A new year, a new you: it is such a cliche, but there’s a lot of truth in this cliche, though. Right now, as the new year starts, you may be feeling some regret. Like many, you are probably regretting not exercising, especially after the binging you probably did during the holidays.
Yes, you may be too busy with work or school to have time to exercise, or maybe it’s just laziness. Whatever the reason is, you’re not alone. Many people regret not using, and many set ‘exercising’ as their new year’s resolution.
The question, however, is the same: how or where will you start?
If your resolution for this year is something in the line of a healthier and happier you, then let me help you get started with exercising.
What Exercise Do You Have In Mind?
Exercise = gym–probably the equation in your head whenever you hear the word “exercise.” Expensive could be part of your equation. However, exercising does not have to be in a gym; it need not be costly also. It also does not have to eat up so much of your time. There are certain routines that you can fit into your schedule and budget. However, from the long list, let’s look into HIIT, which is one of the best ways to stay fit.
What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT involves a series of high-intensity exercises with short periods of rest or active recovery during intervals. The duration of each period could be from five seconds to eight minutes, with around 80% to 95% maximal heart rate (HR). Meanwhile, test periods could be as long as the exercise periods set at 40 % to 50% maximal HR. This series of alternating work out and rest must total to 20 to 60 min.
Fitness experts suggest the use of a heart rate monitor device when doing HIIT so you can keep track of your heart rates while doing the sets. It also guarantees your safety–you don’t go beyond the needed heart rates. If without a heart rate monitor device, subjective indicators may be used. Such signs would include a talk test. The HIIT would make you feel like you are having difficulties holding a conversation.
What Are Involved?
There is no one-set-fits-all in HIIT. It can be customized per individual needs, especially for those with conditions like diabetes and obesity. As such, HIIT applies to nearly everyone. The fun part is that it can also be done in varying modes: cycling, running, swimming, free weights, bodyweight (calisthenics), and group classes, so you can just throw exercises you find interesting into the mix. Doing so makes workout not much of a responsibility but a form of fun.
Why must you make it fun? HITT is vigorous, and anything that vigorous, if made out of requirement and not of interest, could be exhausting, not only physically, but even mentally. Hence, make it fun as well.
The Benefits Of HIIT
Speaking of vigorous, HIIT burns many more calories than traditional workouts do. On the same note, HIIT takes up less time, so it fits busy people so much. They can simply do a HIIT briefly and still make the most out of it. Does that explain now why HIIT has been gaining continuous popularity?
People who do HIIT regularly have good stamina. It is useful for weight and fat loss, controlling blood glucose levels, in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A recent finding even shows that HIIT supports brain function and improves motor function, memory, learning, and attention. Now, that more benefit that most forms of exercise give.
The Top 3 HIIT Workouts
Now that you are aware of what HIIT is, then you may want to slip into your exercise clothes and try HIIT. Here are three of the top 3 HIIT workouts designed by experts.
WARNING: if you have certain health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or any other, consult an expert before you try HIIT. An expert would customize one based on your needs.
Duration of work and rest: 8 seconds;12 seconds
In Sprintervals, you will do 8 seconds of intense exercise, followed by a 12-second rest, which 50% longer than the interval phase. This workout is for beginners and those who are overweight.
Sprintervals could be done using an exercise bike, treadmill, rower, elliptical trainer or other cardiovascular devices. A clock right in front of you would be of great help.
- 5 minutes – Warm-up (start breathing a little faster)
- 8 seconds – Pedal hard and fast (around 100RPM)
- 12 seconds – Active rest (pedal slow but don’t stop)
- 10 – 15 minutes – repeat 8:12 routine.
- 3 minutes – Cooldown (pedal slowly)
- 2 minutes – Stretch buttocks, thigh, and calf muscles
Duration of work and rest: 20 seconds, 10 seconds
A bit more advanced than Sprinterval, Tabata involves intense a 20-second exercise alternating with a 10-second recovery phase. The rest phase is half the interval phase. This set is, therefore appropriate for people who have an established fitness base or for those who play sport regularly.
You may incorporate weights or other devices as the possibilities with Tabata are endless.
- 5 minutes – Warm-up (jog slowly as you start to breathe a little faster)
- 2 minutes – Stretch buttocks, thigh, and calf muscle
- 20 seconds – Sprint as fast as you can
- 10 seconds – Active rest, (walk slowly or jog slowly on the spot)
- 20 seconds – Push-ups (as many as you can while maintaining good technique)
- 10 seconds – Active rest, (walk slowly or jog on the spot)
- Next 5 – 10 – alternate sprints and bodyweight exercises (i.e. squat jumps, lunges, sit ups, dips, planking and bridge ups)
- 3 minutes – Cooldown (walk slowly and breath deeply)
- 3 minutes – Stretch chest, back, buttocks, thigh, and calf muscles
Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play.” In HITT, it means random intervals. While the first two HITTs are highly structured and time-constrained, Fartlek is entirely the opposite.
There is no predetermined time to follow so that you can work at your interval intensity and recovery. You can respond to how you feel. You also get to avoid boredom when training because the workout varies.
You can do Fartlek with or without instruments. Ideally, do it while walking, running, or cycling. Incorporate short, high-intensity bursts. Then do recovery periods by parked cars, trees, or other spaces that seem okay to make your recovery. Perhaps you can sprint for three street poles, and then walk the next three. You could run along a straight section of the road, and walk around corners to recover.
The Fartlek principle is also applicable to paddling or swimming, alternating between fast and slow speeds. You can be so creative with Fartlek.
Getting The Most Out Of HIIT
Warm-up is necessary since HIIT places intense demands on your muscles and joints, so warming up helps your body transition from a resting state to an active one. Light cardio before your HITT would be great.
Build intensity gradually, and don’t push yourself to the extreme. Give yourself time to improve or adapt to the routines before you put in all-out efforts. If you want a more intensive workout, then you can eventually gradually reduce the duration of recovery rounds.
Don’t do a HIIT every workout. Variety is useful not only for your body but also for your mind. Many people do not last in exercising because they have a rigorous program and so they get bored eventually. To stay interested in your HIIT, include various durations and intensities. Make the right mix of work and rest. Include activities that are interesting to you.
Exercising does not have to feely obligatory. It must feel fun. Besides, if your target this year is a healthier, happier you, then make sure you design your HIIT in such a way that you like what you are doing. Get help from experts and have fun while you stay healthy.
To make exercising more fun, do it with music; get a media player running on your mobile device. MX Player download, for instance, is safe and readily available.
Let us know your thoughts about HIIT. Type in the box below.