By Trish Warren, IFBB Fitness Professional
If you’re looking to tone up and lean up quickly, high-intensity intervals are the way to go.
The definition of “insanity” is continuing to do the same thing time and time again – and expecting to get different results. If you’re not getting the results you want, you should re-evaluate the situation. The same holds true for anything in life – not just working out and eating right. That’s why when I realized my body had gotten used to the same old weight-training workout, I decided that I needed to mix things up.
Competing as a professional Fitness athlete requires that I keep my body in tip-top shape. Not only to look good onstage, but also got to keep my energy up so that I can perform my fitness routine above and beyond other competitors – and on a competition-type diet, no less. The way I do this is by using diet and exercise synergistically, providing my body with an optimal environment to produce the results I’m after. After years of using an intense, “bodybuilding” style weightlifting routine, my body was just not responding the way it had in the past. Not to mention, sometimes getting to the gym is not an option.
What I needed in a workout was something that would trim down my physique and bring my waistline in (I mean, who doesn’t want a tiny waist?!), as well as something I could do anywhere. The answer is a high-intensity, 30-minute workout that requires nothing but a small, open space – and me.
High-Intensity, Fat-Burning Interval Workout
Average lifters use a three- or four-day split, where the idea is to train each body part once (or twice) per week, with 24-48 hours rest in between. Most high-intensity interval workouts, on the other hand, work every body part each and every time you perform the workout. With this workout, every day I’m training glutes, arms, thighs and abs – it’s all in one workout. Now that’s not to say that splitting up your body parts is obsolete. Workout splits have their place in the lifetime of your exercise program, but if you’re looking to tone up and lean up quickly, high-intensity intervals are the way to go.
The more you use your entire body in your workout, the more calories you’ll burn during that workout. Once you complete this workout, you’ll be exhausted. Exhaustion alone should tell you how hard you’re working. Your body will never get used to this workout because you can change it up every single day if you’d like. You’re going to incorporate jumping movements like high knees, side-to-side ab twists, squat jumps on a bench, and 180-degree jump squats – with short rest intervals.
Choose five exercises from the list of exercises below. Perform the first one for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds and move on to the second exercise and perform that one for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds, then go to the third exercise and so on and so forth, until you’ve finished the fifth exercise. At that point, you’ll go back to the first exercise and start the sequence again.
Repeat the five-exercise sequence for a total of three (3) times, with little or no rest between sequences – unless you’re completely out of breath, in which case you can rest for only 1-2 minutes.
What Is Your Goal? Tailor the Workout
• If your goal is to shave off muscle and tone up, perform this workout five (5) times per week.
• If your goal is to build muscle while leaning up, do these moves between your usual resistance-training sets (i.e., superset squats with 180-degree squat jumps).
• If your goal is to maintain the muscle you’ve got while leaning up a bit, perform this workout two to three times per week, in addition to your normal weight-training routine.
1. High Knees With Alternating Punches
2. Side-to-Side Ab Twists
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Front Kicks on Bag
5. Side Kicks on Bag
6. Squats With Side Kicks on Bag
7. Squat Jumps on Bench
8. Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench
9. 180-degree Jump Squats
10. Front-to-Back Kicks on Wall
11. Jump Lunges With Pop Squats
12. Big Boys (alternating toe taps on bench)
Note to beginners: Any exercise can be modified to your level. Don’t be afraid to try the exercises and make them work for you.
Constantly Challenge Yourself
If your body is getting used to 30 seconds “on” and 30 seconds rest, you need to kick it up to 45 seconds on with 30 seconds of rest. Keep increasing the time and intensity to keep your body guessing, so it will continue to change. If your workouts get stagnant, your body will get used to it. So, if you keep it guessing and mixing things up, you’ll get better results.
Healthy Diet Is Key
For best results, always maintain a healthy diet of five to six meals per day with supplementation. If you had to choose just one supplement, be sure it’s a quality multivitamin/mineral taken daily for optimal health.
30-Minute Meltdown: Exercise Descriptions
High Knees With Alternating Punches. Quickly bring your knees high to your chest in a jumping movement, alternating knees. While jumping, throw alternating forward punches – keeping your arms at shoulder level.
High Knees. Quickly bring your knees high to your chest in a jumping movement, alternating knees.
Side-to-Side Ab Twists. While jumping, twist your legs right to left – holding your core tight. Keep knees slightly bent and arms up for balance.
Mountain Climbers. Place your hands flat on the ground, just wider than shoulder-width apart. Bring one knee to the chest then back to starting position, alternating each leg. Movement is explosive and quick.
Front Kicks on Bag. Stand in front of bag, keeping hands at your waist for balance. Kick toward bag with left foot then repeat, alternating legs. Use the foot on floor to balance and hold your weight. Move as fast as you can between kicks without losing your balance.
Side Kicks on Bag. Same as Front Kicks, but kick to the side.
Squat With Side Kicks on Bag. Stand with your side to the bag, squat slowly and on your way up, kick the bag with the leg closest to the bag. Repeat on same side for 10 reps, then switch.
Squat Jumps on Bench. Stand with a bench straddled between your legs. Squat and explosively jump up on to the bench. Repeat.
Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench. Stand on either side of the bench. With one foot on the bench, jump up and switch feet – landing on the opposite side of the bench. Repeat.
180-Degree Jump Squats. Squat down and on the descent, turn 180 degrees into another squat. Repeat.
Front-to-Back Kick on Wall. Stand with your hands on the wall to hold yourself steady. Kick one leg to the front, then to the back, without letting your foot move back to the floor. Continue, and switch legs.
Jump Lunges With Pop Squat. Stand in lunge position, lunge down and explosively jump up – switching legs in midair, landing in an opposite-leg lunge. Once you finish both lunge jumps, jump straight into a squat. Repeat.
Big Boys. Stand in front of bench or step. Alternate toe taps on the bench. The movement is quick.