The best full body HIIT workout is so much more than just doing sprints in the park. Many people think that HIIT workouts can only be performed within the confined walls of a gym, but you can get fit and learn the ways of how to get stronger using little to no equipment, out in a park, or anywhere you might fancy. This workout combines two of the hottest workout buzzwords – calisthenics and HIIT – with good, ol'-fashioned jogging and running.
To perform the below workout, you won't need any equipment but we do recommend having a decent running watch or a heart rate monitor (maybe triathlon watch if you are planning on swimming with it in the future) to track heart rate and location and some decent running shoes or maybe workout shoes. You could get compression tights if you want to keep your legs oxygenated and you might want to invest in some sweat-proof running headphones as well.
We also have a full body workout aimed at people who work out in a gym or at home, using barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells, but we also have the best calisthenics workout for beginners as well as the best two-day push pull workout, so there are plenty of plans to choose from.
IMPORTANT: should you be concerned about any of the exercises listed below and/or if you are overweight, please consult a medical professional and get a training buddy to ensure you won't injure yourself during exercising. Please also check out our guide on how to lose weight fast and how to lose belly fat and consider dropping some weight first before you start intense exercising. And remember: being healthy is the first step, losing weight will come naturally after.
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Eat your protein and drink your water
Here at T3 we keep on harping on about protein in every exercise related article. That's because protein is essential for muscle building as well as for recovery. We understand that chugging down protein shakes made out of protein powder every hour is a bit too much for some (also unnecessary), but tracking your protein intake is a good idea if you want to get stronger and avoid injury.
One of the most convenient way to make sure your protein levels are high enough is to drink protein shakes. The easiest way to introduce 50+ grams of protein to your diet is to replace your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks with protein shakes and/or protein bars and snacks. That would also cut back on your fat and sugar intake, too. So many birds with one stone.
Considering you are working out more vigorously, you might want to take some creatine too on a daily basis. This well-researched substance can help boost performance and can be taken with any liquid (and you only need 3-5 grams a day).
If you have a fast metabolism, you can swap one of your regular protein shakes to weight gainer shake and sneak in some (a lot of) extra calories each day. Mass gainer supplements are like supercharged protein powders: they contain loads of carbs and protein but most usually low on fat and sugar.
And drink water, like 2-3 litres a day. That's even if you don't exercise. Just do it.
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The best full body HIIT workout
The best full body HIIT workout consists of 4 circuits of four exercises each, intertwined with some jogging before, after and in-between. Equally as important are the warm-up and cool-down sections: there is a reason why it's called high intensity interval training – these workouts can be quite intense.
Make sure you do some stretches before, starting with some neck circles, going into shoulder and arm circles. You should also wriggle your hips loose and most definitely stretch your glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Cool down is pretty similar, although you can also use some massage tools, like foam rollers or massage balls, to release the muscle tension from the target muscle areas easier.
As for the actual circuits, do each exercise for 30-60 seconds – length depending on your fitness levels – and do knee ups between the exercises for 15-30 seconds to keep your heart rate high.
Once you are done with a circuit, go for a 5 minute easy-to-moderate jog to bring your heart rate down slightly.
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1. Circuit: abs and core
1. Low plank: low planks are super simple. You have to hold your body straight while balancing yourself on your toes and elbows on the ground. Planks might seem easy to do but in fact they are one of the hardest core exercises. If low planks are too challenging, try knee planks or ab rollouts (using an ab roller).
2. Mountain climbers: as detailed in our 3-move abs workout article, mountain climbers are effectively move the whole of your abdomen, including the lower abdominal area to give your abs a run for their money. To perform mountain climbers, go down in high plank position and bring your knees as close to your chest as you can, one at the time, in quick succession. Guaranteed burn even after 30 seconds.
3. Flutter kicks: to perform flutter kicks, lay down on the ground and move your hands under your your bum. Lift your legs off the ground just a little bit and quickly raise one leg at a time, like you are doing freestyle swimming. Just like mountain climbers, this is a super intense exercise for your abs and also extremely effective too.
4. Knee-touch oblique crunches: for best results, balance yourself on your bottom as you perform knee-touch oblique crunches. Do the crunches as quickly as you can and twist your upper body as you try to reach your knees with your elbows.
After you finished with the first circuit, go for a 5-minute run.
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2. Circuit: glutes and hamstring
1. Backward lunge: Stand with your legs close to each other, almost touching, hands on your hips. Then, reach back with your left foot as far as you can, feeling the stretch at the front of your thighs. Bring your left foot forward back to the staring position. Do the same with the other foot. Repeat until time is up.
2. Side lunge: Same as above but instead of stepping back, you step to the side. Step as far to the side as you can without losing balance and stretch your hamstrings in the process. Once you did a side step with one leg, return to the starting position and do the other leg.
3. Quadruped limb raise: Go down on all fours and engage your core. Lift one of your legs up and your arm on the opposite side, as high as you can, then return to the starting position. Do the same with the other leg/arm. Quadruped limb raises are great for muscle toning, for both your upper back/shoulders and your glutes/quads too.
4. Squat hold: Squats are perfect for toning and strengthening the glutes and quads; probably the best bodyweight exercise for that (deadlifts are probably better but more hardcore). In this variety, you go halfway down into the squat position, hold it there for 5-10 seconds, then return to the starting position. Wait a second then repeat.
After you finished with the second circuit, go for a 5-minute run.
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3. Circuit: legs
1. Sprint: find an object roughly 10-15 metres (30-50 feet) away from you. Sprint there and back until the time runs out. Pace yourself but give it as much as you can and make those turns sharp and swift.
2. Burpees: We're sure everyone did burpees in school so we won't go into detail how to do them properly. Just make sure you do them with a steady pace and jump up at the end, extending your arms as you jump. Go hard or go home.
3. Sprint (again): As above, give it your best and don't stop sprinting until you reached the turning point on each side. To make sure you won't cheat, touch the ground outside the perimeter of the sprint distance as you turn.
4. Jumping Jacks: another school assembly favourite, just make sure you do it as fast as you can without compromising form.
After you finished with the third circuit, go for a 5-minute run.
4. Circuit: arm and upper body
1. Walkout push up: we have detailed this exercise in the best calisthenics workout for beginners article, but essentially, you start off with standing upright, arms hanging next to your body. Lean forward until you touch the ground and step forward with your arms and take up a push up starting position. Do a push up then reverse back up.
2. Side plank (left): this is a variation on the high plank, when your arms are extended as opposed to resting your weight on your elbows. To start, take on the same position as you would if you were to do a push up. Then lift one of your arms up and reach up, twisting your upper body in the process. Hold this position for the desired duration then return to the starting position.
3. Box dip: Find a bench or any elevated surface and perform a dip with your legs on the ground. This exercise is also detailed in the best calisthenics workout for beginners, linked above.
4. Side plank (right): Same as above but on the other side.
After you finished with the last circuit, go for a 15-minute cool down run and then stretch.