Let's HIIT It!
I welcome cardio with wiiiide open arms. The harder the better. The sweatier the better. The more intense...the better. While I know some Thriving Wives out there may shy away from all that, I just can't seem to grasp why. I mean, I know I am a bit "loco", but I still think we all should want some sort of intense workout that leaves us completely dead/rejuvenated all at the same time...no?
Well, helping people fall in with fitness all the while motivating and inspiring is just why I became a fitness instructor and personal trainer in the first place. I take great joy in sharing the latest research and trends of a healthy, active lifestyle with anyone who will listen. I have seen incredibly results from those who have taken my advice and have truly accepted that to be "fit" is not to jump on the latest diet fad, but to change your entire outlook on life and how you live it.
As a busy mommy of (nearly) three boys under three, I am constantly on the move. We run, climb and play most of our days and I love watching my Fitbit log seemingly endless amount of earned steps. But for me, that still isn't enough. I need more. Since I am currently not teaching any classes, I have taken to running my own crazy sweat sessions at home. I have to make them count as the "me time" I have these days is very limited...insert my love of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
I strive to get at least 20-60 minutes of (high intensity) aerobic exercise at least 3-4 times a week. I also include strength training on alternating days to ensure I am maintaining a complete physical activity program for both my muscles and cardiorespiratory system. While that seems like a lot, once you make this routine a part of your life it seems like nothing. Especially when you can knock out a serious sweat session in 20 minutes!
Slightly intrigued? Well, read on..
Where should you start?
Before beginning any new training, you of course want to make sure you are in good health and have been cleared by a doctor for any preexisting conditions. Also, before you take on any serious new workouts with high levels of intensity (like HIIT), I, as a professional, would suggest establishing a base level of fitness.
What is a base level of fitness?
A base fitness level is consistent (yes, that means regular) aerobic training at least 3-5 days a week at a moderate level of intensity. If that means a brisk walk with the stroller, great. A jog, hike, bike ride or fitness class will all do. You know you have reached level by taking a simple "talk test", trying to carry on a conversation during exercise...with difficulty. That is key. You do not want to be chatting it up easily, that means you aren't quite there. In an effort to avoid any injuries, you always want to make sure your body is ready to take on a new workout....Safety first as they say...
What would a HIIT workout look like?
These workouts are super easy to do, with just about any exercise as they are all about time intervals. The whole goal of the workout is to push it HARD, then recover. Push it HARD again, recover. On and on until the time is up. Yes, you will be out of breath. Yes, you may feel like you are can't go on. But I assure you, the more you do it, the sooner you will see results. And as soon as you start feeling the amazing benefits of this exercise routine you too will be hooked.
For your intervals, I suggest the intense work periods range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and are performed at 80% to 95% of a your estimated maximal heart rate (the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself).
The recovery periods may last equally as long as the work periods (but can be less) and are usually performed at 40% to 50% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate.
The workout continues with the alternating work and totaling 20-60 minutes.
I typically to one minute on, one minute off or 30 seconds on 10 seconds off. Really depends on my mood. I can always adjust to ensure I am still pushing myself but not overexerting. For example, high knees for a minute (concentrating on good form and a tight tummy) then straight into plank for one minute, which I would consider the recovery. You could also just sprint down your driveway for one minute then slowly walk/jog back for recovery ten times...the possibilities are endless!
Why would I (or anyone for that matter) want to do this rather than a 30 minute jog?
Well, because this is going to work you harder....
"HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including cycling, walking, swimming, aqua training, elliptical cross-training, and in many group exercise classes. HIIT workouts provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. This is because HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout."
"The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy. Because of the vigorous contractile nature of HIIT workouts, the EPOC generally tends to be modestly greater, adding about 6 to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure". - ACSM
And, #boom, there you have it.
Hmmmm, it sounds worth it, but I think I will die...will I die?
Well, that depends on your definition of "death". If yours includes thoughts of quitting, being out of breath, muscles burning, wanting to scream out as you force yourself to push through...then yes. You will die. But what a sweet death it will be.
If you want to make the most of your workout, see results and feel amazing...then HIIT is defs worth a shot.
Want more information or help on developing an introductory HIIT workout for yourself? Please do not hesitate to email email@example.com. I am always happy to assist any TW in getting motivated to take on a fit and healthy life!
Have you tried the HIIT craze or are you not feeling anything with the word "intense" included in it?
Strive to thrive,