Exactly one year ago, my baby went to Kindergarten and I headed to the gym. I was at my maximum weight I had ever been not pregnant or postpartum. A career yo-yoer, but a generally active person, working out was not foreign to me. In the past, I had long-term relationships with cross fit, spinning, kickboxing, group power and even one-on-one personal training without ever really achieving my fitness goals.

This time I chose a gym that I didn’t really know much about except that I had seen a couple of friends shed weight and get in shape. It is kind of a crappy little gym in a strip mall with a small group class focus and a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) philosophy. The owner who also happens to be the trainer could care less about hurting your feelings or political correctness. Sign me up!

My first workout started off by my joining the other masochists in the dark at 6 AM for warm up in the parking lot. I pretended not to be dying, but when I saw that it was only 6:07 after entering the gym, I knew I was screwed. Walking was going to be a challenge for the next few days. Actually, everything was a challenge – sitting on the toilet, going down the stairs, walking the dog. My muscles eventually got used to the routine allowing me to get through that first few workouts and was soon hooked. Through working out and a lean, lower carb diet, I lost 22 pounds over the next few months. The difference with the HIIT workout over any other workout I had ever tried is that I could actually see my body changing and becoming more defined. I was definitely drinking the Kool-Aid. That is metaphorically speaking, of course, because their was no room for sugar-laden Kool-Aid in my new approach to nutrition.

What exactly is HIIT?

As described by the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform.

HIIT the Calories and Fat where it counts!

A HIIT workout can burn up to 15% more calories and raises women’s ability to oxidize fat over traditional workouts. There is science to back up these claims. In a 2011 study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers found that 2 weeks of high-intensity interval training improved aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of traditional exercise. Who doesn’t want more efficiency when working out?

How to get hooked on HIIT safely.

If you want to be able to sit on the toilet post-workout, I would recommend starting out slowly. The best part about HIIT is that a little bit goes a long way. Avoiding injury is key so make sure you know exactly how to do each move with proper form.

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The 7-minute HIIT workout – to get you started.

Yes, you read correctly. I wrote 7-minutes! My business partner swears by this workout that is intended to be done 7 days a week. It includes 12 exercises to be performed 30 seconds each with a 10 second rest in between each exercise.

Equipment Needed: A chair, a wall and your body.

Jumping jacks –
Wall sit
Push ups (traditional or from the knee)
Chair step-ups
Chair tricep dips
High knees
Alternating lunge
Push up and rotation
Side plank (15 seconds on each side)

Once you have mastered the 7-minute HIIT workout and you want a greater challenge add another 7 minutes and do a second round of the same 12 moves and the incorporate the following tips for greater challenge.

Turn your push ups burpees.

Alternate your abdominal crunches by placing your heads in army style behind your head and focusing on bringing your opposite elbow to opposite knee.

If you have a pair of light weight dumbbells, add alternating bicep curl to your chair step ups.

Place low weight dumbbells on your shoulders when doing squats.

Hold one dumbbell in each hand with arms at your side when doing alternating lunges.

Remember to consult your physician before going from couch potato to HIIT extraordinaire.

This workout was adapted from the The Scientific 7-minute workout.


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