July is finally here and we’re all very excited to have some much deserved time off! Whether is long overdue catch ups with friends and family, or a little change in scenery, summer is the ideal time to make those exercise sessions condensed to maximise your precious free time whilst making sure you still get the benefits we know exercising bears. If you’re not quite familiar with high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, now is the ideal time to give it a go. In general HIIT means short spurts of exercise at high heart rates - so above 80% of your max heart rate. And when I say short, I mean it! You can start at 30 seconds and go from there, building it up towards 3 minutes if you’d like. The trick here is to also have short recovery periods = 30 seconds spurt means maximum of 30 second rest. The formula is not set in stone but your rest period should be shorter or at most the same as your exercise period. My favourite part about HIIT training is it’s quick. You will get a great workout done in half an hour and that’s including your warm up. What’s not to love?
HIIT is great for burning fat and that includes the visceral fat from around our organs we need to keep to a minimum. It’s also been shown to improve cardiac health, endurance and general fitness levels. So you’re getting the benefits of exercising even if you have only a little time to spare.
HIIT exercising is hard as you’re working at close to maximum heart rate, but the benefits are certainly worth it. As always, consult a health care professional before starting a completely new exercise routine such as HIIT.
Once you’re all set to go, here are a couple of ideas for home/holiday/garden workouts. It’s a good idea to pre-plan on what you’re about to do. This means you can calculate how many different exercises and how many rounds you will be doing but also allows an efficient warm up to minimise injury risk. A good warm up is mimicking the moves you will be doing but in lower intensity. So if you’re planning on sprinting for 30 seconds, light jogging should be part of the warm up. If you’re jumping on a spin bike for a sprint, use it to warm up as well.
After your minimum of 10 minutes warm up, the rest is a classic case of mix and match. Some exercises you could choose from are squats or squats jumps, lunges, push ups, jumping jacks, planks, mountain climbers, and burpees. There are so many more and you can choose from your personal favourites - as long as it gets your heart rate up! Between each exercise you have chosen, do 30 seconds of easy jogging on the spot. Jogging on the spot is a great active recovery meaning you keep those muscles warm and moving whilst allowing your heart rate to calm down again.
As busy as life gets, it’s easy to squeeze in a HIIT session 2-3 times per week. Just make sure to warm up, cool down and enjoy the rest of the day knowing your body is grateful you’re taking care of it. And remember, a little exercise is better than none.