The 8 Best at Home Workouts (No-Equipment!)

The 8 Best at Home Workouts (No-Equipment!)


Wonder Woman vacuuming at home

So you want to start working out, but you don’t want to leave the house?

No problem! 

Our online coaches specialize in helping people get fit from home.

Let’s go over the 8 Best At-Home Workouts so you can start training today: no gym or equipment required!

Before we jump in…

You’re reading this guide at the perfect time because Nerd Fitness is currently hosting a special event, LET’S START TOGETHER: A 5-DAY WALKING CHALLENGE FOR HOBBITSNERDS!

A graph explaining the Nerd Fitness Walking Challenge

Walking around your neighborhood is a great way to start training from home! It’s one of the ways I choose to stay active.

Learn more right here!

At Home Warm-ups and stretching routines

A LEGO and his dog

No matter which at-home workout you pick, I want you to start with one important thing:

Warm-up!

I cover why you should always warm up in an article found right here. It doesn’t have to be much though, give it about five minutes to get your muscles active and your heart rate up.

Arm circles are a great way to warm-up for your at-home workout.

This will help you do exercises properly and help prevent injury. You can run in place, do air punches and kicks, or some jumping jacks.

Here is NF Senior Coach Staci (you might know her incredible story) showing you many beginner options you can use to warm up as well:

If you’re curious, here’s my personal (advanced) warm-up:

Advanced Warm-up Routine:

  • Jump rope: 2-3 minutes 
  • Jumping jacks: 25 reps
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
  • Lunges: 5 reps each leg.
  • Hip extensions: 10 reps each side
  • Hip rotations: 5 each leg
  • Forward leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Side leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Push-ups: 10-20 reps
  • Spider-man steps: 10 reps

Our goal isn’t to tire you out, instead we want to warm you up.

That’s step one.

Completing your chosen at-home workout would be step two.

The Count proclaiming the number "2"

Below, you’ll find 8 sequences you can follow along with!

Home Workout #1: Beginner Bodyweight

This at-home routine, as we lay out in our Beginner Bodyweight Workout article, is as follows:

We also turned it into a fun infographic with superheroes, because that’s how we roll:

This infographic will show you the 6 exercises needed to complete our Beginner Bodyweight Workout.

The above is what we call “circuit training,” with the objective being to run through the workout sequence once, then again, then again.

Note: Not a milk drinker?

GOMAD will for sure help you gain weight, as this kid can attest to.

If you don’t have milk in the house for the rows, find something of roughly the same weight with a good handle.

Also, if you want to download this Beginner Bodyweight Workout as a worksheet, you can do so when you sign up in the box below:

It’ll help you track your progress as you begin your training.

Home Workout #2: Advanced Bodyweight 

If the beginner at-home workout above is too easy for you, move on to our Advanced Bodyweight Workout

The Advanced Bodyweight Workout:

  • One-legged squats – 10 each side [warning: super-difficult, only attempt if you’re in good enough shape]
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
  • Walking lunges: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Jump step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Pull-ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows]
  • Dips (between bar stools): 10 reps
  • Chin-ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows with underhand grip]
  • Push-ups: 10 reps
  • Plank: 30 seconds

Not familiar with these moves? Check out the 21 Best Advanced Bodyweight Exercises for a full breakdown.

I warn you, the above sequence will hurt… in a good way. You should be proud if you can get through this three times.

Do you want to get as strong as possible so this workout ain’t no thang? 

Sign up in the box below to grab our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll teach you all of these advanced bodyweight exercises!

Home Workout #3: The 20-Min Hotel Routine

Is there anyway to work out in this hotel room?

Sometimes, you just plain find yourself stuck in a hotel room. Maybe you can find the hotel gym, but I bet it’s terrible! It probably has 2 machines, a broken treadmill, and no free weights. 

Ugh.

Instead, how about a 20-min workout you can do in the room itself! Utilize the furniture to its full potential.

You can work out in your hotel room like these two people are doing!

Hotel Workout Level 1:

Hotel Workout Level 2:

Set the alarm clock to 15 minutes from now and see how many circuits you can do!

