Tuesday, October 29, 2013


For the last month, we’ve been getting the group used to working out daily. They’ve been using all the weight machines three to four days a week, in addition to their daily cardio workouts.

Over the last couple of weeks they’ve also picked up quite a few exercises that use free weights, dumbbells, and exercise balls. This has helped them add lots of intensity to their workouts. That means they can burn more calories.

This week, we talked about how to add that intensity in the cardio room with HIIT (high intensity interval training). The neat thing about HIIT, is that you can do it on any piece of cardio equipment, whether it’s on the treadmill, elliptical, rower, stationary or recumbent bike, Schwinn AirDyne (bike with arms), or the stair stepper.

After a short warmup, the goal is to take a one minute interval and try to go harder than usual. Then you slow down for a minute to give you a little break to recover. Then you hit it hard again for another minute, slow down and rest a minute, and so on.

You can decide how long the hard intervals are, as well as the rest intervals. Once you get in great shape, you might go 90 seconds hard, and only 30 seconds easy. Or you could even go 2 minutes hard and 1 minute easy.

Later, you might pour it on for an entire quarter mile, and then walk a couple minutes, repeating until you’ve covered a mile and a half, or two miles with high intensity intervals. I’ve done half mile repeats (800’s) where you just kill it for a half mile, and then walk two minutes, before repeating two or three more times.

You can do HIIT training on one piece of equipment for the entire time, say 20-30 minutes. You can also rotate between different pieces of equipment during your workout.

For example, start with three or four one minute HIIT intervals on the treadmill, move to the rower and do three or four HIIT intervals there. Then do three or four HIIT intervals on the elliptical. Finally, move to the Schwinn AirDyne bicycle and do several HIIT intervals there.

This is essentially what the group did during the Monday night workout. That way they got to feel what HIIT workouts felt like on the different pieces of cardio equipment. I think they learned that in the end, HIIT workouts are tough no matter where you do them!

It’s a good idea to do a few minutes easy at the start to be sure you’re fully warmed up. You also want to ease into the intervals, making each one a little harder, ramping up the intensity of the tough intervals. Don’t just jump right into the toughest, fastest, or hardest one.

Finally, you want to work up to a couple intervals that are almost too tough to complete. They might be so tough that you just can’t maintain the pace for the entire minute. Try to hang on for the whole minute if you can. If not, that’s O.K. Just rest a few seconds and then try to finish it.

At least now you’ll know what your limits are. I’ll bet it will be more than you thought you could do. If you couldn’t quite make the whole minute, make it your goal to try and get it the next time you do a HIIT workout. It’s very possible that you’ll get it that next time.

Make sure you don’t stop immediately after the toughest intervals. Spend a little time cooling down first. Be prepared for lots of sweat, and needing a couple of minutes to catch your breath.

You might also be hungry later, because these HIIT workouts take a lot out of you. You’ll still be burning calories too, even a couple hours after the workout. That means you’ll burn more total calories than in regular cardio workouts, and that will help you get what you want!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Steve Johnson III, losing 2.5% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs. Jeremy Whitaker was second, losing 1.9% and 3.6 lbs. Third place went to Stevannah Drake, who lost 1.8% and 3.4 lbs.

For more information, you can reach me at the gym, email at tomdolanfitness@gmail.com, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

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