• I use a Tabata app on my phone to alert me in 20-second intervals. Check your app store to find one you like.
  • You can customize the Tabata intervals for your progress or needs.
  • I do this 30-minute workout every other day. That’s it. Obviously, you can work out more than that, but I’ve found the additional days achieve diminishing returns with regard to time. Three to four days a week gives me the rest days I need and frees up more time to meditate, work, or have fun.
  • I try to do this workout at public parks. It’s great to be outside and it’s free.
  • If I’m at a gym (or hotel), I run a short distance quickly (i.e., two miles at sub-eight-minute miles) on the treadmill or I jog and then add leg exercises into my Tabata routine (squats, bridges, and calf-raises).
  • If you can’t perform an individual exercise for the full 20 seconds, then just hold your body while exerting effort until the timer sounds. The goal is to tell your body that it needs to get stronger, and that won’t happen if you stop when you start struggling.
  • I follow a mantra from Bruce Lee: Exercise as hard as you can, but not so hard that you’ll be too sore for your next workout.
  • Watch videos on YouTube to learn how to do each exercise with the proper form.
  • If you’re starting from scratch, please note that I did not start sprinting immediately. Sprinting can lead to injury when your ligaments and tendons are not strong yet. It’s important to build up to it. Over the course of many months, and before I started sprinting, I steadily increased my cardio threshold from a starting point of a two-mile jog to a milestone of running two miles at an under-seven-minute-per-mile pace.
  • Sprinting is demanding on your heart, which is great when you’re in shape. Yet it can be hard on your heart if you’re not yet in shape. The ramp-up schedule above helped my heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system get into shape before I started sprinting.


Take the 30-Day Cardio Challenge

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Here are a few scary statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of 4 deaths. And heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

The good news, almost all risk factors associated with heart disease are lifestyle related. That means eating, moving and thinking right can literally add years to your life.

How? Cardiovascular-interval training is one excellent way to strengthen your ticker. Cardio intervals are short bursts of intense exercise that get your heart pumping, lungs working and body moving.

More: How to Find Your Target Heart Rate Training Zone

The five exercises listed below not only get your heart rate up, but they also strengthen muscles from head to toe.

Bust through any fitness plateau and keep your heart ticking strong with this month-long challenge.

How To Do The 30-Day Cardio Challenge

At the end of your regular exercise routine, add at least one set of each of the following exercises. Aim for at least 30 seconds per exercise for week one and increase by at least 15 seconds each week. Time your intervals and record them on your tracker.

  • Burpees
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Jump Squats
  • Ski Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers

If you don’t have a regular routine or are short on time, do these moves as a quick circuit. Make sure to do an easy warm up for 5 to 10 minutes (walk, run, bike) and cool down for about five minutes with some easy stretching. These five exercises are body weight movements, so you have lots of control over the intensity of each move.

Watch this quick video for exercise instructions and modifications.

Note: Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

30-Day Cardio Challenge Instructions

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1. You can do these moves as many times as you like each week. You can do as many rounds as you would like, but you must commit to at least one round four days per week to do the challenge correctly.

2. At the beginning of the month you’ll need to record your resting heart rate and again at the end of the month. A low resting heart rate is a sign of a healthy and strong heart. It’s best to take this measurement first thing in the morning while you’re still in bed.

3. Using your tracker, record how long you perform each move. Remember, some days are better than others. Focus on the overall trend and celebrate every day you get stronger. Just try to increase the duration by at least 15 seconds per exercise each week.

4. Try not to take more than half the duration of the interval as recovery in-between exercises (i.e. you did bicycle crunches for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds before moving to jump squats).

5. Because a healthy ticker is also a happy heart, make sure you record at least one positive thought per day.

More: 4 Yoga Poses for a Healthy Heart

Get Started

1. Print out your tracker; fill in the dates you will be doing the challenge.

2. Join the Happy, Healthy, Fit and Fun 30-Day Challenge Series Community for regular updates on new challenges and other fit tips.

3. Get social for more support and motivation. “Like” the 30-Day Challenge Series on Facebook and Instagram. Or, follow @30_Challenge on Twitter.

The 30 Days of Cardio Blast is a bodyweight equipment-free high burn oriented program designed to slim you down and tone you up in the comfort of your home. Different cardio routines, some higher in intensity some lower, will not just help you burn the reserves and get muscle tone but also improve your cardiovascular system, your overall health and fitness level.

The program consists of high intensity bodyweight training and bodyweight cardio routines carefully balanced to help you maintain the high pace of this program. You won’t even need to leave the house to complete this one but it’ll take everything you’ve got to see it through – it’s the easy looking routines that challenge you the most. On the bright side, there are a couple of “sofa days” in there you can look forward to. The program was designed to be an alternative program to 30 Days of Change, bringing the burn to your home. If you are looking for something straight forward to lose weight and get toned that doesn’t take your entire day and several changes of clothes each time – this is the program for you.

