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I'll be surprised if this is a duplicate, since the only questions I see on here similar are for gaining mass or something similar. I see questions that mention hiit, but don't mention specific hiit workouts or what constitutes a hiit exercise.

The Facts


Original: 5'9" 260lbs, body fat > %30

After: 5'9" 185lbs, body fat < %10

After That: 5'9" 260lbs, body fat > 30%

So, through a series of poor choices in life(style) I'm back @ my normal weight of ~260lbs (~118kg) from a seriously strict regimen.

I'd like to get back fit (obviously), but with a big difference: I started that regimen the same as I am now, the difference being I didn't have as much muscle mass or strength as I do now (Thanks SS), although I did have some. I didn't know what I know now, and to drop most of that weight I ran several thousand miles (over several years of course) with mostly endurance type weight training, so most of my muscle mass depleted (my pecs literally vanished, I've got pics), although I was still quite strong.

I don't want to go down that same path because I know where it will lead. I've been at this long enough to expect some loss of lean mass when doing a cut, but I'd like to minimize that as much as possible.

I'm not looking for any quick fixes or overnight successes, it took a few years to get to After, and it took a few years to get to After that.

What I Know


  1. Steady State Cardio is the best for weight loss.

  2. High Intensity Interval Training (be it cardio or otherwise) is best for fat loss and lean mass retention (Wind Sprints, Sparring, etc.)

  3. My Time is limited (adult life).

  4. As far as nutrition goes, take in recommended amount of protein while limiting (not elminating) carbohydrates and saturated fats (whole eggs are your friend!).

  5. Free weights are awesome.

  6. So are calisthenics.


So, even though I probably just answered my own question, I'm looking for some sample workouts that fall into the fat-loss-mass-preserving category. I won't be adopting much from Starting Strength on this phase because I always seem to gain weight for some odd reason.....

My problem is that I know some decent cardio hiit workouts, wind sprints are my favorite. But, I'm drawing somewhat of a blank when it comes to resistance hiit workouts. I know of a couple, but their no where near enough for a regimen, when you want to prevent boredom/plateaus.

So, the question is: Given the context provided in "facts" & "what I know", what are examples of resistance hiit workouts?

Bonus points for sticking with calisthenic and/or free weight exercises, I have limited equipment @ home and may or may not be frequenting a gym. Cheap stuff I can acquire (medicine balls, jump ropes, etc.), but no Total Gym.

Let's have @ it.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can see examples of resistance HIIT workouts at least a couple of times a week on the CrossFit main site. Aside from the "strictly endurance" or "strictly strength" workouts, nearly all CrossFit workouts are HIIT workouts.

For example, this Wednesday's workout:

Five rounds for time of:
  20 Strict ring dips
  135 pound Thruster, 14 reps

As a 260 lb gentleman with 30%+ bodyfat, you may find 20 strict ring dips a challenging feat. For that reason, sites like CrossFit Brand X exist, where a pro scales the workout for you every day. (For example, see various options for the scaled version of that same workout here). You may not find it necessary to look at the scaled versions, but rather take cues from the workout and scale it yourself.

One benefit of CrossFit workouts is that they generally require very little equipment. If equipment is prescribed, there is likely a variation you could choose that would not require any equipment. However, if you find you'd like to stick only to bodyweight movements, there are a number of sites available listing only bodyweight Crossfit WODs, such as this one.

Futhermore, it's easy to document your progress with these workouts by timing yourself. It's enjoyable to see how far you've come by doing the same workout two weeks or a month later. It also keeps you goal-oriented during your training, and forces you to strive for a better score during the workout.

I know there are a lot of CrossFit naysayers (particularly in the bodybuilding community), and I don't want to come off as a CrossFit fanboy, so I should disclaim that I personally have no affiliation, do not visit a CrossFit gym, and don't work out in a group setting. I simply value the enormous body of information made available by the CrossFit community. Stripping away the stigma, one finds a great resource for varied workouts they can use to spice up their own training regimen. Depending on your goals, you may find sites like CrossFit Football and CrossFit Gymnastics useful (or at least see some workouts you may enjoy on them).

