If a hectic weekday schedule has left you wondering how to squeeze an hour of fitness into a jam-packed day, it may be time for a short yet intense workout. High intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts allow you to burn calories, boost your metabolism and stay active, in shortened bursts of exercise that last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. From Tabata to circuit training, here’s our guide to the best instant workouts to try now.
1) Tabata: This fast-paced fitness regimen was created in 1996 by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher and scientist. The Tabata workout involves four minutes of extreme exercise, with repetitions of 40 seconds followed by 20 seconds of rest. Tabata is known to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate, which represents the amount of energy that the body uses during its resting periods. For a cardio tabata workout, Muscleandfitness.com recommends eight sessions of sprinting for 20 seconds with a 10 second long rest, followed by jumping rope for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest.
2) CrossFit: The high intensity workout of CrossFit is a mix of cardio-based exercise and weight lifting, for the best of both worlds under a strict time crunch. With workouts which are under 20 minutes, Bodybuilding.com reports that CrossFit includes a Workout of the Day for a hint of variety. CrossFit fanatics keep in shape with dead lifts, pull-ups, push-ups, squats and running.
3) Insanity: The name explains it all. Insanity is truly insane! The workout is perfect for the quick and dedicated, with a focus on shorter intervals of body weight training. Developed by celebrity personal trainer Shaun Thompson, the Insanity program promises results within 60 days. It aims for max interval training, through three to five minute bursts of activity. The workout regimen includes quick plyometric or jumping exercises to develop strong muscles, upper body resistance training for a solid torso and cardio to eliminate fat and keep weight off. The cardio abs aspect of the workout aims to strengthen your core, while recovery periods offer a much-needed rest.
4) Circuit training: Whether you’re on your lunch break or simply have a free half hour, circuit training involves 8-10 varying exercise stations, for a focus on both developing endurance and building muscles. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), these 8-10 exercise stations can include jogging, jumping rope or running on the treadmill for cardio. Meanwhile, lunges, dumbbells and kettlebell-based workouts can build strength. Whether you choose to train at the gym or at home, short intervals which are less than two minutes each will let you quickly pass through each station.