If you’re struggling to get your workouts in during this busy time of year, I’ve got one word for you … INTENSITY!

Basically, you’re trying to crank out a higher “output” but in a shorter period of time. I’m talking 20-30 minutes or less.

In a nutshell, this means training like an ATHLETE.

The good news is these workouts can actually be a lot of fun.

Plus, after the holidays are over, you won’t have to start over (a big problem for a lot of people!) – and you WILL feel pretty good about your fitness level.

Here are some ways to add intensity to your routine:

  • Add speed bursts to your walk/run/elliptical session.
  • Raise the treadmill incline/walk up hills outside.
  • Include conditioning exercises – battle ropes, kettlebell swings, burpees, jump rope – between sets during your strength-training workout.
  • Hit the treadmill for 1-2 minutes between rounds of your resistance training workout.

Here’s a fast total-body workout you can sneak in anywhere!

“Hot for the Holidays” Tabata-Style Workout:

Warm up for 5-10 minutes: do some cardio, jump rope, etc. to get the blood flowing, then do some bodyweight squats, lunges, arm circles to warm up the muscles.

Go through this circuit 1-4 times, depending on the amount of time you’ve got and how you’re feeling.

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds before moving to the next exercise.

  1. Prisoner Squats (place hands behind your head and squat)
  2. Mountain Climbers (in plank, “run,” alternate drawing your knees in toward your chest)
  3. Walking Lunges
  4. Plank with Shoulder Tap (in plank position, tap your opposite shoulder in a slow and controlled motion)
  5. Speed Skaters
  6. Russian twists
  7. 180º Jump squats (Squat, and as you rise, jump so you are facing backwards, landing softly in squat position)
  8. Plank

Then, cool down. Be sure to bring your heart rate down slowly by walking or doing some other low-level activity.

Here are the 4 things to know about HIIT workouts …

  1. Always warm up with 5-10 minutes of easier activity, so your muscles and cardiovascular system are ready to go!
  2. Listen to your body. If you aren’t used to intense workouts, scale up slowly.
  3. Take a day (or 2!) off between intense workouts. Your body needs time to recover. Time permitting, you can do less-intense workouts between more intense workout days.
  4. Let your heart rate return to normal before you hit the shower. The cool down is a vital part of your workout, so don’t cut it short.

You will be amazed at how a little extra intensity can add up to a LOT of great results.

Experiment and have fun with it.

REFERENCES: If you need visual references for the exercises above, here are some examples:

Prisoner Squats:  www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/leg-exercises/videos/prisoner-squat
Mountain Climbers: www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/videos/mountain-climber
Walking Lunges: www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/leg-exercises/videos/bodyweight-walking-lunge
Plank with Shoulder Tap: www.muscleandfitness.com/training/workout-routines/alternating-shoulder-taps
Speed Skaters: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOCgMuczgZA
Russian Twist (can be done unweighted): www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlccOWys8IU
180º Jump Squats: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_b-j-0UleU
Plank: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvIjsG5Svck

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