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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

HIIT: The Workout for Those Who Don’t Have Time to Exercise

HIIT: The Workout for Those Who Don’t Have Time to Exercise

“I want to exercise, I just don’t have enough time.”

How many times have these words come out of your mouth?

If you’re like most of us, you think that staying fit requires hours at the gym, long evenings spent jogging, and lots of fancy equipment.

That’s actually not true.

There are loads of new workouts which are designed specifically for people with very little free time – and HIIT workouts are some of the best.

What are HIIT workouts?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and is a type of workout that combines short bursts of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods.

It’s ideal for anyone who wants to stay fit without adding another chore to their already busy schedule.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about HIIT workouts, and how to get started?

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Then read on.

What does a HIIT workout involve?

Confused about what you actually do during a HIIT workout?

There are loads of different workouts, suitable for people at different fitness levels.

We’ve given one basic example below, to give you an idea of how HIIT looks in practice.

Beginner HIIT workout

Complete the following exercises for 45-second intervals, with a 15-second rest interval after each.

Repeat for three rounds, resting for one minute between rounds.

1. Pushups.

2. Squats.

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3. High knees running on the spot.

4. Side lunges.

5. Jumping jacks.

See how simple HIIT workouts can be?

You don’t need to learn any complex moves, or splash out on any expensive equipment.

What happens to your body during a HIIT workout?

Curious about exactly what’s going on in your body during high-intensity interval training?

During periods of intense exercise, your body needs more oxygen than usual. This leads to an oxygen shortage, which causes your body to ask for more oxygen during the recovery period. This process is named EPOC– excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It is the KEY to burn more fat than usual! This keeps your heart rate high and causes you to burn more calories than you would in a regular workout. [1]

What should you focus on during a HIIT workout?

To see maximum benefits from your HIIT workouts, it’s a good idea to define a goal beforehand.

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You might be looking to:

  • Burn fat and lose weight.
  • Increase your endurance.
  • Improve your performance in high-intensity activities.
  • Stay fit and healthy.

Pick a goal beforehand, and look for workouts tailored towards helping you achieve it.

Depending on your goal, you’ll vary the lengths of your work and rest intervals, the intensity of the exercises you choose, and the length of your overall workout.

What do HIIT workouts offer?

HIIT workouts aren’t just convenient – they also have loads of amazing benefits. Check out the list below.

1. Increase your endurance. If you take part in another sport, like running or cycling, there’s a good chance you’ll notice an increase in your endurance after completing HIIT workouts.

2. Keep burning calories after your workout. HIIT workouts send your body into overdrive, which means you keep burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising. Bonus!

3. Good for your heart. Pushing yourself to exercise until your heart rate increases is good for heart health and promotes healthy circulation.

4. Boost your metabolism. Because HIIT uses more oxygen than regular workouts, it boosts your metabolism – ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.

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5. Easy to stick to. Short, simple workouts are much easier to stick to than complex training plans. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you can workout anywhere, and with HIIT, you can.

Wait…Is there any risk for HIIT workouts?

Like any workout, HIIT does carry some risks. It’s important to choose exercises you can carry out safely, and avoid pushing yourself too hard, too fast.

If in doubt, always ask a professional for advice before attempting a new workout.

Are you ready to try out your first HIIT workout?

One of the best things about HIIT is, you don’t need any equipment to do it and you can customise your moves based on your goals! You don’t necessarily need to stick with the same move because there are so many options for you to choose from.

You can pick your favourite moves that target what you want and switch to the others to keep yourself entertained! The most important thing is you give your full potential during the workout in order to achieve the best performance!

Here we offer you an infographic that shows you how basic HIIT workout can be formed! If you are interested in customising your workout, you can always check this article to help you get started!

So no more excuse to not exercise now! Start now and SWEAT ON!

    Reference

    More by this author

    Eloise Best

    Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2021

    How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

    How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

    As a general rule, everyone wants to have a sexy and strong body, but no one wants to put in the work. We see a whole lot of excuses being thrown around every time fitness is mentioned, and it’s frightening that only about 3% of people in the US subscribe to the healthy living philosophy.[1]

    That being said, have you ever stopped to think about why all these people fail to get in shape? Sure, there are some who are lazy, some with legitimate medical issues, and the readily available cheap junk food doesn’t help, but I think there is something more to it.

