In this modern world, many of us find we don't have time for everything we want to do and exercise is often neglected. We've got the answer if you want to workout but are short on time.
It may sound like a silly word to us English speakers, but Fartlek is the Swedish training style that everyone is talking about. A type of high intensity interval training, Fartlek takes things one step further by randomising the intervals so that your body can't adapt and you make bigger gains without hitting a training plateau.
The Swedish word 'Fartlek' translates as 'speed play' and that's exactly what you do - play around with the speeds of your intervals. This is done the most easily on a treadmill but you can do it outside too by using a stop watch or fitness watch to time your intervals.
The way to get best results is to change all of the variables - speed, gradient, and time. An example of a 5-minute Fartlek workout on a treadmill is as follows:
Speed Gradient Time 10km/h 5% 60 seconds 16km/h 0% 30 seconds 9km/h 0% 45 seconds 11km/h 10% 60 seconds 5km/h 0% 60 seconds 20km/h 0% 15 seconds 10km/h 1% 30 seconds
This workout incorporates rest into some of the intervals so that it's sustainable but includes some tough intervals so that you get great results. The point of Fartlek is that it's totally random, so you could make it up as you go along if you want to. Additionally, it is best if you don't repeat this exact workout again, instead doing a completely different set of intervals next time.
Due to its intensity and unpredictability, Fartlek training is perfect for those on limited time. You can get a great workout done in as little as 10 minutes which will test your fitness and increase your lung capacity and heart rate. Because you can make it up as you go along, it never gets boring or repetitive and you can have some fun with it.
Tabata training is a very popular type of interval training that works at a high intensity and is done in only 4 minutes. You can incorporate any exercises you want meaning you can target the parts of your body that need work or just use cardio exercises to improve your fitness.
The way Tabata works is 8 rounds of exercises, 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Due to the rest period being so short, your heart rate remains high throughout while still remaining realistic. It's a great way to get a good burn in a short time.
Read more: 10 minute Tabata workout
Read more: Tabata Workout
Want to get beach ready? The snow is finally melting and spring is on its way, so there's not much time left to get beach body ready in time for summer. Hit the gym or the park with this 20 minute workout to torch the fat and attain your dream body in time for the best time of year.
The aim is to complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes, with every round followed by a sprint. No rest, just give it all you’ve got for this high intensity workout.
Summer Beach Body Workout
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend over and place your hands on the ground in front of you, as close to your feet as possible. Now walk your hands out until they are underneath your shoulders and you’re in the full plank position. Reverse the exercise by walking your hands back towards your feet, bum in the air and then standing back up when you can’t walk your hands back any further.
Start in a small squat. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg. Bring your right leg behind to your left ankle, without letting it touch the floor. Reverse direction by jumping to the right with your right leg. Swing your arms to help build momentum to propel you further, like you were ice skating. A jump in both directions counts as 1 rep.
10 Lateral jump burpees
Start by completing a regular burpee, but then instead of exploding back to your start position, launch yourself sideways. Keep your feet together and jump laterally before completing the next burpee.
10 Roll back sit ups
Lie on the ground and curl your legs up towards your chest, using your bent legs as levers roll up onto your shoulder blades. Rock forward into a sit up, using the momentum to carry the movement on until you are stood all the way up. Jump at the top of the movement and then lie back down ready for the next move.
10 Split leg thrusters
Start in and extended plank with your hands under your shoulders on the ground. Jump your legs forward towards your hands, splitting them to land towards either shoulder and then jump to return them to the start.
10 Hindu push ups
This move looks like a cross between a yoga flow and a push up. Start in a downward dog position. Hand under your shoulders, legs straight and bum in the air so your body forms a V shape. In a swooping motion, leading with the head, drive your head through your hands and lower your stomach, arching your back so you finish in up dog. Reverse the fluid movement leading with your bum. Try to keep the entire movement smooth and fluid and don’t hold your breath!
10 Mountain climbers
Start in an extended plank, hands under shoulders. Run your feet into your chest as fast as you can. One rep counts as each knee moving forward and back.
10 Jump squat reaches
Start by coming onto all fours and then hover your knees off the ground. From this position jump your feet into a wide squat, they should land either side of your hands. Once your feet land, sink all your weight back into your heels and reach both arms up towards the sky. Pause in this deep squat reach, before bringing your hands back down to the outsides of your shoulders and jumping your feet back to all fours. This move requires good flexibility as well as balance.
Option 1: Sprint as fast as you can between two markers for 30 seconds.
Option 2: Got no room? Sprint on the spot, bring your knees up higher to add intensity.
That’s one round complete, the aim is to do as many as you can in 20 minutes.
