Session & Q+A: HIIT To the Rescue: 7 Minute Home Workouts to Improve Your Health

What Did I Miss?

Plantie’s Summit Session “HIIT To the Rescue: 7 Minute Home Workouts to Improve Your Health” was hosted by the New York-based HIIT instructor Daria Daspin. A highly energetic individual, Daspin motivates you to get up and join her to discover the wonders of a HIIT routine.


Daspin works for the Training Lab NYC as a personal trainer as well as managing their social media from her home in New Jersey. HIIT is described as maximum output interval training, and her particular session outlines a 7-minute routine to get familiar with this exercise. 

To start, you practice Tabata which is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Daspin mentions how this is an excellent way to warm up for any HIIT workouts. It is a form of cardio to get your heartbeat going and it consists of multiple moves totaling one minute that you can repeat. 

Once you have finished those sets, move on to EMOM which is an acronym for every minute on the minute. You have 1 minute to complete the set (for example 20 squats) and you work for your rest. If it takes you 35 seconds to do the exercise, then you will have 25 seconds to rest. 

Keeping the momentum going, Daspin illustrates the technique AMRAP which stands for as many rounds as possible. You have a total of 2 minutes to do the actions, and you keep repeating them until the time is over. Even though there is no rest during this set, you have an end goal and just keep pushing until you finish. 

It is okay if at the end you have some difficulty breathing, Daspin tells us it is because your body has just put in a lot of work. 

During her session, Daspin only uses bodyweight but she explains that you can add weight to any of the individual moves. It all depends on your fitness background as well as your end goals. 

In reference to it being only 7 minutes, Daspin clarifies how it still has immense benefits. Instead of looking at it as a short length, she tells you to change your perspective to see it as having more positive outcomes for your body than doing nothing at all. This particular method of HIIT can be done every day but if you extend the time, she suggests limiting it to a few times a week with other exercises in between. 

Another fantastic feature of the moves in these sets is that you only need a small space to be successful! Daspin recommends a yoga mat size, in order to complete the moves comfortably. You can also modify the exercises to fit your expertise or injuries. 

Put aside just 7 minutes of your day to try this amazing HIIT routine and find out why it is so popular! 

Questions & Answers

Q: Is seven minutes per day enough of HIIT, if you train hard enough during that time?

A: The first thought that I have while reading that question is that  it’s “not Is it enough”, it’s better than nothing, right? If you’re doing nothing, every day, seven minutes a day is going to be beneficial for you, no matter what it is that you’re doing. So Definitely. Depending on what your fitness goals are and where you’re at in your fitness journey so far is kind of going to be the quote, unquote “is it enough” but enough isn’t really the point. It’s better than nothing, right? So if you only have seven minutes to fit in per day to get your body moving, your endorphins pumping, your blood kind of running through your veins, your heart rate up a little bit, then definitely do it. I mean, I try to get in any little bit I can. There’s days where I can only fit in about 30 minutes, which is a shorter training period for me. But if you really only have seven minutes limited time, do what you can. That would be my best advice and answer for that. So seven minutes, definitely better than no minutes. You should always look for the positive in it. 

Q: Should you do all HIIT as bodyweight exercises only or can you add extra little weight?

A: Absolutely. So the HIIT that we did was bodyweight only just because I was doing kind of like a basic demonstration of what you can do, but you can always add weight, but you also have to remember with the added weight, increases your intensity, which in turn may slow your rep scheme down, which is fine, right? That still works. And it’s also going to then in turn, increase your neuromuscular adaptations to that movement. So I always add a little bit of weight, if I can. Now also, depending on my goal within that seven minutes, if my seven minutes is to move really quickly, maybe I don’t go as heavy, maybe I don’t pick up the heaviest weight that I have. But definitely throwing a little bit in there is beneficial. So just know that maybe if you’re comparing yourself to somebody who doesn’t have weight and is doing the same workout, they may move a little bit faster than you but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re getting more out of it. Both are beneficial. So add weight if you have it, that’s definitely a go for me. 

Q: How many times a week should I be doing HIIT?

