Getting back into exercise

Published: 03 May 2016

Getting back into exercise

Want to get fit but not quite sure where to start? Research shows that HIIT (or High Intensity Interval Training) is the best way to get fit in the shortest amount of time– no more hours spent on the treadmill or stationary bike (woohoo)!

The principle of HIIT involves using a combination of high intensity work intervals paired with rest intervals. There are many different styles of this training, such as circuit, tabata, fartlek – which can all be done using almost any exercise you choose: running, cycling, swimming, rowing, plyometrics or even weights – as long as you are following the basic principle of high intensity work (HR above 85%) and rest intervals.

HIIT Training

HIIT training has amazing benefits including:

  • Decreasing body fat
  • Improving insulin sensitivity (linked with type 2 diabetes)
  • Boost in metabolism
  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Lowering/stabilising blood pressure

My personal favourite is Tabata training.  

Tabata Training

Originally designed to train the Japanese Olympic speed skating team it uses intervals 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for rounds of 4 minutes. This type of training can be used with any kind of cardio sprints, but I find it is most effective when pairing strength exercises with high intensity aerobic exercises as it targets aerobic and anaerobic fitness as well as lean muscle gains. You can pick any exercises you like, either doing one exercise for each round of four minutes, or doing pairs of exercises to target the same muscle group.


Below is a Tabata workout lasting 16 minutes. You do the first exercise in the round for 20 seconds at maximum intensity, rest for 10 seconds, the second exercise, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for a total of four minutes before moving on to the next round. The exercises can be substituted for anything you like, or you could opt for repeated sprints on the bike, rower etc. and best of all can be done with no equipment at home.

Round 1: Body weight squats (or weighted squats) & squat jumps

Round 2: Push-ups & mountain climbers

Round 3: Alternating lunges & burpees

Round 4: Bicycle crunches & tricep dips

Start with one HIIT work out per week, and gradually increase as your body adapts. Don’t be afraid to mix your routines up and increase your work to rest ratio as you get fitter, and most of all have fun!

If you have any health issues or are over the age of 55, a medical professional should be consulted before beginning any exercise program.

Looking for something a bit more gentle to get you started?  Check out our core series by Jude Holroyd.