HIIT is great. It really is. Whether you’re new to fitness or a veteran of pumping iron, you’ve heard about HIIT training in one form or another. And there’s good reason for its popularity. High intensity training is one of the most effective fat loss methods available, if done correctly.
Best of all, you don’t need a gym or fancy equipment.
Our list of simple (but not easy) bodyweight HIIT workouts will help you torch your belly fat, tone up, and finally get back in shape.
The Lowdown on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
I’m not going to bore with you 2,000 words about the ins and outs of HIIT and how it can revolutionize your life. If you’re on this article you probably just want to learn about some quick and easy home HIIT workouts that you can start implementing straight away.
If you want the bodyweight workouts, scroll down and get to work. I won’t hold any grudges.
For those of you who are still new to the fitness world, and want to learn a bit more about why HIIT has become so popular, then keep reading.
What is HIIT?
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is pretty much what it says on the tin. Let’s break it down:
High intensity: Exercises that’ll get your heart racing and push you outside your comfort zone.
Interval training: This is just a fancy way of saying to do an exercise for a set amount of time (one interval), and repeat it until the time is up.
For example, instead of going for a 5km run at the same pace you could do a 100m every sprint at the start of every kilometre milestone. It’s really that simple, and once you grasp the basics you can apply interval training to practically every workout imaginable. Although, you shouldn’t be doing HIIT every day as we’ll get into in just a bit.
Why is high intensity training so effective at burning fat?
While doing the research for this article I spent a lot of time diving into scientific papers and studies, and while I knew that HIIT was a powerful fat loss tool I had no idea it was quite so effective.
A comprehensive look into dozens of different studies comparing the effects of HIIT found that people lost almost 30% more fat doing HIIT than traditional cardio .
Another study carried out by a multitude of top research centres around the world found that not only did HIIT dramatically improve blood pressure, but it also improved metabolic function and lowered resting heart rates . If that wasn’t enough to convince you, these people only carried out HIIT once every 5 days for 6 weeks. Imagine what training 3x a week would do for you.
Lastly, regular HIIT also caused a signifcant increase in testosterone levels of aging men by almost 20% ! If you’ve read our guide to testosterone then you know just how critical the hormone is for men over 40. Testosterone affects everything from fat loss, muscle gain, sexual health, energy & fatigure, concentration, memory, and more. It’s as close to a miracle drug as men can get, so the more of it we have in our bodies the better our lives will be. And not to mention that the hormone starts decreasing dramatically after you hit 40. All the more reason to start doing HIIT.
HIIT vs. Cardio – Which is better?
The reason for HIIT being so damn good isn’t just because it gets your heart racing and your muscles pumping, it’s about the long-lasting metabolic effects. When you undertake this type of training, and do 20 minutes of high intensity training, your body gets put into a period of fat burning that continues for the rest of the day.
Have you ever burnt a big, bright fire and the next day you still have embers left in the pit? That’s like HIIT. Compared to the slow, gradual burn of a small fire that peeters off fairly quickly and never really gets hot enough to make a difference.
Don’t get me wrong, traditional cardio is still fantastic, and should become a part of your weekly training. But, if your only goal is to blast away your belly fat then you need to implement HIIT into your routine as soon as possible.
Speaking of which…
The Most Effective Bodyweight HIIT Workouts for You To Do At Home (or outdoors)
Now, it says they’re easy in that title, but maybe simple is the better word. These workouts are going to push you for the 20 or so minutes that you do them. You’re going to get sweaty, you’ll be uncomfortable, and you’ll probably hate it, but that’s what makes it so worthwhile.
If you can commit to doing 1 or 2 of these workouts each week, whether it’s 20 minutes of HIIT after you wake up, or a couple of hours before bed, I guarantee you’ll see results within a few weeks.
HIIT Workout #1 – HIIT Sprinting
Sprinting is absolutely one of the best things you can do – it’s what human beings were designed for in the first place – and I find it much more fun than other HIIT workouts (especially if you do it up a hill)
It’s pretty simple. You’re going to sprint for X number of seconds, rest/walk for Y seconds, and repeat until you’ve been doing it for 20 minutes.