Is your HIIT training better done inside or outside? Our Gym vs Outside series weighs up how we exercise indoors and outdoors.
Hills, stairs, roads, the park or simply up and down your street, sprints can be done anywhere and everywhere and are one of the best ways of cranking up your heart rate.
A simple and easy way to take your HIIT outside is by doing sprints. Doing sprint intervals on a treadmill can be great, but it can also be dangerous. Running on a treadmill always comes with a caution as you could slip or miss your footing and end up flying off the end of the conveyor as it carries on spinning. By taking your sprints outside you are making your training safer and you also benefit from the fresh air and freedom of the open road.
Related: Benefits Of Outdoor Training
Outdoor Training: 100m Sprints
The simplest way to measure out roughly 100m without a tape measure is to walk 130 steps. Mark your start and finish with something you have on you, such as a jacket and a water bottle.
Aim to complete 10 rounds. Exploding off from your start point and running as fast as you can.
Rest 30 - 90 seconds or until your heart rate recovers to around 130 bpm.
Take advantage of your surroundings; if you have stairs or a hill, crank up the intensity and push yourself all the way to the top. Sprinting outside on uneven ground is far more challenging than the flat of a treadmill.
The energy and excitement of making new year's resolutions and getting fit is well and truly burnt out and the gym is starting to empty out again. How can you stay motivated when all you want to do is melt into the sofa and eat? We're here to help. Follow these tips to boost your motivation when it feels like there's no hope.
1. Partner up
If you have someone to let down, you'll be less likely to flake. Having accountability means you have more of a reason to get to the gym and it will be more hassle to have to text your friend or personal trainer to say you're not going and then get an earful from then than to just go. Plus, you'll know that once you're there you'll have a great time because training with a buddy makes training more bearable.
2. Get changed
How many times have you been sat on the sofa watching TV after work telling yourself "I'll go in a minute" or "I'll go when this show is finished" and then it never happens? By getting changed into your activewear you're getting the ball rolling and getting into the right frame of mind to work out. Once you're changed into your sportswear you're already halfway there and will be much more ready to get out there and go train.
3. Take your gym gear to work
If you go to the gym straight from work, you won't have a chance to talk yourself out of it. If you pair this with point number 1 of partnering up and telling your friend you'll join them at the gym, you'll be well on your way to success. Get changed at work and go straight to the gym instead of going home first. It's much harder to gee yourself back up once you're home from work than if you continue the momentum from your day at the office.
4. Have a workout to look forward to
There's nothing worse than finishing a monotonous day at work and thinking about now having to go and run on a treadmill for half an hour while staring at a wall. By planning out a fun and exciting workout, you'll actually want to go to the gym and do it. Try circuit training or functional training to mix things up and talk to a personal trainer if you'd like to try something new like Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit. If you're dreading the workout, getting motivated can be impossible. Whereas if you're actually looking forward to it, exercising can be a joy instead of a chore. If you enjoy something like Zumba, sign up for a class! Group exercise can be a great way to stay motivated too.
5. Use the 10 second rule
If you find yourself making terrible excuses like "it's raining" or "I'm too tired" then use the 10 second rule. It's very simple: count to 10 and then go anyway! This will eliminate your mind telling you that you can't do it and 9 times out of 10 you'll find that you actually enjoy the workout and will be pleased that you went.
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If you're looking for a short but intense workout, this is the one for you. Lasting just over 5 minutes, you don't even need a punchbag as you can just punch the air.
The Punch Bag
I use the Lonsdale Authentic Bag in Vintage Brown. It weighs 34kg so it is a heavy bag meaning a tough workout. It is a premium bag, but one built to last.
I will be using the Everlast Evergel Handwrap Boxing Gloves. I purchased these as bag mitts and they offer amazing protection at the wrists, a very common place for people to pick up injuries. However, the stitching is already splitting at the knuckles so I'm not sure they would last very long.
The Interval Timer
You can find many interval timers for your phone in the app store. The purchased version of ‘IntervalTimer’ I have found useful to so many workouts. You can create your own customised workout timers including rests, bell ring noises and it will save them into a calendar. Of course, you could just use a stopwatch, but using the app I have set up a little ‘last 10 seconds remaining’ for each interval to mimic my personal trainer encouraging me to ‘push through the burn’.
20 seconds punching, 20 seconds rest.
30 seconds punching, 30 seconds rest.
40 seconds punching, 40 seconds rest
50 seconds punching, 50 seconds rest
60 seconds punching, 60 seconds rest
The total workout lasts 5 minutes 40 seconds. It will work your shoulders, arms, lungs, and heart. My heart rate hits a maximum of 150 bpm during this workout which is about 80% of max.