What's the best type of workout to do to lower a glucose spike and jumpstart fat burning? If you answered a HIIT workout, or high-intensity interval training, you're right. But only mostly correct.
This was a trick question. The real-life answer: Any workout you'll actually do when you get the glucose spike notification from Signos will help lower a glucose spike. The research-based answer: All exercise helps stabilize glucose levels, but when it comes to fat burning, effort and duration matter.
Moderate and low-intensity activity burns fat, but burning the most fat could require a 60-minute time commitment<sup>1</sup>.
If you want to spend the shortest amount of time working out, be ready to bring the thunder. You can see the metabolic and fitness gains of longer endurance sessions in as little as 15 minutes of very intense exercise<sup>2</sup> completed over the course of two weeks.
HIIT vs. HIRT vs. HIIE: How Hard Do You Have to Work to Burn Fat?
HIIT hits hard, like a punch. Although the total workout time tends to be brief, you work for those gains. Most HIIT workouts consist of repeats of 20- to 40-second intervals of cardio or strength-based exercises performed at 80-90% of max heart rate with short recovery. Men<sup>3</sup> and women<sup>4</sup> of all ages<sup>5</sup> and even adolescents<sup>6</sup> showed weight loss and body composition changes when completing HIIT workouts.
The reality: Not many people are fit enough to complete several intervals at 80-90% of max heart rate for 20-40 seconds at a time. That's OK. One 15-week study of high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE)—alternating between all-out and medium efforts—showed that participants who had to work their way up to completing multiple 8-second sprints still lost weight, reduced belly fat, and ended up with thinner thighs<sup>7</sup> after completing three HIIE workouts a week for almost four months.
Another variation of high-intensity interval training: HIRT, or high-intensity repeat training, pads in more recovery time between intervals. The longer rest periods of a HIRT workout can help exercisers make it through most or all of the high-intensity intervals in the workout because they're allowed more time to recover between the hard stuff.
One study showed that HIRT improved fat oxidation and increased resting energy expenditure<sup>8</sup> for 22 hours after the workout, a higher rate than seen in traditional resistance training.
The takeaway: You can modify HIIT workouts to combine shorter bouts of intense activity with slightly longer moderate bouts of movement (HIIE), or you can increase the amount of recovery time in between intervals (HIRT) but still reap the fat-burning benefits of these short workouts.
10-Minute HIIT Workout Video
Short and spicy, this 10-minute HIIT workout video can be done at home, outside, or even during your lunch break at work without any equipment. It's a 10x5x10 format, which means 10 repetitions of five exercises for 10 minutes total.
This is a tough effort so if you’re not accustomed to HIIT, please try a modified version. Either increase the recovery periods to make this a HIRT workout, or combine jumping versions of the exercises with low-impact versions of the exercises for a HIIE workout.
Make sure to warm up before you start this routine. To warm up, you can march in place, jog in place, walk up and down stairs at a moderate pace, or walk briskly for five minutes.
The 10x5x10 HIIT workout includes:
- Burpees (10 reps)
- High knees (10 reps)
- Skaters (10 reps)
- Agility hops (10 reps)
- Pop squats (10 reps)
Try to move through all five exercises without stopping to rest. If you need to rest, try to march in place for 15–20 seconds between exercises. Repeat the circuit until you reach 10 minutes total.
Low-Impact HIIT Workout
- No-impact Burpees: Step your legs back and forward during the burpee and remove the jump at the top
- Marching High Knees: March in place (no hopping), brining your knees as close to your chest as you can while swinging your arms
- Skater Steps: Step side to side instead of hopping
- Diagonal Steps: Step quickly from side to side diagonally
- No-jump Squats: Squat and touch down without jumping up
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