Suggested Mealplan: Modern Hero Mealplan

14-Day HIIT Cardio Challenge


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In today’s society, we’re all so busy and crunched for time! It’s no surprise that the biggest excuse for not working out is… wait for it… NOT ENOUGH TIME. This is the main reason that I’m such a huge fan of HIIT workouts. These workouts are quick and efficient! If we’re really being honest with ourselves we can ALL find 20 minutes to get in a killer workout. You can burn a whole lot of calories in a short amount of time! Are you up for this 14-Day HIIT Cardio Challenge?!

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This form of training transitions back and forth between short bursts of high and low intensity exercise. The goal is to boost your heart rate to get that excess fat burning. You can participate in this challenge whether you workout at home or in the gym. You just need a few basic tools.

What You’ll Need: A yoga mat or towel, jump rope, set of dumbbells (5 to 15 pounds), a timer, a kettle bell if available (dumbbell if not) and a chair.

The Workout: 14-Day HIIT Cardio Challenge

What You’ll Do: Each workout will consist of 4 exercises. The first week each exercise will be performed for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. You’ll then immediately move on to the next exercise in the circuit. Complete 5 rounds. It should take you 20 minutes. The second week, you’ll repeat the first week of exercises but you’ll perform each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between. Good luck, now get to burning those calories! 🙂

Day 1: Lower Body Cardio

  • Body Weight Squats
  • Burpees
  • Alternating Reverse Lunge with Kick
  • Frog Jumps

Day 2: Upper Body Cardio

  • Alternating Plank Row
  • Kettle Bell Swing (or Dumbbell)
  • Pushups
  • Jumping Jacks

Day 3: Rest Day

Stretch and Recover

Day 4: Core Cardio

  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Reverse Crunch
  • Medicine Ball Side Twists
  • Scissor Kicks

Day 5: Lower Body Cardio

  • Walking Lunges
  • Mountain Climber
  • Kettle Bell (or Dumbbell) Dead-lift to High Row
  • Alternating Side Lunges

Day 6: Rest Day

Take a nap! Then keep on stretching.

Day 7: Upper Body Cardio

  • Curl, Press, to Step-Up (on Chair or step)
  • Jump Rope
  • Chair Dips
  • Jog in Place



Alternating Reverse Lunge with Kick

Frog Jumps

Alternating Plank Row

Kettle Bell Swing (or Dumbbell)


Jumping Jacks

Bicycle Crunch

Reverse Crunch

Medicine Ball Side Twists

Scissor Kicks

Walking Lunges

Mountain Climber

Kettle Bell (or Dumbbell) Dead-lift to High Row

Alternating Side Lunges

Curl, Press, to Step-Up (on Chair or Step)

Jump Rope

Chair Dips

Jog in Place

We can’t wait to hear what you think of this 14-Day HIIT Cardio Workout! Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to track your progress. Write down your starting weight and take some circumference measurements. In combination with a healthy diet, this workout is sure to shed some pounds. If you enjoyed this workout, try this Belly Fat Melting HIIT Workout. For more great workouts follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

30 Days of HIIT is a visual no-equipment fitness program designed for higher burn in a shorter period of time. If you’re looking for weight loss or muscle tone or just improved endurance but haven’t got a lot of spare time on your hands, then this program is the right one for you. Different HIIT routines will boost your metabolism while challenging your cardio vascular system on a daily basis giving you better results faster in the comfort of your own home.

You will have to perform each workout flat out but the ‘flat out’ reading each time is unique to you. Provided you hold nothing back you gain each and every time, regardless of your personal level of fitness.

This program has also been enriched with interval training targeting your abs and core. Cardio oriented HIIT workouts will help you get rid of the extra reserves in the midsection followed by ab work that will tighten up and work the muscles further.

This program is ideal for anyone who hasn’t got much time to exercise and is interested in primarily tackling the midsection.

Suggested Mealplan: Ab Mealplan

The 30-Day Cardio HIIT Challenge That’s Guaranteed to Boost Your Heart Rate

What’s a surefire way to know you’re working hard? Well, besides sweat, a telltale sign is your heart rate. While a steady but elevated number can indicate that you’re exercising at a steady pace (or you’re anxious/nervous about something, LBH), a number in your target heart rate zone or maximum heart rate zone means you’re really getting after it and giving that workout all you’ve got. (Learn more about resting heart rate, target heart rate, and max heart rate and how these numbers are different for everyone from the American Heart Association.)

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Fitbit Charge 2

With that in mind, we tapped certified personal trainer Diana Mitrea (@diana.fitness) to create a 30 days of HIIT challenge that will challenge your heart rate and cardiovascular fitness—you’ll break a sweat, track your progress, and oh yeah, have some fun, too.

How it works: Each week throughout the 30 days of HIIT program, you’ll be given a new four-exercise circuit. Each day, you’ll increase the number of rounds you complete of each circuit. There’s a strength training day built in toward the end of each week to balance out all the cardio with some toning moves. Then, you’ll tackle your toughest circuit yet, and finally, close out the week with a much-deserved rest day. Repeat the pattern all over again with a new circuit.

