It's really easy to come up with all of the reasons you can't fit a workout into your day: time (it takes too long!), money (gyms/ boutique fitness classes/ all of the gear are too expensive!), arctic temperatures (it's 18 degrees F in Toronto this morning and 26F in New York... omg), you're too stressed, you're too jiggly, you can't find your shoes... sound familiar?
No worries. I've been on a hunt for the last few weeks to find the best at-home, high-intensity, super efficient workouts for mornings where I want to fit in a workout but don't have the opportunity to get to a class. (Incidentally, I'm addicted to ClassPass and would highly recommend giving up your gym membership and joining CP instead if it's available in your city. I've been a member for almost two years in NYC and now San Francisco, and the variety of stuff you can book - and super cheaply! - is awesome. I usually take 10 classes a week, which I think puts me in junkie territory: everything from Cross Fit to HIIT to yoga to cycling to bootcamps to pilates and dance. It's baller.) BUT! Sometimes getting up at 4:30am isn't an option (although I like those days a lot) and sometimes stuff comes up after work which means less time to check out a class.
SO! Riding on the momentum of my 2013-2014 Insanity adventure (which I also totally recommend if you're looking to kick things up a notch), these super short workouts are perfect to fit into a morning or post-work. The best part is that high-intensity interval training not only conditions muscles and gives you a great cardio workout at the same time, it changes how your body burns fuel (read: it boosts your metabolism). This is the reason it's so effective. Basically, you work really hard for x-number of seconds (it varies by workout) and then rest for y-number of seconds. Because your body doesn't know when the next burst of work is coming, it remains in a heightened state of fuel-burning, just in case it needs to suddenly provide fuel to your muscles to make you move. Even after the workout is done, your body continues to burn fuel at a higher rate AND keep your energy potential up.
Fun fact, also! HIIT is the best way to encourage your body to burn its stored fuel reserves (ie. your extra fat cells). Doing high-intensity cardio, like in these workouts, burns through the sugar in your bloodstream and muscles that has not yet been converted to fat. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to work through the sugars; after this time, it starts to burn fuel from your storage. This means that in the 20 minutes you spend on these workouts, you work through the immediately available sugars and your body spends the rest of the day drawing from elsewhere on/in your body. Nice, hey?
These workouts - if you can get through the silly infomercialness of some of them (like the fat burning supplement from buddy in the last video... don't buy it, just do the workout... that will burn fat) - are awesome to have handy when you want to infuse some awesome energy into your day. No travel time, no self-consciousness about your jiggling in class (although some jiggle is awesome - check out this super motivating video), and no cost? Excellent.
They're mostly body-weight only, so no equipment needed; in the case of the kettlebells, you could always use a full water jug or big water bottle for added resistance.