5 home exercises you can do to keep fit (and warm) this winter

Young Man Doing Press Ups In Gym

Jon Snow is constantly telling us, winter is coming. And this year, it’s shaping up to be a particularly bitter winter – the kind of winter that makes you want to snooze that alarm, sack off the gym and go back to sleep. (If you’re still jumping out of bed at 6am to hit the gym, the chances are you’re not going to need this article.) But if you’re the kind of guy who has tried to trim up over the summer but are now already starting to add some extra insulation for the winter – these home exercises might be perfect for you.

The FT approach to home exercises

We’ve taken our inspiration from Joe Wick’s #LeanIn15 – short bursts of intense home exercises followed by periods of active rest.

It’s called HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s great not only because you can smash a really decent workout in 20 minutes without any equipment (no more 90 minute gym sessions), but because they produce a thing called the afterburn effect.

Aside from having a cool name, the afterburn effect (also known as EPOC or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption to those in the know) continues to burn fat long after you’ve finished working out and kick starts your metabolism for the day – both great for keeping lean and burning off fat, even in the depths of winter.

Although these home exercises are great on their own, if you can set aside 15 minutes to put them together as a HIIT (3 rounds of 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest for every exercise), we’re sure you’ll burn fat and be beach ready before the winter is even over.

(If you’d like a bit more info on why HIIT is so great – check out this introduction to HIIT by Men’s Fitness.

#1: Mountain climbers

It seems quite fitting when it’s freezing outside to do an exercise inspired by those intrepid explorers who brave sub-zero temperatures, doesn’t it? Mountain climbers are great home exercises – they work a whole load of muscles, including your deltoids, biceps, and triceps (and, for you exercise buffs, they also work your pectoralis major, obliques, rectus abdominals, lower trapezius, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip adductors and hip abductors.)

#2: Burpees

We won’t lie to you – we’re not the biggest fan of burpees. They’re a bit of a chore. But they’re an incredible exercise, so they’re worth suffering through. Burpees build your strength and endurance, raise your heart rate and burn a shed load of calories – even in 30 second bursts.

#3: Star jumps

Star jumps – or jumping jacks, if you’re on the other side of the pond – are great because they work a huge amount of muscles. But more importantly, they get your heart rate right up, which is important for high-intensity workouts – you burn more fat (and calories) and you create that all-important after-burn effect.

#4: High knees

This is as basic as it can possibly get – run on the spot and keep your knees as high as possible. Do it for thirty seconds, rest, and repeat. Not only will you work your leg muscles, but – like with the star jumps – you’ll get your heart rate right up into that all-important zone where you burn fat and create an after-burn.

#5: Press ups

OK, this one isn’t particularly new or exciting, but it can help you tone your arms, shoulders, triceps and – particularly – build your chest muscles. They’ll raise your heart rate too – and, as we’ve probably already mentioned – that’s the aim of the game with HIIT workouts.

Of course, getting trim and lean isn’t all about regular HIIT sessions – to get properly ripped, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your diet too. But if you’re looking for an exercise to do in the morning, to kick start your metabolism for the day and make you feel a bit less guilty about grabbing some pasta or a bacon sandwich, you can’t go wrong with a HIIT; it’s easy to do, takes almost no time at all and you’ll burn fat throughout the day, even when you’re not working out.