When you hit that strength-training day, you can grab some dumbbells, head to the weight room, opt for bodyweight moves, or choose from some of our favorite strength training workouts here: The 5-Minute Rockstar Arms Workout, The Full-Body Kettlebell Workout, The Heavy Dumbbell Workout That Builds Strong Legs.

Each 30 days of HIIT circuit is designed using the 30-20-10 model: You’ll do 30 seconds of moderate intensity, 20 seconds of increased intensity, and 10 seconds of give-it-all-you’ve-got intensity for each exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest before moving on to the next exercise. (This works especially well if you’re monitoring your heart rate, as you will see your heart rate jump not only for those last 10 seconds, but throughout the daily workout. Plus you’ll be able to track your recovery heart rate and how much you progress throughout the month.)

And FYI, AMRAP = 10 reps of each move in that week’s circuit; as many rounds as possible. Sorry, no rest breaks here. Make sure you keep track of how many rounds (or partial rounds) you were able to complete in the allotted time. (Related: The 15-Minute AMRAP Workout You Can Do Even When You’re Crazy-Busy)

Focus more on crushing your workout and less on keeping track of time with the Fitbit Charge 2, which has an interval timer built into the tracker. Just set the interval length and choose the number of rounds, and you’ll be good to start sweating. Join the 30 Days of HIIT Challenge today or any day, and don’t forget to share your progress, your sweaty selfies, and your motivational pics by using #CardioMaxChallenge on social.

30 Days of HIIT Challenge

Week 1

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30 Days of HIIT Week 1 Cardio Circuit

High Knees with Arms Overhead
Place palms together and bring both arms directly overhead, keeping them straight and pointing up. Quickly run in place, bringing knees up toward chest in fast succession.

Plank Jack
Begin in plank position, hands under shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Jump feet wider than hips, and then back to hip-width apart. Repeat quickly.

180-Degree Squat Jump
Come down to squat position (chest up, weight in heels, butt back and down). Propel yourself upward, twisting so as to land facing opposite direction. Repeat twisting in opposite direction.

Squat Thrust
Begin by standing, then bring hands down to floor and jump feet out into plank position. Jump feet forward to outside of hands and stand up tall, squeezing glutes to rise. Repeat. (Related: How to Do a Burpee the *Right* Way)

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Week 2

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30 Days of HIIT Week 2 Cardio Circuit

Plyometric Lunge
Bring one foot forward and the other back to come to lunge position (legs at 90-degree angles). Push evenly up in both feet, propelling body upward as you switch feet midair. Land softly in lunge position with opposite leg in front. Repeat, alternating legs. (BTW, here’s your complete guide to all things plyo.)

Push-Up with Hand Release
Begin in plank position with hands just outside shoulders. Slow and controlled, bring chest ground and lift both hands just slightly off ground. Quickly return hands to floor and press back into top of push-up position. Repeat.

Touchdown Jack
Stand tall with arms by your sides. Jump feet wide into sumo squat (wide squat) and tap one hand to ground in between legs; other arm rests at your side. Jump feet back in and stand tall. Repeat movement, jumping feet into sumo squat, tapping opposite hand to ground. Repeat, alternating sides.

Flutter Kicks
Lying on back with legs stretched straight and long, reach arms toward lower body, and lift chest, bringing shoulder blades off ground. Keep upper body still while kicking legs up and down in small range of motion, repeatedly.

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Week 3

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30 Days of HIIT Week 3 Cardio Circuit

Lateral Lunge with Arm Extension
Stand with arms overhead. Lunge to right and bring arms down to sides. Push into right heel to return to standing, bringing arms back up overhead. Repeat movement on left side and continuing alternating.

Triceps Push-Up with Side Hop
Begin in plank position with hands under shoulders. Lower chest toward ground (hover just above floor) and press into palms to lift back up. Jump both feet to right side (both knees toward right elbow), then quickly jump feet back to starting position. Repeat triceps push-up and jump both feet to left side (both knees toward left elbow). Return to starting position and repeat. (Really max out those arms by adding uber-effective triceps dips to this 30 days of HIIT routine.)

Tuck Up with Jack Knife
Lie on back with feet extended, hovering just above floor and arms overhead. Sit up and bend knees, reaching hands to toes. Return to starting position, then sit up, reaching right hand to left foot. Return to starting position, then sit up reaching left hand to right foot. Repeat movement pattern.

Mountain Climbers
Begin in plank position with hands directly under shoulders. Quickly alternate bringing right and left knee toward chest.

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Week 4

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30 Days of HIIT Week 4 Cardio Circuit

Reverse Plank Toe Tap
Begin in reverse plank position—facing up, hands under shoulders, feet under knees (knees bent at 90-degree angle). Lift left foot and reach for it with right hand, return to reverse plank, and then bring right foot up to meet left hand. Repeat.

