Advanced HIIT Training: High Intensity Interval Training Workouts | Not Your Average Fitness Tips

Advanced HIIT Training: High Intensity Interval Training Workouts

If you’re a regular reader of my site, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of high intensity interval training workouts.  I generally advocate performing extremely intense short interval HIIT followed by steady state cardio followed by long interval HIIT for the best results.  While I think this is an effective fat loss strategy, I’d like to discuss an alternative advanced HIIT training program that Rusty Moore (author of Visual Impact Cardio, Visual Impact Muscle Building, and Visual Impact for Women) wrote about on Fitness Black Book.

Not too long ago, I wrote about a USA today article that showed people who were “fit” actually burned more fat than people who weren’t “fit” after a workout.  While the result itself is interesting, there are practical implications for advanced HIIT training.  The study defined a fit person based on VO2 max, the amount of oxygen you use in one minute of exercise.  Fit people have higher VO2 max levels than out of shape people.  Therefore if you can increase your VO2 max level, you can theoretically increase the amount of fat burned after a workout.

My HIIT Workout Routine

As I mentioned earlier, I prefer to segment my cardio workout into short, intense intervals followed by steady state cardio followed by long intervals:

2 minute warm up
8 minute short interval HIIT (15 second all out spring, 45 second light jog)
25 minute steady state cardio
10 minute long interval HIIT (1 minute fast paced jog, 1 minute light jog)

The theory is that short interval HIIT releases fatty acids into the bloodstream and steady state cardio burns them off.  Short interval HIIT also reduces glycogen levels and promotes HGH release, a hormone that burns fat while preserving muscle.  Long interval HIIT closes everything out by further deflating glycogen levels allowing for significant after burn effect (EPOC).

The results of a study showing how 20 minutes of HIIT (8 second sprint, 12 second rest) is more effective than 40 minutes of steady state cardio

An Advanced HIIT Training Program

While my HIIT workout routine is a great way to lose fat, as you get extra lean, you may be able to blast through a plateau by focusing on increasing VO2 max to get more “fit.”  Rusty analyzed a number of studies and found the best way to increase VO2 max is to perform long interval high intensity interval training workouts earlier in the week and short interval HIIT workouts later in the week.  Here’s what a typical week’s training would look like:

Day 1: 4 minutes running, 3 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes
Day 2: 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes
Day 3: Off
Day 4: 1 minute running, 1 minute walking for 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes steady state cardio
Day 5: 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking for 10 minutes followed by 20 minutes steady state cardio
Day 6-7: Off

The running for long interval HIIT workouts on the first two days should be about the pace you could sustain for 8 straight minutes.  The short interval HIIT workouts later in the week should be more intense sprints.  Just be cognizant of overtraining as intense intervals have a tendency to cause leg burnout very quickly.  I generally only recommend 3 non-consecutive days of HIIT per week, so the above program should probably only be used for a month at a time before taking a 4-5 days off.  Additionally, it’s probably best to avoid direct leg training when performing such a routine.

Beach sprints are great for HIIT training

Get Fit to Burn More Fat

If you’re a beginner, start with the first HIIT workout routine I outlined.  However, as you burn more fat and get in better shape, you might want to shift your focus to the advanced HIIT training program in order to increase VO2 max and further improve your fat burning potential.  Overall, either of these high intensity interval training workouts offer strong fat burning effects, the first through HGH release alone, the second through increased VO2 max early in the week combined with HGH release later in the week.  If you want some more high intensity interval training workouts, then please check out Visual Impact Cardio.

63 Responses to “Advanced HIIT Training: High Intensity Interval Training Workouts”

  • Great stuff as always. As sexy an image as HIIT has these days, you can really amplify your results by adding in jogging and walking as well.

  • I love beach sprints, i also do them at the local track about 100 meter sprint and then walk back and do it again…. For a real challange try doing it on a hill… WOW

  • J:


    This is more about Eat Stop Eat and Protein. I have read both, but when you break your fast (6pm till 6pm schedule) do you make sure you eat at least 800-1200 calories and 40-60 of protein, if normal intake is 120+ grams. I saw your post on the meatball sandwich + ice cream, reckon that was 40 odd grams. You do that twice a week and make sure protein weekly average is sufficent.

    Also do you think BCAA and Protein pre-workout is a good idea if training fasted? based off the leangains approach?


  • I love Hiit it really works. I use to run long distances every week and the injuries set in I did lose weight but looked like a skinny marathon runner. Now I do hiit it done in about a third of the time and my fat loss has been greater.
    I’ve never heard of long interval Hiit. might give that a go to

  • Darrin,
    I agree that the results of jogging and especially walking are underrated. Outside of a workout routine, everyone should take time to get off their feet and walk.

    Interval guy,
    Beach sprints are exceptionally challenging. 100m sprints and walking back to the starting line tie nicely to my short interval hiit routine: 15 second all out sprint, 45 second jog/walk.

    I stopped obsessively tracking calories but I reckon your estimate of 800-1,200 calories is about right for my dinner. When I fast Mondays, I try to stay low carb as well (in line with recommendations from Cheat Your Way Thin), so I try to have lean meat with veggies for dinner. Friday is more flexible with carbs. The protein equation always seems to work itself out even though the average week generally includes one night of pasta and one night of pizza. Last I checked, I averaged around 100g of protein per day, which included 2 days of fasting.
    I don’t supplement with BCAAs or protein any more but I like the idea of training on an empty stomach, when possible, rather than taking anything pre-workout. I tend to do cardio first thing in the morning and strength training a couple hours after dinner. That being said, Martin is in phenomenal shape and has gotten very lean using his approach. You can try it, see how you feel and see what the results are.

    Varying HIIT intervals can help fat burning in different ways. Short interval HIIT is great for increasing HGH levels. Longer interval HIIT does a better job completely depleting glycogen levels allowing for a nice fat burning effect after your workout.


  • Dave,

    I think varying HIIT intervals is a good idea and the advanced routine which incorporates both long and short intervals is especially useful for someone who is already lean, but looking to get ultra-defined. For people at this stage, increasing VO2 max may be the only way to burn more fat.


  • Alykhan,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think it ties nicely to the best cardio routine post on your website that discusses low intensity steady state, medium intensity steady state, and HIIT.

  • Hi Dave,
    This is my first comment on your site. I love this post, as I like to conduct vo2 testing on myself, and use it to assess the fitness level of my students. Now I can share your article with them to explain why a higher vo2 will help them in the future!

  • Jordan,
    Thanks for contributing. I enjoyed your post about the beep test and using it as a proxy for VO2 Max testing. It’s great that you can pass along knowledge to students…if I had my teens and twenties all over again, I’d do things a lot differently!

  • Dave – I have to say, I really appreciate your take on getting fit and working out. I agree that you shouldn’t spend your entire life in a gym or working out where ever that may be.

    These types of workouts are awesome since you can get even better results in less time.

    I really try to focus on the most bang for your buck on my site too – nice to see!

    — Kevin

  • Kevin,
    If I didn’t have to work, I might spend more time in the gym. However, just like everyone else, I have to worry about work, family, and fun as well. I think quick workouts allow us to create a great balance between all these things.

  • Dave,

    Great post! I really liked how you outlined your own routine and then summed up with another more advanced routine. I still use HIIT training but I have switched to a Metabolic Resistance Training Routine the combines bodyweight and resistance exercises in circuit training fashion/with short rest periods between circuits not allowing for full recovery. This has really helped me burn fat and look lean.


    Tim D

  • Tim,
    Sounds like a great plan to burn some fat while preserving muscle. I like to do this type of this training after my strength training workouts.

  • How long has interval training been around. I remember it from years ago and the Pace System by yet another Dr. Sears presented it as something new a few years ago.

  • Ron,
    Interval training has been around a while. Based on my research, it was first developed in 1930 by Dr. Dr. Woldemer Gerschler. The popularity of HIIT has drastically increased in recent years though.

  • Hey Dave,

    I have known about HIIT and it’s benefit for over three years now. However, this is the first time I have read the scientific explanation for it. Very interesting. Can you refer me to an article which explains more about VO2 max?

  • Andy,
    Here’s a good article from Fitness Black Book:
    Brief Exercise Found to Be Much More Effective for “Fit” People
    That should provide a good starting point on VO2Max and also refers you to some other studies.

  • Hi Dave,
    Great information you are providing. I find sprints in particular hill sprints give great results. I hit the gym 3 times a week but always feel my cardio, jumping and sprint sessions are an much more effective overall body workout.
    Keep the good infor coming.

