As I get ready for our family’s summer getaway I’m reminded of how completely unfocused, chaotic and jam-packed the schedule gets the week leading up to vacation. So much work goes into planned relaxation, it’s pretty comical really. So in the interest of preserving my sanity, keeping my body strong and saving time, I’m focusing on HIIT workouts right now.
Those of you who have trained with me know I love my HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and, essentially, it entails working out as hard as you can with very little recovery between exercises and getting it done in half the time of a traditional workout. Sometimes even less than that. And since time is not usually on our side it seems, these HIIT sessions can really save your butt (literally and figuratively).
As far as HIIT goes, there’s a lot of options. You can apply HIIT to pretty much anything – running, the elliptical machine, the weight room, body weight exercises (my favorite), even Pilates. I have yet to figure out how to apply it to potty training, but you never know…
Although HIIT isn’t exactly new, I know there are a lot of people who haven’t yet tried it. Or they’ve tried it without realizing it. So this post is dedicated to HIIT newbies. Which, by the way, doesn’t mean you’re new to fitness or even that you’re out of shape. I have quite a few clients who are in fantastic shape and have a solid workout regimen but have never tried HIIT. I always start them out at the beginning, even if they’re a triathlete. HIIT could care less about your conditioning level because it’s all about max effort with little rest between that effort, all with the intention of burning body fat more effectively. In other words I don’t care who you are, it’s going to make you sweat!
All you need is a timer or stop watch. You’re going to complete each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat the same exercise two more times (for a total of 3 times). Then you’ll move on to the next exercise. Complete the entire workout once, rest for 1 minute, then do the whole thing again. If, after two rounds, you feel like you have more left in you still, you should do it for a third time.
This specific workout requires a three-minute warm up of your choice. If I’m at home my three minutes usually consists of a minute each of squats, jumping jacks, and alternating front-to-back kicks. If I’m at the studio I prefer to warm up with an easy jog on the treadmill. The idea is simply to get your body warm and ready for a workout.
A couple things worth noting before you dive in:
1. You’re going to get tired, that’s the whole point. You want to walk away from this 20 minutes later feeling like you left it all on the gym or living room floor.
2. If you’re doing the pushups and you feel like you’re not doing them correctly or your form is suffering, go down on your knees PLEASE! I don’t know why the world is afraid of knee pushups. It irritates me to no end. Sure, it’s best if you can do them on your toes and the idea should be to work up to that. But let me just tell you, if you do a knee pushup correctly, you’ll get the same results.If you’re doing full pushups with poor form you’re not doing yourself any favors whatsoever. End of rant.
A few demos to watch before you begin if you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises I’ve given: