High-intensity interval training is all the rage in the world of health and fitness, and rightly so. The idea is simple: combine extended periods of low-intensity exercise with short 30-second bursts of high octane energy expenditure.
The cooldown period allows you to get your breath back while the high-intensity exercise kicks your heart into gear, shocking your system and burning vastly more fat than a slow jog might.
Better yet, it’s the type of training that doesn’t fill up an entire lunch break and is suited to any cardio machine, like a treadmill or rower.
Total Body Workout
There’s no better way of pushing yourself than going up against the weight of your own body.
A 20-minute full body workout prioritizes speed over lethargy and works every important muscle group.
Take this Buzzfeed 20-minute workout, for instance:
“Start the clock, and immediately do 10 push ups in perfect form. When you’re done with the push-ups, go straight into jumping jacks until the clock reads 1:00. Then move on to the next move, spider lunges (total, not per side). Do 10 of those with good form, and then jumping jacks until the minute is up. Then move on to the next move — 10 perfect reps of the jumping lunges, and then do jumping jacks until the end of the minute. And finish up with 10 perfect walkouts.
And yes, you are supposed to do that whole thing five times in a row. Feel free to add a 45-second rest period between rounds (though a one- or one-and-a-half-minute rest period is fine too. Adjust as needed!).”
Resistance training is a fancy word for straining your muscles but the phrase is an important one, as it highlights the importance of adding resistance to your muscles.
Weight training, resistance bands and using your own body weight are all acceptable tenets of this discipline.
- Squats: grab a pair of weights and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into the squat, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes, and hold the pose.
This exercise is perfect for strengthening your quads, hamstrings, abs and shoulders,
- Planking. Though the goal is to stay completely still during the ‘plank’, this is a fast and effective fitness method.
Lie down on your stomach and flex your core. Then, keep your body suspended, propping yourself up on your elbows and toes, as if your back, bum and legs are a horizontal plank.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds, and repeat for 10 sets.
- Bicep curl with resistance band. This is a great resistance exercise and involves the use of resistance bands, which are readily available from sporting shops.
Simply place the band beneath your feet and hold the band in your hands, palms skywards, shoulders tucked into your sides. Then, mimic the movement of a bicep curl, pausing at the top of the movement to return to neutral.
And there you have it – a selection of quick and easy exercises that should take no time at all and will produce visible gains in the gym.