(Side note: these workout posts are not meant to encourage weight loss or help people get #swole, but instead serve to educate people who also enjoy fitness and workout occasionally.)
In an earlier post I mentioned my love for pilates and similar intense yoga type workouts. So, just like any repetitive thought or motion, my brain and other muscles grew tired of the same movements day in and day out. So in order to shake things up I started doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) routines instead. Final conclusion: 10/10. would totally recommend.
Basically HIIT has many different forms but they all share the same basic idea: really intense cardio bursts for a certain amount of time followed by a short resting period or strength-focused move. The cycle repeats multiple times with different variations and will leave you gasping for air and clutching your heart – the best feeling, of course.
I don’t enjoy running. It makes my slightly-asthmatic lungs ache and eventually I end up turning into a huffing-puffing-bored-numb-zombie-machine.
An example of a routine of this type would be doing variations of jacks (e.g. jumping jacks, mountain climbers, lunges and jumps, etc) for 30 seconds followed by variations of strength moves (e.g. squats, push ups, weighted lunges, etc) for another 30 seconds.
(For people who love running, sprinting for 30 seconds followed by a light jog or walk as one cycle will accomplish the same thing.)
Now, you’re probably wondering what’s so freaking special about HIIT? Here’s a (very) short list: because it will only take three reasons to convince you.
- It is a time saver.
A 15 minute HIIT workout will accomplish more than a long 30 – 45 minute workout involving pilates (please don’t hurt me Blogilates gods) or running which both tend to keep the heart rate steady. The way this form of exercise kicks your body into high gear also increases your metabolism so this “afterburn” essentially causes your body to keep working after you’ve finished the workout. With all of our busy schedules, 15-25 minutes is seriously all we have to spare and being able to maximize that window of exercise time is essential.
- It’s enjoyable.
Although this is more of my personal opinion than fact, I believe many people will agree. I don’t enjoy running. It makes my slightly-asthmatic lungs ache and eventually I end up turning into a huffing-puffing-bored-numb-zombie-machine. I need some adventure in my workout life, something beyond what my treadmill can provide. HIIT has so many variations and intensity levels that I think I will never get bored. There are always ways to increase or decrease the level of skill necessary for each move so as your fitness increases, the routines can adjust to keep up with you.
- It’s intense (hence the name.)
HIIT allows me to accomplish cardio and strength routines in a short amount of time while still getting blood, sweat, and tears everywhere (only kidding, it’s just sweat – lots of sweat). You get to push yourself, sweat, and, most importantly, you will feel strong whether you consistently workout 5 times a week or once a week.
BeFit, a YouTube channel, has some great videos. Here’s a playlist – don’t let the muscles intimidate you, it is still totally a wearing-an-old-shirt-in-your-basement-workout thing.
Enjoy! And may your muscles not be sore the day after.