Changing Up Your Routine, Part 1

Spring must have put an extra little bit of pep in my step because I have been switching up my winter work out schedule like crazy lately.  And, so far, it’s great to be able to add a little variety to my week rather than just running, weights, yoga and stretching.  I think a change in pace is just what my body and I need to increase energy levels and to burn that stubborn winter fat.

I have been incorporating more HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata workouts into my weekly schedule.  Keep in mind that I am not doing HIIT workouts every day because I am still working on increasing my running distance as well as increasing my strength training.

HIIT and Tabata make for a perfect addition to my routine and, in my experience, has made for more energetic and productive work outs. Since starting to incorporate these types of workouts into my weekly routine, I have found that my average pace has increased for both walking and running.

In case you are unfamiliar with HIIT, it can be summarized as a cardio training technique that switches between speed and recovery intervals, making for a quick and intense workout.  The basic format that I follow is warming up for five minutes (walking on an incline, light jog, etc) and then performing alternating speed and recovery intervals.  Treadmill-Workout1 Date-Night-Cardio-Tone-It-Up_002

When doing a Tabata workout, to sum it all up, you work as hard as you possibly can with the given exercise for 20 seconds, then you rest for 10 seconds and repeat eight rounds of that exercise for a total of four minutes.  

Don’t worry, I was confused at first, too!  The easiest way to make sure you’re doing this properly is to follow a Tabata workout guide (see below) for the first few times you are doing a Tabata workout.  Also, having a reliable timer is essential to the success of this type of exercise.  You can’t be huffing and puffing while counting to 20 seconds in your head.  Trust me.  I use the Tabata Timer app for my iPhone or my Gymboss timer and they have both been lifesavers.

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What do you do to change up your exercise routine?

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