Fat-Burning HIIT Workouts at Home

Stuck at home for a while? That doesn’t mean you have to throw your fitness routine out the window. Even if you don’t own all the fancy machines or helpful free weights that you’ll find at a gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout at home. If your goal is to burn calories, and you don’t mind dialing up the intensity, then it’s time to try a HIIT workout at home. HIIT workouts are short, efficient, and they sizzle away fat like no one’s business! Let’s learn more about this excellent fat-burning workout at home, and then we’ll share three of our favorite HIIT workouts that you can try for yourself.

What Is HIIT? 

Even if you’ve never heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’re probably aware of the principle behind the concept. The name says it all. A HIIT workout requires a short burst of intense effort followed by a short rest period. Then just rinse and repeat.

Over the past years, HIIT workouts have exploded in popularity. You can find specialty gyms devoted to the concept, as well as HIIT fitness classes at many larger gyms. You might have even read about The Seven-Minute Workout in your favorite magazine. These are all renditions of the HIIT concept. HIIT is so popular that it’s even been named the second biggest fitness trend in 2020 in a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Why is HIIT such a big… er, hit?

The Benefits a HIIT

There’s a reason that HIIT is a darling of the fitness world. The results speak for themselves.

More Efficient Oxygen Consumption

In order to improve your cardio fitness, you need to push your heart and lungs. That’s exactly what HIIT does. Rather than jogging at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, a HIIT workout forces you to push yourself hard. As a result, people who practice HIIT workouts quickly improve their VO2 max. That’s just a fancy, scientific way of saying your body gets better at using oxygen. In a 2016 study, researchers found that a group of participants who performed 10-minute interval workouts showed a similar improvement in oxygen uptake as a group who performed a more moderate 50-minute workout.

More Calories Burned in Less Time

You may not necessarily care about your VO2 max, but you probably want to fry some calories in exchange for putting yourself through a tough workout. Here’s a little science for you: oxygen burns calories. The more oxygen your body uses, the more calories you can burn during your workout. Since HIIT workouts demand so much oxygen, you can torch lots of extra calories in a short time.  

Post-Exercise Calorie Burn

Weight loss doesn’t just happen during your HIIT workout. Thanks to a concept called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), your body will continue to burn away calories even after your HIIT workout at home is complete. The folks over at ACE Fitness, an organization that certifies personal trainers, gives us a convenient metaphor to understand how EPOC works. After a long road trip, your car engine doesn’t grow cold the moment you pull into the garage. Instead, the engine stays hot and cools down only gradually. Your body does the same thing after a high-intensity workout. The oxygen deficit you built up during your workout forces your body to work hard in the hours after your workout to return to normal. This process, EPOC, gobbles up lots of extra calories.

Boost Your Aerobic Threshold

If you were a high school or college athlete in the past, you may remember when you could run drills across the field or court for days without breaking a sweat. Then why are you huffing and puffing when you have to run up the steps in your home? The answer is that you’ve lost your cardio conditioning. Moderate workouts over long periods of time will increase your aerobic endurance but won’t help you increase your aerobic threshold. To do that, you need to push your body to its limits, which happens to be exactly what HIIT workouts require.

Time Savings

HIIT workouts at home also offer a big convenience factor. One of their defining characteristics is that they’re short. As long as you are willing to really push yourself to your limits, you can finish a HIIT workout in 5 to 15 minutes. HIIT workouts pack a lot of fitness into a short amount of time. The tradeoff, however, if that you need to be ready to suffer. To get the most out of your HIIT workouts, you need to put the pedal to the metal.

How to Prepare for HIIT Workouts

The beauty of HIIT cardio workouts at home is that you don’t require any fancy gym equipment. All you need is a little space, the right attitude, and a willingness to push yourself hard. We encourage you to find a spacious area in your house, garage, or yard. Keep water nearby and a towel. You’ll also want to download a stopwatch app on your phone if you don’t already have one. Keeping track of your sets will be important.

Finally, put together a playlist that will help you keep pushing through the toughest parts of the workout.

Creating Your HIIT Workout at Home

One of the great things about a HIIT workout is that it provides a plug-and-play formula. That means you can mix and match your favorite cardio exercises within the structure of the HIIT workout. You can even add bodyweight exercises if you want to work on improving your strength.

Each round of HIIT includes an “on” section where you will perform the movement at high intensity, followed by an “off” section where you will either rest or perform a slow, easy movement, like a jog in place.

How “on” should your “on” be? Remember, the name of the game is intensity. Ideally, you want to try and hit about 80 percent of your heart rate max and maintain it during the “on” section of the workout. You can check your heart rate if you own a smartwatch. Don’t own a smartwatch or don’t know your max heart rate? Then, think of your effort on a scale of one to 10, with one being total rest and 10 being your absolute max effort. Try to hit an eight on the scale during your HIIT workouts.

Finally, decide on your timing cues. How long will each exercise last? How much rest will you take?

Our suggestions are:

  •         Beginning exerciser: 20 seconds on, 40 seconds of rest per movement
  •         Intermediate exerciser: 40 seconds on, 40 seconds of rest per movement
  •         Advanced exerciser: 60 seconds on, 60 seconds of low-intensity exercise per movement

Now that you have a HIIT workout structure in place, it’s time to design a fat-burning workout at home. You can pick and choose your own favorite exercises or start with the three sample HIIT cardio at home workouts below.

HIIT At-Home Workout One:

Choose beginning, intermediate, or advanced format. Perform three rounds of:

  •         Jump squats
  •         Bicycles
  •         Plank jacks

HIIT At-Home Workout Two:

Choose beginning, intermediate, or advanced format. Perform three rounds of:

  •         Burpees
  •         Jumping lunges
  •         Flutter kicks

HIIT At-Home Workout Three:

Choose beginning, intermediate, or advanced format. Perform three rounds of:

  •         Mountain climbers
  •         Jumping jacks
  •         High knees

Get Moving!

HIIT workouts at home are an extremely effective way to get a big dose of fitness in a small amount of time and to keep your fitness regimen on track even when you can’t make it to the gym. Try to shoot for performing two to three HIIT workouts per week. (Don’t try to pack too many into the week, as it’s easy to burn out on HIIT.)

We recommend mixing your HIIT workouts in with longer cardio workouts as well as strength and bodyweight workouts. Also, don’t forget that nutrition plays a huge role in weight loss. Make sure you are feeding your body for success. Take a look at our blog for some excellent healthy meals and healthy snacks.

Finally, if you want even more great workouts that don’t require the gym, take a look at our full collection of at-home workout recommendations. Now, get moving! 

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