HIIT training

You Came to Burn Calories, Burn Them!

My spin class had another substitute teacher recently. When I saw that it wasn’t the regular teacher, my heart sank but I was quickly converted. Unlike last time, this instructor was really good! Apparently she is a regular spin instructor, just on different nights than when I go.

This workout was different. It was a HIIT workout and it was an ass-kicking. H.I.I.T. stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it is a fantastic way to workout when you don’t have a ton of time. Another good thing about HIIT training is that you can do it with any workout–running, biking, swimming, anything.

We warmed up with a bit of resistance, pedaling fast, for 5 minutes. Then the instructor told us to ramp up the resistance and hop out of the saddle. Even though the resistance was hard and it felt like we were cycling through mud, we were going FAST while out of the saddle. Then we went back into the saddle without reducing the resistance for 45 seconds, then back up for 30, rinse and repeat several times.

The bulk of the class was intervals. For about 20-30 minutes of the middle part of the class we did this:

  • 45 second sprint with hard resistance, very fast legs into….
  • 60 second recovery with very little resistance and then….
  • Back working hard against the resistance and then….
  • 60 second recovery with very little resistance and then….
  • “Freestyle” do whatever you want. In this stage I came out of the saddle and did standing climbs.
  • Followed by speed work where we had light resistance and pedaled as fast as we could, trying to keep the speed consistent.
  • Cool down and stretching to finish it up.

The instructor was really good and she was really motivating and encouraging. She said things like “Push through it! You’re strong!” and “Feel the burn! If it sucks, you’re doing it right.” She encouraged us to stay at a consistent speed and not back down when it started to BURN and STING! It was that extra little “push” I needed to keep going and not go easy on myself. It was definitely tempting. My legs were burning from the previous days’ lunge workout and I felt every single twinge and burn in my leg muscles during the class. It felt good!

I pedaled like I was chasing after someone and wanted to pass them. It was really motivating. The instructor said, “You came to burn calories, so do it! You came to get strong! Keep working it! You should be breathless!”

Time: 1:33 
Calories Burned: 611 

I have to admit…by the end of class I was definitely losing steam! I felt every interval in my legs when I got off the bike and it felt awesome. My legs were wobbly and achy. Good workout. When I got home, Michael was creating a magnificent meal that turned out to be really delicious. It might seem weird, but hang in there. First, he cooked up some whole wheat penne pasta. Then he topped the pasta with sauteed kale with onions and cooked in bacon fat (yum).

On top of that was sliced spicy bratwursts. Then it was smothered in a simple red marinara sauce. It was simple and easy and a good way to use up the rest of the veggies.

I devoured this meal in no time at all. I LOVED how the kale tasted with everything else. It felt like a fancy meal in an Italian restaurant but we made it at home. Michael even commented that I must have liked it a lot because my plate was so clean (and no, I didn’t lick the plate).

QUESTION: What’s your favorite “thrown together” meal? How often do you do HIIT workouts?

I is for Intervals

I is for Intervals.

I love intervals. It’s something I don’t do nearly enough. Sometimes it’s easy for me to just get stuck in a rut where I do the “long boring cardio” routines. That can be time consuming and boring, AND it can cause plateaus in weight loss.

Recently I was chatting with my friend who has been trying to lose weight. He was jogging on the treadmill for I think 30 minutes a day and he wasn’t seeing any changes. He was frustrated with the weight loss that wasn’t happening like he thought it would. I suggested he do more than 30 minutes of exercise.

He didn’t want to do more exercise, which I understand so I suggested he do interval training. Interval training is the BEST way to fit in a high-intensity workout in a short period of time. “HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes.”

Interval training with running is beneficial too.  Doing intervals when running will increase your speed as a runner. When I was training a lot I’d do interval workouts once in awhile to “liven things up.” Sometimes training can be long and boring and changing things up makes it fresh and new. It’s also nice to do sprints in running when you are short on time. If I wasn’t able to do my full run, I’d do sprints around the track. Typically that means that I’d sprint in the long stretches and then walk in the curves on the track. It was a great workout! Try this website for a beginner’s interval routine.

Interval training is also good for cyclists. Over the summer I practiced interval training on my bike and I felt a huge difference with that workout. On long, straight stretches of road or trail it’s much easier to try speed training on the bike. I biked as fast as I could for as long as I could and got my heart rate spiked high. I burned way more calories doing that than I would on a normal, steady bike ride.

Another reason interval training is a good thing is because it’s easy to get stuck in a fitness rut. When that happens our bodies get used to the workout and stop losing weight. Plateaus can be very frustrating.

How to Do Interval Training

I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just sharing my experience with trying sprint training. I started with a slow jog to warm up. Then I went for it. Getting started is easy–just go super fast, super hard for 15 or 30 seconds. That’s a good beginner time. Your whole body should be burning. Then walk. Rinse and repeat.

Start easy–do the workout for 15 minutes. When I first started doing intervals while running I did the workout for about 30 minutes–but I started after I became really fit and athletic.

The great thing about HIIT is you can choose almost ANY activity to do it! I’ve done sprint drills in the pool to shake up my routine and it felt great! You can do it on the elliptical, on a treadmill or bike. You can do it with squats or jumping jacks. Basically you’re just working as HARD as you can as FAST as you can for a short period of time. Keep in mind: you WILL be sore!

So instead of working out longer, try working out smarter with an interval workout! See what kind of changes you see in your body and stamina.

QUESTION: How often do you do speed workouts? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals *