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That’s a great question!
So are these:
As women we hear the same cries from the world…
‘lift more weights’
‘do more cardio’
‘running, that’s the key!’
‘go faster, longer, harder…’
The messages change all the time and all we’re really looking for is a fun way to relieve stress and get a good butt. (While simultaneously extending our life and strengthening our mental fortitude, of course.)
If you’re like me then your ears perked up with the recent hum (that’s turned into a roar) about shorter workouts that could get the job done and still give us results.
What’s that you say?
An exercise program that actually fits into your crazy life schedule AND meets all the requirements we’ve been conditioned to believe need to be a part of a good exercise schedule?
High intensity interval training (aka HiiT) workouts are the best news any woman’s heard about fitness since the world (finally) agreed that curves are sexy and (some) fats are good for you.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about short workouts like HiiT…
High intensity interval training routines are workouts that use intense bursts of exercise with short recovery periods in between to burn maximum calories in the least amount of time.
A HiiT routine can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as you want it, because HiiT is a style of workout, not a specific workout. So, you can mix HiiT intervals into any workout you’re doing.
It’s a very efficient way to exercise and burn a maximum amount of fat and calories in the least amount of time.
✔Research has also shown that the cardiovascular benefits of regular short intense exercise can be just as good as those seen in longer workouts.
It’s common to see body weight exercises like burpees and push-ups in HiiT workouts.
These moves not only burn tons of calories but will also help you build muscle.
And you can do compound exercises (where you combine more than one muscle group) with light dumbbells to sculpt and tone in short intense workouts done at a faster tempo.
By adding dumbbells you’ll get strength gains while simultaneously making the exercise more cardiovascular. Which results in a very efficient workout with maximum calories burned in the least amount of time.
If you’re a beginner, short workouts might be the perfect place to start because you’re probably easing into the idea of making regular exercise a part of your life and starting small (short) could be the perfect baby step.
The thing to remember is that short intense workouts like HiiT ARE NOT the same as other short workouts.
The goal of a HiiT routine is to give 100% for a short period of time in between even shorter periods of rest. This is an advanced way of exercising. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try it.
The key is to listen to your body and only do what you’re capable of doing.
You’ll need to modify the routines when you first get started.
For example, if the intervals in the routine you want to try are 45 seconds of intense work, then, as a beginner, you could start with 10-15 seconds of work with a longer period of rest, and then gradually increase the periods of maximum intensity.
Also, if you’re a beginner you can modify every exercise to fit your current skill level. For example, if the exercise is high impact (where your feet leave the floor) then you can do the exercise in a low impact version.
If the exercise uses weights then you can use no weights. And if one of the exercises has a big range of motion then you can make it smaller.
There’s a way to modify every exercise.
Being a beginner doesn’t mean don’t challenge yourself. But be smart. Take breaks often. Stretch a lot. Drink plenty of water before and after the workout.
And take more rest days in between workouts if you want to do these short intense kinds of routines.
*If you’ve never exercised a day in your life (or are just getting back after a long break) then consult your medical provider before you do ANY kind of exercise.
Combining a smart nutrition plan with any kind of exercise program done regularly will get you results.
In fact, I recommend it.
Stacking different styles of workouts into one day is perfect for intermediate or advanced exercisers. And layering short HiiT style routines in between other kinds of regular exercise will keep you from hitting a physical (or mental) plateau in your exercise program.
But, of course, based on the research, if you only have time for one block of intense exercise then you’re good to go.
Some pro ideas ???? You can do a HiiT style workout after a short 1-3 mile run. Or use a cardio HiiT workout as the first half of a longer 45 minute routine by following the short HiiT routine with another style of exercise that complements your HiiT workout (like weight lifting).
The answer to that will depend on you.
If you’re a beginner then start out doing HiiT once a week and other styles of exercise 3-4 days.
As you get stronger and build up your cardiovascular and muscular endurance then begin to sprinkle in more HiiT style workouts into your exercise program as often as you feel able to handle it.
Remember that pushing your body to its limits in any kind of exercise (HiiT style, running or weight training) requires more recovery time for your body to prevent injury.
Challenge yourself but exercise smart.
You can find a huge variety of short HiiT workouts to keep your workouts challenging and interesting.
And once you’ve done a few short HiiT workouts you’ll understand how to create your own HiiT routine using exercises that you love.
You can’t beat the fact that short workouts like HiiT are a very efficient ways to exercise.
And the fact is, we’re all dealing with very busy schedules and a shorter window of time to workout, which makes this kind of exercise ideal for many women.
You can easily use short workouts like HiiT routines to get total body conditioning including strengthening benefits as well as the obvious cardiovascular gains.
For women, there are a lot of workouts out there that have fancy steps and choreography that require balance, agility and coordination. Those kinds of workouts aren’t for everyone.
Typically, short intense workouts like HiiT don’t use any complex choreography or moves that can’t be easily modified for any fitness level.
YouTube is a vast universe of every kind of workout style you could want. There a tons of free routines to choose from. The downside is that you might get sucked into a blackhole of video clips that have nothing to do with what you sat down to look for.
There’s also the possibility that you’ll hit play and then discover it’s not at all what you wanted if it’s not a trainer you’re already familiar with.
You can find an endless number of infographics with HiiT style workouts on Pinterest. The cool thing about using a workout from Pinterest is that you can printout the workout and then do it at your own pace.
The downside is that while you might have an image to follow, it might not be enough to figure out exactly what’s happening with every move.
The 10 Minute Workout System by Yours Truly (One Strong Southern Girl) is a great option for people looking for a wide variety of short intense workouts that include HiiT cardio as well as ab and strength training workouts.
It’s an affordable exercise on demand membership service you can stream from home just like Netflix. I do every workout with you and help you understand how and where to modify if you need to.
The membership is perfect for people short on time but with real exercise ambitions.
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