Saturday, June 06, 2009


This week the group learned how to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the cardio room. These workouts are packed with power when it comes to burning calories. Most people can’t go at a higher intensity for a long period of time, but they can do it for a short time.

They jumped on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike and warmed up for a few minutes. While they were doing that, I taught them how to rate the difficulty of the week by using “Perceived Exertion.”

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being super easy and 10 being impossible to continue, what does the level of exertion feel like? Invented by a doctor named Borg, “Perceived Exertion” is a useful alternative if you don’t have a way of monitoring heart rate. In fact, I think it’s more valuable, because two people could have the same heart rate, but feel completely different about how hard it is.

0 This is like doing nothing.
1 This is almost like doing nothing.
2 This still feels pretty light.
3 This finally feels like light exercise.
4 This feels like moderate exercise—no big deal.
5 This is getting a little harder but still pretty easy.
6 This is getting harder but still pretty doable.
7 This is harder and I’m breathing harder, too.
8 This feels very hard and talking is tough.
9 This is EXTREMELY hard—I can’t talk!
10 This is MAXIMAL—I have to stop!!!

They warmed up at what should have felt a “4-5.” Remember, it has nothing to do with speed or level of resistance—it’s about how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10. Then they increased the speed or resistance to what felt like a “7.” After a minute, they backed off down to a “5 or 6” to rest. Then they did it again.

When you’re doing intervals, it’s important to give yourself some time to warm up. Don’t just jump in at the higher levels of intensity. After it’s over, take a little time to cool down, too.

Then they bumped it up to what felt like an “8” for a minute. After a minute rest, they did another interval at “8” and then a minute at “6.” Finally, they did a couple intervals at what felt like a “9.” That got them huffing and puffing, and by then, everyone was watching the clock.

But that’s the beauty of it. You can’t do it for a long time, but you can do it for a minute. After two intervals at “9,” they rotated to a different type of equipment. If they were on the treadmill, they moved to the bike. If they were on the bike, they moved to the elliptical.

Since they were already warmed up, we started right out with an interval at what felt like a “7.” After resting a minute, they went right to “8” for a couple intervals, and then two intervals at “9.” Then they rotated a final time, doing the same thing: an interval at “7,” a couple at “8,” and then a couple at “9.”

Then I gave them a challenge. The goal was to try to do a “10.” I told them they probably wouldn’t be able to keep going at that speed or resistance for the full minute, but to crank it up faster or harder and give it a try.

You could tell it was amazingly difficult for them, but you know what? Every single person made it for the full minute! I was giving them the times: “45 seconds left, 40, 35 seconds, 30, 25 seconds, 20 seconds left, you’re doing it, don’t quit. 15 seconds. Just 10 seconds, hang on, you’re almost done! 5 seconds, 4, 3, 2, 1, you’re done!”

They all said that hearing the count down helped them decide to keep going. Then I told them that what they really did was a true “9.” What they had done before wasn’t really a “9.” This was a “9.” You can always do a little more than you thought you could do.

The goal is to work in a HIIT workout into your cardio workouts, once a week. I tend to do them on Tuesdays. Once in awhile, we’ll do it twice, but since we’re doing the workouts with the weights in a similar fashion, one HIIT workout a week is just fine.

Next week, their challenge is to do the CAMA Teen Bike Rally “Tour de Park” Edgar to Clark. If they can’t make it there for some reason, they have to make it up in the gym. There’s still time to get registered, and there’s a distance for all skill levels: 7 miles, 25 miles, 40 miles, and 70 (expert).

The winner this week was Jaymi Warner who lost 2.5% of her body weight and 4.0 lbs. She attributed it to really hitting the workouts harder this week. She won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from our friends at Terry Elston State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Vince Porter who lost 2.1% of his body weight and 5.2 lbs. He’s up to 44.2 lbs in nine weeks. Third place went to Stephanie Crampton who lost 1.9% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs this week.

With three weeks left, it’s time to start thinking about our next Biggest Loser “8.” Last year we took a break during the summer, but this year I think we’re going to keep it going. We’ll meet on Saturday mornings at 9:00 am, starting on Saturday, June 27th. So come in and get registered now!

The fee is still $50.00 and you don’t have to be a member to participate, although you should probably be a member somewhere, to take advantage of all the equipment and air conditioning, especially during the warmer summer months. Let’s see what we can accomplish together this summer!

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