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Snap Back to Your Pre-Holiday Weight With This HIIT Workout

Burn off the holiday fat with this calorie-scorching high-intensity workout.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

With yet another holiday season under wraps, many of us are feeling the aftereffects of weeks of indulging in too many comfort foods, sugary treats, and holiday drinks. While these indulgences are part and parcel of holiday cheer, it goes without saying that they do no favors for your health or keeping a trim waistline. Fortunately, there's no better time than the dawn of a new year to set health and fitness goals, burn belly fat, and get rid of holiday weight.

A surefire way to torch extra calories and melt belly fat is incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workout routine. HIIT is an ultra-effective weight loss tool that combines the calorie-burning benefits of cardio and strength training in one time-saving workout. Besides helping lower your body weight, HIIT is beneficial for targeting belly fat when combined with a healthy diet while in a caloric deficit. A study published in Sports Medicine found HIIT to be a productive form of exercise to reduce fat-mass deposits, such as abdominal and "hidden" visceral fat—the dangerous kind of fat that surrounds your organs and can lead to serious health issues.

If you want to start using HIIT to get rid of holiday weight gain, keep reading. We chatted with Dan Johnston, CPT, certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach, who shares a high-intensity workout below that's sure to burn off holiday calories, shrink your waistline, and help you get back to your pre-holiday weight. Read on to learn more, and next, check out The Best Exercises To Melt Away Your 'Santa Claus' Belly.

Dumbbell Muscle Snatch into Squat to Press

dumbbell snatch press exercise to get rid of holiday weight

Pairing two movements into a single superset is a telltale sign of a high-quality HIIT exercise. "These are great movements, because they work multiple muscle groups at the same time, delivering a full-body exercise," says Johnston.

To start, stand over a single medium-weight dumbbell that's not too heavy. (Keep in mind that you can also use a kettlebell for this exercise if you prefer.) Next, squat down with your chest and head up, similar to a deadlift. Grab the dumbbell with one hand, then drive your body up, forcing the dumbbell up and overhead with your arm fully extended. Next, drop down into a full squat position while keeping your arm extended and dumbbell overhead. Then, drive your body up through your heels while maintaining that straight arm and dumbbell overhead. Finally, lower the dumbbell to the ground, and repeat this movement with the other arm. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps per side with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

Row Ergometer Sprints

fit man on rowing machine demonstrating exercise habits for strong forearms

Keeping your heart rate up with high-intensity cardio exercises is necessary if you want to torch calories and shrink your belly. Plus, this exercise works your back, biceps, and core for a full-body workout.

Row sprints are straightforward since they require you to go all-out for 40 seconds on an indoor rowing machine before resting for 20 seconds. Repeat this circuit four or five times for an effective high-intensity cardio session.

"This full-body cardio exercise requires a lot of energy and constant movement to complete, making it a challenging exercise and welcome addition to any HIIT workout," says Johnston.

The Best Exercises To Get Rid of Holiday Weight Fast, Expert Says

Alternating Split Squat Jumps

reverse lunges exercise

This high-calorie burner movement will strengthen your lower body while boosting your cardio and keeping your rate elevated.

For this exercise, you can use your body weight only or hold a light dumbbell in each hand. Stand upright with your hands clasped behind your head or arms straight with dumbbells hanging by your sides. Step forward with one leg into a split stance. Lower the front leg into a lunge position until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Avoid letting your knee extend beyond your toes. Drive your body up from the balls of your feet to jump up as high as you can. Switch your leg positions in mid-air, and land in the opposite stance. Repeat the squat and jumping movement with the other leg. Do four sets of 10 reps per leg with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

Burpees with Pushups

woman performing burpees step-by-step

If you know someone who truly enjoys burpees, you wouldn't be wrong in questioning why they do. However, burpees are an excellent HIIT exercise since they incorporate multiple movements to help build muscular strength and endurance in your lower and upper body. This twist on the classic burpee adds another element of intensity by incorporating a full pushup at the bottom of the movement.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Squat down, and place your hands on the floor. Kick back into a plank position. Perform one pushup. Jump your legs back up to your hands in a low squat position. Drive your body up, jumping as high as possible and throwing your hands above your head. Complete four sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam