Finding Fitness: Saying goodbye to hitting the gym, and hello to HIIT workout regimens

Now that the semester is in full-swing, resulting in a tight schedule for most students, it can seem almost impossible to find a way to squeeze in a work out at the gym. Or perhaps you’ve simply grown tired of trying to use the crucial equipment sitting in front of the mirrors where the “social media gym-stars” have clamored. Whatever the reason, working out away from the gym may just be more ideal for you. Enter: high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts; an incredible combination of exercises you can do anywhere without the need for any equipment.

What are HIIT workout regimen?

High-intensity interval training workouts refer to regimens which alternate between vigorous bursts of activity and short periods of rest. According to Shape magazine, the intense spurts of energy push your body’s repair cycle into “hyperdrive,” effectively burning more calories than traditional methods of exercising such as a long run.

Benefits of HIIT workouts

A 2011 study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine showed that two weeks of HIIT workouts improved participants’ aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance would have. People continue to do HIIT workouts simply because while they are challenging, they are also highly effective. Furthermore, according to Shape magazine, studies have shown that you will burn more fat, lose weight instead of precious muscle, increase your metabolism and build a healthier heart through HIIT. Of course, as mentioned above, there is the added bonus that these exercises can be done anywhere, no equipment necessary.

Try it for yourself

I first learned about these types of workouts from my younger sister who has become increasingly interested in personal fitness. I’ll confess that when she told me that there were only five exercises in this particular routine, I didn’t even expect to really break a sweat. Without describing my state after this workout was completed, I will simply go on record stating that I was absolutely mistaken. Here is a breakdown of the workout we did as demonstrated by YouTuber Whitney Simmons in her “10 Minute Fat Blasting HIIT Workout:”

Front jumping squats with “hut, hut, hike” side-to-side transitions

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Get into a squatting position, clasping your hands together in front of you.
  • Jump forward twice and then shuffle sideways three paces, bringing your knee toward your chest for the last movement. Repeat this motion, moving in the other direction.

Plank walks to a half-burpee

  • Get into a planking position, then move forward “walking” on your hands and toes a few paces, bringing your feet up toward your hands.
  • From this position, jump upwards stretching your hands toward the sky or ceiling.

Side hops to planking shoulder taps

  • In a squatting position with feet shoulder-width apart, hop sideways three times.
  • Transition into a plank.
  • Bring your right hand to your left shoulder while in this position. Switch hands and alternate the movement four times.

Bear crawls to oblique mountain climbers

  • Stand up straight with feet together and then touch your toes.
  • “Walk” your hands away from your toes, transitioning into a planking position.
  • While in this position, bring your right leg toward your left elbow.
  • Return to the planking position, alternating the leg movement four times.

Walking lunges to knee raises

  • Stand with your hands on your hips to provide balance.
  • Take step forward, bending at the knee to complete the lunge.
  • Using the other leg, step forward and move into a standing position.
  • Jump forward eight times, bringing your knees as high as you can.

We did each exercise for a total of 40 seconds each, resting for 20 seconds in between. Then, we repeated the entire process for a second time. Spans of exercise and periods of rest can be adjusted based on your individual levels of fitness. However, it is important not to extend the rest time too much, as this will defeat the purpose of the HIIT workouts. My words of advice: Keep a towel and a bottle of water handy because after this workout, you’ll need it.

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