So what’s all the hype about “HIIT” (high intensity interval training)? Is it really better than say, going for a 45-minute steady-pace run, or stepping it out at Level 5 on the StairMaster? And if so, then why?
I’ll just get right to it… HIIT training has lots of benefits that steady-state training doesn’t. First of all, it burns more calories and fat in the 24 hours after the workout than if you’d just gone for a 4-mile jog. High-intensity training causes your body to activate repair systems that increase your caloric burn throughout the day. This means you dip into your fat stores for the extra energy, and either lose weight (if needed), or have an easier time maintaining your weight. That’s good news for everyone!
Second, you improve your fitness level faster, from any starting point… just 2 weeks of HIIT training improves your cardiovascular endurance as much as 6-8 weeks of steady-pace training, according to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting.
And third, you can spend less than half the time on your workout than you used to! Now if this isn’t the benefit that convinces you to try it, I reckon nothing will. But when you think about the time crunch most of us have, the thought of exercising for 20 minutes instead of 45-60 is pretty appealing!
You don’t need a lot of equipment to do it, either. This workout uses a kettle bell and jump rope, but if you don’t have them, just double up on the other exercises, or run in place. It’s all good. Each round of the workout will take you about 6-7 minutes to complete, and two to three rounds is enough. Rest about 15-30 seconds between exercises, just enough for your heart rate to come down a bit, before starting the next exercise. Then rest 1:30-2 minutes between rounds.
As always, check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program, just to make sure your old ticker is good enough shape to begin.
Jump Rope: just like when you were a kid… don’t worry about messing up, just start again until you get 100 jumps.
Jumping Jacks: again, what we learned in primary school PE… Ladies, if after having a few kids, this one isn’t good for you, move your legs front to back instead of side to side.
Burpees: from standing, squat down to place your hands on the ground by your feet. Jump back to a pushup position. Jump back to put your feet close to your hands. Stand up and give one more little jump. That’s one rep.
Kettle Bell Swing: Stand with your feet wider than hip width, toes slightly turned out. Get some momentum with your kettle bell, swinging it back and forth between your legs. Keep your weight in your heels and your back flat, not rounded. Swing the kettle bell up just above your shoulder height, pushing your hips slightly forward to engage your glutes.
Wide-narrow squat jump: From a standing position, jump to a wide squat position, going down a bit, but not all the way to parallel. Jump back to a narrow squat position with your feet close together. This is one rep.
Run: can be jogging in place or sprinting down the street… up to you!
Have fun, friends, and let me know if you try it!