Winter’s just around the corner and in the arena of fitness and weight loss, the prevailing winds blow toward thinner wallets and fatter bodies. You know…expensive gym fees in an effort to find shelter from the typical weight gains resulting from rich holiday foods and too much indoor living.
I’ve never been someone who sends a check every month to the local gym. My fitness background has always involved activities that began the moment I stepped off the front porch and ended when I got back inside the house for a shower.
While most of my motivation involved not wanting to waste time going to and from the gym, an additional benefit was eliminating gym fees and keeping my wallet as fat as possible.
In the interest of exercise efficiency, let me introduce you to a form of exercise that’s being labeled ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ (HIIT). In the days of yesteryear, we merely called it ‘intervals’.
This New Thing Called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training isn’t really a ‘new thing’. HIIT has been around for decades. Olympians in the sports of track, swimming, and cycling have used high intensity intervals since the middle of the 1900’s in order to get themselves onto the medal stand.
But now that HIIT has hit the public consciousness in the form of gym instructors barking out orders to beleaguered students in their fitness classes, it’s all the rage.
What is HIIT?
Unlike the steady efforts of cardio training, high intensity interval workouts alternate periods of intensity (far above what could be sustained for the entirety of the workout) with periods of recovery.
This ‘on and off’ style of exercise enables you to get the highest level of fitness and the most weight loss in the least amount of time. Sort of like getting the most for your money…except in this case the currency is mostly time and effort.
Get The Most Bang For Your ‘Weight Loss Buck’ With HIIT
After transitioning from a racing career to a fitness buff, one of the unpleasant things I noticed was a gradual increase in my body weight. Sure, I was doing a lot of steady-state cardio workouts. Going on runs up to ten miles wasn’t a problem.
What I was missing was a few workouts with some intensity in them.
It wasn’t until I started running with my kids beginning their competitive running careers that I discovered just how effective high intensity workouts can be for keeping trim. Suffering alongside them as they did ‘hill repeats’ (Go as hard as possible up a hill for one and a half minutes followed by an easy descent. Repeat 9 times.) served to melt the body fat away.
Part of the magic is in what happens after the workout. After a hard interval workout, my metabolism remained elevated for several hours, during which time fat was being burned.
What strict cardio workouts couldn’t accomplish, HIIT did.
How About A Sample HIIT Workout?
Most of my exercise these days is done from the saddles of my many bikes. In fact, attaching a bike to my Kurt Road Machine fluid trainer bike trainer for an interval workout is the backbone of my winter fitness program. While the Road Machine is my favorite, there are a host of stationary bike trainers to choose from.
It goes without saying that you should be cleared by your doctor before initiating any form of intense exercise. This especially holds true with regard to HIIT, since the efforts put more strain on your heart and lungs than almost any other form of exercise.
Here’s a sample workout done in my living room while watching a 49ers football game:
- 10 minute warm-up.
- 5 minutes moderately hard, followed by 3 minutes easy pedaling.
- 4 minutes a little bit harder, followed by 3 minutes easy pedaling.
- 3 minutes a little bit harder, followed by 3 minutes easy pedaling.
- 2 minutes a little bit harder, followed by 2 minutes easy pedaling.
- 1 minute as hard as I can sustain for one minute.
- 10 minute warm-down.
There are many variations of this type of workout, limited only by your imagination and your courage.
So Resist The Mid-Winter Bulge At Home… With A Fat Wallet
While the sample workout above is done using one of the many bike trainers on the market, you can use the same ‘hard-easy’ approach to exercising at home on your treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, or rebounder.
Whatever your mode of working up a sweat, you can maximize your weight loss efforts with a minimal amount of time and money by discovering the magic of HIIT.
Olympians have used the technique for decades…now it’s your turn!
About the author: A former nationally-ranked marathoner, Ron Fritzke is now a Chiropractor in Mount Shasta, California. When he isn’t racing his bike, he’s searching for good cycling gear like the Cycleops Fluid2 trainer to review on his website: Cycling-Review.com.