After a particularly indulgent (and awesome) weekend in Austin celebrating the invention of cheese wedding of two sweet friends, I woke up this morning needing a large coffee and a butt-kicking workout to get me back on track. Since I get to work pretty late (between 9 and 10), I generally like to workout in the mornings. On Mondays however, a pre-work workout just ain’t happenin. Unless you consider lying in bed trying to come up with reasons you can’t go to work to be exercise. Fortunately for me I belong to a gym in the basement of my work building so I can go downstairs during lunch or in the afternoon to fit in a workout on the days I just can’t make it happen before work. Today is definitely one of those days.
My favorite type of cardio, especially for a lethargic Monday, is High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT). The basic premise of HIIT is repeated cycles of working really really hard for a specific period of time (usually no longer than a minute), followed by a specific period of recovery (usually at least twice a long as the hard period). This infographic provides a much more detailed summary of HIIT for those of you who want more than one measly sentence.
My basic formula for HIIT goes like this: warm up for 5-10 minutes; run/bike/elliptical as hard as I can for 1 minute, recover (continue to run/bike/elliptical but at a lower intensity) for 2 minutes (repeat this 3 minute cycle at least 5 times); cool down for 5 minutes. If you start with a10 minute warm-up this makes for a great 30 minute workout that, if done correctly, will leave you dripping in sweat by the time you’re done.
When doing HIIT workouts, I am a slave to my heart rate monitor. I will explain how to do HIIT with a heart rate monitor and how to do it without for those of you who don’t have one. If you do have a heart rate monitor, what I like to do is make sure I reach a certain elevated heart rate in each of my hard intervals – for me, this is 180 bpm. Then I try to bring my heart rate back down to between 160-165 bpm in the two minute recovery period before starting the next hard interval. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor you can use the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale. If 1 is lying in bed eating Ryan Gosling pancakes and 10 is being chased by a zombified Suri Cruise, your hard intervals should be at least an 8.
Hey girl, I taste as good as I look.
I eat brainsssss!
You can use the formula I included above to come up with a HIIT workout of your own or start with one of the two workouts I’ve included below. You can do these workouts as prescribed or scale them to your ability. The hard intervals should be HARD, but definitely not impossible. If you’re on the treadmill, add speed and/or incline for the hard intervals. If you’re on the elliptical, add speed and/or resistance. And if you’re on the bike add speed, add resistance and/or stand up out of the saddle. You can also do HIIT cardio outside by running faster and/or running up hills for your hard intervals. You get the idea.
Here are my favorite HIIT treadmill and elliptical workouts to get you started.
HIIT Treadmill Workout
HIIT Elliptical Workout
Let me know what you think of these workouts or if you have any questions. I hope this becomes yournew favorite way to workout too! It makes the workout go by faster because your speed/incline/resistance is constantly changing, and it really is an incredible workout every time.