Can HIIT Help You Find Time for Your New Year’s Resolutions?

You set your New Year’s wellness resolutions with the best of intentions but, let’s be serious, when are you going to have time to fit them in? Sure you want to lose weight, take care of your wellbeing, or up your fitness levels but now you’re catching up on work after the holidays and getting your kids back on their school routine – what do you do? This is where high-intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in. Not only does it help you to squeeze your New Year’s resolutions into your busy schedule, but it also provides a way to exercise even when your motivation begins to wane. But what exactly is HIIT?


In order to complete a HIIT workout, you need to do short, intense bursts of exercise and, in-between, completely rest or take part in active recovery, or less intense exercise. Whether you want to do more cardio workouts, strength routines or both, you can fit any exercise goal into a HIIT circuit. Both cardio and strength exercises can get your heart pumping and fire up your metabolism thanks to a phenomenon known as after-burn. This means that your body will still torch unwanted calories even after you’ve finished working out, so you can get the results you need even if you don’t have time to wait around for them.


It’s possible to get a very effective workout in less than 20 minutes. In fact, you can take as few as four minutes to workout if you do Tabata-style training, or 20 hard seconds followed by 10 easy ones. Is it any wonder that HIIT is predicted to be one of the hottest fitness trends of 2014? So get a jumpstart on a fitter you for the new year by trying one of our cherry-picked high-intensity workouts. This one comes courtesy of Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Jen Ator, author of Shape-Up Shortcuts, who explains, ‘It’s a shortcut, fat-burning workout that actually works. It’s also one that leaves you with zero excuses.’ For this workout, you choose one of the interval patterns and then complete the exercises in order to burn calories, build muscle, and blast fat.


The Interval Patterns:

  • 30:30 Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise. If you’re doing more than one round, rest for 60 seconds at the end.
  • 50:10 Complete as many reps as you can in 50 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Again, rest for 60 seconds at the end if you’re doing more than one round.


1. Marching Glute Bridge: Ator instructs, ‘Lie face-up with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees (a). Lift your right knee toward your chest (b). Hold for two seconds; lower and repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.’


2. Inverted Shoulder Press: ‘Place your hands on the floor outside your shoulders and raise your hips so that your torso is nearly perpendicular to the floor,’ Ator advises. ‘(a). From that position, bend your elbows to lower your body until your head almost touches the floor (b). Pause, then push back to start. That’s one rep.’


3. Alternating Switch Lunge: Ator notes, ‘Step your right leg forward and bend both knees to lower into a lunge (a). Press through your right heel to return to standing, keeping your foot lifted, then immediately step your right foot back and lower into a lunge (b). Press through your left heel to return to standing. That’s one rep.’


4. Skater Hops: Ator details, ‘Stand on your left foot with your left knee slightly bent and your right foot slightly off the floor (a). Jump to the right and land on your right foot, bringing your left foot slightly off the floor (b). That’s one rep. Jump to the left and continue alternating as quickly as possible.’


5. Rotating T Extension: ‘Start in a push-up position,’ says Ator. ‘(a). Keeping your arms straight and your core engaged, shift your weight onto your left arm, rotate your torso to the right, and raise your right arm toward the ceiling so that your body forms a T (b). Hold for three seconds, then return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.’

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