By Jaime Baird and Lisa Steuer
The holidays are here, and as a result, you may find yourself falling behind on your fitness. After all, your schedule is most likely packed with parties, shopping and other festivities that seriously cut into your gym time. But, here’s the deal… you can have your fruitcake and stay fit too. How? With a little holiday miracle called HIIT, or high-intensity interval training.
When it comes to fitting fitness into a busy schedule, there’s no better option than HIIT. In fact, research has shown that the short but intense HIIT workouts burn more fat and calories than longer steady-state cardio or traditional weight-training programs. So simply put, HIIT allows you to get more results in less time. Now there’s something to celebrate!
Our comprehensive HOLIDAY HIIT PROGRAM, demonstrated by two-time IFBB Bikini Olympia Champion Ashley Kaltwasser, takes the guesswork out of staying on track this busy and indulgent holiday season. Just follow our timesaving, metabolism-boosting resistance and cardio workouts, and you’ll be in and out of the gym in just 30 minutes! So you’ll have time to squeeze in a sweat, finish your shopping, trim the tree and make it to the party! Joy to the world!
WHAT TO EXPECT
TOTAL BODY. Every session features power-based compound movements, fundamental muscle-building exercisesand explosive plyometrics for a high-intensity workout that will burn a high number of calories in a short period of time.
CHALLENGE. The key to this program, and HIIT in general, is training like you mean it. You have to lift heavy, push hard and make the most of every minute that you train.
ADDED BENEFITS. In addition to burning tons of calories in little time, this program will help build strength, improve aerobic fitness as well as promote the production of anabolic hormones responsible for improved body composition.
HOLIDAY HIIT SCHEDULE
Too busy to plan your workouts this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a seven-day plan!
MONDAY: Resistance Circuit 1
TUESDAY: HIIT Cardio – Treadmill
WEDNESDAY: Resistance Circuit 2
FRIDAY: Resistance Circuit 3
SATURDAY: HIIT Cardio – Upright Bike
HIIT THE SPOT
Make the most of each exercise with our detailed instructions and Ashley’s helpful hints.
Keeping your weight in your heels, abs tight, head up, back straight and torso upright, lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your knees behind your ankles by focusing on pressing the glutes back on the descent. “The bar should rest behind the neck comfortably— I prefer to use a pad so that the bar does not cause discomfort,” explains Ashley.
Using a straight bar, begin with your arms about shoulder-width apart and fully extended. Curl the bar up toward your chest and slowly lower the bar to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down and back and elbows fixed to your sides to help control momentum and minimize front deltoid recruitment.
Standing with feet together, squat down and place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart. Thrust your legs back into a plank position. Make sure to keep your core tight and body in a straight line. Then, jump your legs back in and stand up. Add a jump to the end for added intensity.
Perform this exercise in a controlled manner— initiating the movement from the abdominals. “Raise the arms and legs at the same time to get into a V position with the body, while balancing on the tailbone. Be sure the legs and arms are straight at all times,” says Ashley.
Begin with legs about shoulder-width apart, grasping a kettlebell with both hands. Push glutes back, bend forward at the hips and let your arms swing backward through your legs. Then drive hips forward to swing kettlebell to shoulder height. Your body should be in a straight line at the top of the swing. “As with a stiff-leg deadlift, make sure you don’t round the back,” explains Ashley.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing a plyo box. Perform a squat to help you explosively jump up onto the box with both feet. “Be sure that both feet are completely on the surface of the box and stand up straight before you jump back down to the floor,” explains Ashley.
With your hands wider than shoulder-width, hang from the bar with your arms completely extended. Initiating the movement from the lats and drawing the elbows down, pull your chin above the bar. Then, lower yourself down. If you are unable to do a pull-up, use the assisted chin-up machine or have a spotter help you.
Begin with one hand on each parallel bar. Keeping your body in a straight line and your chest up, slowly lower your body until the top of your arms are parallel to the floor. Press back up and repeat. If you are unable to do a triceps dip, use the assisted chin-up machine or have a spotter help you. “Make sure you don’t let the elbows flair out— elbows should point straight back,” explains Ashley.
Kick up into a handstand position with the heels against the wall. Your body should be fully extended. Bend the elbows and slowly lower yourself until the top of the head touches the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position. If this is your first time doing this exercise, use a spotter. To make the exercise more comfortable, Ashley recommends using “a padded mat” under your head.
Modification: If you’re not comfortable with the full handstand position, perform the exercise with your feet on a bench or box, such that your legs are at about a 90-degree angle to your upper body.
Jump as high as you can and tuck your knees into your chest before landing. Immediately explode into another jump.
Assume the plank position with the tops of your ankles elevated on the Swiss ball. Tighten your core and legs for balance and stability. Engaging your abdominals, pull your feet toward your chest until your hips are close to being in line with your shoulders. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position. Make sure you don’t drop your back and hips when you return to the starting position.
Begin by holding the barbell in front of your body with hands shoulder-width apart. Legs should be also be at about shoulder width. Lift your chest, arch your back, push your glutes back and slightly bend your knees. Bend forward at the hips until the weight is almost touching the ground. Slowly stand back up. Ashley adds: “Make sure your back doesn’t round during the exercise. You should really feel this exercise in the glute and hamstrings.”
ABOUT ASHLEY KALTWASSER
3x IFBB Bikini Olympia Champion
Gaspari Nutrition Athlete
Resides in Akron, Ohio
Former Division 1 Collegiate Track Athlete – 400m Hurdles
Check out Ashley’s “Keep it Fresh” column at FitnessRxWomen.com for her fun and flavorful fit-living tips. You can also find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BikiniProAshley), Twitter (@AshleyKFit) and Instagram (AshleyKfit).
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