Got 8 Minutes? How to Build a Fat-Burning Burst Training Workout

by JJ Virgin on January 30, 2016

Want to be the best fat burner, keep your immune system strong, reduce chronic inflammation, and feel amazing… in just minutes a day? Try burst training. 

If you’re used to spending long hours on the treadmill or bike, get ready to change your idea of working out.

Long, steady endurance cardio is officially out the window. In fact, that slow plodding away on the elliptical machine or stair-climber may actually be making you lose muscle and store fat!

I understand what it means to have a busy schedule, and I certainly don’t have time to spend hours at the gym every day. That’s why I opt for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), sometimes called burst training.

Burst train for just eight minutes a day to:

  • Boost your metabolism (Your body keeps working long after you finish bursting.)
  • Burn away fat (You won’t believe how fast it melts away!)
  • Better handle stress (Bursting lowers your stress hormones.)
  • Boost your growth hormone (Bursting helps build muscle.)

Burst training is fun, fast, and can be done anywhere… from hotel stairways to your backyard.

The main reason people give for not working out regularly is not having the time. That excuse is officially off-limits with high-intensity interval training because you can do an entire workout in under 10 minutes!

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Ready to start burst training?

  1. Pick a fun activity that gets your heart pumping. The options are really endless here: running up and down the stairs, using an Xiser, jumping air rope, sprinting in the swimming pool, jumping jacks, dancing, burpees (dropping into a squat, then standing back up quickly), running in place as fast as you can or up a nearby hill… Almost anything works!
  2. Go at your own pace. The idea with burst training is to do your chosen activity in bursts of 30-60 seconds as hard and fast as you can. If you can race up and down a neighborhood hill, then go for it! If just walking slowly up and down the steps is a major challenge, then that’s fine, too. Maybe going from sitting to standing is taxing – as long as you’re working hard, the level of activity isn’t the point. The beauty of interval training is that it meets you where you are.
  3. Burst, then recover. Do your chosen activity for 30-60 seconds as fast and hard as you can. You should feel the burn! Then actively recover for twice as long. “Actively recovering” means doing the same activity, but at a slower pace so your muscles can recover. If you were sprinting, then active recovery would be walking. Jumping as high and fast as you can for 60 seconds? Actively recover by hopping slowly for two minutes.
  4. Four bursts and done. That’s right: four bursts of 30-60 seconds, four sets of active recovery that are twice as long, and you’re finished. Your interval training sessions should never be longer than 12 minutes!

What does burst training look like?

This is just one example of a possible burst training session. Remember to tailor your activity choices to your own fitness level. And don’t get bored! Change out your burst training activities often to keep things fun and interesting.

I start by warming up for three minutes – typically I walk for two minutes, then run for one minute.

The idea is to get the blood flowing in your muscles so they are warm and ready for the burst training to come. Again, choose a warm-up that fits your needs.


  • Sprint for 30 seconds.
  • Walk for 1 minute.
  • Run up the stairs for 1 minute. (I love hotel stairwells for this!)
  • Walk down the stairs for 2 minutes.
  • Take the stairs up two at a time for 1 minute.
  • Walk the stairs down for 2 minutes.
  • Run up the stairs for 1 minute.
  • Walk down the stairs for 2 minutes.
  • Cool down for 3 minutes by walking or doing another slow, steady activity.

For every burst, push yourself as hard as you can. You should be feeling it by the end of every 30-60 seconds of bursting. If you feel like you could have gone longer than 60 seconds with your bursting activity, pick a harder one or go faster.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you see results from burst training! Once you’re in great shape, you can go up to six bursts and active recovery periods, but never more than that.

No more making time for long aerobics classes that never really trim inches. Instead, take a few minutes to burn fat, build energy, support your immune system, and decrease your risk of disease with burst training.

My “always” after a workout is a protein smoothie. Fast, filling, and great for repair and recovery. With my Smoothie Guide, you have over 50 recipes so you never get bored. Get your FREE guide here

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.