Can I tell you a secret? I don’t really like working out…. I like the feeling that exercise gives me, but I mostly have to force myself to get moving. Being a very mood driven person creates additional obstacles as well. Some days, my energy level is high and all I want to do is sprint around the block. Other days (most days), I’m exhausted and even though I know I’ll feel better, I just do NOT want to break out a sweat sesh. UGH!
Between millions of moods, knowing what I should do to keep myself healthy and serious attention problems, I’ve figured out that the quality of my exercise is much better than its quantity. Of course, I love Pure Barre because it gives me a classroom setting where someone is telling me what to do and an hour flies right by!! Not only that, but the results are incredibly visible which leaves me knowing it works and my body is changing for the better. Outside of the barre though, I mostly stick to workouts that are 30 minutes or less.
Since the beginning of my fit life, my desire to work out in as little time as possible has translated into exercising in intervals. I later learned this style of exercise is trending and now referred to as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I couldn’t help but smile knowing I was already doing an incredibly effective workout style without calling it by it’s cool modern name. Essentially, interval training burns more fat, improves your aerobic capacity, eases common cases of workout boredom, requires as much or as little equipment as you want, increases metabolism and keeps your body challenged. The best part is, there’s no special routine or trick to it! The point is just that you push your body to work it’s hardest then allow it to recover…. and then you repeat the cycle. Focus on changing your intensity every 30 second to 2 minutes. Most common HIIT routines will change intensity every 30 seconds, however, I prefer intervals of at least 1-2 minutes. You can do it on your favorite piece of cardio equipment, in the beautiful outdoors, at the gym, at home, in a training studio, or pretty much anywhere your heart desires!! Here are a few of my favorite interval routines to get you going…
The treadmill is my favorite piece of equipment to do intervals with. I love that you can quickly adjust your speed or incline with the push of a button and as you get more in shape, you can increase your intensity without a whole lot of thought going into it. Here are my 3 go to treadmill intervals:
(1) Random Intervals – I do what I call random intervals when I want to go with my music or my mood. After a 5 minute warm-up, the intensity changes every 1 to 2 minutes. The rule is, pump it up then bring it down. Maybe I’ll hit a 6 speed for 2 minutes then jump down to a brisk walk… the next minute I’ll amp it up to a 7 speed then bring it down to a light jog. If I’m tired of changing my speed I’ll switch to incline changes for a few rounds. Anything really, as long as every 2ish minutes I’m switching it up between intense and almost out of breath to recovery time catching my breath.
(2) Set 1 and 2 Minute Intervals – If I’m feeling a little more structured and have a lot to think about during my workout, I’ll set my intervals and go through them more routinely. This might look like a 5 minute warm up followed by 2 minutes of running at full speed then 1 minute of light jogging. The 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of jogging keeps cycling until I’ve hit 25-30 minutes and just like that, I’m done!
(3) Mountain Intervals – I like doing what I consider “mountain intervals” because it’s like climbing to the peak of a tough hill then coming back down. These interval sessions help push me to higher speeds and greater inclines. My current favorite looks like this:
5 minute warm up walk
1 minute at 5 speed jog
1 minute at 6 speed run
2 minutes at 7-8 speed intense run/sprint
1 minute 4 speed brisk walk
Repeat the 5 minute cycle 5 or 6 times and you’re done!
Of course, this is what works for me and my body… once upon a time, the thought of running at an 8 speed on the treadmill was laughable. Now, it’s a speed I can maintain for at least a minute or two and that feels incredible! The best part is that it gets me into great shape to run outdoors and I find my time improves without much effort. These treadmill intervals can also be used on other cardio equipment like ellipticals, bikes, rowing machines, etc…
When I walk, run, bike, skip or dance around outside, I love using landmarks and streets as a method of doing intervals. My most common tactic it to designate a routine by street blocks – jog 2 blocks then sprint 1 block. I also love doing a more steady run with stops every 2-3 blocks to do burpees, push ups, jumping jacks, high knees, jump squats or anything else that will get my blood pumping more than if I just kept running. Depending on my outdoor location, I also enjoy using schools and public facilities. Utilizing resources like stadium bleachers are an awesome way to integrate hard core stair sessions with a jog or run. Let the wind take you in any direction you want, as long as your alternating between high intensity and low intensity every few minutes.
Total Body Toning Intervals
I also love doing intervals when I weight train. I mostly use free weights and things like bosu balls to make sure every exercise I do is more of a full body routine. One of my common total body toning interval routines goes something like this:
5-10 minute warm up walking, biking or jogging
12 bicep curls
12 overhead presses
12 tricep dips
40 jumping jacks
20 jump squats
Repeat 3 times
5-10 minute cool down walking, biking or jogging
To your lickable abs and body toned so tight it’s tantalizing,