Friday, March 7, 2014

Interval Training on the Step Mill



     During the Winter months its more of a challenge to keep my cardio interesting since I'm confined to the indoors ( yes, I'm an outdoor fair weather exerciser).  And since I like to cross train, its fun to look for new ideas to mix it up !!!  So, I turned to my friend and trainer, Kelli Warren at Genesis Health Clubs on Rock Road for some inspiration. Kelli suggested I try using the Step Mill for a session of High Intensity Interval Training ( HIIT) to add to my weekly regime. Kelli says " Doing HIIT just one or two times per week is plenty to boost your cardiovascular fitness". I wasn't that familiar with the Step Mill so I was game for a new adventure.  When I asked her what to do, she told me to do a warm up followed by 30 seconds at High Intensity followed by a minute and a half of recovery, and repeat 10 times, cool down and finish up for the day.  At first I was offended by such a meager challenge,... I mean, didn't she know me at all !!!??? ... did she forget I was the CARDIO QUEEN !!!???...  didn't she remember I have done 3 Half Marathons, climbed a 14,000 ft mountain twice, and done hour long Bleacher work outs til I'm blue in the face !!!???  I internally scoffed at her suggestion, but smiled politely as I walked away from her and sauntered over to the Step Mill area in a disgusted fashion.  I remember picking up a towel to start my workout from sheer habit, and thinking I wont even need this towel because I wont be sweating.  I'm only going to be doing 30 SECONDS 10 times and that wont add up to ANYTHING, especially when I'm used to doing at least an hour a day of cardio 6 times a week!!!  So my bad attitude climbed up on the steps and started my easy warm up at level 5 for the next 5 minutes.  Then as directed I cranked her up to level 16 for the next 30 seconds, and realized that was a little harder than I expected but totally doable ( especially for me)... I recovered at level 5 again for the next minute and a half then started my next 30 second burst, ... and then I started to sweat, I mean REALLY sweat, as in pouring off me and onto the ground sweat.... I was happy for my minute and half recovery because I noticed my legs were starting to feel a little funny... then the third interval started with my burst of 30 seconds and that's when my world got ROCKED !!!  ...I was in full vomit mode and it was comin' fast !!!! ... I didn't even think I could make my last 10 seconds!!! I had to get off that @#$%&* machine and prayed that my Bambi on Ice legs would not fail me in front of the other ladies going full force while their pony tails kept the beat !!! Slumping over the water fountain, I hoped no one else needed a drink anytime soon, because I was depending on this cool to the touch apparatus to hold my body weight til I felt I could stand on my own. My uppity attitude was long gone ... I had just been whooped by the Stair Mill, and I vowed to never disrespect the Mill again but honor it and come back next week with a better plan.  So, new improved attitude and new improved plan for week two~ I developed a strategy to add one set of intervals each week TIL I could work up to 10 sets and not make a fool out of my self, and it worked like a charm !!!  Big lessons my friends, big lessons !!!  HIIT is a wonderful addition to any weekly routine, and SHOULD be incorporated, but only once or twice a week. Your muscles definitely need time to recover and 3 days is really recommended before doing another HIIT session.

8 Benefits to HIIT:
1)  Efficient!  IF you are short on time, this is the way to get your work out in fast with all the benefits. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
2)  Burn more fat!  Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body's repair cycle into hyperdrive.  That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after a steady pace run.
3)  Healthier Heart!  Most people aren't used to pushing themselves into the anaerobic zone, but studies have shown that after 8 weeks of HIIT workouts, subject could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
4)  No Equipment Necessary!  All you need is high knees and fast feet and any activity will work for HIIT.
5)  Lose weight, not muscle!  We all know its hard not to lose muscle when losing fat.  Studies show that weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. WINNING
6)  Increased Metabolism!  In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone ( HGH) by up to 450% during the 24 hours after you finish your workout.  This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
7)  Do it Anywhere!  Since its such a simple concept- go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat-you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.
8)  Challenging!  This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with your friend!!!  Because its so short, you will be working hard the whole time.  The trade off is this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results.  You may be in pain, you may be sucking wind, but you definitely wont be bored !!!

   Hope this inspires you to give HIIT a try, and I would love to hear your feed back after getting started !!!  In good health~ paige  ;)

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