Muscle for life

Why High-Intensity Interval Training Is Best For Weight Loss

Why High-Intensity Interval Training Is Best For Weight Loss

If you want to lose fat (and not muscle) fast without doing hours of cardio every week, then you want to know more about high-intensity interval training.


Most of us learned at a young age that promises of “more for less” are usually a sham.









This is particularly true when we’re talking fat loss.

All we have to do, we’re told by shady supplement companies, is pop their pills and powders and we’ll be shredded in no time?


No amount of supplements can get you the body you want. In fact, most supplements can’t even help you get the body you want–they’re just completely worthless.

All we have to do, we’re told by shady exercise “gurus,” is spend a couple hours per week doing their workout routines and we’ll look like a Greek statue?


Getting into great shape may not be as complicated as many people think, but it requires that you get a lot of “little” things right ranging from caloric intake to macronutrient balance to progressive overload to training frequency and more.

“7 Minute Workouts” and fad dieting ain’t gonna cut it.

Now, if you’ve already heard of high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT), you’ve probably heard a similar story: that it has near magical fat burning powers.

That you can do just a few minutes per day and watch fat melt off your body.


HIIT isn’t the alpha and omega of fat loss…but it can be a powerful weight loss tool when you know how to use it properly.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this article:

  • What high-intensity interval training is (and what it isn’t).
  • Why it’s great for fat loss.
  • Why it’s superior to low-intensity steady-state cardio for optimizing body composition.
  • How to do it right.

By the end, you’re going to know how to get the absolute most fat-burning bang for your sweaty buck.

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (and What Isn’t)?

high-intensity interval training workouts

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a style of exercising where you alternate between periods of (almost) all-out and low effort.

Hence, the name.

The high-intensity intervals push your body toward its metabolic limits (basically as hard as you can go) and the low-intensity intervals allow it to recover (catching your breath).

You probably already knew that, though, and have several specific questions, such as…

  • How “intense” do the high-intensity intervals need to be? How hard should you push yourself and how long should you go for?
  • How do the rest periods work, exactly?
  • How long should your HIIT workouts be?
  • How frequently should you do them?

Basically…how do you get the most out of individual HIIT workouts and out of your regimen as a whole?

Well, let’s find out.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

How Intense Your High-Intensity Intervals Should Be

hiit routines

When you review scientific research on high-intensity interval training, you’ll see a lot of talk about something called VO2 max.

Your body’s VO2 max is a measurement of the maximum volume of oxygen that it can use, and it’s a major factor in determining your endurance level.

Its relevance to HIIT is this:

Studies show that you need to reach between 80 and 100% of your VO2max during your high-intensity intervals to reap the majority of HIIT’s benefits.

That’s nice to know but not very practical because it’s hard to approximate your VO2 max while exercising. There just aren’t reliable enough indicators to guess with any accuracy.

Fortunately, you can also work with a more useful metric: Vmax.

Simply stated, you’ve reached a Vmax level of exertion when you feel you can’t bring in as much air as your body wants (if you can comfortably hold a conversation, you’re not there).

For most people, this is about 90% of all-out effort.

1. Your goal during your high-intensity periods is to reach and sustain your Vmax.

That is, you need to get moving fast and long enough to make your breathing labored, and you need to hold that speed for  a fair amount of time.

As you can imagine, this means hard work. Think sprinting, not jogging.

2. Your goal during your HIIT workouts is to repeatedly achieve and sustain this Vmax level of exertion.

This might seem obvious, but it bears attention because the total amount of time you spend at the Vmax level of exertion determines the overall effectiveness of the HIIT workout.

That is, a “HIIT” workout that racks up maybe a minute of movement at Vmax level is going to be far less effective than one that accumulates several minutes.

Fortunately, this is just a matter of programming your workouts properly and not being a wuss when you do them.

We’ll talk about the workout programming soon and whenever you’re feeling wussy, here’s a friendly kick in the ass. 🙂

So, that’s “HIIT 101.”

Let’s now take a closer look at why we should choose it over easier, less stressful forms of cardio.

High-Intensity Interval Training and Burning Fat

high intensity interval training for cardio

Most cardio machines have pretty graphs that recommend you keep your heart range in middling “fat burning zone.”

If you do this, it’s claimed, you’ll maximize the amount of fat your body burns while you exercise as opposed to sugars.

Well, there’s a kernel of truth here.

You do burn both fat and carbs when you exercise, and the proportions vary with the intensity of exercise.

You see, research shows that as exercise intensity increases, so does the reliance upon muscle glycogen for energy over fat stores.

That is, as exercise gets more intense, the proportion of energy coming from glycogen stores becomes much larger than that coming from fat.

This is why a very low-intensity activity like walking taps mainly into fat stores, whereas high-intensity sprints pull much more heavily from carbohydrate (glycogen) stores.

These are the main reasons why many people think low-intensity steady-state cardio is best for losing weight.

Multiples studies such as those conducted by Laval UniversityEast Tennessee State UniversityBaylor College of Medicine, and the University of New South Wales show otherwise, though.

Specifically, they show that that shorter, high-intensity cardio sessions result in greater fat loss over time than longer, low-intensity sessions.

What gives?

Well, let’s start with the obvious: total calories burned while exercising.

High-intensity exercise can burn quite a bit more calories than low-intensity exercise, and as fat loss is dictated by energy balance, the advantage here is clear.

Let’s say you jog several times per week and burn about 200 calories per session, with about 100 coming from fat stores.

When combined with a proper calorie deficit, those workouts will help you get leaner faster.

Better, though, would be high-intensity workouts of equal duration that burn, let’s say, 400 calories per session, with 150 coming from fat stores.

Diet notwithstanding, the workouts that burn the most energy are going to result in the most fat loss.

Energy expenditure while exercising alone doesn’t fully explain how just better high-intensity interval training is for losing fat, though.

A study conducted by The University of Western Ontario gives us insight into how much more effective it really is.

Researchers had 10 men and 10 women train 3 times per week, with one group doing 4 to 6 30-second treadmill sprints (with 4 to 6 minutes of rest in between each), and the other group doing 30 to 60 minutes of steady-state cardio (running on the treadmill at the “magical fat loss zone” of 65% VO2 max).

The results?

After 6 weeks of training, the subjects doing the intervals had lost more fat.

Yes, doing 4 to 6 30-second sprints burns more fat than 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking.

The exact mechanisms behind HIIT’s superiority aren’t fully understood yet, but scientists have isolated quite a few of the factors:

  • Increased resting metabolic rate for upward of 24 hours after exercise.
  • Improved insulin sensitivity in the muscles.
  • Higher levels of fat oxidation in the muscles.
  • Significant spikes in growth hormone levels (which aid in fat loss) and catecholamine levels (which are chemicals your body produces to mobilize fat stores for burning).
  • Post-exercise appetite suppression.
  • And more…

The science is clear: if your goal is to burn as much fat in as little time as possible, then HIIT is the way to go.

High-Intensity Interval Training and Your Muscles

high intensity interval training workouts

In most weightlifter’s minds, cardio and building muscle are pretty much antithetical.

You can have one or the other.

Again, there’s some truth to this, but it’s an over-simplification.

For example, research has shown that combining both strength and endurance training (concurrent training) can hinder your strength and muscle gains when compared to just strength training alone.

Studies have also shown that the longer your cardio sessions are, the more they impair strength and muscle growth.

That doesn’t mean that cardio directly impairs muscle growth, though. Because it doesn’t.

Too much cardio does.

The right amount of cardio, however, can actually accelerate muscle growth for reasons outlined here.

What is the right amount, then?

Well, there are two factors to consider:

  1. The duration of the individual cardio sessions.
  2. The total amount of cardio done each week.

And when the goal is optimizing body composition (which requires progress in the weight room), you need to keep your individual cardio sessions short and your total weekly duration relatively low.

Only HIIT allows you to fulfill these criteria and burn significant amounts of fat.

How to Create an Effective High-Intensity Interval Training Routine

high intensity interval training routine

So, chances are you’re ready for some HIIT in your life.

Well, there are five things you should consider when building a HIIT routine:

  1. The type of cardio.
  2. The length of the workouts.
  3. The frequency of the workouts.
  4. The duration and intensity of the high-intensity intervals.
  5. The duration and intensity of the low-intensity intervals.

Let’s look at each point separately.

The Best Types of HIIT Cardio

hiit exercises

HIIT principles can be applied to any type of cardio but some forms are more practical (and effective) than others.

Generally speaking, the three best choices are…

  1. Biking
  2. Rowing
  3. Sprinting

Biking and rowing are my favorites because sprinting is very hard on the legs and will likely interfere with your squatting and deadlifting.











The reason I recommend these three forms over others is research shows that the type of cardio you do has a significant effect on your ability to gain strength and size through weightlifting.

The long story short is this:

The more a cardio exercise mimics the movement used in muscle-building movements, like the squat or barbell row, for instance, the less it hinders strength and muscle growth.

This makes sense because one of the important parts of building strength is simply training a movement pattern repetitively. (The more you do a movement, the better you get at it.)

That said, if you can’t or don’t like to bike, row, or sprint, don’t be “afraid” of other forms of cardio such as swimming, jump roping, calisthenics, boxing, and so forth. They’re not going to whittle your muscle away.

Again, the big cardio mistake is simply doing too much.

How Intense Should Your Your High-Intensity Intervals Be?

high-intensity interval training program

The goal of HIIT is to go fast and hard, not slow and hard.

That means that if you’re using a machine like a bike or rower, you want enough resistance to pedal or pull against but not so much that it becomes a resistance training exercise.

That’s why the primary difference between high- and low-intensity intervals should be your speed, not the amount of resistance used. 

That is, you should increase and decrease resistance but not nearly as much as you increase and decrease your speed.

Now, as you know, the key factor that determines the effectiveness of a HIIT workout is the total minutes spent at a Vmax level of exertion.

If you spend too little time at this level, it’s a quasi-HIIT workout, and if you spend too much, you’ll burn yourself out.

Well, you achieve maximum time at Vmax by, when sprinting, going for that level of exertion as quickly as possible.

Don’t “build up to it.” Give each sprint everything you’ve got right out of the gate.

In terms of duration of high-intensity intervals, 50 to 60% of Tmax is sufficient if your goal is losing fat and improving metabolic health.

Tmax is simply the amount of time you can move at your Vmax speed before having to stop.

For example, I can bike at Vmax for about 3 minutes before my heart feels like it’s going to explode, so my Tmax is 3 minutes.

Therefore, my high-intensity intervals should be about 90 to 120 seconds long (and yeah, that’s hard!)

For your intervals, you can either test your Vmax (all you need is a stopwatch) or if you’re new to HIIT, start with 30-second high-intensity periods.

Your HIIT workouts should get progressively tougher.

The more you do HIIT workouts, the more your Tmax is going to increase. This means the duration of your high-intensity intervals will need to increase as well if you want to keep it maximally effective.

As you can imagine, these workouts can get pretty damn intense for experienced athletes.

In three HIIT studies conducted with highly trained cyclists, high-intensity intervals were 5 minutes long (and improved their performance). In contrast, other research conducted with endurance athletes found that 2- and 1-minute intervals weren’t enough to improve performance.

How “Restful” Should Your Rest Periods Be?

high-intensity interval training for cardio

There are two ways you can make your HIIT harder:

  1. Increase the length of the high-intensity intervals.
  2. Decrease the length of the rest periods.

I generally recommend you first work on increasing the length of the high-intensity intervals until they’re in the range of 50 to 60% of your Tmax. This makes sure you’re doing true HIIT workouts.

Once you’ve achieved that, where you go from there is up to you.

I think it’s sensible to work rest periods down to a 1:1 ratio with the high-intensity periods (90 seconds of high-intensity work followed by 90 seconds of rest, for example), and then slowly raise the duration of both the high- and low-intensity intervals, maintaining that 1:1 ratio.

For example, let’s say you start your HIIT training doing 30-second high-intensity intervals followed by 60-second rest intervals (1:2 ratio).

As you continue, you get an idea of your Tmax and work your high-intensity intervals up to the 50 to 60% range, which comes out to about 60 seconds. You work at this level, maintaining the 1:2 high/low ratio (120-second rest intervals).

In time, you feel you can push harder and maintain the 60-second high-intensity intervals but start reducing your rest times, starting with 90 seconds (1:1.5 ratio).

Eventually your body adapts to this and you’re able to work the rest periods down to 60 seconds (1:1 ratio), and when even this isn’t challenging enough anymore, you start increasing both the high- and low-intensity intervals toward 90 seconds.

(And so on.)

You should also know that your rest periods should be active recovery, where you keep moving, not a standstill.

Studies have shown that active, not passive, recovery is advantageous for reaching Vmax during the high-intensity periods and eliciting the adaptive response to the exercise that we’re after.

How Long Should Your HIIT Workouts Be?

hiit cardio

One of the great things about HIIT is you get a lot out of what feels like little. There’s just no more efficient way to use cardio to drive fat loss and improve conditioning.

The big downside, however, is it can be quite stressful on the body, which means you don’t want to overdo it.

Do this, however, and you’ll be fine:

  1. Start your workouts with 2 to 3 minutes of low-intensity warm-up.
  2. Do 20 to 30 minutes of HIIT.
  3. Do 2 to 3 minutes of warm-down.

And you’re done.

There’s just no need to do longer HIIT workouts unless you’re focusing on improving performance, not losing fat.

If you feel you need more HIIT to lose weight efficiently, your diet is probably screwy.

How Frequently Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

hiit workout plan

The total amount of HIIT you should do per week depends on your immediate goals and what other types of exercise you’re doing.

If you’re looking to lose fat quickly, you don’t need to do more than 4 to 7 hours of exercise per week, and ideally you’d do more resistance training than cardio.

For example, my training and diet programs for both men and women prescribe just 3 to 5 hours of weightlifting and 1 to 2 hours of HIIT cardio per week.

This is how you lose fat and not muscle and maintain a healthy metabolism.

What About Supplements?

best supplements for building muscle

I saved this for last because, quite frankly, it’s far less important than proper diet and training.

You see, supplements don’t build great physiques–dedication to proper training and nutrition does.

Unfortunately, the workout supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, underdosing key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

Most supplement companies produce cheap, junk products and try to dazzle you with ridiculous marketing claims, high-profile (and very expensive) endorsements, pseudo-scientific babble, fancy-sounding proprietary blends, and flashy packaging.

So, while workout supplements don’t play a vital role in building muscle and losing fat, and many are a complete waste of money…the right ones can help.

The truth of the matter is there are safe, natural substances that have been scientifically proven to deliver benefits such as increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, fat loss, and more.

As a part of my work, it’s been my job to know what these substances are, and find products with them that I can use myself and recommend to others.

Finding high-quality, effective, and fairly priced products has always been a struggle, though.

That’s why I took matters into my own hands and decided to create my own supplements. And not just another line of “me too” supplements–the exact formulations I myself have always wanted and wished others would create.

I won’t go into a whole spiel here though. If you want to learn more about my supplement line, check this out.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the most out of your HIIT and fat loss efforts in general.


As weight loss boils down to energy consumed vs. energy expended, caffeine helps you lose fat by increasing your body’s daily energy expenditure.

Caffeine also improves strengthmuscle endurance, and anaerobic performance, and also reverses the “morning weakness” experienced by many weightlifters.

Part of maximizing the fat loss benefits of caffeine is preventing your body from building up too much of a tolerance, however. The best way to do this is to limit intake, of course.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Before training, supplement with 3 – 6 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. If you’re not sure of your caffeine sensitivity, start with 3 mg/kg and work up from there.
  2. Keep your daily. intake at or below 6 mg per kg of body weight. Don’t have 6 mg/kg before training and then drink a couple of coffees throughout the day.
  3. Do 1 – 2 low-caffeine days per week, and 1 no-caffeine day per week. A low day should be half your normal intake, and a no day means less than 50 mg of caffeine (you can have a cup or two of tea, but no coffee, caffeine pills, etc.).

Personally I get my caffeine from my pre-workout PULSE, which contains a dehydrated and concentrated form of caffeine (caffeine anhydrous) shown to be more effective for improving performance than what is naturally found in beverages like coffee.

PULSE also contains clinically effective dosages of 5 other ingredients scientifically proven to improve workout performance:

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.legion-pulse

PHOENIX Fat Burner

With the weight loss market valued at a staggering $60.5 billion and more than one-third of U.S. adults obese, it’s no surprise that there’s a glut of “fat burners” for sale these days.

And for the same reasons it’s also no surprise that fat burners are some of the most expensive supplements on the shelves and feature some of the loudest marketing claims, often making big promises of “scientifically proven” rapid fat loss.

The reality is most “fat burners” are junk but there are a handful of natural, safe substances that have been scientifically proven to accelerate fat loss. And that’s why I created PHOENIX.

PHOENIX’s caffeine-free formulation is helps you burn fat faster in three different ways:

  • It dramatically increases metabolic speed.
  • It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced by your body.
  • It increases the feeling of fullness from food.

It accomplishes this through clinically effective dosages of several ingredients, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has shown that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

  • And more…

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.



Yohimbine is made from the Pausinystalia yohimbe plant, and it helps the body “tap into” fat stores.

(Not a very technical explanation, I know–if you want to know exactly how it works, check out this article of mine on how to lose stubborn fat.)

Yohimbine accelerates weight loss, but only works if you’re training in a fasted state. Elevated insulin levels negate yohimbine’s effects.

I’ve cut both with and without fasted training and yohimbine and I can say with absolutely certainty that with is noticeably faster. So much so that I think the biggest benefits of fasted training are that it lets you use yohimbine and it makes the other supplements discussed in this article more effective.

By itself, fasted training will make a slight difference in how quickly you lose fat. Combined with these supplements, however, it’s quite dramatic.

In terms of dosages, research has shown that .2 mg/kg of body weight is sufficient for fat loss purposes, and that ingesting it prior to exercise is particularly effective.

Some people get overly jittery from yohimbine, so I recommend you start with .1 mg/kg of body weight to assess tolerance. If you feel fine, then increase to the clinically effective dosage of .2 mg/kg.

Furthermore, yohimbine can raise blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, I don’t recommend you use it.

In terms of which specific yohimbine supplement I recommend, you’re probably not surprised that I’ve included a clinically effective dosage in every serving of my pre-workout fat burner FORGE.

FORGE is a fat burner made specifically for use with fasted training and it contains clinically effective dosages of…

  • HMB. β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (also known as HMB) is a substance formed when your body metabolizes the amino acid leucine.







Research shows that HMB is an extremely effective anti-catabolic agent,  which means it’s very good at preventing muscle breakdown. And this means you will recover faster from your workouts and experience less muscle soreness.

  • Yohimbine. Research shows that yohimbine enables your body to reduce fat stores faster, and it’s particularly useful as you get leaner and are battling with stubborn fat holdouts.
  • Citicoline. CDP-choline (also known as citicoline) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain that increases levels of another chemical called phosphatidylcholine, which is vital for brain function.

Research shows that supplementation with CDP-choline improves attentional focus, and I included this in FORGE because most people find fasted training more mentally draining than fed training and CDP-choline can help counteract this.

The bottom line is FORGE helps you lose fat–and “stubborn” fat in particular–faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness.


My Personal HIIT, Weightlifting, and Supplementation Routines

hiit cardio routine


Before I sign off, I want to quickly show you how to put these strategies together to make a powerful fat loss regimen. This is exactly what I do when I’m cutting, and it works like a charm.

If you want optimal results, you’ll lift weights 5 times per week, and do HIIT cardio 3 – 4 times per week, for about 25 minutes per session.

Here’s how training and supplementation break down:

Before Weightlifting:

I wake up, drink some water, and get ready to go to the gym to lift. It’s about a 15-minute drive, so before leaving, I take the following:

2 servings of FORGE

1 serving of PHOENIX

1 scoop of PULSE

I then go lift for 45-60 minutes and my post-workout meal of about 40 grams of protein and 100 grams of carbohydrate is the first of the day.


My lunch is light–a salad with chicken and balsamic vinegar for dressing. The reason for this is I want my insulin levels to be at baseline by about 5:30 PM for my fasted cardio.

If I were to eat a larger lunch, like let’s say 40 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of fat, my insulin levels would likely be elevated come 5:30.

I don’t take any fat loss supplements at lunch.

Around 5:30 PM, Before Cardio

About 15 minutes before doing my fasted cardio, I take the following:

2 servings of FORGE

1 serving of PHOENIX

1 scoop of PULSE

I then do 25 minutes of HIIT cardio on the recumbent bike and eat about 30 grams of protein after.

If you combine the above routine with a proper weight loss diet, you will lose fat rapidly.

The Bottom Line on High-Intensity Interval Training

hiit cardio workouts

If a supplement or workout or claims to be a “shortcut” for gaining muscle or losing fat, it’s likely a sham.

Well, high-intensity interval training actually delivers the goods.

It’s significantly more time effective for losing fat than traditional “low-intensity steady-state” cardio (LISS).

The bottom line is whether you want to lose fat or improve athletic performance or both, you want to include HIIT in your workout routine.


What’s your take on high-intensity interval training? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

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Leave a Comment!
  • LeviD77

    It will kick your ass the first few times but becomes addictive once you get the hang if it. I can’t imagine going back to any other form if cardio. I do prefer the upright bike though.

    • Michael Matthews

      I agree! I’ve come to really enjoy it.

    • Gilberto Gil

      Just did some HIIT ON the recumbent. Felt amazing!

      • Michael Matthews

        Nice! Glad you liked it.

  • Mike

    I find HIT cardio too, I use Strength Stack 52 fitness cards. I am bias because I invented it, but if you have 10 minutes, it will get your blood flowing for sure

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, HIIT rocks!

  • Ben Smerud

    I like to do a kettle ball like routine where I take a pair of DB and basically do a dead lift to a press. 4 sets of 13. With as little rest as possible.. I then transfer over to a bike and do these sprints for five minutes.. My heart rate is jacked for several hours!! I love HIIT!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool! Thanks for sharing!

  • mdringler

    Mike, I enjoy your articles and books. You are adept at keeping it simple and consistent. Are you aware of Lyle McDonald’s articles regarding HITT vs steady state cardio? For example here is one: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/steady-state-versus-interval-training-getting-to-the-point-part-1.html

    He makes many good points such as how all of these studies were done in isolation without including heavy weight training. There is probably a risk of overtraining if one tries to combine frequent heavy weight training with frequent HIIT, especially when on a low calorie diet. It seems to me that there is a role for both types of cardio. Are you sure there is “absolutely no reason to do steady state cardio?” Body builders and others have successfully used it for decades.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment! I’m a fan of Lyle’s work and will definitely check this out.

      I’ve heard various people claim that HIIT + lifting risks overtraining, but I’ve yet to experience it or see it with anyone that I’ve worked with (numbering in the hundreds, probably close to 1,000) when kept in moderation.

      For instance, when I’m cutting, I lift 5x per week and do 3-4x sessions of HIIT per week, 20-30 minutes each. I supplement with 10 grams of BCAAs before and have NO issues whatsoever. I’ve done as much as 5-6x per week and then I do start to feel overtrained.

      The reality is you just don’t need much in the way of cardio to get really lean when you’re lifting regularly and eating properly. Most people I work with never need more than 3x per week.

      I agree that taking an extreme position like NO REASON to do steady-state can sound a bit silly, but based on the research and my experiences, I really don’t know of any reason to do steady-state (beyond personal enjoyment)…

  • Dylan

    It seems like it would be a bit difficult to read or watch a movie if you are frequently looking at the timer and switching the resistance and your effort. Do you have any tips regarding this?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah I just use the timer on the bike (I’m on a recumbent bike). Movie is easy as you can still pay attention while going intensely, reading is tougher, haha.

      • Marco

        Which companies sell stationary bikes (I am looking for an upright one) where the timer allows you to define a program that is 25 minutes long and has intervals shorter than one minute? I have asked the guys in a large sports equipment store which sells a lot of stationary bikes, but they haven’t been aware of any.

        • Michael Matthews

          Hmm I’m not sure as I only use recumbent bikes.

  • Ryblik

    I am very much like you Mike. I never really liked cardio and HIIT is the only cardio I can tolerate. It dosn’t wear you out and you can actually enjoy it 🙂 I just created a new training regimen on my Endomondo app called Muscle4Life HIIT based on your recommendations above and gonna take it for a test “ride” on a trail later tonight 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      I totally agree. The time savings alone is enough for me, haha. Lemme know how it goes!

  • Jenny Leadem

    Huh I didn’t know you were supposed to increase resistance. I’ve been doing 1 min normal, 1 min as fast as a can for 30 min. I’ll try it with the resistance up 30s instead.

    • Michael Matthews

      Ah yeah, give it a try. 🙂

  • Joe

    HIIT kills all your fibers as you need them all to perform the exercise as in heavy weight lifting. It is basically the only healthy alternative to weight lifting!

    It shouldn’t even be considered “cardio”. 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      It does hit the fast twitch fibers much more than steady state!

      • Tyler

        Hey Mike,
        What do you do for pre- and post-workout nutrition when you’re doing cardio or HIIT training?

        • Michael Matthews

          I like to do my cardio fasted and I’ll usually just eat some protein after.

  • Eric Farto

    Thanks for the great info, Mike!!!

    As I don’t have time to train lifting and cardio on separate sessions (I barely can lift weight everyday – I work and study), Do you think if I do HIIT twice a week, right after working out might be suitable?

    • Michael Matthews

      You’re welcome! Yeah, that’s totally fine.

  • RichardW

    Hello Mike, can you do Hitt in a step machine?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not sure to be honest. Never done it. But if you’re able to increase and decrease resistance, you can follow the same protocol as the biking…

      • Marissa Monaco

        I use a step machine even if I can only increase the speed works for me

        • Michael Matthews

          Great! As long as you’re spiking your heart rate and bringing it back down, you’re doing it right.

  • Scott | MassNERDerer

    I see a few issues with it still though, or at least, some reasons to still include steady state (depending on goals obviously.)

    HIIT increases muscle damage, so can hinder workouts or prolong need for recovery days depending on your program/fitness level, can be mentally draining, and some studies show increased appetite (though, I don’t have links so maybe I didn’t read close enough..).

    Where as steady state can aid recovery (blood and nutrients to the area, etc.), can be mentally relaxing, still some debate on cardiovascular increase (if we look at stuff like tabata research, both groups did steady state, so can’t be sure VO2max increases with only HIIT, though, hopefully we’ll see more long term studies come in this area and support that), also some people can’t really get high intensity, so interval training still has benefits, but could see diminishing returns if start too hard and dead after 4 minutes or really don’t increase workload at all so could use steady state to increase base.

    I agree that I think it’s best for fat burn, which was the topic. But I think steady state may still have a place, especially for people concerned with performance in some sports.

    • Michael Matthews

      All cardio causes some damage to the muscle, but HIIT is the most muscle sparing actually. And HIIT has been shown to INHIBIT appetite, not stimulate it (which steady-state has been show to do).

      Muscle soreness isn’t much of an issue with HIIT after you get used to it (takes a month or two for most). HIIT helps with muscle recovery in the same way that steady-state does.

  • Ryan

    Several tri-athletes I have spoken to have told me that this form of training is essential in their routine to boost cardio-vascular fitness as well… i.e. it improved that all important at-rest heart rate.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah I’ve been told the same.

  • Kimmo87

    What about the stairs running? I have a long stairs (70 steps and really steep!) near by and I like to do my HIIT routine there. 10 times up and your legs shake and heart rate is close to 200. Greetings from Finland love your articles and books! I like to give that bicycle HIIT try. Sounds very effective too.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great! Very tough. Might interfere with your legs training though, which isn’t ideal.

      Really glad you like my work! 🙂

  • Justin Tan

    Hey Mike,

    What do you think of swimming and boxing as HIIT training?

    Also would it be better to do both cadriovascular (slow swimming) and hiit training or just stick to hiit?

    • Michael Matthews

      Both can totally work. I just don’t see the point to endurance training unless you just really enjoy it. HIIT gives plenty of cardiovascular health benefits along with the fat loss and muscle preservation bonuses…

  • Gilberto Gil

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the clear info. Is it ok to separate out HIIT in to a separate workout in the same day as your weight workout? How often can you do HIIT per week without sacrificing too much in terms of muscle?


    • Michael Matthews

      Yes definitely. It’s best to do that actually. Regarding frequency, it really depends on your body. For me, I can’t do more than 4x per week when cutting or it starts to negatively affect my lifts. I’ve never tried 5-7x per week while maintaining or bulking so I’m not sure.

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  • Andy

    Mike! I’ve heard from “bros” in the gym that cycling is damaging the knees. It wears them out. I just hope it’s not true.

    • Michael Matthews

      I’ve never seen any scientific evidence of that… Nor anecdotal really. Long-distance runners are always the ones with knee issues…

  • heckofarush

    Cardio vascular fitness is more than just a fantasy. VO2 Max measurements are real and HIIT has its place and most runners incorporate it. But to completely write off steady state cardio is odd to be polite. There are physiological bennefits to be gained from running beyond simply fat loss. Personally I would rather go on a nice 3 mile run with sprint intervals integrated throughout rather than trudge away on some equipment in the gym while stairing at a tv. Just another perspective from someone who lost 108 pounds lifting and running. Great site mike.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great job on your weight loss!

      I totally agree that steady-state cardio has its place if that’s what you enjoy.

      But remember that many of us into weightlifting are really just looking for fat burning and general cardiovascular health benefits when it comes to cardio, and HIIT delivers better on the first. Muscle preservation is a bit benefit to us as well.

