subjects lost while doing either basic aerobics (cycling and running on the treadmill), resistance training, and HIIT. All nine male subjects did these 4 exercises for 30 minutes with the researchers measuring their heart rates, caloric expenditure, substrate use, and rate of perceived exertion during the workouts.
See also
HIIT vs LISS: Which One Is Right For You?

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that not only did the test subject burn the most calories during the HIIT exercise, but their heart rates were also significantly higher, and they also used the most amount of effort during this workout as compared to the others – even though all exercises took 30 minutes (1). This shows that with HIIT, you use more effort which leads to more calories burned, which in the long run means incredible weight loss results.

  • A study published in 2015 revealed that by doing HIIT, you are able to help your body keep burning calories for many hours after you’ve left the gym. In the study, 20 recreationally active women were requested to perform six exercise sessions of aerobic endurance exercise, high-intensity interval running (HIIT), and high-intensity resistance training (HIRT). 

Their metabolic rates were measured before exercising, immediately after working out, 30 minutes after working out, and eventually an hour after exercising. Researchers found that on average, the HIIT workout increased the women’s post-exercise resting energy expenditure as compared to the other two exercises (8). Having an elevated  resting energy expenditure means that your body is able to burn a lot more calories while at rest (whenever you are not exercising), which equates to more weight loss in the long run.

Read More: HIIT Vs Cardio For Weight Loss And Health Benefits: Which One Should You Do?

hiit workouts weight loss

Other Than Weight Loss, What Are Some Other Benefits Of HIIT Workouts?

As seen above, weight loss is a goal that can certainly be achieved through high intensity interval workouts. However, this isn’t the only benefit that can be gained from doing these exercises. Some other benefits include

  • Time efficiency – One of the biggest hindrances to weight loss and even a healthy lifestyle in general, is the lack of time to hit the gym or even workout at home. Gym classes take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour, and most home workouts aren’t intense enough to give us the results that we want.
See also
HIIT For Beginners: Fast-Paced Routines For Maximum Fat Burn

HIIT, on the other hand, is very time efficient and will give you great results. A comparative study published in 2016 showed that doing HIIT exercises burned way more calories than sprint interval training, even though study participants worked out for the same amount of time (2). Another review of studies published in 2014, revealed that doing just 3 sessions of HIIT exercise a week, with less than 30 minutes per session – including warm-up, recovery between intervals and cool down-, can lead to improved aerobic capacity, skeletal muscle oxidative capacity, exercise tolerance and markers of disease risk (6).

  • Fat Loss – Sometimes when you’re working out, you may not see the scale go down as you desire, but this does not mean that your HIIT exercises are not working. Fat loss is important as it helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, causes less stress on bones and joints, and less work for the heart.

If your doctor has told you that your body fat percentage is high, then HIIT could help you reduce this. According to a review of multiple studies published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011, researchers found that these types of exercises worked exceptionally well for fat loss, even though in some cases, the weight of test subjects never changed by much or at all. Researchers found that, while short-term HIIT studies (anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks) showed negligible weight loss results, the longer studies ( up to 24 weeks), revealed incredible fat loss reduction, especially in overweight and obese persons (3).

Another review published in 2017 in the Obesity Reviews journals concluded that while HIIT took 40 percent less training time commitment than moderate-intensity continuous training, it also led to more fat loss than the latter even without accompanying body-weight changes (11).

  • Can lead to muscle gains – When we think about muscle growth, many people automatically think about weight lifting, and with good reason. While cardio can grow muscle, the result is not the same or as impressive as with weight lifting. Unfortunately, not everyone has the money for the gym or to buy free weights to use at home.

This is where HIIT comes in. Because the cardio exercises you are doing are at a much higher intensity than normal, they can lead to some impressive muscle growth. The results from a controlled trial published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2016 showed that in obese people, these exercises led to muscle growth in their trunks and legs – since these are the muscles used the most in this type of workout (4). 

  • Improved heart health – Studies have shown that HIIT workouts can help reduce high blood pressure and heart rate which are prevalent in overweight and obese people (5, 9).
  • Reduces blood sugar – Studies have shown that HIIT exercises can improve blood sugar, improve blood sugar control and improve insulin resistance in those at risk of Type 2 diabetes, as well as those who already suffer from the chronic illness (10, 7).
See also
Steady-State Cardio Vs. HIIT: Which One Is Better And Why?

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How To Start HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss At Home

If you’ve decided to do some weight loss full body HIIT workouts at home, here are some things to do and keep in mind to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself and achieve the best results from your routine

  • Find the right footwear – As previously mentioned, HIIT workouts are mostly cardio which requires a lot of movement from your lower body. Make sure that you have the right shoes that provide both support and cushioning.
  • A pre-workout snack/supplement – Unfortunately, many people tend to not have anything to eat before heading out to the gym. If you are planning on doing a HIIT workout – or any other workout for that matter – it is always advisable to have a pre-workout snack or supplement. 

Such a supplement or snack helps to increase your performance by boosting energy, power, and stamina – allowing you to give your all during the session. If you are going for a small snack (e.g. a banana) or store bought supplements, try taking them about 30 minutes before your workout. If you prefer a bigger meal, eat at least an hour before you have to exercise.