Check out our full post on hotel circuits if you want Level 3!

We have a LOT of business travelers throughout the Rebellion! Learn how they stay fit on the road with the Nerd Fitness Starter Kit!

Home Workout #4: High-Intensity Interval Training 

A LEGO Wizard

You don’t have to head to the gym to do High-Intensity Interval Training. You can do a complete routine right in your own home!

HIIT is just following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run, swim, bike, or row.

Unless you have a giant backyard, running at home might be tough.

But you know what doesn’t require a lot of room?

The infamous burpee bodyweight exercise!

Burpees!

To complete a burpee:

  • Start standing up, then squat down and kick your legs out.
  • Do a push-up, bring your legs back in, and explode up into a jump.
  • For a HIIT workout, try to do 20 repetitions, then rest for two minutes.
  • Repeat until you hate yourself.

Check out our full guide on How to Start Interval Training for some more ideas on HIIT workouts.

You can also check out our post “The 20-Min HIIT Workout for Home” for another living-room-friendly interval routine!

Home Workout #5: Attack of the Angry Birds

Little Cute Birds in a row

The Angry Birds Workout is designed to be done when you have 5 or 10 minutes to kill.

Sort of like playing Angry Birds…

If you have time for Angry Birds, you have time for an at home workout.

Here’s how The Angry Birds Workout Plan works: it’s deceptively simple – only four major movements.

If you don’t have time to run through the whole sequence, no problem!

Depending on how much time you have during the day, you can do your whole workout at once, or break up your training into four different sessions throughout the day (with each session being ONE of the exercises).

Here’s a sample day for your No-Equipment Workout:

  • Wake up, do 40 jumping jacks to warm up, and then do bodyweight squats.
  • At lunch, you grab your suitcase (if you’re at work, milk jug if you’re at home) and do inverted rows.
  • After work, you do another 50 jumping jacks and then do your push-ups.
  • After dinner, you do your planks while watching TV.

You could even split it up over two days if needed, but the goal would be to do it the whole sequence at once.

The main Angry Birds Workout article describes in detail Levels 1-6, but here’s Level 3 for you:

Once you’ve done the complete routine, you have my permission to whip out your phone and play the actual game!

Home Workout #6: Train like Batman

Lego minifigures standing in rows. In first row - Batman, The Jo

We love the Caped Crusader here at Nerd Fitness, so naturally we have The Batman Bodyweight Workout for you to try!

Bonus points if you somehow do this no-equipment workout in a cave, as that’s how Bruce Wayne would roll.[1]

This workout is separated into two days for you.

Here’s a video for the first day:

Batman No-Equipment Workout Day 1:

  • Rolling squat tuck-up jumps: 5 reps
  • Side to side push-ups: 5 reps
  • Modified headstand push-ups: 5 reps
  • Jump pull-up with tuck / Pull-up with Tuck-up: 5 reps
  • Handstands against wall: 8 seconds

Here’s a video for the second day:

Batman No-Equipment Workout Day 2:

  • ‘180 Degree’ jump turns: 5 reps
  • Tuck front lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Tuck back lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Low frog hold: 8 seconds

This is a relatively advanced workout already, but if you want to progress to the next level, check out the main Batman Bodyweight Workout for tips on how to do just that.

Batman is stoked you want to do an at-home workout.




Home Workout #7: The PLP Progression

At Nerd Fitness we encourage everyone to get to their first pull-up!

The PLP is a progressive program in which you complete one additional rep of three exercises – Pull-Ups, Lunges, and Push-Ups – every day, for two months.

NOTE: This is NOT a beginner program, and should not be attempted unless you have been training consistently and can do multiple repetitions of pull-ups and push-ups with great form.

Like this perfect push-up:

This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.

And this perfect pull-up:

The classic pull-up

Here’s how the PLP Progression works:

Day 1:

  • Pull-ups: 10 reps
  • Push-ups: 10 reps
  • Lunges: 10 reps (each leg)

Day 2:

  • Pull-ups: 11 reps
  • Push-ups: 11 reps
  • Lunges: 11 reps (each leg)

Day 3:

  • Pull-ups: 12 reps
  • Push-ups: 12 reps
  • Lunges: 12 reps (each leg)

How long do you keep doing this?

