If you’re the type of person who likes their gym time to be over as quickly as possible, we have some good news for you: short high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is great for shedding the pounds.
A new study, published online by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has found that interval training – where you go all-out in a quick intense burst of exercise, followed by a short period of rest – is much more beneficial for weight loss than a workout that is the same moderate intensity throughout.
Basically, you’ll probably see better gains if you spend 30 minutes giving 100% effort in an exhaustive HIIT workout than jogging for 60 minutes on a treadmill. This means that you can spend less time on the gym floor and more time enjoying that blissful post-workout shower and shake.
The research found that fast sprinting was found to be the best way of building a lean physique, although all high-intensity workouts were good.
Thankfully, HIIT isn’t just limited to bleep tests and gruelling bootcamp-style workouts anymore. There are loads of hybrid classes that can make getting your heart rate up actually enjoyable. Here we’ve found just a few you should try.
1. Boxing HIIT
Boxing is an amazing sport for sculpting your core muscles and building upper-body strength, but if you don’t fancy the thought of getting a black eye, why not try a fast and furious non-combat class instead?
You might be attacking the bag solidly for a minute with non-stop jabs, tiring yourself out by shadow boxing or throwing hooks and uppercuts at some pads. Hey, if it’s good enough for Victoria’s Secret angel Adriana Lima (who has apparently boxed for years), then it’s good enough for us.
Where to try it: Virgin Active have a class called Punch 30 that involves twelve rounds on the bag – all guaranteed to be sweaty; all guaranteed to get the endorphins pumping.
2. Aqua HIIT
Guys, we know Aquafit sounds like something your grandma might do, but hear us out – it’s having a revamp.
Water-based workouts are actually one of the toughest going, as the pool creates a natural resistance, making it harder for your body to complete a cardio circuit. Jumping jacks feel heavier, kicks feel more challenging and jogging? That feels comically impossible too. One of the benefits of getting wet is that water workouts are easier on your joints, making it a perfect cross-training exercise for anyone who wants to run an injury-free marathon this year.
Where to try it: DW Fitness First have a new class called H2O HIIT that combines water-based interval training to build muscle. It’s made up of five circuit stations and includes group drills and challenges, designed to put your body to work.
3. Martial Arts HIIT
MMA fighters famously have some of the most shredded bods in sport. If you want to replicate the skill in a safe way, there are now martial arts classes that combine combat practice with speed drills and cardio moves.
Where to try it: Blaze at David Lloyd offers a dynamic workout that’s a fiery combo of mixed martial arts, intense cardio and strength training – all to a soundtrack of dance music. High energy, high gains.
Yoga and high-intensity exercise? Yep, it sounds wrong, but somehow it works. It’s basically calorie-crushing hard bursts of strength work, broken up by relaxing yoga moves that build on your flexibility. Expect results for both the body and mind.
Where to try it: Another Space, based in London, has a version of the mash-up yoga class (simply called ‘HIIT & Yoga’), but if you don’t live in the capital, why not try the blistering YouTube yoga workout above?
We’re pretty sure you’ll be sporting a Joe Wicks-worthy six-pack in no time.