3 quick and easy ways to get fit in 30 minutes It’s hard to fit exercise around work, the school run, food shopping, cooking dinner and walking the dog. When things get busy, your fitness regime is usually the first thing to go out the window, especially if you didn’t feel like exercising in the first place. Give yourself a better chance of sticking to a fitness routine by building shorter fitness sessions of 30 minutes or less into your daily life, whether it’s cross training, cycling or resistance machines. Here are three quick and easy ideas to get you started. 1. High intensity interval training (HIIT) If you haven’t heard of HIIT, the clue is in the name. High intensity interval training is a 30-minute class that aims to burn fat and calories and improve cardiovascular health while building strength and endurance and retaining muscle mass. HIIT is a workout that alternates intense bursts of activity with lower intensity activity or complete rest. For example, sprinting for one minute and walking for two minutes, then repeating this 3-minute pattern until 15 minutes have elapsed. It is basically short bursts of maximum effort, recovery, repeat where you’re aiming to hit 90 to 90% of your maximum heart rate. Many gyms run HIIT classes to get your heart pumping. If you’re in Sussex, check out Wickwoods as they have a well-equipped gym and you can speak to one of their qualified fitness team about your goals. But you can also do HIIT at home, in your lunch time at work or in a park. Running, cycling and rowing all work well with HIIT principles. This type of training is popular with athletes, as they often need to call upon a short burst of movement at high intensity. Interval based exercise claims that 6 to 15% more calories are burned in the two hours following HIIT than after a steady workout. However, the ACSM also points out that regular physical exercise is more beneficial than sporadic, high intensity training. But HIIT has its detractors, who point out that this type of training can put strain on the muscles, joints and nervous system and cause injuries, particularly for those who are unfit and overweight. Some trainers recommend you begin by improving your flexibility and core strength through exercise like yoga and pilates before you start HIIT. 2. Cross training Cross training, or circuit training as it’s less fashionably called, combines a number of different workouts – like rowing, stationary cycling or the elliptical trainer (a stationary exercise machine that simulates walking, running or climbing stairs). Cross training can build strength, fitness and flexibility. The variety also helps stave off boredom and keep effort levels high. Its name originates from athletes training outside their usual sport, with the aim of correcting the shortcomings of one type of training with another. Other benefits include injury prevention and rehabilitation. Many gyms run short circuit or cross training classes, combining high energy aerobic and resistance exercises, interspersed with rest periods between each training station and every circuit. Take the 30-minute challenge and mix one minute of squats with single-leg deadlifts (45 seconds); push ups (one minute); side lunges (45 seconds on each side); plank (one minute); side plank (30 seconds each side); bird dog (30 seconds each side). Rest for a minute between each set and try to complete three sets. Although this workout is aimed at runners, it is excellent for developing your core strength and improving stability. 3. Half an hour of resistance training Resistance training and preserving or building muscle, is vital in maintaining or increasing your metabolism. Since muscle is the main tissue in the body that burns energy, the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn. Resistance training causes small tears in your muscle fibres, which the body answers with muscle growth, essentially repairing your body. Resistance training covers any exercise that makes your muscles contract against external resistance. This outside resistance can be dumbbells, your own body weight, machines at the gym (like a leg press or chest press); rubber resistance bands or lifting bricks. It also helps to be aware of each muscle you’re working, whether it’s the biceps, triceps or deltoids. Your goal is to lift weight(s) you can manage for 8-10 reps and three or four sets while maintaining perfect form. Try to add one or two reps every time or go up a kilo or two in weight. It is important to get your technique right, so you’re not cheating the weights and you’re properly contracting your muscles as you lift. You can find an instruction video about how to do bicep curls here . The key is to keep your elbows tucked in, shoulders back and chest high. Lift the weight and squeeze the bicep at the top, then lower the weight slowly. Use your full range of motion to give you best results but don’t swing the weight about. Don’t collapse your shoulders and don’t rock. Finally, it is worth pointing out that resistance training does not cause women to bulk up. It makes muscles toned and longer, not bulky, because muscle is more compact than fat. As well, resistance training reduces the risk of osteoporosis and can make older people much stronger. About the Author: Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and English Literature graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book'. Twitter: Annie Button