Getting the Most Out of Your Workout

Sometimes you wake up with full intentions to work out, or hit the gym, and the last thing you want to do is go for a run, or leave your bed for that matter. Sometimes, you get home from work, planning all day to get in an hour on the treadmill, or take that class that has been on your to do list for a while, but you’re just too tired. We’ve all been there. Most of us at least like the idea of working out, it’s just putting it into action that becomes difficult. And with school, work, and various stressors of the day, it can be hard to convince yourself to take a couple hours out of your day to devote to strengthening your body. There are only twenty four hours in a day, and when life gets in the way, there is literally not enough time.

But there’s a workout that may give you the best of both worlds. It takes up less time than a long run and has an abundance of benefits for your body. Have you heard of HIIT? And no it does not involve fighting, or violence of any sort. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it should become part of your fitness regime. Let’s break it down.

  • High Intensity: this isn’t going to be a light stroll or a jog in the park. High intensity means a quality workout where you’re working hard and sweating a lot.
  • Interval Training: this typically means alternating between speeds. It won’t be the same pace throughout, but it will ensure that your harder intervals will be excellent.

Now there are plenty of ways that High Intensity Interval Training can be done, and that’s the best part! Find your favorite way to exercise and make it part of your routine! It’s a lot less time commitment because the training is not every day and is in shorter bursts as opposed to long bouts of cardio. There are a ton of benefits to High Intensity Interval Training! Here are just a few:

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  • Endorphin Rush: most exercise will give you a rush of endorphins that contribute to that happy feeling you get after a workout. Similar to a runner’s high, high intensity interval training will lift your spirits and actually release chemicals to make you feel more energized and cheerful after you exercise.
  • Calorie Blaster: Everyone wants to get the most out of a workout in the shortest bit of time, and high intensity interval training will do just that! Intervals are better than a longer, slower pace of endurance running when it comes to long term weight loss and fitness goals. Because of the intensity, your body requires more energy to finish which in turn burns more calories. You even burn calories after your workout because of hormones released after HIIT.
  • Extra Time: since you are spending less time doing high intensity interval training, you can make time for other things in your life. HIIT can half the time you spend exercising, which means it will be easier to stick with, and you’ll be less likely to quit. It is a lot easier to set aside thirty minutes, than it is to set aside an hour.
  • Improves both speed and endurance: Yes, this is a double whammy. Even adding just a little bit of high intensity training to an endurance workout by picking up the pace can increase your endurance and also your speed. Next time you’re on a long run, push the pace for a bit, even just a minute, and you’ll be able to work even harder next time.
  • Benefits your heart: high intensity interval training is great for your cardiovascular system. It helps to pump out more blood per beat and improves the efficiency. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure!

There are so many reasons why you should engage in high intensity interval training. In fact, studies have shown that doing HIIT just three times a week can be more beneficial than engaging in long endurance workouts five times a week.

Although there is a lot of room to make High Intensity Interval Training your own, there are a few basic methods that people tend to follow.

  • 10-20-30 interval training: the name says it all! This workout is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and will have you feeling like you pushed it. You start out a comfortable pace for 30 seconds, then for 20 seconds you increase your speed or pace to a more moderate level. The last ten seconds are all out, running as if your life depended on it.
  • Turbulence Training: this involves both strength and cardio training. It is usually under 45 minutes and consists of 8 reps of weight training and then 1-2 minutes of hard cardio repeated.
  • Power Intervals: These tend to be cardio focused workouts. Essentially, you do 90 seconds of running, walking, jumping, swimming etc followed by 30 seconds of rest.

I have my own personal routine that I like to do, and I’ll share it with you! I like to do both strength and cardio interval training to switch it up and maximize my workouts. My cardio routine is only twenty one minutes! It’s over quickly, but I still feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I simply power walk for three minutes, and then slow down to a normal pace for three minutes. I do this again and again until I’ve reached twenty one minutes. And don’t lie, everyone can manage to fit a twenty one minute workout in. The other routine I get into is a weight training routine. There’s a decent amount of steps, so I’ll list it out so you don’t forget any.

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  • 15 pushups
  • 50 dips
  • Bicep curls (25 each side)
  • 25 Triceps
  • 25 dead lifts
  • 30 squats
  • 30 lunges
  • 2 minutes of wall sits
  • 50 sit ups
  • 60 Russian Twists
  • 3 minute plank
  • Side crunches (20 reps each side)

This is my cycle and I do this three times total. It is definitely a great workout and makes sure to incorporate every muscle group!

If you find yourself pressed on time (who isn’t these days), why not try to incorporate high intensity interval training into your lifestyle. It’s not even an everyday thing, it’s just a few times a week. These workouts will get you in shape and feeling great in no time, and are so easy to fit into a busy schedule. No more long hours on the treadmill, or routines that keep you feeling as if you haven’t even worked out. High intensity interval training will have you sweating and breathing hard with the promise of a toned and fabulous body!