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  • Marco

    So for weightlifters, cycling is superior to running or walking because cycling more closely imitates the weightlifting motions. What about other cardio exercises then? Shouldn’t crosstrainer and rowing machine be even better than cycling, because they combine weightlifting-like motions for the legs (as in cycling) with weightlifting-like motions for the upper body?

    Another question:

    Why do you prefer recumbent cycling over ordinary cycling? I guess it is easier to keep the back straight in recumbent cycling, but to me, it feels strange for my legs (felt like there is constant tension in my hip flexors when trying it).

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, rowing would be fine too. This has actually been studied:


      I wouldn’t say it’s BETTER though. Just different. I would prefer cycling personally.

      Ordinary cycling fries my legs much faster than recumbent. I find it easier to push my heart rate up on the recumbent without killing my legs.

  • Justin

    Question: Would doing a tabada bodyweight routine mess up my lifting schedule? I found a large storage room at work that has space and a weight bench so I sneak back there during lunch or early afternoon and put in 10-15 minutes of HIIT. Since I don’t have a bike or treadmill I have been doing a fullbody circuit of 16 bodyweight exercises. I noticed some soreness in my legs and I am assuming it’s because of the new routine. I wonder if a high rep bodyweight circuit would interfere with my strength training days. Your thoughts please?

    • Michael Matthews

      Nope, it shouldn’t. Tabata is good for super-high-intensity work. I don’t think the bodyweight training will be a problem once your body adapts.

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  • Logan Dulmus

    Hey Mike, I myself am a fan of HIIT. I have done Insanity and I know damn well it works. But, I’ve heard that HIIT leaves your body racked with catabolic hormones. And I know that after insanity my strength in the weightroom had decreased significantly. I don’t like to even go near HIIT anymore because I’m afraid of losing muscle mass. What do you think?

    • Michael Matthews

      The primary catabolic hormone that spikes in response to exercise is cortisol, but this acute spike is good. It comes down after you stop exercising.

      HIIT causes no issues in this regard. It’s actually more muscle sparing than steady-state cardio.

      That said you don’t want to do cardio BEFORE lifting. It will sap your strength, as you’re experiencing. Do it after, or separately (best).

  • André Itami

    Great article, Michael! I just love to do HIIT sprinting on slopes! I can see great benefits with this training.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Keep it up!

  • André Itami

    Mike, what about doing burpees in a HIIT? Is it efficient?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, they work well!

  • António Alves

    I have just tried a spinning lesson, and that was demanding even with me cheating! ( it was my first time, didn’t want to increase the resistance as much!) I am not trying to lose weight, just want to improve my cardiovascular conditioning. So unlike most people who are cutting, I do want to “replace” all the calories I’ve lost. I am confident it falls into the HIIT category, because we were always alternating between different speeds and resistance.
    I’ve heard those lessons burn like 500 to 700 calories! Maybe it was just a bro tip, but if that is true, should I add 500 calories that day to my diet plan and every day I do it?
    And another question, I am planning on trying out intermittent fasting (leangains), and they recommend a 3 day split, which is great for me. Still, I want to not only look good, but also I want to be healthier. So if I were to have a 3 day training split + a 4 day hiit cardio sessions, is that considered “overtraining ” and would I need to up my protein intake or take another supplement?
    Thanks again, and sorry for the usual long posts!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool on the HIIT. Spin classes can run a bit long, but they’re good cardio.

      I don’t see the need to limit yourself to 3x per week. I would lift 5x and HIIT 3x. You won’t overtrain. Especially since you’re not going to be cutting…

      What do you think?

      • António Alves

        It’s not really due to the fear of overtraining, it’s just that it’s significantly cheaper to pay 3x a week, plus I’m in school and have other outside activities and that would save me some time.

        Yeah the HIIT definitely felt long but I feel it will improve my cardiovascular endurance and there’s that “myostatin” I think effect which will help me gain muscle. And what I will be trying out will be leangains recomp, which is like cutting and bulking. I think you are not a big fan of those diets, but it just sounded a good thing for my case(skinny fat). Plus, there’s no testimony of people that tried it and said if it works or not. So I will give it a go and share the story with the rest later on. Hopefully it will work.

        One more question if that’s ok:
        Do newbie gains only “operate” with the right nutrition? Because what I’ve been doing since the start of the month is I’ve been going to the gym, and now I have reached a point where I am comfortable with all the weights, machines, and weight ranges. But it’s been harder to come up with my diet, cause for me I would just eat the same things every week, but I’ve got other family members with other eating habits and some allergies who can’t eat the same things. But I will come up with something, but I was just wondering if when I do have something going, if my newbie gains will still be there.

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah understood on the schedule.

          Cardio can help “prime” the body for muscle growth, but too much WILL inhibit it.

          Cool on the LG recomp. It’s not a bad approach at all–I’ve just never known anyone that was able to achieve a true recomp like that that wasn’t a) brand new to lifting or b) on drugs.

          Newbie gains require a baseline of decent nutrition but I’ve seen some impressive newbie gains in guys that were VERY lax on their diets. They made sure they got enough protein, but their calories were all over the place depending on what was happening every day.

          So long as you don’t put yourself in a huge deficit or eat too little protein, you should do well with proper lifting.

          • António Alves

            I’ve had a look at a couple of guys websites on “skinny fat” transformations, and the most plausible one said that you should get to a low body fat percentage and then build a solid muscle foundation. The thing is if I do that right now I’ll look very very thin. That’s why I supported the LG recomp because he didn’t say that the goal was to get shredded, but to simply to slowly improve your shape for a few months, so that when you later on cut down the fat you don’t look so ridiculous. At least that was what I got from it.

            What do you think should be my general plan for this year(September to June)? Do you think I should try out the LG recomp until the new year and then till March or something like that cut and afterwards try a slow bulk?

            I’m not expecting any immediate results, I’m just trying to make the most out of this year and get into the best shape for the next summer.


          • Michael Matthews

            I agree that getting down to 10% or so before bulking is generally a good idea. Not vital, but recommended.

            The problem with a recomp is progress is slooow, and it can be discouraging to someone that’s new to lifting. I think it’s much smarter to make the most of your newbie gains and bulk first, and then cut.

            Recomp is best suited to people with a few years of proper lifting under their belts.

  • Derrek

    Does the 20-30 minutes include the warm-up and cool down? Also, can I cut down the rest to 30 seconds or should I wait? I usually do 60 minutes sprint and then 60 minute rest.

  • sarah

    I’ve recently discovered your website and I’m loving reading your articles.
    I’ve just started doing some HIIT on the upright bike. I’ve been giving myself only 30secs rest after going as fast as I can for 30secs. I’m going to try a longer rest period so that I can do more intervals overall.
    Looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Sarah! Great on the HIIT. I’ll throw in some 30/30s in the first 10-15 min but then stick to 30/60 for the rest. The cardio demand isn’t so much the issue as the leg burn is.

  • llLeoll

    I love HIIT’s since I started subbing a plyo routine for a running day in June. In 32 minutes, I can get my heart racing. And finish with a 4-minute Tabata interval that leaves me a spent mass…

    Yep. Great exercise idea. And more varied than running.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Glad to hear you’re liking it. 🙂

  • Derrek

    What your opinion on shorter intervals? Apparently it burns more fat. http://www.yurielkaim.com/1403/interval-training-for-fat-loss/

    • Michael Matthews

      Shorter intervals means more time spent in the “high-intensity mode,” which is best for fat loss, but also tougher physically. If you can do shorter intervals, do it…

  • Chris McAuliffe

    I do both. I wake up at 5am to lift and try and get in at least 3 days of cardio. HIIT at least once or twice a week and Steady state on the days I am tapped out from a back workout or leg workout. I have also done sprints in the back yard on the weekend afternoons so I could get the kids out with me!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Good routine.

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  • William Lim Jr

    Thanks for shedding more light on HIIT, Mike!

    If I would do HIIT on a fasted state, would you do you think I would need a pre-workout dose of BCAAs as you would do with weight lifting?


    • Michael Matthews

      YW! Yup, 10 grams BCAAs or 4 grams leucine–take your pick.

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  • Giancarlo


    my HIIT routine is 60 seconds sprinting and 75 seconds walking, what do u think? I feel very comfortable at it, but mostly I have seen people do 30 seconds on 1 minute off

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s INTENSE. What type of sprinting are you doing? On a treadmill or all-out running on the ground?

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  • Marwan

    thanks for great info!
    i am cutting now , how to mix lifting weight with hiit?
    3 days lifting and 3 days hiit?

    • Michael Matthews


      Yes, that’s a good routine.

  • Danielle M.

    Hey Mike, I’m just beginning to start HIIT training but I have a weightlifting schedule of (MTTF) and I was wondering if you could let me know what would be better lifting the same day as hiit or alternate days?

    • Michael Matthews

      You can do both cardio and lifting on the same day. That’s totally fine. I just recommend separating the workouts if possible.

  • Brian

    Just wondering what to do if you only want to cut fat for a period of time i.e. cutting phase. When you are done with the HITT program and you stop doing it will you pack the fat back on? Also how do you end a HITT program.

    • Michael Matthews

      Nope, you won’t gain the fat back if you handle your diet correctly. You can simply stop, regulate your food intake, and maintain whatever type of body you want.

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  • libertybelle

    Just out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on spin classes, which combine elements of HIIT and strength, etc.?

    • Michael Matthews

      They’re totally fine for general cardio but they don’t replace proper weightlifting.

      • libertybelle

        Of course! I just wondered if it was too much cardio in one workout session.

        • Michael Matthews

          Some do run a bit long. Personally I like to keep my cardio sessions in the 30-minute range.

  • archeeros

    I have found running at around a kilometer extra an hour compared to my 8km speed has worked well in burning fat. Usually I run at 12km/hr so ramping it up to 13km/hr and running for 5 kms with three 40 second breaks seems to be doing the trick. I have tried running faster / shorter intervals but what I am doing now seems to work.

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! Keep it up!

  • missmarine

    By the way, I love your books! How do you feel about the stair climber for HIIT training? It seems to help tone my glutes even more than just weights or should I stick to the bike? Plus I have to do my cardio right after my weights because of time restrictions. Is it ok to do HIIT 4 times per week with this schedule?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!

      SC is great. Very tough!

      Yes, that’s okay. Not IDEAL as you know but it won’t cause any major issues.

      Keep up the good work!

  • tebthereb

    In BLS you write about putting as much time as possible between weights and HIIT. In practice I am unlikely to do HIIT in the evenings after being at the gym early morning. Presumably it is better to do some HIIT straight after working out then it is to not do it altogether?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s okay. Yes, do it after. It’s not IDEAL but it won’t ruin your gains.

  • Marco

    Hi Mike,

    I just did your routine on my new upright bike for the first time. It felt good. I sweated a lot but I am not exhausted. I have some questions:

    1. If you consider 100 RPM a moderate pace, how many RPM should “as fast as possible” be? 75 RPM felt moderate to me and 95 RPM very fast. Is your faster pace superior?

    2. How do I know whether I am training too hard or too light? Are there any Watt or heart rate figures you can give? I do not think my bike’s resistance settings are comparable with yours, as 4-5 felt way too light (I used 10).

    3. What is the best way to track your progress (numbers in training log)?


    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! Glad to hear it went well.

      1. Good question. On second thought, that number may have been a typo. I’m going to check again next cardio session. Go with however it feels for your body.

      2. Yeah, ideally you want to reach about 90% of your heart rate max on your high-intensity intervals. This requires intense pedaling. I use the resistance to give me enough to push through so my legs don’t feel like they’re just spinning in circles on momentum.

      3. Make a note of total time as well as length of high- and low-intensity intervals (you want to work toward being able to do 30-45-second high-intensity intervals with the same length low-intensity).

      Hope this helps!

      • Marco

        Thanks! Yes, it helps.

        • Michael Matthews


          • Marco

            2. again:
            I have been using the same pace and resistance settings for each high-intensity interval. My heart rate increases with each interval, e.g., 135 BPM for the first, 170 BPM (= ca. 90%) for the last one. Is that ok, or should I start with a faster pace and slow down with each interval?

          • Michael Matthews

            The closer you can get to 170 on each interval the better. HIIT is tough!

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  • John

    Mike, so you say doing more than say 30 minutes of cardio, 3x a week is too much and would impede muscle growth. What about low intensity cardio eg walking.

    Doing HIIT with very high intensity followed by longer low intensity bouts seems to burn the same amount of calories as ‘steady-state’ or ‘fat burning zone’ cardio, in my experience. But it’s not just about calories.

    What about doing lifting and HIIT in the same session? Am I right in assuming HIIT should come after weight-training? It seems a waste of time to go to the gym just for a 20 minute HIIT session on your non-lifting days.

    • Michael Matthews

      Walking is going to be less of an issue but if you’re walking for a couple hours per day, it may. It’s hard to say based on the research we have available.

      Exactly–there’s more to it than cals burned while exercising.

      You can follow your lifting with HIIT yes although best is to separate them so as to avoid that “mixed message” issue of interfering with strength and muscle gains.

  • Hi Mike, very good stuff. I am following the proposed HIIT routine, but I have a question: I am doing weights 5x week, and I was planning on doing HIIT cardio 3x/week after my weights session. However, I would be fine doing it every weekday, also after my weights routine.

    Do you recommend getting more than 3x/week for weight loss or is this schedule good enough?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Felipe! 5x lifting and 3x HIIT is perfect for weight loss. I don’t do more than 5x lifting and 4x HIIT when I’m cutting even to really low body fat percentages (5-6%).

      • Hey Mike,

        Thanks for such a fast reply!

        Let me just finish by saying that we all know there are a lot of healthy, nutrition and weightlifting blogs/websites out there.

        But if I was to say one thing where your website stands out in comparison to every place else, is when you scroll down to the comments.

        It really amazes me that you take time to reply to every single question you get in your posts. And sometimes, even reply of replies! Mind = blown!

        Must be a colossal effort, but that’s the reason that made me buy two of your books and subscribe your newsletter. Well, to be completely honest, the looks and readability of your website also surely help.

        If I lived in US, I would even buy Legion products to support your work.

        Keep up with the awesome work!

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure!

          Thanks a lot for the kind words. I really appreciate it and enjoy staying in touch with everyone so it doesn’t feel like a huge burden.

          I’m a fast reader and typer too so it helps. 🙂

          I really appreciate your support brother. Keep up the good work and keep me posted.

        • Ditto

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  • Katherine Watt

    For an active person (I cycle at moderate speed 10miles a day, 2 x 20min dog walk a day and 2 x 90min yoga a week), would HIIT be effective if done just once or twice a week, due to time restraints?

    • Michael Matthews

      Sorry but not I’m not sure if I understand your question. Can you elaborate?

      • Katherine Watt

        Would I still lose weight if I only did HIIT once or twice a week? I’m already quite active but not intensely, and my weight has plateaued

  • disqus_Xa2z3ldhmu

    Awesome article. I have never tried HIIT on a bike though. I will start it for my next workout. Question, Im really looking to gain muscle but I have some stubborn fat around my lower belly. How much cardio and weight lifting would you suggest a week? I don’t want to lose weight. I just want to lose this extra body fat thats hanging on for dear life. lol

  • JoeKerslake

    I’m training twice a day (morning and evening) 6 days a week (rest thursday). If i lift in the morning, will doing HIIT in the evening hinder my muscle growth?

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice, but you might be overtraining. I wouldn’t recommend 6x lifting and 6x HIIT per week…

      • JoeKerslake

        How many would you recommend? I’m not doing HIIT on leg day so that makes four

        • Michael Matthews

          4x is the most I would recommend. Any more and I start to get overtrained (with 5x lifting). BTW I recommend moving one day to your legs day. It will help reduce soreness.

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  • Danielle Palminteri

    Hey Mike. It is my first time reading your articles and I loved them.

    I am going to start a hiit program monday. Ive been doing an hour on an incline treadmill forever and I dont think its doing anything. I have 30lbs to lose and I want to tone and lose. 3days hiit, 3days full body? Do I do hiit on days I train weights? Im a little lost lol

    Thank you in advance

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Danielle! Yeah 3x lifting and 3x HIIT is a great place to start but make sure you’re also eating right:


      You can do cardio on the same days as weights, sure.

      • Danielle Palminteri

        Im so nervous I am going to not get this right. Lol
        So hiit 3 times a week
        Weights 3 times a week
        6 days alternating? Or hiit and weights together 5 days?? Im a mess. Lol
        I have lost 85 pounds and the last 30 is hanging on for dear life lol

        So many opinions from everyone. Im just confused.

        Thank you in advance for your help.

  • Dr. Arshad Mahmood

    Mike, do you sprint? I ask because I’ve been cycling for HIIT and it seems a hell of a lot easier than sprinting. Will I lose conditioning only cycling? Maybe I’m doing it wrong?

    • Michael Matthews

      I used to sprint but it beat up my legs too much. It was getting in the way of my lifting, so that’s why I started cycling and I love it. My conditioning has improved by just cycling, but I really push myself.

  • Calypso

    Hi, Michael! I love the info you have about HIIT. I’m a woman, 25 years old, with about 30 pounds of fat to lose. I am doing HIIT (walking at 3.5 mph for 2 mins in between sprinting at 7 mph for 1 minute. I’m short, so my little legs have to really move!). I’m also doing strength training. I plan on doing strength training 6 days a week, and HIIT 3 or 4 days. But, I was wondering if it’s a good idea to do a straight, low intensity cardio workout on the days I don’t do HIIT, provided I don’t workout at all once a week? Will I be over-training? Also, I don’t do HIIT on leg days, since I’m sprinting.

    Thank you so much!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Cool on what you’re doing. That’s great.

      Lifting 6x and HIIT 3-4x is PLENTY, if not a little too much. Let’s see how your body responds. I wouldn’t add anything on top of that…

      • Calypso

        Thank you so much for your insight, advice, and quick reply! I’ll see what happens in a few months. 🙂 Maybe I’ll be a success story on here, who knows. lol

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure! And hell yeah let’s do it!

  • Shirley

    Hello Mike! Love your site. I have been lifting 4-5 days a week and doing moderate to high intensity cardio 3 days a week for 25-30 min. If i do hiit instead on those 3 days would 20-25 minutes be sufficient for my cardio. I’m less than 2 months from my wedding. I want to be as efficient as possible.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Shirley! That’s great on what you’re doing. 4-5x lifting and 3-4x HIIT cardio is perfect.

      You may want to use some supplements too to get the most weight loss possible out of your routine:


  • andreab

    hi, i am a skinny fat 31 year old woman, i now eat 5 times a day, excercise padel tennis two days, trx 2 times a week, and HIIT 2 days. i am starting weight lifting 3 days, i really love trx so i don´t want to leave that… also the padel tennis i dont know if it counts as an extra cardio
    what do you think?

    • Michael Matthews

      Great on what you’re doing! It sounds like a good plan. Ideally you would lift weights 5x per week but it’s not vital.

  • TheMayorsOffice

    Hi Mike,

    I want to start out by saying excellent article!

    I love HIIT, I bought a treadmill 2 years ago just so I can do HIIT and because I love running. I used to jog 5k last year but life got me and I was not able to go exercise for a while.

    I am 33 years old, 5’11”, and 193 pounds. I have been doing P90X for the past 8 weeks but I find it very boring now. I want to run again, I miss it. I did my first HIIT run last night. I did 12 intervals of HIIT and maintained a heart rate of 174 bpm. Here’s my question; I feel like I need to do something everyday since I have been doing P90X for an hour or more every day. Maybe it’s because I am used to doing an hour or more daily due to P90X but Is it safe to do this everyday or should I limit myself to 3 times a week? My main and primary goal is to lose fat, I know I have a good frame under the bit that is there as I have been extremely active my whole life. If 3 times a week is sufficient do I just simply rest on days off or do I something like a 5k jog?



    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Tim!

      Cool on your stats and what you’re doing. I would limit HIIT to 4 x per week if you’re also lifting weights. If you’re not, you should be able to do 5 – 6 x per week and be fine. I would take one day of rest (no exercise) per week as well.

      • TheMayorsOffice

        Awesome, good to know! I won’t be doing any weight lifting for the time being, that is in my radar in about 2-3 months form now. I want to run! (and lose some fat) 🙂

        I think 5 days a week will be my plan, i’ll probably start with 12 intervals of high intensity for 30 seconds and 45 low intensity and then bring it up to 30/30 and then 40/30.

        • Michael Matthews

          Okay cool, let me know how it goes. I like your plan.

          • TheMayorsOffice

            Well, 2 weeks into this now. I was 193 I am now 189. I am doing 12 intervals Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun. I am doing 30 sec high and 60 seconds low. I went from 9mph to 9.4mph to maintain 169-172bpm because the 9mph was not bringing me into the zone. My warm up is a 8 min jog at 4.4mph which equates to almost 2.5 miles. It’s starting to look good 🙂

            I stopped P90X as I found it boring and went strictly with this again, I have more success in this though I can see where people benefit from the full body workouts of P90X.

          • Michael Matthews

            Perfect! Keep it up and keep me posted!

  • Betul

    Thank you for thisi nfırmative article !
    Is HIIT just for fat burn? I want to try HIIT too, but my body fat percentage is fine. I wanna be a mountaineer that is why i am trying to strenghten my body. I run 5km and do some excercises with weight (abt 45 min). Is there anything that HIIT contributes me more than my routine? Should i stick with my routine or add HIIT? If i should add HIIT, do i need to skip running or excercises with weight?
    Thank You !

    • Michael Matthews

      HIIT will definitely strengthen your legs and increase your endurance. It’s just great all around. But not it doesn’t replace lifting.

  • Brigitte

    I see you recommend lifting 5x a week but I do 4x a week lower body mon and thurs and upper body tues and fri and after reading this intend on add HIIT 4x a week. My question is if 5x a week is recommended how I get sufficient recovery time in between? Also been lifting heavily since sept and have definitely seen a difference but not what I had hoped by now but I have also been dieting so I think that maybe I have not been getting enough protein what do you think? Started I sept 5′ 3″ 150 lbs now 125 lbs still would like to loose another 5 lbs or so.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s cool on your split. That plus 5 x HIIT will probably be a bit much. I would limit to 3 – 4 x per week.

      Great on your gains so far. What’s your diet like?

      • Brigitte

        Good clean diet low carb, lean proitien plenty of raw veggies and water and more water. 1, 200 calories a day. Just can’t get rid of my somewhat thick tummy mabe having a baby so late wrecked it? I think getting 1-2 grams of protein per lb of body weight needed to build muscle in my legs and butt after all the squats and such at gym will just cause me to get to many calories in a day and it will all go straight to my tummy like seriously 2 minutes after I eat lol. Any thoughts?

      • Brigitte

        Thank you so much for your quick response 🙂

        • Michael Matthews


  • Brigitte

    Also in loosing weight I seem to have lost my curvy butt and my legs looking to thin I think and still kind of thick in the middle. Don’t really want to loose more weight cause want a butt and to keep my breast but tummy must go. What do you suggest. I did have a baby at 40 am 46 now sorry if to long

    • Michael Matthews

      Unfortunately you can’t decide where your body pulls fat from–it just comes off from all over.

      That said, you can start lifting weights and your butt and legs will really pop! 🙂

  • molly

    do you think if i do strength training 4 days a week and hiit cardio 3 days a week my body will be in shape by late may early June. im 15 i weight 150 pounds and i don’t care about how much i weight i just want to look slimmer. and also how long should i be doing hiit cardio for and how long should i be doing strength for

  • Gabe B. Arkwette

    Hey Mike!
    I am currently reading your book and I really like what I’m reading. It just makes so much sense. I can’t wait to finish it!
    I had a question concerning cardio.
    What do you think about cardio on an empty stomach? I saw read that in some other places, but you didn’t mention anything about it. Is it worth trying to fit it in routine, or does it make no actual difference on the results? Is is really a good way to target fat loss or does it just lead to a muscle loss (although the body normally uses fat reserves before muscle…)? Thanks!

  • kay t

    I want to lose weight and I have a hard time doing so due to the fact that I work so late. I just changed my work schedule and I can get back into gym mode. If I do HIIT 5x a week (Mon-Fri) no weekends and keep up my disciplined healthy eating would I see results fast?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes that should be enough exercise if you also diet properly. I would recommend some weightlifting as well…

  • Future athlete

    Hi mike, i lift weights 4x a week and i want to start doing Hiit for faster fat loss, i was planning on doing hiit on my non legs days but, would hiit be a problem if i do it on leg days??

    • Future athlete

      I want to do it 3x a week. 4 if i could on leg days.

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool, I like it. Nope that’s totally fine. Do it after your workout though (immediately after or later in the day).

  • Robert

    Hi. Question, what would be your recommendation? I am 41 years old, 5.47′, and 148 pounds. So, in a nutshell, I am not overweighted, but after an study, I was told that I should loose fat as apparently I have a lot of visceral fat. Not good whatsoever. So, I want to loose fat as much as possible but without loosing muscle. I started doing hiit 5 times x week, on an elliptical, doing 1 min high intensity (170 bps), and then resting 2 mins bringing my bps down to 120, repeating this for 30 mins. I also do some lifting after hiits (30 mins), looking to burn some extra calories and not loose muscle. What would be your recommendation in terms of hiits vs lifting? how often/intense based on my visceral fat condition? thanks in advance

  • Firas Musharbash

    Hello Mike,
    im trying to loss bodyfat since a long time i lost arounf 10kgs before a year or so but after i lost it kept doing lifting and some cardio but gained arounf 10 kgs yes some of them are muscles for sure but i just dont like how i look on a tshirt the problem is my wasitline its like 110 cm maybe more! plus i have a problem with my arms they look small comparing to my chest .. i cant separate lifting and cardio .. can i do cardio after lifting ? and should i drink my shaker and banana right after lifting and then do cardio or what do u recommend .. any idea what to do with the waistline problem ?! thank you a lot Mike! love the way you interact with us cheers kee up the good work 🙂

  • Firas Musharbash

    Hello Mike,
    im trying to loss bodyfat since a long time i lost
    arounf 10kgs before a year or so but after i lost it kept doing lifting
    and some cardio but gained arounf 10 kgs yes some of them are muscles
    for sure but i just dont like how i look on a tshirt the problem is my
    wasitline its like 110 cm maybe more! plus i have a problem with my arms
    they look small comparing to my chest .. i cant separate lifting and
    cardio .. can i do cardio after lifting ? and should i drink my shaker
    and banana right after lifting and then do cardio or what do u
    recommend .. any idea what to do with the waistline problem ?! thank
    you a lot Mike! love the way you interact with us cheers kee up the good
    work 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      It sounds like you just need to get on a proper meal plan brother:


      And if that doesn’t work, you probably need to work on speeding up your metab first:


      • Firas Musharbash

        Thanks for the fast reply mike much appreciated!! 😉 ok I didn’t read all of it yet but what I understand that my tree is around 2077 per day so I have to eat atounf 1661 tolose wait I’m already lifting 4-6 days a week. 2 can I do cardio directly after lifting ? Should I take mY shaker and banana right after lifting then hit the tridmill or should I drink the shaker after I done them both? Humm last question is the shaker with the banana after lifting and cardio is a post work out Neal or I still have to eats after it? I’m asking too much but I really need those answers thanks again Mike ! Cheers buddy 😉

        • Michael Matthews


          TDEE sounds a bit low? How much do you weigh?

          You can drink your shake after your cardio.

          • Firas Musharbash

            My weight is around 105 kg 182 cm tall .

          • Michael Matthews

            Yeah your TDEE is going to be around 2700. You should be able to eat around 2200 per day and lose weight…

          • Firas Musharbash

            Cool I have another last question hehe is my shaker and banana after lifting and cardio is Mu post workout meal?

          • Michael Matthews

            Yeah that’s fine.

          • Firas Musharbash

            Thanks a lot Mike, much appreciated buddy 😉

          • Michael Matthews


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  • Akshay

    Hi my age is 25 ..i wuz 137.5kgs when i wuz at the age of 17 and came down to abt 105kgs in the next 2 years..then i wuz nt regular with my diet and gym and wuz addicted to junk food and my weight usualy fluctuated 10 -15kgs ..in my 23rd year i got serious and when i started my work out i wuz abt 125kgs and within abt 6-7 months came down to 76kgs ..my height is 5ft 11inches..current bisceps 15.5 and chest 40inches.. i have gained sum muscle and have reached 80.5kgs.. through out my weight loss i wuz very much regular with weight training. .the only screw up wuz when i had a shoulder injury and couldnt weight train for abt 3 months, i increased my cardio to abt a total of 2 hours and wuz nt consuming enough protein ..which resulted in sum serious muscle loss which i am still trying to recover..its been abt a year nw that i hav been doing good weight training and hav come to 80.5 kg.i am suffering from lose skin..i can see my abs when i jog witout a shirt infront of a mirror and the loose skin jiggles away..i have not been on any unhealthy diet..and i take care of my nutritional needs as well..i am consuming a gud multivitamin ..vitamin b complex, vitamin c 1000mg..vitamin e 800 iu and flex seed oil also sum anti oxidants like grapeseed extract 100-250mg and green tea extract ..and am currently consuming abt 250-260gms of protein..i have been following kris gethins 3month work out routine for the past year..but i dont know what 2 do with my loose skin..i am keeping my skin mouisturised and oiling my body regularly..also i a hav crazy stretch marks on my entire upper body..please help i dnt know what to do for my stretch marks and loose skin specialy in my lower abdominal area

  • Malin

    Hi there! Me and my friend has done 3 hiit’s per week for Three weeks now, but we try to variate between rowing, “skierg”, stairs, squatsjumps, crawl and jumping rope. We like it very much! And can see some results, even after just three weeks. I would like To ask you though, if you think there is any point in trying to be moore consequent about wich kind of hiit we do? And for now, we usually go for a 8min warmup and then do ten Times 30 sek, with 60 sek pause in between.
    I am very glad we found your video on youtube! For medstudents like us, with a Limited amount of time it is very nice to know that there is no reason for a timeconsuming long jogg.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! That works. No reason to do only the same thing. Keep up the good work!

