I am sure many of us can agree we need to move more. I am a huge fan of low intensity aerobic workouts, such as, walking, swimming, and elliptical training for 30-60 minutes at a time, but it's also important to train our heart rate at higher levels. I also enjoy high-intensity interval training when I only have about 10-15 minutes to workout. It is a great way to burn calories and I feel I get a dose of happiness after a workout like this.
So what is high-intensity interval training (HIIT)? HIIT is short bursts of intense exercises that you alternate with low-intensity recovery periods. Many people who do HIIT workouts perform the workouts within 10-30 minute time frames. The exercises can vary from one HIIT workout to another. The interval time frames can also vary. For example: If you choose to do the high-intensity exercise for 20 seconds and you do your recovery exercise for 40 seconds this could be a good start and maybe, down the road, you change to 30 seconds of high-intensity and 30 seconds of low intensity recovery. I will give you some examples below. I highly recommend that you build yourself a strong base of low intensity training before you do HIIT or combine it with the HIIT workouts. Most everyone should already be doing 30-60 minutes at 60-65% of their max heart rate most every day of the week. You can use the following formula to figure out your heart rate targets. Step 1 220 - Age=ABC Step 2 ABC X 0.60=60% of your heart rate (this gives you your target beats per minute) You do the same for other heart rate zones. Aerobic zones you would X ABC by 0.60, 0.65, 0.70, and 0.75 When you get in the anaerobic zones you X ABC by 0.80, 0.85, and 0.90 What is the difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic? Aerobic is a continuous movement of moderate exercise that you maintain over a period of time working between 55-75% of your max heart rate. “Aerobic” means in the presence of oxygen. You know you are in this zone when your heart rate is up and you feel challenged but you can maintain the movement for 2 minutes or more. Some Examples of Aerobic Exercises: Walking, Jogging, Running, Swimming, and Biking. Anaerobic means “in the absence of” oxygen. This is when you are doing high-intensity activity but you can only maintain it for 10-30 seconds. This is when you are working above 80% of your max heart rate. This is also when you feel like your legs or body will not go anymore. What happens here is your body is working so hard and so fast that your body cannot get enough oxygen to your muscles fast enough so you get tired and need to slow down or stop. This feeling is when you are in the anaerobic zone and when you are in this zone you are burning sugar (glucose) whereas, working in your aerobic zone you are working hard, but not so hard that your body isn't able to get your muscles adequate oxygen and your body is burning fat as your source of energy. Think of it as using unleaded gas (fat) vs diesel gas (glucose). Before starting any HIIT program or any exercise program be sure to speak to your doctor. You also want to make sure your body is nice and warmed up before performing a HIIT workout or any workout. I like to warm up for a good 5 minutes before I start the workout and I do some static stretching. Below are a few examples of 12 minute HIIT workouts. Booty Blast HIIT 20/40 Jumping Alternating Lunges 20sec Jog in place 40sec Jump Knee Tuck 20sec Toe Tap Side-to-Side 20sec Fast Squats 20 Seconds Jog in place 40sec Repeat 4x Cardio Run HIIT 30/30 Sprint 30 seconds Jog 30 seconds Skip 30 seconds Jog 30 seconds Sprint 30 seconds Jog 30 seconds Skip 30 seconds Jog 30 seconds Repeat 3 x Tone HIIT 40/20 Pushups 40 seconds High Knees 20 seconds Sit ups 40 seconds High Knees 20 seconds Alternating Lunges 40 seconds High Knees 20 seconds Slow Squats 40 seconds High Knees 20 seconds Repeat 3 x