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Full Body HIIT Workout That Won’t Add Bulk

By Rachael Attard, Updated Jan 5, 2021
full body hiit no bulking

Last Updated May 29th 2020, 11:10 AM

I get a lot of questions about HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and specifically how to do HIIT workouts without the fear of getting bulky.

If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram, you know I am a big fan of HIIT for losing weight (my favourite one is interval running).

But, I do advise the girls who want to get lean legs and prefer a slimmer look to not overdo it.

The reason is that most of the HIIT workouts I see online are focused on leg exercises such as burpees, jump lunges, jump squats, box jumps etc.

HIIT is not necessary for getting lean legs (if that is your main goal) as it can often cause your thighs to bulk up (especially the endomorph body type).

This is why I wanted to share with you this full-body HIIT workout for women that won’t cause you to bulk up.

But, it will still help you to burn lots of calories (both during AND after).

In addition, I’ve covered the rest of the questions related to HIIT and its benefits.

If you want to jump straight to the workout, scroll down for the video, below.


full body hiit benefits


HIIT workouts usually last from 10 to 30 minutes, but they can give you the same results as a twice as long moderate-intensity workout.

For example, if you run for 40 minutes, and I do a HIIT workout for 20 minutes, you and I will burn the same number of calories.

This means doing a HIIT workout will save you some time and give you great results.


With HIIT, you will still continue to burn calories after your workout.

Studies have shown that HIIT increases your metabolism and keeps it that way even hours after you’re done exercising.

Apparently, just two minutes of sprinting can increase your metabolism over 24 hours as much as 30 minutes of running.


HIIT exercises do build muscle, which is a good thing, as it helps your metabolism. But doing too much HIIT, or the wrong type of HIIT exercises, can cause you to gain unwanted bulky muscle.

If you’re a mesomorph or endomorph body type, and you’re overdoing it on the leg exercises (squat jumps, burpees, jump lunges, etc.), you might see your legs starting to get bulky, rather than slimmer.

If you are not sure about your body type, take my FREE Body Type Quiz.

You will learn your body type in just 2 minutes, and you will get tips on how to eat and train to get the best possible results.



  • Complete each exercise for 40 seconds, and then rest for 20 seconds.
  • Once you have completed 1 round, you can either rest for 1 minute or go straight into round 2.
  • Aim to complete 3 rounds in total.
  • If it is too difficult, you can just do 2 rounds, and then work your way up to 3 rounds. 



bench hops hiit no bulking


advanced toe touches hiit get lean


high knee runs hiit


bicycle crunches hiit


straight punches hiit


mountain climbers hiit


rols up hiit no bulking

If you liked this one, you can check out my other workouts here.



I used to do a lot of HIIT that included squats, burpees and lunges. And at first, I loved it! It was helping me lose belly fat quicker, and I always felt great after a good HIIT session! 

But does HIIT actually burn fat?

To answer simply, no, HIIT typically DOESN’T burn fat. But it does increase your anaerobic threshold.

Let me explain. 

When you exercise at a lower intensity, you’re in the so-called aerobic or fat burning zone where you actually burn FAT

And when you do more strenuous workouts (like HIIT) you get in the anaerobic zone where your body burns carbs.

You’re typically in the anaerobic zone when you do HIIT or weights and in the aerobic (fat burning) zone when you do low-intensity cardio like walking.

So, if your anaerobic threshold is higher, your body will stay in the aerobic (fat-burning) zone for longer. 

Basically, it means you’ll burn more fat while doing lower intensity workouts.


I love doing HIIT, but I know that some HIIT routines CAN build too much muscle in the lower body. 

And this is especially true for 2 out of 3 female body types.

Some women, myself included, actually have issues with building too much muscle, so if you feel like traditional HIIT is making you bulky, you are probably right.

When I just started doing HIIT, it gave me amazing results. However, after some time, I noticed something that I really didn’t like. 

Because it had lots of squats and burpees, HIIT was making my thighs grow instead of making them smaller

And I expected that it would help me lose inner thigh fat and make my thighs smaller. Boy, was I wrong!

So, I thought I should do even more HIIT, to get the results I wanted. 

But the more I did it, the bigger my thighs. It made me feel so frustrated! I tried talking to other PT’s, but they weren’t very understanding, which made me feel even worse.

Luckily, that all changed when I started learning about different body types. I then realized my body type (mesomorph) builds muscles very easily. 

At first, I didn’t like it because it meant I couldn’t do some types of training, like HIIT. But since I knew HIIT had many benefits, I wanted to be able to do it without the fear of getting bigger. 

Since then, I’ve designed workout programs and guides for girls that want to get lean and toned but have a tendency to add too much muscle with a standard exercise regime.


It really depends on what is your workout and diet regime in general and what are your fitness goals overall.

If you’re trying to get lean legs, in particular, I advise doing HIIT only once a week. Read my blog post for more details about how to use HIIT to slim down legs.

If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your fitness levels overall (and you’re not too worried about bulking up your legs), I’d advise doing HIIT two or three times a week.

And for the best results, I recommend doing it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (also known as fasted cardio).


Assuming your diet is also mostly very healthy, you should normally see results from doing HIIT workouts a few times per week after 4-5 weeks.

I also recommend incorporating resistance training together with HIIT as it will help you lose weight and get toned much faster.

If you’re looking for workouts that will help you get lean & toned, check out this full-body workout you can do at home:


If you are looking for the best way to get slim down your thighs and overall body without getting too muscular, you should definitely check out my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program.

