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Try this 20-minute HIIT workout to tone your total body—and boost your brain power


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The holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year, but they’re also the point where you’re most likely to get out of your regular fitness and eating routines. (Been there.) Something that can help ensure you enjoy all the fun and still show up on January 2 recharged in 2018, however, is a pre-tox workout and nutrition plan.  

In a new four-part series for Well+Good, Tier X Coach at Equinox and fitness model Julie Wandzilak will be sharing intel on foods to eat and moves to master in order to strengthen your immunity, get better sleep, boost your metabolism, and tone your total body.

After several days of lounging around in your cozy-cute holiday wear, you’ll likely be game for a full-body sweat sesh. Wandzilak recommends a quick burst of HIIT training to pull you out of your Netflix-marathon-cookie-induced lethargy. The best news yet? You don’t even have to leave your living room. Just grab a kettle ball or a dumbbell.

“This type of workout increases aerobic capacity by building physiological adaptations in the body when your heart rate increases to about 80–85% of your maximum,” Wandzilak says. “Not only does your work capacity increase, but it has an effect on cardiac output, cardiovascular functionality, and overall increased exercise performance.” In other words, it does a body good—and burns through calories the way you likely did the second season of either Stranger Things or The Crown…or both. (Guilty!)

Consider those burpees another form of biohacking.

In addition to toning those muscles, 20-minute HIIT-style workouts have been found to boost your memory by increasing the protein, BDNF, that helps brain cells grow and function properly. So, consider those burpees another form of biohacking.

Below, Wandzilak shares just the HIIT of sweat (ha!) you need to boost your aerobic capacity and sculpt you from head-to-toe. “We’ve selected these exercises to showcase the effects that anaerobic threshold training has on the body, during the workout, as well as post-workout,” she says.

Keep scrolling for the HIIT workout you can do just feet away from your couch.

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woman with kettlebell
Photo: Stocksy/Suprijono Suharjoto

5-round, HIIIT workout for total-body toning

Complete 5 rounds of this circuit with 20 seconds between each exercise and 1 minute between each round. Use a weight size of your choice. Here’s a guide to light, medium, and heavy weights, FYI. 

1. Unilateral farmer carry

Grab a kettlebell in each hand. Holding your arms as still as possible, walk forward for about 100 meters or approximately 300 feet. (If you don’t have the space to do the whole length in one direction, go back and forth.)

2. High pull to goblet squat combo

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Wrap both hands around the handle of one kettlebell, clutching it to your chest. Squat down, sticking your butt out and keeping your knees over your ankles, trying to get your thighs as close to parallel with the ground as possible. Return to stand. Repeat eight times.

3. Unilateral lunge, 10 repetitions on each side

Stand with your feet in a wide-straddle position, about three feet apart. Grip one kettlebell in your right fist, bending your elbow so that the kettlebell is parallel to your right shoulder. Step backward with your right leg into a high lunge, keeping your left knee over your left ankle. Bend at both knees and squat down trying to make 90-degree angles with both your front and back legs. Return to standing. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps on each side.

4.  Plank with horizontal weight drag

Begin in high plank—hands shoulder width apart and feet hip-width apart. Grip your weight in your right fist. Using your right arm, slide the weight behind your left wrist, doing your best to keep your right shoulder parallel to your left and your hips still. Return to high plank. Complete 10 rounds, then switch sides.

5. Crab reaches

Begins sitting down with feet below knees, hip-width apart and hands below shoulders, shoulder-width apart. Turn your wrists to face away from your body. Shift your weight into your left hand and bring your right hand to hover next to your right ear. Lift your butt upward, bringing it parallel to your knees and shoulders. At the same time, extend your right arm overhead (so that your bicep is by your ear), coming into an active, side body stretch. Complete six rounds, then switch sides.

Phew. Now get in a nice stretch with your foam roller and check out this roundup of other wellness tips for gaming the holiday season

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