  • Tony,
    Hill sprints are a great form of HIIT training. Really an excellent fat burning and conditioning exercise. Even if someone’s goal is to add a ton of muscle, I think cardio is an important part of an overall health and fitness routine.

  • I agree 100% that HIIT type training is far superior than traditional training methods. Short, explosive periods during workouts bring better results much faster than traditional training, every single time. Ever seen the body of a 100 meter sprinter?

  • Gavin,
    I’ve mentioned sprinter’s bodies vs. marathon runner’s bodies in the past. While marathon runners are obviously thin, generally sprinters maintain higher muscle mass and I’d argue overall better bodies. A lot of that relates to high intensity interval training vs. long, steady state cardio.

  • Coach Rob:

    What exercises do you do for steady state cardio? I am a beginner trying to lose 30 lbs and trying to get my ball players on a steady off season workout plan.

  • Coach Rob,
    For steady state cardio, I’ll generally use a recumbent bike or elliptical. If I want really slow steady state cardio, I’ll just go for a walk. Anything that’s pretty low intensity will work well.

    Not sure what sport you coach, but you could have your ball players due some sprints and then send them on a run/bike ride.

    Let me know if I can help any more.

  • Thank you. This is some really great information. I have been wanting to get back into the gym after a long vacation from my usual routine. I think this type of training will be of great help and the perfect addition to my schedule.

  • Azuma,
    Good luck with the routine. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Really good useful ideas and information, I will start using the high intensity training myself now to try out.
    I think something different is needed to shock my body to take it to the next level.

  • Matty,
    HIIT training shoudl definitely help you take it to the next level.

  • Quote
    “I generally advocate performing extremely intense short interval HIIT followed by steady state cardio followed by long interval HIIT for the best results.”

    That’s exactly the way I perform my workouts as well. The alternative method you talk about is very interesting and I do think it is worth trying.
    After all, we all know there is more than one way to accomplish a goal.

  • Jenny,
    Very true about there being multiple ways to accomplish your goals.

  • What’s the real difference between HIIT and HIT? Coaches keep telling me to do HIT to increase strength.

  • Troy,
    HIIT is high intensity interval training and I consider it primarily a cardio based workout where you vary intense intervals with recovery intervals. HIT stands for high intensity training and is a weight lifting approach that focuses on training muscles to failure. There are a number of different ways to set up such a workout. However, I actually think the methodology of training to failure to increase strength is flawed. You can read my post on strength reps for more thoughts on this:


  • I am learning a lot. HIT reminds me of the core workout principle taught in the military. I recall that all the drill sergeants put a lot of attention on reaching a point of muscle failure. It really is intense and effective. Cardio of course was also important, but most of the cardio came from long distance running.

  • Misti,
    Intense exercise is a great way to go. The military seems to train so that people can perform both intense exercise and long duration activities since that is what is most functional for them.

  • Rich:

    I’ve found crossfit after I was doing triathlons for a few years. I think the biggest change I made after triathlon was giving up sugar. I cannot believe how well I feel. How much easier workouts are and how the many factors of running law firm entail.


  • Rich,
    CrossFit is a great way to train. I find I get the leanest and feel the best when avoiding refined sugar as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mo:

    Do you think that a short period of HIIT training is actually better for your overall health in the long run compared to a sustained program of good diet, low impact cardiovascular exercise? For example effects in joints/cartilage, etc?

  • Mo,
    I think challenging your heart with HIIT will make it healthier in the long run. The joint issue is more about what type of exercise you choose for HIIT. There are low impact activities like an exercise bike or elliptical or swimming that offer great HIIT workouts. I’d agree that if you’re doing too much intense sprinting outside, you could face some issues due to the higher impact nature.

  • Poornima:

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you so much for your amazing advice! I have been following your 45 minute routine and noticed a great difference in the past few weeks. YAY!

  • Poornima,
    I’m glad to hear the 45 minute workout is going well for you. If you stop seeing results, don’t be afraid to change things up a bit…whether that’s varying the intervals or using a different machine. Congrats on your success so far!

  • A great approach at losing the last few stubborn lbs of fat. I have borrowed your advanced HIIT training program but did cite you. Take care.

  • Michael,
    Glad you like the approach. The first one is mine, the second one is Rusty Moore’s advanced approach.

