Get fit before breakfast - burn major calories with this 6-minute HIIT workout

Morning workouts are great news - here at Expertrain HQ, most of us love nothing more than squeezing in a quick morning workout before breakfast, so we arrive at the office raring to go! Morning workouts help wake you up, kick-start your metabolism and ensure the rest of you day is filled with healthy choices. We'll have an apple rather than a donut, thanks!

A study by the University of Michigan revealed that morning workouts can raise the amount of calories your body burns, as well as boosting your energy levels (thanks to a rush of endorphins) - they can even promote a healthier sleep cycle (1)! So squeezing in a morning workout before you hit the office really could change your life. How do you feel about burning some serious calories before breakfast, with a 6-minute mini workout?

Yeah, right, 6 minutes?!

Well, actually, we're serious. Just 4 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can boost your resting metabolic rate whilst increasing anaerobic and aerobic capacity. Put simply, you'll burn more calories throughout the day, even when you're sitting on your butt, and when you do exercise, you'll be able to achieve more. It's the workout intensity that matters, not its length.

The Tabata Protocol

The Tabata Protocol is a technique which is popular with personal trainers, fitness experts, professional athletes and anyone who knows their health and fitness stuff. It involves brief bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by short period of rest, triggering the afterburn effect, so your body continues burning fat and calories long after your workout is over. Your body continues to burn calories in minutes and hours after your workout as it expends energy returning to its pre-workout state.

The mission (it's not impossible...)

The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give your metabolism a serious kick up the butt and boost your energy levels for the day with this 6-minute mini workout. The best part? Everybody can spare 6 minutes out of their morning, and no specialist equipment is needed. For those of us who aren't morning people (yawn), this means there's no need to trudge to the gym before dawn - you can do these bodyweight moves at home for epic results! The workout is designed to target your whole body, in particular thos problem areas we all have, such as the abs, triceps (back of your arms), thighs and butt.

The workout

So let's get started - first, we'll give you the workout itself, and then explain what each move does for your body (and how to do them!)

  • 15 squats
  • 15 push-ups
  • 30 second plank hold
  • 15 bicycle crunches

That's really all there is to it - perform each exercise with minimal rest in between and aim for 1 to 3 sets in total. This really works up a sweat and you'll enjoy your morning shower afterwards!

The benefits

Each bodyweight exercise has specific benefits for your body - so let's look at what those are:

Squats

Ever wondered how celebrities get a firm butt, lean legs that seem to go on forever and slim thighs? The secret is squats! You'll burn loads of calories whilst toning your hips, legs and butt. Squats target the glutes, the largest muscle out of more than 600 skeletal muscles in the body, so it's no surprise they do such a damn good job of making your lower body fit and lean!

How to squat like a pro:

Stand with your feet shoulder-wdth apart. Now contract your abs, push your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your body as far as you can until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause for a second then return to the starting position. Remember, we're aiming for 15 reps!

Push-ups

This classic bodyweight exercise is the ultimate move to sculpt your upper body whilst strengthening your core. Push-ups actually engage your core muscles, helping to burn body fat and tone your abs, so they're not just about working your arms and shoulders.

How to do push-ups

Get down on all fours on the floor (or use a mat) in push-up position - your arms should be straight and your hands placed flat on the floor, slighlty wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure your body is forming a straight line from ankles to head. Now, lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, pause and push back up. 15 reps please!

Plank

A great bodyweight exercise for sculpting your core, the plank works out every area of your stomach, toning your abs and strengthening your core muscles. The key to the plank is to hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. This strengthens the deep stabilising muscles in your core. Unlike the crunch, which targets just the abs, the plank provides a more three-dimensional workout which also strengthens your hips and shoulders.

How to do the plank

Get down on the floor, lying face down on your stomach. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms, not your hands. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Contract your abs and suck your belly button into your spine. Hold the position for 30 seconds (you can work up to 60 seconds as you improve). Your toes should be contacting the floor, with your hips, legs and abs raised.

Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is one of the best ab workouts you can do, as it works not only your outer abs (the muscles responsible for the six-pack) but also your obliques, for a slimmer waist. So it's a great choice if you're battling those love handles!

How to do the bicycle crunch

Lie flat on the floor, with your lower back on the ground. Put your hands behind your head, as you would for a regular crunch; don't lock your fingers together. Bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Now straighten your right leg out to around a 45-degree angle and turn your upper body to the left, as you bring your right elbow towards your knee. Move your entire rib cage, not just your elbows. Switch sides and do the same motion on the other side - that's one rep! Continue alternating sides for 15 reps.

HIIT workouts are perfect for when you don't have much time - for some of us, that's a daily occurrence! You're never too busy to exercise, and squeezing in this 6-minute workout before your healthy breakfast omelette or smoothie means you're going to be fitter, leaner and stronger. It sets you up for a healthier, happier day, boosts your energy levels and leaves you glowing - what's not to like about that?

We'd love to hear how you all get on with your 6-minute morning HIIT workouts, so Tweet us and let us know, and share with us your healthy breakfast afterwards!


READ THIS NEXT: What is HIIT?

Works cited:

  1. http://recsports.umich.edu/article/6-benefits-getting-morning-workout

Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 5th Jun 2015 at 12:06
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