For conditioning, I really like CrossFit workouts because they keep me from getting bored. I generally end up choosing a good 10 or 15 workouts, then put them on rotation during my conditioning phases.

Aside from that, you may also enjoy the Wendler 5/3/1 program. I realize you may have limited access to free weights, so this may not be an option. However, if you find that it is an option, I recommend acquiring the PDF, which is a pretty short read but loaded with useful information and motivation. In any case, I've found during strength training, following Wendler's advice of doing hill sprints for 20 minutes three times a week has really melted the fat off of me.

As it seems you're aware, diet also plays a significant role in achieving your goal. You'll probably need to lose the sweet tooth, lay off the booze, and start adopting healthy eating practices. I've had the most success by cooking meals for the week every weekend, measuring them out, and putting them in tupperware containers. Not only will this get you in the habit of eating the right amount, but the meals will be convenient and it will be difficult to consciously stray from your diet.

I want to leave you with one final thought for being successful with your goal: try the 3/3/3 approach. Set up your routine and diet and try it for three days. After three days, you'll see how easy it would be to keep it up for three weeks. After three weeks, you'll have easily adopted the habits, and choosing to continue for three months will be no challenge. At the end of your three months, you'll have reached a profound change in physique, and have adopted the lifestyle you have set out to achieve.

Good luck!

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2  
+1 for the 3/3/3, haven't heard of that before. Also, I'm not a Starting Strength fanboy, I'm just a fan of what works amongst all the fluff. That being said, I'll definitely check the Crossfit community out. I've done the boot camp workouts before, not Crossfit but D1, I see you're in MI if you're close you should check them out if you haven't already. Same idea, muscle confusion, cardio and light weight training. Just kind of expensive to keep up a monthly membership. Seems like the type of places where you go to get the ball rolling and then do your own thing. –  BigHomie Jan 2 at 23:53
1  
@MDMoore313 That looks like a really nice place. It's not far from me either (I'm in Walled Lake). Right now I'm working out at a Life Time Fitness. It's a great facility but I'm in the process of exploring some options, so I'll keep D1 in mind! –  Doc Jan 3 at 16:07

I want to make a suggestion that you might not like to hear, but when I was 260 lbs I wasn't doing burpees, pull-ups, or HIIT, I was gradually getting back in shape from speed walking while inserting short runs in there. I was more worried about putting too much of a pounding on my joints, and especially my knees. The main difference between you and me is that I'm 6'1". Concentrate on your diet for the most part while getting yourself in condition for more strenuous exercise. Most of all don't deceive yourself about your physical condition, or confuse your condition with when you were in much better shape.

I'd also avoid workouts that involve a lot of jumping around, like burpees, because that's going to impact your joints and may cause injuries. Also running, besides the problems you listed, is also bad on the joints. You might want to find some kind of circuit training that uses dumb bells and body weight exercises.

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You make a good point about joint safety, especially when running. Having flat feet (and being previously overweight), I'm all too familiar with joint impact. Running on the treadmill and then taking it to the street was a wake up call for me. Thanks for the reminder, +1. And I definitely know I can't run as far or as fast as I used to, no deception here! –  BigHomie Jan 4 at 22:31

Some examples of high intensity workouts that engage large muscle groups (e.g. posterior chain and core) are:

  • Variants of burpees. On the wiki page there are 10+ variants and it is easy to make up your own variants as well. A typical calisthenic exercise with its origin from the 1930s US Army.
  • Variants of kettlebell swing. Basic russian, american, one-hand etc. It requires one or two kettlebells which is inexpensive compared to the Total gym.

Regarding the work out routine format (i.e. sets, repetition, timing, effort) for resistance high intensity training, tabatas are great.

The great variations of the burpees and kettlebell exercises them great for avoiding boredom and plateaus.

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