If the seven minute workout didn’t do it for you, might we suggest the four-minute fat blast? Aka Tabata, it’s the latest form of speedy interval training to hit our shores and, if you believe the hype, one round of this gruelling 240-second set of exercises (done four times a week) will give the same, if not better, body-conditioning results as a traditional fitness regime. The key is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which intersperses short spells of recovery. Sports scientist and professor Greg Whyte (gregwhyte. com) says, ‘The great advantage is the small amount of time required. It’s easier to motivate yourself and sustain the programme long-term. However, it is important to include all elements of conditioning, ie, aerobic, strength, flexibility, etc, to ensure you are getting the most out if it.’ Continue reading for our no excuses workout...
1. Try A 2-minute squat session:
‘As soon as you wake up, before you take your shower and brush your teeth, do 50 squats next to your bed. Nobody is looking, so you can do them in your PJs. Squats are an excellent fat burner and will only take up 2-3 minutes. Over the course of the week that’s 350 squats!’ says Dalton Wong, founder of Twenty Two Training (twentytwotraining.com).
2. 4 Minutes is the new 7 minutes:
Get fit with only 4 minutes of exercise four times a week? Yes please! Tabata is comprised of an aerobic and anaerobic workout, meaning it will give you both a cardio and a muscle workout. Developed by Japanese scientist Professor Izumi Tabata, it is made up of 20 seconds of intense exercise, led by your instructor, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this set 8 times. It sounds pretty easy but is anything but: 4 minutes of Tabata is equivalent to an hour of jogging and it speeds up your metabolism so that you continue to burn more calories for a full 12 hours after your session. Yes, it’s painful, but it’s worth it. Tabata classes are available at Fitness First (fitnessfirst.co.uk).
3. The A-list's 5-minute metaboLic plan:
Dalton shares the quick-fix weight loss and body-sculpting secrets he uses as a trainer to the stars. Set a timer for 5 minutes and perform as many circuits as possible without rest. 1) 10 lunges forward on each leg 2) 10 push-ups 3) 10 reverse lunges on each leg 4) 10 tricep dips 5) 10 squat jumps.
Record how many you can complete in 5 minutes and aim to beat that time each week.
4. The ‘20 minutes to fat blast-off!’ class:
Virgin Active’s Fast Classes are a gym-goer’s favourite. Performed on mats in the gym area rather than in a studio, they are perfect for those who find themselves short on time and needing to nip away before the end of a class. You can do just a few minutes or stay for the full 15-20 minutes. One of the sessions is UGI, which is made up of a series of one-minute exercises and combines strength, cardio and core training. The instructor-led movements revolve around a 15-inch squishy stress ball, which can be stood on, knelt on, or usedaspartofaplankorevenasa weight. Another class is Puma HIIT – a series of fat-burning drills focusing on speed and agility (virginactive.co.uk).
5. Boost your metabolism in 20 seconds:
‘Perform 5 squats with shoulder presses, followed by 10 fast ladder climbs (where you pretend to climb a ladder lying on your front) on the floor. This exercise uses the large muscle groups, which increase muscle mass and EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) and, in turn, boosts your metabolic rate,’ says Giuseppe Minetti, founder of The Token Yard Club and an expert in metabolic fitness (thetokenyardclub.com).
6. The anywhere APP/android workout:
Couldn’t make it to the gym this morning? That once-plausible excuse no longer cuts it thanks to apps like DailyBurn. Here, you can choose from and download hundreds of short workouts, and up to a month’s worth of fitness plans that can be performed anywhere – not just in your living room. Stream it while at the gym for a futuristic personal training experience (dailyburn.com).
7. You(tube) can do it!:
Admittedly, we’ve mainly been YouTube-ing the John Lewis Christmas advert on repeat, but there’s an influx of high-quality HIIT workout videos on the video-sharing site too. The Nike Women channel boasts real-time interval and high-intensity virtual classes that hit the right note between encouraging and no-nonsense. Check them out at youtube.com/user/NikeWomen.