Great question!

OK, so simply put the answer is HIIT. Which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is, according to latest research, the most effective way to lose fat and build muscle at the same time (ladies, this is what you’d call ‘toning up’).

A perfect example of HIIT training would be a protocol called "tabatha". I absolutely vouch for it as it brings people such fantastic results in a short time. When I first started with this way of training, I felt like my body transformed significantly within 2 weeks (doing 4 minutes of tabata 5 days a week [20 sec work, 10 sec rest, repeat 8 times]).

The HIIT idea is that when you do (either bodyweight or weighted) exercises, you are doing them FULL ON. With 100% effort. With no time or energy to spare to focus on non-relevant shit going on around you. Your aim is to make it as hard for yourself as possible, and then focus on getting your breath back when you rest. With HIIT your rest periods tend to be shorter than your workout phases, and your workout phases are usually no longer than 30 seconds at a time (for best fat loss results, anyway).

Now, I’ve seen all sorts of fitness videos out there where they claim to be doing HIIT and are in fact not. Reason being they’re simply performing different exercises, getting a little out of breath and barely breaking sweat, with no burning lovely sensation in their muscles. This is not HIIT. Some people also like to say the do hour long HIIT sessions - but that's just bullshit, because if you’re doing HIIT properly you won’t have any chance of having energy left after about 10 minutes - no matter what your fitness level. AND if you’re actually going full on for half an hour or longer, you’ll severely increase the likelihood of injury - so just please do yourself a favour and stick to short, effective burst of exercise rather than trying to kill yourself.

So how do you ensure you’re doing it right? My best advise is to make sure your face doesn’t look pretty anymore (because normally it does). If you’re doing your exercises with the same intensity you’d walk on the streets, you’re doing it wrong. So make sure to not give a shit about what people think when you’re exercising - you’re there to make it actually work. (If you do HIIT at a public gym, you might want to put earphones in and blast out your favourite tunes - it helps you concentrate and put the effort in)

Obviously, if you’re only just starting out, your maximum effort might not be fast, and that is completely fine. All that matters is that you get an amazing burning sensation in your muscles, and then just keep on moving with the intensity you can keep up for the duration of your interval. It’s much more important at first to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly so you don’t hurt yourself, and then increase intensity as your fitness increases.

So… If you feel any kind of pain, other than muscle burn, during exercise, please stop immediately and speak to a doc/physio/fitness pro. You can always send me a message if you’ve got questions - my direct email address is erika@erikahelsinki.com

My 10 Day Challenge is also a fantastic way to get started with the most effective fat burning protocol in the world (tabata) - and with your personalised daily calories you’ll be losing weight and toning up in the next 10 days - guaranteed. You can sign up on the right hand side of this page (at least for now while it’s free) :-)

Good luck!