As originally envisioned by Chad Waterbury, the PLP Workout lasts 60 days.[3]

A man realizing how difficult this at-home workout will be.

Yeah…by the end of it you’ll be doing more than 50 pull-ups.

There are two versions:

  • If you can do 10 straight pull-ups: Start day 1 with 10 reps of each.
  • If you cannot do 10 straight pull-ups: Start day 1 with 1 rep of each.

Complete your required reps each day in as many sets as you need, whenever you need to. The goal is to do it in as few sets as possible, but enough so that you can complete each rep with proper form.

Want to learn more? Check out my results on the PLP Workout.

Home Workout #8: The Star Wars Workout!

Ackbar dressed as a rapper

Do you have access to a hallway that you can commandeer for a bit?

Then you can do our Star Wars Workout!

It’s designed to be done in a very small space, like your home’s hallway…or an escape pod.

The “Padawan” Level of this workout is:

  • 30-second knee or feet front plank (3 Sets)
  • 10 assisted squats or squats (3 Sets)
  • 10 doorway rows (3 Sets)
  • A 60-second Farmer-carry (Farmer’s Walk) dumbbells (or milk jugs) (2 sets)
  • March in place for 3 minutes of intervals (6 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
  • 8 elevated or knee push-ups (4 sets)
  • 60-second Doorway Leans (2 sets)

If you want to advance to the Jedi Knight or Master Levels, check out The Star Wars Workout, which will also offer you a full description of each move.

Bonus No-Equipment Workout: The Playground Circuit

Do you have a nearby playground? Why not work out there! If you have kids, you can do it together. Or let them ignore you.

I’ll give you a Level One workout, and a Level Two. Check out The 20-Minute Playground Workout for some Level Three exercises.

Playground Workout Level One:

  • Alternating step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Elevated push-ups: 10 reps
  • Swing rows: 10 reps
  • Assisted lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Bent leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

Playground Workout Level Two:

  • Bench jumps: 10 reps
  • Lower incline push-ups: 10 reps
  • Body rows: 10 reps
  • Lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Straight leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

After you’ve gone through a complete set three times, go down the slide!



Can Home Workouts Build Muscle or Help With Weight Loss?

A LEGO penguin

Throughout our Online Coaching Program, we get two common questions for those wanting to train at home:

  1. Can working out at home help me build muscle?
  2. Can working out at home help me lose weight?

The answer to both of these: yep!

Let’s tackle them one by one.

#1) Can working out at home help me build muscle?

You can 100% build muscle mass at home.

Just ask out friend Jimmy here:

Jimmy before and after he did bodyweight training

Read more on how Jimmy turned into Spider-Man from home!

The trick is to follow a progressive overload strategy, as Coach Jim outlines in this video:

With progressive overload, we want to make our workouts more and more challenging, thus putting additional strain on our muscles.

So to build muscle with home workouts, focus on:

  • Increasing your repetitions.
  • Decreasing your rest periods between exercises.
  • Performing more difficult variations (knee push-ups to push-ups).
  • Increasing your time under tension (by going slower).

That will help you build strength and muscle from your casa.

Next up:

#2) Can working out at home help me lose weight?

You can totally train at home for a successful weight loss strategy.

Again, we have a great example with one of our Online Coaching Clients, Sarah the Supermom:

This picture shows Sarah's transformation

The trick here is to couple your home workouts with adjustments to your nutrition.

We’re big believers that you can’t outrun your fork, so any successful weight loss plan will include a focus on building a healthy plate.

That will look something like this:

If your meal plate looks like this, you're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for weight loss.

If you want some help on adjusting your nutrition, I’ve got two great resources for you:

  • The Nerd Fitness Guide to Healthy Eating. This massive resource will help you slowly adjust your nutrition, without forcing you to give up the food you love (yes, you can still eat pizza here and there). No more diets, instead we’ll work on building habits together.
  • Nerd Fitness Coaching. If you want to take it to the next level, one of our trained professionals can help you adjust your way of eating to help you reach your goals. No shame. No judgment. Just a like-minded nerd who will show you the way.




