Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just HITT It

"All this walking"...Step-Sister, Fairy Tale Theatre

I loved Fairy Tale Theatre growing up. I was never a big fan of animation so to see all of my favorite fairy tales brought to life by real actors was fantastic to me. I do have a weakness for fairy tales and for some reason I find this line to be hilarious. Now it sort of reminds me how people can be faithfully putting in their time at the gym without seeing true results. I know I have been that person many a time..exerting a lot of effort with very little return.

I've been down in Austin visting my boyfriend this past week which turned out to be very fortunate timing for me since I managed to escape the terrible Frankenstorm that battered the New Jersey area. Looking at the pictures I feel awful about what everyone has been suffering through this week. My boyfriend and I were discussing an article yesterday afternoon about the importance of resistance excercise and why for whatever reason most people choose steady state cardio for their gym time.

In the excercise world, people used to look at the formula as calories in calories out, but we know now that it's more complicated than this. I sometimes do a quick interval workout during the week and often times I end up next to  a person huffing and puffing away on the piece of equipment next to me and I see that they have been on the bike or elliptical for almost an hour. Whoa...why? If you aren't doing some High Intensity Interval Training otherwise known as "HIIT" then you are really wasting your time. Sure, you are burning some calories but unless you are cutting back in your diet you are not going to see a huge difference. I've had people tell me they gained weight when they started really getting into running, and I know I used to spend almost an hour on the treadmill back in the day before I knew better. Honestly the time on the treadmill equaled about the same calorie increase in my diet on those days because I was a little hugrier from the activity and/or under the impression I could treat myself since I had worked so hard. Resistance training helps to create more muscle and that is what will burn more calories in the end. In order to burn fat and improving your body composition you really need to incorporate a form of resistance training into your workout. A good way to start this is to do some interval cardio a few days a week. If you can do this first thing in the morning before you have eaten all the better. It gets your heart rate up and gets you on the right path.

Here are two sample workouts that I often use that are really good to get started:

Choose a bike or elliptical and set it at a low resistance since you want to be able to move quickly. The formula is simple from there: go for five minutes at an easy pace and then you are basically going to alternate between a medium pace and a go for broke fast pace every three minutes. Basically three minutes on followed by three minutes off. I usually go four rounds and then end with a cooldown of 3-5 minutes to wind down.

If you want an even quicker workout that keeps you on your toes start out with a warm up of 3 minutes and then alternate between a medium pace and a fast maximum pace for 1 minutes switching between paces every other minute. Wrap up with a 2 minute cool down and it's a 20 minute workout. So toss those hour long sessions of walking on the treadmill and start to "hiit" it.

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