  • dez:

    Based on what I have briefly read throughout this webpage, I think that you may be able to help me.
    Well for the past 1.5yrs, I have been working-out at a gym. However, for the past 9 months i have not lost/gained any weight (i feel like i have been on a plateu)… the following has been my workout routine for the past 6months:
    -MON.: run (5.7mph) for an hour
    -TUE.: spin class (intense interval-type of biking)
    -WED.: Upper-body strenghttraining (traps,biceps,back)
    -Thurs.: 1/2hr jog (5.3mph) and 1/2hr lower body strenghttraining
    -FRI.: rest day
    -SAT.: 1hr Spin Class (similar to tuesday’s class) and 45min of strength training (triceps, shoulders, chest & lowerbody)
    -SUN.: rest day

    overall I eat ~1700calories/day:
    ~80gm protein
    ~40gm fat
    ~130gm Carbohydrates

    I do admit, I really enjoy my workouts… but I am disappointed that I do not see any results, and I still carry too much fat throughout my body (im ~25lbs overweight)
    What do you think I should do…what kind of HIIT workout would you recommend?

  • Dez,
    It seems like you have an excellent plan in place. The only reason I can think that you’re not seeing results is that you need a break. Your body can only handle so much intense exercise and dieting. When was the last time you took a week off from exercise? How long have you been eating at this calorie level? Ideally, if you could go into maintenance mode for a month where you maintained your weight/body fat by only exercising 3-4 hours per week and ate a few more calories, you could then go back to this routine. I’m sure that’s not what you were hoping to hear, but does that make any sense? The other approach might be to implement calorie cycling and intermittent fasting, both of which I can detail if you’re interested.

    As for HIIT, spinning serves the same purpose. The HIIT workout I mention in the article with 10 min short interval, 25 minute steady, 10 min long interval is my go-to routine. You could do that with sprints, an exercise bike, or even elliptical.


  • dez:

    Thx for your quick response!
    Im really happy to hear your perspective/suggestions with my matter.
    As for the last time I took a break? Well maybe, the 1st week of august (but it was not an entire week :P). I guess you can say I got use to or even addicted to working out, that I lost track as to how much i work out… I am going to take your suggeston, and I am certainly going to slow down a bit, and eventually return to my workout and try the your HIIT workout.
    But, I think what may be affecting my weightloss, may just be primarily my food intake- I may not be eating correctly. Therefore, I am very much interested in the meal programs that you are recommending, calorie cycling and intermittent fasting.

  • Dez,
    So it’s been about 4 months…now would be a good time to loosen up a little and recover. Exercise addiction and food obsession are common…I’ve dealt with both:

    As for food intake, here are some posts I’ve written about some more advanced strategies:

    Calorie cycling:

    Intermittent fasting:

    Cheat days:

    Sorry to just keep directing you to things I’ve written, but it’s easier than retyping everything.

    I’ve collected all of my best fitness tips below if you’re interested:

    You could also check out my free Fitness in a Flash and Beach Body books located on the right side at the top of the page (I know, shameless plug!).

    After you check some of these things out, let me know if I can help further.


  • Dez:

    Thanks for the info. I have been viewing the links that you suggested, and I like some of the dieting plans. I think that I am going to try the Carb Cycling Diet.
    Per your advice, I am going to relax and try not to workout this week, and towards the end of this week I will slowly begin the Carb Cycle Diet, so that next week I get a new start with my weightloss mission.
    Again thanks for the information and I will keep you posted in the next few weeks with the results.

  • Jas:

    Hi Dave,

    As a Type 1 Diabetic, I am trying to find ways to modify your program to suit my needs while also maintaining “healthy” blood sugar levels. And it is quite challenging.

    Especially with the intermittent fasting. I would like to try to go a whole 24 hours without food while also exercising, but I’ll be putting my body at risk to the debilitating symptoms. Do you have any alternative methods to fasting that can produce just about the same results?

    Thanks! -jas

  • Jas,
    Based on your situation, fasting may not be the right fit for you. I don’t claim to be an expert on diabetes or fasting’s effects on diabetics. That being said, plenty of people are able to successfully lose weight without incorporating intermittent fasting. I would recommend calorie cycling where you eat less on days that you don’t exercise and eat more on days that you do exercise. The goal is to stay in fat burning mode when you’re not exercising and build muscle on days you do exercise. Here’s a post I did:

    Additionally, if you are able to fast a little, you could try doing a 15-16 hour daily fast instead of 24 hours 1-2 times per week. I talk a little more about that in these posts:

    Happy to expand on any points as needed.

