Think you’re too busy to work out? We have the workout for you. In minutes, high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) will have you sweating, breathing hard and maximizing the health benefits of exercise without the time commitment. Best of all, it’s scientifically proven to work.





Got 4 Minutes?

If you can bike, swim or run at top speed for a solid four minutes, this may be all the workout you need.

If push-ups or wall sits aren’t your thing, you can still get all the benefits of H.I.I.T. with this four-minute burst of fitness.

In a study, men ran on a treadmill at 90 percent of their maximal heart rate — pretty much all out — for four minutes, three times a week for 10 weeks. Overall, this group improved their endurance, blood sugar control and blood pressure as much as a comparable group of men who did a series of all-out exercise lasting for 16 minutes.

Also, skip the drive to the gym for this workout: It’s just not time-efficient. Climb a flight of stairs for four minutes or sprint home from your bus stop. Just make sure you raise your heart rate to a pumping, air-gasping level for four minutes, three times a week.

10-20-30 Training

Add variety to your high-intensity sessions with this easy to remember and surprisingly fun routine.

The essentials of 10-20-30 training are simple. Run, ride or perhaps row on a rowing machine gently for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds. (It should be called 30-20-10 training, obviously, but that is not as catchy.) Repeat.

You don’t even need a stopwatch to monitor the 30-, 20-, and 10-second time changes. You can just count to yourself, which seems to make the intervals pass more quickly.

Best of all? The grueling, all-out portion of the workout lasts for only 10 seconds. C’mon, you can do anything for 10 seconds, right?








Get Inspired

Even if your schedule is filled from sunrise to nightfall, there’s always time for exercise with H.I.I.T. It’ll boost your mood and give you an extra burst of energy to help you get through a busy day.

Keep It Interesting

With the right set of music and a little creativity, you’ll soon look forward to your new optimized workout.


To benefit the most from really, really short workouts, you need to build the habit of doing them into your hectic life. Ideally, you’ll complete the workout three times a week. The best way to build that habit is to start small and be willing to tweak your schedule where you can to accommodate your new workout.

First set up a spot in your house for your workout, equipped with whatever you need to get the job done: sneakers, a chair, a towel, etc. Then slot your workout in before you would normally shower. (You can even do it in the bathroom.) Or wake up five minutes earlier and do it first thing in the morning, so you can head off to work feeling accomplished. Or do it during your lunch hour. Run up your office’s stairs or grab a private conference room for just a few minutes. Or work it into your commute. If you walk or bike to work, add some heavy intervals on the way home.


Creating a workout playlist of high-energy tunes you love will not make your workout feel easier, but it may cause you to exercise harder without even realizing it. Best of all, if you are doing a really short workout, you need only one or two great tunes to get you through. If you are willing to try something a bit different, make your own music as you exercise. Sing, hum, clap your hands, whatever you can do to jam along to your playlist. It may give you an extra boost to finish strong.Find a song or podcast that’s the length of your really, really short workout. By the time the song is over, you’re done.


The beauty of H.I.I.T. is that you can apply its principles to many different activities. Too hot to be outside? Try some H.I.I.T. in the pool. Spin away on a stationary bike when it’s cold outside. If your knees hurt, try an intense workout on an elliptical machine. On vacation, find a corner of your hotel room for some jumping jacks or sprint around the cruise ship. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, as long as you alternate really intense, all-out bursts of the exercise with less intense intervals.


If you have bad knees and think you can’t run, try going in the opposite direction.Backward running works your muscles differently than forward running. It also tilts your body forward, taking the pressure off your knees. Even more, running backward burns extra calories and sharpens balance.

Now, it’s hard to find a safe place to run backward for 45 minutes, but a how about really, really short backward run? That can happen on a local track, up and down a quiet street or back and forth along a quiet hallway.

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