No gym, no problem: How to start interval training at home

What if you have been told that you can achieve your fitness goals without stepping out of your front door?

Home-based interval training offers a convenient way to achieve fitness goals without the need to leave your home for the gym.

In this guide, we’ll not only introduce you to the wonderful world of interval training but also show you how to make the most of it within the cozy confines of your own four walls.

No complicated fitness jargon, no over-the-top promises – just practical advice and actionable steps to help you get started and see real results.

How do I prepare for interval training?

Let’s set the stage for your journey into interval training at home by discussing what you’ll need to get started. Thankfully, you won’t require an array of fancy equipment or a large workout space. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials:

Comfortable workout attire

Let’s talk about your workout attire – a crucial element in ensuring a comfortable and productive interval training session. Here’s how to dress the part:

  • Breathable fabrics: Choose clothing made from breathable materials like moisture-wicking polyester or lightweight cotton [1]. These fabrics help keep sweat away from your body, preventing discomfort.
  • Athletic shoes: Opt for athletic shoes with good arch support and cushioning. They’ll provide stability and reduce the risk of injury during high-intensity movements.
  • Supportive sports bra: For women, a well-fitting sports bra is essential to reduce discomfort and protect your chest during vigorous exercises.
  • Moisture management: Look for clothing that effectively manages moisture. It prevents excessive sweating, chafing, and discomfort.
  • Sun protection: If you’re working out outdoors, consider clothing with built-in UV protection to shield your skin from harmful rays.

By choosing comfortable workout attire, you’ll be ready to tackle your interval training routine with confidence and ease. Remember, feeling good in your gear can make all the difference in your workout experience.

comfortable workout attire

The right shoes can make a world of difference in your workout experience. Here’s why they matter:

  • Injury prevention: Supportive athletic shoes with proper arch support and cushioning help absorb impact, reducing the risk of injuries to your feet, ankles, and knees.
  • Stability: A good pair of shoes provides stability, allowing you to maintain balance during dynamic movements like jumps, squats, and lunges.
  • Comfort: Comfort is key. Shoes that fit well and feel comfortable on your feet make it easier to focus on your workout without distractions.
  • Performance enhancement: Proper footwear can enhance your overall performance by providing the right level of support for your specific workout needs.
  • Durability: Investing in quality shoes pays off in the long run. They tend to last longer and provide consistent support throughout your fitness journey.

Before you start your interval training session, ensure you’ve got the right shoes on. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in your comfort, safety, and performance during your workouts.

Workout mat

Workout mat is a practical addition to your home fitness gear. Here’s why it’s an essential item:

  • Cushioning: A workout mat provides a comfortable surface for exercises, protecting your body from hard floors and reducing the risk of discomfort or injury.
  • Versatility: It’s suitable for various activities, including yoga, bodyweight exercises, and stretching routines.
  • Grip: Most mats come with a non-slip surface, ensuring stability during your workouts.
  • Portability: Easy to roll up and store, making it a convenient addition to your home gym.
  • Protection: Your mat safeguards your floor from sweat and prevents potential damage.

Whether you’re working on core strength, flexibility, or other exercises, a workout mat is a reliable companion for your home-based interval training sessions. It’s a simple but valuable addition to your fitness toolkit.

Interval timer or smartphone

Now, let’s explore the essential tools for timing your interval training: the interval timer or your trusty smartphone. Here’s why they’re crucial:

  • Precision: These timers ensure precise intervals, helping you stay on track during your workouts.
  • Adaptability: You can customize timers for various interval lengths to suit your workout routine [2].
  • Ease of use: Both options are user-friendly, with straightforward controls.
  • Motivation: Timers keep you engaged and focused, ensuring you give your all during high-intensity intervals.
  • Accessibility: Whether it’s a dedicated timer or a timer app on your Smartphone, these tools are readily available.

With a reliable interval timer at your side, you can effortlessly time your intervals and make the most of your home-based workouts. They’re simple yet indispensable for effective interval training.

What is an example of interval training?

These workouts are versatile, effective, and adaptable to different fitness levels. Here’s a breakdown of three popular types of interval training:

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a dynamic workout method that packs a powerful punch in a short timeframe. It’s all about pushing yourself to the limit and reaping the rewards. 

