(re-posted from my write-up on FitBlogger a few weeks ago!)
I love to run. And lately, I love to run long. On a recent 10-miler, I was feeling accomplished and strong about 1/4 mile from home. Desiring to add more challenge to the run and knowing the loop next to our house was exactly 3.1 miles, I turned at the junction and ran from home the opposite direction. “A half-marathon before “breakfast” ?” my husband exclaimed when I got home. “Yeah! …I just love to run.”
But when it comes to weight loss and maintaining fitness, “going long” isn’t always where it’s at. Many runners love their running routes and are dedicated to stick with their programs, but failing to add any type of strength training stunts growth both as a runner and as a person on the road to better health. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gets the job done in minutes rather than hours all while producing all around better results – faster! And as a new year is now upon us, let’s hit the ground running and make the most of our time as we exercise so that we can enjoy a better quality of life overall.
Here’s how HIIT works: High-intensity interval training is a method of training that utilizes short bursts of repeated movement for quick results. This training system can be used for running, cycling or weight training. The idea behind such workouts is using simple, compound movements that recruit more muscle than isolated muscle movements like leg lifts or rows with machines in a gym. Squats, push ups, dead lifts, and press ups make up the core of these workouts, which means that HIIT workouts are functional; they improve your everyday life and tasks – from lifting your suitcase into the overhead bin to squatting down to lift up your child. You’ll be sweating, breathing hard and wiped out in roughly 15 to 30 minutes by taking less breaks and incorporating bursts of movement! As a personal trainer, I’ve seen that most people can only focus for about 20 minutes of quality workout time; the importance of quality over quantity cannot be overstated.
Moreover, the benefits to such training are many:
• less time spent exercising
• more calories torched during and after exercise than from a long run or than traditional weight training
• metabolism is boosted
• both the cardio and muscle systems are worked at the same time
• increased levels of challenge – you won’t think of your normal hike or run in the same way again! HIIT helps raise your level of challenge in physical movement.
To get a great HIIT workout in, you don’t even need much, in keeping with my philosophy of fitness: such movements should make your life better, easier, and more enjoyable without spending much time and money to do so! Trust me, 12 minutes of this workout and you’ll be burned out in no time! Try this at home or in the gym in place of your next weight workout after warming up as usual, (but do not to begin an exercise program fresh without consent from a doctor, and make sure your high intensity is at a level you can handle, especially to start):
• 2 footed jump to the right, jump back to the left
• Right leg side lunge
• Drop down for 3 push ups, “crawling” sideways with your body in between each push up
• Stand and repeat, now beginning on the left and alternating the leg you lunge with and the direction of your push up crawl
Set your timer for 12 minutes and try to keep pace! The goal here is to be breathing hard the whole time – using not only your muscles in the jump, lunge, and push up sequence but using your cardio system by keeping your heart rate high. Give it a shot and try including 2-3 high intensity workouts into your week to start. Keep your long(er) runs for enjoyment or if you’re training for a specific race, but know that if your goals are weight loss and/or overall improved fitness, less is more. Less movement but a more intense exercise session will generate greater gains in health, allowing you to get going living the rest of your life!
My desire is to help improve your quality of life from a vitality-centered, not weight-centered approach, through through physical fitness and unique, fun, and shorter, more high intensity workouts.
Have you ever incorporated HIIT into your workouts? What did you think? Many people have their workouts set and have difficulty trying other styles of exercises…If this is you, please give it shot! Expand your mind, challenge yourself, and try something new! You won’t regret it.
Live well and be well, and have a great upcoming weekend!