When I started my freshman year of college, I was overwhelmed by my busy schedule. Between classes, social events and my huge pile of homework, I barely had time to check Instagram, let alone work out.
Long gone were the leisurely summer days where I could go on a 50 minute run followed by 15 minutes of stretching and feel like I still had plenty of time in my day.
After a bit of research, I learned that the best workout doesn’t have to take a ton of time. You can burn more calories during a short, intense workout than a long one. I started incorporating HIIT into my workout schedule.
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, consists of alternating between intense moves and easier moves (or complete rest) for short time intervals. Because the moves are so intense, a typical HIIT workout will take only 10-30 minutes. That means you’ll have time to work out and grab a breakfast on the go all before your first class of the day.
For example, you might do squat jumps, burpees, or bicycle crunches for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between. Or, you might sprint on the treadmill for 1 minute then jog at a slow pace for the next 30 seconds.
So why is HIIT so great? The intensity of the moves burns more calories in less time than steady-state cardio. Research shows that you can improve your aerobic capacity with two weeks of interval training as much as you would with 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
This means you’ll be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes, while that poor girl is still running on the treadmill for another 20 minutes.
Also, HIIT is a major fat burner. You’ll continue burning calories for up to 48 hours after having finished your workout. This doesn’t happen after steady-state cardio.
While traditional cardio can deplete muscle mass, HIIT incorporates muscle-building moves in your cardio workout, meaning you’ll still be losing fat, but you’ll also be toning your muscles.
HIIT has so many options for moves and the routines are easily changeable, so you’ll never get bored with your workout. Also, the exercises will have you seriously sweaty and out of breath. You’ll feel like you got a real workout in.
So if a lack of time or other gym struggles have been preventing you from getting your sweat on, incorporate HIIT into your routine. Pair HIIT with healthy recipes and you’re well on your way to getting in shape for summer.