One of the most common reasons for not working out amongst 20somethings? Time. We never seem to have enough time to drag ourselves to the gym. Our bodies are still in peak condition for exercise and our energy levels shouldn’t be too far behind, so what’s the excuse? Thinking of the amount of time we have to spend in the gym can be daunting, so how can we maximize our workouts? Here’s how to get more done at the gym in a shorter amount of time:
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT training’s success relies directly on the overload principle of training. Simply put, we are pushing the body past its limits so that it can adapt, then you can push those limits even further every other time. According to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), “HIIT training has been shown to improve fitness, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, (and) abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.”
The health benefits you can receive from just 30 minutes a day are absolutely unreal. Even with that little of a time investment, this metabolic boost is sure to get you back in the swing of working out and feeling great.
Now, this magic and increasingly popular way of training does have one catch- you have to work. I mean really work hard. Those intervals need to be all out, everything you have, as if it was the last thing you do, hard! This may be intimidating, but I promise if you bump some loud music and really pump yourself up, those 30 minutes will fly by.
Now that you have an idea as to what HIIT training is, let’s talk about how to go about doing it. The beauty of high intensity interval training is that it can be done virtually anywhere. Whether or not you have a gym membership – it doesn’t matter! It can be done with weight training, plyometric training, sprint training, etc. No matter where you do it, be sure to always start with a warm up and end with a cool down (don’t worry, it’s all part of your 30 minutes!).
Here is an example of one of my favorite at home HIIT workouts:
Step 1: 5 minute warm up (jog and stretch)
Step 2: 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest. 1 minute rest between sets. 3x through (About 17 minute total):
- Mountain climbers (plank position)
- Squat Jumps
- Push ups
- Lunge jumps (Lunge forward with one leg and jump to switch to lunging forward with the opposite leg)
- 1 minute rest
Step 3: 5 minute cool down and stretch
Always keep in mind to listen to your body. If you are new to this, trying a workout you’ve never done before, or are exercising outside on a hot day, your body may need more recovery time. Sometimes when I do HIIT training with sprints, I give myself 2-3x the amount of rest than I would if I were at the gym doing a plyometric HIIT workout.
Also remember, safety first; if something doesn’t feel right- chances are you aren’t doing it right. Ask a trainer at your gym or even show a friend a video of the exercise and ask them to check your form. A lot of water is also very important, and make sure to refuel afterwards with some protein!
30 minutes is nothing. I guarantee that we (I’m definitely guilty of it too) spend way more than 30 minutes a day on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Cut back on the time in front of a computer and go do something to reward your body for everything it does for you.
Feel free to comment any questions or any of your own HIIT workouts you’d like to share!