(This blog was first published on Jan 5, 2022, and last updated on Sep 17, 2022)
Yes, in this article, I’m discussing High-Intensity Interval Training HIIT emphasizes short and intense activities to the maximum, followed by a low-intensity workout with a short recovery period – all in under 30 minutes.
Science does prove HIIT workouts have benefited overall heart health, weight loss, building muscles, and strength gain.
Can you do 30-minute at-home workouts with no equipment or weights? Can HIIT workouts make you gain weight too?
Let’s find out more.
Why Is HIIT Workout Considered Better Than Cardio?
You can burn fat during and after a HIIT workout. This is because the high intensity during the HIIT workout is forcing your body to consume more oxygen to burn more calories.
A study has shown (1), and (2), your body continues to burn up to 250 calories for a few hours post workouts, thanks to the increase in metabolism caused by the EFOC (Effect Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) effect.
HIIT is considered an efficient workout that can fit into any busy schedule. Imagine with the right type of HIIT workout, you can easily burn calories in 30 minutes compared to an hour of aerobic cardio workout.
You are challenging your physical strength and endurance with a HIIT workout.
Studies(3) have also shown anaerobic HIIT workout is better than cardio if your goal is to lose weight. It’ll burn more fat than a cardio workout.
Meanwhile cardiovascular exercise or steady-state cardio work from low to high intensity in many forms of distance aerobic exercises such as walking, running, or swimming.
However, in terms of mental and physical health, cardio works better than HIIT as you are not stressing too much about your body and mind to perform workouts.
HIIT requires your body and mind to respond quickly due to the high-intensity workout type. A newbie may not find HIIT enjoyable to start working out with.
Is It Good To Do HIIT Workout Every Day?
It is not ok to have a HIIT workout as a daily routine, even if you are not a beginner.
HIIT workout is considered an intense training, shorter duration workout time and put your body in high stress and ‘crisis’ mode. It’ll elevate your heart rate beat faster than usual.
The best to begin is about 2 – 3 (with 1 – 2 workouts is non-HIIT cardio) time a week. Give it time to rest in between, let your body slowly adapt, and listen to your body rhythm. If you think you are overworking with HIIT, feeling tired, or easily out of breath during a session, then stop it!
A healthy workout should be in balance throughout the week!
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How Long Can You Do HIIT Workout?
As per DHHS (US Department of Health & Human Services) recommendations, to stay healthy, you will need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio workout a week, or 75 minutes of high (vigorous) intensity workout per week.
In HIIT workouts, the average time you can do per day (if you are hitting 2 – 3 times a week) is about 20 – 25 minutes per session.
Before starting or finishing, make sure you are doing some simple warm-ups like stretching to relax the muscles and joints. This is important to prevent possible injury and enable your mind, and body to be ready for a more intense workout.
How Long Does It Take To See Results With HIIT Workout?
If your goal is to lose weight with HIIT workouts, as recommended by the DHHS. a healthy weight loss strategy is to lose about 1 – 2 pounds a week.
If you have already had a base strength and stamina, a HIIT vigorous intensity will reach that 75 minutes benchmark. You can also break into shorter sessions, with each lasting for 15 minutes, five days a week.
In another hand, if you seriously want to lose weight with HIIT workouts, then you need to bump out more energy and longer duration. DHHS recommended doubling the duration of high-intensity workouts to 150 minutes weekly.
On top of that, how many calories you can burn depends also on the person’s weight and the body’s composition. Studies by the Harvard Health of Medical School, a person weighing 155 pounds on a moderate-intensity workout will burn around 260 calories in 30 minutes.
Double the duration of the workout to an hour, and it is highly possible to hit the double jackpot of 520 calories! Imagine if you stick to this for the next 5 days in a week, how many calories you can stand to burn?
Noting here, this is considered a very extreme rapid workout, and always seek consultation with your personal trainer or doctor beforehand.
Anyway, you can certainly adjust the workout duration that best fits your lifestyle and daily activity to reach your fitness goals.
Can You Do HIIT Workout With No Equipment?
Sure you can.
Come on guys, don’t always think to work out at the gym if you can also comfortably do it at home. I mean it is an individual’s preference but if we can save hundred or thousand of bucks from the yearly gym membership, why not? Besides, some gym membership is not cheap.
To be honest, I stopped attending my gym since the Covid-19 pandemic hit and I’m happily working out at home now. If you are not into those super heavyweight or bodybuilding training, you may consider working out at home. The choice is yours, just my opinion only.
In this context, a HIIT workout at home also works well.
There are a lot of methods with or without using any equipment to begin HIIT.
All you need to do to start is:
1. Choose a perfect spot within your home. Get ready with a gym mat.
2. Plan your workout well in terms of duration and forms of HIIT, this case is under 30 minutes, and no equipment workout forms.
3. Start your HIIT workout routine accordingly.
I also recommend before you begin, talk with your qualified personal trainer if you are a newbie.
The 7 Best HIIT Workouts At Home With No Equipment
Try these 7 effective HIIT workouts at home, begin with 2 to 3 times per week, and gradually increase to 3 to 4 times, depending on your fitness levels and busy daily schedule.
Remember, consistency and persistence are the keys to success in every fitness goal.
1. Bicycle kicks or crunches targeting the abs mostly, followed by quads and hamstrings. You are like pedaling a bike while extending your legs, more explosive than normal abs crunches. Start with about 10 to 12 reps for 3 sets.
2. Plank is a very good exercise helping to strengthen the back, neck, chest, shoulders, and abdominal muscles.
Some explosive plank exercises are arm and leg lifts, plank jacks, side plank, and commando plank. The latter form required good strength and control using one hand at a time in a push position.