  • Lukasz


    I have been following the BLS program for over 6 weeks now. I am doing the 5 day lifting split but due to my schedule I and doing 4 workout days per week and picking up the 5th workout the following week. So my workout days have a rolling schedule.

    Here is my routine

    Monday – 45min lifting routine 1 and 15min of hit right after.
    Tuesday – 45min lifting routine 2 and 15min of hit right after.
    Wednesday – 45min lifting routine 3 and 15min of hit right after.
    Thursday – 45min lifting routine 4 and 15min of hit right after.
    Friday – Jogging outside for 30min
    Saturday – Either playing Tennis or Jogging for 30min
    Sunday – Rest
    Monday – 45min lifting routine 5 and 15min of hit right after.
    and so on.

    What are your thoughts on this schedule? Too little or too much?

    • Michael Matthews

      This looks totally fine.

  • Kellie Frr

    I love that you recommend cycling for HIIT cardio – it truly is more effective and lower impact (I broke my leg six months ago, so running is out, and walking is boring as hell). And I love the time frame as well, as I find lifting/resistance/functional training exponentially more interesting.

    Generally, thank you for a lot of the interesting topics on your blog. I am attempting to return to peak fitness as a type-1 diabetic (check out my blog, which is still quite skeletal at this point, http://www.thefurrtrials.wordpress.com). There is a lot of misinformation out there, so thanks for the research you do.

    • Michael Matthews

      I agree Kellie! I’m glad to hear you’re recovering from the injury and I appreciate your support. I’ll check your blog out now!

      • Kellie Frr

        Thanks, Mike! It’s a work in progress (as am I), but the blog is turning out to be a conduit for educating myself on health, fitness, nutrition, and diabetes. So I’m enjoying this journey.

        I actually wrote a post today about goal-setting that incorporates some stuff from TLS (including a shot out to you, good sir): http://thefurrtrials.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/goal-setting-my-ideal-body-in-pictures-and-numbers/

        Feel free to post thoughts/criticisms. Both are welcome.

        • Michael Matthews

          Awesome thanks for the plug! And great voice. I like your style. 🙂

  • Sash

    This is all well and good Mike, but what about us who love the outdoors and real cycling too much. Come warmer weather (I live up in northern Ohio), I am out there cycling for at least an hour at a time, at least 4 days a week, in addition to standard 5 day weight lifting split. My pace would be classified somewhere between steady state low intensity and HIIT, as I would have intervals of high output (up the hill for example), and periods of low intensity. Last year I lost way too much weight overall, from 200 down to 174 lbs. As you imagine, a great portion of my muscle gains were gone too, so in the end while I was definitely lighter, I almost looked flabby in my midsection. I talked to a few people about this problem, as I really want to avoid this issue this time around. I put on good amount of muscle this year, and want to preserve as much of it as I can before winter. Some say that I should eat back a good portion of the calories I burn off biking, and that kind of makes sense. What do you think?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great! You gotta do what you love brother.

      The best you can do is eat a good serving of protein and carbs before, take 10 g BCAA with carbs in the middle, and eat after.

  • marco

    What’s up guys

    • Michael Matthews

      Yo 🙂

  • marco

    Yo wuts up mike! Need a second opinion, iv done high intensity cardio befor witch wus last jun and lost 50ibs in 2months, and now that im back on it and just lifting dumbbells and doin squats exc, im not feeling the intensity in the cardio no more, I feel the struggle to do it but im not getting the sweat from like I wus be for, so I thought I might change it up and start doing sprints with my lifting, im about 6’2 and weight is about 250, im not sure if my weight is correct its sum ware around there maybe 255 near 260 MAY BE!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Lost 50 lbs in 2 months??? Did you not eat any food for those 2 months? Lol.

      Sprints could work. I really like the bike. Have you tried it?

  • John Fox

    Hi Mike, I use an elliptical. Is it ok or is the bicycle better? Also what would you bump up the resistance too on an elliptical?

    • Michael Matthews

      Elliptical is fine. I’ve used it for HIIT. Yup, I would increase resistance on the high-intensity intervals so you can really push it.

  • João Carlos Clementoni Silva

    Hi Mike!
    I’m doing BLS program, lifiting 5x per week. I also play soccer for 1,5 hours twice per week. Soccer counts as HIIT? How much HIIT shall I do per week? Another question, what shall I eat before and after HIIT?
    Thank you very much.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Yeah that’s fine. You probably won’t need more cardio. I would have protein and carbs before and protein after.

      • João Carlos Clementoni Silva

        Nice!! Thank you very much!!

        • Michael Matthews


  • John

    Mike, so HIIT burns more calories post-exercise. But does it burn more from your muscles? have I got this right, its advantages over ‘steady-state’ cardio are that during workout it eats less into carbohydate stores than Steady Sate as the high level intensity is brief – most of the time is low level intensity. But those high-intensity bursts have an ‘afterburn’ that burns fat post-workout. Right?

    It would seem it’s better to do a combination of Low Intensity eg walking combined with HIIT than just the traditional Medium Intensity/Steady State Cardio?

    • Michael Matthews

      HIIT burns more glycogen than steady-state cardio.

      There are theories that combining HIIT and LISS is the way to go but I’ve always seen the best results from HIIT only, both in terms of fat loss and muscle/strength preservation.

      • Peds

        If I wanted to get lean, would HIIT and LISS work better? Like start off with 30mins jogging at a steady pace then do 15mins HIIT?
        I’m after the male model-lean look. Not too bulky, like Paolo Roldan.

        • Michael Matthews

          There are theories that claim this but I haven’t seen any direct studies to back them up. From the research I’ve reviewed and my experience with my body and with hundreds of people I’ve worked with, 100% HIIT is just the way to go.

  • Kirby

    Hey Mike, I am a 26 year old female and since January have been really getting into running. I also have changed my eating habits to eating much more healthy and keeping track of calories and only drink water now instead of the odd pop or alcoholic beverage. I have lost about 12-15 pounds since then and feel as though I have plateau’d with my weight loss. I have really started to enjoy running and have gotten to doing a 10K and have ran in a few 5K races. I would love to lose 10 more pounds and was wondering if you think HIIT is good for that? I have been doing some jump rope workouts lately and really like it. As much as I would love to lose the 10 pounds, I do not want to lose any more of the muscle tone that I have. What would you suggest for me to do to lose 10 more pounds while keeping my current muscle tone? Thanks and great blog/tips!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool! Great job!

      Yes HIIT and help BUT you need to make sure you don’t drop your cals too low or you’ll have to struggle with a slow metab. Check this out:


      My recommendation would be to add some weightlifting into the mix, which will speed up your metab and build muscle, which will further speed it up.

      • Kirby

        Thank you for the response! I’ll give this a shot!

        • Michael Matthews

          Great, let me know how it goes!

  • kara

    is HIT cardio something you should do fasted 1st think am

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes, it’s great fasted.

  • Sylvana

    Hi Mike,

    I have started working out 3 months ago to finally get rid of my post-pregnancy weight (after 4 years, lol) and I have now reached my goal weight. But now I still have a belly which of course is because of fat. I am now working on lowering my body fat percentage but it seems to stall a bit. I completely mix my workouts up with weight lifting, kettlebell, hill sprints, Insanity and jogging, so I have already included HIIT. My body is clearly changing, my legs are shaping nicely and my arms and shoulders are starting too but it is the belly that is the big problem. My husband says that I’m doing well and that I should just keep doing what I’m doing and that eventually the fat will come off. But I guess that I’m getting a bit impatient now and I thought that maybe you can give me a few tips?

  • Sleepy Dizzy

    thank you

    • Michael Matthews

      YW 🙂

  • Matt Livesley

    Hi Mike, thanks for this very helpful article. I’m 6ft 3 220 lbs, lot of muscle mass but also fair bit of stubborn belly fat. I’m currently intermittent fasting on a very strict diet of lean protein and vegetables so a large caloric deficit. How much HIIT and weights do you think I should do per week to try and be lean in 2 months. I know it’s not long but my body burns fat super fast so I feel I can get to a nice level. I really don’t want to sacrifice burning muscle either.

  • Chris

    Hey Mike I’m a big man I’m 377 lbs @ 5′ 10″ 40% body fat I’ve been working out a lot lately I want to weigh about 230-250 with 10% body fat I know how to workout weight training and all I do a lot of research and reading so if I do 5x weight training and 4x HIIT will this increase my fat burning and help build muscle and would this maximize my fat burning and any suggests as far as nutriention

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  • James Leighton

    Hi Mike great article.

    I am a beginner at this and have slumped recently and added couple of stone and want to get rid will doing this workout 3 times a week and training with dumbell’s and body weight work or will I just be hitting a brick wall doing both at the same time.


  • Kara Jantzen

    Hi! So I am 5’7 and I started at 160lbs in December and I lost about 10 lbs by just cutting out junk food and most alcoholic beverages with moderate exercise. In the past 2 months though I have really gotten into it preparing for summer, and my results have been pretty good so far. I’ve noticed my muscles growing and I had to go buy new pants because my others were falling off of me! I lift 4 days a week, do HIIT 3 days a week, and dedicated 1 day to just cardio and I am now currently at 142lbs. My goal weight is 135, but I want it to be a pretty muscular/dense 135. I really just want to blast the rest of the unwanted fat off my body but maintain muscle tone, will my routine now help me accomplish that?

  • uziboy

    hey Mike, is it possibly to burn off chest fat and gynocomastia tissue with HIT?

    • Michael Matthews

      Chest fat yes gyno not sure…

  • foxnhedgehog

    Hey Mike,
    What about straight up run sprints? 30 seconds would be the equivalent of about 200m for me if I’m doing intervals. Or doing hill sprints (running)? Coming from a track background, this workout doesn’t seem like it could accomplish much. We train in the gym 3x a week for about an hour doing compound lifts, squats, deadlifts, bench, pullups, step ups, back extension, some core work (of course we’re looking to build strength for speed, not size). Then we had 3 sprint sessions a week: short day (60-100m repeats full out), long (400m repeats with less rest), and tempo workouts (more 400-600m repeats with more rest) in a build phase for the season. In addition, before we would do the sprint workouts, we did a half hour of technique, 15 minutes of plyometrics, and then after the workouts, we’d do 15 minutes of body weight circuit training using medicine balls, bosu boards, etc.

    Having just come off a foot injury, I was relegated to bike workouts. My coach had me start with 5 min warm up, 10×20 sec full-out, 20 sec rest, 5 min cool down. Then I progressed to 5 min warm up, then 20 mins of 15 sec sprint, 15 sec easy, 30 sec sprint, 30 sec easy, 45 sec sprint, 45 sec easy, 60 sec sprint, 60 sec easy, 45 sec sprint, 45 sec easy, 30 sec sprint, 30 sec easy, 15 sec sprint, 15 sec easy. This was hard and a great workout, but very doable. I repeated that pattern for 20 minutes (which I think had me go through it 2.5 times or so) and then 5 min cool down. I’m really debating whether I want to continue with track through as it’s hard to fit a 2.5 hour practice in three days a week. I also really don’t like working out at night after work and prefer to get my workouts in in the am. The team of course trains at night. So I’m contemplating a change in workout, but I’m not sure where to start really as it seems most HIIT stuff is aimed at beginners who have no real base and don’t have the speed, endurance and CNS wiring of someone whose been training intensely for most of her life. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sprints are great. I used to do 70-80-yard sprints. Rocks legs though. Might mess with your leg workouts.

      I like biking because it saves my legs for lifting. I don’t really care about dramatically improving my cardio TBH. I just wanna keep it up and stay lean. 🙂

  • Ben

    Hey. Greeting from Hong Kong. Glad that I can have a chance to read this wonderful article.
    I haven’t watched my diet for over 2 years and that means a bounce from 150lbs to 180 lbs. Horrible, isn’t it?
    My plan is 30-min HIIT cycling plus 30-min lifting on big muscles, 2 times every 3 days. What do you think?

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  • Annalisa B.

    Hi Mike!
    I have a bit of a complicated issue/question. Am I able to email you?

  • Jing Kang

    Hey mike, great info! my current routine is:
    Mon – Push
    Tue – Sprint
    Wed – Pull and abs
    Thur – Sprint
    Fri – Push
    Sat – Sprint
    Sun – Pull, legs and abs
    Is this routine ok for cutting? And i can’t fit in any abs so i do them on pull days is that ok? is abs on sprinting days ok? cuz i heard drinking protein shakes after sprints will hinder growth hormones but i need protein for my abs after the same workout.

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s a really intense regimen. Especially for cutting. Your workouts are going to need to be relatively short.

  • rei

    Hello Mike, thank you for this article. It has made me reassess my approach to exercise, but I still have a problem. I barely have any time at all to workout cardio on weekdays so I try to squeeze as much as I can into my weekends, and I usually do one day cardio, one day weights. Usually for cardio I just cycle for 2 hours. If I were to try HIIT, would I have to oscillate between .5mins high-intensity and 1-2mins low-intensity cycling for only 30mins total? Or could I do this for 2 hours straight? Timing and lack of available resources really don’t permit me to do cardio on weekdays, so I really try to squeeze as much on my weekends T_T Please kindly advise! Thank you.

    • Michael Matthews


      I like to do 30-45 second sprints and 60 second recovery periods.

      If you could sneak in two weightlifting sessions and two cardio sessions per week–even on the same days–that would rock.

      What do you think?

      • rei

        Thanks for the reply!

        I will try it and see how that goes 🙂

        • Michael Matthews


          • rei

            It works. I’ve lost 2.5kg. It’s shocking b/c I only do cardio twice a week. Also, it’s a lot more tiring then running/ cycling at a steady pace. Sweat a lot more. Was dying after 10mins. I was being unrealistic asking if I could do it for 2hrs straight hahaha thanks again!

          • Michael Matthews

            Perfect! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Karlos

    Thanks for the article. I have been doing HIIT for two months and felt happy with it. But I’m confused now after reading another few articles that have totally opposite viewpoint (anti-HIIT?). For example, in “Metabolism Myths: Part 2” (James Fell, askmen.com), it argues that HIIT can improve speed but not fat burn, and the afterburn effect is small.

    Another example is “Why HIIT Is NOT Better For Fat Loss” (stronglifts.com). It states that it’s not against HIIT but also states that HIIT is not better than steady state cardio. It again suggests “HIIT’s biggest selling point: EPOC” is over-stated by people. Could you give me some advice on these?


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Karlos!

      EPOC is NOT one of the major reasons why HIIT beats LISS. It’s a minor point.

      As usual, the StrongLifts article is just a bunch of opinion with little science to back it up.

      I recommend you read this paper. It’s a fantastic review of the subject published in 2011:


  • Sonja

    Hi Mike, thanks for another great article!
    I am one of those who does actually enjoy running outside (aside from training in the gym 3times/ week). I am not sure if running for 3 min.s with a 1 min. break for about 45min.s still counts as HIIT. In general: Does the length of the intervals matter (I wanted to extent the minutes)?
    Do I have to adapt to still gain muscle?

    • Michael Matthews


      It doesn’t unless you’re spiking your heart rate on the running part. That requires sprinting, really…

      100 yards of sprinting and 200 yards of walking is a good place to start.

      • Sonja

        Thanks for taking your time to answer

        • Michael Matthews


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  • Rose

    Hi Mike,
    For weight loss (baby weight in particullar ) is doing HIT twice a week and strength twice a week enough? I’m only able to get to the gym 4 times a week for about 30 min each.

  • neymar

    MM, I have known about HIIT for a while, just never really did it consistently. I am 6’0 180…..huge rib cage and massive legs from being a life long soccer player and fairly active cyclist. Weight is really not an issue, however I am positive that I could cut from 5-8 pounds of fat (90% from belly region) and plateau and maintain 170-175 for the rest of my life. My diet is in check. Recently, I have decided to start working on upper body toning and strength.

    Could you write me a weekly or two-week example schedule that incorporates lifting, high-level pick up soccer (I burn over 1400 cal in one game), and HIIT. For the lifts, could you specify the muscle groups in the most efficient order.

    Thanks a million man. Awesome site!

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey man!

      Sorry but I can’t work out a custom workout plan for you here in the comments but given your circumstances, I think the following would make sense:

      3 x heavy lifting per week, push pull legs

      No more than 4 cardio sessions per week, and your soccer games are cardio sessions

      That plus a proper diet:


      Should do the trick.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • aeongirl

    Hey mike i read ur article its helping and wonderfull 🙂
    I am 5 5 feet tall and my current weight is 69 i want to loss few kgs and fat from belly and thighs i use to do aerobics for 45 mins and treadmill eliptcal for 1 hour but then i got to knew about HiiT and i downloaded an app i which tabata hiit and ampram is available in video i have 3 months to loss this fat how much time should i give to thesr exercises should i perform all tabata hiit and ampram workout daily and for how much time it will be reallyyy big help if you guideme please.
    waiting for your guidance thanks


    I did HIIT in 2008 and lost a little over 50 pounds in less than 5 months doing it. So yeah its the real deal.

    • Michael Matthews


  • Logan Davidson

    this makes me feel good about my work out… i have been doing 6 minute intervals on the recombinant bike with max resistance and going has hard as i can … repeated 3 times
    i feel really good afterwards

    • Michael Matthews


  • Andy Masterman

    Hi Mike.
    Thanks for a great article.
    I’ve been working out now for about 4 or 5 years now and can lift quite heavy for my size, seen some great gains but just can’t seam to get rid of the “love handles” and some belly fat. So I’ve just started HIIT, which is a full body work ,Bulgarian split squats, inverted rows, push ups reverse lunges, pull-ups, overhead press and 1 minute plank. This done in a circuit fashion, moving from each exercise with little rest between, doing 6 rounds resting 60 to 90 seconds after each round. It’s a great cardio pump, but wanted to know, how many days a week should I include this in my routine, I work out 5 days a week, should I do before or after my normal work out?
    Any info would be great.

  • bikerchick

    Hi Mike- incredible info 🙂
    I’m a 31 year-old female, previously athletic but career and associated travel the past few years (along with very poor diet) has gotten me about 40 lbs overweight. I’ve lost a bit over half of that (22 lbs) with dedication to a high (clean) protein/lower carb and fats diet. I realize diet and HIIT+weights is probably more favorable to acheiving an ideal body comp., I am wondering what you would recommend to me for diet and routine to cut fat and build muscle. I do have a background in Kinesiology and experience lifting, but have been away from it for several years. I am 100% dedicated to do whatever will get me the best results.
    Thanks for all you do- you’ve obviously helped transform and inspired many!

  • Jana Micallef

    Mike help please!! I am 48, sitting 10-12 hour a day, every working day. I am 1.5m height and 70kg weight. Vegetarian for 6 months, never lost a gram. I started going to the gym, 3 time/week 1 hour step and toning…never lost a gram. Recently I added 10-15 min exercising in the morning. the only supplement I take 4/7 days is spirulina. Any idea about what is going on?? Last time I’ve lost 13 kg in 16 weeks with no diet,smaller portions and regular jogging.(I was 37 tho). Thanks a lot. J.

  • evee

    Great article! I’m currently cutting for a bikini competition and my background is in powerlifting, just switched to bodybuilding last year. I’m not used to any sort of cardio but have to do this now. What time during the day do you recommend doing HIIT? Should I eat something before or should I do it first thing in the morning? Does timing have any effect on most fat burnt or am I just overthinking it? Thanks for your time!

  • stephenfarrelly

    Hi Mike,

    Started last week with my cut and going to start on the hiit. I do my powerlifting at 07:00 in the morning, before the training and after the training (while at work) and get most of my foods in (40% of my carbs after the workout). After work I just have my main meal left:

    200gr Chickenfilet, 50gr rice, 100gr brocolli

    Since I only have 1 meal left should I eat it before or after the hiit traning?

    I don’t want to burn any muscles ;-).

    Or would you recommend me to adjust my eating schedule?

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Let me know how it goes.

      Hmm I would personally spread the food out a little more but if you really like eating this way, that’s fine. You could probably do your HIIT fasted, later in the day, on this type of schedule?


      • stephenfarrelly

        Sorry, I do spread my food out. Looks sort of like this:

        06:15 meal 1

        06:45 pre-workhout shake

        Workout from 07:15 till 08:30

        09:00 post-workout shake

        09:15 meal 2 (after this meal I have taken about 40% of my daily carb intake)

        12:30 meal 3

        15:00 meal 4

        18:00 meal 5

        But after reading your article I am better off do weightlifting fasted, In other words don’t take a meal and pre-workout shake (Whey) before my workout, but do take 10 grams of BCAA before and 10 grams of BCAA after with Whey and shortly after that a meal (to get the 40% of the daily carbs in)?

        If this is the case I have to adjust the timing of my meals.

        And if my last meal is at 18:00 I should do my hiit around 22:00. But it is necessary to take a meal after that?

        Thanks for you advice!

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah okay. Yeah I would lift fasted. BCAAs before and food after is fine. You don’t need to have BCAAs after.

          No, you don’t have to eat after HIIT.

          • stephenfarrelly

            Thanks! Will give it ago 🙂

          • Michael Matthews

            Great LMK 🙂

  • Stacy

    Hi Mike,
    OMG…your site is awesome. I think I am addicted because of the truths in your articles. I have a question…I am female, about 5’7″ and 140 pounds but I look much much smaller. I want to actually gain weight – about 10 pounds, but mainly in my legs and butt. I do not want to gain in my upper body although I want to lose weight on my waist/obliques.I don’t want muscular arms but I want to be muscular from the waist down so I hope I am making sense.
    My plan is to work out 4 days a week…
    Mon – Sprints (4-6 30 second)
    Tuesday – work out for my butt/legs (squats, leg press, kettlebell swings – 4 to 6 reps for 9 or so sets)
    Wed – repeat sprints
    Thursday – repeat lower body workout
    I never work out my arms (again, my arms are naturally in great shape and I dont want to build or get them bigger) but I am thinking I get enough of a workout through working out my lower body and the sprint. I also want to lose at least 4 inches from my waist – very important. I plan to start eating around 2300 cals a day. Thoughts? Thanks so much!!!!

  • Trent Millward

    Michael, is there any way to make Mountain Biking part of my workout without diminishing my gains in the gym? HIIT looks like a solid concept but I LOVE mountain biking and strive to go at least twice a week around 25-30 miles and about 5000 ft of elevation. I can’t give up mountain biking during the summer. I just love it too much.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sure you can definitely keep that in and do well. Personally I would eat about 30 grams of pro and 50-60 carb before, and 30-50 grams of pro after (carbs up to you).

      • Trent Millward

        Thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify, I typically will bike about 10-12 miles around 22-2500 elevation each session. Just wanted to make sure you were doing the math for one session as I didn’t really word it like that initially…

        • Michael Matthews


          Yeah that’s fine. The idea is just to get some pro and cho into you before and after. 🙂

  • vigo007

    Dear mike
    As im from the middle east some things I dnt get it like when u say 3-4 30sec treadmill? And when u say 3-4x prr week.plz make me understand what ur refering to…

    • vigo007

      Any answer plzz.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sorry I don’t quite understand your first question but 3 – 4 x per week means 3 to 4 times per week.

  • Inez

    great info! so since it’s seems so difficult to preserve/gain leave muscle through strength training at the same time as losing fat from cardio as you’ve mentioned before…this is exactly my issue. I want to be strong and toned but at the same time want to be smaller size/thinner essentially avoiding “skinny fat” …is adding HIIT usually enough to accomplish this

    • inez

      lean muscle*

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yup that’s a big problem for many guys and gals and one of the reasons I love HIIT. I lose VERY little muscle cutting down to the 5-6% range.

  • Billy Doss

    If someone needs to lose 15-20 rather quickly and be able to keep it off, would this help a lot?

    Also love the site!!!

  • Billy Doss

    If someone needs to lose 15-20 rather quickly and be able to keep it off, would this help a lot?

    Also love the site!!!

  • Darren Moore

    Hi Mike great article and thanks for sharing! I’ve been doing HIIT for a month and I am starting to see results….of course with a good meal plan and lifting helps as well from your books. I just purchased The Shredded Chef and Bigger Lean Stronger
    and they are THE best advice I have found anywhere!

    I haven’t been
    able to put the books down and stay out of the kitchen! Recipes are very good..Just in the past month I’ve been dedicated to working out and
    eating healthy. I’ve been off and on working out for 2 years but this
    time I am taking it to the next level after been out of the gym for 1
    year. It’s not getting easier at 43, 192LBS, 6’3″! My goal is to see
    my abs in 6 months while putting on muscle. I’ve got work to do but starting to see progress.
    Thanks for your blogs, books and sound advice! This will be my road map through my journey.

    Here’s my question though: I wear a heart rate monitor when I exercise. When I start out, I warm up for 2 minutes and then HIIT for 30 seconds or until my heart rate gets up to 170 BPM. It usually take me 30 secs to reach 170 BPM, as soon as I get there, I slow down to a moderate pace but not too slow. My heart rate will still be climbing and it usually peaks out around 175/177, then drops. As I start to slow my pace down, should I wait until I get my heart rate down to 130 BPM and stay there for 30 seconds before I go back to 30 sec HIIT? I always hear the 30 sec of HIIT and then 60-90 sec rest. But not really explaining about your heart rate and where it should be, maybe that’s not important? Sometimes my heart rate is still around 145 to 150 range when I get to 90 seconds? Should I slow down more to get my heart rate within 130 (60-90 secs) range before pick up the pace again?


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well!

      Good question. Generally speaking yes you want to see your HR drop a bit before you hit the next interval but honestly many people don’t bother with HR monitors and just roll with it and their recovery times improve pretty quickly.

  • Kevin W

    I have started a program of 15 mins HIIT. 2 min warm up. then 30 seconds sprints. rest for 40 seconds. until 15 mins elapsed. Results in 3 weeks of this has been un-real for me. alot more muscle defined in the arms shoulders and chest. A few more weeks and the abs will be showing nicely.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Keep it up!

  • Arash

    Hi Michael
    I have been lifting 4x/week consistently for the past 2.5 months. After reading your articles, I am thinking of incorporating HIIT on treadmill 2x/week into my schedule. I am 29 yo, Male, 6 feet tall, 160 pounds with body fat under 20%. However I don’t know where to start as far as the pace is concerned. If I was to use 30 sec work, 60 sec rest intervals, how would you recommend I go about it? I mean at what pace should I run and at what pace should I jog?? You can consider my level of fitness between beginner and intermediate. I don’t have a HRM and the one on the treadmills in my gym are not that accurate.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great on what you’re doing. You run as fast as you can. Sprint, really. You need to spike your HR on the high intervals.

  • Danielle Martinson

    Hey Mike! I have a friend who has knee issues and I suggested to him that he should try HIIT on the recumbent bike. I read that you use this method for HIIT. He tried it and said that he didn’t feel it was quite a good enough workout. Do you have some suggestions regarding how you structure your HIIT workouts?

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey! It sounds like he’s just not pushing himself hard enough, haha.

      The key is high enough resistance on the high intervals that you really get your heart going.

      • Danielle Martinson

        Thanks… I’ll tell him to man up! Lol He has impressive legs so he just needs a lot more resistance.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah that makes sense.

  • jo

    Oh thank you thank you thank you NO more 1hr tredmill walks for me . I have never tried hiit before but I will be trying it first thing tomorrow as I am trying to figure all this burn fat not muscle out thanks for the info 🙂 joie

  • Emily

    Glad to see this. I have been trying some hiit but it has been bothering my knee. I’m post acl surgery of 8 months, and I actually purchased a recumbent bike to help speed my recovery. Did the workout you suggested above today and it felt great!! No pain, and I’m hoping that I can regain some of the muscle lost in my leg!! Thank you!

    • Michael Matthews

      Oh great! I love the RB. Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

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  • Ari

    I love your site. I’m 5’4, and weigh 10st 5. I want to loose my tummy and thigh fat, but I’m scared to what activities I should do, I don’t want to build up on my muscle, I need to loose the fat first. Will HIIT help me loose the fat and what other exercises can I include on the side? I’m new to the whole exercise. Please help! Thanks

  • Scott

    Excellent site and I am about halfway through BLS, which is phenomenal. I have a question. For work/family reasons, I am only able to lift M-W-F. When should I be doing the HIIT and abs?
    Thanks, Scott

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      That’s totally fine you can still make gains on 3 x per week. You could do your cardio after your lifting and work your abs in there as well? 1.5 hours or so? Or cardio/abs on off days at home?

      • Scott

        would it make sense to do abs on Monday and Friday, and cardio on Wednesday? Is there any sense to one day of cardio a week? I’m trying to bulk now and will later try to cut once I reach the size I want per your advise.


  • Gordon Huang

    Would you recommend high intensity training(such as sprints) for about half an hour to an hour, then hitting the weights afterwards?

    • Michael Matthews

      I would do the lifting first and then cardio.

