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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

Beginners’ Guide To HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

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Beginners’ Guide To HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

If you want to burn calories and fat, you may benefit from a HIIT routine. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is one of the most popular form of exercise in the fitness world right now, and it appears that it is a more effective way to burn calories than simply cardio.

However if you want to build your own HIIT routine it is important to understand the concept behind HIIT, as well as how it can benefit you personally. This is the first step to creating your HIIT routine.

The Concept Of HIIT

So what is HIIT? HIIT is a cardio training style where you will work out intensely for a short period of time before taking a break. One of the most popular methods is repeating a series of exercises for 30 seconds before taking a quick break to breathe and let your body recover. Another popular method is doing a few different exercises for a minute before taking a short break, but this is very intense!

The breaks allow you to put a high level of energy into the quick 30 second work outs, which could be why this is a more effective fat burner than normal cardio. If you want to try a HIIT routine it is important to remember that you must put all of your energy into the brief workouts, as this will raise your heart rate and burn calories.

The Length Of A HIIT Workout

Most people plan HIIT workouts that are 15 minutes or 30 minutes long. This is because it is an intense form of working out, so exercising for too long may leave you feeling weak and drained. It is also more effective to work out for a shorter period of time as you will put more energy into your workout.

If you only want to work out one area, such as your arms, a 15 minute HIIT routine can be created to target that one area. If you want a full body workout it is best to work out for 30 minutes so that you can dedicate time to each part of your body.

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HIIT Intervals

Intervals are an essential part of your HIIT routine. A 1996 study by scientist Izumi Tabata found that one of the most effective options is a 20 minute on, 10 minute off routine, as this boosted conditioning in professional athletes.[1]

However if you are doing more intense moves you will need more frequent breaks. A shorter option is six 30 second workouts followed by a 4 minute rest period.[2] These breaks are essentials as they raise your heart rate, blood and muscle lactate.

Choosing Moves That Work For You

There are a variety of different moves that you can choose to use. These moves will work out different parts of your body, and it is best to combine a range of lower body, upper body, core and cardio moves so that you are following a complete HIIT workout.

Here are some exercises that you could include in your work out.

Upper Body Exercises

The Up And Down Plank

This is a great variation on the classic plank that uses your body weight to help build muscle. It can be difficult holding this move for a long time, but you should aim to hold the position for at least 30 seconds. If you are struggling to hold the position keep your knees on the ground.

Find out how to do an up and down plank here.

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The Push up

The push up is a classic work out move that is a great way to burn fat as you build muscle.

Find out how to do a push up here.

Core Exercise

The Bicycle Crunch

A bicycle crunch is a modified crunch that strengthens your obliques and abs.

Find out how to do a bicycle crunch here.

Lower Body Exercise

Jump Squats

Jump squats are very difficult to do, but they are a great way to burn fat and build muscle. Aim for 30 seconds of jump squats!

Find out how to do a jump squat here.

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Total Body Exercises

Burpees

A burpee is a plyometric move that will raise your heart rate to burn calories. The exercise has three parts to it; you lower your hands to the ground, you jump your legs back into a plank, you do a push up and then you go back to standing position.

Find out how to do a burpee here.

Useful Infographics To Help You Build Your Own HIIT Workout

Here are five handy infographics that include more information about HIIT routines so that you can create the perfect personalized HIIT workout.

1. The Divas Run For Bling HIIT Workout

    2. The Flora Foodie HIIT Workout

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      3. The Fitfluential HIIT Workout

        4. The Bree HIIT Workout

          5. The Daily Burn HIIT Workout

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            Reference

            More by this author

            Amy Johnson

            Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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            Last Updated on October 4, 2021

            5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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            5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

            With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

            Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

            Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

            We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

            • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
            • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
            • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
            • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
            • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
            • Total: 20 to 22 hours

            Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

            Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

            • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
            • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
            • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

            Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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            Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

            No equipment? No problem.

            So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

            Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

            Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

            1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

            Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

            Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

            • Quadruped Rocks
            • Frog Stretch
            • Hip Prying
            • Scapula Push-ups
            • Hindu push-ups

            Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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            2. Yoga

            Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

            3. Calisthenics

            Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

            You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

            Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

            4. Aerobic Exercise

            Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

            Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

            Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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            5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

            High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

            Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

            Chipper 60

            Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

            If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

            What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

            Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

            Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

            Sleep

            Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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            “Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

            Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

            Stress

            We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

            Stimulants

            Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

            Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

            Final Thoughts

            Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

            Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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            Reference

            [1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
            [2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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