Do you find it very difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule? Often as mums, we often put our needs on “the back burner” placing everyone else’s needs above our own. Of course we want to care for our families, but it doesn’t have to be at the sake of our own self-care. If time is the reason why you haven’t been getting your workout in I have great news. HIIT will help you reach your fitness goals, maintain and improve your own health in a fraction of the time you may have been spending during those long, boring cardio sessions.
A lack of results from your fitness routine can also be a frustrating reason why you’re not committed to a regular workout routine. Maybe you’re trying to shed some extra baby weight, gain strength, tone or endurance. High-intensity interval training is your answer. Spending hours at the gym or on an uninspiring cardio machine is simply not necessary and for many of us, often impossible while caring for a family.
So what is HIIT?
HIIT is a workout routine that combines periods of less-intense activity, combined with intense bursts of activity lasting 30-60 seconds. This switch-up makes your body work harder and burn more calories faster than at a constant pace. These maximum capacity intervals also provide many health benefits.
Here are a few good ways you can engage in a quick HIIT work out:
• Running full-speed on a treadmill for a minute, followed by two minutes of walking. This three-minute circuit can be repeated five times to total a fifteen-minute, fat-burning cardio work out.
• Complete a five-minute warm up, walking or jogging at a slow pace to stimulate blood flow to muscles. Follow this low-intensity with a minute of intense “bursting”. Follow this burst with one to two minutes of brisk walking or light jogging, making the recovery time at least equal to the maximum intensity segment. This one to two minute alternation can be repeated for 15 or more minutes.
Shoot for HIIT workouts two to three times a week, not on consecutive days, as your muscles need 48 hours opportunity for repair, rest and growth.
Fifteen minutes later and you're ready to take on your day!
Is HIIT for everyone?
Because HIIT requires bursts of 100 percent effort, HIIT is not the optimal exercise for everyone. If done too often, or in combination with other high-intensity exercises, HIIT may lead to over-training or injury. Low to moderate physical activity is something the majority of us can do, however, some may want to take their fitness to another level and challenge themselves with HIIT. Those who are eager to incorporate HIIT should be sure to properly fuel and recover, and ensure they are not over-training, putting their bodies in danger of injury.
Always be sure to listen to your body's signals, as high intensity interval training can be grueling and should push you to your limits, but not past them.
In part 2 of this HIIT series, I’ll be sharing the many health benefits this type of fitness program provides. Stay tuned and stay active!