How to Build Your Own At-Home Workout

You can workout in a home just like this!

We just went over 8 workouts you can do at home (plus a workout you can do in a park).

You don’t have to stick to these though!

I have two resources to help you design your own no-equipment workout:

  1. The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises: This guide will teach you how to perform the best bodyweight exercises – no equipment required! Check it out if you are unfamiliar with any of the movements referenced in today’s guide.
  2. How To Build Your Own Workout Routine: Once you’re comfortable with a handful of bodyweight exercises, use this guide to pull them all together into a full-body workout!

That should get you going on building a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Want more? Alright, eager beaver, I got you.

This beaver is ready to start his at home training.

We built THREE options for people just like you:

1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom workout program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

Your NF Coach can help you lose weight and get healthy!

2) If you want a daily prompt for doing workouts at home, check out NF Journey. Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your free trial right here:

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. 

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating these bodyweight moves into your training.

Alright, your turn: I’d love to hear how your home training is going!

Which workout above did you try? Did you make one of your own?

Leave a comment below with your results or any questions you have on working out at home.

For the Rebellion!

-Steve

PS: If you were going to buy one piece of equipment to utilize in your home, a kettlebell would offer you a lot of versatility:

Coach Matt showing you how to rock the kettlebell swing.

###

Photo Sources: Home Sweet Home 2, good dog, The minifigures of this series are really beautiful, it’s a rap, my friend:), Ekaterina Minaeva © 123RF.com, Hotel Room, af8images © 123RF.com, Tithi Luadthong © 123RF.com, Vintage House Bicycle,



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Beginner HIIT Workouts: 3 Running & Interval Training Routines

Beginner HIIT Workouts: 3 Running & Interval Training Routines


This biker loves interval training.

This High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) guide is probably the best interval training guide in the galaxy.

My justification for such a bold claim?

We’re really good at this stuff, AND we have dinosaurs and Muppets.

Plus, lots of great gifs:

This runner can't do interval training.

We build custom interval training programs just like the ones in this guide for our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients, including workouts for at home, the gym, or even while traveling.



In this Ultimate Guide to Interval Training, we’ll cover:

If you’re interested in starting a HIIT practice (which you are, ’cause you’re here), you may want to try our new app! It contains a fun adventure that will take you from sitting on your couch to a full HIIT workout – with plenty of benchmarks in between for you to find your groove. No guesswork needed, just jump into the app and follow it’s next steps.

You can sign-up for a free trial right here:

Alright, let’s do this thang.

What is Interval Training? What is HIIT?

These bikers love doing HIIT.

In 2018, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was ranked the number one fitness trend by American College of Sports Medicine.[1]

They wrote:

HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform.

Essentially, HIIT is just following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run, swim, bike, or row.

Any exercise can be a form of HIIT, but here’s a common routine:

  • Jogging lightly for three minutes.
  • Pushing yourself harder for a minute (run or sprint).
  • Repeating this cycle 4 more times.

Because everybody is busy and overwhelmed, fast results in the least amount of time is why most people discover HIIT. 

Plus, you can do HIIT with just about anything, including a jump rope:

Coach Jim showing you jump rope double unders

You may be asking, “Steve, just how short and intense are we talking about here? Also, your new haircut looks spiffy.

Thank you, you’re very kind.

So let’s explore the pros and cons of intervals.

What are the Benefits of HIIT? Why Should You Do Interval Training?

 silhouette of man running towards the sun at cloudy background

The 1996 landmark Tabata study demonstrated the benefits of extreme HIIT.[2]

Dr. Izumi Tabata, from Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports, was obsessed with interval training.

The doctor sought to see exactly what kind of gains were obtained from short, intense, periods of exercise. He conducted an experiment with Olympic athletes on stationary bikes and put them through intense bouts of exercise followed by short periods of rest.

The results were fascinating.

Tabata found:

That 6 weeks of moderate-intensity endurance training did not affect anaerobic capacity, but that 6 weeks of high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) may improve both anaerobic capacity and VO2max simultaneously.

Let’s translate that: compared to regular cardio, HIIT had a greater impact on improving BOTH:

  • Aerobic increases (endurance).
  • Anaerobic increases (power).

Even crazier?

Tabata was able to demonstrate improvements in his athletes with just FOUR-MINUTE bursts.

So what’s happening here?

Simple: your heart is a muscle.

Yes, the heart is a muscle.

If you keep your heart beating at a constant rate, never expanding it outside of its comfort zone, it will never grow stronger.

By introducing chaos and pushing your muscles outside of their comfort zone, they must adapt and grow more resilient in order to survive.

Intense interval training challenges your heart by constantly forcing it outside of its comfort zone.

In other words: progressive overload – the same concept behind building strength.

Coach Jim explains 7 different ways to achieve progressive overload in this video:

Since Tabata’s 1996 study, many other trials have shown the positive impact of interval training. 

Here are some of the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training:

#1) HIIT can burn lots of calories in a short amount of time.

Revving up your effort requires more out of you, including calories. 

Batman has to fun whether he likes to or not...part of fighting crime means running 5Ks (ish).

One study backed this up, finding HIIT burned about 20-30% more calories than regular cardio.[3]

The researchers stated:

These data suggest that individuals can burn more calories performing an HIIT session  than spending the same amount of time performing a steady-state exercise session.

The name of the game here is “intensity.” The more intense you go, the more calories you’ll burn.

#2) HIIT for lowering blood sugar. Managing blood sugar is really important for health, not just for diabetics.

Those trying to lose fat should be aware of their blood sugar and corresponding insulin levels.

The good news for our current discussion? HIIT has been shown to help lower and manage blood sugar levels.[6]

#3) HIIT for heart health. Touching on the “antifragile” topic again, HIIT has been shown to help with overall cardiovascular health.

It does so in the same way traditional endurance training does, but at a fraction of the time (almost half).[7]

Alright, let’s chat about how to actually do some interval training.

What’s an Example of Interval Training? How to Do Interval Running

Man running in a gym on a treadmill

The key to HIIT is being able to go from “easy” to “difficult.” All sorts of different exercises can get you there:

  • Aerobic (cardio).
  • Bodyweight (strength training).
  • Resistance (weight training).

HIIT is generally associated with running (aerobic), so we’ll devote this section to just that.

The easiest way to experiment with HIIT would be to run.

Mr. Gump ran like 1,000 5Ks when he crossed America.

Here’s how to start with a basic HIIT running workout. Go to a park in your neighborhood. Warm-up with some light jogging, high knees, and mobility – leg swings, arm swings, etc,

And then begin your workout!

  • Run/jog at a brisk pace for 30 seconds.
  • Jog/walk at a slower pace for 2 minutes.
  • After your rest, shoot for another 30-second run/jog.
  • Continue until you get tired or after about ten “push/rest” intervals.

And BAM! You just did HIIT.

Don’t get disheartened if you find yourself stopping a lot during your first week of HIIT training. 

Andy Dwyer hates running, but I bet he'd like HIIT more.

You’ll be surprised how quickly you get better at this!

Also, “running” or “jogging” is subjective. Whatever walking fast means to you is great. Do that for your periods of intensity.

It should be noted, that the entire “Couch to 5K” concept rests on interval training through running.

It’s all broken down into “walking,” “jogging” and “running.”

If you’re curious, check out our in-depth Couch to 5k review. If you want to start interval training, “Couch to 5K” could be a good way to do it.

More of an indoor person?

Consider a treadmill, where it actually sets intervals for you based on your desired difficulty.

Just be careful on it…

Pay attention to your running technique or things can go wrong!

We’ll be talking about machines a lot more in the next section, but a treadmill is all you need to do a HIIT workout.

Experiment with the speed and incline to find a setting that you would consider “intense.” Many machines can be programmed to flip between this and an “easy” setting.

And you know what that means… boom! It’s built for HIIT.