Fast Feet
Begin with chest lifted and feet just wider than hips, knees softly bent. Run in place quickly, keeping feet very low to the ground.

Sprinter Sit-Up
Lie on ground with arms by your sides. Propel upper and lower body up toward center with arms in running position (think: sprinter start) bringing left knee to meet right elbow. Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side, bringing right knee to meet left elbow. Repeat.

Lateral Jump Burpee
Begin standing and bring hands to ground shoulder-width apart. Jump feet out to plank position, then drop chest to the ground. In one quick movement, push chest off ground and jump feet forward to meet hands. Return to standing, then quickly jump to right side. Repeat burpee, then jump to left side. Continue movement pattern. (Then don’t forget to wrap up your 30 days of HIIT with a solid cooldown.)

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Get ready to challenge your entire body this month with the 30 day HIIT Challenge!

Spring is around the corner and your bikini, shorts and take tops are itching to jump out of the drawers. Make sure your body is ready for them and take this challenge. Double down your April efforts and join the Weight Loss Challenge as well. If you’re going to do the work, you may as well get paid.

==> Registration is open now! <==

What is HIIT Training?

It stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which is just a really fancy way to say it’s super intense work intervals combined with rest/recovery in between. This type of training can be designed to challenge both your cardiovascular and muscular systems. These workouts are much shorter than traditional steady state cardio workouts because they challenge both your aerobic and anaerobic systems making them more efficient (and challenging). You can see workouts of all different varieties like running sprints, plyometrics, and Tabata style workouts. The work/recovery intervals can also very as well as the number of sets you perform.

Benefits of HIIT Training

Many, but for the sake of brevity and clarity; let’s sum it up with the practicality of it all: you can achieve greater results in less time. Awesome right? By allowing recovery in-between intense intervals, you’re able to push yourself harder and hence burn more calories and fat per minute. These types of workouts challenge both your cardiovascular and muscular systems, depending on the types of exercises included.

What is involved in the 30 Day HIIT Challenge?

This is a 30 minute workout:

  • 10 min warm up
  • 15 min HIIT workout
  • 5 min cool down

You are challenged to complete this workout 15 times in 30 days. Due to the nature of HIIT, you will want to allow your body sufficient time to recover, so daily performance is not necessarily the best prescription. This workout is designed to challenge your cardiovascular system as well as the major muscles of your core, upper and lower body. Talk about efficiency!

30 Day HIIT Challenge Exercises:

I selected all body weight exercises for this challenge so you can do it anywhere and at anytime. The last thing we need is more excuses, so with these guys, you can simply drop and do them whenever you want.

  1. High Knees
  2. Push-Ups
  3. Bicycle Crunches
  4. Squats
  5. Mountain Climbers

30 Day HIIT Challenge Workout:

  • Part 1 – Warm up: 10 minutes of easy cardio, walking, basic movement and stretches. Don’t skip this step!
  • Part 2 – HIIT workout: Perform each exercise at 80-90 maximum effort (i.e. just about as hard as you can) for 30 seconds and then recover for 15 seconds. Repeat 4 times. You’ll spend 3 minutes on each exercise for a total of 10 minutes of HARD work and 5 minutes of recovery (a 2:1 work to recovery ratio).
  • Part 3 – Cool down: 5 minutes of easy cardio, walking, basic movement and stretches. Don’t skip this step either!

Check out this Quick Video Demonstration

Modifications for the 30 Day HIIT Challenge:

This challenge is simple, but HARD! And we can certainly modify it for every fitness level. You can play with either the recovery time or the level at which you do each exercise. It will be at your discretion. Remember, the most important thing about HIIT training is that you challenge yourself during your work interval, but not so much as to hurt or injure yourself. As long as you use good form and are working at 80-90% max capacity, it does not matter which level of exercise you do. You will get results from this challenge. Here are some ideas to increase or decrease the intensity:

  1. Recovery Time: This is set at a 2:1 work/recover ratio — that’s tough! If it’s too much to start out with, start with a 1:2 (30 seconds on, 1 min recovery) for the first 5 workouts then graduate yourself to 1:1 (30 seconds on, 30 second recovery) then finish the final 5 workouts at the 2:1.
  2. High Knees: Speed up and make sure your knees are reaching hip level to increase intensity. To decrease intensity, try jogging or even walking in place.
  3. Push Ups: 2 minutes of pushups is no joke, even if they are broken into 4 intervals of 30 seconds. You can speed up your pace to increase intensity. To decrease intensity, use your knees or even a wall as you get started and increase throughout the challenge as you get stronger.
  4. Bicycle Crunches: Increase intensity by reaching your elbow all the way to your knee and speeding up the pace. You can decrease intensity by keeping your head stationary and just moving your legs.
  5. Squats: Increase intensity by lowering your butt farther to the ground, adding hand weights or add an jump. You can decrease intensity by choosing a basic body weight squat and controlling your pace.
  6. Mountain Climbers: You can increase the intensity by picking up the pace and making sure your knees get all the way to your elbows. To decrease intensity, focus on holding a static plank or even knee plank until you are stronger.

