HIIT the Ground Running: Shedding Holiday Weight For Spring

Let's face it: We all pack on a few pounds around the holidays. The food is delicious, and the weather is too cold to be active. Even if your diet is completely in check by January 1st, cozying up by the fire seems a lot more appealing than heading out for a run.

Unfortunately, that means we don't generally make too much progress on dropping those few temporary pounds until the temperature starts rising. By then it might be a little too hit your 2018 fitness goals in time for beach season. So why not get a head start?

HIIT Training

Forget 5 mile runs. It's cold out. When it comes to motivating yourself through the winter, your workout needs to be quick, fun, and easy to do somewhere warm. Unless you're already a cross country enthusiast, running is none of those.

In fact, long distance, steady rate cardio isn't even the most effective fat-burner. The key to dropping pounds is a technique called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. Put simply, HIIT is a period of high intensity followed by a period of low intensity, repeated for a certain amount of time.

Think of it like sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 1 minute, repeated for 20 minutes. The goal is to spike your heart rate, and then give yourself just enough recovery time to do it again.

The great thing about HIIT is that you can substitute any exercise (or multiple exercises) and get the same effect. You can even program it as a resistance training workout, so you're building muscle at the same time.

Why HIIT Works

Here's a big ol' disclaimer to help you wade through internet debates: HIIT does not actually burn more fat per calorie than low intensity exercise. As intensity increases, you tend to draw more from your carbs than fat. So technically, if you burn 200 calories from HIIT and 200 calories from power walking, the second 100 will be more from fat.

HOWEVER, HIIT burns more calories in the same amount of time. Let's say you burn 200 calories from a long walk, 100 of which cam from fat. In that same amount of time, you could potentially burn 400 with HIIT, 150 coming from fat. Yes, the walk burned a higher percentage of fat, but clearly HIIT was a better use of your time.

The Workout

Talking about HIIT training is all well and fine, but the easiest versions still require you to hit the pavement, or at least a gym. When your motivation is low, having to leave the house for a workout can be the biggest obstacle. So we've put together (the image on your right) a beginners HIIT circuit that you can do in your living room.

It's a full body routine with plenty of resistance training built in, and there's no special equipment needed. Just you, some sneakers, and maybe a yoga mat. It breaks away from the traditional "sprint/jog" format, but the principle of spiking your heart rate and recovering just long enough to spike it again are still in play.


There you have it. Shed those unwanted holiday pounds with this simple, do-anywhere HIIT workout!

If you're interested in trying out snacks which were specifically designed around the macronutrient ratio that dietitians recommend, take a look at these delicious snacks which are high in protein, low in sugar, and full of healthy fats.