Hello, everyone! My name is Alison and this is my first post with American Ingenue—I’m so excited to be a part of the team. I’m a health, fitness, and wellness fanatic and I love to share my insights on how I continue to navigate the vast world of fitness.
Jenna and I met a few years ago while teaching together and one of the many things I admire about her is her intensity. When I started brainstorming ideas for my first topic to discuss with you, the word intensity and how it applies to our everyday workouts seemed like a perfect fit!
It is a misconception that a productive workout needs to be a long workout. In fact, more often than not I’ve noticed many people at the gym working out for extended periods of time ineffectively without being aware of it. Their lack of intensity fails to push them through to the next level so that they can achieve their goals. I believe this is where people who fail to see results begin to lose hope in their fitness goals—they’d see more of a transformation if they’d only tweak their approach.
With that in mind, I put together a sample workout that I do frequently (once or twice a week), mixed in with other workouts, where I focus on the intensity of the workout over the duration. Whether you’re looking to get back in shape after baby or too many treats on that winter/summer holiday, or you just want to add some oomph to your weekly routine, throwing in some high intensity workouts will help you get the results you’re looking for. This type of training can be described as HIIT training, or high-intensity interval training, where you work intensely for short period of time and alternate with a less intense recovery period. This plan is quick, effective, and doesn’t require a gym or any equipment, making it great for busy working gals living that #bosslife, mamas who need to make the most out of their limited free time, and everyone in between!
Jog/Run/Sprint That’s right, get moving! Depending on your fitness level, choose a distance that you are comfortable with. There are a quite a few free “tabata” apps in the iPhone app store that are free that will help track your pace along the way. Tabata goes along with HIIT training, but for the sake of this post, we’ll utilize the tabata timer for the three moves below. Before you begin, decide on a few designated points to increase your pace for a specific amount of time. For example, I run three miles during these workouts and at six different points in my run, I increase my pace to challenge my current level of fitness. I usually maintain the elevated pace for about 30 seconds to one minute. I then return to my previous pace and jog through my gasps for breath. I believe jogging through your increased rate of breathing helps slow down your heart rate while still pushing you to continue your run. By pushing yourself to accelerate and increase your pace, you are challenging your current level of fitness in addition to your mental toughness to work towards achieving your goals.
Strengthening Exercises Once you’ve returned from your run, incorporate a few of these moves, again with increased intensity at varying intervals. This will increase your cardio strength and endurance, which will enhance your effectiveness in other workouts
Remember, you need to increase the intensity of your workouts if you want to see change. You also need to increase the intensity of your workouts if you don’t have time for a longer workout. Focusing on working hard rather than how long you’ve worked out for will put you into a position to create real change.
Now get out there and enjoy!
*You should always check with your physician before beginning any workout program*
Alison is a high school teacher living outside New York City. While not sharing her love of history or working with students to perfect their serves on the tennis court, Alison can be found at the gym, exploring the city, or relaxing with her boyfriend. Alison loves all things health and fitness, and is here to help whip our butts into shape.