3. Push-ups are no doubt the classic workouts that everyone can do at home. You can do explosive plyometric push-ups together with other HIIT workouts like planks, squats, or, burpees.
Plyo push-ups are great workouts to help strengthen the upper body like the muscles chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs. When I started with plyo push-ups, I just did like 8 to 10 reps, then slowly upgraded to about 12 to 13 reps. Very intense indeed!
4. Sit-up is a great workout focusing on strengthening, tightening, and toning the abdominal muscles. There are a few easy sit-up exercises you can try which are: V sit-up, Hands to heels sit-up, Butterfly sit-up, and Straight leg sit-up. Start with 8 to 10 reps with 3 sets each.
5. Crunches just like sit-ups, can help you to build and tone the muscles in the abdominal area. Russian crunch, jackknife, and reverse crunch are some of the examples here.
You can start with 10 to 15 reps, and rest for a minute before moving to other exercises.
6. Squat such as jump squat is another great HIIT workout that focuses on toning legs, glutes, hamstrings, and lower abs, and helps in building a solid core. Do jump squat as many times as you can in 30 seconds.
You will be surprised by how effective it is to burn calories and shape your body.
7. Burpees are powerful and effective HIIT workouts to boost energy and keep all your major muscle groups (chest, arms, quads, hamstrings, abs, glutes) strong.
It is a four steps movement which is squat, thrust, plank, and jump. All this counts as one burpee. For beginners or warm-ups, 10 to 15 burpees per set for 3 sets are ok.
Can You Gain Weight With HIIT Workouts?
You possibly can.
Maybe you are having the wrong diet in between your workout. You could be eating unhealthy fat food in high percentage. Keep monitoring the macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) in your food intake. Eat properly and don’t overeat!
Or, you are building more muscle mass with too frequent HIIT workouts. Remember, muscles are heavier than fats, and if you are over workout, you’ll look bulky because of more muscle mass built up.
Don’t stress too much although any exercises are already stressing you a lot. Relax and work according to the correct flow!
What food nutrients can you eat with the HIIT workout?
It is important to know how and what to eat correctly. What you can eat before and after HIIT workouts determine how successful your fitness goals will be.
You want to maximize the workout results each time you hit the floor.
Having proteins before the workout helps you to enhance muscle building, faster recovery from a workout, and sustainable energy throughout. Carbohydrates on the other hand, if taken before a workout will boost energy for the longer duration types of workouts, that is typically more than 90 minutes.
Take fruits like apples, berries, whole-grain wheat bread, muesli with Greek yogurt, eggs, peanut butter, a healthy granola bar, or dates.
Meanwhile, post-workout meals should help to rehydrate, refuel, recover, build muscles, and bounce back for your next workout. A meal rich in protein for post-workout will prevent the breakdown of proteins in the blood tissue and stimulate protein synthesis which is crucial in building the muscles tissues.
Having carbs within the maximum 3-hours (ideally an hour is better) after your workout, will help replenish the glycogen stores that have been used during the workout time.
Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after a workout is important too to properly fuel your body and stay hydrated throughout.
Overall, proteins and carbs are vital to consume for your pre and post-workout.
Is the HIIT workout helping to burn belly fat?
HIIT workout could help to burn the stubborn visceral fat mass(1) although not so specifically.
Your body dictates which part of your body burns fat, not you. Besides, it is healthier to target an overall healthy weight loss.
One unique advantage in doing a HIIT workout is the ‘EPOC’ effect where your body technically is continuing to burn fat for some time even AFTER a workout, thanks to the increase in metabolic rate.
Higher metabolism ensures harder work on cardio training and strengthening the heart. By adapting to interval training, your body can only catch a quick breath during the short rest intervals, forcing an elevated heart rate to burn more calories in such a short period.
Noting that just workout alone will not help you achieve that goal. You also need a balanced healthy diet along this journey. The golden rule is always 80% nutrition and 20% workout.
Avoid high-sugar content and processed-carb foods. Go for an adequate amount of natural sugar content fruits and carbs for healthier weight loss including in the belly area. Talk with your nutritionist and dietician for further guidelines.
Should You Do HIIT In Morning or Evening?
In my opinion, both times work well with HIIT workouts and it also depends on each individual.
Say you like to work out in the evening but do remember, a HIIT workout is giving you the ‘EPOC’ effect resulting in a higher metabolic boost and heartbeat rate. You may have difficulty getting to bed as technically the ‘EPOC‘ effect is still working.
If working out on HIIT in the morning with an empty stomach, on the other hand, will force the body to burn energy using only the fat store as the main energy source.
Why? When you are sleeping throughout the night before, you are actually in a fasting mood, thus, when you are awake the next morning with an empty stomach, your body has to rely only on the fat store to burn energy. This works great if you are aiming to lose weight.
My answer here is to try to do a HIIT workout during the daytime.
My Final Thoughts: 30-Minute HIIT Workout At Home With No Equipment
If you are leading a busy lifestyle and time is the essence, and wanted to stay in shape with overall healthy weight, consider a HIIT workout.
It saved you lots of time, just 2 to 3 times a week, and takes less than 30 minutes to complete for each session. Plus, the EPOC effect post workouts work like wonder magic which makes HIIT truly an effective fat burner workout.
As trainers like to say it is an awesome ‘work smarter, not harder’ type of workout for everyone.
Even better, without any workout equipment, you can easily strive to reach your fitness success in a matter of time.
Hope this insight is helpful for you. Do leave me a comment below if you have and I will be back within 24 hours.
To your fabulous exploding safe Home Workout!
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