HIIT is characterized by short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This intensity spike elevates your heart rate and ignites calorie burn.

No need for long, tedious workouts. HIIT sessions typically last 20-30 minutes, making them perfect for busy schedules.

HIIT is incredibly adaptable. You can mix and match exercises like jumping jacks, sprints, or bodyweight exercises, keeping your workouts fresh.

The “afterburn effect” means you’ll continue burning calories even after your workout has ended, thanks to an elevated metabolism.

While HIIT can be challenging, it’s customizable to your fitness level. Beginners can start with shorter intervals and gradually increase intensity.

Sample HIIT workouts

  • Tabata: Perform an exercise (e.g., jumping jacks, burpees) at maximum effort for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Repeat this cycle for a total of 4 minutes [3].
  • 30-60s Intervals: Choose an exercise (e.g., sprinting in place, mountain climbers) and perform it at high intensity for 30-60 seconds, followed by a 1-2 minute rest. Repeat for several rounds.

Whether you’re looking to torch fat, improve cardiovascular fitness, or simply spice up your routine, HIIT has got you covered. So, lace up those sneakers, and let’s unleash the power of high-intensity interval training in your home workouts.

sample hiit workout
Photograph: tommyandone/Envato

Tabata training

Tabata training is a quick and intense interval workout that packs a punch. In just four minutes, you can experience a challenging, efficient, and effective session. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Tabata consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by a 10-second breather. Repeat this cycle for a total of 4 minutes per exercise.
  • Perfect for busy schedules, Tabata delivers results in a short timeframe.
  • Choose any exercise – squats, push-ups, or jumping jacks – and turn it into a Tabata session.
  • Tabata pushes your limits, boosting both cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
  • Customize Tabata to your fitness level, gradually increasing intensity over time.

Sample tabata exercises

  • Squats: Perform as many squats as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for 4 minutes.
  • Push-ups: Complete as many push-ups as possible in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for 4 minutes.

With Tabata, you’ll experience a high-octane workout that fits into your day, ensuring a rewarding fitness journey.

Circuit training

Circuit training is a versatile and effective workout that targets multiple muscle groups in a single session. Here’s the scoop:

  • Circuit training involves a sequence of exercises performed one after the other, with minimal rest in between.
  • It’s a time-savvy choice, as you work on both strength and endurance simultaneously.
  • Create circuits tailored to your goals, incorporating exercises like squats, push-ups, planks, and more [4].
  • The constant movement keeps your heart rate up, delivering both cardio and strength benefits.
  • Customize circuits based on your fitness level, gradually increasing intensity and reps.

Sample circuit workouts

  • Full-body circuit: Create a circuit with exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, and jumping jacks. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with a 1-minute rest between rounds. Repeat for 3-4 rounds.
  • Core circuit: Focus on your core with exercises like bicycle crunches, leg raises, Russian twists, and plank variations. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, with a 1-minute rest between rounds. Repeat for 3-4 rounds.

With circuit training, you’ll enjoy a well-rounded workout that keeps things interesting and efficiently boosts your fitness levels. It’s a practical addition to your home fitness routine.

Closing thoughts

We’ve uncovered the power of interval training, right from the comfort of your own home. The beauty of interval training lies in its simplicity and effectiveness.

You don’t need an array of fancy equipment, an expensive gym membership, or hours of your day to get fit and healthy. You can achieve your fitness goals efficiently and on your own terms.

The key to success is commitment and dedication. By incorporating interval training into your routine, you’re not just working out; you’re investing in your health and well-being. Let’s get moving, stay active, and make fitness a sustainable part of your lifestyle.


Can I do interval training if I’m a beginner and not very fit?

Absolutely! Interval training can be adapted to all fitness levels. Start with shorter intervals and lower intensity, gradually increasing as your fitness improves.

How often should I incorporate interval training into my fitness routine?

The frequency depends on your goals and fitness level. Generally, 2-4 sessions per week can provide significant benefits. Listen to your body and allow for sufficient recovery between sessions.

Can interval training help with weight loss?

Yes, interval training can be an effective tool for weight loss. It burns calories during and after the workout, boosts metabolism, and promotes fat loss when combined with a balanced diet.


The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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