I‘ve been working towards getting into better shape for over the past year. Many of you who have been following me might see me talking about HIIT sessions or sandbags, dip stations, and ugi balls, OH MY! :3 Even protein powder. I started the adventure December 2010 when I felt absolutely fed up with myself. I’m not only losing weight, but I’m adding strength and really caring about my health as well. A recent strength goal I made was being able to hold myself up during knee raises on the dip station. I can now do 10 in a row before I drop! 😀
What’s the benefit to HIIT Training? It’s intense workouts done in a shorter bursts for certain amounts of time. You gain immense new stamina and strength doing these type of workouts. It mixes up cardio and strength training so you’re burning fat and earning muscle, which later burns more overall. You may find as you feel stronger + more in shape, you’ll want to workout more often. That’s the idea, too. ;D I prefer to work out right at home or outside. I think HIIT is great for editors who are busy with little time some days to workout. These intense intervals can be as low as 10 or 12 minutes + warmup/cooldown. You can pick and choose. Since quite a bit can use your bodyweight (or the few equipment as you advance is easy to travel), you can do these workouts easily in your editcave, at a hotel, at a gym, small space, outside, wherever! Now the idea is to exchange time for intensity. Instead of say moderately to low energy working out an hour, you’re pushing at your maximum intensity for less time.
Why do I like HIIT? For me, it felt less intimidating to start a workout routine to say, okay – I have 20 minutes to do this. I was at first kinda intimidated by the style. Make no mistake. There will be much sweat (maybe tears?), but great reward too! For instance, I live on the third floor. I’ve noticed a huge change in bounding up the flights of stairs with groceries. I feel better, stand up straighter, and have more stamina, agility, and strength. Who doesn’t want that!? 😀 I have grown to love it. It tests myself, I get out a ton of stress from the day, and have no energy left to fret about stupid crap – which has made me overall a lot more positive of a person than I used to be.
What do I do? HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts + strength training. I have alternated the cycle of days. 2 days on, 1 off. Rinse, repeat. or 3 days on, 1 off. 2 on, 2 off. etc. Constantly changing the cycle challenges your body. It never knows what to expect week to week. Sometimes I’ve done it 6 days a week. Try to aim for 3-4 times a week spaced out however you deal best with it. It’ll ebb and flow as your schedule allows. I think at times I was pushing way too hard. Recovery from sore muscles is very important. You’ll learn what works.
I do them two ways: Intervals and Time Challenges. You need an interval timer. I use my laptop with this timer, or you can buy one. I enjoy the cat growl at the end and having the fight bell go off each round. It amuses me. Interval sessions are a set amount of time, divided into single intervals ON and OFF. Commonly, I’ll do 50 seconds on with 10 seconds off with a certain amount of ROUNDS. Time Challenges are going to be longer – as in, timer keeps going until you complete a certain set amount of reps. There are a number of 12-20 minute interval sessions that can be completed on a pretty busy hectic day. Longer & harder routines when you feel up to it and time allows.
- I found a great source of HIIT exercise routines through my sis, who showed me Bodyrock. I just hopped right in on whatever schedule they had going and modded my way as a beginner. It’s free, they’re pretty knowledgeable, they use video, and they usually prepare workouts in a way that if I’m one day behind, I always have something waiting to do. They have a huge archive that you can dive into anytime you like which is great.
- These days however, I also incorporate other methods of exercise routines, such as ZWOW workouts (she’s one of the original Bodyrock founders) or make up my own strength/cardio routines for heavy cardio torture… I mean, FUN EXERCISE ;3 I admit, it can be overwhelming at first glance. You may be convinced there’s no way you’d be on a dip station holding yourself up. Change is scary. Your body wants to protect you, but can try to hinder you on the same coin. Be open to it.
- Wanna test your fitness? Do this warmup. I do this warmup every single time I work out. And I cool down by doing basic stretches, nothing fancy. You’d be amazed how hard this warm up is at first.
The combination of eating every few hours (protein + fiber combos) with the intense sessions at least 3-4 times a week has been working for me. I am not in it for a race. I have no wish to power push into unrealistic shape only to plummet backwards. I have an incredibly high bar set for myself, and I’m not ready for judgement yet… so sorry I can’t provide necessary photos to show progress yet. Though I appreciate hearing from people that they’ve noticed changes. That means a lot and helps more than you know since we’re all our own worst critic 🙂
Before you go running full tilt into working out, take a moment to figure out an overall plan for yourself. They say abs are made in the kitchen, and that’s really true. Working out is great, but if you turn round and have 5 beers and empty carbs and goodies, you might not move forward very fast. It’s a hard lesson. What you eat is a large portion of it, and the exercise keeps you feeling good, helps you lose weight, and will tone you up. But it won’t cancel out bad eating habits 🙁 That is not to say never have goodies or treat yourself. Just be smart. If you were like me, going all day without proper food, it feels weird to eat every 3 hours. Breakfast was a battle, I never really enjoyed eating it at breakfast time (maybe for dinner lol). I invested in protein powder that I drink every morning in my coffee. Give yourself time to make mistakes and bounce back with fists forward.