  • Toni:

    I was *thinking* of adding some HIIT back into my routine once the weather warms up in a few months. I used to hill sprint last summer once a week with my older son and it was nice to exercise together outside. I’d just do it once a week to avoid backsliding with my weight. Do you think it’s advisable or not?

  • Toni,
    I say go for it. If you find yourself losing weight too fast, then either put it on hold again or try to increase your calories.

  • Mark:

    In your intial HIIT outline, you mention a 2 minute warmup. What does this entail? How does one warmup appropriately for this?

  • Mark,
    You could theoretically do any light movement that gets your muscles loose. I just do some steady state cardio on whatever machine I’m performing HIIT on. I also walk my dog before doing HIIT so that helps as well.

  • Beth:

    Thanks for the info! The first workout really helped me break through a plateau. Now as for the second workout, when you say 4 min running, do you mean running as fast as we possibly can for those 4 mins?


  • Beth,
    Glad to hear the first workout was good for you. The second routine involves running 4 minutes at about the same pace as you would run an 8 minute mile. So it’s not a sprint. I don’t think anyone in the world could do a 4 minute sprint! Later in the week, you do perform more intense sprints though.

  • Hi Dave, I hear a lot of people saying that combining the weight exercises along with the HIIT training is the best way to lose fat? What is your opinion on this, I’ve heard that 50 minutes weight lifting session plus 30-45 HIIT is the way to go?

  • Mirsad,
    I’d say it’s great in theory. You release some fatty acids during the anaerobic weight training, release some more with HIIT, and then burn them off with steady state cardio. The problem is that most people don’t have 1 1/2 – 2 hours to exercise. I end up dividing my routine in two…performing 30-45 minutes of morning HIIT and exercising 4 days per week for 30-45 minutes. However, if you can put in the time, do some heavy lifting and follow up with HIIT/steady state. Should work well.

  • Dave,

    I also wrote about the HIIT benefits on my blog a while ago see

    I now recommend to most people to alternat between HIIT (1-2 day) and Strength/Hypertrophy training (1-2 day). Doing more of one of the other depending on goals.

    Wondering your thoughts on that.


  • Justin,
    Nice article on HIIT. I like switching off between HIIT and strength training. I use HIIT as my entire leg training combined with some kettlebell swings. Balancing HIIT with leg strength training exercises like squats is a little more challenging to schedule. Balancing intensity while avoiding overtraining is what it’s all about.

  • Dave,

    Are there any specific pieces of equipment in the gym that work the best for HIIT? You reference running, but I HATE running.

    Just wondering if any of the cardio equipment that I usually walk by would be the best for adapting to a HIIT session.



  • Sam,
    You can certainly use gym equipment. Nowadays I use an elliptical for most of my HIIT workouts. I have a rear drive…the front drive seem to be very difficult to get to sprinting speed on. You can obviously use a treadmill as well but that’s just a substitute for running. An exercise bike also works well; upright more so than recumbent. A stepper would be a pretty intense HIIT workout due to the incline so I’d probably avoid that. A rowing machine is a bit challenging to get up to full “sprint” intensity as well. The goal is to find an exercise you can perform intensely for short bursts. Bodyweight exercises work as well…burpees, squat jumps, etc.

  • Sal:


    On the long intervals (last 10 minutes), at what intensity should they be performed. I go all out on the 15 second sprints in the beginning. Please advise…..thanks!

  • Sal,
    Sorry for the delayed response. For the last 10 minutes, I don’t do all out sprints. Basically run fast enough so that you can get through 60 seconds and feel the burn in your legs. You definitely shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. It’s hard to put a number on it, but maybe 80% intensity?

  • Rickie VanTine:

    Thanks for your website. I am currently 35-45 lbs. overweight. I have my diet under control eating the appropriate mix of protein, carbohdrates and fats for my required calorie intake. I am currently exwrcising using resistance training and cardio. When I get into better shape I will definetely give HIIT a try and incorporate it into my workout. Any suggestions or comments would be much appreciated. Sincerely, Rickie VanTine

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