HIIT for the Holidays
What are your busiest times of year? Do you ever feel as if your schedule takes over your life, leaving you with no time to exercise? One of the greatest benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts is that, when done with the appropriate level of effort, they can provide a complete workout in twenty-minutes or less with little-to-no equipment making them perfect for a busy schedule. Yes, HIIT allows you to save a LOT of time when you exercise. During busy periods, like the holiday season, if you know how to use HIIT properly, you can be prepared with time-efficient workout solutions for when life happens and your schedule get hectic. When the holidays, or any other time of year, hijacks your schedule, be ready with HIIT workouts.
Exercise is physical stress applied to the body; HIIT workouts can apply enough stress to make desired changes like more lean muscle mass, however it’s essential that the person doing the exercise (you) works at the appropriate amount of intensity – the highest possible which means exercising to the point of being out of breath. An important benefit of regular exercise is reducing overall stress levels; when life gets busy managing time for even brief workouts can help you to maintain the ability to handle the other stress that life is throwing at your.
HIIT formats for when time becomes a factor: AMRAP and EMOM
AMRAP is an acronym for As Many Rounds as Possible; create a circuit of 4-6 exercises, set a rep range (10-12 reps for each exercise), set a time and try to complete the entire circuit as many times as possible in the time allotted, which should be 12-20 minutes.
Here is one of my go-to’s for time efficient workouts:
Kettlebell swings 20
Goblet squats 20
1 arm rows 8-12 (depending on weight)
1 arm press 8-12 (depending on weight)
Windmill 5-8 (depending on weight)
The goal is to do 5 rounds in 20 minutes, it’s necessary to take rest breaks when appropriate.
A pure bodyweight ARMAP would be:
Squat jumps in place 6
Bodyweight (air) squats 30
Push-ups 12-15 or knee-tap planks 12 each knee
Ice skaters 10 (each leg)
Lateral lunges 10 (each leg)
Squat walkouts 10
Set a timer for 15 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible!
EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute, a seemingly simple but grueling way to structure a workout. A timer is essential when using the EMOM format, at the start of every minute perform an exercise for a specific number of repetitions, once you complete all of the reps you can rest for the remainder of the minute; the simple (and often painful) beauty is that the harder you work, the more rest you get. Select 2-to-6 exercises, select a number of reps to perform for each exercise (when the timer starts a new minute), and select the time – 6-to-20 minutes.
Here is a favorite EMOM
Reverse lunges – 12 (each leg)
Push-ups – 12 AND Plank jacks – 12; complete both in less than 1 minute!
Kettlebell swing snatches 8 each arm
Kettlebell windmill 8 each arm
Bodyweight (air) squats 20 AND squat jumps-in-place 5 (25 total)
Push-ups 12 AND Plank jacks – 12; complete both in less than 1 minute!
Reverse lunges 10 each leg AND lunge jumps 5 each leg
Squat walkouts 12
Set a timer for 16 minutes to do 4 sets of each exercise (a 12-minute timer would be 3 sets of each)
Shorter workouts still need a warm-up and cool-down. The warm-up can simply consist of alternating between jumping jacks, knee-tap planks and glute bridges, 30 seconds for each exercise, two times through would be a minimal warm-up, three times through would be ideal. The cool-down can simply be a few favorite stretches for the hips and hamstrings.
Learn more about exercise and how to design your own workout programs with one of my books:
Learn more about how metabolic conditioning works: