If you’re looking to add some kick to your workout and save time while doing it, it’s probably time to try a 15 minute HIIT workout.
“HIIT, or high intensity interval training, essentially means you train at your maximum effort for brief, timed intervals against rest intervals for a duration of 10 to 30 minutes,” says Jillian Michaels health and fitness expert and creator of The Fitness App. Michaels adds that HIIT training has evolved over the years from just being done on a stationary bike. “HIIT training can be done with sprints, stairs, rowers, bikes, and even elliptical. You can also utilize traditional calisthenic exercises like burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers, jump rope, jumping jacks, etc. Some even use ball slams, battle ropes, or kettlebell swings.”
A 15-minute HIIT workout has been proven to boost metabolism, build strength, and help reduce abdominal fat. So even if you only have a few minutes to spare, you can still reap the benefits with the Tabata training method of HIIT. “It’s important to note that the Tabata protocol is four minutes. If and when I do recommend Tabata, it’s after a relatively moderate training session to max out my burn at the end of the workout,” says Michaels.
Another nice bonus of a 15-minute HIIT workout is that you can do it without equipment unless you want to kettlebells and jump ropes. Here’s a workout to get you started:
15 Minute HIIT Workout:
- 5 exercises total
- 3 sets per exercise
- 40 seconds on, 20 second rest
Workout: 3 rounds for 15 minutes, 40 seconds full-out, 20 second break
- Plank thrust, hop to squat
- Squat jump (if you have knee issues, remove the squat!)
- Ice skaters
- Lunge jump
Cooldown: 2 minutes
Now that you’ve given a 15 minute HIIT workout a try (or are at least considering it!) let’s look at some of the benefits you can reap from a 15-minute HIIT workout.
You’ll burn a lot of calories
Michaels says you can burn a lot of calories with a HIIT workout. “HIIT training burns a ton of calories because you’re training at maximum effort, which requires more energy to perform the physical demands you are putting upon your body.” Not only are you burning more calories than a steady state of 45 minutes of cardio, but the effect of the intensity of the HIIT workout kicks your body’s repair cycle into overdrive making you burn more fat and calories overall.
Related: HIIT Workouts For Beginners
Your metabolism speeds up
Even when you’re just sitting there resting, you’re burning calories thanks to your metabolic rate. But your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic life-sustaining functions. Your resting metabolic rate, or RMR, is the number of calories your body burns while at rest. “HIIT training increases your metabolic rate after the workout is over though a physiological effect called EPOC, or excess post0exercise oxygen consumption,” explains Michaels. “EPOC happens because your body is trying to return to homeostasis, or the state it was in before the workout. HIIT training greatly boosts your EPOC because it’s a workout that utilizes more oxygen consumption which burns more calories during the workout and after it’s over.”
It will help you get fit faster
With a 15-minute HIIT workout, you’re maximizing your results by getting fit faster. “Beyond calorie burning, HIIT training makes you an all around better athlete more quickly than many other modalities of fitness,” Michaels explains. “This is because HIIT workouts are more intense and therefore put more stress on the body. The body must adapt to this stress quickly in order to preserve itself. So the entire body becomes better conditioned at a faster pace to handle the HIIT workouts, from bone density to muscle maintenance and cardiovascular conditioning. HIIT training is incredibly effective.”
Without having to spend hours in the gym, you’re able to spend your lunch break or a few minutes before dinner. This will save you time, and probably make you more likely to actually do the workout on a regular basis. “HIIT training is extremely efficient. Many people don’t have the time for long, drawn out workouts and HIIT training is quick but powerfully effective. In 15 to 20 minutes you can reap as much benefit as a 45 minute steady state cardio session,” explains Michaels.
HIIT gets you healthier
Getting in shape and toning your body is an upside to HIIT training but there are other health, benefits too. “HIIT training lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate, lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. Plus, it can even help maintain muscle mass and improve bone density,” says Michaels.
Michaels says that while there are lots of benefits to doing HIIT workouts, HIIT can backfire if that’s the only exercise you’re doing. “If you’re only doing HIIT training, then your workout will be imbalanced. You need to train all modalities of fitness. It’s important to have training days that focus on strength, and some that focus on flexibility and mobility.”
Michaels also mentions that you should make sure not to train too long, because HIIT is supposed to be a short, intense workout—so do your best to do the appropriate work/rest ratio for your fitness level.