In the morning, you grab a cup of coffee, turn on the TV, and there he is…Shaun T promoting Insanity®. You think to yourself “I should probably work out”.

When you see the before and after pics, you even consider for a moment to buy the DVD set. But then your good senses kick in and you change the channel.

Schwew! Workout diverted!

So why are so many people in love with such workouts as Crossfit, P90X®, and Insanity®?

Simply because they produce results in a short amount of time.

The programs, to varying degrees, utilize a training concept called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). THIS is what you need to pay attention to.

You don’t need to buy any fancy programs and you don’t need to sign up for some terrifying program where everyone in class looks amazing already.

The benefits of HIIT is that it helps train your body to use energy from your anaerobic system (for quick bursts of energy unlike endurance training), helps your body become more efficient at removing metabolic waste (you won’t be as sore!), and it can increase your VO2Max up to 28% (how efficient your body uses oxygen).

The VERY BEST PART of HIIT… you continue to burn calories 24-48 hours AFTER your exercise session!!

Sign. Me. Up.

Think of your body like a car. When you drive along at 55 miles per hour on the highway, you use gas, but not near as much as when you are stuck in stop and go traffic for an hour.

Your body is the same way. When you continually stop and go, your body gets revved up and thinks “When are are we going again?? When? When? We’re going soon, so I better be ready.”

It will continue to do this long after you finish interval training. If you spend an hour on the treadmill at a steady pace, you will only burn calories WHILE you’re on the treadmill.

You can gradually incorporate intervals into your workouts today. To gauge how hard you should push, use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1-10. Start out with a 5-10 minute warmup of an RPE of 3-5. Then add in up to 1 minute bursts of RPE of 7-8 followed by 2-3 minutes of RPE 4-5. You can work your way up to 10-12 intervals.

A simple way to add intervals to your morning jog is to find a telephone pole up ahead and sprint until you get to it. These little games make it easy without having to think too much.

Taking a spin class is another great way to add intervals as the instructor will take you through a series of hills and sprints…each raising your heart rate for short bursts. Or simply run up the stairs at work!

If you do decide to take the leap to one of the organized programs, studies have found that P90X® is better designed over Insanity®.

As for Crossfit, it can be an excellent workout, but is very demanding. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable personal trainer who will teach you proper form and build your joint mobility and stability.

Mix up your workouts, today! You’ll be glad you did and reap the benefits. Tell me what you love about HIIT and how you plan to incorporate more intervals into your day in the comments below!

Love and Health! Tami McVay