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How To Create Your Own Fat-Burning, High-Intensity Workout (+ Free Workbook!)


Hey there!  I have a few questions for you:

  1. Do you sometimes feel like you don’t have enough time to work out, or you lack the motivation or energy to work out on a regular basis?
  2. Are you unsure when it comes to which types of exercise are the most effective for your health, your fitness levels, or weight loss?
  3. Do you want to be able to work out from anywhere, with little to no equipment, and without joining a fancy gym?
  4. Are you sick of doing the same workouts over & over (like running on the treadmill?)
  5. Do you want to boost your metabolism, energy, & fat-burning hormones — without having to work out for 30-60+ minutes per day?

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, then I have a feeling that you’re going to LOVE high-intensity workouts as much as I do! ☺️

WHY are these high-intensity workouts so awesome??  Well…

  • They only take 4-20 minutes!!  No more slaving away on a treadmill for hours a week!
  • You can do them anywhere — no need for a gym membership or weight room.
  • You need very little to no equipment.
  • They can be modified to any fitness level.
  • The benefits far outweigh those of traditional, lower-intensity, longer-duration workouts! (In fact, lower-intensity, longer-duration workouts can actually increase stress hormones/cortisol levels in the body. 😬)

Promote better metabolism & energy, more weight loss, stress reduction, ramp up fat-burning hormones, AND burn fat for up to 24-48 hours after the workout — all in less than 20 minutes??  Um, yes please! 🙋🏽

But before we dive in, I wanted to let you know about the free Workbook I created for you.  It will walk you through step-by-step exactly how to create your own high-intensity, fat-burning workouts.  Sweet!! 🤗  Just click below to get it!

Types of High-Intensity Workouts

There are several different styles of high-intensity workouts, but they all have a couple things in common:

  • They typically take less than 20 minutes (usually between 4-15 minutes long).
  • They must be done at 80-100% of your maximum output/effort in order to be truly effective & get all the benefits.

I’m going to cover the basics of 4 different types of high-intensity workouts:

  1. HIIT Workouts (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  2. AMRAP Workouts (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible)
  3. Progression Workouts
  4. “For Time” Workouts

In just a minute, I’ll explain the idea behind each of these 4 workout styles, and I’ll also walk you through the creation process for each type! 🤗

Creating Your Own High-Intensity Workouts 

There are a ton of great resources that share pre-made workouts — including this post about My Top 12 Favorite Fat-Burning Workouts for a Rockin’ Body!

Pre-made workouts can be really nice, because A) You know someone else has done it before, so it’s probably a well-put-together workout, and B) Sometimes you don’t wanna have to think — you just wanna work out & be done with it! 😏

BUT,  sometimes it’s really fun to create your own workouts!  The options & combinations are literally endless, so you won’t have to worry about getting bored with your workouts — all you need is a little bit of creativity.

I find that when I create my own workout, I can get even more excited and motivated about doing the workout — and working out in general.  It just feels good to let your creative juices flow sometimes.  🙃 And then you get to try out (& tweak if necessary!) your very own workout — and even share it with others so you can inspire them, too!

Choosing Your Exercises

Before we get into the 4 different types of high-intensity workouts that I mentioned above, I wanted to give you a list of ideas for different exercise moves you can choose for your workouts.  

All 4 of the workout styles will require at LEAST 1 different exercise movement (usually more than 1), so here are some moves to get you started:

  • Run in Place
  • High Knees
  • Squat Jacks
  • Jump Squats
  • Speed Squats
  • Split Squats/Explosive Lunges
  • Jumping Knee Tucks
  • Calf Jumps
  • Toe Taps
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Plank Speed Kicks
  • Star Jumps
  • Good Mornings
  • Russian Twists
  • Shin Slaps
  • Push-Ups
  • Spiderman Push-Ups
  • Scoops
  • Speed Punches
  • Prone Jacks
  • Side Hops
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Burpees
  • Half Burpees

If you don’t know what some of these movements look like or how to do some of them, don’t fret!  I recommend doing a simple Google search, & you’ll likely be able to find videos, pictures, or descriptions for each exercise.  For even more workout inspiration & ideas, click here to view my post about “60 Functional Exercise Moves to Add To Your Workouts”.

Also, note: None of the exercises above require ANY equipment (just your body!), so you’ll be ready to create your own workout and get to work! ☺️


Creating Your Own HIIT Workout

HIIT workouts are characterized by short periods of high-intensity bursts of exercise, followed by a short rest or recovery period.  

I recommend downloading the “Seconds” app on your phone.  It’s a free app that acts as a workout timer, and allows you to enter a specific number of rounds, as well as different lengths of time for workout intervals & rest intervals.  It’s soooo helpful for HIIT Workouts!

Here are the steps to take & the decisions you’ll need to make when crafting  your own HIIT Workout:   

1. Choose the length of the bursts/exercise periods. 

This is normally somewhere between 20-60 seconds.  I like 20 or 30 seconds, because it’s short enough to really give 100% of your maximum output.  60 seconds can be good for certain exercises, too.

For our example, we’ll use 20 seconds.

2. Choose the length of the rest/recovery periods.

This can either be the same amount of time as the exercise periods, or it can be different.  They usually range from 10-60 seconds.  Some of the most common rest periods are 20 seconds or 10 seconds.

For our example, we’ll use 20 seconds.

3. Decide how many different exercise movements you’ll do.

Typically, anywhere between 2-6 different exercise moves can work really well for these workouts.

For our example, we’ll use 6 different exercises.

4. Decide how many rounds you’ll do, or how many times you’ll do each exercise.

This one can really vary, depending on how long & how difficult you want the workout to be.  I would say my workouts usually range between 16-32 rounds.

Let’s say I wanted to do 20 rounds, and I had already decided I wanted to do 5 different exercises.  That would mean I would do each exercise 4 times (20 divided by 5 = 4 — okay, so I guess this requires just a liiitle bit of basic math, too 🙃).

You could also figure it out the opposite way: Let’s say I wanted to do 5 different exercises, and I knew I wanted to do each one 4 times — that would equal 20 rounds (since 5 times 4 = 20).  Make sense?? 🤓

For our example, we’ll use 18 rounds — or in other words, we’ll do each of the 6 exercises 3 times.

5. Decide if you want to alternate between exercises, or if you want to do all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next one.

Both of these options make for a great workout!  

So far in our example, we’re doing 6 different movements, 3 times each.  If we wanted to alternate between exercises, that would mean we’d do each of the 6 exercises 1 time, and then repeat that process 2 more times (essentially doing 3 “rounds” of the 6 exercises).

If we wanted to do all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next one, that would mean that we’d do 3 sets of the first exercise, then 3 sets of the second exercise, then 3 sets of the third one, 3 sets of the fourth one, 3 sets of the fifth one, and finally 3 sets of the sixth one.

For our example, we’ll do all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next one.

6. Choose your exercise movements and put them in order.

Now for the most fun part!  You can choose any of the movements from the list above, or any other exercises that you want.

The exercises can be ordered however you want.  So with all the different exercises AND all the different ways you can put them in order, there are endless combinations of workouts!

The more you put movements near each other that use a similar part of the body, the more difficult the workout will be.  For example, doing jump squats right after squat jacks is much tougher than doing jump squats right after push-ups (but either way would still be a great workout!).

For our example, we’ll use the following 6 exercises in this order:

  1. Mountain Climbers
  2. Jump Squats
  3. Push-Ups
  4. Good Mornings
  5. Run in Place
  6. Squat Jacks

So we’d do 3 sets of mountain climbers, then 3 sets of jump squats, then 3 sets of push-ups, etc.

Each burst of exercise would be 20 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest.

So here’s how the workout would look:

  1. 20 seconds of mountain climbers
  2. 20 seconds of rest
  3. 20 seconds of mountain climbers
  4. 20 seconds of rest
  5. 20 seconds of mountain climbers
  6. 20 seconds of rest
  7. Repeat that same process for each of the remaining exercise movements.

And there ya have it!  This workout will take less than 12 minutes to do, and will get you into fat-burning mode stat! 💪

I know this might seem like a lot of steps at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it, you’ll be able to create your own workouts super fast.  

And to help you get there, I created an awesome Workbook for you — which will walk you through each step, get your ideas down on paper, and have a high-intensity, fat-burning workout created by the end of it! 🤗  Just click below to get started with yours!

Creating Your Own AMRAP Workout 

AMRAP Workouts have a set length of time, during which you’re trying to get as many rounds or reps as possible.  There are no rest periods with these workouts.

You can pretty much let your imagination run wild with these workouts — it can really be any combination of exercises & length of time.

For AMRAP workouts, you can use the “Timer” on your phone to countdown from a specified number of minutes.

Here are the basic steps to creating your own AMRAP Workout:

1. Choose the length of your workout.

This can typically vary between about 4-12 minutes.  

Remember, for high-intensity/short-duration workouts, we need to give 80-100% of our maximum output.  Since there aren’t any rest periods, you want the workout to be short enough to maintain a very high level of effort.

For our example, we’ll do 6 minutes.

2. Choose how many different exercise movements you want, which ones, and in what order.

Again, you can choose any of the exercises above, or any other movements you want.  The number of exercises can vary greatly — I’ve done AMRAP workouts with as little as 1 exercise movement, up to as many as 10+ movements.    

For our example, we’ll do Push-Ups, Shin Slaps, & Speed Squats (in that order).

3. Choose how many reps you’ll do of each exercise.

The sky’s the limit here!  You can have a little as 1 rep, or as high as 50+ (depending on what the movement is).

You can also decide if you’ll do the same number of reps for each exercise, or different.  For example, you could do 10 reps of each exercise, or you could do 5 reps of one exercise, 10 of another one, and 15 of another one.  

