How to Do Burst Training

What is burst training? Well, it can burn belly fat fast and involves exercising at 90%–100% of your maximum effort for 30–60 seconds in order to burn your body’s stored sugar (glycogen), followed by 30–60 seconds of low impact for recovery. This causes your body to burn fat for the next 36 hours to replace your body’s vital energy (glycogen) stores.

You only need to do 4–6 sets of 30–60 second bursts 3 times a week to see marked changes and improvements. More is not always better — make sure you have days of rest.

Burst Training Combines the Best of Strength Training with the Best of Cardio

1. Strength/Resistance Training

The primary hormone response invoked by strength and resistance training is elevated levels of human growth hormone. This hormone is essential for fat mobilization. It also signals fat burning enzymes and aids in muscle mass development. HGH levels are raised most during sleep, in direct proportion to exercise intensity during your workout.

Strength training will improve your glucose tolerance and increase insulin receptor sensitivity. This will help your body become a fat burner, rather than a sugar burner. This type of exercise also creates a bigger metabolic afterburn than aerobic training, while also increasing fat-free muscle, bone density and metabolism.

2. Cardio/Aerobic Training

There are many benefits associated with cardio and aerobic training, but also many negatives. Cardio training will lower your resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, keep your brain young by increasing circulation to the brain and aids in detoxification by stimulating the lymphatic system.

But long distance cardio training decreases testosterone levels, decreases the immune system post exercise, and raises stress hormone levels (cortisol). Increased levels of cortisol stimulate the appetite, will increase fat storing and slow down or inhibit exercise recovery.

So how do we get the benefits without the negatives? Burst train to burn fat.


For more information about my Burstfit DVDs, go to

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  1. Jeffry Terauds says:

    I like your bursting videos. We are big sprint training advocates. Your thinking is in perfect lock step with our philosophy. Geriatric, rehabbing or morbidly obese people have a hard time with straight body weight training methods. We have been producing safe sprint trainers since 1977 and I think that your clients could benefit from it. Check it out if you like.

    We have an affiliate program.

  2. Iriogbe kingsley says:

    How do i get ur products here in Nigeria? I had suffered IBS before and in recent months had started reacting to different foods and the list of food i am now reacting to is increasing speedily. I need ur help.I do i get ur products?

  3. April says:

    Is there any other way to work out that doesn’t require me to be on my feet. I am not able to stand/walk for more then 10 minutes and this would put me down for a few days just doing the sprint and taking pain medications which I try hard not to take. I have CRPS in my foot and just putting on shoes is non-existent since the pain level goes way up with the pressure of shoes on my foot. I don’t want to spend money on a gym that I know that would cause more issues and put me in more pain.

  4. Marco Goes says:

    I am a 53 years old male from Barcelona ,Spain.
    About a 2 years ago i started walking one hour per day,after 12 months i started running 1 kilometer and then i would walk till i completed one hour,i have worked up to running 20 kilometers 3 times per week at a pace of 2,45 hrs going up a mountain close to my house,i also do yoga and calisthenics the days i do not run.

    I was 95 kilos when i started exercise and now i wait 85 but i have gained a lot of muscle.

    Here is my routine

    Day 1

    Warm up 15 minutes dinamic strechs
    Then i do interval training for 1 kilometer
    run 20 kl going up hill( only about 8 kilometers are going up)

    Day 2
    Yoga ashtanga for 1 hr and half

    Day 3
    Calisthenics for 1 hour,i also use elastic bands on this day

    Day 4

    Tehn i repeat the routine.
    Sometimes i take 2 or 3 days off at the end of the month.

    How could i adapt burst training to my routine?
    I i change the running days for burst train i will still burn the same amount of calories that i do with my up hill long run?

    I saw some articles say that after doing burst training you should not exercise the next day,is that true?
    e fun in the mountain.
    If i do burst training and then run the 20 k it is bad for my half because a liberate cortisol?
    I am more concerned about long term health and if my long run is doing harm to my healthi will stop.
    I was thinking that maybe i could do the burst training and then just walk to hav
    Thanks ,

    • Burst training would be great to incorporate on the days you do not run. You shouldn’t need to rest the day after but do make sure you take 1 day each week and rest from activity, especially if you have been workout out hard during the week. I am not a huge fan of running distance because it is hard on your body but if it is something you love and won’t give up, I would either cut back on your distance running and do burst training or try to incorporate it on your off days along with weight training.

  5. Khadijah says:

    Hi AXE,
    Good day to you.
    I have just watched your burst training video,it’s really doable……..
    I am a victim of fat in belly,so I am thinking about doing your burst training from today……….
    I will inform you about my progress later,till then bye……

  6. debra says:

    Hello Dr. Axe. I got your burstfit and love it! its a great and hard workout. I read that you recommend to do it 3 to 4 times a week. what should I do on the other days? I enjoy yoga and zumba but was wondering if I should do more traditional cardo on the treadmill on those days? a walk/run routine? I usually work out 5 or 6 days a week since I am trying to lose weight. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!!


