HIIT for Serious Fat Blasting!
I travel a lot in my business, which could make it tough to maintain year round peak condition if I was relying solely on the often limited primary pieces of equipment in hotel gyms. While they are usually helpful to a degree, one needs to be creative in co-ordinating a successful training session around what is available. Generally, it’s a far reach to expect to follow your regular split body part training regime integrated with heavy, powerful lifting as there simply isn’t the variety of equipment required nor the appropriate level of weights.
I devised this efficient High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) circuit largely to counter these travel obstacles. But it goes well beyond that, it has become my choice of activity daily regardless of where I may be in the world. Even when I have the access to a fully functioning Gym, I like to incorporate this Circuit into my session.
In addition, this plyometric style of training engages the largest muscle fibres, Type 2B, which are fast twitch and therefore function for explosive movements, as opposed to the slow twitch endurance type muscles, known as Type 1. Type 2B muscle fibres also have the greatest ability to grow, adding a significant benefit to HIIT style training.
The many advantages of this training style include;
• The need for hardly any equipment!
• Functional and Safe, whilst working the entire body!
• Is very time efficient; 30 minutes can be all you need!
• Regulates blood sugar levels, promotes Dopamine secretion a ‘happy’ hormone and reduces Cortisol a ‘stress’ hormone!
• Type 2B muscle fibres are trained for growth, speed and explosiveness!
• Targets stubborn fat cells, promoting Fat Blasting!
• Increases metabolism!
• Fits all levels of individual fitness; you simply go at your own desired level.
• Improves cardiovascular fitness!
• Enjoyable and Rewarding!
Before I start my 30 minute Fat Blasting HIIT sessions I work my mind! It’s essential for me to embrace each and every workout with the correct Attitude! It’s a choice you make to Exercise; no one is forcing you to do it, but if you are going to choose to do it then you want to make sure it counts! I remind myself of the reasons I am about to put my body through this, I list my motivations in my head. I then fast forward through the Circuit in my mind, visualising myself propelling through each exercise. But while visualising I am also performing my active warm up of clinching and tensing each individual muscle group, which will soon be activated in each exercise.
I am now ready to get down to business; 10 Exercises each performed for 60 second intervals with 30 second rest periods in between, just enough to get set for the next station.
Exercise 1: Soldier Push Ups
Description: Soldier Push Ups are as the name suggests an imitation of the functional combatitive move soldiers perform. Begin in a push up position and complete the push up, then drop to an elbow Plank position before raising yourself back to the original push up stance and continue repeating the move without rotating hips and shoulders and minimising movement through the core and bottom.
Targeted Muscles: Entire core area of Abdominals and Erector Spinae of lower back as well as engaging the Triceps, Shoulders and Chest.
Exercise 2: Cable Woodchops
Description: Most hotel gyms carry a cable machine of some sort. Attach a rope or bar to it and perform a functional wood chopping movement. Brace your core muscles tightly, fix your hips in a forward diagonal position forming a strong base of support and perform the chopping movement with arms almost straight, slow and controlled, high repetitions.
Targeted Muscles: Serratus Anterior, Abdominals, Obliques.
Exercise 3: Split Lunges
Description: From a Lunge leap vertically into the air whilst swapping your front and back legs around, in other words a lunge performed mid air. Land, perform a lunge and then continue rotating and repeating.
Targeted Muscles: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calfs as well as the Heart as this should significantly raise your heart rate into an optimal fat blasting range.
Exercise 4: Squat Jumps
Description: Hands by side perform a body weight squat with speed to a depth that allows your hands to briefly touch the floor before pushing off into a vertical leap as high above the ground as possible whilst simultaneously lifting your arms to sky. Land and repeat.
Targeted Muscles: Quads, Glutes and Heart.
Exercise 5: Tricep Dips
Description: Leaning your arms behind your back on the edge of a heavy piece of furniture and your legs straight out in front of you drop your bottom into a dip as your arms bend. Come as low as possible before returning to the top by extending your arms. Maintain a strong posture throughout by pushing your chest out and extending your back rather than flexing over.
Note: Advanced method is to hang from parallel bars and dip your body weight. When this piece of equipment is available attempt to challenge yourself.
Targeted Muscles: Triceps and Chest.
Exercise 6: Rocky’s Abs
Description: These are inspired by the Rocky Saga: Lying flat on your back, preferably on a hard heavy surface like a bench and holding onto the surface with your hands over head, legs in an extended position bring them up towards the ceiling or sky until beyond 90 degrees. The aim is to keep your hips lifted off the bench the entire time and only lift and lower your legs. The slow eccentric or return phase of the movement is also vital, which is the gradual dropping of your legs but before landing them on the surface lift them again as you repeat the movement. Each time engaging the abdominal muscles.
Note: Easier option is Reverse Crunches; curling your hips and legs off the floor.
Targeted Muscles: Abdominals, Obliques and Serratus Anterior.
Exercise 7: Pull Ups
Description: When there is a Pull Up Bar available challenge yourself. I perform the first minute with an underhand fairly narrow grip to activate the biceps more. Then for the second minute aim to progress to wide grip overhand chin ups with the focus more on your back muscles.
Note: An inverted row is an easier choice, which involves lying underneath a parallel fixed bar and pulling your chest up to it. Another simple alternative is the Rowing Machine, usually available in hotel gyms. Choosing this alternative will mean more of a cardio workout than a muscular development option. Both have their benefits.
Targeted Muscles: Biceps, Lats, Erector Spinae and Rhomboids
Exercise 8: Slam Ball
Description: You may be fortunate enough to have access to a slam ball, which is a weighted ball that is somewhat ‘flat’ so when it is slammed into the ground it has no bounce back up. The movement is to extend the slam balls above your head and get onto your toes and then with power slam the ball into the ground finishing in a low squat ready to immediately collect the ball and repeat the movement.
Note: When a slam ball is unavailable use a wet scrunched up towel.
Targeted Muscles: Abdominals, Lats, Quads and Heart
Exercise 9: Pilates Ball Crunches
Description: You should have access to an inflated Pilates ball, lye back on it and crunch your chest to the sky or ceiling. With arms crossed over your chest the exercise works best if you focus on bringing your chest upwards rather than rolling forwards.
Targeted Muscles: Abdominals and Serratus Anterior.
Exercise 10: Tricep Cable Press Downs
Description: Using the cable machine in your hotel Gym, attach either a ‘wiggly’ or straight bar or alternatively a rope. With elbows at your side simply press down the bar till your arms are at full extension. I recommend pausing for a second or two at full extension with each rep for an intense burn through your tricep muscle, then return the bar slowly to the starting position without swinging your elbows forward.
Targeted Muscles: All three heads of the Tricep Muscle.
That completes my favourite HIIT Fat Blasting Circuit and I guarantee you will know you have done something very productive to your body when this point arrives! Regardless of your level of fitness and muscular development, having finished this circuit to your best ability is perhaps in my eyes the most productive way you can spend any given time in a day. Your body should be aching and your lungs gasping for air, but those are good feelings! Remember now, as a Dietitian I recommend supplementing this work out with wise nutrition choices! Be very conscious of exactly what foods and drinks you choose to put in your mouth, as that impacts significantly on the results of the training just performed as well as the level of performance you are capable of achieving in your next time round.