What is HIIT? This high-intensity workout helps you burn maximum fat

This 20-minute routine burns maximum fat and gets your heart pumping.

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By Stephanie Mansour

Chances are you’ve heard of HIIT workouts — but you may not know exactly what that means. And even if you do, maybe you’re looking for a fresh routine that you can sneak into your day. We’ve got you covered!

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. The intensity in these workouts means there is little (if any) downtime built in. This workout is also comprised of interval training, which means exercises are done in bursts. They can start slow and become faster from one exercise to another. Typically, cardio and strength training are combined to create a well-rounded high-intensity interval training workout.

As a certified personal trainer and private weight loss coach for women, I focus on workouts that can be done quickly and efficiently. This is one of the many reasons why I love recommending HIIT workouts for my clients!

Here's the workout that I created exclusively for TODAY readers!

Because there are hardly any pauses in a HIIT workout, you can do this in less than half the time of a regular workout. You can get a big calorie burn, rev up your metabolism, lose weight, gain strength and build muscle in 20 minutes. I recommend doing this workout three times per week for maximum results.

Prior to starting the workout, do some light dynamic stretching, such as twists at your waist and side lunges to warm up the lower and upper body. After the workout, do some cool-down stretches and hold them for 20 seconds each.

Jogging in place

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Step it Up with Steph

Imagine that you’re running outdoors with a beautiful view of mountains or the ocean, except you’re in your living room! Pump your arms and move your legs to run in place. You can modify this by marching in place if you want a lower-impact exercise. Count to 10 and then sprint in place. Alternate between a slower jog pace and a faster sprint pace to create the high-intensity part of this workout that’ll get your heart rate up! Jog in place for 2 minutes.

Squat jumps

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Now it’s time to do some strength training with the lower body. We’ll start in a squat position by stepping the feet out as wide as the shoulders. Pull the naval in towards the spine and then sit back as if you’re about to sit down into a chair. Look down and make sure that your knees are not going past your toes. Keep your body in proper alignment by pressing down through the heels as you stand back up to your starting position.

You can do a basic squat like this, or you can step it up and move into a squat jump. As you’re seated in the squat, you’ll press down through your feet to jump up into the air and then land softly into the squat position with bent knees. It’s important not to land with straight legs from a jump because this puts unnecessary pressure on the knee joints. Land softly into the squat and repeat this 20 times.

Push-ups

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Now it’s time to get down onto the ground! Starting on your hands and knees, come up into a plank position. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your back is flat. It may be helpful to do this alongside of a mirror so you can make sure there’s not rounding or arching in your spine. Bend the elbows out to the sides and lower down into a push-up, then come back up. As a challenge, repeat this for 20 push-ups! If it’s too hard, or if you’re a beginner, move onto your knees to do the full 20 repetitions. Walk your knees back a few inches behind your hips, and then lower down into the push-up. Inhale as you lower down and exhale as you press up.

Toe Taps

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Lying on your back, we’re going to work the core! Step your feet onto the mat and squeeze them together. Then bring them up to a table top position. Press your arms into the mat next your sides. Engage your low abs and lower the right leg down to tap the toes onto the ground. Then steadily bring the leg back up to table top. Repeat with the left leg. Perform 10 toe taps per side. This is a core exercise, so be sure to keep your naval pulled in towards your spine and feel your abdominals engage. This is not a leg exercise, you are moving the legs to activate the core.

Side Lunges

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Time to stand up and work the lower body again! We’ll also improve mobility of the hip joint. Step the right foot to the right and bend the right knee. Keep the left leg straight. From this side lunge position to the right, press down through the right heel to come back to standing. Then step the left leg to the left and perform a side lunge to the left. Go back and forth to the right and left 20 times.

Repeat this routine 2 times all the way through for a full body 20 minute HIIT workout! I recommend performing this workout every other day for maximum results.

Stephanie Mansour is a health & fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. Join her complimentary health and weight-loss challenge.

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