A: Again, definitely based off of where you’re at [and] what your personal goals are, is going to be determining it. Now, seven minutes, if we’re talking about this seven minute umbrella, seven minutes of HIIT a day: do it, go for it. It’s not going to mess with any of your strength adaptations, if you’re keeping it at this seven minutes. Now, if you’re really working in strength days with your HIIT sections or your cardio sections, and they’re longer than seven minutes, I would recommend, say you’re on like a five day training schedule, maybe three strength [sessions] to HIIT or vice versa to HIIT, three strength [sessions]. If you’re just doing about seven minutes a day of HIIT lightweight movements, seven days a week, no problem. If you are going longer duration intervals: 30 minutes an hour each session, you definitely have to give yourself one to two rest days within that week, especially if you’re just getting into it. You don’t want to over stimulate your muscles and your body… You got to ease into a little bit. I know everybody gets gungho at first but definitely ease into it. See how you feel after different movements and take notice of your body while you’re doing it. If something feels wrong the day after, and try to correlate any issues that you may be having.  

Q: How much more warmup/cool down should you do for a seven minute HIIT session? Also, what exercises should we do? 

A: So, a quick little warm up. (Transcribers note: At this point, Daria Daspin stood up to give a demonstration on camera for those present at the Q&A session) Just getting like the whole body moving and some blood flow first for a simple warm up. Some head and neck circles, shoulder circles, forward, backwards, some arm circles each direction, hugging the chest, right? Kind of just feeling the body out. You just want to get some blood movement and some body flow through your entire body. We have some hip circles, you can even drop down into a lunge on one knee and lift your arms up, give them a little twist. Just make sure that you’ve kind of tapped into every little section of your body and that you have kind of woken it up a little bit prior to just kind of jumping into squats and whatnot. The first little section that we did, that’s a body section is another way to do a great warm up with simple exercises like jumping jacks, butt kicks, shoulder taps and flutter kicks, for example. That 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off that we did is a perfect warm up. You could also do that right off the bat. And then you can do some of these kinds of mobility movements to see how your body is feeling. Making sure everything’s good to go before you get into some of those more complicated exercises.

Q: Where’s the best place to find more HIIT content for beginners that will help me lose my love handles?

A: Okay. So coming from a female, love handles are probably one of the most difficult areas to spot target. And I say that because a lot of our lower midsection holds like starvation kind of, quote unquote, “fat”, right? If your body goes into starvation mode, how’s it going to survive and feed itself? So those are kind of those sections that we usually dread the most: love handles… lower stomach. Those are usually the last to go. So I would say focus less on spot targeting that, and focus more on when you’re in your workout trying to keep your body moving as efficiently as possible, right? Less breaks; more work. So “where to find [more HIIT content for beginners]”? Oh my god, Instagram! Instagram is like this ridiculous abundance of free exercise, right? Doesn’t mean that everything you see is great. You also have to kind of use your intuition and feed through the BS that’s out there as well. But focus on your cardio a little bit and that’s going to help you kind of lose that excess weight in those specific areas that kind of bother you, individually.

Q: I have a partially torn ACL. Am I still getting the benefit of a HIIT workout if I modify the exercise to avoid hurting my knee? 

A: Absolutely. So I could definitely relate: I’ve had an ACL meniscus replacement back in 2012. I’ve never had a problem since. The doctor told me I would never be able to sit on my feet. I’m actually like sitting on my knees right now. They told me I would never be able to sit on my feet. That I will never be able to really work out again. You have to rehab your body. You have to listen to your body. And you can do anything that you put your mind to. So absolutely modify [the exercises], do what you need to do, and figure out what is best for you. Right? So if we’re doing squats or jumps or something, it’s clearly something that you cannot do due to an injury. So you need to be able to make that modification. And instead of maybe doing, say it’s jumps, like long jumps or box jumps, or even squats, you might not be able to do that because of your injury due to your knee. So even doing slow squats is not really going to be beneficial for you at this time, where you’re trying to keep your heart rate up in this seven minute high intensity workout. So if that were me, I’d be like, “screw the squats” and I would drop down and start cranking out some push ups, or some situps or something that I’m able to do a little bit more efficiently, during that given time, then we just kind of teetering (sic) around for 30 seconds or whatever the timeframe is to kind of switch from the knees. So definitely modify, [it] literally could be a modification that has nothing to do with the exercise that is being prescribed, right, because for you, it makes no sense. Do something that’s going to be more beneficial for you based on your injuries. 