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  • Kris

    Hey i started HIIT but for me i prefer running so i do 1min run and 1 min walk for 20 mins (with incline im gradually going to build it up to 5 atm im around 2). What im wondering is do you get loose skin due to HIIT since my friend and I are curious about it.(So I do this for 2 days then take a break and i switch to cross trainer and repeat it for the rest of week)
    Also do you think this is a good diet plan
    Breakfast Cereal e.g. wetabix (most of the time)
    Lunch: Salad with some type of protein
    Dinner Protein
    Snack: anything around 100 kcal to 200 kcal

  • Ofentse Mokonoto

    Hi Mike

    Thanks for the great article. I’m try to get rid of that stubborn belly fat to reveal the lower abs. Since I don’t really have time to do a split session I do strength training first and after a HIIT session 5 days a week. Should I limit the HIIT to three times a week because I fear I might lose muscle strength over time.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! That’s totally fine. I start with 3 x HIIT per week and work up to 4 x when cutting.

  • RHammarlundblogg

    Here are my workout schedule for HIIT
    20 minutes on the elliptical for warmup where I in 5 minutes intervalls change up the resistancelevel
    20 minutes on the recumbent where I do 3,5 minutes steady tempo then 30 seconds going almost maxed out, then repeat so its 4 minutes block, 5 of those.
    20 minutes on the treadmill, 3 minutes steady walking at about normal walking phase then 1 minute slightly more speed up walking right below jogging/running. I have also added that each 5 minutes in incline the height abit. Suggestions?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not bad but a little long IMO

      • RHammarlundblogg

        Hi and thanks for replying to me, are my breaks to long or my overall workout time? I am considering doing just a 18 minute run on the bike and do 2,5 min steady then 30 sec high, at the moment I am focusing on cardio exercises since I am both new to this and have a few disabilities that makes me about unsure about what I can and can not do. Dont want to risk an injury

        • Michael Matthews

          Overall workout time a bit long for me. I prefer about 25 minutes with 30-45 seconds high, 45-60 low.

          • RHammarlundblogg

            Thanks for the reply and the tip, I will try to work my way there and I will get there in time, Will try to be off your back now, thanks again and stay frosty

          • Michael Matthews

            My pleasure! Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

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  • Hi Michael,
    I am good with my current size but want to shed some bodyfat. I’ve been doing a couple spin classes a week on Wednesdays adn Saturdays but not shedding body fat as efficiently as I would like. This week, I started added 2 HIIT sessions per week on Mondays. and Fridays. I Like rowing machine HITTs. After warmup, I do 4 sets of 20 second working intervals with 40 seconds rest. I do for complete intervals then increase the intensity to 20/10 tabada style intervals for 4 sets then back to 20/40 for 4 more sets for a total of 12 sets before cooling down. It takes me about 15 minutes. I was wanting to know your thoughts around duration of this workout and your opinion on whether rowing encourages or impedes hypertrophy.

  • rahul kapoor

    hey mike great article…i workout 6 days a week….20 mins hiit….30 mins heavy weight training…12 exercises…with 6 to 7 reps ……followed by ab workout…is it ok…plz advice

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Great on what you’re doing. That’s awesome.

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  • Mara

    Hi Mike, what are your thoughts on “cardioacceleration” as a form of HIIT? Wondering if this could be used to save time during workouts or add an extra punch to a fat-loss routine.

    • Michael Matthews

      Is this the shit where you do your cardio in between your lifting? If so it’s a horrible idea unless you’re just doing a bunch of high-rep, pump stuff.

  • Marek Gručák
  • Zoey

    Thanks for the article, it’s great!

    I do have some questions though. I am doing HIIT with jump rope; I do a 30min session where 1 minute of fast jumping and 30s of rest exchange. I was wondering if this is an effective HIIT? I also do HIIT with burpees, push ups and crunches (or ”cycling crunches”); 20s of doing the exercise and 10s of rest for 8 rounds. I do it after the jump rope session. Is this an effective training or not?
    Oh, and is 2 days of rest a week (and 5 training days) enough?
    And is there any other way to build muscle than weight lifting? I know there are many exercises you can do with your own body weight, but is it as effective as weight lifting or it doesn’t matter? Could you please give me a link where I could get some new exercises

    Sorry for all the questions but I was hoping you’ll be able to help me.
    Thank you!

  • Scott

    Doing 10RM squats has the same effects as HIIT but also stimulates muscle growth and strength increases. So if you want to burn fat or increase calories for the day, why not just lift more?

    • Michael Matthews

      10 RM squats will not elevate your heart rate nearly as much as 30-45 seconds of all-out sprinting….

  • Mark

    Hi Michael. Ive been reading through a lot of your articles and am looking to get into really good shape. I usually jog about 50 minutes 6 days a week. (stick to the golf course on a Saturday) I use apps to judge the calories I am burning but have also used the 1.35 (4-6 hours a week) multiplier to work out what to eat.

    Do you think it would be more efficient to instead do HIIT 4 times a week for 30 mins and use the 1.2 multiplier reducing calories instead? If so should I also stop the longer distance jogging on off days, overall doing less exercise?

    P.s The jogging is not a chore, i’m quite happy with it, but at the moment I would prioritise fat loss efficiency.

    • Michael Matthews

      Good question.

      Some people really like the longer distance stuff but I sure don’t. I much prefer HIIT because I can get the fat loss benefits in much less time.

      And according to the research I’ve seen, yes you can expect more fat loss doing 4 30-minute HIIT sessions per week vs. 6 50-minute jogs.

      • Mark

        Thank you for the reply Michael.

        If I may be cheeky can I ask for a brief explanation?

        My understanding is that weight loss is achieved through a calorie deficit,
        Using calorie calculator apps it would suggest would burn 720 calories at 6mph
        The same app would suggest ( By doing 1 minute: 30 second intervals.
        20 minutes at 5mph would burn 240 calories and 10 mins at 10mph would burn 210 giving me a total of 450 calories burned.

        That of course is 270 calories less than the longer jog. Is the entirely the made up through the muscle recover process requiring energy?

  • Kay

    Thanks for this info, Mike! I’m 15 and do ballet for an hour Tuesday and Thursday (it’s a great workout for both cardio and strength). I’m thinking of doing HIIT training on Mon, Wed, Fri, a yoga session on Sat, and rest on Sunday. Also, do you incorporate strength moves like push-ups, tricep dips, squats, etc., into your HIIT workouts? I was thinking of doing that instead of long weight lifting sessions to save time ( school will keep me busy), and also doing some cardio HIIT workouts. Any feedback?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great! I like your plan and while I don’t do body weight stuff for HIIT, you can do that. It will work well for you.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Dean

    I get almost all my workout info from muscle for life, started @ 250 approx 8 months ago and am in the mid 190 range.THANKS!! I started running at the same time. I run 3 to 5 miles a few times a week. Instead of avoiding hills like allot of runners I know, I seek them, if I run 4 miles I will be going uphill for at least 1.5 to 2 miles, western Washington terrain makes it easy to do. My pace is 7 to 9 min miles depending on the grade. My question is, Does this type of running equal an HIIT workout? Thanks Dean.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man and GREAT JOB! That rocks!

      It’s probably not quite HIIT but it’s working so keep it up. 🙂

      Oh and I’d love to feature you in a before and after success story if you’re interested! It’s a simple matter of taking/digging up before pictures, reaching your goal, and then taking after pictures and sending them over to me. What do you think?

      • Dean

        Absolutely, I see a before and after link to the right, submit there?

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah no that’s an ad. 🙂 Shoot me an email mike at muscleforlife!

  • nik

    Hey Mike
    Good read! Btw do you have a HIIT workout program that u can do indoor? Im planning to do 3days weight and 1day HIIT cardio. But i dont know what excercises i should do. It will be highly appreciated. And i wonder where in canada i can buy ur new book. Excited to read it

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yeah how about some Tabata work or jump roping?

      The new book will first be available as a digital eBook and I will be working on getting paperbacks printed and set up in CA.

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  • Jayme

    Hi Mike,
    What are your thoughts on rowing vs. recumbent cycling for hiit?

    • Michael Matthews

      Both are great. I prefer recumbent but it’s just a personal preference.

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  • Ryan Williams


    Just read Bigger, Leaner, Stronger on holiday and has completely changed my views with lifting, (was a 10-12 rep man). I have a couple of personal issues though with the workouts and HIIT. I’ve had two knee operations, with the probability of a third. Squats, running and cycling are pretty much out of the equation. Even swimming can cause some inflammation. Can you suggest or advise any way to adjust the workouts/nutrition, that can work in my favor without sacrificing possible gains too much. Maybe a reduction in calories slightly?

    Many thanks for your advice so far, anymore will be greatly appreciated,


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Hmmm for cardio how about rowing? Those machines are great.

      For your workouts, we’ll have to just work around the exercises you CAN do. Let me know on that…

      • Ryan Williams

        Thanks for the reply Mike! Off the top of my head I would say isolation moves are all I can muster at the minute (leg raises etc). I know its better to do compound exercise, but with my legs I think it might be difficult. And with regards to the rowing I’ll definitely give it a go!


        • Michael Matthews

          YW. Yeah I totally understand. Just do what you can!

          • Ryan Williams

            Thought I’d drop an update Mike. Managed to do well on the cross trainer, with my knee strapped up. 20 mins first time was more than enough for! Haven’t sweat that much in a while!!!

          • Michael Matthews

            That’s great! Congrats!

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  • Jenya

    Hey Michael. Thank you for the great articles and supplements.
    What do you think about T25 as a HIIT fasted cardio.(25 min workout, average heart rate 150). Thank you

    • Michael Matthews

      It’s a good workout!

  • Scott

    Hiit is best for retaining muscle mass because it most resembles weight training. Weight training provides a muscle building/retention stimulus AND burns calories. So this begs the question: if your goal is improved body composition, why would you do any form of cardio? (And why not just lift weights more?)

    • Michael Matthews

      There are some hormonal benefits as well but the main issue with just lifting weights more is you’ll likely wind up overtraining.

      That said, some people do well with high-intensity bodyweight routines for cardio.

      • Andy

        Hi Mike, Can you please explain this a bit more because recently I did pushups/hindu squats alternately with brief intervals…. only 15 mins totally but it was like doing hiit cardio, totally out of breath… is this a good replacement for running etc., because I am guessing these two exercises already have the benefit of adding muscle plus doing it HIIT style may also help in fat loss. Please tell me if my logic is right….. thanks mate.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah that can work well. 15 minutes done a few times per week shouldn’t cause any recovery issues.

  • Scott

    Hi Mike,

    I finished reading Bigger, Leaner, Stronger a couple of weeks ago and as I am new to lifting have ‘borrowed’ your sample 5 day routine which Im really enjoying despite some of the more challenging technical lifts such as Dead Lift (weak back).

    I have two questions really…

    1. Im currently not doing any Cardio and am considering introducing the HIIT program you describe in this article. 3 times a week is definitely achievable for me. Is there an optimal time for this? I know you mention in your book that you like to leave a gap between lifting and cardio… Is that just a preference of yours or a recommendation?

    2. In my search for the best workout routine incorporating quick gains and healthy losses I have come across Tabata training. I understand this is just another flavour of HIIT however some experienced trainers strongly advocate the use of weight routines to achieve the HIIT / Tabata goals. Would you agree with this approach and will this have a detrimental impact on the program you have documented in your book due to overtraining?


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Scott! I’m really glad to hear it.

      1. It’s a recommendation but not vital. If you need to do it after lifting, that’s okay.

      2. Yeah Tabata is good. You should be fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!

      • Scott

        Thanks for the quick reply.

        Makes all the difference having access to ask these questions… have also now read your Cardio Sucks! book which has some great insights to keep the routines from becoming boring

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure and thanks a lot Scott. I’m happy to help.

  • feelingtired

    with so much info I’m so confused as to what exactly i should do and how to go about it in a very busy daily life with 2 kids and a home to maintain. where does one start. A person like me who has been gymming for years and is not happy with their body. its very frustrating!

  • Jeff


    In the workout for the recumbent bike, you said to start at the lowest setting. Then to move the resistance up to level 4-5. But on the recumbent bikes I’m familiar with, level 4-5 (out of 20 on most bikes) is hardly any resistance at all.

    Is that what you intended, move up just a very small bit of resistance? Why not work higher at a higher level of resistance?



    • Michael Matthews

      Good question! Honestly 4-5 is kind of tough on my bike but I want to make sure I’m raising it enough to give me something to pedal against but not so much that it completely fries my legs, you know?

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  • Keval

    Heres a question that has been on my mind. My ass its not big but its alright but doing squats n deadlifts does it cause a big increase in the size of my ass since i don’t want that as a guy LOL and i downloaded the shredded summer challenge and it incorporates all these deadlifts and squats do u have any alterante exercises i could use. Also i want to get lean and ripped so should i do this plan?

  • wei han

    Due to health problems from previous excessive exercising, my doctor and psychiatrist prohibits me from doing cardio. How would you suggest I lose excess fat if I am limited in exercise to strength training using only 5 lb dumbbells and/or yoga using weights (iron yoga, yoga inferno, xen strength, etc)

  • Brad

    What up Mike cool site! How much do the low intensity rest portions versus the high intensity portions timing matter? ex. sprint 30 sec rest 4 mins vs sprint 20 secs rest 60 secs. Just worried about it cutting into recovery for strength training, but still want the benefits of HIIT’s fat loss. Thoughts?

  • Stuart Mitchell

    Ive started tring to lose weight with juat running/jogging for 60 minutes with the mindset of just burning calories. Ive now switched to doing one minute of sprinting and three minutes rest. I do this for 30 mins and then continue on for another 30 minutes of slow jogging and walking to warm down. Once i hit my target weight im gettjng back to bulking. Ive lost 17 pounds in three weeks. About another stone to go. Wish me luck!

  • james

    Hi mike

    i’m just beginning my routine and enjoy doing the hiit on a stationary bike. i’m doing 20/40 for 25 cycles with 5 mins warmup and cool down.
    As a 46 year old man, 6’3, 125 kilos, how many times a week do you recommend? I really enjoy doing it every day but would like to introduce a gym workout, perhaps 3 times a week doing circuit training with the hiit on the other 4 days.
    Does this sound reasonable?
    I appreciate your help!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! I like it. 4 x per week would be the max I would recommend if you’re also going to be lifting 3 x per week.

  • Sam Flannery

    Hey there mike,

    I am currently lifting 5 times a week, with Monday and Tuesday focusing on strength, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday focusing on higher rep range work. If I was to incorporate HIIT after lifting sessions, would it be best to do this after my low rep range or high rep range days? Or do you think it wouldn’t matter at all…


    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Hmm wouldn’t matter but personally I would have a scoop of whey after lifting and before the cardio.

  • Eddy

    Do you prefer the recumbent over an upright bike? If so is that just strictly a personnal preference/convenience or some other reason? I’m researching both types of bikes & also a spinning bike. thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Definitely. Upright fries my legs faster, which isn’t what I’m trying to achieve.

  • Carl Gilbert

    I’m 5’8″ 170#. Bench ~215, Press ~135, Squat ~260, DL ~325

    The thing is, my upper body lifts are starting to stall, bench and press (asking +5#/month). My lower body lifts are not stalling; deadlift and squat (+10#/month). I don’t do any endurance training on my upper body, but my lower body gets hammered with 2/week crossfit(basically HIIT?) and 3/week ~15mph 20 mile road rides.

    The idea that endurance training will slow your strength gains does not seem to be borne out in my experience because the cycling is not holding me back but seems to be helping.
    Could it be because the test subjects were untrained? Maybe the test allowed cycling immediately prior to a strength training session? Is it that 10#/month is a moderate expectation?

    Interested in your opinion.

  • angel

    Hi Mike,
    What are your thoughts on the Insanity/Beach Body workouts? Is 6 days/wk a safe amount to workout (over 60 days)? From all that I’ve read on your posts it sounds like too much. Would you recommend any weight training in addition? Looking to reduce body fat and build muscle.

    • Michael Matthews

      They’re good cardio workouts. 6 days of 30 minutes of cardio isn’t too much. If you added a bunch of weightlifting it would be though.

      Personally I lift 5-6 x per week and do 3-4 cardio sessions per week.

  • Scott madden

    Hi mike thanks for the info, would jump rope, mountain climbs and press ups all 30 secs each, 3-4 times help burn fat 2-3 times a week as well as weights
    Many thanks

  • Jakob

    Hey Mike,
    Can I use upright bike instead of recumbent? I have access only to upright but I think that it might burn my legs out much than those 20-30mins.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sure! Give it a go. Your legs might be fine.

      • Jakob

        Thanks, mate. I also have access to treadmill, so what would you recommend – upright bike, treadmill or mix it up? Would you apply the same 30-60 principle with treadmill or maybe something like 30-90?

        • Michael Matthews

          YW. Personally I would do the bike but you could sprint on the treadmill. You’ll have to play with the numbers and see what you can do.

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  • Razz


    This is probably a stupid question but the 2-3 min low-intensity warmup on the lowest resistance would be the easist setting right?

    You then bump the resistance up to 4-5 (So to make it harder to pedal)?

    You then reduce the resistance to its slowest setting and pedal at a moderate pace for 60 seconds. (So make the easiest or hardest to pedal setting)?

    Aprreciate your help!.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah exactly. 🙂

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  • cvlngineer

    I really enjoy running 5K-10K distances. I lift weights Mon, Wed, Fri and run on Tues, Thurs, Sun. I’ve started doing HIIT (sprint for 30 sec, easy 12 min pace for 90 sec) on Tues and Thurs. On Sundays, I will do 3-6 miles. How badly will this affect muscle building?

  • Isis

    Hi Mike,
    I’m currently doing my HIIT training on a bike trail near my house. I’ve read some other articles that say you should sprint and then light jog in between the HIT. But I have not been able to do this. I exert so much that I have to walk in between the sprint. Is this okay or should I work up towards a light jog instead of walking? Also, since I don’t have a gym membership I have been doing walking lunges across a bridge or step ups on a bench during my HIIT run. Should I separate these activities for the best results? I need to get my body fat % down. I’ve went through a pretty emotionally traumatic year and gained a lot of weight and am not comfortable. I would like to get the new fat off of me ASAP. O_o

  • Joseph

    Hi Mike. Could you recommend some HIIT workout for my off day which I could do at home (I could go run outside, but winter is coming lol)? I don’t really wan’t to hit the gym just for cardio on my off day, so how about cardio from those p90x3, insanity and other programs, or maybe it’s not hiit and you would recommend something simpler? Thanks.

    • Michael Matthews

      Sure! Yeah BB’s cardio programs are good. Jump roping is good too. Tabata works as well.

      • Joseph

        Oh cool. This was the first time I even heard about Tabata but it looks interesting and hard as hell (maybe even too hard?), lol. Do you do tabata yourself, if so, maybe you have some workout you can share? Tried P90X3 MMX… DAMN… 😀 I was out of breath in first few mins and had to take like 10 breaks instead of their 3, haha. HIIT biking (upright or recumbent) compared to mmx is like walk in the park.

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha Tabata is hard and I’ve done it before but currently I just do recumbent biking. I enjoy it.

          Never tried any BB workouts.

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  • Marie

    Hi Mike, thanks for your great info and genuine caring about people and their health! This is my new favourite site 🙂 I am a 26 year old woman who has done no training for almost 5 years now and I am very keen to get started with your program. My question is – I have been looking for a way to do an hiit workout at home with no equipment as the best time for me to do it would be early morning, and the best I have found looks something like this – 30s squat jumps, 30s rest, 30s push ups, 30s rest, 30s plank, 30s rest, 30s burpees, 30s rest. Repeat 4 – 8 times. In your opinion, is that an adequate cardio workout for someone who is just starting?
    Thanks for your time!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Marie! 🙂

      Yeah you can definitely do something like that. It works well!

  • Yesica R

    Hi Mike,
    I started a high protein diet by august 2013, I just went
    back a year later and check with my health coach my %BF and weight.

    August 2013 numbers were BF:35.7% lean mass: 105 and Fat lbs

    August 2014 numbers were BF: 24.06%, lean mass: 119 and fat
    lbs: 38

    I think I have made great progress so far. I only followed
    the diet for 8 months because I wasn’t seeing better results. When I stopped
    the protein intake for snacks which consisted in 25 grms of protein twice a day
    in the morning with a fruit and afternoon with almonds( I though it was too
    much food) I started going down weight wise and Im not sure about %bf bc I
    stopped going to check my levels for 3 months. I now weight 151 used to be at
    Ive always been active, I was a professional swimmer for 17
    years and stopped swimming in 2011. Started doing HIIT in july this year at
    least 3 times a week, I don’t know how much it has helped me, I am planning on
    checking my fat levels in December. I usually eat pretty good, have a cheat
    meal or day every week, and I have been feeling great, but for some reason this
    journey has been a roller coaster for me. Sometimes I compare myself with other
    girls and that’s my biggest weakness. I was just reading your posts and got my attention
    how quick you respond to people and I am surprise you do it without a problem.
    I calculated the calories intake that I need to eat everyday since I want to
    lose weight I came up to 1792. I am 5’4”, 151lbs. based on this numbers, I
    would like to know the exact grms of protein, fat and carbs I need to consume.
    I am used to a carb cycling diet. I work out everyday except two days off (I
    still do fasted cardio, 40 mins first thing in the morning at low intensity 120
    max HR, is that good? ). The rest of the days I do heavy weight followed by
    25-30 mins HIIT (which I lovee). I do two days a week where I eat close to 180
    grms of carbs and the rest of the days I eat around 75 grms.

    My goals are to get to the 12-14% BF next year. I want to
    look lean and be around 130-135 lbs. I am a number person, I would like to know
    how long can this take following the properly calories intake.

    I know this is a lot of information, I do wish you answer
    back, I will really appreciate it.


    • Michael Matthews

      Great job on what you’ve done! That rocks.

      This will help you with your diet:


      Let me know how it goes!

      • Yesica R

        Hey Mike,
        Thank you for responding my message, I really appreciate it. I did the calculation and it comes up to 1786 cals. I need to be eating this much to lose weight, got it. This is my problem, I am not a fan of counting cals and that’s def the reason why my weight loss has been so slow. I made an account on pay pal long time ago, never really used it, I will try this time. I added my breakfast and snack this morning, still have 1296 cals left. Questions.. 1) if I want to do a cheat meal once a week… what’s your advice on this? 2) fasted cardio.. I have read your post about this already, not a big fan of it, I rather do 5,6 times a week HIIT, what do you recommend? and if I want to bike or run for 30-60mins what heart rate should I keep? I have read so many different things about heart rate that i am very confused. 3) do you by any chance know a website that gives you examples of meal plans? sometimes i get really bored of the same food..
        Once again thank you for being so helpful.
        I will def let you know how everything goes from now on.

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! 1800 for weight loss? That sounds a little high? What multiplier are you using?

          Trust me–just make a meal plan and stick to it every day. If you do, you are GUARANTEED to get results. If you don’t, it’s up in the air.

          Cheat meals: https://www.muscleforlife.com/cheat-meal/

          Maybe this will help you?


          • Yesica R


            I went on the link you have with the -Use the Katch McArdle formula- my BMR according to this is 1491.39 then I multiply this number by 1.5 ( since I work out more that 6 hours a week) and it gives me 2237 (TDEE) and then multiply this by .8 since i want to lose weight and it gave me 1789 cals per day. %40 carbs and protein and 20% fat. Is this right?.

            Thank you for the cheat meal article, interesting. I will read the other one now.
            Thank you!!

          • Michael Matthews

            Hmm not many people are able to swing a 1.5 but you can give it a go.

            And yes you calculated that correctly. 🙂

            LMK how it goes.

          • Yesica R


            I wok out everyday I do weights and then HIIT four times a week that usually takes me 2hrs overall. Then the other two days I do 45 mins cardio. Is that enough to apply 1.5 to the calculation?.. My fitness pal account when I log my food everyday, it tells me that i’ll be 143 lbs in 5 weeks. ( which is 7 lbs less than what i weight right now) I will try this for the next 5 weeks and I’ll def let you know.
            Thank you so much!

          • Michael Matthews

            Ah well yes in that case 1.5 sounds right. Let’s see how your body responds.

            7 pounds down in 5 weeks is possible but I like to see something closer to 1 pound lost per week.

          • Yesica R

            I read an article of yours for quick weight loss. I rather try that one, I have a couple questions.. So I decided to lower the time I spend in the gym and applied the calculation to 4 hours a week which i think is 1 right? … my cals intake would be 1600 a day ( 180 grams protein, 80 grams carbs, 62 fat) I think it’s perfect. Do you recommend this diet ? I want to do it for the rest of this month till the last day of november. Since I am going on a trip for 2 weeks for xmas, I would switch to 40, 40, 20 , same calorie base to maintain that weight… does this sound right?.
            PS: I feel strange counting all my calories haha, i know it will work.
            Thanks for your time. 🙂

          • Michael Matthews

            Yeah those macros look good. Personally I would do more carbs and less fat but that’s me.

            It will work. 🙂

          • Yesica R

            RIGHT? I thought it was too much fat hahaha. How should I balance that out? what percentage should i do for fat and carbs? it’s hard to get that much protein during the day hahah… this is the biggest challenge for me.
            Thank you so much, sorry i’ve been asking too many questions. :/

          • Michael Matthews

            I prefer a 40/40/20 split. Check this out:


  • Collegiate Rower

    Ever thought about using a rowing machine(ergometer) for HIIT? Doing 250m sprints with a minute of rest in between is pretty intense, if you do it for 25 minutes or so. And erging is quite the full body activity, while still concentrating on the muscle groups used during squats and deadlifts.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah I’ve done it before actually. Rowing is good cardio.

    • Frank

      Glad you asked that question, I was also wondering if erg works for HIIT and if it has the same hypertrophy muscle movements. I’ve been doing a 1000m sprint but just once.

      Now that you mention it, it makes sense to break it into 250m intervals to get more out of it (and a key word in HIIT is “interval”). Plus every consecutive interval gives you motivation to break the record of the previous.

      It’s an intense workout even if it’s only 3 minutes!

      • Michael Matthews

        Definitely. It’s a great option.

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  • Tonyruthie

    Michael, I use an upright cycle @ LA Fitness that has settings from 1-25. I might be doing this wrong but I go for about 7 minutes at 7 or 8 then crank up the setting to 16 or 17 for 30 seconds. My legs are on total fire for the last 10 seconds or so and then I’m out of breath and cruise at the 1 setting till my pulse gets to about 125 and go 2 more cycles like that. I’m 56 and my pulse maxes at about 160. I saw your recommendation to have the setting at 4-5 for the max hit cycle. If I knew what your cycle’s max setting was, perhaps I could get an approximation of where mine should be. Mine is a extremely hard workout for me and it’s impossible to go more than 3 cycles like this without getting serious nauseous. Maybe I’m setting the machine far too high or just right? I’d like to get a few more cycles in but for several months but no way. Thanks Michael

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah resistance settings change from bike to bike but it sounds like you’re pushing yours up a bit high.

      I don’t want to fry my legs–I just want my HR to spike. Thus I use enough resistance to give me something to pedal against but not so much that I’m basically training my legs.

      • Tonyruthie

        Thanks so much Michael. It worked wonderfully. I kept the setting at 8 (in a 1-25 setting) and peddled to over 130 rpm for a minute and a half. I got my pulse over 165 and the legs were only lightly toasted. Now I can repeat this several times in a work

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! Awesome! That sounds perfect!

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  • AJ

    Hi Mike – nice article

    Done HIIT for the first time on a recumbent bike yesterday with resistance from 1-25. I used 1 as the moderate pace setting and 8 as the high intensity setting for 30 seconds. However I only burned 150 calories – how much should a 20 minute session approximately burn?

    What are your recommendations for the resistance settings for this bike?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Matthews


      150-200 is about right. That’s what I shoot for. It’s about 25 minutes. You don’t want to go for too long or you’ll cut into your body’s ability to recover.

      Resistance settings vary but you want enough resistance to have something to pedal against but don’t want to fry your legs.

      • AJ

        Thanks a lot mike always helpful! Currently on the BLS programme which I used to help calculate macros – however not too sure about sugars. What should i aim for as a percentage of carbohydrates which sugar as part of my macros?

        • Michael Matthews


          Great, glad to hear it. Check this out:


          • AJ

            Thanks Mike puts it into perspective! Moderation is key! Read a lot about how raw eggs are absorbed less than cooked eggs. What do you think about the liquid free range egg whites you can buy from the grocery store? Same issue?

          • Michael Matthews

            Exactly. 🙂

            I haven’t seen evidence of the egg absorption issue. Mind linking me to what you ready?

            Otherwise yeah that would be perfect.

          • AJ


            heres the link – just scroll down to the protein absorption and eggs section. Thanks!

          • Michael Matthews
          • AJ

            Thanks – seeing some good results on BLS – dropped down from 75kg to 67kg and am about 12% body fat now i think. For readjusting calories for every 15 pounds lost is it best to keep protein and fats the same and just reduce carbs by 50g daily as recommended in BLS or recalculate entire protein fat and carbs macros according to the initial 1.2, 1 and 0.2 grams per body weight recommended in BLS with the new 67kg weight?

          • Michael Matthews

            Awesome! That rocks!

            You may not need to decrease–it depends how your body is responding. If your body comp doesn’t change for 7-10 days and you can’t exercise any more, then it’s time to reduce.

            You can read more about this here:


            Oh and I’d love to feature you in a before and after success story if you’re interested! It’s a simple matter of digging up before pictures, reaching your goal, and then taking after pictures and sending them over to me. What do you think?

