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When it comes to quick and effective ways to burn fat, there’s no denying the usefulness of high intensity interval training (A.K.A HIIT) workouts.
These short and rapid bursts of movements and exercises have been shown to offer a good number of benefits both for the body and mind.
And regardless of your daily schedule or fitness goals, HIIT exercises can without a doubt, be an excellent addition to your workout routine.
If you’re new to HIIT or not quite sure how to get started with it, then don’t worry.
In this guide, you’ll learn how HIIT works, what to do, as well as a simple 15-minute HIIT workout that will have you burning fat like crazy.
So go on and grab your towel, let’s get started.
How HIIT Works
The basics of High Intensity Interval Training is pretty simple. It involves a short period of rapid intense exercise, followed by a period of rest, or a much lower intensity exercise.
This pattern is often repeated for a number of cycles. Take running for example. You could start with a brisk walk or light jog for about 2 to 3 minutes, followed by a sprint at full speed for about 30 seconds, repeated about 5 times.
During that high-intensity period, you want to be going all out, giving something close to a hundred percent of your full capacity.
The type, variation and duration of the HIIT workouts you choose will depend on your goal. You can have a full body HIIT workout, or just target a specific area of your body (abs, arms, glutes, etc.)
And while additional equipment can help, they’re certainly not a necessity.
At the basic level, high intensity interval training is pretty simple (I said simple, not easy lol) and doesn’t require a lot of complex stuff to do.
Benefits Of HIIT
Alright, let’s talk about the upsides. These are some benefits associated with high intensity interval training.
1) It Supports Weight Loss
No, let me rephrase. It is great for weight loss. If you’re someone who’s looking to shed some pounds, HIIT might just be perfect for you.
Since you engage in periodic bursts of exercise, usually at full capacity, your body burns more calories as a result of that, and in a shorter period of time too.
Even after your sweat sesh, your body’s metabolic rate still stays up for a while, meaning you’ll keep burning calories for a while after your workout. That’s good news.
2) Good For Your Muscles
One of the ways our muscles get to improve, is by subjecting them to stress within reason, and in the proper situations.
When doing HIIT, you’re subjecting your muscles to the right type of stress needed to make them stronger and better. And you can also work a variety of muscle groups in the process.
Unlike regular fat loss that usually comes with a bit of muscle loss too, high intensity workouts can actually help you preserve muscle mass while burning fat.
3) It’s Pretty Time-Efficient
I understand that not everyone has 2 hours to spare each day for the sake of exercise. With HIIT, you don’t need to spend 2 hours working out.
You can bust out a good session in as little as 10 or 15 minutes per day, which makes it perfect even for people with the busiest of lifestyles.
That’s just about the same amount of time you’d spend scrolling through your emails or looking at some cool pictures on your phone (I’m the second one).
So even with a busy lifestyle or a tight schedule, it could still be possible to squeeze out a few minutes to get that sweat in.
4) Support Good Cardiovascular Health
Regular physical activity (especially aerobic exercise) has been shown to be promote good cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, blood sugar and also improve cholesterol levels.
The same statement also holds true for high intensity interval training, especially since it tends to push your body to its aerobic limits in a short period of time.
Speaking of aerobic limits, regular HIIT training can also help improve blood flow as well as total oxygen consumption.
15-Minute HIIT Workout Plan
Alright, time to get down to business. This quick 15-minute full body HIIT will have you burning fat in no time. It consists of;
- 6 high intensity exercises
- 30 seconds per exercise
- A 20 second active rest between each workout – active rest can include stretching, walking about, or a light jog on the spot.
- A 60 second (1 minute) rest between rounds
- A minimum of 3 rounds
If you have a bit more time to kill or want to take it up a notch, you can step it up to 45 seconds per exercise, and with 4 or more rounds.
Just like any other exercise, it helps to warm up a little bit before starting. This will aid overall performance, reduce fatigue and also help prevent injuries. Stretching afterwards is also a good idea.
Exercises included in this workout plan are;
- Jumping jacks
- Mountain climbers
- Sit up punches
- Lunge jumps
- Push ups
Jumping jacks are a pretty simple and easy workout to try out, and if done right and fast enough, they are sure to get your heart rate up in no time.
You’re going to want to;
- Begin by standing in an upright position
- Jump on the spot, why alternating between widening out and narrowing your legs for each jump
- At the same time, you want to be raising both arms to above head level. Much like you’re waving at a friend with both arms
Here’s a video representation
Mountain climbers are a popular high intensity workout and for good reason too. They’re great for working a large number of muscles, from your shoulders all the way down to your legs.
Here’s how to do them.
- Firstly, get down on all fours and stretch out your arms and legs
- With arms and feet stretched out ahead of, and behind you respectively raise one leg up to your chest level
- Repeat this for the other leg, alternating between them as fast as possible
- Do this for 30 seconds
Here’s a video guide to help you out
Burpees are another great full body workout that targets a large number of muscle groups and is sure to leave you feeling the burn afterwards.
This is how it’s done
- While standing in an upright position, bend over and touch the floor
- Next, move both your feet together backwards to assume a plank position
- Bring both feet inwards again to your chest level, and then stand/jump up straight
- Aim to do this as quick as possible
It should look a bit like this.
Sit up punches
These are a variation of your regular sit ups, and help to give your arms and shoulder a bit more action. Sit-ups are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to doing them.
The only difference here is that when you do actually “sit-up”, you’re going to want to throw your fists forward like a punch (one at a time of course), before going back down and repeating the process.
Here’s a video demonstration for sit-up punches
Jumping lunges are a more interesting twist on the regular lunges. And they’re great for working your calves, glutes and hip muscles.
Here’s how to do it
- Standing upright, place one leg in front of the other and go down till your front foot forms a somewhat right angle (90 degrees) at your knees
- Jump up, and switch legs mid-air, so you land with the other leg in the front this time, and also forming a right angle at your knee
- Swinging your arms or placing them together in front of you while you do this is also allowed
Here’s a video demonstration for lunge jumps.
Push-ups are a pretty standard workout that are both simple to do and beginner friendly too.
You start by assuming a plank position, and with both arms straight under your shoulders, you go down to a few centimeters above the ground, and push yourself back up, and repeat.
It’s also important to maintain proper form during the duration of your push-up.
Here’s a video demonstration that shows how it should be done.
So basically, it’s going to look a bit like this
- Jumping jacks (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- Mountain climber (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- Burpees (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- Sit up punches (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- Lunge jumps (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- Push-ups (30 seconds) with 15 seconds active rest
- 1 minute rest
Repeat 3 times