Get Moving – Fitness Plan to Lose Weight Part 3
If you haven’t already, you might want to read through Eat Better Foods – Fitness Plan to Lose Weight Part 1 and Should You Count Calories? – Fitness Plan to Lose Weight Part 2 before reading this.
It’s Time to Move It
Almost every morning, my alarm buzzes to signal the start of a new day. I say, “almost every morning” because sometimes I wake a few minutes early and shut it off before it can cut through the cool morning air with that awful sound. Either way, I’m not able to jump right out of bed and get moving… it’s a process. It takes a few minutes, and my responsibilities of helping get the kids to school and getting myself ready for work ultimately take priority, so I get up, start moving and every reason I had to stay in bed disappears. It’s a new day, and time to get moving and get something accomplished.
My point is that while sometimes we would rather stay in bed, in a nice pocket of warmth and not move at all, our bodies were designed to move around. Our hunter gatherer ancestors had to move frequently, or else be killed and eaten by something bigger and more fierce. They also had to move around to hunt their own food. Walking slowly at times and sprinting at other times.
To lose weight effectively and be healthy, we all need to move around. If you’re like me, when you simply get moving and exercise on a regular basis, you feel better, and it’s even easier to eat better. The best part is that moving around doesn’t mean you have to use a treadmill or get a gym membership. You can do anything you enjoy that gets you moving. If you like walking, walk. If you like running, run. If you like swimming, swim. If you like dancing, dance. If you like walking the treadmill at the gym, then go do that.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
There is one key exercise technique I’ve found to help accelerate the weight loss. It’s called high intensity interval training (or HIIT). Our hunter gatherer ancestors knew about it, but they did it merely to survive. Whatever the activity you choose, be sure to vary the intensity throughout. When done properly, the body will burn fat for energy (long after you’ve completed your HIIT workout) instead of getting energy from other sources. There was a key study published in 2012 to support this position, and, in my personal experience, it is the style of aerobic workout that made me feel the best and was the most fun.
HIIT alternates between high and low intensity exercise for a relatively short total workout time (it should take no more than 40 minutes or so, including warm up and cool down). In my opinion, short workouts are great because they let me do the other things in life I enjoy.
Using running as an example, HIIT training would be running as fast as you can (high intensity) for a short period of time (30 to 40 seconds), then a slow jog or fast walk (low intensity) for a longer period of time (one to two minutes). The exact times will vary depending on your fitness level. As fitness level improves, the low intensity time can get shorter, but should never be less than the high intensity time
Alternate between the high and low intensities for between 12 and 30 minutes. By the time you finish you should be very tired, and hopefully surprisingly energized.
The HIIT technique can be applied to just about any aerobic activity by alternating the intensity. In addition, some studies have found that HIIT accelerates fat loss. Just two of the many reasons I like incorporating high intensity interval training as par of my routine.
Interval Training Infographic
The following infographic, provided by The Greatist Team at greatist.com does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of high intensity interval training.
More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.
I prefer to do my HIIT work first thing in the morning. It makes me feel better all day long. I often find myself looking forward to my HIIT days because they’re just that awesome. HIIT training really should only be done 3 or 4 days a week. When done right, HIIT tears down muscles and they need time to rebuild.
Consider incorporating HIIT into your workout routine. It can be fun, it doesn’t require a big time commitment, and can be done almost anywhere.
The above commentary is based on my personal experience and research. It is not a substitute for the advice of a professional, it’s simply what I’ve done and what works for me. You should consult your doctor before beginning any changes to diet or physical activity.