          • AJ

            Thanks again Mike – i’ve got some before pictures so when happy with my progress after a couple of more months I’ll definitely send it in if thats alright? Informative article on reverse dieting. So all in al if i decide to reduce my calories by a further 200 shall i do this for all macros or just 50g of carbs in your opinion?

          • Michael Matthews

            YW and great, sounds good!

            Yeah cut carbs only.

  • Richard Hernandez

    Hi Mike just came across this website. I hope that you can help me out.
    I am 51 years young. I train 6 days a week. 6 to 7 meals a day. some of my meals come from supplements. Whey protein shakes and maybe a bar here and there. I do stay away from the bars as much as possible.
    I have been changing my weight lifting routine every 3 to 4 weeks. Cardio 30 to 45 mins Interval training etc. my problem is that I am STUCK!!!! I lost 40 lbs the first 4 months after that NOTHING. I am started at 304lbs and I am now 264. according to this machine I tried at the gym that look like a video game controller my BF is 31%. I would like to go down to 235 with 20%bf and then go from there. Looking for guidance. Thanks

  • Jonathan

    Hi Michael! I just seen your article and it really interests me. At the moment I am doing some hiit cardio along with weights and body weight training.

    I’m not completely clueless when it comes to without out! Iv been without out for a good while now so Iv picked up a nice bit of knowledge but I’m not exactly sure HOW to train.

    I’m 6 foot 3. Im 16 stone but I’m actually in ok shape. If you were ok to look at me you might think that I had abs. The trainers at my gym even asked how am I 16 stone because I don’t look it. And I don’t really feel it either. But obviously I’m storing it somewhere ha. But I have a small bit of a gut and I need to lose weight on my chest area.

    I’m just wondering could you give me a good routine for dropping weight and toning up.
    My main goal is to drop down to 14 stone. 15 stone at least. And I want to get my body fat down to as close to 10% as possible firstly.
    I want to be ripped but a bulky too. No like a huge body builder or anything. I want to have your kind of body.

    So I’m just wondering how many days should I be doing hiit cardio and how many days should I be doing weights and body weight training? Also, is 20-30 mins of hiit cardio on a bike enough per session?
    Thanks very much for all the help and tips aswell, big inspiration 🙂

  • Guest

    Hi mike! I posted a few questions today but I’m not sure if it went through as I can’t see them. Anyway. Il post again but clearer this time 🙂
    Just some questions I really need cleared up!
    Iv read as much of your articles as I could so far(I’m at work atm haha but can’t stop reading) and I’m really enjoying everything, it’s all SO perfectly explained and it’s just a huge help! Anyway,
    I’m trying to get my body fat % down to as close to 10% to begin with anyway. So I can start to see all the muscles in my core and everywhere else. I onkynreally store fat in my mid section and chest. My legs and arms and other parts of my body are in ok shape. I still want to work on every muscle more but ESPECIALLY the mid section.
    I’m 6 foot 3 and 210lbs but I don’t feel it. I’m quick on my feet and can jump high and I’m flexibility. But I’m just obviously heavy. So I’m not sure what weight I SHOULD be. So I just figured it’s better to have my ideal body fat % instead of an ideal weight.
    I do exercise 4-6 times a week. I do a mix of weights, body weight training, crossfit style training and hiit cardio. I think they all have their benefits. Weights is good for muscle

  • Jonathan Faherty

    Hi Mike! I posted something today but I don’t know if it posted so il just post again. But il try make it short and to the point so it doesn’t bore you ha.
    Just some info on myself. I’m 22 years old. I’m 6 foot 3 and 210lbs. Although I don’t feel it. I’m quick on my feet, flexible and I jump high and everything. I’m just heavy. I’m happy with a lot of my body. Like my arms and legs and shoulders. Their in nice shape. But I need to lose weight in my mid section and tone up. This is obviously where I’m storing my fat.
    Anyway, I do exercise 4-6 times a week. I do a mix of hiit cardio, crossfit style workouts, weights and body weight training. I find that they all have their pros and cons. Some are great for gaining muscle and some are good for getting a great sweat and some are good for agility and flexability and balance. You get the idea anyway.
    I have no problem in eating strictly. I’m trying to at the moment anyway. But I MUST be doing something wrong because I’m not losing weight. It I 100% have toned up and slimmed down. Iv dropped some weist sized and I can start to see my top 2 abs. And their pretty hard. But the scales say I’m the same weight.
    Anyway. All I feel I need is someone to tell me ‘THIS’ is what you need to do to get a ripped body like yours and I’m confident I can do it. I’m extremely determined to get a RIPPED body.
    But I JUST need someone who knows their stuff to tell me how to workout and how often and what to eat.
    Iv read loads of your articles while at work today ha and I love them but I just think it’s better to try get my own answer of you here.
    So, I want to get my body fat down low. 10% and after that il try go lower. But 10% for now.
    I also want to know what’s the best way to without. Hiit cardio?? and how many days a week and for how long. Or maybe something else would be better for me for losing fat? I dono.
    Also how many calories shoud I be eating a day and how am I meant to know how many calories I burn in the gym?
    I hate to be annoyin with all these questions but I hate hoping I’m doing it all right. I just need an answer off someone like you and just follow that and trust it. So really want I’m wondering is HOW should I Work out and how often and what should I eat and how much of it? Thanks very much Mike! Your articles are a HUGE help also man I love them! Keep it up dude 🙂

  • Magenta

    Just curious as to whether HIIT would be ideal for an asthmatic i am overweight and want more than ever to get in shape, fit and healthy. I have always been a big build would the interval training be effective on foot? Thank you. – Magenta.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm it may or may not work well for you. It depends on the asthma, of course. Have you tried it before? How did it go?

  • Jason B

    Hi Mike,

    I have a 22% BF and weigh 143lbs (am 5:10) I’m 42 years old.

    I’m pretty slim but I do have extra belly fat I want to lose. Yet I also want to build muscle in the rest of my body, especially upper body, arms and chest, shoulders.

    Is it best I try to bulk up first (build muscle), or should I work on a burn phase to reduce my body fat? And for how long do you recommend I go on each?

    What is the best way for me to reduce my belly, and also build muscle?

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  • Chandler Camden

    Any information as to how an elliptical would compare for HIIT?

    • Michael Matthews

      Totally fine. I prefer the bike but the elliptical would get the job done too.

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  • sarah

    I love doing hiit to keep my stamina for soccer… is it ok for me to do hiit RIGHT after my arms and abs session? Preferably this would be 3x per week total. Do you personally think that doing hiit 3x per week is enough to keep my athletic performance at a max?

    • Michael Matthews

      Ideally you’d do your cardio separately but if you can’t, yes, after lifting is better than before.

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  • jojo

    I ordered my own recumbent bike for christmas 😀
    I’m gonna lose all kindz of fat, all kiiiiiiiindz

    • Michael Matthews

      Hahaha nice nice. Hope you like it.

  • Mo Hezwani

    Hi, great artical as always. What are your thoughts on swimming as a form of cardio training. I just find that more fun to do rather than “convensional” cardio on a bike or a tredmill. If yes, could swimming be intergrated with HIIT? Thanks.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Swimming is great and yes you can do it HIIT style.

      • Mo Hezwani

        Thanks! Would you still keep the session to no more than 25-30 mins to maintain muscle mass especially during fasted states (+ Leucine of course)

        • Michael Matthews


          • Mo Hezwani

            Thanks again. Happy new year. Keep up he good work for next year. M

          • Michael Matthews

            Thanks brother. You too.

  • Aaron Didlake


    If I were to exclusively do the bike routine only as my HIIT three times a week (while lifting 5x a week)…you’d be okay with that? No need to mix it up with other variations of HIIT as long as I hit it hard? Just wanting to make sure!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah that’s what I do!

  • Atif Abdul Hafeez


    Thanks for the info.

    I am burning around 1300 kcal average during high intensity aerobic sessions, but still my fat loss rate is very slow. In the last six days (including one day off), i burnt 8476 kcal; i am definitely gaining fitness but i almost didn’t loose any fats. Any advise?

  • andy

    Hi Mike, can a skinnyfat person (basically 160 pounds but with belly fat) do HIIT along with weights to cut down belly fat? I’ve been doing weights for a while, my chest looks good, also my arms. But even after reducing caloric intake, my belly fat doesnt go away. so will hiit be better than caloric deficit?

  • Niclas Storsveen

    Hi! Just finished BLS, great book, looking forward to 2015 now!

    I work from 7-15 so I need to do cardio after work. How long should I wait after dinner or a meal before doing HIIT? My plan so far is to do cardio after dinner (low carb? dinner is 40g prot and 40g carb..) and then after 2 hours, preworkout meal and do weightlifting.

    Any thoughts?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      You don’t have to wait any prescribed amount of time, really, as you won’t be in a fasted state for 4-5 hours, so just do it when you’re comfortable. Your plan sounds good.

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  • Maumoon Ali

    Hallo mike im from Maldives.im a great fan of yours,bought several books of yours.Have achieved tremendous results with the help of your books.I invite you to come to Maldives for the best diving you can do.Ofcourse free for you.Hahaha.Thanks Mike

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much! I’m really glad to hear it! Haha diving in the Maldives sounds fantastic. Maybe I’ll be able to make it one day!

  • Aida

    Hey Mike,

    Loved the article.

    I am a female (28, 6 foot tall, around 120 lbs.), and I do 20-30 minutes of intervals on the treadmill 3-5x per week (1 min. 6.5 kph / 1 min. 14-15 kph). I also lift most days, but I am doing a 5×5 program for strength (I am not after mass, just muscle density/tone). My diet is 80/20 (the 20 being dark chocolate and similar), no wheat or dairy, low to moderate on carbs, higher on saturated fats and protein, of course. I only drink black coffee, (quite a bit of it) tea and water, and don’t sweeten anything.
    I take Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc, Vitamin C, probiotics and glutamine (for immunity and gut health mostly, I don’t usually take any supplements to enhance training except caffein pills 30 min. before a workout.)

    I’ve been doing this for a couple of months but I feel like my fat loss should have come a longer way by now. I only have a couple of pounds of stubborn fat to lose, I’d say no more than 5 of FAT, and I am doing everything to preserve muscle along the way.

    Is there anything I could do to improve my progress…? It’s so hard to keep the motivation up for us girls, especially when you get a surge of water retention after tough workouts. What am I doing wrong?

    Thank you so much in advance, I LOVE your site.

  • Julia Caldwell Troya

    Hi Mike,
    This time I have a question about cellulitis. I have been
    cycling seriously for about 2 years now. I have lost a significant amount of
    weight in those 2 years. I have a body that is pretty firm because I use to do
    a lot of exercise when young so I have never been flabby even when I was
    50 pounds heavier than what I am now. But I have been stuck for the past maybe 3 or 4 months at the same weight. I wasnt really drinking much water but I switched that about 2 months ago and drinking about 8 glasses of water a day minimum. I wasnt even doing any legs strength exercises neither just my indoor HIIT cycling about 6 days a week and some abs and dumbells exercise 3 or 4 times a week. Now with winter season I added deadlift and squats to my workouts and some leg presses about a few weeks ago to try to get stronger but at the same time to try to lose more weight beacuse I am interested in competing this cycling season in some races.. I notice that my pants are falling now which means I have def loss inches and soon will have to go buy new clothing or use the old clothes I have from when I was fit. But I have a problem, my thighs are showing some lumpy cellulitis now….Does that have to do with the change on the workout?…before when I was just doing the bicycle I could barely see any cellulitis in my thighs!.. will that go away?..or is there anything I can do about it?.. Thanks

  • t-bone

    Thanks for the info. Sounds like I’m doing this simple task wrong as well. I do high intensity for 60 sec and the rest 60 second. I have 5 different exercises i use:
    1. Plank
    2.battle rope
    3.kettle bell i swing out from a legs apart and squat position
    4.Row machine
    5.12lb ball I bounce off the floor as hard as I can

    My butt is dragging at the end. I have one of the gym employees take me back to the locker in a wheel barrow. lol jk
    So cycling it is. this is good news cause I love cycling.

    • Michael Matthews


      60 seconds of high isn’t necessarily WRONG but it’s very very tough. I prefer 30-45 seconds.

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  • Cheryl

    I am going to start the HIIT workouts when i go back to the gym tomorrow. i am at 26% body fat at 136 pounds and would like to get down to about 20% body fat at about 122 pounds, any suggestions on a the best type of HIIT to reach my goals quickly?

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  • Brian Copeland

    I’ve recently bulked to 230 lbs doing Wendler 5-3-1 stength training (all big lifts). Now, it’s time to cut. I’m sill lifting, but have cut back on my calories and added in some cardio. While I’ve run and cycled in the past, I’m actually doing some rowing this time out (easier on the knees). 1 minute intervals followed by 30 seconds of rest x 10. This takes exactly 15 minutes. If I do this on my non-lifting days I get in 3 sessions per week (lifting 4 days per week). Is this enough cardio to effectively cut? I’ve been training for a few years now. I am big and strong, but would like to perhaps see my abs this summer for the fist time ever!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool on what you’re doing. I like it. Rowing is a great way to do HIIT and 15-minute sessions 3 x per week should be enough, yes. If you stall along the way you could bump to 20 minutes, and if you stall again, 25.

  • Ashleigh

    I’m following the thinner, leaner, stronger program and I like to do a 45 min spin class twice a week, will this cardio burn too much muscle?

    • Michael Matthews

      No, that should be fine if it’s only 2 x per week. Have some protein before.

  • Yondale Thomas

    Quick question mike. What I do is HIIT, but instead of sprinting I do an intense jog for exactly one minute in between 2-5 minutes breaks. I do this for a total of 45-55 minutes. Would you say that that could help me burn fat? Also could it potentially cause muscle loss?

    • Michael Matthews

      Does the job spike your heart rate? That’s really what you want with the HIIT.

      45-55 minutes is a bit much. I’d like to see 25ish at possibly a higher intensity?

      • Yondale Thomas

        Thanks Mike. And to answer your question, my heart rate definitely spikes.

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  • Dennis

    Thanks for the great article Mike! Is it ok to do HIIT on a bike a few hours after leg day? I find it easier to do HIIT the day of over the day after.

    I want to make sure I don’t impair my leg gains.

    • Yeah definitely. I like doing it on legs day. It helps reduce soreness.

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Leroy

    Hey ya’ll,

    I have been lifting 5-6 days a week but I want to start doing those high intensity workouts. What would you say is the best post workout for someone who wants to gain muscle but lose fat?


  • Sahil Vaidya

    Hi Mike,

    I’m 5 7″ and weigh ~61kgs currently. I’ve been training since the past 3-4 months and am experiencing good muscle gains. However I still have a belly and wish to remove it, which is why I read your article.

    My question is- I need to add a few more kilos and hence, I’m bulking. would doing HIIT hinder this? Or would it just help me shed the fat while still allowing me to gain muscle? I plan to lift 5x and HIIT 3x. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

  • Derrek

    I’ve been doing HIIT for a almost a year. I’ve been doing 30 second rest, 30 seconds all out. Is this the best way or what do you do?

    And do you need fat loss supplements to get to a low body fat percentage? I’d prefer not to use them as I can’t afford lots of them. Any advice?

  • Derrek

    I’ve also been lifting for over a year and lost a lot of weight due to some medical issues. Is this gonna be a problem? Am i gonna need to add more sets to gain muscle if I have not put on a lot of size.

  • Pasquale L Nocito Jr

    Hey Mike. Should is getting better everyday but man it take time to heal. legs legs legs.. lol

    So Im cutting right now. Im 6’3 220 I though my TDEE was 3200 calories aday, which mean that – 500 calories a day.. so 2700 calories a day works out to 302g of protein x 4 calories per gram = 1200 cals.
    carbo 140g and fat 26g comes out to about 2700.

    Here my challenge.. I dont’ seem to be losing weight and know this should be a marathon due to muscle loss. but I don’t want to lower my metabolism and really create challenges. lol should I do a quick fast or liquid diet for a few days to kickstart? or just drop to 700 a day deficit

    Body fat is 19-20. Thanks, Pasquale

    P.S Vanilla whey is banging with milk and peanut butter

  • Jimmy Bills

    Hey Mike, I’ve been wondering two things. Based on the calculations you’ve provided, I should be eating about 2,145 calories a day for my 20% calories deficit (26M, 22% body fat, now work out 5 times a week lifting heavy) . Should I eat that same amount on a rest day or should I take it down a bit on the days I don’t work out? Also I’m planning on adding in HIIT on my rest days. Is it okay to work out 5 days a week and do cardio on the 2 off days? I’m thinking if that is okay, I should increase my caloric intake a bit. Thanks!

    • Yup same every day. Simple and works. 🙂

      Ideally you would take one day per week to fully rest. It helps. Trust me.

  • Aden

    Is HIIT effective for someone trying to lose fat and become lean? 5’2″ 100lb female, 18% BF, but really doesn’t look like it. Work out routine also consists of weights and strength training, etc. Thinking about switching my cardio routine to HIIT.

  • bibihang

    Hi Mike, thanks for the advice!

    I’ve started this HIIT training for almost a year already and I don’t see significant improvement on my cardio. What I do is running on the treadmill at almost maximum speed for 70 seconds, rest (slowly walk) for 50 seconds and then repeating this for 5 to 6 sets, depends on how I feel that day. I suspect that I didn’t get any improvement on my cardio performance because I gain muscle at the same time, what do you think?

    Also I don’t enjoy doing HIIT at all. My way of doing this is the resting time is slightly shorter than my sprinting time, and I sprint for slightly more than 1 minute continuously, which is very tough and definitely not enjoyable. I so participate in karate tournaments sometimes so I need to keep my cardio performance at certain level.

  • John Rock

    Two minor points. The maximal heart rate calculation is 220 minus your age (rather than 200). Also, when discussing “combing” strength and endurance training you must have meant “combining”

    Thanks for your helpful articles which help me stay on track!

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  • MTanner

    Thanks for all of the great info Mike!

    I have been doing the
    heavy compound lifts (5 day split) and HIIT two to three times a week
    (during different sessions than the lifting) on the stationary bike for
    about 2 months.

    I have to admit that my diet is not bad not
    great but good and I have been seeing great results. Progressing almost
    every session. My HIIT progession has been insane!

    This training really works! Everyone I see comments on how fit I look and more importantly I feel great.

    am currently doing about 10 to 12 30 second intervals at an 8 to 9
    resistance with a 15 second rest. I can’t get going much faster than 130
    RPM (not matter what the resistance).

    What should the next step be? Increase resistance? Increase amount of intervals? Decrease rest time?

    • Awesome! I’m glad to hear it!

      I would get intervals up to 30-40 seconds, then decrease rest times to the same, and then start increasing resistance.

      • MTanner

        Thanks Mike.

        What is the target heart rate range when I am at the end of the recovery interval?

        Should I always aim for 10 to 12 intervals a session?

        The fasted training with the BCAAs preworkout is working like a charm too!

        FYI – I will be buying the book soon 🙂

        • Honestly I don’t pay too close attention to exact numbers. I just want to make sure my heart isn’t still pounding and I’ve caught my breath.

          I go by time. 20 to 30 minutes is plenty.

          Glad to hear it! Thanks for the support!

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  • Ricardo Cabral

    Hey Mike,

    I’m 19 years old doing weight lifting 5x a week all on weekdays….This week I just started doing HIIT and have done 2x so far (Mon/Tue). I’m planning on doing HIIT around 4x a week (Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri) giving myself a break on Wednesdays…Ohh and I’m taking in an average 1700 calories a day with my cutting diet. Just wanted to know if I’m overtraing or if I’m just right.

    Thanks in advance

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  • William

    Hi mike this is going to be my 5 day split just wanted some advice on when to do cardio..? Mon legs+core
    Tues chest+cardio
    Wed back+cardio
    Thurs arms+core
    Fri shoulders+cardio
    Currently 168 lbs looking to lose some fat while building some muscle
    2250 cals 45% carb 35% protein 20% fat..? I can only get to the gym once a day is it ok to do my cardio straight after wieght session..? And does everything else look ok..?

  • William

    Thanks for the reply mike how much would you recommend to reduce I’m looking to find a meal plan that I can just maintain year round and look good of it you done me a cut meal plan 1831cals last year and although it was good I felt like I lost to much wieght and a few people commented on that I looked gaunt in the face I went on the link you sent me and the calculater was giving me 2177 cals that was after I took away 20% would this be ok or would you reduce more..? And should I do 40 40 20 macro split.. ? Thanks mate

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  • Darrin Hart

    Question: I was a heavy weightlifter for years; took the last year off……got fat! Do you recommend weightlifting in the fasted state in the morning……cardio/walking/HIIT at night? …I want to drop this disgusting belly!

  • William

    Thanks mate going to drop to 2100 see how I go.. what do you think of doing intervals on the stair machine for cardio..?

  • ana

    Hey Michael,

    This is the first time I read about HIIT and well I’m a little hesitant about it. But I do hate running on a treadmill for a whole hour or even 20 minutes. I have a challenge and I been working out for 25 days I’ve gone from 132 to 125 and it keeps fluctuating I work out 6 days of the week doing jim stopannis shortcut to shred it’s a 6 week program I luv it but I have to add abs to it. I need to be 112-115 for this challenge I’m doing . I’m currently 126 and need to loose this weight by jun 30. What are the results of weight loss if I implement HIIT 6 days ofthe week with my weights would it be to much or to little.

  • Julian Pizzichini

    Hi Mike,

    I’m currently doing a MWF split of 5×5, 20 min rest between the Lifting Portion and HIIT session, and my HIIT consists of only 2 exercises (1 min box-jumps followed by 25 kettlebell swings) with 90 seconds rest between sets (2-3). I do not feel sore nor do I feel dizzy at the end of the day and my lifting sessions are heavy but I am able to complete the required amount of reps with proper form. Though I must admit that I feel the burn, am sweat soaked, but neither do I feel exhausted to the point I need to be exfil-ed by paramedics out of the gym. (exaggerative but you get the point). I rest on Tuesday and Thursdays stretching and recovering and I feel ready to go with sufficient energy for the subsequent training day.

    Now my question is – after getting a clear idea of my workout schedule and my post-workout physical condition -, is what I am currently undergoing sufficient for fat loss/”leaning out” or do I have to modify it a bit?



    PS I am currently at 15% – 17% body fat, am 6’1 and 218 pounds

  • ana

    Holy guacamole Michael you reply quick! So yup I did it and I luv it. So I went to the gym I got on my treadmill at the same time this guy got on the treadmill next to me he did his running I did my 30 minute HIIT 30 seconds sprint at 6.7 speed 30 seconds fast walking at 3.5. So I did this and by the time I was done. I look like a beautiful glistening mermaid with sweat dripping down my face and down my back… Ok ok I look more like gollum chasing after his precious. I got off the treadmill feeling amazing. The guy next to me stopped at te same time as me and looked like he didn’t break sweat he looked at me with a surprised look I smiled and said HIIT! Try it so thank you michael!

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  • Miguel Rodrigues

    Hi mike can i maintain my postvworkout lifting meal 50 70 c and 40 p on the days I only do cardio in stead of lifting?is that optimal?what sould i eat after fasted hitt?

  • ThruYa

    Hey Mike!

    What’s your take on HIIT ratio (exercise:rest)? I’m used to 1:1 or even 2:1, something like 60 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery. Is the recommended 30:60 ratio in this article an across-the-board recommendation or more of a starting point with HIIT?



    • I do 1:1 with 30-45 second intervals but if you feel you can push harder then by all means go for it!

  • John

    Hey mike I’m 16, i don’t do any cardio apart from karate 1 hour week(we punch and kick pads in short intervals) but i weight lift 5x week. Will i see result if i do more HIIT workout for 20 min, i would do it 2 more times because i do karate. Will this help me lose fat and gain more muscle. I know you say about bulking and cutting but my parents don’t have much money to spend on me. So i try to stick to high carb and protein diet and little fat, so i can make some gains.

    • Cool man! If I were you I wouldn’t worry too much about getting really lean at your age. You don’t want to be in a calorie deficit.

      Instead, just eat plenty of food (around TDEE) and be active and let your body develop.

  • Training is Best For Weight Loss its really effective for fitness. I am searching information for training system by Recumbent
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  • k1us3k

    I started HIIT with 20sec x3 with 1min interval general hard skipping, with press ups and suchlike exercise (found on youtube) – on week 3 I increased it to 4x20sec with 45sec breaks and I am going to eventually achieve 1-1 ratio of exercise v. rest. I was 10.5 stone when i started and weight wise i didnt drop much to be honest with you but size-wise i can see that i fit in jeans i didn’t (specially in waist), zips are flying up easier on some items of clothing and i have better control of my posture which makes it easy to hold my stomach in constantly – which makes you look slimmer too! HIIT is a Winner all around as it is sustainable for me. After exercise it sometimes feels like i have been in some kind of acident, head spinning, slightly light headed … but when all goes away i feel fantastic

  • Seth

    Years ago I read on Muscle Media’s website about doing HIIT intervals at the track, alternating 30 seconds sprinting with 30 seconds jogging. But, the total time frame was much shorter than the 20-25 minutes you’re recommending, by about half. (I found that it took some time getting used to the difficulty and intensity even when starting at only 5 minutes.) How did you come to settle upon the 20-25 minute threshold for HIIT training?

    Regards, Seth

    • 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of jogging would destroy you. If you wanted to run sprints I’d say sprint 70 to 100 yards and then walk double that.

      I recommend 20 to 25 minutes because it’s enough to burn a significant amount of energy without putting the body under too much stress. That said, all-out running sprints is very hard. I had to do them for months to work up to 20 minutes doing them as described above.

  • Moe

    Thank you Mike, Is recumbent cycling better than elliptical machines like the Apex Arc Trainer? How can I get the best cardio (total body fat loss) from cycling when only my bottom half of my body (legs-down) are the only parts moving and excercising?

    • Not necessarily better, no. The key is using the resistance to ensure you’re spiking your heart rate.

      • Moe

        Aaah, I see. So as long as the heart rate is spiked, We can expect TOTAL Body fat loss, even though only legs move, Yes?

  • Tony

    When it comes to choosing your exercise for cardio or HIIT, have you considered the downsides of choosing the recumbent bicycle over a high-impact activity such as running or heavy-bag training? There are studies that indicate that high-impact activities are important for strengthening the bones. Low-impact, weight-bearing activities are also supposed to be good for the bones, but not as good as high-impact.


    • Nothing is better for strengthening bones than heavy weightlifting, which I do a lot of. 🙂

  • Louise

    I’ve switched from HIIT on the bike to a reebok step. I do fast step ups for the sprints and walking for rests. I figure I could raise the step when the workout becomes less challenging. Do you think this is as effective as the bike? I prefer the step due to back pain.

    • Cool! That works. You just need to be able to spike your heart rate.

  • Saad Shafiq

    Mike can you please give me a suggestion on this?
    I start my cardio at the speed of 8 km/h and then increase it gradually to 13.5 or 14. I do this regularly (except for Sunday) for about 3 kilometers followed by proper workout of 90 minutes, so is it good for burning fat? because nowadays I am trying my best to get six pack abs. My weight is 65 now (reduced it from 84 in 3 months). I have also limited my carbs, so please tell me that by following this routine can I get that lean and ripped body? or should I add something to it?
    (P.S I am not taking any supplements)

  • Jim Walker

    Is there something special about HIIT that makes it easier to lose fat with it than just reducing your calories by how much you would burn in a HIIT session?

  • Jackson

    Hey Mike. You rock man! Your work has changed my life.
    I’m a newb and I don’t train legs LOL! and I don’t plan to start. I’m just mastering chin ups and push ups for now. I’m making gains in my upper body too for the first time in my life.
    My question is: do you think hiit on the stationary bike 3 times a week might add a bit of mass to my legs? If so, which parts?
    Again, you and your team are the best. Hope all is well.

    • Thanks man. 🙂 Haha we gotta get you training legs man! Hmm running sprints would probably be better for that…

  • Gabriel Tan Bing Wei

    Hi Mike,

    The information you have put out there has been very useful for me. Thanks for the hard work!

    A question. Is Tabata Workout a good HIIT program? Is the 4 minutes guide given by the Tabata Workout too short?

    Appreciate if you can give me your opinions

    Thanks in advanced!

      • Gabriel Tan Bing Wei

        Thanks! Will have a good read on the article

        Another question. I have saw on various articles that you to calculate your tdee, you have to take your BMR and multiply by a multiplier according to the number of hours working out (weight lighting plus cardio)

        If I were to play sports such as basketball and soccer, can I count them inside too?

  • romankol

    Hey Mike,

    My Schwinn 270 has 25 Levels of resistance. I want to “steal” your HIIT routine but level 4-5 doesn’t really allow me to pedal as hard as possible. It’s just not enough resistance if you know what I mean. Would maybe level 9 or so be better?

    Thank you and keep up the good work!


    • No problem. Put it at a high enough level where there’s enough resistance to go all out and keep it up for 30 seconds!

      Try out level 9 and LMK how it goes!

      • romankol

        Thank you Mike. Had the High on Level 9 and the low on Level 3. The last 10 seconds on each High are pretty brutal but I guess that’s the point, haha.

        I used to only do cardio on a treadmill with an App called “Lolo Treadmill”. The program I followed there wasn’t HIIT but it was still interval (more like a low-medium-high intensity that would switch up every 1-2 minutes). I actually sweat a lot more doing that than doing HIIT (both for 30 minutes) on the recumbent bike, which surprised me a bit. I definitively felt more tired after the HIIT though. Took me a good 20-30 minutes to get “back to normal”.

        Thanks again and keep up the good work!

