Thursday, November 15, 2012


This week the group worked on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It’s always an eye-opener for them because they find out they can do quite a bit more than they thought.

HIIT is all about short, hard bouts of exercise followed by brief moments to recover. You start with a few minutes going easy to get warmed up. Then you pick up the pace for a minute. Then you back off for a minute to give yourself time to recover a little bit. Then you do another minute even harder, rest a minute, and so on.

You can do the intervals on any piece of cardio equipment. Here in the gym, we had them split up into smaller groups on the treadmills, ellipticals, and Schwinn AirDyne bikes. After several intervals, each group rotated to the next piece of equipment.

We also varied the time of the intervals. For the first couple rounds, we stuck with one minute intervals. After everyone had done three rounds in each area (9 rounds total), we rotated back to the beginning, and shortened the work and rest intervals to 30 seconds.

After a few of those intervals, we went to 20 second high intensity intervals with just 10 seconds rest. The shorter intervals let you go even faster, since you don’t have to go as long, so they’re even more intense.

We switched equipment again, and they did two 90 second work intervals, each with a minute rest. Finally, they did a monster 2 minute interval to cap things off. They started at a very high workload but the interval was so long, they had to slow down a little bit to be able to finish.

In the end, they worked out for 45 minutes, which included a few minutes at the start for a warm-up, and a few minutes at the end for a cool-down. They learned they could do the high intensity interval training on any cardio equipment. They also got some experience changing up the interval times to allow even great intensity.

It’s good to do HIIT at least once a week, and it really doesn’t matter what you do it on, or what your interval times are. What matters is that you use it as a tool to push yourself beyond what you normally would do. This challenges your body, and will get you in great shape!

If you’re trying to lose weight, as they are, HIIT also has a longer calorie after-burn than regular forms of exercise. The work is so hard that your body will keep burning calories long after your workout. You might even get hungry later.

Make sure you don’t do HIIT on an empty stomach, though. You’ll quickly burn through all the readily available fuels in your body. Since you can’t access fat for fuel quickly enough to meet the demands, you’ll want to have a little sugar in the blood to get you through, so have a snack 30-60 minutes before your workout.

If you’re new to exercise, getting into HIIT can be as simple as trying to jog a minute and then walking two minutes. As you get stronger, you can decrease the rest period little-by-little, until at some point, you’ll be able to just keep jogging. Give it a try!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Ashlee Hiatt, who lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Betty Payne was second, losing 1.5% and 2.0 lbs. Third place went to Johna Todd, who lost 1.4% and 2.8 lbs.

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