When it comes to hitting your workout hard and getting the most bang for your buck, almost nothing is more effective (and efficient) than high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These workouts are designed to be quick and dirty—allowing you to get your heart rate up in short bursts of time followed by short rest periods.
Why is this effective? Largely because HIIT sessions prolong how long your metabolism stays high, meaning your body will keep burning calories for a greater period of time even after the workout is over. (There are a ton of other benefits, too, as noted by the American Council on Exercise and other organizations).
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Plus, HIIT workouts are short! So even if you only have 10 to 20 minutes to spare, you can still get in a killer workout!
Need some inspiration?
We've got 5 different ways to test yourself.
1) Try a Tabata.
Named after the Japanese exercise scientist who created it, this 4-minute workout (yup, you read that right) has the following blueprint:
- 20 seconds of 100% effort
- 10 seconds of rest
- Repeat 8 times
You can do this with just about anything: running, wall balls, burpees, squats, etc. Be creative and get ready to sweat!
2) Do an "EMOM."
Meaning "every minute on the minute," this workout asks you to do a given number of repetitions as quickly as possible, then rest the remainder of the minute and repeat until the workout is over (let's say 8 to 10 minutes).
Here's the trick: the faster you do the moves, the longer you have the rest—but the harder you'll have to work!
3) Perform some mini AMRAPs in sequence.
This stands for "as many rounds (or reps) as possible," and would look something like this:
- Perform as many rounds of a simple bodyweight circuit as you can in 3 minutes (e.g. 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats)
- Rest for 3 to 6 minutes.
- Repeat this cycle 3 times.
4) Just start sprinting.
When it's all said and done, there's nothing more simple than hopping on a treadmill or rower and just going as fast as you can for short periods of time. Try 5 to 10 rounds of 20-30 second all-out efforts, followed by 1 to 2 minute "easy" recovery pace.
With HIIT sessions, it's not so much the movements you do but how you do them. And as long as you're safe doing the exercises and can maintain good form even at high intensity, feel free to be creative.
5) Hop into a group class.
Get the guidance of a personal trainer in a fun and friendly environment. Try a group class to expand your exercise routine and experience new methods. Also, if you love a little healthy competition and like to "suffer in company,"—this option is perfect!