The Fine Print for the 30 Day HIIT Challenge:

  1. Be sure to use proper form and alignment to maximize results and prevent injury. Be smart! Do what makes sense for your current level of fitness. You are responsible for your own health, so push yourself for improvement but not so far that you hurt yourself! Safety is key.
  2. These exercises will strengthen your cardiovascular system and tone your muscles. It works as a good addition to your standard exercise routine, but does not need to replace it. You should still aim to exercise at least 5 times per week for at least 30-60 minutes to maximize results of this challenge and improve your health.
  3. At the beginning of the month you will record weight and basic measurements along with your benchmark test numbers. At the end of the month, you will do the same thing to measure your progress.
  4. Using your tracker, check off the days as you complete the workout to make sure you get it in at least 15 times, but are not performing this workout on back-to-back days. The actual day in which you do the work is up to you and what works best for your lifestyle.
  5. And as with any and all 30 Day Challenges, be sure to check with your doctor before you start any new exercise regimen.

So how do you get started on the 30 Day HIIT Challenge?

  1. Like the Teresa Marie Wellness on FaceBook now.
  2. Find the 30 Day HIIT Challenge under Events and click “going” then invite your friends to make it more fun.
  3. Get access to all the trackers by joining the community here. If you have already signed up, then at the end of every month, you automatically receive a newsletter with all the links to the trackers. If it’s MIA, check your spam, especially if you have Gmail.
  4. During the month of April 2015, we will have daily check-ins for accountability and motivation on FaceBook. You’ll simply chime in with whether or not you did the workout and share your monthly tally.
  5. Mark your personal calendar, because your challenge starts Wednesday, April 1st!

Don’t forget to sign up and get your fun tracker!

Be Smart. Be Safe. Have Fun. Get FIT!

How to Build the Perfect Circuit Training Workout

Imagine a turbocharged workout routine that mixes cardio and strength training and has you in and out of the gym in 30 minutes. Plus, it’s infinitely and easily customized to help you reach your goals faster. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! It’s called circuit training.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a style of workout where you cycle through several exercises (usually five to 10) targeting different muscle groups with minimal rest in between. The result is a workout that taxes your muscular strength and endurance and your cardiorespiratory system. You’ve likely done circuit training in boot camp-style classes and didn’t even realize it. (See: What’s the Difference Between Circuit Training and Interval Training?)

What are some circuit training benefits?

Circuit training workouts have a ton of benefits, including:

1. Circuit training is a great boredom buster: Moving quickly from one exercise to the next means your mind doesn’t have time to wander or tune out.

2. An all-strength circuit burns 30 percent more calories (about nine per minute!) than a typical weight workout and offers more cardio benefits.

3. A circuit training workout that combines cardio and strength moves will blast fat and sculpt muscle. It can also burn up to 10 calories a minute.

But figuring out how to set up an effective circuit training workout on your own can be intimidating at first. That’s why we pulled together six easy steps to help you build your perfect circuit training routine. (Don’t want to DIY? Here are plenty of pre-designed circuit workouts.)

Step 1: Select the time limit for your circuit training workout.

Circuit training workouts are based around a set number of “stations” that you repeat until your time runs out. So knowing how much time you have can help you determine how many circuits you’ll need to complete and how hard you’ll need to work. (The shorter the circuit training workout, the harder you should be pushing.) Anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes is ideal for circuit training.

Since you’re alternating which body part you’re working during each move, there’s no need to rest between exercises. (Just think: your arms get a break during squats, and your legs get a break during push-ups.)

Example: Five stations of 1-minute each repeated for six circuits adds up to a 30-minute workout.

Step 2: Pick an upper-body exercise.

The trick with circuit training is to use whatever you have handy. If you’re at the gym, you have a wide range of options-but all you really need is your body. (Here’s a bodyweight circuit workout you can steal.) You can choose a different upper-body move each round or simply repeat the same exercise every time if you want to keep things simple.

Upper-Body Circuit Training Exercises:

Circuit 1: Shoulder press

Circuit 2: Bent-over row

Circuit 3: Standing dumbbell curl

Circuit 4: Triceps dip

Circuit 5: Push-up

Circuit 6: Russian twist

Step 3: Pick a lower-body exercise.

Just like you did with the upper body, choose exercises that will work each part of your lower body. You can change up the moves each round or keep them the same.

Lower-Body Circuit Training Exercises:

Circuit 1: Forward lunge or walking lunge

Circuit 2: Sumo squat

Circuit 3: Calf raise

Circuit 4: Hamstring curl on a Swiss ball

Circuit 5: Deadlift

Circuit 6: Superman

Step 4: Pick a compound exercise.

