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The Fitness Zone

Short Workouts for Fat Loss
March 20, 2015 | by

Time efficient workouts are popular as most people are time poor. But can fat loss be achieved in such a short time?

The answer appears to be yes. Scientific studies show that calorie expenditure will be at an increased rate for 24 hours hours after a high intensity, time efficient workout. According to Lauren et al, “High intensity interval exercises induce 24 hour energy expenditure similar to traditional endurance exercise, despite the reduced time commitment” (2012). Fitness Australia recently reported the same findings in an article titled, “The hype about HIIT interval training”.

While a smaller percentage of fat is metabolised during the high intensity workouts, it’s a smaller percentage of a higher calorie expenditure pie.

One way of approaching this type of workout is by thinking about how to expend as many calories as possible in the short time available, increasing oxygen demand, lactate production and heat dissipation to create an increased EPOC.

Here are a few ideas:

Beginner: Intermediate Clients:

Warm Up

shuttle runs

X 4


BW squats

X 6

Dynamic Stretches

squat and OH arm swings

X 8


assisted squat jumps

2 X 20

CrankIt straps

DB squats

2 X 8 PRE 7/10


BB squat press

2 X 6-8 PRE 7/10

cable squat/row

3 X 6-8 PRE 7-8/10


3 X 7-8 PRE 7/10

vary hand positions or incline/decline

mountain climbers

2 X 16

ensure core bracing

Intermediate to Advanced Clients

Warm Up


4 X 50

side taps off step or BOSU

2 X 16-20

Dynamic stretches

leg swings and waist rotations

6-8 each


BB deadlift

3 X 8/6/3 PRE 7-8/10

reverse pyramid

renegade row with tricep push-ups

3 X 8 PRE 7/10


DB squat press

3 X 8 PRE 7/10

option: add a jump

body row

3 X 8 PRE 7-8/10

use Smith machine, elevate feet onto a bench or Fitball

plate press and pullover

3 X 8

bench or Fitball

cable wood chops

10 each side X 2

progress to alternating with dynamic foot change

Fitball alternating tuck/push up

10 of each

ensure neutral spine

Warm Up

rower 3-4 mins PRE 5/10

include 3 X 15 sec surges

Dynamic Stretches

waist rotations and leg swings

X 6 each


DB Bulgarian lunges

2 X 8 each leg PRE 7-8/10

progress to OH press with weight plate

Bulgarian lunges with front knee to chest jump

1 X 10 each leg PRE 8/10

bench hop overs/ burpees

2 X 9 (odd number)

PRE 7/10 then 4-6 burpees

technique and effort, increase reps if time

BB bench press

3 X 8/6/3 PRE 7-8/10

superset bench press/chin-ups, spotter may be required

chin-ups (vary grip)

3 X 5-8 PRE 7/10

assisted machine or spotter, add in isometric hold if needed

moving plank

1 X 10-12 reps

neutral spine, elbows to hands

Advanced Clients

Warm Up

rower or treadmill jogging

3-4 mins PRE 6/10

with 2-3 30 sec surges

travelling squat jumps

2 X 8-10 PRE 6/10

Dynamic stretches

leg swings and shoulder circles

6 each side


BB squats

10/8/6/4 reps (4 sets)

PRE 7-8/10

reverse pyramid,

superset jumps between squat sets

DB squat jumps

8-10 PRE 6-7/10

3 sets

light DBs, aim for speed

squat press

3 X 8/6/6 PRE 7-8/10

side rotation with lunge alternating sides

2 X 8-10 PRE 7-8/10

try to keep arms relatively straight,

superset between squat press sets

squat and row

3 X 10 PRE 8/10

strong squat technique, neutral spine and shoulder stability

cable pull to push

2 X 8 each side PRE 7-8/10

double to single hands, drive with hip and rotate through feet

plyometric push-ups


to technical failure

Warm Up

skipping/shuttle runs

3-4 min PRE 3-4/10

Dynamic Stretches

leg swings and squat/OH reach

6-8 each


kettlebell swings

3 X 25-30 PRE 7-8/10

neutral spine, strong gluteal activation

kettlebell sumo squats

3 X 10 PRE 7-8/10

stand on platforms to increase ROM,

giant set squats/jumps/leaps

bench jumps

3 X 10

height to determine intensity

BOSU side leaps

3 X 10 PRE 7-8/10

add medicine ball OH press to increase intensity

Bench rows

3 X 8 PRE 7-8/10

bench on slight incline, superset rows/press

DB chest press

3 X 8 PRE 7-8/10

spotter required

kettlebell or DB Turkish get up

1 X 8-10 each side PRE 7-8/10

technique focus

All workouts are aimed to be time effective using supersets to minimise rest. As clients learn the exercises, reduce the number of sets and perhaps start with two sets. Once competent, increase sets to three or even four sets.

Always conclude the workouts with a thorough partner assisted stretch, especially the quads, glutes, hamstrings, chest and lats.


Annette is the Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Fitness SA/NT. She has been an active Coach and Fitness Presenter for over 30 years. Her interests lie in aqua, personal training, triathlons snow skiing, and sports coaching.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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