Finish your entire workout for the day in less than 10 minutes.
The biggest obstacle to getting your workout done is time: driving to the gym, waiting for treadmills, machines and weights, and then after all that, getting home and figuring out what to eat for dinner? Yeah, right. Your time’s more valuable than that, so thankfully research in recent years has shown that short, intense bouts of training can more effective than an hour or two in the gym.
Here’s your literal shortcut to getting fit quick: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Within a few minutes – before your morning shower, before dinner or a night out, first thing on a weekend morning – you can take care of your fitness needs for the day. The key is to push yourself as hard as you can (the “high intensity” part is important) to get the best workout possible.
The name explains it all: HIIT means working as hard as possible (high intensity) for a short period of time (interval). Think about it as quality versus quantity – try your hardest for 8 minutes every morning instead of taking a long, slow jog every day around the block.
These incredibly handy apps make life very easy (okay, as “easy” as exercise gets) by creating and timing your entire workout for you:
7 Minute Workout (Google Play)
7 Minute Workout (Apple)
The New York Times’ 7 Minute Workout
If you want to customize your own workouts, just follow a few simple principles.
First of all, to achieve a full body workout, exercise each part during your routine.
For example, a 7 minute workout might look like this:
Not sure where to find arm, core, cardio or leg exercises? Youtube has everything you need. Here are just a few examples to start from:
Tip: Not all of us have gym memberships, home gyms or even weights – instead, replace weights with canned goods or full water bottles, and benches with a yoga ball, a chair or sofa.
If you prefer to customize your own HIIT workouts, there are apps that function as simple timers for your intervals.
Do each exercise for 40 seconds, then allow yourself 20 seconds to catch your breath before moving on to the next exercise.
Ideally, find time to incorporate a quick cool down – a 10-15 minute run plus stretching. If you want to squeeze in your HIIT workout before work but don’t have more than 10 minutes to spare, do your “cool down” run and stretching in the evening after work.
As you improve week by week, you can increase difficulty by:
Decreasing Your Rest Time
Do each exercise for 45 seconds and rest for 15. After a few weeks at that level, increase to 50 seconds of exercise and 10 of rest. Keep going until eventually you can complete the whole routine with no rest at all.
Make Your HIIT longer
Add more arm, core, legs and cardio exercises in – push 8 exercises to 9 or 10.
Repeat Your HIIT
Complete one iteration of the entire routine, rest 1 minute, and then do the whole thing again. Work towards being able to do the whole routine 3 times through with as little rest as possible.
Remember to push yourself to improve, but also have patience – don’t sacrifice proper form and risk injury for the sake of adding more repetitions or trying exercises that are too difficult.
Remember, too, that results take time, but with dedication, they do come. Don’t obsess in front of the mirror every day. Instead, stick to your routine and you’ll begin to feel the difference in your body. Your routine gets easier, your clothes feel looser, and three flights of stairs are no big deal. Those are the kind of results that motivate you to keep going.
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.