Take a Couple of Minutes to Challenge Your Body and Fuel Your Fitness

By Emma Hogan

If you want to send your heart rate sky-high, test your fitness and get hooked on the magic of high-intensity interval training, now’s your chance. Less than five minutes is all it takes.

The fastest way to get your HIIT fix

Thanks to new research, we now know optimal HIIT results come from doing no more than 30 to 40 minutes a week. While many break this weekly prescription into two workouts, it’s not the only option. According to global HIIT expert Martin Gibala, Ph.D., extremely short HIIT sessions can be remarkably transformational. Keen to give one a go?

These short but effective Tabata-style HIIT workouts involve 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You repeat this three times and then you’re done. It’s short, so you really need to push yourself—we’re talking all-out, seeing stars effort. “There is no free lunch. So if you’re wanting the benefits of short-burst exercise, you need to go hard,” Gibala advises.


This Tabata challenge uses switch climbers and high-knee runs to seriously spike your heart rate. Are you ready? Press play on the video below and follow the instructions.


Increase the challenge with a combo of switch climbers, high-knee runs and mountain climbers. Press play on the video below and follow the instructions.

Why we love these workouts

Both these challenges are structured using the Tabata-style HIIT formula. Often dubbed the “miracle workout,” a Tabata’s short bursts of maximum effort followed by brief breaks for recovery are great for burning fat and improving endurance and speed. The name comes from exercise scientist Izumi Tabata and his 1996 research, which highlighted how this training structure proved to more effectively improve athletes’ metabolism and anaerobic capacity than longer, less intense training.

Tabata is just one style of HIIT. You can experience more Tabata challenges and a variety of other HIIT methods when you do a LES MILLS GRIT workout. Visit to find a LES MILLS GRIT workout near you.

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Video credit: Motortion Films, Shutterstock
Videos: Les Mills International
Photo credit: Syda Productions, Adobe Stock


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Emma Hogan

Emma Hogan is a New Zealand-based writer and the editor of Les Mills’ Fit Planet, a suite of science-backed content designed to help educate, motivate and inspire people to live fit and healthy lives.