These are the things I did for myself in preparation for getting healthier:
- I stopped drinking soda and juice. Diet is debated, I drink it with rum here or there. Eat fruit vs. gulping juice. Make it special when you have it, if you must, but not the norm.
- I quit smoking cigarettes. At least if you smoke, switch to an e-cig. I use waffle vapor 😀 Happy to share my experience with that if you want.
- EAT more often, every 3-4 hours with combo of protein + fiber 3.5) Keep majority of carbs to 2 hour window after workout (burns faster!), when you can.
- Sleep. No…really. 🙂 And with the workouts, you will wanna sleep. Broke my insomnia right up.
Before starting workouts:
- Every time you work out, write it down. Workout, Reps, & Mood. Not only does it hold you accountable, it helps you in the future when you want to beat your best score or see if you increased reps. And the little habit of writing it down will help get you some of that lovely discipline you’re going to need for these workouts anyway. It’s like the pre-warmup ritual. 😀 I usually drink my amino acid energy and have already changed by then, so I can’t turn back. 🙂
- Start out with only your bodyweight. Your body is the perfect weight for you to start gaining strength now. You don’t need tons of hand weights and machines and crazy shit. You just need YOU. And shoes. And maybe a foam mat when you slam yourself down to the ground in a fury during exercise. As you get more advanced, you will find you will want to add in something to challenge you. I use a sandbag for most of my added challenge purposes. It’s great for sandbag lunges, squats, rows, situps, everything! You can fill it with sand, or birdseed, free weights wrapped in old towels, or whatever you have laying around. Later, you can add dip station and weighted ugi ball. Or heavy backpack works. Be creative with what you already have in your house, and don’t go buying em all now til you EARN IT 😀
- Invest in good shoes. This really helps. Bonuses: bought a pair of Gold’s gym gloves to protect my hands – plus it feels cool. And a foam thicker mat.
- As you can guess, you don’t expect to bound out of a few months or even a year effort looking like the Hulk. Or Batman. Or Catwoman in some crazy tight outfit. 🙂 Be patient and realize this is a very long term goal that goes on forever, even when you get in shape.
It took awhile to get where I ended up, so it’s going to take awhile to get back yet surpass that. I think not trying to get exactly where I used to be has helped me mentally. It’s like starting fresh with a new image of myself to work towards. When I get to feeling down, I remember that wherever I was today won’t be where I am tomorrow or the next. Every time you make a better food choice or get up and exercise, you’re doing SOMETHING to make it better – and dammit, that counts! 😀 Setting mini goals really helped so I can feel that sweet, sweet accomplishment for the larger picture.
While you’re stuck to a chair, try to stop edits every hour and get up, take a brisk walk around the office. On breaks, go outside. Seriously – fresh air if you can. Being prepared ahead of time for things sounds like work, and IT IS. I can’t sugarcoat that part. You gotta make up snacks or at least keep healthier ones around to toss in your bag before being in a situation where you are starving hungry with nothing good to eat. I always have protein in a baggie and a container. Worked wonders. Nuts (not overly salted) or Kashi bars can be great last minute grabs before you head out.
Far as tracking progress with scales or measurements or using clothes, do the method that works best to hold you accountable. I detest scales, personally. Maybe a tool to use once every 6 months, but I’ve gone over 2 years without one. I used to take measurements every month. But I’ve learned the best one for me is to keep motivating myself and paying attention to how clothes fit or how you feel. There are many ways to reward yourself. Eating clean, then having a special meal, lowfat frozen yogurt, or slice of pizza. Of course, rewards come non-food related, as well. New mmo? Snazzier clothes? Spa/Hair/Nails? Concert? Movies? Some event that is entertaining that feels like something to work towards and is special 🙂
Keep Moving. That’s the key. Even when you feel like you can’t. Just move, mod the hell out of exercises until you get stronger, and give yourself time to adjust. Having to face being on the utter edge of fear, where I think I can’t go on or can’t do one more rep, then do it anyway – seriously cannot be described with the right words how positive I feel afterwards. 🙂 I’m stronger, more disciplined with myself, and I feel like a true ninja some days.
GOOD LUCK!! :3 if you ever want any specific info or advice or wanna buddy up or like have some encouragements, give me a nudge! :3