  • Always do a warm up – This increases your heart rate, sends more blood and oxygen to your muscles and primes your muscles, warming them up for the coming workout. Failure to warm up before an intense workout session leaves you liable to injury.
  • Use weights (optional) – HIIT workouts for weight loss work great as home exercises because they do not require any weights. Your body weight is enough. 
See also
Beach Body HIIT Workout For Beginners

However, to add the intensity and for better results, consider adding some free weights in your routine. If you cannot afford free weights, improvise and use heavy things in and around your house

  • Give it your all – What makes HIIT what it is is the intensity used during the entire routine. If you want results, you must make sure to put all your effort into the exercises. Do not coast through the session. You should not be able to hold a conversation during the session.
  • Cool Down – Once your session is done, spare at least 5 minutes to do some cool down stretches. This allows both your heart rate and blood pressure to get back down to their normal rates and also helps your muscles not hurt as much the next day.

Read More: HIIT vs LISS: Which One Is Right For You?

hiit workouts weight loss

What Are Some Good HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss?

Now that you understand the benefits of HIIT and what to do before and after a session, some good exercises that can be used for HIIT at home include

  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Lunge Jumps
  • Sprints
  • High Knees
  • Squat Jumps
  • Bodyweight Tabata
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push Ups
  • Jumping Ropes
  • Cycling

If you are working out at the gym, you could also incorporate the following equipment into your routine

  • Battle Ropes
  • Treadmill runs/sprints
  • Free weights like kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, or medicine balls, 
  • Rowing
  • Stair Climber

If you are a beginner to HIIT workout weight loss exercises, 

  1. Choose about 5 exercises from the ones mentioned above
  2. Start with 1 exercise and go as hard as you can for 30 seconds
  3. Rest for 1 to 2 minutes. Give yourself time to get your breathing down
  4. Go hard again for another 30 seconds before resting.
  5. Do about 3 sets of each exercise before calling it a day

Overtime, you will be able to take shorter rest times, breathe better and even do more than 5 exercises.

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How Long Does It Take For HIIT Results?

In the same way that we all gain weight at different rates, so do we lose weight at different rates. Some people are likely to see weight loss results on the scale as soon as two weeks into their routine, while others may have to wait a month to see results.

See also
HIIT For Beginners: Fast-Paced Routines For Maximum Fat Burn

We suggest giving yourself anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks to start seeing results. Also, remember that the scale is not the only determinant of fitness. Do you feel stronger? Does it take you longer to get winded while exercising? Do your clothes feel looser on you? All these are results of HIIT.

What HIIT Exercise Burns The Most Fat?

When it comes to weight or fat loss, no one exercise provides better results than all others. What determines how much fat you lose is your effort. If you give your all during the workout session, you are bound to lose weight faster.

It is also important to note that overweight and obese people are bound to see much more significant results as compared to all who are leaner. Your diet also plays a huge role in how much weight you lose and how fast. Make sure to eat as clean as possible and at a calorie deficit.

What Is Typical Weight Loss With Workouts?

As previously mentioned, we all lose weight at different rates so it is hard to say the exact amount of weight you can lose while doing these workouts. Remember, the CDC recommends a healthy gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week. As long as you are hitting these numbers, you will reach your ideal weight in no time – be patient with yourself and your body.

What Are The Best HIIT Workouts For Weight Loss Females?

Exercises are not gendered. Any of the above mentioned workouts are good to help either a man or a woman lose weight.

hiit workouts weight loss

The Bottom Line

HIIT workout weight loss exercises and routines are fantastic for anyone who is short for time but still wishes to have a leaner figure and live a healthier, more active lifestyle overall. Feel free to use any of the above tips and exercises to start on your journey today. However, please make sure to speak to your doctor, especially if you suffer from an illness – because of the intensity required for such a routine, you might exacerbate your illness/condition if you are not careful. Finally, make sure to improve your diet and eat at a calorie deficit.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men (2015,
  2. Dissimilar Physiological and Perceptual Responses Between Sprint Interval Training and High-Intensity Interval Training (2016,
  3. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss (2011,
  4. High-Intensity Interval Training and Isocaloric Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training Result in Similar Improvements in Body Composition and Fitness in Obese Individuals (2016,
  5. High-intensity interval training for reducing blood pressure: a randomized trial vs. moderate-intensity continuous training in males with overweight or obesity (2020,
  6. Is high-intensity interval training a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness? (2014,
  7. Novel all-extremity high-intensity interval training improves aerobic fitness, cardiac function and insulin resistance in healthy older adults (2016,
  8. The acute effect of exercise modality and nutrition manipulations on post-exercise resting energy expenditure and respiratory exchange ratio in women: a randomized trial (2015,
  9. The Effect of Low Volume Interval Training on Resting Blood Pressure in Pre-hypertensive Subjects: A Preliminary Study (2016,
  10. The effects of high-intensity interval training on glucose regulation and insulin resistance: a meta-analysis (2015,
  11. The effects of high-intensity interval training vs. moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2017,
  12. Total daily energy expenditure is increased following a single bout of sprint interval training (2013,
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