When we designed NF Journey (our awesome new app), we used an “intense” and “easy” interval switch for most of the workouts.

If you want, you can sign-up for a free trial right here to see what I mean:

How do HIIT Workouts Work? (More HIIT cardio to choose from)

Biking is perfect for HIIT.

There are a lot of different aerobic exercises for HIIT cardio.

For example, you could jump on a bike, which is like HIIT running but with wheels (duh):

Kermit loves interval training on his bike.

Every spin class is based on HIIT cycling (SoulCycle, Flywheel, or even your local gym now has spin classes).

They’re popular for a reason, and you can make a friend or two!

Here are some more examples of interval training:

  1. Elliptical. If it has a dial for resistance, it can be used for interval training. For a couple of minutes, go on low resistance (0-2 level). Then crank up the resistance for one minute (up to 8-10). Repeat this process 12 times, which will give you a 20-minute workout.
  2. Stair Climber. Much like the elliptical, alternate between periods of low intensity for two minutes, then one minute for high intensity. The difference with the climber is the dial will control the speed of the stairs. Be careful.
  3. Rowing Machine. Start with a two-minute warm-up. On minute three, row like you’re being chased by the Kraken for a full 60 seconds. Then catch your breath. The rowing machine might be hard to do for a full 20 minutes, since it’s a lot of upper body. Shoot for ten minutes at first.
  4. Jumping Rope. Jumping rope is a full-body exercise. Also, it’s fun. There’s no dial here, your own body controls the pace of the jump. Follow the same two-minute easy, one-minute intense as above. Jump rope can also be done with friends!

This dino loves jump rope for HIIT.

So far we’ve just been talking about aerobic exercises.

Let’s cover our other categories, of bodyweight and resistance.

What Are the Best HIIT Exercises? (Two Other Forms of Interval Training)

The woman rower in a boat, rowing on the tranquil lake

“Steve, this all sounds great. But I hate running!”

Confession: So do I.

So I get my cardio in other forms!

Here are some bodyweight exercises to get going on HIIT:

  • Burpees. Stand up, then squat down, kick your legs out, do a push-up, bring your legs back in, and explode up into a jump. Try to do 20 repetitions, then rest for two minutes. Repeat until you hate yourself:

  • Push-ups. For 20 seconds, do as many push-ups as possible. Rest. Then do it again. If you’re worried about proper form, check out our push-up guide and watch this:

  • Pull-ups. Same idea as above, do pull-ups for 20 seconds, then rest. If you can’t do a pull-up, we got you covered in our pull-up progression guide:

Let’s now chat about some Weight Training Examples for HIIT:

  1. Kettlebell swing. For ten minutes, do 20 kettlebell swings on every minute.Coach Staci showing you the kettlebell swing
    This will be intense, and worthy of congratulations when you’re done. Check out our 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about kettlebells.
  2. Battle ropes. If your gym has battle ropes, they’ll be a great tool for HIIT. For intensity, the amount of slack in the rope determines the load. The more slack on the rope the tougher, and more intense, the workout. Also, don’t get stuck in just up and down movements. Some variation will help target different muscles.
  3. Weight lifting. The critical piece will be moving from one exercise to another quickly enough. For example, hustling from the bench press to the lat bar: we call this circuit training!

To answer your next question: yes, you can also do circuit training as a form of HIIT.

Circuit training is going through a sequence of exercises, or stations, back to back.

Coach Lauren explains the ins and outs of circuit training in this video:

So in a circuit you could go from push-ups to pull-ups, back to push-ups, only resting briefly from one exercise to another.

Circuit training would be perfect to mix into a HIIT workout, since you can design your circuit to be very intense.

Check out our post for 15 Circuit Training Routines to choose from.

Plus, there’s a Batman workout hidden in there. You’re welcome.

We create custom HIIT programs for busy people like you that are ACTUALLY fun. If you’re looking for a supportive coach to guide you and tell you exactly what to do each day, we got you covered!



If you just want a beginner circuit to get started with, you can try out our Beginner Bodyweight Workout Routine. Plus you can download a free worksheet to track your progress with this circuit when you join the Rebellion below:

Oh, what’s that? You want to have even MORE fun while getting the benefits of HIIT? 

