HIIT Workouts:: What They are and Why You Should Try Them

As moms, we are busy all day, every day; it never ends. You work in or outside the home, taking care of your children and other family, and this can really start to run you down. Staying active and fit is a must to do all that you do. But how and when the heck are you supposed to work out? A lot of us don’t have that hour or two every day to spend on fitness, or if we do, we don’t know what kind of workout will help us make the most of our time. I am here to tell you the answer is HIIT!

What the Heck is HIIT?

HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, utilizes alternating periods of high intensity anaerobic training with low or medium intensity aerobic training.

What does aerobic and anaerobic mean exactly? During aerobic training, the body utilizes oxygen and glucose to produce energy. During anaerobic training, there is not enough oxygen, and so the body utilizes only glucose. In less nerdy terms, anaerobic exercise is performed with a MUCH HIGHER HEART RATE. If you want to dive deep down the rabbit hole, you can use this site to calculate your different heart rate training zones. 

HIIT has numerous benefits; studies have shown that it can reduce both heart rate and blood pressure, improve oxygen uptake, and overall improve your quality of life even up to a year after stopping exercise. It has been shown to burn more calories during and after exercise which can lead to more weight loss. And overall, most people report enjoying these types of exercises more than your run of the mill continuous aerobic training like running, cycling or swimming.

But I would imagine one of the best things about HIIT for us moms is that it is super time-efficient. One study showed that, over the course of 12 weeks, 10 minutes of HIIT exercise was equivalent to 50 minutes of continuous aerobic training. So all I potentially need is ten minutes? Awesome!

Examples of HIIT

If you are working out at home or on your own, you can do extremely simplified workouts that include only body weight, such as burpees, air squats, jumping lunges, high knees, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, etc. If you want to spice it up a bit, you could spring for a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell to add even more movements. Some programs will also add in periods of sprint aerobics of running, jumping rope, cycling, rowing or swimming.

Performing a HIIT workout in my garage at home.

Here is an example of a workout you could easily do at home:: 5 rounds of 10 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, and 30 air squats with 1 minute of rest in-between each round. I did this recently, and the whole workout took me 15 minutes. You could knock this out in your living room before your kids wake up in the morning, or in your bedroom after everyone is asleep. Imagine if you did something like this every day? Where would that get you?

Ok, I’ll Buy in! Where do I Start? 

Working out with HIIT can be extremely simple or can get more complicated, depending on what you are able and wanting to do. 

If you are someone that likes to work out with other people and you possibly have that hour or so a few times a week, there are plenty of programs you can join in. Perhaps you have heard of CrossFit, OrangeTheory, IronTribe Fitness, SoulCycle, BodyPump, Bootcamp, etc? All of these programs mainly consist of HIIT exercising. Usually you pay a fee per class or per month, and you workout in a group led by an instructor, trainer or coach. 

Teresa Trojanowski, owner of Crossfit Central Houston, performs low impact HIIT movements while pregnant.

 

Kelly S. performs HIIT movements at Iron Tribe Fitness in Katy.

If you have a baby like me, it can be really hard to get away somewhere. Some organizations have online programming you can follow at home, or you can scour YouTube for some great videos that show the movements. There are also numerous free apps you can download that provide countless workouts. 

A few of my favorite apps, in no particular order, include:

  1. J&J official 7 Minute Workout
  2. Freeletics
  3. Workout for Women
  4. Fitify
  5. Nike Training Club

Let’s Do This!

Mommas, I know how you are feeling. I have been there! Your clothes don’t fit well, you have no energy and the thought of starting a new workout regimen can be very daunting. But that is the beauty of HIIT! It is SUPER effective and SO easy for you to implement at home or join in a program and meet some other #fitmoms. Give it a try! What have you got to lose other than a healthier, happier you?

 

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