Weight training is an excellent workout, but you’ll really get your heart rate up by adding in some total-body movements to your circuit training plan.

Compound Circuit Training Exercises:

Circuit 1: Jumping lunge

Circuit 2: Mountain climbers

Circuit 3: Thruster (squat to shoulder press)

Circuit 4: Clean

Circuit 5: Bench hop-over

Circuit 6: Single-arm kettlebell swing

Step 5: Choose a sprint for 1 minute.

Research shows that short, fast sprints are the most effective way to torch fat—especially around your midsection. Pick any type of cardio you like to add to your circuit training workout and go all out for 1 minute.

Cardio Circuit Training Exercises:

Circuit 1: Running

Circuit 2: Jumping rope

Circuit 3: Rowing

Circuit 4: Cycling

Circuit 5: Up-hill jogging

Circuit 6: Stair climbing

Step 6: Rest for 1 minute.

You’ve earned it. Let your heart rate come down and then go back through the circuit as many times as you’d like for a complete workout.

Example: Get a drink and make sure your music is all set for the next round.

  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen @CharlotteGFE

Burn Belly Fat With These 3 Great HIIT Workouts For Women

For years, the word “cardio” meant one thing to people: running. Usually on a track or a treadmill, for an hour or more at a time. And it didn’t matter if running bored you out of your mind or made your knees and hurt—if you wanted to be in shape or lose fat, you had to do cardio!

Nowadays, the fitness industry defines cardio more broadly, and while you’re still welcome to do long jogs if that’s your thing, you have another option as well: high-intensity interval training—often called HIIT. Interval workouts can use any type of exercise, from cardio machines to bodyweight to free weights, so you can customize your workout to your own needs.

Burn Belly Fat With These 3 Great HIIT Workouts For Women

Here’s how HIIT works: you alternate fast, intense periods of exercise with bouts of light activity or complete rest. While it takes a fraction of the time a traditional aerobic workout does, HIIT can be just as effective for reshaping your body—and many people (including yours truly) think it’s a lot more fun and challenging.

HIIT may be the perfect kind of cardio for busy moms or women who can’t (or won’t) run anymore, as well as those who don’t have access to a gym. In fact, low-impact HIIT workouts are the number-one request I get from my clients and female Instagram followers. HIIT can be tailored to your experience level and the equipment you have available, including if you work out at home.

What Are HIIT Workouts?

There are many ways to do high-intensity interval training, but the concept is always the same: work hard for a few seconds to get your heart rate up, and then take it easy to recover. Repeat for rounds. Unlike traditional cardio (jogging, swimming, cycling, etc.), where you work at a moderate and steady pace for long periods (usually 30 minutes or more), HIIT workouts are anaerobic—they don’t use oxygen as their primary energy source. Instead, they rely on creatine phosphate to provide the power for explosive, rapid-fire activity, which means HIIT has more in common with weight training than it does jogging. So if you love to lift as much as I do, chances are you’ll enjoy HIIT more than steady-state cardio!

Because HIIT workouts are so intense, you simply can’t perform them for long (just as you can’t lift weights steadily for minutes on end). Work intervals are usually much less than 60 seconds (rest intervals may be longer or shorter, depending on how hard the work bouts are), and the whole workout typically lasts 20 minutes or less.

How Females Can Benefit From HIIT Workouts

HIIT workouts may not last long, but they can provide just as good a workout as sessions that take much more time. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), HIIT workouts can burn more calories per minute of exercise than aerobic training does, making it the better cardio option when you’re short on time.

The other big benefit of HIIT is the effect it has on your metabolism. Like weight training, HIIT increases post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Says the ACSM: “This is generally a two-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy. Because of the vigorous contractile nature of HIIT workouts, the EPOC generally tends to be modestly greater, adding about six to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure.” In other words, HIIT has you burning more calories—including more fat—when you’re recovering after the workout. That means you’ll actually be getting leaner when you’re hanging out around the house, watching TV, and sleeping! You don’t get this same effect with aerobic training.

Since HIIT has the muscles working hard, it also has the potential to boost muscle growth. Look at power athletes such as sprinters and sprint cyclists—their workouts are variations of HIIT, and they typically have ripped bodies to show for it.

How Many Times Per Week Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

As with lifting weights, HIIT is stressful to the body and requires recovery time. You can’t do it every day. I generally recommend that my clients do two or three HIIT sessions per week, done either on the same day that you lift (preferably right afterward or several hours apart) or on days in between.

For as many advantages as HIIT has over steady-state cardio, it’s still important to fit some long-duration aerobic training into your week if you can. I’ll jog or jump rope at a light pace at least one day per week, and for a minimum of 15 minutes. Steady-state cardio builds an aerobic base that your body can use to fuel all its other activities, and it’s good for your heart, as well as burning extra calories.

Beginner HIIT Workout For Women

If you’re new to HIIT, or working out in general, this routine is a perfect place to start. You’ll use only your bodyweight, and every move is low impact—so if you’re overweight, or have back, knee, or shoulder problems, these exercises shouldn’t aggravate them.