Let's get crazy with Interval Training

Sure. Let’s think outside the box:

Basketball, tennis, soccer, and Ultimate (frisbee) are AMAZING styles of exercise that use interval training (it’s all start and stop!).

Run here, catch this, and wait for the next round to start.

That’s what we’re looking for in a HIIT workout.

So pick a form of FUN exercise that gets your heart racing faster and slower throughout the activity (yes, I suppose even THAT activity would count).

Is HIIT Good for Losing Weight? Is Interval Training Good for Losing Weight?

This mermaid is interested in HIIT for weight loss.

My guess is that you’re reading this article because you’re trying to get the most efficient “bang for your buck” when it comes to getting in shape.

And HIIT is a great form of exercise and COULD help with weight loss.

I will, however, lower some of these outlandish claims that exist in the media.

For example, Time magazine calls HIIT “miraculous” in one article.[8]

That’s a little much, even for me, who writes for a living on why you should work out and likes using hyperbole for effect.

Seriously, I’m better at it than ANYBODY ON THE PLANET.

Ahem.

Cardio, strength training, and HIIT all have many benefits.

However, a meta-study reviewed HIIT compared to steady-state cardio, specially looking at fat loss.

The results?

They found no real difference.[9]

The Doctor saying "it doesn't matter"

As researchers noted:

Regular exercise is an integral component of long-term weight management. However, unless implemented in very large volumes, short-term exercise in isolation (including HIIT) is unlikely to produce clinically meaningful fat loss.

What’s that mean?

As long as your energy expenditure is the same (and you’re in a caloric deficit), steady-state cardio is equivalent to HIIT for fat loss.

In other words, if you want to lose body fat, how you eat will be responsible for 80% of your success or failure.

It doesn’t matter how many intervals you do – it’s not gonna help you lose weight if you don’t also fix your nutrition.

You can read our Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating if you want more information, which will help you build a plate like this:

If your meal plate looks like this, you're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for weight loss.

And if you want to download our free 10-level Nutrition Guide to help you fix your diet starting today, you can do so by signing up in the box below:

Getting Started with Interval Training

These pirates are ready to do some HIIT.

When it’s time to advance your high-intensity interval training, think about the following:

  1. Frequency. This would be the number of intervals in your workout.
  2. Intensity. How hard are you going in each interval?
  3. Time. How long are your intervals and rest periods?

Maybe you start out doing 3 intervals of intense running.

Once it becomes routine, bring it up to 4.

Maybe you crank the resistance on your stationary bike to “8” during your intense interval. When it becomes normal, bring it up to “10.”

Maybe you do pull-ups for 20 seconds. When you’ve got a good handle on that, aim for 30 seconds.

This mindset will keep you advancing in interval training.

A group of allies can help with victory

Consistency is the name of the game here. Even just doing a HIIT workout once a week will help you progress in all three categories.

For more ideas on how to improve workout consistency, check out this video from Coach Jim:

Oh, and if you want help along the way, don’t forget about our Online Coaching Program:



Mistakes to Avoid When Doing High-Intensity Interval Training

Don't anger people by doing HIIT wrong.

There’s a lot to consider when embarking on a HIIT practice.

No matter which routine you end up starting with, make sure you follow these words of wisdom:

  1. Ease into it. As the saying goes, “you must walk before you can run.” The importance is building a HIIT practice. If you need to go “less intense” before progressing to “intense,” that’s fine. It’ll help build your aerobic capabilities (endurance), which will be important when working on intensity. Start with walking.
  2. Keep proper form. Doing your movements correctly will help prevent injury. Here’s how to run properly. This is even more critical in your later intervals, where you may be exhausted and tired. If you find yourself breaking form, go ahead and slow down. Intense isn’t worth an injury.
  3. Get rest. Our bodies actually build muscle while we are resting. So take some “off days” from your HIIT practice. Want to stay active on these days? Do some fun exercise!

Take it easy, focus on your form, and make sure to prioritize rest.

HIIT Timer Recommendations

A timer is great for doing interval training.

