You know cross-training helps you get faster and stronger, but really—who has the time? We’re all busy! It’s hard enough to fit in our normal runs, much less add on extra sweat sessions.
Luckily for those whose schedules are packed, there is a form of exercise that’s a true unicorn. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been found to blast calories in no time (well, very little time!). In fact, a recent study from the U.K. found that participants achieved the same aerobic boost from 90 minutes per week of HIIT as they did from five hours of steady-state cardio. So what is this miracle workout? HIIT is a series of short but intense bursts of exercise followed by a recovery phase. Have 18 minutes? Give it a shot with this personal-trainer-approved HIIT workout!
Before you begin, warm up with a few minutes of easy jogging. Perform each exercise at the highest intensity you can maintain for 30 seconds (raising or lowering the difficulty based on your fitness level). Follow your 30 seconds of hard work with two minutes of recovery. During your recovery, walk or slowly jog in place to lower your heart rate and prepare yourself for the next exercise. Once you’ve completed all the movements, relax, you’re done. We said it was short—not easy!
Toe-Touch Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides. Lower into a squat and reach down to touch your toes. Quickly jump up into a jack position, arms above your head and feet spread wide. Jump your feet back into a squat, reaching toward your toes. Repeat.
Beginner: Opt out of the toe-touch and do a normal jumping jack.
Advanced: Between each jack, spin around and face the opposite direction.