    People are pressed for time, scared, and confused. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Most people either can’t make it to the gym, don’t have a lot of money to drop on long-term membership fees, don’t feel comfortable exercising around others, or they simply don’t even know what to do when they do get to the gym.[2]

    Well, with a few useful tricks, some good information, and a bit of determination, you can create all the right conditions for building an impressive physique without ever leaving the house. Here’s a few things to have in mind:

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    Fixing your posture and getting limber

    The biggest issue most beginners have when they start working out is the fact that their bodies are so used to sitting scrunched up in front of a screen that they have trouble moving around freely. The human body can be amazingly limber and assume all kinds of positions, but for most people, this is going to require extensive work.

    Start by gradually improving your posture over a few weeks, using small exercises, more ergonomic furniture, and just being mindful of how you stand, walk, and sit.[3] You can combine this with a short and sweet stretching routine, done about twice a day, to get your body ready to perform the basic exercises correctly.

    Learning the basic movements

    While there’s a lot of science behind both getting stronger and getting leaner, it can all be boiled down to a few core concepts and a number of the most effective exercises. Here are the best movements for overall development that you’ll need to master (you can find examples of how to perform all the exercises mentioned here on Bodybuilding.com):

    • Squats: the king of all exercises, the squat builds most of your leg muscles with an emphasis on quads and glutes, if you go nice and deep like you should. It can be a good core and thoracic extension exercise if you hold some weight in front of you, as in the Goblet and Zercher squat variations.
    • Lunges: a great exercise for the quads and glutes that also targets the hip extensors. It also teaches you to keep your balance.
    • Pushup variations:[4] the pushup is so versatile that some call it “the poor man’s gym”. The standard close grip pushup works the triceps, front shoulders, and chest, while wider variations put more emphasis on the chest. Raising your legs pushes the focus towards the shoulders and the upper chest, while the handstand pushup is predominantly a shoulder and triceps exercise.
    • Dips: another great exercise for the lower chest and triceps, this is an incredibly fun movement that can slap mass on you quickly when done correctly.
    • Pull-ups and chin-ups: grab a bar, hang from it with arms almost fully stretched out, and then pull yourself up until your chin raises above the bar. This is a fairly straightforward, yet difficult movement that builds a big back, biceps, and forearms. Position your hands facing the head for more bicep activation, and go a bit wider with palms facing away from you to target the lats better.
    • Rows/inverted row: a horizontal pulling motion that will add slabs of meat to your back and while improving that often lagging back head of the shoulder muscle. It even improves posture by strengthening the spinal erectors to an extent. You can bend over with the back straight and row a weight from the ground, with one or both hands, or you can grab the underside of a horizontal bar, feet on the ground, and pull yourself into it.
    • Glute bridges: a great way to really isolate and work the butt. It also gets the hamstrings, which are often neglected by people working out at home.
    • Floor hip extensions: a good addition that also focuses on the glutes and hamstrings, resulting in well-toned and balanced legs.
    • Calf raises: the calf is a small muscle but an important one, especially for the ladies who want to look great in heels. It’s also easy to just throw in at the end of the workout.
    • Planks, leg raises, and ab wheel rollout: of course, the abs need some attention too, but go for planks, hold for time, side planks, hanging or lying leg raises, and ab wheel rollout for the best results.
    • The Superman: the spinal erectors need to be strong if they are to keep your back healthy, balance out those abs, and keep you nice and tight during most of the other exercises on the list, so definitely give this one a go.

    Take a few weeks to just get the form down pat on all these movements and make sure that you are doing a full range of motion and slower, deliberate movements. Don’t just bounce all over the place. Establish and build momentum. You can use a good bodyweight strength training program to make sure you hit all the muscles, keep progressing, and get enough time to recover.[5]

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    How to progress on bodyweight exercises

    Now, if you want to have a great and lean physique — and this goes for ladies as well — you need to build some muscle to give your limbs that lovely shape you are after, before you can lose the excess flab, and expose that Greek statue of a body. Don’t try to combine endurance work with your strength exercises. Focus on building strength with the exercises above and dedicate some time every other day for things like swimming, jumping rope, or cycling to burn some calories and improve your cardio.

    Okay, so the main question is, how does one progress on bodyweight exercises, short of gaining more weight to make them more challenging? Well, there’s a few things you can do. The first thing to do to challenge yourself is to add more reps.