My program combines a well-balanced workout with a full 8-week meal plan. It is designed to get you in the best shape of your life without fear of adding too much muscle to your body frame.

Each week of the program, you can find one full-body HIIT workout similar to the first one above, so if you’re a big fan of interval training, it will definitely work for you.

And for those of you who prefer full-length videos, I also have an 8-week workout video course!

We are all different and to get the best possible results we should train and eat according to our body type. 

That’s why I designed 3 different versions of my program and of my video course, one for each of the 3 body types.

I hope you like it!


Rachael xx

Picture of Rachael

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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78 comments on “Full Body HIIT Workout That Won’t Add Bulk”

    Sarah Falub says:

    Ahh sorry I am a mesomorph. Not an endomorph.

    Sarah Falub says:

    If my version of HIIT is sprinting for 30 secs and walking for 30 sec for a total of 15 mins will that make my legs bigger if say I did it 3 times a week? I am a endomorph.

      Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      If you’re an endomorph, it would be best if you avoid any type of HIIT workouts or very intense exercises because they can cause unwanted bulkiness. To know the right type of workouts and diet for your body type, feel free to give this detailed blog post a read. I’m sure that you’ll find it very useful. :)


    Valentina says:

    Hi! How are you doing? I’m confused, I’ve seen Rachel’s HIIT videos for not bulking and there are some in which she does like half burpees (without the push up), jumping lunges, jump squats and even normal squats with a light weight between her legs. Can you do these things without bulking legs?

      Len - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! <3

      Rachael modified and designed her workouts so they will still remain low-impact and won't cause any bulkiness. Feel free to try them out. If you need help or tips, you can reach out to us at info@rachaelattard.com :)


    Samar Hamoudeh says:

    Hi, I have a question. I’m an endomorph body type and I’ve read so much about it but I always get confused. I want to lose weight, get lean and slim legs without bulking up from hiit workouts. I like doing hiit but I’m always afraid to get that bulky legs so I’ve stopped doing it. I only do the resistance training from the video course. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. So I want it to ask if I can do a hiit workout as a endomorph body type and how often should I do it.
    Thank you for the program❤

      Sanja - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      thanks for reaching out! <3

      Rachael doesn't recommend HIIT for endomorphs because it tends to cause bulkiness for that body type. It's best to follow the Video Course as close as possible for the best results :) Also, make sure that you're walking at least 5 times per week, 10,000 steps per day <3

      I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions! xx


    razan says:

    hi love ♡
    just wanted to tell you your blog is amazing like amazing amazing like wooow ♡♡♡
    and thank you so much 💓

      Sanja - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely <3

      I am so glad that you're enjoying Rachael's blog! <3


    razan says:

    oh my god thank you so much , everything just make sense now to me , I have born with asthma I was on drugs of cortisol most of my child hood that lead to alot of health problems but in that time I was so young and my parents were not that much educated, it effected me so badly I just thought this how I was born “you know” obese kid , then I joined gymnastics in middle school and my medication stopped in that time I was in my best health . then I changed school changed city and I was in high-school and I started to have health problems more and more , and when I joined college I was my highest weight ,but what is confusing that every time i try to go to a nutritionist they find out that my testosterone is high than estrogen and however I am obese I wight 120kg and I am only 5’3 i have alot of muscle mass compared to my weight I have 86kg of muscle mass i do exercise and try to lose weight but I always just get bulkier and heavier in weight, and I prefer lean body shape for my height. everything iam on diet I just get the result of my gain muscles and being strong but I am not getting any smaller in size 🙃 . your words makes alot of sense because I am an hourglass (mesomorph) body type i always had bulky Butt bulky legs and arms I even they gain muscle really fast and I loss weight fast and gain it fast too , I Am in my 20s and I have been taking my health very seriously because I do my best to improve it I always wanted to do horse riding and yoga
    that needs lean muscles . I have been searching more and more about the perfect diet for me and your information just completed perfectly for what I exactly should do to get that lean muscle and what I shouldn’t do . ♡♡♡

      Sanja - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely <3

      thanks for reaching out!

      I'm so happy that you're enjoying Rachael's blogs!

      It's super important to get your hormones balanced because it can have a huge effect on weight gain. Also, do you know your body type? If not, no worries! You can take Rachael's free body type quiz here. Once I know your body type, I’ll gladly provide you with tips and advice :) You can also email us at info@rachaelattard.com xx


    Ally says:

    hi, I’m so excited to start this! I’ve never done HIIT before so I decided to try this workout because I don’t want to bulk, just some very very light toning and definition! I have one question, approximately how many kcal will I burn by doing one round of this??

      Ana - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hey lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      It is hard to tell that because everyone practices it a bit differently in terms of engagement, repetition, and ability to do it exactly the same as the video.
      This leads to a different amount of calories burned.

      I suggest that you use any app that tracks the calories you burn while working out and give it a try yourself. That way you will be sure of the amount of burned calories. :)

      Enjoy the workout, hun! xx


    Faith says:

    hi so i am 17 and an mesomorph and really excited to start this because i’ve always struggled with my weight and body.

      Sanja - Lean Legs Support says:

      Hi lovely,

      Thank you for reaching out! :)

      ​Since you are 17 years old, your body is still going through a lot of transformations so ​if you want to lose weight, it’s best you talk to your parents so they can get you an appointment with a specialist. A nutritionist can advise you on your nutrition and workouts so that you can achieve the results you wish in a healthy way that suits your age.

      Wishing you the best of luck! xx