Q: I live in a really small studio apartment, how much space do I need to do a HIIT workout?

A: You need one square, one square, literally. I mean, there’s so many different types of workouts, but I have these little things on the floor. This is a square, square floor tile, right? Put it on the floor, you should be able to kind of jump in that section. You can do tough jumps. You know, you might not be able to do push ups. Maybe I exaggerated, maybe a yoga mat would be great; two of these squares. So that way you can extend out and do push ups but if you can fit like a yoga mat, a lot of the classes that I teach I base them off yoga mats, so we’ll be doing forwards/backwards runs and it’s just run to the top of your yoga mat, run back. So if you can find some space for a yoga mat, I think that would be great because then you’ll be able to fit your planks in and you have exercises lying down on the ground and also a little bit of jumping and side shuffling room in there. If you can fit a yoga mat in your space, you’ve got enough room.

Q: How do I know how many calories I burned during the session? Or how many calories I should expect to burn in a HIIT session? 

A: That’s a tricky question. So everybody’s different, everybody metabolizes different at a different rate. Men, I know women and stuff, but men pretty much will burn double what you burn in the same amount of time, literally because they are most likely double the weight and… height, right, so they’re much larger usually. So they tend to burn more. If you’re really counting calories, you should wear a watch that’s going to be able to give you the most analytics, you know, as specifically as possible either an Apple Watch or a WHOOP. Those are the two watches that I have, and that my clients use. But personally, I don’t really count the calories. I’ve stopped watching my [calories]… I stopped wearing my Apple Watch during quarantine and… it doesn’t really matter, right? It doesn’t really matter. I mean, you know, you want to be in deficit and you know, you want to be burning during seven minutes. You can’t expect to burn more than 100 calories in seven minutes… If I can maintain burning 100 calories in 10 minutes, then that’s pretty good, so base it off that. If you have some weights, you might be able to burn a little bit more if you’re still moving efficiently. If you’re moving slower but you have heavier weights, you’re gonna burn less because your heart rate is lower, but you’re having more muscular adaptations. So, there’s so many little differences. I wouldn’t get too hung up on the calories, just be conscious of what you’re eating, and what you’re outputting as far as calories go in my opinion. 

Q: Other than Instagram, are there any HIIT workout apps, YouTube channels?

A: To be quite honest… there’s this one app, Motify, I have two of my actual friends that are trainers in New York City, Heidi Jones is on there and also Samantha Ruskin. They do that on Motify and YouTube channels. I’m trying to think of influencers that I think are actually educated. I don’t know too much personally about YouTube. But the Motify app, that’s what I can give you on that, personally. If you go to my Instagram and look through some of my Instagram friends, a lot of my friends and trainers in New York City, we post a lot of stuff all the time on there. So saving that, using that, what’s best for you, I would find some real organic people that you genuinely like to listen to and connect with how they portray their fitness expertise and stick with that.

Q: I am pretty big, so this type workout seems a little too advanced for me. What should I do?

A: You know, nothing’s too advanced for you. I don’t think that would be too advanced for you. Maybe you don’t jump, maybe you don’t jump around, right? Maybe instead of doing jump, a long jump, you just do squats, maybe you do a plank hold. You can do crunches instead of sit ups, right? Don’t be scared. You have to start somewhere and you’re going to be out of breath. And you’re going to be feeling like not the greatest, but that’s how it starts and you’re going to get better. And even when I’m done working out, I’m laying dead on the ground because you’re pushing yourself to your highest limit at that given time. And that will change as your body changes.

Q: I’ve heard that with HIIT, you continue burning calories after the workout. Can you explain more about that?

A: Yes, there is an after burn, but I would advise that you don’t pay too much attention to that much.

Q: I currently alternate cardio on Puregym home workouts twice a week, usually 15min plus. Is 7 min workouts more effective than longer duration Cardio?

A: No. They are not more effective. It’s dependent on you and your output. Different neuromuscular adaptations will occur with different training regimes.

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Also, check out the Summary + QA of other Mentors from the Inaugural Virtual Wellness Summit – Powered By Plantie