The most effective, least time consuming, smart way to train is to use the HIIT method.  Before you sign up for a marathon, bear in mind that short intense workouts are better at torching calories and less likely to burn off muscle.

Kieran Keenan

HIIT is a method of training where you get your heart rate up during the workout phase and you keep your rest periods short.  In fact, three 30 minutes intense HIIT sessions a week, with one day break in between workouts, combined with a diet low in saturated fat and processed carbs can control body fat. You will also develop a more natural looking muscle if performing bodyweight movement HIIT sessions.

Overall, you will improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, improve strength and flexibility, reduce the risk of heart disease, release positive endorphins, increase energy levels, decrease stress and sleep better.

HIIT sessions can be performed using resistance equipment, spin bike, treadmill, rower etc.

HIIT sessions can be performed in the gym using resistance equipment, spin bike, elliptical trainers, treadmill, rower, etc.

Long, dragged-out workouts where you spend hour upon hour working out, in hopes of burning stored body fat, is like cooking a roast in a slow cooker. It is great if you have all day to do it but it is nowhere near as efficient as firing up the grill, and that’s what you’ll be doing to your body fat with HIIT.

High knee sprint on the spot
High knee sprint on the spot

Examples of HIIT workouts are:
Spin Bike - 30 seconds on 60%- 100% effort depending on fitness levels with a 30-second break spinning slowly between main intervals for 6-8 minutes.

Rower - Sprinting flat out for intervals of 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m up to 500m 60%-100% effort. Recovery periods are moving at a very slow pace for the times that it took you to sprint each distance.

Resistance Training on machines - 25 seconds on each machine with moderate to heavy weights, 12 seconds break x8 different exercises 20 seconds breaks between sets repeated by 2-3 sets (vary exercises on machines).

Bodyweight HIIT- Push-ups/Obliques /Squat and Reach – 20 seconds on each exercise 10 seconds break between exercises for 4-6 mins depending on fitness levels.

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting a new fitness programme. 

Kieran Keenan is an advanced personal trainer and the owner of Fitsquad.