Published December 10, 2012

12 Days of Fitness 10: HIIT Your Fat Stores Where It Hurts

by Guest Author
12 days of fitness day 10

Do you feel fitter or thinner yet? I do, thanks to the expert tips we've received on our 12 Days of Fitness tour. 12 days - 12 experts - 12 awesome articles. Knowledge = power, and we've just empowered ourselves to become healthier.

Day 10 brings us Rachel Elizabeth Murray's views on high intensity interval training. Just one look at Elizabeth's chiseled body shows us that HIIT, in fact, does work. Elizabeth is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and fitness model, among other things, so she's got all the pieces in place to create a healthy (and fab) body. Let's check in with her now to see what she has to share (I am almost going to guess that Fudge Covered Ritz are not on her list of "good" foods—a sad day for me, but I will live).

High intensity training forces the body to move from the aerobic energy system to anaerobic. In a nutshell, when you train harder and faster, you need more energy, and more energy faster! (Read: more calories are needed and subsequently burned to generate energy when your workouts are more intense.)

The good news is, if the workout is intense enough, you don't have to do it very long

The good news is, if the workout is intense enough, you don't have to do it very long. Duration can be, and sometimes should be (depending on individual's conditioning level, energy needs, type of training and extreme levels of intensity) shorter.
Real life examples:

  • Sprints
  • Plyometric jump exercises (with very little rest)
  • Athletic speed drills
  • Some types of MMA training (level changes quickly)
  • TABATA training
  • Some types of cross fit workouts
  • Or really anything that challenges you to move as fast as possible for at least 20 seconds, repeatedly, with little rest between 'sets'

Rachel Elizabeth Murray - High Intensity Training
How to modify:
What are ways for people to get started on this who can't do as much in the beginning ( i.e. if they can't jump)? What can they do to reach a higher intensity level?

You can do many HIT exercises from the floor, or without jumping. You can even do sprints without any impact on an elliptical trainer or stair master while keeping your feet on the pedals the whole time.

On machines, try this: go 30 seconds as fast as you can go at a medium resistance, followed by 60 seconds low intensity 'recovery.' Repeat for as many times as you can in 20-30 min.

For floor exercises: Try something simple like 'mountain climbers' without jumping, and just move as fast as you physically can with a work/rest ratio of 20 seconds on/10 seconds off. Repeat for 4 min. You just did a TABATA set of HIT. Pick three more exercises and do them the same way and you've got a full HIT workout in!


Rachel Elizabeth Murray is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, celebrity fitness personality, fitness model and founder of Cause Fitness: Fitness for Effect. She lives and trains clients in Hollywood, CA, and coaches clients with her online training programs worldwide. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter at @causefitness

Be sure you don't miss Day 1 through Day 9. Why? Because they are chock full of great fitness and weight loss tips. So just click: Day 1 (Keep Exercise Fun), Day 2 (Making the Impossible Possible), Day 3 (Healthy Holidays), Day 4 (Quickie Time), Day 5 (Walk the Doggiesaur), Day 6 (Fitness Games People Play), Day 7 (Are You Really Hungry?), Day 8 (No Weight Loss One-Hit Wonders), Day 9 (A Change of Attitude Causes 100 Lb. Weight Loss)