So the countdown is to Christmas is here

We are greeted with colder weather, longer lines at shops, relatives arriving and a shortage of time to get everything ready!

We over-indulge, over-commit and seem to pass the blame on the time of year. Getting and staying fit doesn’t have to be something that waits until after the holidays.


Enter HIIT training!

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training – one of my all time favorites!

HIIT is a training technique in which you give all-out, 100% effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, and sometimes-active recovery periods.

This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

“A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery,” says Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fitting Room in New York City. “This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.” (1)

Short but intense

I love HIIT because I can get maximum calorie burn in half the time. A typical HIIT workout is over and done in 30 minutes or less.

In addition to saving time and helping you stay healthy, HIIT also increases your heart rate to 80-95% of your maximal heart rate, with usually a 1-2 minute work period followed by a 30 second to 2 minute rest.

The harder the intensity, the longer the rest period. Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite ways to incorporate HIIT into my workouts.

With running

When I go to the track, I will do a 5-10 minute warm-up, followed by sprinting the curves and jogging the straight-aways for four laps and then sprinting the straight-aways and jogging the curves for another four laps.

Christmas HIIT workout_2Make sure you change direction when running, to reduce injury and asymmetry.

At the gym

This is my favorite place to do HIIT, as I never have as much time as I think I do and I still want to do a killer workout.

So, at the gym, first give yourself a proper warm-up.

Follow this warm-up by a pull, push, squat combo blast!

Start with a pull-up. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds (if you are not doing full-on pull-ups yet, no problem, use the assisted machine or a band), take your 30 seconds rest as you move to the push-up. The push-up is the same work-to-rest combo, but it can be done on your knees or against the wall, to add modifications.

The last exercise is the squat portion.

Do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Choose your own squat. After these three exercises, I choose a rowing machine, treadmill, etc. to do another three minutes of 30 seconds of jogging (or going slowly), followed by 30 seconds of sprinting. Repeat the cardiovascular portion for three rounds and then return to your push, pull, squat portion.

Complete the whole program as many times as you can in 30 minutes (and this doesn’t include the warm-up or cool-down).

Your Merry HIIT-mas

Chances are, you are busy at this time of the year, so I will make it all inclusive and family friendly.

The program

Each exercise will be performed this way, in a circuit fashion:

10 seconds work, 50 seconds rest

20 seconds work, 40 seconds rest

30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest…and so on up to 1 minute on, one off. (But don’t forget to warm-up first).

The exercises

– Push-up
– Chair dip
– Squat
– Mountain climbers
– V-up (abs) or a modification
– Jump squats


Just remember to start slowly….anyone can work up to doing HIIT workouts, but before you start this type of strenuous workouts, you should be in good cardiovascular health. Always make sure your doctor has cleared you for intense activity.

So, whether you are three, two or one days away until Christmas, with this Christmas HIIT workout you are one day closer to getting to where you are going!!!

Connect with Expert Rebecca Clem.


1- Daily Burn, Life, Fitness, epoc afterburn effect

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