With all of the data and information floating around out there about what workout program or exercise regime is best, it can be mind-boggling as to what you should do. Exercise comes in many forms, not just split between resistance training and cardio, but even further split into long-distance, HIIT, Circuit, Tabata, etc. Jump around to different sites and they’ll all swear that “their” way is the way to go, and granted it may be…for some. See the thing about exercise is, just as in any other way of healthy living there is not a one size fits all approach. Best suited exercises can be based on body type, fitness goal, preference/taste, ability, etc. That said, in general it is recommended that people add both some sort of cardio and resistance training into their exercise routine. (More to come in a future blog about the important of weight training!) From there, the amount and types is all up to customizing the plan for the best results for YOU!
Personally speaking, I’m going to be honest: I’ve never been a fan of running. Trust me, I’ve tried to love running, to become one of those people who hop out of bed every morning excited to run 3-5 miles (or more), but I’m just not. I think part of this is due to the fact that I was a volleyball player 9 years and used to a fast paced game. Plus, all of my high school and college workouts were centered around jumping, plyometrics, sprints, and weights–more fast-paced workouts rather than longer runs and distances. This was the idea of workout I became accustomed to. And that’s okay! There is no rule saying everyone must run 3 miles a day, although yes the benefits of running are tremendous. And to be fair, I’m preparing for a 10k next Spring, so I do run a bit longer once a week (more to come on that later). The reason this was okay, was because I found another type of workout–other than weight lifting of course–that really suits me and that I actually enjoy: HIIT/Circuit training.
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and the basic idea is that you give all-out effort through quick bursts of exercise and then rest for a short period of time and keep switching off either for time or number of reps/rounds. This type of workout is effective because it gets and keeps your heart rate up, burns more fat, increases your metabolism and it is quick and convenient. Circuit training is similar to HIIT; however, instead of switching off between bursts of intense exercise and rest, you do a series of exercises in a row for a longer period of time with short rest in between sets. I like both of these for a variety of reasons:
1). Variety of exercises. I never get bored because I am constantly switching up the exercise that I am doing.
2). Allows me to workout harder. When I know I only have to do an exercise (say bur-pees) for a short period of time before rest or before I move on, I am able to workout at a higher intensity.
3). Sculpt multiple areas. Doing HIIT/Circuit vs. just running allows me to work on many different parts of my body and different muscle groups rather than just a few.
These are just a few of the reasons I love and choose to do HIIT/Circuit workouts. If you have never attempted either one, I suggest you give them a try to see if they fit you. Even if you aren’t looking to switch up your routine, it can always be good to try different programs to find what really works best for you and your body. Below, I have given 2 sample workouts (1 Circuit and 1 HIIT). These are just starting points. Feel free to add or take away exercises, increase or decrease the time, etc. in order to better customize this workout to your ability and fitness level. I hope you give these a try and find an amazing new way to love working out!