Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Power of 15 Minutes!

This may seem very strange, given the subject lines of most of my blogs (finding spiritual connections through long distance trail running), however, I am going to write about how powerful only 15 minutes of exercise can be (if done correctly).

First, a quick warning, this type of training (it goes by many names: interval training, speed work, HITT, track work etc) is not for beginners.  Also, make sure you are properly warmed up before you do this (so, the actual workout time is probably closer to 25 minutes if you are doing it by itself, but only 15 if you are doing it right after a weight training workout or boot camp class - the BEST time do this, btw)!  Also, this is best done when well hydrated, on an empty stomach.

Anyway, there is enough detail to keep you busy for weeks in books, blogs, etc. on different types of interval workouts, so instead of giving you 20 different workouts, I will try to motivate you just to try this using a little math.  If you did 15 minutes of high intensity intervals 3x per week, after your weight training workouts you would burn, conservatively, 150 more calories per workout, plus 50 or so (depending on what study you read) more during the day after the workout.  This adds up to 600 calories a week for just 45 minutes of extra time.    Keep this up for a year and (keeping your diet consistent) this could add up to 9lbs of stubborn body fat GONE from your body!  Do I have your attention yet?

Here is a very simple workout I have done with a couple of FormWell members this week (btw, if I had a $1.00 for every time a member said - "I don't have time to stay after my workout to do more cardio" and then stayed around for 20 minutes, talking to their trainer or friends, I could retire and write this blog full time ;-) - you have the time!

1. If you are doing this after a workout, no need to do any extra warm up, just do 2 minutes of easy walking to get yourself into the "flow" of the treadmill (this can be done on any piece of cardio equipment and also outside, of course).
2. Run, preferably at an incline, at a pace that you can barely maintain for 90-120 seconds for 2 minutes.  Finding this "uncomfortable place" may take some trial and error, but basically the feeling I am looking for is that after 60 seconds or so, you cannot wait till the 2 minutes are up.  You are breathing very hard, and can answer questions with a quick yes, no or inaudible grunt!
3. Walk, VERY EASY, for 1-3 minutes, or until you feel totally recovered.
4. Repeat this 5x
5. Walk 2-5 minutes for a cool down and stretch.

Enjoy the after glow.  Repeat 2-3x per week for maximum results. 

Have fun, if you are hating me during the 2 minute intervals, you are doing it right!