Tag Archives: exercise

High-Intensity Interval Training- What is it?


Lately I’ve been reading up on, and practicing, high-intensity interval training on the treadmill. It’s becoming increasingly popular, and I’m constantly seeing info about it in magazine like Self, Shape, and Women’s Health. What is it, you ask? I’ll explain.

Basically, HIIT involves alternating speeds, so for a short amount of time, you might sprint, and there is a recovery period at a slower pace. This is obviously different from simply running a few miles at a consistent speed. If you know anything about exercise, you know that it is important to confuse your body so it doesn’t get used to the exercise. Research shows that running at a consistent speed is not as effective as switching it up, as HIIT does.

Usually, HIIT workouts can be shorter, and they burn more calories. There are about 6-10 sets of a fast speed, with recovery periods at a lower speed in between. For instance, in Self Magazine’s April 2012 issue, they feature a HIIT workout plan. I’ll break down the first week of the plan as example of what an HIIT workout looks like.

Workout 1: Sprint for 8 seconds at about 8mph, or level 8 on the treadmill. Recover for 12 seconds at level 5. Repeat for 15 minutes.
Workout 2: Sprint at level 8 for 90 seconds, then recover at level 4 for 3 minutes. Repeat 6 times for a total of 27 minutes.
Workout 3: Run 2 miles at level 6.

The workout is actually a 5-week long quest, but you can clearly see a sample of the procedure above. Thanks Self Magazine.

Personally, I like to run at level 6-7 for 5 minutes, and then recover for one minute. Or, I like to run the first mile, recover for 2-3 minutes, then work on running the second mile.

The importance is to change speeds so your body doesn’t get too used to doing the same thing the entire time.

Besides the fact that this approach burns more calories not only during the workout but also after, it may also help improve athletic performance in general.

I also found a great article that explains more about HIIT on Oxygenmag.com. You can read the article here.

 

I’m not an expert on fitness or anything, but I really enjoy reading about new workouts, and I have reason to believe that this one is very effective. I have been trying it for a few months now, and I am amazed at how much my endurance and speed while running have improved.
It is also great for beginner runners, because of the recovery periods that allow you to catch your breath. Try it, please! I’ve been saying this every day, but summer is rapidly approaching. Do you want to be the loser that couldn’t succeed at improving her body and health, or do you want to triumph? You decide.

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Saturday Workout Motivation


I know it’s Saturday, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Go work out anyway. Or at least take a walk. And maybe you’re going out to dinner tonight and you want to indulge, but make sure breakfast and lunch are healthy anyway. Or maybe you’re going out to drink tonight. At least make up for those calories you will consume tonight by having a productive day. Every bit of effort counts. There’s no need to give up just because it’s the weekend. If you can work out and diet on the weekend, you can do it any day. This is the true test for your success. Here’s a few quotes to help you a little more.

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So seriously, get off Twitter and Facebook and my blog for an hour and get yourself to the gym. Or perhaps you can go make a salad. You really can do it. I love you all!

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Burning calories doesn’t end in the gym


For busy people like myself, there are often days where I simply do not have time to work out, especially in the summer, when my university gym closes at 7pm. And especially when I make every excuse under the sun to not work out, even if I have ten hours of time to kill. However, there are still ways to burn calories throughout the day at home and at work, and I actually try my best to follow a lot of these tips.

1. Park far away …It’s not a race to get the closest spot. Honestly, it doesn’t kill you to walk a little bit, even if it’s cold. Get over it. There are people who don’t even own cars, and they walk miles to work every day. I’ve seen them before. Park far away and walk. It won’t hurt you, I promise. Even a few extra feet a day is better than nothing. And, sometimes, we spend more time looking for a close spot than we would just walking a further distance, so chances are, you won’t spend any extra time in the parking lot. Just do it.

2. Depending on your job, there are a number of things you can do to avoid being sedentary all day. Maybe you have your own office, where you can break out into a set of jumping jacks for a few minutes. Why not? No one will think you’re crazy or anything. Or maybe your job requires physical labor. In that case, you are probably burning a decent amount of calories, even if you are just standing around for hours on end. It’s better than cuddling with 30 pillows and 3 comforters in your bed all day.Actually, it’s not, but whatever.  If you have a lunch break, skip the free pizza or the delivery spot that makes delicious chicken parm subs. (Yes, in New Jersey, it’s a sub, which means it’s the only way to say it.) Order a salad, or pack your lunch. It takes less than 5 minutes to pack your lunch the night before, so stop being lazy. If you work in a nice area, maybe you can even venture outside and talk a walk on your break. I work on the beach, so once in a while I’ll walk down to it to kill some time.

3. Put extra effort into any household chores. You probably need to catch up on them anyway. Right now there’s a ridiculous pile of clean laundry on my window seat, just waiting to be folded, but naturally I’m in my bed typing this instead. However, I do love some cleaning to make me feel like I’m not a complete waste of life. Not only will you be a contributing member to your household, but you may actually burn a few calories and feel slightly productive. It’s no 5k run, but like I said, it’s better than nothing.

4. Work out during commercials. I am a huge fan of doing planks during commercials, since they work out multiple parts of your body, and the commercial break allows for just enough time to do them. Of course, if you have time to watch television, you should probably have time to work out too. However, some days are just too long for that to be accomplished. And we can’t miss one episode of those 15 different television shows we follow religiously. Those are a priority, right? Anyway, you can definitely get in a quick ab workout during the commercials. A half hour program has about 6 minutes of commercials, and an hour-long program has 12. I’m a comm major, so I know random facts like that.

5. Leave extra gym clothes and shoes in the car, just in case you do have some time throughout the day. I do this, and they usually don’t leave my car, but there are those surprise moments where I do have some extra time for a spontaneous trip to the gym. The clothes are one step closer to getting in the gym than they would be in your dresser drawer, so it can’t hurt to try it.

There are obviously many more options that I haven’t included, but the main point of this post is to remind you not to be lazy, and to stop making excuses. Do everything with your whole heart. If you’re dieting, make an extra effort to burn calories in every activity you do. There really are no excuses.

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