    The most important thing to remember, however, is that when you can easily perform 15-20 reps of an exercise and still have a few reps left in the tank, it’s time to make it more challenging by doing one of the following:

    • Add an additional set. If you started at 3 sets of 5-6 reps and you’re now comfortable with 3 sets of 15-17 reps, then you can simply throw in a fourth set into the mix.
    • Do it slower. Busting out 20 quick reps isn’t quite the same as doing 10 slow and controlled reps, where you can even add a short pause when your muscles are fully relaxed before contracting them for the next rep.
    • Shorten the rest period between sets. 60-90 seconds is the sweet spot for resting between longer sets of 10-20 reps, but when things get easy, you can shorten this rest period progressively by 10 seconds, until you are only resting about 30-40 seconds between sets, to make it more difficult before moving on to a more challenging variation or adding weight.
    • Move on to a more difficult variation. When you get comfortable, focus on a variation of the movement that provides a bit of a challenge, e.g. one arm on ball pushups and then single arm pushups, pistol squats, and so on.
    • Add some weight. While you might not have access to barbells, you can always get a fairly inexpensive dumbbell set, a few different sized bags filled with sand, a backpack with some rocks, and even big water bottles and milk jugs will do the trick, just as long as you keep adding weight.

    Work hard on your form, then try to go as hard as you can each session without overdoing it. I’d say stop a rep short of failure and rest until you feel you can go for another full set.

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    Determining the type of cardio you need to do

    Cardio is not that difficult to figure out and it basically boils down to a few simple rules, depending on your shape and goals:

    • If you’re skinny and want to get sexy and muscular: Do light and steady cardio, like a brisk walk for an hour, 5-6 minutes of jump rope here and there, or even just 10 minutes of shadow-boxing or dancing every day. Don’t let it cut into your calories too much.
    • If you’re a little overweight and want to lose 10 pounds or less and build muscle: It’s the same as the previous example, just add 2-4 more intense sessions of running, swimming, circuit training a week into the mix to cut the weight first. Revert to the previous example once you have lost the weight and recenter your focus on building muscle.
    • If you’re seriously overweight and your main concern is cutting 20+ pounds: Again, it’s the same as the previous example, only you can go with even more intense workouts, or daily moderate cardio sessions of about 20-30 minutes for a while. Once you’ve lost most of the weight, revert to the previous example, and then to the first example when you’ve shed all the extra pounds you’d like to get rid of.

    You can choose any activity that you like, from jump rope, cycling, and swimming to hiking and and other high-cardio sports.

    A look at diets and keeping them reasonable

    As far as the diet goes we’ll keep it extremely simple:

    • Try to eat diverse vegetables with every meal
    • Eat fruit, seeds, and nuts instead of sweets
    • Go for lean meats instead of processed meat and cooked food instead of fast and fried food
    • Start counting your macro nutrient intake[6]
    • Cheat if you must, but keep these meals small, few, and far between

    As long as you can stick with the program for about 80% of the time, you’ll be on your way to better health and an amazing body!

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    DIY home gym basics

    Some essentials that can help you get better results at home include:

    • A dumbbell set
    • Pull-Up bar
    • Ab wheel
    • Big ol’ sturdy bags filled with sand

    You can do tons of great exercises with these simple tools, but if you can’t shell out for them right now, good alternatives include five gallon milk jugs filled with water, a bunch of books stacked in a backpack, using a friend/partner to lay on you, push, or pull to provide extra resistance, or just lifting heavy furniture and moving it around the room.

    It pays to be creative. Look at how certain exercises are performed and on what type of equipment, and try to replicate it using household items. For example:

    • Two chairs = dip station
    • Anything that you can hang off = pull up bar
    • A stack of large blankets on the floor = bench
    • Stick and some rope = forearm exercise machine
    • A towel wrapped on a bar or dumbbell grip = thick grip for hand and forearm strength
    • Car = prowler device for pushing to build endurance and power in the legs

    It’s all fairly cheap and you can get as creative as you like, just remember to be consistent with your training in order to see the results you wish to see.

    All it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease, and you’ll set up a decent home “gym” and adopt some great habits along the way. It’s all about being consistent and trying to progress on each session, or at least each week, as you keep adding reps, using more complex movements, and adding weight, all while eating right for your current goals. Give it a shot and always remember, 90% of all this is your commitment and the intensity with which you attack these positive life changes.

    Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Atlantic: Study: Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
    [2] Men’s Fitness: 6 Not-So-Obvious Newbie Training Mistakes
    [3] Perfect Postur: Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics
    [4] Men’s Fitness: The Top 15 Pushup Variations
    [5] Men’s Fitness: 6 Bodyweight Workouts That Actually Build Momentum
    [6] On the Regimen: How To Count Your Macros – A Comprehensive Guide

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