Lately, I’ve been thinking about Xena: Warrior Princess (yes, I realize that this is a bit weird). But back in the day when I had young children plus a full-time job plus family and community obligations, I thought it would be cool to be strong and thin and tall (especially tall!) and have abs like Lucy Lawless, but I didn’t believe I could get into that kind of shape unless I had my very own personal trainer, dietician, nutritionist, chef…
And then I discovered high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. I now do it 3 or 4 times a week and have found many benefits. It is efficient. It burns fat and improves cholesterol. It increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It increases heart health. It increases metabolism and is challenging and fun!
The American College of Sports Medicine says, “HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, such as overweight and diabetes. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including cycling, walking, swimming, aqua training, elliptical cross-training, and in many group exercise classes. HIIT workouts provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. This is because HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess postexercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy. Because of the vigorous contractile nature of HIIT workouts, the EPOC generally tends to be modestly greater, adding about 6 to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure.” (Reprinted with permission of the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright © 2014 American College of Sports Medicine.)
Information provided by Julie Bautista of Orange Theory Fitness, 2171 N.W. 111th St., Clive, 515-207-3430.
HIIT workouts allow me to tune into my inner Xena. But more importantly, the workout makes me feel successful and energized. As the ancient philosopher Socrates reportedly said, “It is a shame for a woman/man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which her/his body is capable.”
So tune into your inner Warrior Princess (or Prince), but listen to Socrates. Seeing the beauty and strength which YOUR body is capable of…that’s true success!