One of the most common reasons we give for skipping a workout is not having enough time. But we can all find fifteen minutes to spare, even during the busiest day. That fifteen minutes idled away on facebook, or wasted on some trashy tv viewing! Wouldn’t it be great to use that fifteen minutes to really improve your health and fitness levels? Getting fit doesn’t have to mean an hour in the gym every day. You can make dramatic improvements in your fitness levels and boost your metabolism with a powerful HIIT workout that takes just fifteen minutes at home!
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and to be effective, it requires you to work at maximum intensity for short periods of time, interspersed with recovery periods. This means that you push briefly beyond your aerobic limit and into your anaerobic training zone. Your anaerobic energy system takes over from your aerobic system when you train with maximal effort. It causes your body to burn more calories, and therefore more body fat during the exercise period and beyond as your body takes a longer time to recover. HIIT causes metabolic adaptations which are not achieved with longer steady-state training, enabling your body to improve its fat-burning ability.
The key to HIIT is to work hard and fast, we’re talking about more than just raising your heart rate a little; you should expect to be totally out of breath and ready for each 10 second rest period! But the great thing is, even though you’ve only worked for a few minutes, these exhilarating workouts keep your metabolism raised and burning calories long after you’ve finished. So the next time you have 15 minutes spare, treat your body, give HIIT a go!
There are different ways to approach HIIT but we are going to focus on the Tabata technique which uses multiple repetitions of maximal effort exercise with rests in between each burst. You’ll need to start with a four or five minute warm up to prepare your body for the intense workout you are going to do. Anything that gets the muscles warm and joints moving whilst increasing your heart rate; gentle jogging in place, some star jumps, squats and lunges etc.
If you’re new to interval training, try this straightforward combination of four cardio exercises for 20 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest between each exercise:
Burpees 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
High knees 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Mountain climbers 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Squat jumps 20 seconds
Rest 10 Seconds
To begin with, you may find you can only complete this circuit once or twice but as you get fitter, you should aim to repeat each exercises 4 times – working for a total of 8 minutes.
If you are used to training with weights you could progress to this routine:
Squats with kettlebell or dumbbell overhead press
2-handed kettlebell swings
As before; 20 seconds of intense work, 10 seconds of rest. Build up to four rounds of these 4 exercises.
You can mix any combination of cardio, bodyweight and resistance exercises and as you get fitter, you can increase the exercise time, or add in another round.
You may find it useful to use a timer for interval training as this will allow you to focus on working at maximum intensity the “Boxing Timer” App for Iphone or smart phone is an effective timer which allows you to set exercise and rest intervals for as many rounds as you like (cost around £1.50). Alternatively, the Gymboss Interval Timer is a great training tool (available for around £15 on amazon).
If you want to work along with us, you’ll find one of our full 8 minute HiiT sessions here Here
Note: You should not attempt HIIT if you are not already used to exercising or if you have cardiovascular problems or other health concerns. If you are in any doubt whether HIIT is suitable for you, please consult your GP.