Directions: Perform reps of each exercise in turn for 30 seconds, resting 15 seconds between sets. After you complete one round, rest about a minute (more if you need to), and then repeat for 3 to 5 rounds.

Workout duration: 20–30 min.

1. Squat Twist

Step 1. Stand with feet between hip and shoulder-width apart and cross your arms in front of your chest to help you balance. Twist your feet outward and into to the floor (as if you were standing on turf and trying to twist it up beneath your feet), but without moving their position—you just want to create tension and feel your hips and glutes fire up. You should feel the arches in your feet rise.

Step 2. Begin to lower your body, pushing your knees apart and sitting back as if into a chair. Go as low as you can while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis in a long line. If you feel your tailbone is about to tuck under, stop there.

Step 3. Come up out of the squat and twist your torso to the left, raising your left knee into the air 90 degrees. Squeeze your abs. Reverse the motion and repeat the squat, twisting to the opposite side.

2. Reach and Crunch

Step 1. From standing, pull your ribs down and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your core is braced. Raise your arms straight overhead—keep your core tight so that your ribs don’t flare out and your back doesn’t hyperextend.

Step 2. Twist your torso to the left as you bring your left knee up and pull your arms down, as if delivering a knee strike. Crunch your abs, trying to bring your ribs and hips together.

3. Shuffle Punch

Step 1. Stand with feet together and your arms chambered at your sides, ready to throw straight punches.

Step 2. Shuffle your feet to your left and land in a deep squat with feet outside shoulder width. As you drop into the squat, punch your right arm straight out, and then shuffle to the right and punch with your left arm.

4. Squat and Reach

Step 1. Perform a squat as you did in the squat twist above, but start with your arms bent in front of you, as if you had just curled a barbell. Squat until your elbows touch your knees.

Step 2. Come out of the squat quickly so the momentum makes you come up on the balls of your feet. Reach your arms overhead while keeping your ribs pulled down and core engaged.

5. Side-To-Side Knee Drivers

Step 1. Stand with feet outside shoulder width and reach your arms overhead and slightly to the left.

Step 2. Draw your arms down while driving your right knee up and to the left, as if delivering a knee strike. Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Mountain Climber

Step 1. Get into the top of a pushup and then drive your right knee to your chest while keeping your hips level with the floor.

Step 2. Replace your right foot and raise your left knee to your chest. Continue alternating sides at a brisk pace.

7. Table Top Reach and Lift

Step 1. Sit on the floor with feet planted in front of you and hands underneath your shoulders. Brace your core.

Step 2. Push through your heels to raise your hips off the floor. Raise your left leg straight out in front of you and reach for it with your right arm. Lower your hips and repeat on the other side.

Step 3. Raise your hips into a full table-top position, tucking your pelvis under slightly and bracing your core so that your lower back doesn’t hyperextend in the top position.

Advanced HIIT Workout For Women

When you’re ready to take it up a notch, try this HIIT routine, which employs some light plyometric exercises—jumping moves that train explosive power. Not only do they get your heart rate up and challenge your muscles, but they’re fun to do. You’ll feel like an athlete again (or, if you didn’t play sports in school, for the first time—it’s never too late!)

Directions: You’ll need a small box, step, or other platform. Perform reps of each exercise in turn for 20 seconds, resting 10 seconds between sets. After you complete one round, rest about a minute (more if you need to) and then repeat for 3 to 5 rounds.

Workout duration: 12–20 min.

1. Toe Tap

Step 1. Set a box or step that’s about a foot high in front of you. Quickly raise one leg and tap the top of the box with your foot.

Step 2. Return your foot to the floor and repeat on the opposite leg. Get into a rhythm that’s like you’re running, tapping the box quickly with each foot and staying light on your feet.

2. Explosive Hop Up

Step 1. Sit on the box with feet on the floor at hip width. Raise your arms up in front of you.

Step 2. Swing your arms back as you jump off the box as high as you can. Land with soft knees and lower yourself back onto the box. Reset before you begin the next rep.

3. Hop Over

Step 1. Stand to the right side of the box and place your left foot on top of it.

Step 2. Push off the box to hop over it laterally, landing with your right foot on the box and your left foot on the floor. Immediately repeat to the right side and continue performing reps in a rhythm.

4. Quad Hop

Step 1. Stand behind the box and place your left foot on it.

Step 2. Press through your foot to hop up into the air. Swing your left arm forward as you come up to increase the height of your hop. Land softly and repeat immediately. After you’ve spent 20 seconds on your left side, rest, then switch sides, and repeat.

5. Hands-On Climber

Step 1. Place your hands on the box and get into a pushup position.

Step 2. Perform mountain climbers as described in the beginner’s workout above.

6. Feet-On Climber

Step 1. Rest your feet on the box and get into pushup position.

