Like most people, I used to think that in order for my workout to really count, I had to spend at least 30 to 45 minutes in the gym.
That was before I started doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and got absolutely hooked.
If you're not quite sure what that is, HIIT is a style of workout that alternates short rest periods with super-intense workout periods. It's an incredibly efficient style of exercise that helps to burn more calories in less time, promote greater fat loss, and boost conditioning levels faster than longer, more moderate-paced exercise. And best of all, you need to work out only three to six days a week to see results.
The key to getting the most out of HIIT-style workouts?
You have to work really, really hard.
That means no extra breaks and no giving up even when your muscles start to burn. To see results, you have to work as hard as you possibly can!
A 12-minute HIIT workout you can do anywhere
Ready to get started? Here's a full-body HIIT workout you can do anywhere, whether you're on vacation or just feel like taking advantage of the nice weather and working out in a nearby park instead of the gym. And you won't need any equipment, other than an interval timer and your own body weight to do it.
Here's how to do it: Set your interval timer for 18 rounds of 10-second and 30-second intervals. Rest on the 10-second intervals, then work as hard as you possibly can on the 30-second ones. Follow the order of the exercises below (one exercise per 30-second interval) until the timer beeps.
Long Jump Squat Combo
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. Squat down as far as you can, then stand back up to the starting position. Squat down again, then this time, jump forward as far as you as rise back up. That’s one rep.
No space? Do squat jumps instead.
Start in a push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands. Tighten your abs, glutes, and thighs, then lower your chest toward the floor as far as you can. Push back up, then bring one knee toward the opposite hand. Do another push-up, then repeat with the other knee.
Beginner option: Do boxer push-ups with your hands on an elevated surface.
Pick two points about 50 feet apart. Sprint as fast as you can to one point, pivot, and sprint back to the starting point. That’s one rep. Keep going!
Again, if you're working out in a small space, substitute with high-knee sprints instead.
Speed Skater Lunges
Stand in a side lunge position with one leg bent parallel to the floor and the other leg straight to the side. Jump up explosively as you switch the position of your legs. Now the previously straight leg will be bent and the previously bent leg will be straight to the other side. Keep your core tight and stay as low as possible as you switch sides as fast as you can.
Lie on your back with your legs straight, placing hands palms-down beside you. Keeping your core tight, lift your legs off of the ground while keeping your knees as straight as possible and your toes pointed. Just before your legs reach vertical extend your torso to lift your lower back off the floor into a candlestick position.
Lower legs back down, then immediately rock onto your feet and set your palms flat down on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet straight back into a push-up position, and bring your chest to the ground. Push back up and quickly jump feet forward and then straight up in the air, adding a clap at the top for enthusiasm. That’s one rep! Repeat the entire sequence.
Start in a downward dog position with your weight on your shoulders. Jump your feet up as far as possible and land to one side. Jump to other side and repeat.
Looking for more? Here are some other ideas for HIIT workouts that only take 12 minutes.