        • Glad you got the HIIT figured out. 🙂

          Cool on the Lolo app. It sounds decently similar.

          Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Val

    Hi Mike,

    A quick question. Is it safe (for the heart) to do cardio HIIT workouts for someone obese (approx 80 lbs overweight)?

    Also, when I tried 30mins HIIT workout last week I had very..and I mean very bad headache and extremely painful stitch on the right side… It hurt so bad I couldn’t properly finish the last few exercises…
    What can I do about that?


    • Yikes I would check with your doc on that. Sounds like you may want to dial it back for now.

      • Val

        Oh noo..0_0 I never had such problems.. but I guess you’re right.
        If not HIIT though, what’s the second best way to burn fat.. ?


        • Exercise in general, really. Weightlifting and low-intensity cardio plus a proper diet.

    • Bill

      You may be experiencing a very common symptom of running… I get it all the time :https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_stitch

      Try running after at least 45 minutes of eating or drinking water and check your breathing. You should make deep breathes and not short and frequent.

  • Bill

    Hi Mike,

    I tried sprinting, cycling and swimming in a HIIT style. Maybe you will be surprised that many told me that I got leaner and taller, but the taller part might just be an illusion because it’s been 5 years since I literally got taller. Also note that my weight didn’t change so I suspect building muscle but with just cardio and no weightlifting, that’s what you get for being a newbie.

    Question: I’ve seen bodyweight exercises for cardio like burpies, squats, mountain climbers… Do you recommend bodyweight exercises for cardio or you think that it might cost weightlifting performance and damage muscle cells?

    • Newbie gains are the best. Cool that you were able to build some muscle and lose fat just from cardio.

      I recommend heavy, compound lifts for building muscle and for cardio I recommend more things like running, biking, swimming, etc.

      No need to mix the lifting and cardio into one workout. As you said, it can effect your strength in the gym.

  • lorenzo

    Hi Mike, again haha. Just want your opinion on doing cardio vs. not doing for building muscle and staying lean. Personally I don’t really enoy it, but it has helped me with loosing about 50 lbs. although for me most of it was changing my eating habits. I considered myself a new/advanced to weight lifting and was wondering to keep a 10-12 % BF really need cardio even if I still need to reach that percentage. Thanks in advanced.

    • Good question! Check this out:


      LMK what you think.

    • lorenzo

      Hi Mike, read your article and as always very helpful. Don’t need to do more than i need to reach my goals and it does make a difference some HIIT in the routine just doing it properly (eating and training).
      Thanks alot. Again.

  • lorenzo

    What are your thoughts on visceral fat? I came across in one of your articles. For years I overate and gain alot of weight that causes the potruted belly, not to mention metabolic syndrome (insulin resistant) and 2 years ago I changed my eating habits going more whole and alot less processed eating. I dropped 50 lbs and started weight training this year. I just can’t get this intra ab fat down any further. I did went from 40 in waist to 35 inch. What are your thoughts on this Mike? Thanks in advanced. By the way I’m 40 years old.

    • Some people have issues with it, especially those that have done a lot of drinking.

      You can lose it though. Just have to keep doing what you’re doing. There’s nothing special you can do to get rid of it faster.

  • James

    Hello Mike I’m 18 and I want to lose 4 stone should I combine weight training and hiit training for fat and weight loss

  • Tom

    I know you aren’t counting calories, and I searched for this in the comments, but can you give me an idea of how many calories a person should be burning during this?

    I’m currently around 165 calories after 20 minutes HIIT on my bike, and doing that three days a week. I’m trying to take it moderate as you suggest. I just need to know if this is too low and if I should up my intensity.

    Using the formula in the article, I’m above the heart rate target when at my higher level, and slightly below when at the lower levels. I think a caloric ballpark figure would help me know if I’m putting in the right effort.

  • ariel

    Hey mike, im 17, 180lbs.. should i be taking supplements such as protein and such? thanks oh and i also just bought bls 😀

    • Supplements can definitely help you achieve your goal, but they aren’t necessary. You can achieve your goal simply with proper training and dieting.

      Cool you picked up BLS! LMK how you like it and if you have any questions!

  • Matthew Lorenzen

    Is it healthy for me to have 1000 calorie a day diet, run a mile in the morning, and an hour of HIIT after work?
    I am 155lbs and 5’8″ Age 25.

  • Alan Lapatski

    Is this Hiit workout okay? i was looking for some advance hiit workout to drop from 10% bodyfat with a 1400 Cal intake.
    4 min jog at 8 mph
    16 min intervals of 30 sec sprints at 13.5 mph and 30 sec 3.5 mph walks.
    Then 3 min jog at 8 mph to cool down
    Should i do
    4 min jog at 8 mph
    10 min intervals of 40 sec or 30 sec 16 mph and 20 sec or 30 sec at 3.5 mph.
    3 min jog at 8 mph
    Its that upgrade better?

    • If you’re able to do it with only 30 seconds on the slower periods then yeah, that works!

  • Elmert Y. Pitis

    Hi mike, i just have a quick question. Im on maintenance (summer time lol) and i read on your books that while maintaining, you recommend 2-3 HIIT workouts. My question is;
    Can I do my 25min hiit immediately after an AM weightlifting session that is not fasted with 25gm carb and 25gm protein for pre workout meal? Or should I do my cardio on weekends when I don’t lift in a fasted state and 5gm leucine for 25 min? Thanks a lot for everything man. You always respond and you’ve been EXTREMELY helpful!!!

    • It’s best to separate the cardio and weight lifting completely (one in the am the other in the pm), but if you can’t, cardio after weight lifting is fine.

      I’m happy to help!

  • whitmore_11

    Is doing fasted hiit first thing in the morning (5.30a.m) with bcaa. Then coming home having breakfast/pre workout of carbs/protein. Then going to the gym around 7a.m. to do my weightlifting. Does this sound ok? Thanks.

    • Nah, I don’t recommend it. Ideally, cardio and weight lifting are done completely separate (one in the am and one in the pm). If this isn’t possible then do the weight lifting first and the do the cardio.

  • whitmore_11

    Aaah ok, cheers michael. Whats the reason for this being no good? And is hiit 5 x a week too much?? Thats what ive been doing. Thanks. And ive just ordered bigger leaner stronger. Looking forward to it.

    • Because you want to be lifting as heavy as you can and progressively overloading. Doing the HIIT beforehand will make you weaker.

      HIIT 5 times a week is the most I recommend. You’re fine.

      Cool you ordered BLS! LMK how you like it.

      • whitmore_11

        Okay.even though im trying to cut? As i want to lose fat around my belly. So im not looking to gain strength. Just wanto maintain if i can. Untill i eventually bulk. Do you have any plans or anything that could help me mike? Thanks. You could email me is its easier. [email protected]

  • Arthur

    Hey mike, I’ve been following your plan and everything is going great, but I’ve started to plateau at around 12% BF for the last 3 weeks. What can I do?

  • Bill

    I don’t understand why cycling is better than swimming. Since swimming uses literally every muscle in your body and it imitates more the weightlifting movements. Or maybe cycling isn’t better but it is the best you can do in the gym, swimming is less accessible since gyms don’t have swimming pools.

    • Swimming doesn’t imitate weightlifting movements at all? And swimming wasn’t included in the study, that’s all.

  • KeyLock

    Hey, Michael! I’ve been lifting for several years, but I’ve been out for about six months months due to a workplace injury in my lower back and a lack of funds to see a doctor. In that time I’ve gained ten pounds of unwanted fat, and I’ve started doing HIIT in order to lose it because it doesn’t strain my back. I’ve been at it for about two weeks every day for 20-30 minutes but I’m not seeing much of anything results-wise (except my abs are a little more prominent). Is there anything I can do sans weightlifting to lose this fat without losing any more strength than I already have? Am I just overeager expecting to see results so soon? I’m hoping to get to a doctor soon, but I’m tired of not doing anything in the meantime. Thanks in advanced!

  • Kal-El

    hey Mike,
    started cutting last week. I’m on 1650 calories, 185g protein, 155g carbs and 30g fat. I was 155 pounds when i started at 22%. Last day, I checked my weight and I had lost 4 pounds in a week. Is that too much? isn’t it supposed to be within 1-2 pounds a week? do you think i lost muscle or maybe something to do with water fluctuations?

    i workout 5 days a week fasted and 4 sessions of HIIT fasted.
    thanks 🙂

    • That’s expected with the first week or two because of glycogen and water weight as you said.

      After those first few weeks you should be losing 1-2 pounds a week. If not, we’ll have to adjust your cals accordingly.

      Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

  • Alvin Javier

    Hi Mike,
    I’m a fan of kettlebell exercises and was wondering if I can incorporate them into a HIIT/cardio workout. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

    • Yup! KB swings are great for this. Have you done them?

      • Alvin Javier

        Yup! I love KB swings! Would I do 0:30 work and 1:30 rest? Or would you suggest something different?

        • You’d follow the same protocol as stated in the article. You’d 30 seconds all out and then 60 seconds at a slower pace–not resting.

          Do that for 20-30 minutes.

          LMK if you have any other questions!

  • Jen G

    Hi Mike,

    If I am doing HIIT first thing in the morning – essentially rolling out of bed and heading to the gym at 5:30am. What should I be intaking before? I have the TLS and can find before a resistance workout, but not sure before a cardio in the am. Thank you!!

  • Monique Dew

    HI Mike,
    I am doing the 5 day split workout routine and started this week. To get rid of my fat faster I wanted to incorporate HIIT into it also. Now reading this is was saying not to use strength exercises in the HIIT so do you recommend just cycling at intervals as I was doing things like squat jumps + a sprint 20 sec each with a 10 sec break for 4 minutes. (Tabata) OR should I be just sticking to straight cardio for the HIIT to ensure I am not hindering my progress in the strength dept. Thanks 🙂

  • Katie Thomas

    I do Bikram yoga 3x a week – would you count that as “cardio” or is it more just an added extra that if I enjoy I should continue? It for sure burns calories and the sweating is amazing and some postures elevate heart rate. I know I should do what I want, but I am interested in knowing whether that would be equal to an HIIT session. I also enjoy HIIT so will mix those up to my benefit. I just added a good weight program 3x a week so I’m good there and love it. I can already feel my butt lifting from the sumo dead lifts, step-ups, goblet squats and lunging. This is all such a nice change for me!

    • If it’s mainly stretching then yeah I’d say cardio but if it involves quite a few challenging poses and such it’s more like body weight training.

      Personally I wouldn’t do weightlifting PLUS HIIT PLUS yoga. I’d do lifting and yoga…

      Glad you’re doing well! 🙂

      • Katie Thomas

        Thank you! It’s pretty darn challenging that Bikram style yoga so I’ll keep up with what I am doing. I appreciate you more than words can say!

  • Eimear Gallery

    Hi Mike –

    I recently purchased your book and discovered your podcast,
    both of which are great! Thanks!

    Question for you –
    I do Bikram yoga daily (which I love).
    I am currently in the midst of a 365-day challenge (Day
    ~265) – Daily: AM, 90 minutes, 40 deg room.
    I have lost ~25lbs (given this in combination with a calorie
    reduced diet) – Am female, 5ft8+, now 130lbs.
    I am starting to see my abs come through (top 2, lines down
    each side and a ‘V’) – I would like to push this and build more muscle for weight stability and an even leaner look.

    I have experienced some fatigue throughout this challenge
    but I think I am coming out the other side of it.

    I have also reverse dieted back up to 2200 cals per day and weight has stablised – Still pushing this.

    I am keen to add some weight training into the mix – I have
    never weight lifted before.

    I am thinking about 4 days – Compound exercises – 1 muscle
    group per day (chest, shoulders, back, legs) and 10 mins HIIT.

    Do you think this will be too much on top of the bikram? I
    may not get the desired results?


  • Ioara

    Hey mike, i do weight training n cardio excercises at gym , can i do hiit regularly along with tat?

  • Andrea

    I’ve been doing the following workout: Monday: arms (all of the arms, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, etc>) Tuesday I rest. Wednesday, legs, Thursday: same arms workout, and Friday: same leg workout. Two questions: 1) is that ok as a fairly new beginner?? and 2) If I want two of my HIIT workouts to occur during M-F, on which days would you put them on?? Legs, arms?? etc?? Thanks

  • Justin

    Hey mike I was wondering what your opinion on using burpees for HIIT? I currently plan on doing it 2-3x /wk fasted while taking Forge on top of a 3x / wk strength training split. Thanks!

    • I’m a fan of traditional HIIT cardio on the bike.

      Burpees are great too, but it’d be tough to do them HIIT style. You could put them in a good tabata routine though. Check this out:



      • Justin

        Tabata seems like a great idea, probably going to have to work my way up to 20/10 intervals at that level of intensity haha. Thanks for the reply.

  • MrMulligan84

    Hey Mike,

    I am new to the site, recommended by a friend. Your information has helped me make my workouts more efficient and effective. I am a big guy trying to drop alot of weight. Started at 425, now down to like 358. I was hoping I could get your take on HIIT for a guy my size, is it too much for my body to take? I am worried about the strain on my joints, perhaps an injury that may prevent me from lifting.


    • Awesome! Great job!

      You know I’m not sure because it really depends on your circumstances. Are you currently doing any cardio?

      • MrMulligan84

        Yes, I like to bookend my workouts with cardio. Times vary depending on what I am working out that day or whether or not I am doing a 3 day cycle or a 4 day cycle.

        To keep impact to a minimum I prefer elliptical / recumbent bikes and try to get in at least 30-45 minutes per workout.

        Rest days are minimal, mostly walking.

        • Cool. I like it.

          I guess the only reason NOT to do HIIT would be too much stress on your body/heart. And I can’t really advise there because it would really depend on your individual circumstances.

          What’s definitely true though is you don’t NEED to do it. You can continue like you are and do just fine.

  • Roberto Cruz

    Hello Mike,

    I’ve been checking a lot fitness sites and this is by far the best one. It’s been three weeks since I’ve started to eat really healthy and exercising a lot more than I used to. I’ve lost 3.7 Kgs and 3.85% BF. I do cycling as cardio, but I wanna try the HIIT from now on, I did it yesterday for 30 minutes and it was crazy! I read in one of your articles (I don’t know which one, because I’ve been reading all of them since I found muscle for life lol) that HIIT consists in doing intervals of high intensity training for small periods of time and then some time to recover for the next intensity interval.

    I pedal at resistance 4 while I warm up, at resistance 6 after warming up and at resistance 15 during the high intensity interval for 30 seconds each time; then I need 90-120 seconds to recover and start again. I do it with these levels of resistance because if I do it with less I don’t feel any real effort. Here’s my question: Do you think it is ok to keep doing it that way or should I lower the levels of resistance?

    (I also lift a little, because I’m new at weight lifting, but I do it so I won’t lose muscle)

    Thanks in advance!


  • Angel Gongora

    So would HIIT workouts kinda be like cross fit WODS?

    • Not quite. HIIT is for cardio only and doesn’t involve any weights.

  • Angel Gongora

    Okay thank you so much a very big fan of your sight recently saw your videos on YouTube and subscribed and follow you. You give really good info . Was going to ask though, bc I haven’t really heard you talk about it, if you are on a calorie deficit, and losing weight about .5 to a lb a week, and not on a fat burner, when u get on a fat burner , should you increase Ur calorie intake a few hundred calories more to compensate so you dont lose to much weight to quickly ? Thank you for your time .

    • NP Angel! Thanks for the kind words and support.

      If you start taking a fat-burner, no need to increase cals unless you start losing more than 2 pounds a week. Otherwise, you’re good.

  • Abigail Andrews

    I just started working out a week and a half ago. I lost 10lbs my first week but I’m positive most of that was water weight and I’m hoping to lose 1-2 lbs per week going forward.

    I’m a 30 year old female, 6’1″, 260lbs, and (as you can see by those numbers) out of shape. I gained 70 lbs in the past 2 years while I was in nursing school and 20 of that 70 was gained in the past 4 months after I got out of school and became lazy. I’ve been in 6 car accidents so I have a bad back, knees, and neck I have to watch out for.

    I purchased a recumbent bike, elliptical, and hula hoop (don’t laugh those things are a workout!). So far I’ve just kinda been using all 3 almost every day plus I’ve been doing yoga for stretching and for back friendly core workouts.

    As of today I can do:
    10 minutes of HIIT, 30 second on 10 second rest, on the hula hoop.
    60 minutes of constant level 5 resistance on the bike.
    30 minutes of preset workouts with resistances of 2-5 on the bike.
    But on the elliptical I’m lucky if I can finish a 30 minute preset “fat burning workout” at level 2.

    I don’t know what I’m doing all I know is I’ve been watching what I eat and if I’m home I’m working out on something even if it just a thigh master while I’m surfing the Internet. A lot of people I know have leg days, arm days, back days but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be doing that or if that is for muscle building not weight loss/toning.

    Can you give me some direction as to how often I should workout, should I start HIIT now or wait a couple weeks until my muscles finish getting used to being used again? I’m mostly looking to tone and lose the weight. As an exceptionally tall girl I don’t really want to bulk up or be anymore intimidating than I already am lol

    Also, do you have any advise on nutrition? I hear a lot of people talking about drinking their pre workout shakes or carb loading but I wasn’t sure if that was for building muscles or what. Should I eat protein before/after working out? I’ve cut back my calories a lot but I’m reading that I shouldn’t cut them back to any less than around 1500/day, thoughts?

    I’m sorry this got so long, I just have so many questions and I don’t know what I’m doing. Your site seemed well researched and highly informative so I figured maybe you could point me in the right direction.

    • Thanks for all the info Abigail!

      Start with these articles of mine:





      If you like those, then you should really check out my book Thinner Leaner Stronger:


      It lays out EVERYTHING you need to know about diet and training to build muscle and lose fat effectively…

      What do you think?

      • Abigail

        Thank you for the quick response. I’ve begun reading your links and I’m looking for your books. I’m now down 15 lbs in the first 10 days and I’m about an inch smaller everywhere (butt, waist, chest, hips, etc) But I know this weight loss is too quick to sustain (I think it’s mostly water weight and body confusion after being sedentary for most of my life) and it isn’t necessarily “healthy” weight loss. I’ve probably lost muscle because I didn’t know what I was doing at first. VLCD + working out 4+ hours a day (elliptical, recumbent bike, yoga stretching, yoga exercises, and hula hoop) sounded good until I started doing research. Since reading this article I have started incorporating HIIT and I’ve started eating a bit more.

        After I finish reading the articles and the TLS book, are there any exercises you think I should modify or eliminate for my neck/back/knee injuries? Or do you think that my body will become stronger and hurt less as I gain muscle and lose the weight that could be making the pain worse?

        How long after reading and starting the TLS book do you recommend for people to read and follow your one year challenge book? I’m new to the whole working out, counting calories, and sticking to a routine so I don’t want to overload myself and risk giving up.

        Also, what are your views on Fortified B Complex (injection, pill, sublingual, or drink)?

        • Great!

          Yeah starvation is the “easy” way to drop pounds but is counter-productive in the long run.

          We can definitely work around any injuries and limitations. Don’t worry abou tthat.

          The Y1C can actually be repeated several times depending on how you’re doing and what your goals are.

          I take a multivitamin with several B vitamins, including B12:


  • Nathan Petoskey

    Hey Mike,

    I’m not new to the workout scene by any means–I’m an ex-college football player and avid weight trainer. I recently, however, decided I wanted to shed the excess fat I was carrying around and significantly improve body composition. I started at about 240 pounds in January of this year and am now around 165 and probably 8-10% body fat. As of late I’m not particularly impressed with my progress. Though my strength has increased (I lift 3-5 times a week, depending on my schedule), my body fat percentage hasn’t changed much in the past two months or so. Ideally I would like to be around 5-6% and be able to maintain without feeling fatigued or like I have to starve myself in order to keep the fat off.

    My question to you is this, am I doing too much steady state cardio? For the past 3-4 months my training routine usually includes running 4-6 miles a day plus some sort of resistance training (if not a planned lift day then around 30 minutes of calisthenics–push ups, sit ups, burpees, etc.) I also try to incorporate 20-30 mile bike rides once or twice a week on top of my running and resistance training. I incorporate HIIT training every now and then, but it probably comprises a total of 10% of my cardio routine.

    Do not misunderstand me I’m happy with my body and the way it is performing athletically, but I feel as if I’ve hit a wall where no matter how much more cardio/weight lifting/dieting I do I simply do not improve any more. I’d really like to see my body fat levels drop another 3-4% while continuing to increase strength and improve my overall level of fitness. What are your thoughts? Back off the steady state cardio and do intervals until my legs fall off? Back off cardio all together? Any and all help is appreciated…


    • Hey man!

      Great job on the fat loss. That rocks.

      Honestly I don’t think it’s feasible to maintain 5 to 6% without drugs unless you just have the genetics for it (and very few people do in my experience).

      That’s quite a bit of cardio. Check this out:


      This is probably going to be relevant too:



      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Nathan Petoskey

        Thanks for the other articles! I’ve stumbled across them in the past but never actually took the time to read them…

        I have come to the conclusion I’m not eating enough, doing too much cardio, and being kind of lazy in the weight room–somehow I’m guessing that based on what I wrote a few days ago you already knew this.

        Thanks again! It’s nice to find somebody online that understands and can relate actual body chemistry and physiology to people wishing pursuing a lifestyle concerned with fitness. I will definitely be recommending your articles to all of my (and by all I mean very few) fitness and health concerned friends.

        • NP! Check them out and LMK what you think. 🙂

          Makes sense haha. Definitely recommend bringing down the volume on the cardio.

          Happy to help man! Thanks for the support, and I appreciate you spreading the word!

          Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Derek

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve been doing Hiit for a while but what should you eat after hiit. Should I eat just protein alone or can I eat a regular meal of protein and carbs the tricky part is that since eating carbs hinder fat oxidation from continuing, which meal is best after cardio?

    My routine: off days
    wake up take 10g bcaa then do hiit for 20-25 min.

    • Nothing special needed here really. You can eat however you’d like.

  • Gary Zaretsky

    Hi Michael, do you recommend a recumbent or upright excsrcise bike and why? Also Schwinn 220 is one longer available. Do you have any other recomendations?
    Thank you for all the information you provide- it is truly inspirational
    Gary Zaretsky

    • You know I’ve gone back and forth and I’m currently liking the upright because the recumbent at my condo makes my back tight. Meh.

      What I generally like about recumbents though is they don’t fry your quads like the upright does. I’ve found that too much quad stress interferes with my deadlifting and squatting.

      Yeah Schwinn released a newer version of the 220 model. Check it out. It’s nice.

      Thanks for the support!

  • Spartan

    Hi ! Thank you for your article, it was really nice to read.
    I have some questions for a weight loss using HIIT. Now, I’m 180 lbs for 5’7 with 17.7% of fat. I play squash for 1h30 twice a week (wednesday/friday) but I would like to add cycling HIIT with it. Is there a particular cycling machine you advice (uptight/recumbent) ? How often do you think I should do this training ?

    Thank you again !

  • Andrei

    Hi again Mike. I have one quick question regarding HIIT on recumbent bike. The recumbent bike in my gym has 20 resistance levels. What should be the resistance i should use during the 30 seconds of high intensity. And what RPM should i try to reach. Last time i tried with 30 seconds ( on 5 resistance and 160 RPM) and 1:30 (resistance 1 low RPM) and after ten minutes my legs and especially my glutes were fried. Any tips?

  • Yep! Totally fine.

  • Josh Van Norman

    You recommend one to two hours of hiit per week.
    Just how much does the frequency matter when it comes to working within the time frame?
    I understand the one wouldn’t want to do one or two hours all at once, but what about, if I wanted to do one hour per week, if I did only ten minutes six days a week? Would this depend on what kind of movement or machinery I was using?
    Could someone do twenty minutes six days a week to hit two hours?
    Is it possible that this would be too taxing on the nervous system and he/she would need time in between to recover, or would it also be quite a lot for anyone’s willpower?
    Surely there are more questions that go with these, as well as circumstances, but working with all of them would be quite a tangent.
    Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks. 🙂

    • 1 to 2 hours per week is all you need for cutting, yes.

      Keep your sessions to 20 to 30 minutes.

      In terms of frequency, it really depends on how much lifting you’re doing as well. There is a point where your body will begin to feel overtrained.

      For me personally, I find that lifting 4 to 5 times per week for about an hour per session plus 4 25-minute HIIT sessions is the most I can do before I run into problems…

  • Hoda

    Hey Mike! I feel like I may be doing my supplementation wrong. You write that you take 1 serving of Phoenix before your HIIT (which I am to assume from the label 1 serving = 4 capsules). However, the directions say to take 2 capsules twice a day, up to 4 total a day. Before your weight training, you indicate that you take another serving before weight training. So I am not quite sure if you mean the serving you take is the 2 capsules you require for the day, divid up between your HIIT and weight training or that you literally take 2 servings which is equivalent to 8 capsules a day. I’d appreciate some clarity on the matter because I really don’t want to be undermining my HIIT. Many thanks! 🙂

    • I take double the dosage. 4 capsules before cardio and 4 capsules before weightlifting for a total of 8 capsules a day haha.

      The clinical dosage is 4 capsules a day total. There’s no need to take more.

      Welcome! Talk soon. 🙂

      • Hoda

        You’re the best! Thanks for clarifying. Of course, when I’m finally down to single digit BF percentage and need to showoff my progress lol. 😀

  • Matt

    Hi Mike, so I’ve been reading the 2nd edition BLS and I absolutely love it. My only question is about HIIT. So I am an avid runner. I love to run. I usually run 2-3 5k’s a week and a 10k every 1-2 months. I want to get stronger but I wish to still run for distance. I’m not wanting to run anything crazy just stick to my 5k’s mainly, but could I implement this into the BLS routine instead of HIIT? And if so how could I do this without dramatically reducing my ability to gain muscle?

    • Happy to hear it. 🙂

      That’s totally fine on the running. That much shouldn’t effect your ability to build muscle. Just keep this in mind:


      LMK what you think.

      • Matt

        Thanks Mike:) I just read the article you linked, and it answers all of my questions. I might do one session of HIIT on a bike on leg day now and the other two my normal 5k route.

        P.S. Can’t wait for you app to be released!!

        • Welcome! Happy it did!

          Glad you’re pumped for STACKED! Shooting to release it in March/April.

  • Carolina Aldas

    Hi Mike!
    I’m a 29 year old female (5’3″, 117 lbs). I lift weights 6 times a week (3 different muscle groups, twice a week) and do HIIT cardio 3 times a week (all fasted training, first thing in the morning). I’ve lost a ton of weight and have seen great muscle gains! I want to make sure I do not lose the muscle I’ve gained. I walk a lot on a daily basis (about 10 miles spread throughout the day to get to and from places). The solid walk is when I walk home from the office (4 miles in 1 hour and 20 mins.). I enjoy this walk very much. It’s a nice stretch after being in the office all day long. But I’m worried it might be killing my muscle gains. Would walking do this? I do not speed walk, it’s more of a casual walk (96 avg bpm). I would hate to have to stop, but I do not want to lose muscle since I need it to bring down my body fat percentage. I really would appreciate your help!

    • Hey!

      Great on what you’re doing!

      The walking should be totally fine. Check this out:


      Let’s also make sure you’re eating enough. You’re very active. Check this out:


      • Carolina Aldas


        Thanks so much for your answer! I have one more question. I’ve been reading your “Fit is the new Skinny” book and I am getting ready to follow the program (very excited). I have calculated my macros (Protein: 140 grams, fat: 33 grams, carbs: 160 grams), I feel strong enough to follow your work out routines and I’m, most importantly, pumped to start “cutting”!
        I’ve recovered quiet nicely from a lumbar fusion surgery (it’s been a little over a year). However, there are still certain things that I’m still hesitant to get back into because they make me a bit uncomfortable and more hyper aware of lumbar movement. Thus, I was sad to see that most of the cardio workouts you think are best for HIIT cardio are all the things I’m still not comfortable with (cycling, rowing and sprints) because they add a lot of stress and hard impact on my lower back. I’ve been doing HIIT cardio on the elliptical machine. As I mentioned before, I do this 3x a week for 30 mins each time. I don’t hold on to the handles and try to engage my core instead as to mimic a more “standing cycling”/running movement. I find it to be more challenging than holding on to the handles, plus it eliminates all the funny twisting motion from when you hold on to the bars (I’m sure my back is grateful about it). Is this a good substitution? This is what my HIIT is like right now (I’m trying to adjust it to make it as close as possible to your cardio program):
        – Warm up with resistance 5 for 3 minutes at speed 5 to 6 mph
        – “sprint” with resistance 9 for 1 minute at speed 10 to 11 mph
        – lower resistance to 5 at speed 5 to 6 mph for 2 minutes
        – “sprint” with resistance 9 for 1 minute at speed 10 to 11 mph
        – lower resistance to 5 at speed 5 to 6 mph for 2 minutes
        I do this for 30 minutes, including a cool down of 2 minutes at the end. I would really appreciate your help!

        • Welcome!

          Hope you’ve been enjoying the book.

          Great to hear you’ve calculated your intake and are excited to start cutting!

          Awesome to hear on the recovery. Doing the HIIT on the elliptical is totally fine!

          Cool on your HIIT routine as well.

