HIIT fitness

Start of yet another new month, so I thought I'd let you all in on some additional exercises I've recently incorporated into my routine, and which over this month I will try 3 times a week to see what type of results I can achieve and update you.

The new exercises will be nothing new for some of you, but basically it's HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Now because I do many home and outdoor workouts, in essence I have been doing a form of HIIT without even knowing it. And even on the occasions I visit the gym, with the limited time I have on my lunch breaks, I fit in at least 3 body parts on the heavier weight machines in approximately 50 minutes, for example 3 different sets of 10 chest exercises (90 reps), 3 different sets of 10 arm exercises (90 reps), sometimes 3 different sets of leg exercises (90 reps), and finish off with about 5 minutes of abs exercise. Of course because it's higher intensity due to shorter rest periods, I haven't been able to push myself on the weight but still push good figures, but my goals are based around strength, conditioning and fitness as opposed to size, so it's not a major drama for me.

Now what I've started to do with the HIIT exercises at home is quite simple, and as winter hits here in the Southern Hemisphere, becomes even more important as my outdoor workouts cut down due to the cooler weather and lack of light by the time I get home. But what I've found is that the HIIT routines are hitting the mark and without taking a lot of time, which is ideal after a long day at work catching unheated public transport and you want to get into a warm house.

So my take on HIIT is to do between 7 to 10 (depending on how I feel), exercises for 1 minute durations, with an extremely short break in between. Now think about it. So that's really only 7 to 10 minutes of actual exercise (without the obligatory warm up which doesn't need to be intense or long). I have done this in front of the TV with the evening news on and finished before the weather report!

My preference is to alternate between upper body, lower body and core. So for example, last night after the warm up it was:

1 minute star jumps, very short break

1 minute sit ups, very short break

1 minute push ups, very short break (by now the sweat starts to come)

1 minute jumping squats, short break (legs usually take it out of you and require slightly longer breaks)

1 minute leg raises, very short break

1 minute running on the spot with high knees, very short break

1 minute burpees, short break (these are a killer and you're dripping with sweat!)

1 minute plank, short break (killer again after burpees)

1 minute alternating lunges, short break (by now the fatigue is really settling in and it's a struggle)

That particular routine was a tough one, but again, I started at 6 in front of the TV on the carpet while the news was on, and was finished by 6.25 when the weather came on. And I felt it, especially the leg routines. So I will be doing variations of these exercises over the coming month about 3 times a week as I cut down my longer 7km runs to maybe once on the weekend or every fortnight, and see how I feel and whether I have burned some fat or lost much muscle, as this is what tends to happen with the long runs, but the fat burning aspect of HIIT is of the most interest for these routines. But even more important is to push yourself for that 1 minute, it isn't long but if you're lazy you won't get anything out of it, and do it a few times a week as you can always change or add other exercises to the 1 minute as I tend to do to keep it interesting, but doing HIIT once only every now and then won't allow you to appreciate the its' benefits, so make it regular.

Try the routine and see how you go, and don't forget to eat sensibly, eating well is huge to seeing benefits, but never diet, just eat right!

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