Periodically I go through a phase where I feel the need to up the intensity of my workout routine. I have only so many hours in a day that I can spend on my workout time. And I know that if I spend 2 hours working out…I won’t enjoy it or stick with it for long. So how to you get around that?
When you want to step up the pace of your workouts, I suggest HIIT training (high intensity interval training). Working out at a moderate pace for 60-90 minutes is a thing of the past. Recent studies show that High intensity training builds lean tissue, increases heart and lung strength, reduces injuries, BURNS FAT faster and longer than the long hum drum routines at a low, constant, boring pace. In answer to what most of you seasoned exercisers are thinking….YES, the body does burn FAT after 20 minutes of exercise. It would make sense to exercise 60 or more minutes a day. However, with HIIT training, the body burns fat for hours AFTER exercise. So imagine changing your whole routine to 30 min of hard, all out effort work….think of the TIME you could save and you would be doing your body a service. Long slow workouts only cannibalize the body. For example take these 2 body types, that of a Sprinter and that of a Marathoner. Which looks healthier? Stronger? Tone? I agree! The Sprinter!
So, be like sprinters…add excitement to your routine, a child like zest to the workout. Remember those moves you did as a child? Add some of them to your workout, ie..skip, bear crawl, crab walk, walk backwards, jump, leap, jumping jacks… to name a few. Add these in for 30 second to 1 min intervals throughout the workout. Get creative and think of hard to do movements, ones that you did EASILY as a child.
Since I already do HIIT training in the early morning, I like to add in a 10-15 min workout at 3pm several days a week. In addition to burning more calories, this is also a GREAT de-stressor. It clears thinking, increases creativity, increases focus and just makes me feel good! Examples of activity: fast walking (so hard your shins burn), jogging and activity stations. This mini workout is easy to fit into busy lifestyles. It only takes 10 minutes…you can do anything for 10 minutes.
Another idea is to do power minutes. These consist of performing any activity at 1 minute intervals several times a day. For example: Skip in place for 1 min at a pace that is challenging for you, the idea is to get the heart rate up to 75-85% of maximum heart rate. Other activity options are: dancing around the house 🙂 jumping jacks, high knees, flight of stairs, squat jumps or low impact squat jumps, Knee pulls (vertical or horizontal), or for those of you that like boot camp style exercising: Burpees, Bodybuilders, split lunge jump etc…
Please Note: these high intensity exercises are for the seasoned exerciser not the beginner. Please see my last article on “Is Exercise Really Necessary?” if you are just getting started.
What is stopping you? Make the change and make your time and body productive!