Getting H.I.I.T.

More Bang for the Buck on the Bike - and Elsewhere

            As the snow continues to fall here on North Hollow, it’s a challenge to remain patient, waiting for warm weather opportunities to begin.

            At this time of year, this is especially true when it comes to exercise.

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            Luckily, the New York Times ran a story over the weekend that provides ideas and rationale for putting a twist on your workouts. Here is the link:

            This article describes the basics behind “H.I.I.T.” = high-intensity interval training. In a nutshell, it’s a scientifically proven approach that enables even casual athletes to enhance fitness while spending less time exercising.  The article is well worth reading, but to summarize, one simply alternates short (30 seconds or less) bursts of high-effort activity with relatively short (30 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending upon the workout) recovery periods of moderate exercise.  It might require a little more effort, but to cut workout times almost in half…? The article concludes by describing how H.I.I.T. principles can be applied to a great many athletic activities with just a little bit of creativity.

            After a week, I’m hooked – it has salvaged my stale exercise routine, providing both a physical kick to the system and a psychological boost as well.

            For example, instead of my usual monotonous 30 minutes on the stationary bike, it was easy to develop a H.I.I.T. program that reduces my ride to less than 15 minutes. Here’s how it works: warm up for two minutes, then pedal like crazy for 30 seconds. On my trainer, this sounds like an airplane going down the runway at high-intensity, but, again, it’s 30 seconds. Follow that with two minutes of moderate, easy recovery riding. Repeat four times, for a total of five sprints. Cool down for two minutes at the end, and done! Shifting gears between sprints is an obvious trick to make it more interesting as well. This simple little workout generates an impressive sweat, honestly quite comparable to my prior 30 minutes of moderate riding.

            Using the article as a guide, creating a H.I.I.T. swimming program to fit my needs was fun, and proved successful in the pool today.

            Give it a try, and see how you can incorporate H.I.I.T. into your current activities - and think of the possibilities once spring actually does arrive!

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