Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Burn 200 in 30.

Working out has become a chore for me.  Taking time away from my family once I'm home after a full-day at the office is something I don't like to do.   Add to the fact that there aren't many options for classes in my area and a gym is just not for me.  Whatever excuse you can think of, I thought of it first and denied myself the workout opportunity.

But lately, I discovered an extremely effective exercise that left me (painfully) excuse-free.

I was told by a friend recently that instead of posting delicious recipes and sinful desserts, I should share my workout secrets.  I lost a bit of weight over Ramadan and it was mainly portion control mixed in with a brief but intense workout, every other day.  Sometimes every day if I have the energy.

So here it is - my not-so secret tip: HIIT. 

The trend these days High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT, read more here) - is exactly what it is says.  Intensive short bursts of movement that boost your metabolism and won't kill you from how lengthy they are.  The result is a quick and effective workout - with a significant amount of calories burned and a healthy heart-rate that is ultimately, in the proper workout zone.

There are several regimens out there for HIIT, 50 second workout, 10 second rest, 4 sets cardio, then 50 seconds core.  Repeat.  Or 40 second workout, 10 second rest, 6 sets, then 60 seconds core....etc.  But you get the concept - right?

I began the journey by doing the 30-day shred by Jillian Michaels but found it wasn't intense enough for me.  I was averaging 150 calories for a 28-minute workout.  The sweat factor was minimal.  I am a strong believer in the sweat factor. 

I started searching for other HIIT workouts and found one youtube channel that I just LOVED.  FitnessBlender have amazing videos, informative, visual representation of your progress, time remaining, and next move previews.  The narrator's monotonous tone is slightly annoying but honestly by the time you are done with the  warmup all you hear is your intense breathing and subsequent heartbeat.

The below is my first and favorite workout.  The one that presents you with muscle soreness and stiff obliques.  But it works.

I was losing inches and weight and was loving it.  I was losing 200-calories, give or take 15% with FitnessBlender.  If you think that's too little, here's a benchmark of other exercises:
Walking for 1 hour - 200-calorie range
Jogging for 1 hour - 400-calorie range
Cycling for 1 hour - 450-calorie range
More info on calories burned here

In terms of my 'equipment' - I am happy to report that there are very little - almost negligble.

For starters, you need a proper pair of shoes.  These are super light and really flexible so all the jumping and burpees were easy.

An exercise mat isn't necessary but definitely helpful. I got mine from Sun, Sand and Sports.

Again, dumbbells aren't necessary (you could even use water bottles) but these are an added bonus and the resistance they provide boosts the calories burned.  Also from Sun, Sand and Sports.

This is the most important accessory you will need.  A heart-monitor that keeps tracking of your heartbeat, calories burned, and saves all your workouts.  I bought it from Amazon here.  It comes with a strap that isn't as bothersome as you would think and you position it at the end of your rip cage so it measures heartbeat very accurately.
 And the most important 'accessory' of all?
Hydration.  Whether they are quenchers you are into, or plain ol' boring water - make sure you hydrate hydrate hydrate.

So there you have - easy, effective, virtually costs you nothing, and it is seriously addictive.

My journey is still ongoing and I am happy with the results.  Stable and slow weight-loss is better than intensely fast weight-loss and can be easily sustained.

So go on - work it and stay healthy!

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