I’m sure you have heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). There is a burst of high, intense energy, followed by some real down time. Why would anyone do this? It can be super fun and the results are easier to see!
Before you begin any exercise routine, or decide to increase your intensity, talk to your doctor. The easiest way to monitor your workout and your progress is heart rate. Either get yourself a wearable device with heart rate or learn how to check your heart rate manually. I share this in the video!
When you know how to get your heart rate, you then have to know your heart rate max. There are a few ways to do this. You can go to a big-time facility or university to get on a treadmill or bike, wear a mask and have your heart rate measured as you go as hard as you can! Or… you can so it the submax (estimated) way. Push yourself to go up a hill a few times, go on the bike or treadmill, and see what your heart is telling you at your maximum effort. Find the highest number you can get, safely.
When you are doing intervals, you want to work between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. I would suggest starting at 60% and working your way up. As you become more fit, you may see your max heart rate increase. What a great way to see your fitness take off!
Interval training makes your body work harder. The recovery of this hard work causes a change in your physiology. Stronger muscles (especially if you are using weights), stronger heart, more endurance, and more fat loss.
The easiest way to get started is while you are out walking or running. Add some faster steps to your daily routine. Keep it at regular intervals so you can monitor and stay focused. Do a brief warm up, 5-10 minutes. Then try 2-3 minutes of harder work then 1-2 minutes of easier going. Make sure it’s a clear difference between when you are “on” and when you are “off”. That’s why heart rate makes it easier to track.
If you are using weights, work hard for 1 min and then take a break for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Adding heavier weights can count as increasing intensity. You can add cardio bursts here as well. Jump on the bike or treadmill for 1-2 minutes in between your sets! Keep the bursts fairly short so that you can work hard. If the “on” is too long, you will start to slow down and lose the effect. Have fun with the variety of ways you can add a burst of activity!
Monitor your progress, keep track of your heart rate. This is a great way to learn how to work hard and to maximize time. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym or working out at home to get a great result. Doing intervals and increasing your intensity should happen 1-2 times per week. Not every day. This is your big workout for the week, meaning your body needs recovery. Ease into it. You don’t have to jump on boxes (unless you want to), you just have to work hard on and off in the range that works best for you. Check out the video for some more ideas!