HIIT or high intensity interval training is a fat-burning cardiovascular fueling technique that is widely utilized…not by the faint of heart. Before I discovered the effects of HIIT, I was in a love affair with the StairMaster. I would hop in it about four days a week after a workout for about 10 minutes, and that was the extent of my cardio (obviously this is pre-pregnancy as most HIIT workouts are high impact). So after awhile of exclusively using the StairMaster for cardio, I begin to notice a plateau, especially in my midsection. I was looking to lean down a bit more, so I looked into beginning some HIIT workouts.
Now there are several ways you can go about these types of exercises. For beginners, it’s important to take rests every 2 or 3 exercises so you don’t go overboard and burn out before the session is over. These rests should be 15-30 seconds long. The best way to get through one of these workouts in to have one short burst of a high intensity exercise followed by a more brief low intensity exercise and repeated until, frankly, you’re too exhausted to continue. Before I was pregnant, my HIIT workouts went something like this:
-10 box jumps
-10 push ups
Run up and down the stairs at the gym 5 times.
*Repeat 5 times
This would kill me after a good workout, and I saw such a strong difference in my cardiovascular abilities within two weeks. I never really went back to the StairMaster, though I occasionally would make eye contact with it awkwardly. While I was pregnant, I really took to the stationary bike as it was easier on my joints, and jumping up and down was entirely too much for me later on in the pregnancy when I was large and in charge.
Now that Athena is here, I’m trying to slowly get back into my HIIT routine. I’m doing the same routine, but I’ve replaced running up the stairs 5 times with 10 jumping jacks, and 10 squat jumps. And until I’m back to where I want to be fitness-wise, I rest for 15 or 20 seconds between the sets. If I’m not out of breath too badly though, I keep on pushing to the next one. And that’s probably the best piece of advice I can give you when starting a HIIT routine…listen to you body. Do your knee and ankle joints ache afterwards? Try to not do so many jumping exercises, and opt for something with less of an impact. The cool thing about these routines is that you can adapt them and make them your own; they’re completely adjustable and (eventually) are fun to do.
So give this a try and let me know what you think and if you see any results!
Mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend, eclectic hippy, old soul.