I’ve noticed more and more people at my gym doing short sprints on the treadmill, then stopping, then sprinting again. I asked around and found out it’s High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
A good place to start is to run as fast as you can for one minute, then rest for two minutes, then again as quickly as you can for one minute, for 15 minutes total. You can come to a complete rest in between sprints or you can walk.
You can also do circuits, including a mix of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, squats, lunges… any intense movement that you repeat in cycles of high exertion, rest, high exertion. For these, you work for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, in rounds of three before advancing to the next movement.
Here’s why I’m loving HIIT:
1. It’s fun. I’m not just saying that! It’s actually fun because HIIT breaks up the monotony of your usual exercise routine. There are so many variations – check out High-Intensity Interval Training for Women by Sean Bartram for more than 80 workout variations. My favorite so far is the simple sprint, and I love to do it outside on the creek path with my dog. We make it a game together, and honestly, I feel like a kid again sprinting as fast as my body will take me (for one minute at a time).
2. It’s fast. You spend less time working out, and you see results more quickly than you do with traditional workouts. I noticed a big difference in my quads after just three 15-minute HIIT workouts. And you know the old saying no pain, no gain? Well, HIIT proves that wrong. The bursts of movement may be intense, but it’s not the torture of a longer workout. Just when you’re at your limit, it’s time to rest, and it feels good to push as hard as you can for those short intervals.
3. It burns more calories. Studies have shown that 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than jogging for an hour. HIIT activates your body’s repair cycle more than other workouts. It burns fat and builds muscle. It boosts your metabolism to give you more energy. It strengthens your heart, and I’ve read that HIIT can even firm skin, smooth out wrinkles, and improve libido! Now that’s a workout I can get behind.
Do you have a favorite HIIT workout? Share it in the comments!
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