HIIT centers on doing intervals.

One moment it’s intense, the next you’re onto a short rest break.

A good way to know when it’s time to go from one sequence to the next is a timer. A loud “beep” can tell you when it’s okay to catch your breath or when you have to kick it in gear.

Here are 5 HIIT timers you can try out:

  1. Runtastic. Don’t let the name fool you, this free app is for more than just running. You can customize for many different interval workouts, depending on what exercise you go with. And the interface looks slick.
  2. Seconds. It’s free and customizable to any form of HIIT. It can also integrate with your music, which is pretty sweet.
  3. Seven. If you’re new to HIIT, Seven would be a good app for you. It’s free, plus it has illustrations for exercises. You also get to customize your own virtual personal trainer, which may be the future of fitness. The bots are coming…
  4. Sworkit. First off, it’s a clever name (taken from “Simply Work It.”) Second, it’s free. Third, it can display your workout, goals, and calories burned. I like it.
  5. J&J Official Seven Minute Workout. This free app from Johnson & Johnson is actually really awesome. It has premade workouts you can choose form based on your fitness level, or tweak them to make it your own.

Also, we need to talk about interval timers. Most of the apps referenced are completely customizable.

For example, you can change the intense interval from 120 seconds to 90 seconds.

This is critical because it’s up to you to decide how long you can do intense vs. rest.

Generally, folks recommend one minute of intensity and then two for rest when doing HIIT.

However, this all depends on the individual, and exercises performed.

For example, burpees are tougher to do than jumping over a rope:

The infamous burpee bodyweight exercise!

So feel free to make changes like 30 seconds of intensity and three minutes of rest. Make it your own.

Whatever way you chose to do HIIT, is fine, as long as you actually do it. The benefits of HIIT kick in when going HARD for you.

In other words, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get the benefits of HIIT.[10]

A light jog totally works. Just don’t do it in a mascot costume.

Running - just don't fall over!

As we discussed, if you’re consistent, you’ll improve.

So don’t stress about where you have to start.

For now, download an app and get going. Ours will help you train with HIIT too:

I hate multiple choice. Pick a HIIT workout for me!

This lego loves running for HIIT.

Let’s power walk as our form of HIIT. 

This is an example of a beginner HIIT workout we might prescribe for our Coaching Clients who are starting to train for their first 5K.

Let’s do seven intervals, two minutes each:

  1. Warm-up. For three minutes, walk at an easy pace.
  2. Intervals. For the first 60 seconds, power walk, like you’re trying to beat someone to the front of the line at Starbucks.
  3. For the next 60 seconds, just walk.
  4. Repeat six more times.
  5. Cool down. You can do some more light walking, or a little bit of stretching here would be great.

Total time: 20 minutes.

Wayne is stoked that he made his small change for weight loss.

I want to stress, that you can do just about any exercise in exchange for this routine. Just minus “power walk” and add “push-ups and bodyweight squats”

It’ll still be a great HIIT workout.

“But Steve, that’s still multiple choice!”

Right, right… sorry. Stick to power walking! Done!

How to Start Interval Training now

These two girls jump for their interval training.

Do our power walking routine above. It’s a great place to start.

Remember, our goal at this stage is to “build the habit.

We can work on “whoa, that was intense” later.

If you’re looking for EVEN MORE stuff to do, we have a few options for ya:

1) Check out our popular 1-on-1 coaching program. You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself and program your workouts and nutrition for you.



2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Check out Nerd Fitness Journey!

Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Try your free trial right here:

3) Enlist in the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. 

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating interval training into your workouts.

There are a zillion ways to do HIIT, so don’t let the options paralyze you.

Pick one. Anyone. And get to it.

Interval training, in any form, is a solid fitness choice and a great practice to have in the workout arsenal.

Any questions?

Which HIIT workout style is your favorite?

Leave it in the comments below!

-Steve

PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our content on interval training:

  1. The HIIT Workout for Home
  2. How to Do Tabata Sprints
  3. Should You Do Couch to 5K?

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All photo credits can be found in this footnote.[11]



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