They’re quick, intense bona fide fat burners, and they’ve overtaken fitness nation. High-intensity interval training routines — short bursts of all-out exercise with short periods of low-intensity rest — have become the go-to workout for gym rats for good reason. And it’s about time you consider a HIIT at-home workout, too.
That’s because you can replicate the health benefits of those sweaty gym sessions in HIIT at-home workouts. Despite the all-out effort, you might just find it easier to do than your current routine thanks to its ability to burn mega calories in short periods of time: A 30-minute HIIT routine made up of anything from tuck jumps to push-ups to even the dreaded burpees can burn up to 500 calories in about 30 minutes, nearly twice as many calories in half the time of a steady-state jog.
One stipulation if you want the fat-shedding benefits: Going all-out each round from beginning to end is required. Otherwise you’re just leaving calories on the table. “The body needs to be shocked continuously in order for HIIT to work,” says Prince Brathwaite, NASM, CPT, a personal trainer at Manhattan’s Trooper Fitness. “You always want to avoid steady state for 20 minutes. As long you can keep moving tell yourself that when you’re doing an exercise for 20 or so seconds, you’re doing it for the full time and not breaking. You want to go until you almost feel like your heart’s gonna pop out of your chest, so you get 10 seconds to recover so your rate will come down. You want that so you’ll be better at the next round. That spike activity is the end goal of HIIT.”
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Short-changing, sadly, is human nature, but amping up the intensity of your HIIT at-home workout is easy with a few simple tweaks Brathwaite and colleague Jennifer Romanelli came up with to help you become an all-out, fat-burning machine.
Tips for a better HIIT at-home workout
Were you topping off at 15 jumps per round? Shoot for 16 or more next session. By creating benchmarks, you’re now giving yourself a clear target to reach and surpass the next time you train. “Don’t go into each workout mindlessly,” Romanelli says. “If you want to really be accountable, count how many you get in 20 seconds, so you know that's your benchmark and you can keep it for yourself.” There’s simply no other way to make sure you’re pushing yourself consistently.
Thinking you’re gonna shred in a five-minute workout? The idea makes for a great 4 a.m. infomercial, but in reality, you’ll need to put in a little more time in order for that HIIT at-home workout to get you those amazing results. “People aren’t going to get something from five minutes, especially if they’re new to fitness,” Brathwaite says. “If you’re doing X number of pull-ups or push-ups, it may take a minute or two just to complete the round, and therefore you’re not getting anything from it.” Try to shoot for at least 20 minutes. “That's the sweet spot,” Romanelli says, “because 20 minutes will keep people engaged. And you can get some considerable results from 20 minutes.”
Use music to crank up your heart rate
NY1 weather in the background simply won’t cut it. It’s known that music can help increase intensity levels in workouts, and the tempo, especially, plays a huge factor in your workout. So, for optimal workout performance, choosing Metallica over Mozart works best. “I know it sounds corny,” Romanelli says, “but the beat frequency can make a workout go faster or work harder. Slow music makes you move slow, fast music makes you move fast.” When there’s no fitness instructor to keep you on beat, music can be a solid replacement for your HIIT at-home workout.