Recently, I have been feeling a little bit frustrated with workouts. That doesn’t mean that I am not enjoying my current workout schedule by any means. I actually am loving it because I know it fits my goals right now. And, most days, I like not having to plan routines or find ways to make cardio more interesting. However, sometimes while reading other blogs that discuss their interval workouts, heavier lifting, group fitness training, Insanity workouts, or even sometimes the prevalence of running in blogworld, it leaves me longing for more.
I miss these types of workouts. I miss feeling spent and like I totally killed a workout. I miss feeling like I have accomplished something or progressed in something fitness-wise. And I miss trying out new things. Well, thank goodness for yoga as something new to try in the “Do What You Don’t” challenge. Well, just because I miss these types of workouts doesn’t mean you have to. I definitely think they are beneficial to be added into your training. Let’s learn a little more about the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training today.
High Intensity Inteval Training – aka HIIT is a form of cardiovascular training where you alternate high intensity burst with recovery periods.
For true, HIIT, your working intervals are around 20-30 seconds where your heart rate gets to about 90% of your max, or a 9-10 on the RPE (Rate of Perceived Extension) scale. You should feel like you could not push a second more at then end of the high intensity part of the interval. It is then followed with an average of 40-90 seconds of active recovery to decrease your heart rate to about 70% of your maximum, or a 5-6 on the RPE scale, before you repeat the process. You will continue alternating between the two for a total of about 20-30 minutes. Be sure a proper warmup and cooldown are included. The benefits of HIIT are:
- Trains both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Think of it being able to help both sprinting and long distance runs.
- Increases your calorie burn both during and after your workout. On average you are working harder than a steady state session, even though the intense intervals are a shorter portion of the workout. Also, you will have more post workout burn from your body taking longer to recover.
- Can help limit muscle loss because of the shorter duration and, in layman’s terms, the high intensity relies on more muscle fibers firing to promote burning glucose and fat as fuel instead of lean mass.
- Easy to vary your workouts. You can do so many different ratios for your intervals to make it something new almost every workout. You can do 30 seconds work and 60 seconds rest. Or 30 of each. Or 1 min of each (although longer intervals won’t be as intense as shorter ones). Or you can do a pyramid set up of 15 sec, then 20 seconds, then 30, then 45, then 60 of work and go back down.
- Makes your workout fun. These workouts are tough, but having to constantly switch up what you are doing makes them seem to FLY by. And who doesn’t like that? 😉
For a lot of great HIIT workout ideas, check out Janetha’s, Naomi’s, and Lisa’s blogs. They incorporate this type of training regularly and always have fun ideas. And I have been stockpiling their routines to save for the day I can run my tail off with some intervals. Until then, I will live vicariously through all of you and your inspiring workouts. No point in possibly hindering my goal thanks to my body being more sensitive than most.