I'm Emily, a lifestyle blogger, designer, and owner of Gathered Mercantile & The Amsden Coffee Club, both located in The Amsden Building in downtown Versailles, Kentucky. In my blog, you'll read about design projects + inspiration, my wardrobe, delicious recipes, and happenings in + around the Amsden. Welcome to Gathered Living- I'm so excited to have you.

Workout Wednesday: Abs + Arms HIIT

     When it comes to workouts, I really love variety and there's not many workouts that I haven't tried whether it's at-home programs or local classes.  Crossfit, Pilates, Zone, Beachbody programs, and spin classes are just a few of my favorites.  When we moved to Versailles, we decided we needed to take advantage of our extra space (our giant garage) and make an at-home gym that we could use any time.  We knew that it wouldn't be practical to drive to and from Lexington to workout any more, and that we would be much more likely to workout everyday if we could just step out the door and do it anytime of day or night.  

      We have slowly been building our home gym and now have a large area of rubber mats with a spin bike, rowing machine, kettlebells, jump ropes, weighted balls, and free weights.  We hope to add a treadmill, weight rack, and heavier weights in the future and maybe some other fun things like TRX.  I started writing our own HIIT workouts kind of borrowing a little from all the programs I have tried and combining my favorite elements of each.  If you haven't heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training), it is by far my favorite way to workout.  You get both your cardio and weight training together in one workout AND in half the time!  You all know I'm all about efficiency, so as far as I'm concerned, there's no other way to workout.  When you combine high-rep, quick weight training with full-body cardio moves, you also burn way more calories AND continue to burn all day long.  Even though a large portion of these workouts do involve weight training, they will NOT bulk you up.  The combination of short bursts of cardio as well as the high-rep count and constant movement makes this a total body workout that will slim and sculpt.    

     You may not have your own home gym but I've laid out this workout with plenty of options so that you can customize it depending on what you do have available.  This is a perfect plan to do at home or at the YMCA or local gym.  One thing that you will definitely need: dumbbells (I use 5-15 lbs. depending on the move), and possibly a yoga mat or workout mat depending on where you are working out.   For one of the moves (seated shoulder press), you will also need a bench, chair, or ledge of some sort to sit on. Other items that I love to use but are not necessary: kettlebells (15 lb. for beginners, I use 25-35 lb. for most moves), a jumprope (the cheapest cardio equipment you can buy), weighted medicine ball (10-15 lbs.; I have this one).

     Here's the rundown: Do each move for one minute, as many reps as you can.  Rest when needed, but try to continue moving the full minute.  I use the "Seconds" app to time all my workouts.  It's a must-have and you can set your workout times for all different categories (tabata, HIIT, circuit)- you can even set intervals of rest/transition too in between moves!  Set your clock for 24 rounds of 1 minute circuits with a 15 second rest/transition in between each.  For the cardio, you can choose from any of the "cardio options" listed below.  You can do a different cardio option every time, or the same throughout (I prefer to do a different cardio option each time).  If you are unfamiliar with any of the moves, click on them to see an example!

Jump rope

Mountain climbers


Jumping jacks

Spin bike

Kettlebell swings

Rowing machine

Treadmill (jogging or running)


1 min. each/ 15 sec. transition:

Cardio option

Bent over one-arm row (30 sec. each arm)


Skull crushers

Cardio option

Russian twists

Lateral raises

Dumbbell/Kettlebell side bends

Cardio option

Seated shoulder press

Leg raises

Tricep kickbacks

Repeat entire cycle 2x total (24 minutes)


    A few notes on why I love the moves used in this workout: 

1. Tricep kickbacks and skull crushers: let's be honest, no woman loves the back of her arms; so I try to do as much tricep work as I possibly can! Jiggle be gone!

2. Russian twists + DB/KB side bends: both of these moves work your entire body but you will feel the burn on your obliques and waist.  This is the BEST way to get a cinched in waist (no waist trainer required) and super defined but feminine-looking abs.  I like hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in my hand during Russian twists for an extra challenge.  Be sure to FLEX and engage your stomach the entire time you are doing the side bends for the best form and results!

3. Leg raises: my favorite move for the lower abs (the part of most women's stomach that pooches out)- so challenging! You can keep your legs bent until you get strong enough to raise and lower them while straight.

4. Seated shoulder press:  You may have done a regular shoulder press before but not a seated one.  You will be surprised at how much more challenging a press is just with this small tweak!  Being in the seated position forces you to really engage your abs and isolate your upper body for this move.

5. Cardio options: Jump roping is my favorite and is great for your legs (calves especially).  You will hate yourself for doing burpees but you will burn the most calories with that option (it is an advanced move so either modify it or build up to it after trying a few workouts.)  Mountain climbers are also challenging but double as an amazing ab workout at the same time.  Finally, if you don't have one, I HIGHLY suggest getting a kettlebell because nothing burns calories like a kettlebell swing.  You engage and work your entire body while swinging and you can use it for TONS of other moves as well (hopefully I'll be sharing more of those in the future!).

via Fitness Today

     One of the other great things about this workout is that you can use this same format for other workouts and just switch out the moves.  Want to work your lower body?  Sub in lunges, squats, deadlifts, etc. for the arm moves!  There are endless possibilities once you get going and you never have to do the same workout twice.  This keeps your body guessing and helps you burn the most calories each day.  I try to do 3-4 of these HIIT workouts per week (always switching up the workout slightly each day) and then 1-2 additional half hours of just cardio (spinning, rowing, walking, or running).  Basically I aim to work out 5 days a week because I'm usually super lazy on the weekends, but occasionally can convince myself to go on a power walk with the dogs or do a little cardio.

      I hope to share a different HIIT workout each week for the next few months and hope that you will follow along and try them with me!  Even better, I would love if you would experiment with switching up some of the moves and creating different workouts of your own using the same format I've laid out.  Good luck and let's get moving!



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