For our example, we’ll do 5 push-ups, 10 shin slaps, & 20 speed squats. ← That constitutes 1 “round” — and we want to do as many rounds of that as possible in 6 minutes.  And that’s our workout! ☺️

Creating Your Own Progression Workout

These also have a set time length and no rest periods (like AMRAP workouts).  Progression Workouts are characterized by 2 different exercise movements: 1 stays at a constant number throughout the workout, and the other 1 increases (progresses) throughout the workout.  

During the workout, you’ll alternate back & forth between the 2 movements, keeping 1 constant and 1 increasing.  The goal is to progress as much as possible during the allotted time.

You can also use the “Timer” on your phone for these workouts.

Here’s how you can craft your own Progression Workout:

1. Choose the length of your workout.

6-12 minutes is a pretty common length for these workouts.

For our example, we’ll do 8 minutes.

2. Choose your 2 exercise movements.

Pretty self-explanatory — it can be anything your heart desires. 🙃

For our example, we’ll do Jump Squats & Half Burpees.

3. Decide which exercise movement will be constant (& what the constant number is), and which exercise movement will be progressing/increasing.

In our example, we could either decide to have the jump squats be constant and the half burpees progress, or we could keep the half burpees constant and the jump squats progressing.

For our example, we’ll do the jump squats constant, and the half burpees progressing.

The progressing exercise will normally start at 1, and increase by 1 each round.  

But, you’ll need to decide how many of the constant exercise you’ll be doing each round.  A lot of times it’s just 1, but it could be 2, 3, or more even.  

For our example, we’ll do 2 jump squats as the constant each round.

Here’s how the workout would look:

  1. 2 jump squats
  2. 1 half burpee
  3. 2 jump squats
  4. 2 half burpees
  5. 2 jump squats
  6. 3 half burpees
  7. 2 jump squats
  8. 4 half burpees
  9. Keep going with this pattern for the full 8 minutes, getting as many rounds as possible!

Note: You could also decide to make it a contra-progression workout, which means that the constant exercise and the progressing exercise would switch half way through the workout.

For example:  Using our sample workout above, the first 4 minutes of the workout would consist of the jump squats being constant & the half burpees progressing (just like the example shows above).

The last 4 minutes of the workout would switch — so the half burpees would be constant & the jump squats would progress (2 half burpees, 1 jump squat, 2 half burpees, 2 jump squats, 2 half burpees, 3 jump squats, 2 half burpees, 4 jump squats, etc…).

I love doing contra-progressions, because then you get to experience both of the exercises progressing. 😄


Creating Your Own “For Time” Workout 

A “For Time” Workout means that you must complete a specific number of rounds or reps as fast as possible (“for time”).

Since you’re completing these exercises as quickly as possible, there aren’t any breaks or intervals in this type of high-intensity workout.  

These workouts can consist of any number or combination of exercise movements.  But keep in mind that this is still meant to be a short-duration/high-intensity workout, so you’ll want to make sure it’s something you can do between about 4-20 minutes.

Use the “Stopwatch” on your phone (or just a regular stopwatch) to keep track of your time.

Here are the steps for creating your own “For Time” Workout:

  1. Decide how many different exercise movements you’ll do, and which ones.
  2. Decide how many of EACH exercise movement you’ll do.  It can be the same number for each one or different number.
  3. Depending on how many different movements & the number of reps for each movement, decide if you’ll be doing 1 round for time or multiple rounds for time.

And here are a few examples/outlines to give you some ideas of what’s possible:

  1. 100 burpees for time (simple, yet painful! 😬)
  2. Run a mile for time (not jogging, but running as fast as you can for a mile)
  3. Pick 10 different exercises and do 25 reps of each one.
  4. Pick 4 different exercises and do 10 reps of each one (this is one “round), but instead of just doing that once, do 10 rounds of it.
  5. Pick 15 different exercises, and decide on a different number of reps for each one.

Putting It All Together

Alright supergirl, if you made it this far, that means you now know exactly how to create your very own fat-burning workouts!  

We’ve gone over 4 different types of high-intensity workouts — all of which take only 4-20 minutes to do.

For best results, I recommend doing a high-intensity workout at least 3 times per week.  If you’re trying to lose weight or really ramp up your fitness fast, I would do one of these workouts 4-6 times per week.

Remember, the key is you MUST give it 100% — your maximum effort! — in order for these workouts to be the most effective.

Making up your own workouts can create a sense of empowerment & ownership over your workouts, allows you to use that creativity I know you have, and can help you stay motivated (& never bored!) to keep pursuing your fitness life! ☺️

Make sure you grab your free Workbook below to make the workout creation process super simple!

I’d love to see & try out the amazing workouts you come up with (& I’m sure others would, too)!  I encourage you to share in the comments below!

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Author: Dr. Christi Shuppe

Dr. Christi is a wellness doctor & online educator who specializes in nutrition, fitness, weight loss, & creating peace, joy, & a healthy mindset.  Through her online courses, programs, workshops, & blog, she leads & inspires people to achieve the HEALTH of their dreams, so that they can live the LIFE of their dreams.

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