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HIIT for the Holidays

How Not to Gain Lbs This Season

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Does your workout routine take a hit during the busy holiday season? High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the perfect solution! Try this no-equipment, 15-minute fat-blaster from certified personal trainer Jessica Smith anytime, anywhere (it's perfect for hotel rooms or smaller spaces) to torch twice the calories in half the time.

How it works: This super speedy circuit uses a 2:1 work to recovery ratio, which means you'll be pushing yourself hard for a full 2 minutes before taking a 1-minute active recovery break. The work intervals are meant to be intense (a 9 or 10 on a 1-10 intensity scale), but always make sure you can maintain good form during the exercises. If you can't make it through the full 2-minute window, do the best you can and go into the recovery interval sooner if necessary. And if some of the moves feel too challenging, you can repeat any other set in its place.

Warm-up: Get your blood pumping with a few minutes of simple moves like marching or jogging in place, jumping jacks, squats, and lunges for about 3 minutes.

Work Set 1: Squat Scissors

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2 minutes

Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides. Quickly jump forward, landing in a squat, swinging your bent arms up in front of your chest. Quickly jump up, landing with your left leg forward, right leg back (arms swinging in opposition to your legs) and then switch, scissoring your legs in the air. Repeat forward squat jump and scissors, alternating the front scissor leg each time. Continue until 2 minutes is up.

Active recovery: 1 minute (easy walk or jog in place)

Work Set 2: Side Up and Over Leap

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2 minutes

Start standing on your right leg, with left leg bent behind you. Bend right knee and lower into a squat, swinging your left arm forward (in preparation for side jump). Take a wide leap to the left (swinging your arms to help you jump) and land on your left leg, bending knee and bringing right arm forward to help with balance. Repeat as quickly as you can from side to side, imagining you are jumping over a big puddle on the floor.

Active recovery: 1 minute (easy walk or jog in place)

Work Set 3: Power Sprinter Switch

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2 minutes

Begin in a low sprinter's lunge with your right leg forward, fingertips lightly on the floor. Jump straight up as high as you can, reaching both arms overhead as you switch your legs in mid air, landing in a low lunge on the left. Repeat as quickly as you can, changing legs each time. (This one can be tough, so if you can't get all the way down to the floor, just go as low as you safely can, keeping knees behind toes, and resting more often if needed).

Active recovery: 1 minute (easy walk or jog in place)

Set 4: Donkey Kick Up

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2 minutes

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat and prepare for a donkey kick, placing your hands under your shoulders, keeping your arms straight. Shift your weight into your arms and jump up with your legs, kicking your heels in close to your butt. Land with feet hip width and jump straight up, pushing your arms behind your body as you jump. Land and immediately repeat as many times as you can until 2 minutes is up. If it's too tough to keep jumping for the full 2 minutes, simply stand up out of your donkey kick instead.

Active recovery: 1 minute (easy walk or jog in place)

Cool-down: Your active recovery period should start lowering your heart rate, but feel free to continue walking until you feel your breathing is back to normal. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, wrap up your workout with these five stretches.

Like this workout and have a little more time? Try this slightly longer HIIT Bodyweight Workout next!

Photos by: Vanessa Rogers Photography