A great place to do this is a local park, football pitch, or running track if they’re available. I’ll list a couple of variations for you to try out depending on what you have.
Football pitch, field, park
- Walk or slow jog once around the pitch to warmup
- When you reach the corner of a short edge (the goalpost ends) sprint to the next corner as fast as possible
- Return to a slow jog or brisk walk for the long edges
- Repeat this for 15-20 minutes
Straight line i.e. pavement, road, 100m track
- Find a landmark like a lamp post, traffic light, bin or something else that’s roughly 50-100m from your starting point
- Walk or slow jog between them for a bit to warmup
- Sprint from the start to your chosen landmark
- Walk or slow jog back to the start
- Repeat for 15-20 minutes
See how the same basic principles apply regardless of what you have available? That’s all HIIT sprinting is, really. Run fast for a bit, walk, then run again. No more worrying about split times for your kilometres, average pace, calories burned and so on (unless you’re into that). Just go out in your trainers and spend 15-20 minutes getting sweaty.
HIIT Workout #2 – Full Body Burnout
This is probably the most intense workout on the list, but it’s also going to be incredibly effective. You’ll be hitting every part of your body in quick succession, taking a short break, then doing it all over again.
This one is ideal if you only have time do HIIT once or twice a week, as you don’t need to focus on building muscle, targeting upper body vs. lower, and other unimportant details. It’s a no-nonsense routine.
You’re going to need a bit of space to do this routine such as a living room or your garden, and you’re going to want to wear trainers unless you’re on a soft carpet to stop you from slipping over.
Note: If you’re unsure of what any of these exercises are take some time Googling them, looking them up on YouTube, and making sure you can do them with correct form.
You’re going to perform each exercise at maximum intensity for 20-30 seconds, rest for 30-40 seconds, then move onto the next exercise. Once you’ve completed all of the exercises you’ll rest for a minute before starting again.
Full Body HIIT Workout
- Jump squats
- Mountain climbers
- Decline pushup (prop your legs up on a chair, sofa, or any other suitable platform)
- High knees
Each cycle should take you around 5 minutes, with 1 minute of rest afterwards. I like to repeat it 3-4 times for a total of 18-24 minutes depending on how much time I have that day.
It’s a fantastic HIIT workout to squeeze in before the kids wake up or if you’ve got half an hour to kill on the weekend.
Just remember, focus on maximizing your intensity in every exercise. It’s no good half-assing the jump squats. Squat down and thrust upwards with as much energy as you can, every single time (unless you’re going to hit your head on the ceiling).
Lastly, it doesn’t matter if you can’t maintain the same pace throughout the 4 cycles – you’re not supposed to. It’s a tough workout, and while it might seem fairly easy to start with, you’ll be huffing and puffing by the time the 3rd cycle comes around. Just do what you can do stick to the 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off, and if you need to you can switch it up to 15 seconds exercise and 45 seconds rest. Your numbers will improve over time.
How Often Should You Do HIIT for Maximum Fat Loss?
It’s always tough to answer questions like this without analyzing you in person, as people’s needs vary depending on bodyweight, muscle mass, time constraints and so on. However, there are some simple guidelines you can follow that will work for 98% of the population.
Generally, you should aim for between 1-3 sessions of high intensity training every week.
My personal routine looks something like this:
- Monday: Bodyweight strength training
- Tuesday: HIIT
- Wednesday: Bodyweight strength training
- Thursday: Long-distance cardio (running, swimming, cycling)
- Friday: Bodyweight strength training
- Saturday: HIIT
- Sunday: Active rest (walking, hiking, golfing etc.)
As you can see my routine is pretty jam-packed with workouts, but that’s because I love it and I have to stay in shape for my Ironman competitions.
If you’re just starting out with HIIT I would recommend picking 2 days a week with a 2 or 3 day gap between them i.e. Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday. The rest of the week you can hit the gym, do some cardio, or even just walk 10k steps.
Basically, do whatever works for you. There’s no right or wrong answer here as long as you commit to doing something. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to HIIT, exercise, and losing weight. As long as you can do it consistently, you enjoy it, and you’re getting results then that’s all that matters.
The Ultimate Fat Loss Guide for Men Over 40
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