          I look forward to seeing your results! Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • joseph

    hi mike,
    great article! i just have a question.. I used to have lower back muscle-related issues, but they went away when I started deadlifting properly.
    Now, i am currently on a cut and started doing HIIT cardio. since i dont have access to a recumbent bike, my only choices for cardio are either running, or a punching bag.. I started to run last friday, and on one of my runs, something tweeked in my lower back, and it started to swell and I wasnt able to walk properly, similar to issues I had before, from before i started deadlifting. it really hurt, and I had do have massage therapy and take some muscle relaxant meds. I am also on a “forced” deload week now. according to my reaserch, it may have had to do with the fact that i run on cement roads, and the impact may have tweeked my back..
    My question is, since im scared to haved this kind of issue again, (which i dont have while lifting), is HIIT boxing a good alternative? and can i start lifting with the same intensity as before when I do start lifting again on monday?

    • Thanks Joseph!

      Glad to hear you were able to get rid of the lower back issues with proper deadlifting!

      Damn sorry to hear what happened when you went running. Probably a good idea to stay away from running for now. If it doesn’t cause any back pain or discomfort, the boxing will work fine! Just make sure you stick to the HIIT protocol.

      After the week off (assuming the back is all better), let’s start light and get comfortable with the weight before going heavy.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • joseph

        thanks for the reply. The back is feeling pretty good, just trying to adjust right now since the doc had me on muscle relaxants so my muscles feel like jello. but im not on them any more so should feel better when I start lifting again on monday!
        more power to the site!

        • joseph

          also mike, i read in one of the comments that your about to release your app!!! i first heard about that about a year ago or so when i first started on your site.. really excited to see it and use it!

        • YW! Glad to hear the back is feeling better.

          LMK how it goes Monday!

          Yep! I’m shooting for it to be ready March/April.

          Stay tuned. 🙂

      • Josh Dumalski

        Hey Joseph – sorry to hear about the back – been there and done that. Up here in Canada when it’s frigidcold outside – it’s treadmill season. I have some bad knee’s from years of ukrainian dancing and I always found running on paved paths to be a killer on the knee’s and back so now all I do is run on my treadmill which has an awesome cushion system in it to reduce the shock load to the joints. That’s my 2 cents (Canadian which is a lot of US Dollars now haha) – perhaps a treadmill for running with a good cushion system would work well for you. I know it has done wonders for me and my cardio / HIIT training program!


  • Robert Peters

    I am trying to lose my fat belly. I do 3 x 15 minutes HIIT exersices a week plus a 15 mile bike ride every week.
    My program is as follows
    10 burpees
    10 mountain climbers
    10 jumping jacks
    15 burpees
    15 mountain climbers
    15 jumping jacks,
    then 20 of each.
    1 minute low intesity rest
    10 squats
    10 cycle
    10 high knee jumps
    then 15 of each then 20 of each
    1 minute low intensity rest
    10 spped skater
    10 side runs
    10 forwrd/back lunges
    #then 15 of each and then 20 of each.
    I add 10 minutes of running up the stairs, and 10 minutes of sprints on my treadmill twice a week
    My diet is healthy, and includes chicken, salald, vegetables and fruit, along with the whey protien shakes.
    The 1st week i lost 3Lbs, 2nd week 1 Lbs and last week 1lbs.
    Now, i can take my jeans off without undoing them for the first time in years, but, my belly doesn’t seem to get any smaller…
    Any ideas why it isnt getting smaller? Or is it just me who doesnt think it is?

    • Cool on everything you’re doing.

      Great job on the weight loss. You want to be losing 1-2 pounds a week so adjust intake accordingly.

      To help specifically with the belly fat, check this out:


      Also, feel free to take waist measurements to help track your progress.

      My pleasure! Hope this helps. Talk soon!

      • Robert Peters

        Thanks Mike. At least i know i’m going in the right direction. Hope to lose a lot more in the nect 6 weeks

        • Welcome! I look forward to seeing your results. 🙂

          • Robert Peters

            If i increase my hiit sessions from 15 minutes to 30 minutes 3 times a week, will that be of benefit or do you recommend only 15 – 20 minutes? I want to increase my belly fat loss, and only have 4 weeks to it

          • That’s fine. I wouldn’t recommend making your sessions any longer than that, though.

            LMK how it goes.

          • Robert Peters

            Hi, Well i have lost 10lbs in weight in total in 5 weeks. More yet to come but working well so far Thanks for your advice

          • Awesome job, Robert! My pleasure! Keep up the good work.

  • Joa Bohorquez

    Hi Mike, Im currently following a nutrition program with you and I am also doing fasted HIIT for 20 minute sin the morning after a 15 minute walk and 2 min warm up – total of 15 sets of 30/60 – Im taking the sumplements you – and your nutrition program recommend for the fasted training – so I guess Im doing 2.5 hours of fasted HIIT plus 5 hours of heavy weight lifting a week (5 days) (lower, upper, lower, upper and plyo with lower -also adding core at least 4 times per week – vacuum holds on empty stomach too 4 times as well) – my trainner added 15 min of cardio 3 times a week after weight lifting – is that going to be too much cardio? My goal is to drop 3% 4% BF – im currently on 19% – BUT I want to drop 1% to 2% in 20 days – Im I doing this right? should I skip the extra cardio? PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS!!!!

  • Shashi Ramkeesoon

    Hey Mike, i had a question on HIIT. I am currently on a cut and i usually have my cardio days on a seperate day as weight training (4days weightlifting and the other days for hiit). I was wondering if its ok to do hiit the day after my leg day? I usually do sprinting but I am considering cycling as what you stated makes a lot of sense. Will hiit after my leg day cause muscle loss?

    • Yep, you can! It may be rough, but you can.

      • Shashi Ramkeesoon

        Thanks Mike! Also, just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the time and effort you put into these articles they have been so helpful and interesting. Rarely do I see others in the fitness industry using science and research to backup their claims.

  • Wilson

    Hey, what’s your take on prowler sprints for hiit, and how should one go about loading/sets for a 30 yard lane in a hiit workout if it’s a viable option?

    • They’re great! You just want to follow the HIIT time protocol of time at high intensity versus time at low intensity.

  • Terrie Lane Hilbun

    What is your opinion on the effectiveness of Les Mills BodyPump classes for building muscle?

  • callmeAl

    Hey Rocky, I’ve talked to loads of friends about HIIT and I think it’s a love or hate thing. Personally I love it – it’s the first time in my life I’ve actually looked forward to getting on the treadmill. I can’t wait for HIIT days! Seems like it’s an each to their own kinda thing!

  • callmeAl

    Hey Mike,
    I just wanted to comment here and say THANKS for making such an interesting and informative site! I’ve been muddling through a lot of these subjects by myself over the last year (and learning loads) and I’ve only just come across your site today by accident. Two hours later and I’m still very absorbed in it (sorry boss). I’ve made really good progress in a year but I wish I’d seen this earlier – it’s everything I’ve worked out (and more) and all in one place! It’s great, thank you 🙂

    • Happy to do it! Glad you found it and are enjoying it. 🙂 Better late than never!

      Awesome on the progress you’ve made the last year. Let’s do even better this year.

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

  • Dustin

    Hey Mike,

    I just recently started doing fasted resistance too during my cut (used to only do fasted cardio). When eating at 12, I still noticed that forge didn’t affect me as much by 5pm, so I might need to cut my meal time back to 11:30’ish. Does drinking green tea also boost insulin levels? Maybe this is the problem

    • Dustin

      also, I noticed in an article that you said you have a whey shake about 3 hours before your cardio. I thought it takes about 5 hours to be back in a fasted state?

      • Cool! Hmm. What are you eating at 12pm? It takes 3-6+ hours to be fasted depending on what you eat.

        Whey is a fast digesting protein. 3 hours is enough to be fasted.

        Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Caitlin

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve tried HIIT twice and I’m having some problems… I can only get through about 10-12 minutes of my 20 min workout before feeling burnt out and overheated and then I’m nauseous for the next hour afterward.

    The workouts I’ve tried are:

    1) after eating breakfast do high interval 30 sec, low interval 1 min on exercise bike

    2) fasted w/ slim+sexy stack pre workout, high interval 20 sec, low interval 1 min 10 sec on elliptical

    As you can see, I’ve tried slightly lowering intensity and increasing rest time, and I also drank water beforehand and during workout. But it still feels like my body can’t handle it. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hey Caitlin,

      That’s okay. Start with 10 to 12 minutes of HIIT and then follow it up with 15 minutes of walking.

      What do you think?

      • Caitlin

        okay I’ll give it a try. Thank you =]

  • Alexis Padillla

    What type of bike exercise is better stationary recumbent bike or upright exercise, or there is no diference?

  • Osaro Osemwota

    I’m 5 ft 9 and weigh 180lbs. Will HIIT help me get to my goal of 125lbs or should I do low intensity longer work outs

  • Chad Avalon

    Is P90 sweat exercises considered HIIT? I really like the variety and all-over-the-place-ness of these kinds of exercises, as opposed to sprinting and such. But, my goal is maximizing fat loss and minimizing lean mass loss so I wouldn’t do it if its too much, or not HIIT enough 😉

  • Imran

    What is the range of treadmill speed to use for HIIT spints?

    • It totally depends on the treadmill you’re using and your fitness level. You’ll have to see for yourself!

  • Issac Rivera Arias

    Hi mike, Im 14 and im about 5’8. I weigh about 130-136. Ive been working out doing an 8 minute abs workout everyday. The thing is i needed an exercise so i could lose bodyfat to uncover abs. My goal is to get abs and right now i wouldnt say im fat. Im not that skinny either, i have a tiny layer of fat on my lower abs. And i wanted to know if HIIT combined with my 8 minute abs workout could get me my goal? Any thoughts?

  • Andrew

    Hi Mike. I have a question about HIIT in regards to being in a deficit and neural recovery. I’ve been shying away from intervals because apparently it can hinder recovery and strength gains. Is this true?

  • Ron

    Hey Mike, I have been cutting and having a hard time doing my cardio while fasted in the AM, and then a fed weight training session after work due to time. I read on another article on MFL that doing HIIT after anaerobic exercise will increase muscle tissue breakdown, but what if I took forge after lifting, and before HIIT. Even though my body would be fed, wouldn’t my glycogen stores be low enough that Forge would be effective at helping burn fat and preserving that muscle tissue?

    I feel like I cannot be the only one who is curious about this.


    Edit: Correct typo

    • Good question Ron.

      If you took FORGE before you lift, you’d be fine for another 20 min or cardio or so. You’ll do fine.

  • Claudio Tonelli

    Michael do you know how much calories do you burn per minute doing hiit?

    • Not off the top of my head, no. I’m sure you can find a calculator online, though.

  • Megan H

    Hi Mike! I tried the hiit workout today on the stairmaster for 15 min after doing your shoulder workout from tls. I can already feel tightness in my legs and am worried it may effect my lifts for leg day in 2 days. Should I skip the stairmaster next time and opt for a different machine? Or do the stairmaster more days before my leg day, like 5 days? I don’t want to undermine my own success and strength building. Thanks!

    • Hey Megan! I understand your concern! Yeah, you can do a different form of HIIT that isn’t as hard on the legs or you can do it earlier in the week to give yourself more time before leg day. Whatever you prefer on that is fine.

      Also, to help with the soreness, check this out:


      Hope this helps! My pleasure. 🙂

  • Emily Jones

    Hey Mike! I’ve reallly been struggling to be happy about my body. I’ve done the 5 day a week lifting split with like 2 HIIT sessions a week but I’ve still remained the exact same weight. I am 5’4″ or 5’5″ and 140 pounds. I do not like how heavy I am, and would like to be around 125-130. Wether that means losing fat and muscle, I don’t care what I gotta do lol.

    Can you suggest a routine for me? Maybe I lifted too heavy, or my rep range was wrong? Someone told me to start doing circuit training instead and lift in the 15 rep zone. All your help is apprecaited 🙂


  • Elie Challita

    Hi Mike

    Do you have any HIIT programs that can be done in a small space, with minimal equipment?
    I mean using only a few dumbbells or kettlebells, TRX cables, and a pullup bar

  • Matt

    Hey quick question: I have little time in the morning to do both heavy compound lifting AND HIIT. Instead of running intervals, would you think the “Insanity” workout by BeachBody would suffice as HIIT, or only the 3 exercises here you mentioned? Or Perhaps would a split be better: 1 Day is heavy lifiting, 1 Day HIIT, and rotate?

    Thanks my friend, just found your site!

    • Hey Matt! Sure, you could do the Insanity workout for your HIIT. Just make sure you follow the protocol I lay out in this article on alternating between high and low intensities.

      Sure, 3 days a week of heavy lifting and 3 days of HIIT is a good place to start. Keep this in mind:


      My pleasure! Hope you’re enjoying it so far. 🙂

  • Gary

    Hey Mike,
    Started doing hiit a couple weeks ago,been many many years since Ive done cardio, 49 years old. I’m doing 30secs work :1:30 restis that a good ratio for beginners at this. Also not really sure about resistance level to use on recumbent bike. How much resistance is enough. I don’t want it to feel like I just did a squat workout do I. I have been using a resistance of 7 for the work and down to 1 for rest but legs feel like i’m in cement after lol.

    • Nice!

      How long and intense the high-intensity intervals are depend on your fitness level. I talk more about this here:


      I hear you, Gary, haha. Check out that article. LMK what you think.

      • Gary

        Mike I have read that one already lol. What level of resistance is what has got me a little confused. Should it feel like a hard leg workout, should my legs really be that done in or is it a matter of to much resistance

  • Yanes

    What about heart rate monitors? can they complement HIT? If yes which one do you recommend? I tried a chest band, but after 160bpm failed, the body movement was way to vigorous for the sensor to stay in unhindered contact with the skin. I’m thinking of the fitbit charge hd, but haven’t found any comment on this yet.
    Thanks 🙂

    • You can pick one up if you’d like, but there’s no need to track your heart rate for HIIT. As I say in the article, you just want to make sure you’re hitting your Vmax during your high-intensity intervals. As long as you do that, you’re doing it right.

      If you’re just looking to track random body stats for fun, the Fitbit is a good choice!

      Welcome! Talk soon.

      • Yanes

        I get it, but I guess I’m struggling determining the vmax point.
        I understand that this is when I’m “out of breath” and can’t keep up a conversation, however these are kinda broad indicators.

        I’m saying this because I can feel that I can’t get enough oxygen inside my lugs and hardly be able to keep up a conversation (just like in vmax) when I reach 160bpm, a tempo which I can keep on for few minutes (5-7′). However, I can reach even greater oxygen lack and stay there for 50-60” by reaching 180bpm. Still, I could get up to 190bpm, feeling like I’m almost at my collapse limit, may be able to keep it for 5-20” and not just unable to talk but even hardly able to think.

        If that means that by monitoring my heartbeat I can determine the intensity, then I could persuade my 1′ vmax point (180bpm at above example) without any ambiguity. For this though I would need an accurate monitor, which I haven’t found yet; I tried a chest strap but after 160bpm the readings were fluctuating because there was no constant contact between sensor and skin.

        I guess I will have to try the fitbit and see whether it can pass the test.
        I’ll let you know 🙂

        • Haha well I can’t fault you for not trying!

          Personally I get to the first phase of your description (around 160 to 170 BPM for you).

          • Yanes

            Haha! Thanks for understanding mike and wow, I wasn’t expecting that my performance is so high. I think though that this may be because I run indoors, on a trade mill; not sure why outdoors is harder to reach such rates, I guess it is down to the pavement’s hard surface, weather, obstacles and distractions or even the indoors’ filling of safety in case of outburning/fading or such.

          • Yeah that’s interesting. I find running outside harder personally.

  • Lance Ward

    Hey Mike!
    Just a Quick one!

    I have Lost about 28 pounds in 100 days while following your advice and have also made strength gains too!

    One thing I was wondering though was if you factored in your HIIT training into your calories?

    for example:- my TDEE at the moment is 3000 and i’m on a 25% Deficit So 2250.

    however…. I burn about 300-400 calories when doing my Fasted HIIT training

    on my HIIT days can I bump my calories back up to 2550-2650? or should I still aim for 2250?



    • Hey Lance! NP!

      Awesome job on the weight you’ve lost! That’s great.

      Yep, all hours of weightlifting and cardio are counted towards your hours of weekly activity when calculating your intake.

      You wouldn’t subtract the cals again as you do the cardio, they are accounted for in the initial calculation of your intake. which you can do right here:


      Hope this helps!

  • Matt

    Mike: Due to my schedule, I only have between the hours of 5:00 – 5:30 AM to do my workouts. I’ve been doing 12 minutes of fasted HIIT (3 minutes warmup, 4-6 intervals, 3 minutes cool down) then picking two heavy lifts that I can superset and getting a good 4 sets in before I leave.

    I’m at about 11-12% body fat currently, and I’ve been working on reducing it for a cruise I have coming up in the middle of June.

    In your honest opinion, with the little time I have, would you suggest I just decide to pick fasted HIIT for the mornings and only do a full heavy workout on the weekends when I can set aside more time for lifting?

    I’m also curious: In your opinion, how much more body fat can I realistically lose by June 18th (I’ve been lifting for many years, so I’m not new)?

    I’m also taking Phoenix, Yohimbine, Green Tea and Caffeine with my workouts, especially fasted HIIT in the morning.

    Thanks Mike!

    • Hey Matt! With the time you have available, instead of what you’re doing, I recommend you follow my 5-day split and just do the first 6 sets of each workout instead of the 9-12 sets and then do 2 HIIT sessions on the weekend.

      What do you think?

      Cool on your goal to get lean for the cruise. Let’s make it happen.

      Let’s do the 5-day split and see how you do. It’ll help maintain muscle while still burning a good amount of cals, and you can do the weightlifting fasted if you’d like to help accelerate the fat loss.

      You could lose 4-6 lbs of fat in that time!

      Awesome on all the supps you’re taking.

      My pleasure! LMK what you think! Talk soon.

  • Amir

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a bit confused. I thought that for anaerobic exercise (weight lifting or HIIT), the body needs sugar. In your case you do weightlifting without eating before and in addition your lunch is light in such a way that you’re sugar level is low when you hit HIIT so I don’t get how/why it is possible to train that way ? From what I understood anaerobic can not get its energy by ”converting” fat or amino acid (muscles) because it’s too hit intensity. Is that right ?

    thanks a lot ! 🙂

  • John p

    Hi mike,

    I’m having trouble knowing what my heart rate should be when doing hiit. I’m 36 and generally do sprinting or bike for my cardio. Could you let me know roughly what my heart rate should be on the low interval and high interval when doing hiit.

    Love your articles they are a great help!!



    • Hey John! It’s not about heart rate! It’s about reaching your vmax during the high intensity intervals. At what heart rate you reach that will vary person to person.

      The low intensity intervals should be active recovery where you continue the form of cardio you’re doing, but you’re taking it easy. If you’re doing sprints for HIIT, the low intensities would be done walking or jogging lightly.

      Thanks! Happy to hear that. 🙂

      Hope this helps! Welcome. Talk soon.

  • jcgadfly

    I have a hard time with HIIT because my “high intensity” doesn’t necessarily match the stock definition that I’ve seen you and others use. Is it relative to the user or is there an objective metric?

    • Well, if we could measure it, it’s your VO2max. That part is objective. Subjectively, you should feel like you’re giving it all you’ve got. Nothing held back.

  • Reinhold Brezovszky

    Hi Mike!

    Actually I think I understand the concept of HIIT. But there’s one thing that just don’t get into my mind – and that’s energy balance.

    In short my background. I’m 48 now, I’ve been riding roadbike for some years and started with compound lifting about 9 months ago. I’m still on the bike (mainly ergo at home at about 75 % of anaerobic threshold) but reduced it. Currently I’m cutting, and it started off well.

    Back to energy balance: When doing 75 minutes of my usual exercises I burn about 800 kCal. When going for HIIT I would burn about 320 kCal. I have an idea of how much to eat, when doing ET (when cutting I try to eat about 400 kCal less than needed, plus 50 % of calories burned in ET).

    What would be useful figures when doing HIIT? If I got you right, a HIIT calorie isn’t the same as an ET calorie. I guess I’d go with the 400 kCals anyway. But how do HIIT calories come in?

    • Hey hey! Thanks for all the info!

      A calorie is a calorie, and you’ll burn more cals per unit of time with HIIT than you will with steady state cardio.

      Glad the cutting has been going well!

      Rather than calculating the amount of cals burned with different activities, I recommend you just determine your intake using my calculator and adjust intake based off results:


      Hope this helps! LMK what you think.

      • Reinhold Brezovszky

        Thanks for your fast reply (and your books that I aprreciate very much – they are maybe the best I’ve read on health so far).

        When I said a HIIT calorie is more than an ET calorie, I knew that a calorie is a calorie – but the increase in BMR following the HIIT means you actually burn more calories than the simple math energy=power*time would suggest (while in ET this math is pretty correct as BMR stays at its level).

        I think I’ll stick to my current trainings regime for my current cutting period, but I’ll go for some HIIT in the next bulking period (I did HIIT anyway in the past to improve bike performance). I’ll have to make my mind up, if the long rides outside are something I want to do in the future as well – if so I’ll have to stick to ET (otherwise you cannot sit on a bike for 4 hours and more).

        The big advantage of HIIT is that it is very time efficient – and thus helps to stick to a trainingsplan. So chances are good I’ll kick the long rides out and have time for other nice things.

  • sakib800

    Hey mike what do you feel about the “fat burning zone” Some people say the quickest way to burn fat is to do cardio around 60-80% of your heart rate the first thing in the morning (so you are in a fasted state).

    They say doing this makes your body pull from fat stores instead of other forms of energy.

    What do you think is the quickest way?? please i want your answer!

  • Daniel Beaverbrook

    Hey Mike, great article, as always!

    I’ve read on a couple of websites that HIIT can be even more effective when combined with steady cardio. For instance, 20 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady cardio is more effective than 40 min of HIIT, because HIIT mobilizes fat from from fat stores first and the following steady state cardio ensures that the released triglycerides that are floating around the bloodstream are burned, instead of potentially returning where it came from.

    What do you think about this?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Thanks!

      I’ve read the same but at the moment it’s just an untested theory.

  • alejandro martinez

    Hi all, I found a very useful application for TABATA and HIIT exercises. The app name is TABATA Timer HIIT. You can set the times for each interval and set the music you want to hear while doing the exercise. I recommend it. You can download it at:


  • Mark Eddington

    What is a good HIIT routine for a big guy?

    • Hey Mark,

      Tabata workouts are pretty brutal, sprints (running), row machine, recumbent bike are all great options.

      If your knees and/or ankles are having trouble with the high-impact of running, then the other options would be better suited for ya.

  • shootinkdive

    Hi Mike! I just ordered TLS and The One Year Challenge but it’s gonna take like a month to arrive and i want to make sure i am doing it right in the meantime!

    Female, 108pounds, 5ft 3, 26% BF (not that accurate 🙁 but pretty much here i think)

    1) I have started HIIT and so far done 2 sessions (swimming!). 5 mins warm up light swim, swim my lungs out for 25metres (about 20 seconds) and rest (just moving my feet in the water, not swimming) for about 45 seconds.. repeat for 20minutes and then 5 mins cool down light swim. This is the best i can do now! Does this interval work?!?! Do i rest too long?! Do i swim too little (only 20secs)!?!

    It’s really tiring and it might seem scary to other swimmers in the pool (swimming like crazy), so if it doesn’t work i need to think of something else to do HIIT with.. Please advise!

    2) I have started some dumbell workouts (arms) and i can see the muscles now! However there is still a lot of fat on my arms, will the fat go away with more training??! Now i look like i have fat big arms and it gets me kinda worried.

    Thanks Mike, i really enjoy your articles and youtube videos! I’m really sorry i have so many questions..

    • That’s great you picked up both books! Can’t wait for you to get started.

      1. Swimming is great. Work on increasing your sprint time as you continue training.

      2. Awesome! To cut fat, you need to be on a calorie deficit–eat fewer calories than you burn. I remember giving you a recommendation for your macros in another blog comment. Stick to that and you will start making better progress.

      YW! Glad you enjoy my stuff. No problem at all. Happy to help 🙂

      • shootinkdive

        Thanks for the reply!! Yes i am looking closely on my calorie intake and make sure i get my macros right (well as close as possible!!)
        I hope i won’t trouble you too much again, and when i actually see more progress i will update you! 😀 can’t wait for the books! Thanks again and have a nice day!!

        • NP. Not a bother! Feel free to email me if you have questions about the book.

  • Alex M

    Hey Mike, what’s your take on this article? http://stronglifts.com/hiit-interval-training-fat-loss/

    My understanding is that if you’re not feeling completely “dead” after a HIIT workout, you’re not doing it right. While on a cut, especially if I’m training fasted, I feel like I may not be pushing myself hard enough, or if I am, I can’t last more than 15 minutes. In that case is it better to do LISS? Or is 15 mins of HIIT or 20+ mins of maybe 90% of HIIT level intensity still better?

    Also, you mention your favorite method is the recumbent bike. I’ve read it’s not such a great exercise machine because all of your weight is being supported by the chair. Is that bad? I also find that when I try using the recumbent bike I bounce around a lot and have to lean forward in order to really sprint properly. Do you have a similar problem?

    • It’s true that what many people think is true HIIT isn’t but it isn’t necessarily true that you need to feel completely dead after a proper HIIT workout. That depends on your conditioning and what you’re doing.

      (For example, for me, run sprints are much more exhausting than bike sprints.)

      I personally can go about 25 to 30 minutes of HIIT on the bike before my body has had enough, haha.

      I’ve come to like the upright bike more now, actually. The recumbent in my condo gym was just more comfortable, but now I have a better bike to use.

  • Lucia

    Hey Mike!

    I’d like to ask you.. what are your thoughts on longer intervals? 1:1 or 1:2 (1 minute high intensity, as fast as I can, and 2 minutes moderate intensity)? Could they work as good to boost the metabolism and burn more fat and calories with the “after burn effect”? I’m cutting at the moment 🙂

  • John B

    Mike, is it better to do HIIT on a separate day from weights or later the same day. I live very near my gym which is 24/7 so could have two visits a day.

    • That’s really convenient! Either one works, as long as on the days you decide to double up, you finish your weight training first before doing HIIT cardio hours later.

  • Rob Taylor

    Hi Mike,
    one Hiit work out I hear is to 7-10 30 second full force sprint. The problem is after rest periods this only comes out to about 8-10 minutes of Hiit cardio. It seems you suggest closer to 20 minutes. Is 7-10 30 second sprints sufficient for a beginner.

    • Starting out, sure! It’s better than nothing. But, I strongly recommend that you put in your maximum effort and shoot for that 20min.

      • Rob Taylor

        how much should I rest between each sprint starting out and what should. I try and get to. Do i rest 90 seconds and try to work my way up to a 30 second sprint and 30 second rest.

  • Amine Laifi

    Hello Mike! I have a question concerning the amount of resistance. The Cycles have different levels of resistance, but how do I choose one? Or do I choose no resistance and focus only on the intervals? Do I have to increase the resistance over time? (and re-working the intervals w/ the new resistance level?)

    • Hey Amine! You can do a combination of both–so long as you’re giving it your 110% when sprinting and increasing the total duration of your sprints in your HIIT session.

  • Jeremy Ethier

    Great article Mike! I love how you always back up claims with relevant studies. I’ve used some of the points you made in this article for my blog, http://www.HIITyourbody.com


  • Rodolfo Ferreira

    Hi Mike. I’ve been doing HIT for a while and have been seeing some great results with my body fat reduction. Besides, I’ve been doing the 3-day-workout-split. I’m deciding to swift to the 5-day-program, considering that I really enjoy lifting, waking up early and that’d be a great way to start the day. So I’ve been thinking about weightlifting from Mondays to Fridays and doing HIT sprints on the weekends for 30 minutes, on Saturdays and Sundays. I particularly enjoy doing something outdoors, outside of gym and there is a place around here to do it. You’ve said in the beginning of the article that sprinting is very hard on the legs. So what would you suggest to me about spacing the body parts worked on weekdays, so as to not affect squatting and dead-lifting? I was also thinking that, instead of sprinting on weekends, I could stick to biking as I’m used to doing after lifting with the 5-day-program, with 20-minute-sessions from Mondays to Fridays, in order to optimize the time spent at the gym, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it separately, which is better, as I would on Saturdays and Sundays…

    • Weekend or weekday sprints and cycling are fine as long as you get the HIIT in. Initially, you might feel some soreness and it could potentially impact your lower body days, but you’ll soon adapt to it. Many of our coaching clients implement HIIT without issue.

  • AmyL

    What do you think about the maxi climber for a HIIT workout?

  • AmyL

    Would it be as effective to do 6-20min HIIT sessions/week?

    • Sure! That’s roughly the equivalent of 5 25min sessions.

  • Imran

    For purposes of sprinting HIIT, what treadmill speed should I use? And also, if I read correctly it sounds like a 1:1 ratio of being on/off the treadmill would be ideal. With that being said, what is the ideal interval time, like 30 seconds on/off, 60 seconds on/off, or something else?

    • Use the fastest speed you can for an all-out sprint. Starting with 30s on, 1min off is great. If you can do that, start increasing the sprint duration and speed.

  • Hi Mike, Roger T, and all. Looking to change things up in my HIIT routine. My HIIT of choice is running outside, but winter is hitting and right now the weather is hit or miss, and sometimes I’m forced to do the butt-breaking stationary bikes in the gym. Anyway, what do you think of doing a split of burpees and box jumping for my HIIT bursts: one burst of burpees, moderately paced walk for my “rest,” then one burst of box jumping, walk again, etc.? Looking to shake things up by doing a different HIIT routine every so often, or alternating between two or among three different plans.

