High Intensity Interval Training: Building Muscle Mass While Burning Belly Fat

High Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT, is a form of exercise that consists of short intervals of highly intense exercise.

It has been proven that HIIT is more effective at burning fat than long cardio sessions. This is good news if you want to burn belly fat, or any fat for that matter, while building muscle mass at the same time.

Some of the benefits of circuit exercises are:

  • You burn more calories than normal during your workouts AND after because it takes your body longer to recover, and it kicks up your metabolism for up to 24 hours afterward.

  • When you are at maximum effort, your body goes straight to its fat stores for energy, thus burning more fat.

  • It appears that high intensity interval training limits muscle loss usually associated with traditional weight loss programs.

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How It Works

This is a little bit different than just circuit training. Circuit exercises can be done with weights or body weight or plyometrics.

When talking about high intensity interval training, it basically means sprinting. It can be done on a spin bike, however.

During the "intense" intervals, you need to be doing maximum effort. You can't really do something like the bench press at maximum effort for 1 minute.

It needs to be a sprint of some kind; whether you're on the treadmill, outside, or on the spin bike, you need to do a sprint at 100% intensity for this to work right.

I do prefer the spin bike. I'll get on, and just spin the pedals on the lowest setting for 2 minutes to warm up.

Then I'll raise the gear really high to where I have to stand up off the seat to even move the pedals. I'll do an all-out sprint for 1 minute.

After the sprint, I'll turn the gear way down and pedal for 4 minutes to recover.

At the end of 4 minutes, it goes back up for another 1 minute sprint. Then, 4 more minutes of recovery.

I do 4 intervals, so the workout takes about 20 minutes.

How To Get Started

This table will help you get started on a 8 week program. By the end you'll be experienced enough to kind of create or tweak your own version.

It doesn't matter whether you sprint on the ground or use a spin bike, just make sure that when you're doing 100% of your maximum effort when you do each interval.

Do each workout 2-3 times a week.

Week Warm Up Max Interval Recovery # Intervals
1 2 min 1 min 4 min 2
2 2 min 1 min 4 min 2
3 2 min 1 min 4 min 2
4 2 min 1.5 min 4 min 3
5 2 min 1.5 min 4 min 3
6 2 min 2 min 4 min 3
7 2 min 2 min 4 min 4
8 2 min 2.5 min 4 min 4

In 8 weeks of doing high intensity interval training you'll see results. You'll also hate your life for the first few workouts.... just push through it.

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