The kids are going back to school! Yay! But now time is tighter than ever. Let's not get hung up on the bad news. Let's get to work with this calorie-blasting workout that takes less time than you'd think to stay lean. If you're strapped for time but still want to get a workout in that burns mega calories, you need to consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT), one of the most efficient styles of working out. It saves you time and produces superior body results.
The benefits of HIIT are innumerable, but here are just a few:
1. You burn a lot of calories in short period of time.
According to the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), you can burn as many calories — if not more — in a shorter, more-intense HIIT workout as you would in longer, low-intensity workout. Given that time is such a precious commodity, who wouldn't want that option?
2. HIIT is epic because of EPOC.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the post-workout period called "EPOC," which stands for excess postexercise oxygen consumption, is generally a two-hour window when your body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels. During this time, more energy is consumed by your body, which means calories burned. Because HIIT is so vigorous, the EPOC period for your body is greater. You'll burn about six to 15 percent more calories than you would after a typical moderate exercise session.
3. Get your heart pumping!
HIIT forces your heart rate to adjust to perpetually changing exercise conditions. For example, bleachers, sprints, walk, side shuffles, bleachers, sprints, walk, side shuffles, and repeat makes your heart rate fluctuate. Therefore, your heart learns to work outside of its comfort zone (the comfort zone being steady-state cardio), and your body must also adapt to these changes as well. Simply put, HIIT prepares your body for any type of physical activity and makes you an overall better athlete.
For the perfect HIIT workout, we consulted NASM-certified personal trainer Sarah Chadwell, who told us, "If you are already going to be in the school zone, you may as well utilize school facilities to get your sweat on! The perfect location for a HIIT workout is at your local high school track."
Here's Chadwell's HIIT track workout:
- Warm up with a brisk walk or jog one lap around the track.
- Step 1: Find the bleachers. Sprint up the bleachers and then quickly walk down. Jog down to the next row of stairs, sprint up and quickly walk down. Repeat this until you run out of bleachers.
- Step 2: Get back on the track. Fast walk the curve. At the end of the track curve, stop and do 10 push-ups and 20 crunches right there on the on the track.
- Step 3: Jump up. Sprint the straight away (100 yards). Stop and do 10 push-ups and 20 crunches on the track.
- Step 4: Fast walk the curve. Complete side shuffles down the last 100-yard straight away.
Repeat this track circuit for 20-25 minutes. Challenge yourself and see how many rounds you can get through. Be sure to give your body a proper cooldown and stretch once you're finished. It aids in recovery and your legs will thank you after this workout.
With this routine, you work on full-body strength and conditioning all in one stop. Try this workout two to three times per week for three weeks and you'll see the inches start melting away. You'll even have time to spend with your kids at the end of each busy day, and you'll be able to keep up with them! Who knew the kids going back to school could also be your fittest time of the year?
Product Credit: Rebecca Minkoff sweatshirt, Alternative Apparel zip up jacket, Nike leggings