Work Out At Home With High Intensity Interval Training

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There are times when it isn’t possible to make it to the gym or your fitness class, life is hectic. Worry not, we will cover a way to get fit, tone your muscles and burn fat in minutes. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be carried out at home. There are many ways to do this, using body weight exercise, small weight equipment like kettlebells, or home exercise machines like bikes and rowers. You will find the results can be far more dramatic than 60 minutes on a treadmill or that aerobics class.


So what is High Intensity Interval Training?


It is a type of cardio training recommended by an increasing number of fitness experts. HIIT has been shown to be an incredibly efficient and time effective way to get an intense work out, plus it can be carried out anywhere. Most of the routines are 20 – 30 minutes long, getting your heart pounding using varying exercise intensity, and limiting rest periods between sets.


What are the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training?


Burns fat – in terms of bang per buck, the calories burnt by minute are really high, plus you get an after-burn effect where your body continues to burn calories long after you finish.

Builds lean muscle mass – meaning you not only lose fat you improve body shape and composition.

Improves aerobic and anaerobic capacity – by exercising heart, lungs and energy production systems.

Well how do these benefits come about?


Fat burning

One, as you are exercising the body is burning calories at a greater rate than when you rest. Engaging a number of muscles, at high intensity, boosts calorie burning when compared to slower steady state exercises. Intense interval training sessions have been demonstrated to burn +200 calories every 10 mins, so a 30-minute session can burn +600 calories!

Two, HIIT requires more oxygen than the heart and lungs can supply, so your body creates an oxygen “debt” after exercise, and the body has to work to resupply oxygen. This resupply of oxygen needs energy, so further calories are burned after exercise stops. This is known as Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. HIIT switches your body into anaerobic energy production, glycogen stores in muscles are depleted and replaced by burning fat.

Three, interval training builds lean muscle mass. Muscle requires more calories to maintain than fat. Therefore your resting metabolism will rise, and you burn more calories and fat at rest.

Building and toning muscles

Many HIIT exercises use your body weight as a form of resistance. Weight training is also resistance training, it just uses weights rather than your own body weight as resistance.

HIIT builds and tones muscles in the same way as weight training. When exercise is carried out tiny micro-tears are made in the muscles. When the body repairs these micro-tears it builds the muscle fibres back larger and stronger in anticipation that they will need to respond to the same stimulus again.

Press up

Aerobic and Anaerobic improvements

Exercising at intensity puts pressure on the bodies energy systems as oxygen and glycogen are burnt as fuel. The heart like any other muscle will adapt if greater stimulus is placed on it. Becoming able to pump more blood around the body at a faster rate. The lungs become more efficient, able to take in greater volumes of air in one breath and diffuse more oxygen into the blood stream. Muscles become more efficient at taking in and burning the oxygen in the blood.

All of this results in improvements to endurance, both cardiovascular and muscular.


How often should I interval train?

This training is intense, and is not suitable to be carried out every day. The fitter you are the less recovery time is needed after heavy exertion, so if you are starting out twice a week is suitable, while a day’s rest in between is fine for the fitter amongst us.


Can I do other forms of training as well?

It is advisable to include other forms of exercise in your routine. Cardio, interval and weight training all have their own benefits, so a well-rounded fitness program should include all of them. Including low intensity cardio training on rest days is great for cardiovascular health. It will also speed recovery between HIIT sessions. Weight training and interval training are more demanding and intense so recovery should be separated by a day of rest or light cardio. Remember to have at least one day a week with no form of training. Otherwise you wont gain maximum benefits from training and keep your body in good health.


Examples of high intensity interval training routines


This video from body coach Joe Wicks is a great example of exercises than can be carried out at home. Joe is training in his garden but the routine he demonstrates here could be carried out indoors. Just pull the coffee table to the side of the living room and have a go!

The next video is a cycling  routine that lasts 20 minutes, although those will be 20 tough minutes! It’s ideal for when you are short on time but still want to fit some training into your day. In the video they are using racing bikes mounted on bike rollers but this is just as suitable for an exercise or spinning bike.

Here is a rowing machine HIIT workout from that will push you to your limits. As with all of these workouts if you are new to HIIT all you need to do is perform less of the high intensity stages of the routine and take longer rest periods. Over time work up to the higher volume and lower rest sets shown in the videos.

The guys at have made this video on HIIT with kettlebells. For each exercise there are two variations, one intermediate/advanced level and a modified version for those just starting out. Kettlebells are a great addition to HIIT workouts, benefiting muscle development along with cardio training.


Wrapping things up

High intensity interval training is a great way to work out with a number of benefits. It is also a really flexible way to train, so if you need you can save time and exercise at home. The work outs detailed in these videos are great, but we’d encourage you to find more by browsing YouTube and Google.

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