  7. Rentia van Rooyen says:

    Dear Dr Axe I live in South Africa & are very thankful for your website. I have learned a lot & use your recipes often. I am 51 & constantly trying to pick up weight. I am having menopause issues & want to do burst exercise to balance hormones. I already walk 3 times a week & pilates 3 times a week. How can I ensure I will not lose weight? I am 1.74m, weighing 60kg. Thank you

  8. Julie says:

    Is the burst training program ok to do if one has adrenal fatigue?

  9. JS says:

    What would you suggest for a 14 year old aspiring ballet dancer who already eats clean (no processed, sugar or dairy, only fruits, veg and vegetarian protein, nuts, seeds limited legumes, and some soy protein) but still needs to loose about 10lbs weight from a 5’2″ frame to be 110lbs. She has eaten clean for about a year and still no real change in the weight. She is frustrated and as her mom I want to encourage good habits through exercise to help her achieve her goals. thanks

    • I would focus on eating meat and vegetables with healthy fats and cut out fruit and grains. I would also try incorporating burst training 3-5 times each week

      • Js says:

        At only 5’2″ and muscular already, She is worried about over developing her thigh muscles bc she wants a longer line for ballet and many of your burst exercises are intense on the thigh muscles. Won’t she bulk up with these types of exercises?

  10. Donna says:

    Dr. Axe, I am 58 years old and have issues being on my feet. I am anxious to see if this program will help me because I also IBS. I am overweight and would like to loose about 50 lbs. I just purchased your program and am wondering if this will work for me. Any suggestions on how to modify it to accommodate my disabilities? Thank you.

  11. T'Shon says:

    What would be best exercise for someone that is over 350 lbs ?

  12. marta says:

    Hi Dr.Axe
    I just came across burst training.
    I am 32 and would like to lose about 5kg.
    I wasn’ t very active for last year.
    Will I lose weight by doing just burst training for 20-30 min 4 times a week or do I need to to other exercise as well? I also cut my calories intake to 1200 a day.
    Many thanks for your help.

  13. val says:

    you mention doing burst training on a rebounder. Can you give me some ideas of what those exercises would be?

    • You can do 1 leg jumps, high jumps, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.
      You can search youtube for rebounder exercises and should find many different options. I will try to put a video together on it as well.

  14. Karin Arnaud says:

    Hi Dr. Axe,

    I am 51 years old and need to shed 16kg. I am insulin resistant and the weight comes off very slowly. My blood sugar can drop very low at times and I am not able to exercise on an empty stomach, but I do well by having a diet shake half an hour before a workout. Could you please tell me whether this practice will jeopardise the effect of burst training – will I just be using the fuel supplied by the shake in stead of using stored fat for energy?

    How long before and after a burst session, can one have a meal?
    Thank you

    • Eating an hour before burst training is perfectly fine and can help fuel your workout! I would focus on consuming real food and cutting out sugars and grains. I would then try to eat protein within an hour of exercising.

  15. Anna Iacono says:

    Hi Dr. Axe. I have osteoarthritis of both hips and a tear on left hip and a L knee injury. Can you recommend some weight loss and strenthening exercises for my hips without adding harm to my hips or knees. I started running 2 yrs ago and now have been told not to run.

    Thank you for your suggestions.


  16. Vivian says:

    Dr. Axe, I absolutely love all the information and the burst training video is such a help, it is very motivating without all the hype of fitness performers which the average person can not keep up with, you keep it real and that is inspiring.

    Can you suggest something, diet or even topical solutions for skin treatment. I think I either am battling rosacea or possibly psoriasis on my face, around my nose/nostril area. Red, almost crusty at times, burning itching and some like acne break outs just there.

    Thank you

  17. sarah says:

    Hi From Dubai Dr. Axe
    Am 30 years old, and am a mom for 2 daughters Ania and Abigail :-), after Ania’s Birth i lost all my body fat but after Abigail i lost 15 kilo in 3 month, and am stuck with 15 kilo now, i tryed about 3 years focusing to lose them, i tryed everything and i mean everything, lots of programs with a famous personal trainers, i lift weights and cardio and everything and i don’t know where is the problem am sooo discourage and i stopped this week trying anything but am still eating right but the surprise IS i gained 1 kilo in week, am drinking 2 to 3 litre water. So what do u think???!!!

  18. Kristen Knowles says:

    What are some suggestions or modifications you suggest for the push-ups/burpies? I have a wrist injury from a few years back that make it nearly impossible to do push-ups. Is there something I can do or change to still work my arms? One of the issues thats always kept me from doing burst training is that it is heavy on the push-ups and I am not able to do those. Thanks!

  19. Jeff says:

    Hi Dr. Axe, about many calories do I burn on your BurstFit and BurstFit Fire? I am thinking around 300, but would like your input so I can track it better. Thank you