Wouldn’t it be great if you could hack fitness and get in great shape without much time or effort? Well… new scientific research into high intensity interval training (HIIT) —  which is characterized by short bursts of intense exercise followed by short periods of rest — is finding you may be able to get fit (and stay fit) in a lot less time.

The only catch is these HIIT workouts are going to be some of the toughest you’ve ever done.

Now, imagine you could work out for 10 minutes a few times a week to maintain your fitness instead of having to go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour. This isn’t just a fantasy. A recent BBC documentary that I’ve posted below explores the scientific research done in the United Kingdom by Jamie Timmons, a professor of aging biology at Birmingham University.

His research has found that doing just 3-10 minutes of HIIT a few times a week for four weeks not only vastly outperforms conventional aerobic endurance exercise, it also provides health benefits you can’t get from regular exercise.  High intensity exercise regimes have been shown to provide a huge boost in production of human growth hormone (HGH), which has been dubbed the “fitness hormone” because of its profound health and anti-aging benefits.

Hacking Fitness: The Truth About Exercise

In this documentary on high intensity interval training (HIIT), you can follow Dr. Michael Mosley as he puts the scientific research to the test.

The documentary also reveals some interesting research that examines the impact of sitting all day and the negative health effects of the modern sedentary lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about the science of high intensity interval training, you can visit read Dr. Mosley’s website or read his book Fast Exercise.

Want to try high intensity interval training for yourself? There is also a Fast Exercise app for iPhone that is getting mixed reviews.

Here are some other apps that specialize in high intensity interval training that you might want to try for yourself:

1. Sworkit – A top rated fitness app that focuses on high intensity circuit training workouts that you can fully customize and do at home or the office to stay fit.

2. Workouts+ – A well-designed stopwatch app that supports popular exercise programs, including HIIT, Tabata, kettlebell training and bodyweight circuits.

3. 12 Minute Athlete – A high intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen of workouts that you can do in around just 12 minutes a day with minimal equipment and no gym membership.

4. 7 Minute Workout –  A complete full body workout in just 7 minutes. Another interesting approach to hacking fitness, the science of this high intensity interval training method was covered in the NY Times.

Try out these high intensity interval training workouts and see if you can hack your fitness routine and stay fit without going to the gym.