During the first days or weeks of January, many of us convince ourselves that this is the year we’ll finally get in shape. One month or so into this same calendar year, the spandex-clad population of formerly enthusiastic gym rats starts to dwindle around us. Everyone has good intentions at the outset, but resolutions start to fall by the wayside. Excuses abound, though most people claim there just isn’t enough time in the day for exercise.

What if you exercised smarter with the limited time you do have? High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout that affords fitness experts and novices alike the opportunity to do just that. HIIT integrates short bursts of maximum intensity cardio with longer “recovery” periods of exercise done at half intensity. 1 The key to success with this approach is working as hard as possible through the periods of extra intensity, which typically last anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds. Whereas all manner of activity burns calories, more fat is burned with increased intensity. Thus, a killer fat-burning session can be had in less time than it takes to drive to the gym. Numerous studies even associate HIIT with boosts in metabolism and better athletic endurance.2

Does HIIT sound intimidating, more so than your relatively painless 30-minute elliptical ride? Every heart-pounding second proves worth it, equating to more calories burned because of something called post-exercise exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). All-out, lung-burning cardio like that experienced with HIIT raises metabolic rates and keeps trainees incinerating calories long after they stop moving.2

Regardless of when the urge to exercise hits you, try integrating a bit of HIIT into your workout regimen. We’d certainly never begrudge anyone their cathartic swim or invigorating morning jog, but there are other ways to exercise if you’re tight on time. It’s all about the willingness to dive in with intensity.

Try This Fitness Routine…

Perform each exercise at maximum intensity for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds and move on to the next exercise.  Repeat 4x for a total fitness time of 21 minutes.

Jumping Jacks

Mountain Climbers

Skipping Rope

Burpees

High Knees

Jumping Jacks

Squat Jumps

Sources:

1 Vanstone, E. (2014, March 4). What is HIIT? retrieved February 6 2017, Men’s Health Web Site: http://www.menshealth.co.uk/fitness/cardio-exercise/what-is-HIIT

2 Gold, M. (2017, January 2). High Intensity Interval Training: What Is HIIT, And How Do You Know If You’re Doing It? retrieved February 7 2017, Self Web Site: http://www.self.com/story/what-is-high-intensity-interval-training-benefits