Step 2. Perform mountain climbers as you have above, alternating each knee to your chest, but move more methodically, being careful to replace each foot on the box before you lift the other one.

7. Single-Leg Switch

Step 1. Sit on the box and extend your right leg straight out in front of you. Reach your arms forward to help you balance.

Step 2. Stand up from the box using only your left leg and then quickly hop onto the right foot and sit back down. Now stand up on the right leg. Get into a rhythm.

HIIT Workout You Can Do At Home

HIIT doesn’t need to be done in a gym. All you need is some light dumbbells (even a pair of three-pounders will do) and a few feet of open floor space.

Directions: Perform reps of each exercise in turn for 30 seconds, resting 15 seconds between sets. After you complete one round, rest about a minute (more if you need to), and then repeat for 3 to 5 rounds. To make your glutes work harder, wrap an elastic exercise band just above your knees so that it resists your legs (optional).

Workout duration: 20–30 min.

1. In/Out Squat Jump Press

Step 1. Stand with feet close together, holding a pair of light dumbbells at your sides with elbows bent 90 degrees.

Step 2. Jump and spread your legs, landing in a deep squat at the same time you press both weights out in front of you at arm’s length. Jump back to the starting position.

2. Alternating Kickback Press

Step 1. Stand holding dumbbells at shoulder level with feet closer together.

Step 2. Extend your left leg behind you with knee straight as you press the dumbbells overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.

3. Jumping Jack Press

Step 1. Hold dumbbells at shoulder level and stand with feet close together.

Step 2. Dip your knees quickly to gather momentum, and then jump your legs to outside shoulder width as you press the weights overhead. Land with soft knees.

4. Squat Press

Step 1. Hold dumbbells at shoulder level and squat.

Step 2. As you come up, press the weights overhead.

5. Lunge Press (right leg)

Step 1. Hold dumbbells at shoulder level and step back into a staggered stance so your right leg is front. Lower your body so that your left knee nearly touches the floor and your right knee is bent 90 degrees.

Step 2. Stand straight up from the lunge position and press the weights overhead.

6. Side-To-Side Squat Front Raise

Step 1. Stand with feet together and dumbbells at your sides.

Step 2. Step out to your left side and squat as you raise the dumbbells up to shoulder level in front of you. Step back to the starting position and then repeat to the right side.

7. Lunge Press (left leg)

Perform the lunge press again but with the left leg in front.

8. No-Jump Jack

Step 1. Hold dumbbells at your sides with palms facing forward, and stand with feet together.

Step 2. Step to your right side as you raise the weights overhead in an arcing motion, as if doing a jumping jack. Repeat to the opposite side.

How To Create Your Own HIIT Workout

Once you’ve gotten the hang of HIIT, feel free to make up your own HIIT workouts to keep your training fun and challenging. Here are some guidelines to remember.

1. Choose exercises you can do in one place (more or less). Because the work and rest intervals tend to be brief, you don’t want to create a workout that has you running around your gym from station to station. Keep your equipment and setups simple.

2. Alternate really hard exercises with easier ones. If you squat with weights in one interval, you probably shouldn’t do burpees in the next one. The point of HIIT is too work hard, but not so hard that you burn yourself out early and can’t finish the workout with intensity. Another tip: play with your work-to-rest ratios. You may want to use shorter work intervals and longer rests when you’re just getting started, and add work and subtract rest as you get fitter.

3. You can make HIIT workouts with mobility exercises. If you want to spend more time opening your tight hips or stretching your hamstrings, use mobility drills like the hip-opening mountain climber and twist and sit-knee in your HIIT sessions. You can alternate them with tougher bodyweight or weight-training moves, or use mobility exercises exclusively. You may be surprised how fast mobility moves done with focus and precision can raise your heart rate.

If you want to work your muscles in bursts at the highest intensity, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is for you. You go hard for short periods of time, then take rest periods. Tabata, for instance, is a specific kind of HIIT that follows a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off format (typically, each round is four minutes long). HIIT is effective for burning calories and fat and improving cardiovascular health. And you even burn calories after your interval session, due to what’s called the “afterburn effect.” In fact, the American Council on Exercise names HIIT as the most effective exercise for the afterburn effect.

“The idea is that you’re pushing your cardiovascular system and your metabolic system at a much higher rate than you normally would,” Michael Fredericson, MD, professor and director of physical medicine and sports medicine at Stanford University, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview. The afterburn effect from HIIT, Dr. Fredericson said, could last up to six hours post-workout because HIIT really “turns on your metabolic system. It’s processing at a very high rate, and it takes a while for that to calm down.”

Don’t know where to start? Ahead, check out 20 workouts to try right at home or in the gym. Some are bodyweight only, some are just cardio, and others require a treadmill — there are lots to choose from, so take your pick. They range from 10 to 45 minutes long. Note: for the workouts that don’t come with a video you can follow along to, try a Tabata timer to help guide you. Find that here.

30 days of hiit

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