Getting Your Game On, This Summer…We Mean The Fitness Game!

Posted by Beth Hartman

Summer’s here, hot weather, days at the beach if you're lucky enough to live by one. If not, there are plenty of water parks around the country that are offering great rates to all those summer sun worshipers. The thing that you want to remember is how well you're going to look in that swimming attire? Or did you pack that extra-large t-shirt in your bag to help aid you In the cover-up conspiracy?

The key factor to remember in being able to look good out there no matter where your going to be enjoying your summer vacation is just like looking on Travelocity for the best airfare and room rates, you have to spend more time making sure your physically in the best shape you can be in so you can walk with your head held high, knowing that your looking pretty good.

But, taking a step back about a month, how did you get that confidence in the first place? Well, it was by hitting the workout routines about 3 times a week and going a little different route then your norm. You decided to use a routine that can provide the best results out there in a short amount of time.

Yes, we are speaking about HIIT Training (High-Intensity Interval Training). This form of exercise has been around for a few years, but this year, it seems that it’s the “Go-To” exercise to get the results you're looking to achieve in the shortest amount of time. HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery: intermittently sprinting for 30 seconds, for example, during a moderate-pace jog.

The US national physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week with additional muscle-strengthening exercise for adults and 60 minutes a day for children, noted Walter R. Thompson, author of the report and president of the American College of Sports Medicine. "So, if you step it up a little bit and get your heart rate up and move from, say, walking to jogging, it decreases to 75 minutes per week."

HIIT is a worthy way to meet your physical activity guidelines, he said. "But there's a word of caution with that: Anytime you do high-intensity anything, there may be an increased risk of injury."

While HIIT is leading the pack of this year’s top exercise trends the next in line is Group Training. Which if you think about it, HIIT is ideal for group participation. Survey Responses from 4,133 fitness professionals around the globe, placed "Group Training" -- classes involving more than five participants -- in the No. 2 slot. Meanwhile, "Wearable Technology" -- such as activity trackers and Smartwatches  -- came in third, and "Body Weight Training" -- the use of your own body weight as a form of resistance while doing modified pushups and other exercises -- came in fourth. "Strength training," or the use of barbells and weights, placed fifth.

When you’re performing your exercise at very high intensity, your heart rate will pick up and stay high. Even when you have your rest period, your heart will still be beating quite fast due to the effort you are putting in. Your heart rate will be faster because your body suddenly requires you to take in larger amounts of oxygen.

As such, during your recovery periods, your body is still crying out for oxygen. This effect is known more scientifically as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). This gives you a sustained period of burning off fat and calories. More so than standard aerobic workouts which keep your heart rate lower and steadier for sustained periods.

Incorporating HIIT into your weekly workouts gives you access to a number of benefits that you cannot obtain from other exercises. This includes the following.

Performing HIIT causes your metabolic rate to increase dramatically both at the gym and after. This means it gives you fat burning benefits right away, as well as for a long time afterward. In fact, some studies find that your metabolic rate remains increased for up to 48 hours following HIIT.

Oftentimes, the thought of jumping on the treadmill and doing an hour long run is not very appealing. On the flip side, you need far less time spent performing HIIT exercises and can access even greater benefits from it. So, if you’re pushed for time it’s easy to squeeze into your day.

Below we will discuss in more depth the ways in which you can incorporate HIIT into your workouts. However, it is safe to say that it is one of the few exercises that can be done anywhere. Including when you’re on the road and don’t have access to a gym environment.

If you are working out from home or on the road, then good HIIT sessions would involve either running or cycling. Here’s a simple plan to follow:
If you have access to a hill, then a good running exercise would be the following:

– Run up the hill flat out for 30-45 seconds
– Then, turn around and slowly walk back down for 60 seconds
– Turn and repeat for 20 minutes

One important thing to note is that, even during your rest periods, you should not get comfortable. Before you reach that relaxed state, start running again!

However, the best place to perform your HIIT workout is at the gym, Why? You have access to a much broader range of equipment and monitoring tools, which then allow you to better vary your workouts. Here are our top 3 ideas for HIIT workouts you can do at the gym.

Perform a bodyweight circuit
A bodyweight circuit is a great HIIT session as it allows you to exhaust a whole bunch of muscles in your body. Here’s a sample workout that you can vary to suit your needs:
– 50 jump squats
– 40 sit-ups
– 30 push ups
– 20 split jumps
– 10 tricep dips
– 30 seconds of burpees
– 45 seconds rest

It is important that you give 90-100% effort on every exercise to reach the full benefit. Then, during your break, make sure your heart rate doesn’t fully stabilize. If you’re not tired enough after, then incorporate some other exercises or up the rep count on each one.

Weights circuit
Performing a weights circuit for your HIIT is a great way to maximize fat loss alongside muscle growth. It is important that you set out space to perform your circuit and get all of the equipment ready ahead of time. Here is a good template for a weights circuit. You should be able to do most of it with similar weights. You should do all 4 sets of each exercise before moving onto the next one. However, you have the flexibility to alter this in any way that fits your goals.

– Do 30 seconds of overhead squats for 4 sets. Have a 30-second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of deadlifts for 4 sets. Have a 30-second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of lunges with alternating dumbbell curls for 4 sets. Have a 30-second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of clean & press for 4 sets. Have a 30-second break between each one.
– Do 30 seconds of renegade rows for 4 sets. Have a 30-second break between each one.

Use the Cardio Machines
Cardio machines are possibly the best ways to perform HIIT at the gym as they include pre-set workouts that you simply switch on. They will automatically count down how long you should be performing at a certain speed for and then tell you when to take a quick break. Common cardio machines now have HIIT programs built in include treadmills, static bikes, and rowing machines. The staff at your gym should be able to help.

The very nature of HIIT training means you can get tired in a shorter period of time than you would whilst doing other exercises. That’s why it’s important you give your body sufficient fuel to sustain your energy levels throughout. Here’s what you’ll need:

You should be consuming a moderate to high carbohydrate meal roughly 3 to 4 hours before starting your workout. This should ensure your body has suitable energy reserves to sustain it throughout. However, try not to eat too much or you’ll make yourself sluggish and require more exercise to burn off the excess calories. Its always a balance thing and you knowing how your body reacts to the food you put in it will dictate the kinds of foods that do well for you.

So there you go, embracing the HIIT training routines can get you results much faster than traditional cardio and weights. But again, different strokes for different folks is always a factor when trying a new exercise routine. You need to find your own balance on how best to incorporate HIIT into your exercise lifestyle.

But doing so will get you beach-body ready to hit the sandy beach this summer. And if you stick with it, just think how you're going to feel when the Autumn season makes its appearance and the Fall sports start making their appearance. But that’s another topic for another blog post. See you all soon, maybe on that beach.

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