Career. Ambition. Family. Friends. Relationship. Today’s woman has near perfected the juggling act. Until the juggling act gets complicated by rushing to day care to pick up squirmy, hungry kids or staying late at work to finish a project your boss deemed ˜critical’ as you were walking out the door at 5 o’clock. Soon you notice, all of the balls in the air have multiplied over night and the first casualty of this reality? Free time and ergo time to hit the gym.
According to Statistics Canada, less than one in five Canadians get enough exercise. And more shocking? Most adults spend more than 70 per cent of their waking hours in a sedentary state. No, that doesn’t mean recovering from Saturday night. That means, most of us are sitting and remaining inactive for more than seven hours out of our day.
Since adding an hour or two to a day doesn’t seem to be in the cards, experts suggest maximizing the time you do have to get the absolute most out of your workout. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is used by athletes to improve and sustain cardiovascular ability and to quickly burn fat. In short, it involves shorter yet far more intense workouts where your body ends up spending the rest of the day using up energy to recover. That means, later that night, when you are curled up on your couch watching Grey’s Anatomy, you’re still burning calories. Smart girl.
If you’re new to HIIT, here are some options to help get you started and well on your way to a more in-shape you, with less time spent at the gym. Your waistline will thank you:
Warm up well with a five minutes jog. After the five minute mark, blast to your fastest stride for 30 seconds. At 15 seconds, you’ll feel like an entire ˜age’ has past but make sure you get to the 30 second mark. Follow with a 2 minute cool down (light jog). Repeat up to seven to 10 times. The key to this is running at your absolute highest speed for the 30 second blasts.
Advanced Version: Five minute warm up, followed by a three minute blast running at your top speed followed by a two minute light jog. Repeat until 30 minute mark.
Option 2: Five minute warm up on a bike. Make sure you aren’t out of breath and can maintain a conversation. Following the five minute mark increase your resistance to as much as you can handle and pedal at your top speed for one full minute. Follow this by a two minute cool down where you let your legs pedal freely. Repeat seven to 10 times.
Keep in mind: stretching is key before and after to keep you limber and minimize soreness the day. Experts say, two HIIT sessions a week paired with a weight lifting routine keep the pounds off and time on your side.