Hiit It

Half term means Cornwall, which means lovely coastal runs but also plenty of over-indulgence (I am physically unable to pass an ice cream shop without continuing on my quest to find the best chocolate ice cream ever, and how is it that white wine seem such an essential part of a sea view?) so on return after the bank holiday weekend I feel the need to get back on track.

WHY HIIT? I am relatively new to Hiit workouts but since discovering them they are my go-to way to feel good in a short space of time. A longtime runner, after having my third child I’ve simply not had time to pound the pavements more than once a week, and needed something I could do quickly, at home, whilst children are either napping or causing small chaotic whirlpools of mess and noise around me.

HOW DOES IT WORK? I am not a scientist or fitness professional, but from what I’ve read, and experienced, Hiit (High Intensity Interval Training) is extremely effective. According to the experts,  it keeps the heart rate elevated and burns fat in a short space of time. And by increasing the body’s need for oxygen Hiit continues to burn calories at a higher rate than normal even after you’ve finished your workout. Bonus.

Basically you take a particular type of exercise (for instance running on a treadmill, or cycling) and go as hard and fast as you can for a short period, then rest for a short period, then repeat – for around 15-20 minutes.

Since I’ve been doing  Hiit workouts, my full body fitness is better than it’s ever been – and I find when I do go for a run, I’m much faster than I was when this was all I was doing. I’ve also discovered an amazing Hiit class at my local leisure centre which has become my favourite part of my week. This is beyond surprising given a previous absolute hatred for group fitness.

HOW DO I START? A great place to start if you’re looking for home Hiit workouts is YouTube.. my own personal favourites to follow are The Body Coach Joe Wicks, and Millionaire Hoy – both have easy to follow Hiit workouts for free that can be done at home with no equipment.

Once you’ve got the hang of it you can mix it up a bit and shape your own workouts. I’ve found that for me, the more variety the better. So I now take a set of ten exercises, and do each one as hard and fast as I can for 45 seconds, rest for 15 and do the whole circuit 2-3 times. If you’re new to hiit, you’ll most likely want to start with 30 seconds work, 45 seconds rest (or more if necessary).. and then gradually increase working time and decrease rest time.

WHAT DO I NEED? It’s worth downloading an interval timer for your phone or tablet – I use Interval Timer – Timing for HIIT Training by Deltaworks.

And that’s it… you could think about investing in some dumbbells later on if you want to include some dumbbell hiit, but you certainly don’t need any initially.

OFF YOU GO.. Here are some easy exercises to get you started. If you’re not sure how to do any of them you’ll be able to find demos on YouTube – I’m afraid I’m not yet at the stage where I’m confident enough either physically or technically to start posting my own videos!!  Simply set your interval timer to your own working/rest times and choose which ever of these exercises you like, to create a 10, 15 or 20 minute workout. Go as hard as you can for the working sets. If you haven’t worked up a sweat by the end of your workout – you weren’t going hard enough!!

  1. High Knees
  2. Press ups
  3. Squat Jumps
  4. Mountain Climbers
  5. Burpees
  6. Jumping jacks
  7. Power squats
  8. Tuck jumps
  9. Plank jacks
  10. Fast feet with punches
  11. Tricep pushups
  12. Burpee pushups
  13. Cross body mountain climbers
  14. Plank jack squat thrusts
  15. Bicycle crunches
  16. Russian twists
  17. Lunge jumps
  18. Surfer Burpees
  19. Skaters
  20. Plank ski jumps

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