  • Miz Eloise

    hello ty o much to you and this site. ive been lifting for quite some time now but im not an expert if anything im skinny fat cause i never had any idea what ive been doing. id jist download those exercise vids and follow.

    all this time ive been so intimidated by cardio. i can lift decently but cardio intimidates me. ty so much to u. i ve done my first hiit cardio today without any group classes or exercise vids. i survived! i just followed your recommendation.i like your style because you simplify things and no nonsense. even on diets you give no fancy schmancy advice.

    is hiit on elliptical acceptable? i do 40s work 80s rest 10 rounds (10 incline 6 resistance if that
    makes sense)

    • You’re welcome! That’s great you started HIIT cardio today. Well done 🙂 The elliptical is acceptable. Go hard, go fast. The key is speed and intensity.

  • Miz Eloise

    uh oh fuck did i do it right? 40sec intense work 80sec rest 10 rounds. my question is your recommendation of 20 mins duration does that include rest periods or jist the work itself?

    if i work up to 20mins accumulated intense work (40s each sprint) my total cardio for one session will be 40 mins!i thought youre supposed to keep it short and sweet?

    • 25min of cardio is the total length of the session. During that session, you want as much sprint time as possible. So, you can work on increasing your sprint duration and decreasing your rest.

  • Ozilophile

    Hi, thanks for the article. What about HIIT training that involves lifting light weights/resistance bands? Could these be “harming” the period of rest between our weight lifting workouts? Should we only limit ourselves to body weight training?

  • Sy Gilinski

    Hi Mike,

    Where do you stand on doing tabata sessions an hour or so after weights? I’ve always found, irrespective of how heavy I go, that I have some more energy left in the tank after a short rest. In isolation, I have found that 2 bursts of Tabata have always torched my fat in a way that no other Cardio has been able to do.

    Would appreciate your thoughts

  • Hi Mike,

    thank you for this articel! I learned a lot of new things and got also new inspiration 🙂

    • Hey Lukas! Glad you enjoyed the article and got a lot out of it!

  • High-Intensity Interval Training Is not best only way For Weight Loss. a lots of good way for weight losss such home workouts by best recumbent exercise bikes

  • sakib800

    Hey Mike for the upright bike I dont think I ever reached my Tmax. The only thing that forces me to stop are the burn in my legs. I felt that I had moderately high heart rate and moderately high breathing, but nothing too serious.

    But for the treadmill I tried running on 11 incline and 11 mph and i literally did 10 seconds on and 10 seconds off, and after a few off those my heart started pounding and hurting and i was sucking in my breath like I have asthma. So it that my Tmax?

    For some reason I cannot do HIIT on the bike properly, even if I give my all out, the burn in my legs forces me to stop, my heart rate or ‘hard breathing’ isnt exactly an issue.

  • Luka


    Great Article!

    I have two questions. I’m on surplus and approx 10%BF. Im thinking about getting rid off the stubborn bf about my lower belly and hips.

    Q: does it gonna work while i am on bulking?

    Q2: while doing HIIT I will burn additional energy so shall I add this up to to my calories ? – I am bulking so I want to still be gaining weight /muscles .

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Luka,

      If you’re looking to get rid of stubborn fat, you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit (20-25%). You can certainly do HIIT during a bulk as long as you take it into account when setting your calorie target–but you won’t be burning the stubborn fat since you are in a surplus.

      Hope that clears it up.

      • Luka

        Hi Mike!

        Thanks for the answer it made it clear now for bulking protocol!

        Considering that I will be cutting in few weeks when I hit 15% BF and I do want to get my cut better than last time so I wanna do HIIT for sure this time instead walking or just kcal deficit.

        Do you recommend to do HIIT from day one or when I reach to 10%BF and wanna drop lower?

        also I do understand that HIIT burned kcal so I would have to add them back to my kcal from food, correct? – I just consider HIIT another (perhaps better) way of burning fat with special effect of targeting this stubborn fat.

        Bigger Leaner Stronger is great. I wish I could get some supplements from you if you can ship to Europe.


        • I recommend starting HIIT at day one and hitting it hard. No reason to drag out the cut, right?

          No need to “add back” calories. TDEE already factors in all your exercise.

          Glad you’re enjoying BLS! Legion does ship to Europe 🙂

          • Casper Wermuth

            I got so happy reading this. Immediately went to the store – and I still cant ship to Germany 😀
            Which countries in EU do you ship to?
            Will you expand in the near future?

          • Hey Casper! I just went on Legion and saw that Germany is indeed on the drop-down menu to select your country. Did you select it?

  • Andrea

    obviously if you do 4 days of HIIT a week, you will do some days back to back right, is that safe/ injury wise?? also I found my Vmax to be 3 minutes, so if I do 45 secs of intense and 45 sec light, that’s a lot of intervals in 25 minutes, does that sound right?

  • Adam

    Mike, what do you mean when you say “2 servings Forge”, and why 2 servings? I am ~130 lbs so I typically take 5 pills for a serving for Forge. Would you (in this case) take 10 pills, 2x/day? That seems crazy!

    • Each serving size is 4 caps. So in your case, you’re taking 1.25 servings. I weigh more than you, so I require 2 servings.

  • Alexis

    I just read your book thinner leaner stronger. Fortunately i have a home gym set up for weight training. However, do you have any at home HIIT workouts that you would reccomend? It’s hard to sprint in the snow, and i dont have a bike or rowing machine.

  • Adam

    Question — you say you take 1 scoop of PULSE before each of your training sessions. The serving size on the package is 2 scoops. If on a given day I only work out once, do I still take only 1 scoop per your pre-workout instructions, or do I take 2 scoops per the container’s instructions?

    • 2 full scoops can be too much for a lot of people. Best to test one’s tolerance by taking 1 scoop first, then adjusting as needed.

      • Adam

        Roger, that makes sense, but I’m still confused. I guess, maybe you can answer this question: assuming my body tolerates 2 scoops, I assume if I only work out 1x in a day, I take 2 scoops beforehand.

        However, if I can tolerate 2 scoops, but I am going to work out twice in a day, do I take 2 scoops before the first workout and then 2 MORE scoops before the 2nd (total of 4 in the day)? Or do I take 1 scoop before the first workout and 1 more before the 2nd (total of 4 in the day)?


  • Hi guys, which would you say is better: two 20-minute sessions of HIIT or one 30-minute session (or a 2:1 ratio of 20:30 minutes, whatever your cardio schedule is), in terms of weight loss vs. muscle preservation?

    I do usually 35 seconds of burpees as a high-intensity interval and then 85 seconds of brisk walking as a low-intensity interval, with a 2-minute jog as both a warmup and cooldown, if that matters.

  • Rich Wainwright

    hi Mike, I’ve been using HiiT for fat loss. I’m now in training to cycle the length of England and Scotland (from Lands End to John O’Groats).

    I’ve 6 months to train up to be able to do 969 miles (1,559km) over 9 days – that’s averaging 108 miles (174km) per day.

    With access to weights at the gym, a spinning bike and a road bike, what would you recommend for my training?

    Many many thanks in advance, cheers, Rich

    • Leg exercises like squats, lunges, etc in the BLS program can help produce more power. Endurance will be trained on the bike, though.

  • Greg Holden

    Hi Mike, following BLS for a month now and making gains. Two quick questions one on HIIT, the other on weightlifting form.

    First aslong as you dont exceed the two hours weekly of HIIT cardio should you be able to do all 4 ,say 30 minute session, on consecuctive days without over training?

    Second I know with the big four exercises (squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press) form should be kept strict. However with isolation exercises, say front raise,
    If you can get ten good reps (easily with perfect form) with a pair of 5 kg dumbells (we work in metric in UK) but your form seems to slip a bit after 4 reps with a pair of 7.5 kg dumbells after and your working in the 6-8 rep range, when do you make the call between getting the reps and strict form? As I know the key to your proggame is lower rep ranges but proggresive overload

    Thanks for the help Greg

    • Hey Greg,

      Awesome you’re making gains on BLS!

      1. You can push it to 5 half hour HIIT sessions.

      2. Tough to say without seeing it, but you have ever-so-slight wiggle room. Definitely keep to strict form as much as possible. If you can’t get it even close to parallel to the ground on front raises, then the weight is too heavy. If you’rs struggling on the last 1-2 reps, that’s pretty normal.

      • Greg Holden

        Hi Rodger

        1.Withh regards to the HIIT you can max the weekly volume 2.5 hours a week? So you can do 30 mins (not including warm up or cool down) monday through to friday? And if even if I was to do 1 minute, 1 minute of rest during the intervals I shouldnt run in to over training?

        2.thanks for the form advice I will remember the point on the front raise.

        • Yup! You’ll be fine as long as you’re deloading every 6-8 weeks.

          • Greg Holden

            Thats great Rodger thanks for the help. While were on the subject of HIIT can I just ask one final question, well I will haha. I only about 150 pounds During my HIIT intervals my heart rate is getting to between 170 and 180 bpm (85% to 90%) ussually about 176-178 by the intervals end. My average heart for the whole workout is about 161-164. I spend half the work out going all out and the other half peddaling slowly
            ( I do it on a spin bike). The heart rate monitor says I burn between 430-470 calories per session ( varys from session) for full 30 minutes (not including warm and cool down). Does this sound like an over estimation? You might not know but I thought you might haha. I only ask as I am numbers guy and I very meticoulous about macros?

          • No problem! As long as you’re giving those sprints all you’ve got, and doing those intervals, you’re all set! Wouldn’t put too much stock in the heart rate monitor cals, though.

          • Greg Holden

            Yeah during every sprint I feel sick and like dont know if I am going to be able to finish it, then when I do finish it I dont feel like I have enough energy to do another hahaha. Thank for the help Rodger you have been awesome.

          • Tough to say. It’ll vary person to person based of lean mass, genetics, intensity, etc. Maybe 200 cals?

          • Greg Holden

            ahhh okay, thanks for that, your right people do overestimate how many calories they burn in excercise. Thanks for all the help guy you have cleared quite a few things up for me.

          • NP!

  • Bob Dole

    Hey Mike,
    I’ve recently started following the BLS 5 week workout routine and also recently read your Cardio Sucks, and I want to start adding HIIT cardio at least 4-5 times a week since I’m trying to get in shape little faster for a wedding in a few months. Little bit of background, I have my own home gym with all the weights and stuff that I need to do all of the weight training, but I don’t have anything in terms of cardio and I’m stuck with the home gym since I live about 45 minutes away from the nearest gym since I live in a very rural area.
    Anyways, 2 questions here.

    1. I’m still pretty out of shape, especially when it comes to doing cardio. As of this morning’s workout, I can barely manage 30 second sprints and 4 minute breaks. Should I continue doing that or change? If so what changes do you recommend. I have a bike I can ride, but no rowing machine, boxing bags, etc, so not really sure what else to try.

    2. When I get better at the HIIT cardio, I want to do more fasted training. Currently I’m doing my weight training fasted, but if I wanted to do both the cardio and weight training fasted, is there a way to do that? I can’t seem to figure out if it’s possible or not.

    Thanks for your time, and a huge thank you for all the work you’ve been doing on these articles! I try and keep up with them and they’re very helpful!

    • Hey Bob, that’s great you have a home gym and are ready to implement HIIT cardio!

      1. Keep at it. Your conditioning will improve! No need for equipment, really. You can do sprints in your neighborhood, in a park, etc.

      2. Totally. Take BCAAs, Leucine, or HMB beforehand. You can even finish off your fasted weight training sessions with the HIIT cardio.

      YW! Glad to hear you’re getting a lot from my content!

  • Wizer

    Hi Mike,
    Can you please explain what exactly do you mean by high intensity workouts? I am little bit confused here.I used to play squash a lot and participate in Toronto city league. From a squash perspective doing HIIT is doing court sprints as fast as you can for 30 to 60 seconds to reach 100 percent max heart rate . Then you rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat for 8 to 10 sets. So if do this kind of HIIT on a leg day or a deadlift day my legs would fall into pieces! They heave squats and deadlifts they beat up your body into smithereens. Also when i was a squash player i had to build my aerobic fitness through cardio in order to the do the HIIT, otherwise there is no way you can do HIIT without an aerobic base. In fact all modern athletes do little cardio so they can do HIIT. But in the weight lifting world cardio is a determinant to losing fat and gaining muscle. So can you please let me know what kind of heart rate levels do these HIIT workouts should be exercised at? Cheers. By the way i have followed you program and i am at 9% body fat. Thank you so much for publishing all this info. I would like to add HIIT twice a week in to my routine.

    • Hey there! What you described as court sprints is pretty much what we call HIIT cardio. And you’re right…it’s brutal on leg days. You can keep leg day clear of HIIT cardio and do it on other days if you wish.

      Twice a week is a great start. If you’re cutting, you’ll want to reach 3-4 times a week.

  • JC

    Hey Mike I was wondering if I was doing HIIT correctly. I recently got an Assault Bike and have been using it for HIIT cardio by doing 15 seconds on as hard and fast and I can and 90 seconds of rest where I am just stopped and catching my breath before the next round. Usually rounds 1-4 I can keep the high intensity for the 15 seconds but in the later rounds of 5-8 I usually can only go high intensity for 10 seconds or so before my legs give out and I can’t go that hard or fast anymore. I usually do 8 rounds of the intervals. I was wondering if I am doing too short of a high intensity interval and if I am doing it right because a lot of articles say you are supposed to do 30 seconds of high intensity but for sure I cannot maintain that intensity for longer than 15 seconds in the last rounds. Also, am I doing enough rounds? Usually after 8 rounds I feel very very winded and my heart rate is through the roof. Sometimes I feel like puking also so I cut it down to 6 rounds. Thanks!

    • Nice work, JC. The endurance will improve over time. Keep pushing for +5 seconds for your “rounds”! Naturally, as the session progresses, things get harder and harder. Just keep at it! if 15min per session is all you can muster, no problem. Keep pushing for more every session–just as you would push for more when lifting weights.

  • Vishruth

    Hi Mike,

    I’m 40 years old and started HIIT about a week back. I wear an Apple Watch when I do HIIT. I’m sprinting at on the treadmill at 15 for 1 min with 2 mins walk at 6. When I’m on the sprint, the heart rate registered on my watch shows anywhere between 168 to 172 BPM. Is that ok or do you recommend that I slow down the speed at bit?

    • Sounds like a good start. Give it all you’ve got!

  • Shijo Joseph

    Hi Mike…. Thanks for the great info about HIIT! I am doing this for the past 1 month and my routine is 45 seconds fast running – – 12 kms speed / 90 seconds rest X 8 cycles. I do some abdominal execises and some weight training — arms and chest only. Doing HIIT every other days… IS that okay to do this minor weight training after HIIT? Please advise. Thanks

  • Will Kirkgard

    Hey y’all, quick question with my routine here:

    I am following the BLS book/program and was following the 4 day split. But as of recent, I am fairly pressed for time, so I follow the 3 day split. While I was doing the 4 day split, I wasn’t doing any cardio and maintaining (really losing fat and gaining muscle though lol); but now with the 3 day split I have been starting a cut, so I am doing HIIT right after the weight lifting sessions. I know this is not exactly recommended, but do you think this can work? Typically working out afternoons on Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

    I am fairly exhausted after I get off the bike for 15 minutes of 1:1 HIIT.

    Appreciate the input, and I love the progress that has come so far.

    • Hey Will, that’s great you’ve been on the program and making progress. There’s no problem with a 3-day split and cardio right after your weights session. Keep up the good work!

  • Agnes

    Is a 25 minute kickboxing routine (2-3x a week) and 30 minute uphill and downhill biking (1-2x a week) good for HIIT? Both of them are intense for me, I don’t even reach the 10 minute mark and I’m already sweating and there’s no way I can carry a conversation either.

    Apart from those I do weightlifting 4 times a week and 2 shorter ab focused routines after 2 of the kickboxing sessions.

    Thank you for the reply!

    • Sounds good! Increase the duration and number of sessions as needed.

  • Greg Holden

    Hi Mike and Rodger, Few quick questions about HIIT, firstly is there more than one way to do it. I have scene other respected people in the industry like Layne Norton and Paul Revelia, Site that the sprint Intervals should be 15 to 20 seconds long because you cant go “all out” for any longer than that. This confuses me as you say shorter intervals were not as effective in trained cyclists. Just want some clarification here on which is the best way. Secondly after a bulk were you haven’t been doing HIIT do you find you cant sprint for as long due to a decline in anaerobic conditioning? as such is it okay to increase rest or decrease sprint intervals by say 15 seconds,

    • HIIT is a bit of a controversy because it takes different intervals for people to hit the intensity they need to benefit from it. It makes perfect sense to lose some of your condition during a bulk when you are not doing HIIT frequently, so the methods you described for easing back into it are acceptable.

      • Greg Holden

        Thanks for the clarification Mike!

  • Perla Khairallah

    Hello I’m a girl in my 20s I do HIIT training , weight lifting, swimming and proper dieting and I do take supplements. I have an athletic body but I still need to shed more fat for the muscles to appear on the surface and lose some of the water my body holds. I want to lose weight for a competition but it’s so hard with my fitness routine and am stuck on the scale I don’t know exactly wit to do and I don’t want to lose muscle mass and stop weight training… If you could help I’d be thankfull

  • Eric Neuls

    Just ordered your book on Amazon! can’t wait to read up! Just started getting back into workouts again doing metabolic workouts about 45 mins a day!

  • Jan Sandoval

    Hi Mike! Just got BLS. I have a question. Is it okay to do HIIT first thing in the morning on weekends if I’m following the BLS 4 day split and I’m currently bulking? You think it can work? Thanks a lot man

    • Sure. Work in the HIIT whenever works best for you. I like to have one day of total rest each week.

  • Jan Sandoval

    Alright man, keep doing your thing!

    • Thanks for the support! Let me know if you need any more help.

  • Hey Greg, do you mean doing HIIT earlier in the day and lifting later? That’s completely fine. You don’t need to adjust your diet for that.

    Doing HIIT directly before lifting isn’t ideal since it will tire you out a bit, but it wont ruin your gains. Just switch the order around if you can.

  • Jan Sandoval

    Yeah, I got a doubt about the sweet potato pancakes. How big are they? Do they take all of the batter? I made 7 using almost all of the batter but they were medium-sized. But the serving says 2 and I don’t think 2 of my medium size pancakes contain all of the protein and carbs.

    • Hmm, what pancakes are you referring to? I would calculate the macros of the whole batch of batter, then divide the total by the number of pancakes you make. That will give you the macros of each pancake, assuming they’re evenly sized, of course.

      • Jan Sandoval

        The shredded chef pancakes

  • Greg Holden

    Hey Mike and Rodger, quick question, listening to old podcast a few days ago, did Jeremy say he uses Under Armour underwear to avoid saddle soreness and chaffing when doing Upright bike HIIT? Just asking as I am currently suffering from the same affliction. It hurts more than the workout. If He uses them, does it work? Or ,perhaps you have some recommendations? thanks

    • Hey Greg, yeah Jeremy uses Underarmour for HIIT. The compression definitely helps.

      You should be tired and breathing heavily, but chest pain isn’t normal. Maybe you’re overdoing it? Any other medical issues, like asthma?

      • Greg Holden

        thanks on the Underarmour advice, Will order some. I used to have asthma but it hasn’t bothered me for fifteen years, I’ll try and take it easier on the HIIT. Wasn’t sure if chest tightness was to be expected high heart rate and labored breathing of an interval workout (just meant you working hard). If it persists will go and see a doctor. thanks,
        great advice and service as always

        • No problem. Keep me update don your progress 🙂

          • Greg Holden

            Hi Mike, thought I would keep you updated as you asked started on Inhalers before HIIT, chest feels more or less when doing cardio. BLS , 5 Day split plus HIIT and proper diet, is rapidly transforming physique. Its incredible. 🙂

          • Great to hear it’s going well, Greg! Keep it up 🙂

  • Nicolinux

    Mike, can you explain how in the world research shows that Yohimbine (in Forge) has anything to do with reducing fat? Your “research” link does not mention anything related at all!

    With these statements you ruin your otherwise interesting article. How am I supposed to trust what you say if some statements are backed by thin air?

    • Hey there, have you checked out the page on Forge? I go over the research thoroughly and explain how yohimbine works. https://legionathletics.com/products/supplements/forge/

      This article goes into even more depth: https://legionathletics.com/yohimbine/

      Basically, fat cells have alpha and beta receptors. When catecholamines bind to alpha receptors, the fat won’t mobilize for oxidation. Yohimbine blocks the activity of alpha receptors, which enables your body to reduce fat stores faster. This is especially useful as you get leaner and are dealing with stubborn fat.

      That particular study you linked examines the alpha antagonist (inactivator) actions of yohimbine.

      Here’s one study in particular showing that yohimbine works for fat loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17214405”

  • Jamel B.

    Hi Mike – I start work at 7am so I don’t have time to lift in the am, I am planning on doing my HIIT training at 6am then lift around 3.30pm? would that work or is it better to do this the other way around? Thanks!

    • Hey Jamel, that’s totally fine if it works for you.

  • Ryan

    Hey Mike, I’m in a bulking phase (doing BLS) and also enjoy playing 5-a-side soccer for 60 minutes, once a week. I want to improve my soccer performance but also continue to build strength/ muscle. If I do 2 x 30 minutes of HIIT per week plus 4 hours strength training per week, will that be sufficient to improve soccer performance and gain muscle/ strength? Thanks.

  • Jamel B.

    Hi Mike
    I started Hiit training on a recumbent bike this week, I do it in a fasted state (4 pills of forge, 5 of Phoenix and 1 scoop of Pulse 15min before).
    I started doing 2/3min warm up then 1min as fast as I can, 1min rest for 24min on level 1. My question is: do you think it is better to increase the level of difficulty (from 1 to 15 for example) or is it just as efficient to remain on level 1 and just increase speed till near breathless ness ?

    • Hey Jamel, good question! You want enough resistance to pedal against, but not so much that it becomes a resistance training exercise. In other words, you should adjust the resistance, but the main difference between recovery and sprinting should be your speed. I hope this helps!

      • Jamel B.

        Thanks Mike, it is helpful. I alternated between level 1, 8 and level 15 for sprinting and just level 1 for the resting period this morning, but felt 15 was a bit too much, will stick on 1 to 8 60 seconds each and see what happens. Thanks again.

  • Nicolette Moore

    Reading your daily workout regimen, I’m wondering how this can actually work. It seems your weight lifting each day is in a fasted state, so you don’t consume breakfast?

    Also, your lunch being so light, and dinner appearing to be light as well, I’m wondering how you get the calorie intake you need to sustain the heavy workouts you do daily.

    A nutritionist at my gym who looks about as cut as you, and does competitions, says he eats upwards of 3,00-4,000 calories/day. How many calories are you able to consume eating like this each day? How can this work for a lady?

    I’m having a hard time eating over 1,000 calories/day, and know I really need to work on that, but not sure how to increase caloric intake if I were to switch to a schedule like what you listed above. I’m not even sure how many calories I should have as a goal to consume each day!

    • Hey Nicolette, people’s calorie needs will vary depending on their activity levels, body fat percentage, muscle mass, etc. This article can give you place to start: https://legionathletics.com/how-many-calories-should-i-eat/

      Most people will do fasted training in the morning before they eat breakfast, as that’s the most convenient time for them to get it done. You’re correct – I don’t eat until after I train if I’m cutting and doing a fasted workout.

      This article is geared towards people not able to eat enough to gain weight, but the tips can work for you if you’re having trouble eating enough calories and need to eat more: https://www.muscleforlife.com/food-to-gain-weight/

      I hope this helps!

  • Iliana Cruz

    Can anyone help me im in south fl and no one knows. Been doing MMA for years stayed lean but flab. Started doing HITT 3 days a week gained weight but bit of muscle. Increased days of HITT scale going up and stomach looking like a balloon. Changed hit studios doing one hour of hit and 30 minutes of boxing or Muay Thai sometimes 2 hit sessions and getting bit leaner but I started lifting heavy again 2 weeks ago and inches went up waist and torso with 3lbs on scale I am going to pull my hair out. Macros are 130-145/40 fat.30-40 carbs I am good on dieting. No sugars. One cheat meal every 2 weeks. I love and am addicted to high intensity but its doing a reverse on me looking like Muay Thai or boxing leans me out but no muscle so what do I do. I increased exercise time longer and body will not shock I am hypothyroid but with MMA at least my stomach looks flatter and I look smaller. Ty

    • Hey Iliana, it’s not unusual to store more water, glycogen, etc. when you start lifting heavy. This will mask any fat loss if you only look at the scale to judge your progress. I recommend checking these articles out:


      I hope this helps!

      • Iliana Cruz

        Ty Mike will read them but I measure and the measurements around torso are up. Do you recommend for me to stay lifting heavy here and there or light because I am 5’1 so not sure. I appreciate it as about to just do yoga ugh and calesthetics but its boring. I am hypothytoid so its a bit challenging. I am doing 2 HITT classes back to back 2 -3 times a week but when I was doing just one nothing was happening.

        • I recommend sticking with heavy weights. Check out those articles I linked and let me know if you have any questions 🙂

          • Iliana Cruz

            Ty Mike I appreciate you getting back to me. Is there a reference guide n your site to purchase for people with hormonal disorder because I eat very clean. Macros on notch and have been consistently doing HITT March to now. I put on 15lbs while going back to MMA 2 months ago and yes I gain water but I take hydrochlorizde the day before weigh in. My stomach looks like shit always bloated since starting HITT and no matter how many kettle bells I swing and dumb bells I look like someone who use to work out and let themselves go. I pay 350 a month for my training and have a professional diet coach. He hates HITT he wants me to do steady state but I rather just die. I hate regular gym training. I can go heavy but my inches went up in my torso and I am actually eating but not a lot macros are perfect and calories. I am about to give up again and go back completely to martial arts where you stay lean, slender but with no muscle tone. I appreciate your help. If anything that fits me let me know via e mail.

          • It really just comes down to your overall calories and energy balance, but it’s worth speaking with your doctor if you have an endocrine disorder. If you’re gaining weight/fat, then you’re eating too much. This article might be helpful as well:

            That said, if you really don’t enjoy regular weightlifting, then there’s nothing wrong with doing mostly MMA. I’d still include some weightlifting, as there are some benefits you can’t get from martial arts (like increased bone density), but overall, it’s not a bad choice.

          • Iliana

            Thanks Mike. Ya the doctors are no help. Cytomel and T4 is not doing crap I stopped the T4. Im just doing HITT and Muay Thai now I gave up. MMA=flabby hell HITT =Flabby with slight toning. I’ll try your approach and add weight lifting on side it’s just geez tons of time lol. Ty so much and no not eating too much yesterday I seriously had 1100 calories with a Tabata 45 minute HITT class that was insane. Non stop but we did upper body. Tdy is performance which is box jumps and psycho HITT stuff 🙁 lol

          • Haha gotcha. Sounds good. Keep me updated on your progress!

  • Benjamin Tatro

    Hey Mike, thanks for everything you write. I haven’t been this lean at
    this size of chest, arms, shoulders etc since probably back when I was early 20’s.

    With HIIT, what do you think about air restriction with a mask? I hadn’t
    planned on spending much money, just a standard construction worker’s
    mask from the hardware store, or whatever makes me loose my wind quicker, with out $100 for those special masks at the sporting goods store.

    I’m curious if it would help or hinder:

    the increase of blood flow to the muscles used for the HIIT, during
    the period following the session. i.e. increased blood flow for a day
    or so afterwords seems to be why cycling speeds up leg strength
    gains. Would a mask further this process?

    how about the effect of a mask on HIIT as it relates to increasing
    your BMR? Since the lungs are doing more, and the the muscle fibers
    involved are working a little less to reach that point of vmax, would this result in further BMR increase than usual?

    • Great to hear you’re doing well Benjamin!

      Wearing a mask won’t increase blood flow, and will just make breathing more difficult. This will just impede your performance during HIIT, which isn’t what we want. It really won’t benefit your training in any way, so I’d skip the mask.

      When it comes to cycling and strength, the increased blood flow may improve recovery, but most of the benefits are likely due to it being another form of resistance training (albeit very light).

      As to the mask’s effects on BMR, there’s no evidence it would make any difference. These masks don’t really improve respiratory efficiency, and even if they did, it wouldn’t make a difference in the basic calorie needs for supporting organ function.

      Sorry to rain on the idea, but these training masks just don’t work.

  • Vman

    Hmmm… why don’t you recommend high Resistance HIIT for cycling bike in the Gym? I tried putting the setting on 8 and I burnt 300 calories in 15 minutes (though I couldn’t go as fast) then I tried today 30 minutes of setting 4 full out (1 min) and setting 1 (1 min). IS there a reason you don’t recommend setting the bike to higher resistance as it’d reduce time in gym overall and reasonable calories reduction? I think the lower settings is good for getting vmax though.

  • Vdes

    How can I combine weight lifting and HIIT ? Can I do both the same day ? If I want to lift 4 days/week and do HIIT 2 times/week, how should I organise my week (sorry for my English, I’m French 😉

    • I’d do the HIIT on two of your non-lifting days. It’s really up to you and how you can organize your schedule. Doing them on the same day is fine, although if you can’t separate the sessions, I’d do the cardio after your lifting.

      Keep me updated on your progress!

  • Pedro Rustizu

    At any point you prescribe a HIIT routine like you do with weightlifting. I would like a routine more focused in martial arts, is it possible?

    • You can do any sort of HIIT you like. I personally like low-impact HIIT, but boxing might be a good choice for you.

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