Can I really burn fat in 20 minutes? Yes you can

Can I really burn fat in 20 minutes?

In short YES with an effective HIIT session

High intensity interval style training (HIIT) is the most effective way to burn calories in a short amount of time. Research shows that this form of training, often referred to as metabolic conditioning will stimulate your body to burn fat at a faster rate than had you done nothing at all for up to 12 hours after you have stopped exercising.

In short – during your exercise routine, your body will recruit energy from your muscles, using up glycogen stored in your muscles. By working at a high intensity during your session you will increase your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body uses energy) and this increase will be sustained for hours afterwards.  This is when your body will start using fat reserves to replenish the energy stores in the muscles and respond to the increase in your metabolic rate.

So – YES you can burn fat by doing 20 minutes of exercise.

The most important factor is that it is the right type of exercise, as it is the total calories used during the session that counts. The harder you work, the more you use and the longer the after effects will be.

There are many variations in interval training and we incorporate several of these on a daily basis at Northern Bootcamp. Here is an example of a session that you can do at home requiring no equipment that will set your metabolic rate flying.

Tabatta Style Workout 1


1)      Download an interval timer app (advanced interval timer is recommended) onto your SMART phone – or have a large clock or stop watch at the ready.

2)      Ensure you have plenty of room around you to jump and stretch.

3)      Wear appropriate loose fitting clothing and trainers and have a bottle of water at the ready.

4)      Set your interval timer for 20secs work and 10 secs rest, There will be a total of 16 stations. There is 0 additional rest between exercises. There are 4 exercises with 4 sets on each station.

5)      WARM UP – raise your heart rate and do some dynamic stretching (eg lunges, leg swings, high knees, sumo squats)


1)      Start your timer and do each exercise listed below for 20 secs at maximum effort, rest for 10 secs and repeat this 4 times (you can increase this to 8 as your fitness improves).

2)      After your 4 sets you will move straight onto the next exercise and repeat for 4 sets.

3)      There are 4 exercises in total and these will make up one round.

4)      Rest for 2 minutes and repeat the above round again

5)      Rest for 2 mins and Voila! – Your workout is complete

6)      Cool down – holding passive stretches for at least 20secs.


Skater Jumps

Begin with your feet a bit further than shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lean forward slightly with your arms at your side, keep your abdominal muscles tight and your back straight.

Keeping your chin up and your eyes forward, shift your weight to your left leg in preparation for the exercise.

Jump about 3 feet to the right, landing on your right leg. Your left leg should lift and come near your right ankle; however, it should not touch the ground.

Jump again, this time to the left and landing on the left foot. As before, bring your right leg near to your left ankle, but do not allow it to touch the floor.

Swing your arms to help maintain balance and increase the length of your jumps.

If at any point you feel strain or discomfort in your knees, hips or back, slow down your movement and try not bending over quite as far.

Regression – don’t jump simply step following the above technique

Progression – add either ankle weights or hold dumbells

Mountain Climbers

Assume a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.

Without changing the posture of your lower back, or moving your left leg, bring your right knee toward your chest – as close as you can.

Pause, return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.

Repeat the process continually for the set amount of time.

If at any point you feel strain or discomfort in your knees, hips or back, slow down your movement and try not raising your knee quite as far.

Regression – put your arms on a low solid table or chair instead of the floor maintaining the technique as above.

Progression – jump your legs explosively and raise your knee to come between your arms each time.

Long jump

Begin with your feet a little further than shoulder width apart. Chin up and eyes forward.

Bend your knees into a squat position and take your arms back while keeping your back straight.

Jump forward landing on both feet and as you  land bend your knees to reduce impact.  Swing your arms to gain momentum and keep balance.

Take 2 small jumps back and finish in the start position.

Repeat the process above continually for the set amount of time.

If at any point you feel strain or discomfort in your knees, hips or back, slow down your movement and try not raising your knee quite as far.

Regression – instead of jumping forward, step forward left leg right leg and then squat. Step back one leg at a time and squat – repeat.

Progression – add ankle weights or hold small dumbells or jump further!

Plank builder

Start to get into a push up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your elbows should be underneath your shoulders.

Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Keep your core tight.

Next straighten one arm at a time so that you move into the push up position – or straight arm plank.

Your body should remain in a straight line with your core tensed and your back straight.

Lower one arm at a time back to the forearm and start position and this completes one rep.

Repeat the process continually for a set amount of time.

If at any point you feel strain or sharp pain in your shoulders, hips or back, regress the exercise and put your knees on the floor

Regression – instead of having your feet on the floor, put your knees on the floor as in a modified plank position.  Keep your body in a straight line and don’t stick your bum in the air.

Progression – lift on foot off the ground and leg out behind you. Alternate legs for each rep.

Hints and Tips:

1)      You must work hard with maximum effort on every single 20 seconds of the round.

2)      If you find the exercise too difficult, simply follow the regression adaptions above and move slower at your own pace

3)      If you want to progress, add hand weights or leg weights and do more sets on each exercise – up to 8

4)      Eat a healthy protein snack or meal afterwards to hold onto your lean muscle mass and still burn the fat.

5)      Doing a session similar to this 4 non consecutive days of the week will soon produce visible results both in body shape and cardio fitness.

Let us know how you get on. Try it out at home and then click here to visit our facebook page  or click here to tweet and tell us how you got on.

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