Saturday, 3 May 2014

New found love: HIIT

I have already described my overwhelming love for sir Gym. The main thing that makes me so attracted to sir Gym is the weight lifting. Heavy free weights. I've always kinda hated doing cardio though. But - about a week ago a realized that I was not as tired as I should be after a session of my new program (4-split instead of 3-split which makes the sessions a lot quicker) so I decided to try sprinting. Intervals has always been my thing since my endurance is pretty shitty and I don't know how to motivate myself to keep running when I feel like I am about to die, but it has always been longer intervals with the goal of being able to run for as long as possible without resting.

Now I've been quite inspired of the Primal Blueprint lately and by listening to their podcast I was curious to try really high intensity sprints after my workout. So I did. And then I did it after every upper body workout session this week. And I must say that wow, sir Gym - why didn't you show me this side of yourself earlier??? So what I've been doing is just 15 min sessions of 45 sec - 1 min of running at the top speed of what I have previously been capable of, followed by 1 min walking.

Why I love it you ask? Because it is over quickly so it is easier for me to push myself into both starting and continuing for the remaining time; because it releases all the happy hormones that I love from cardio exercise without being as torturous; because it is not as tough as aerobic exercise so I can do it after my strength programs which I have never managed before (I suppose - not really surprisingly - that anaerobic exercise is my thing), because I notice results after only one week of doing this!

Mark Sisson wrote an excellent post about this a while back, describing the benefits you get from sprinting. I am really looking forward to keep up these intervals and see how it will affect me in the longer run. What I can notice after only a week is: more energy and feeling a lot better mentally, starting to actually recognize my hunger signals which I haven't felt for a long time, increased speed (I suppose it is the same as when you start lifting - rapid progress in the beginning) and better focus. I mostly feel more stable mentally. I don't know if I can put all credit for that into the sprints of course, since my food intake has been really good the past week as well, I have managed to stick to my exercise routine and I have had a humane amount of things to do at uni (meaning: no stress). Although I definitely believe that the new addition of short HIIT sessions have strongly contributed to my new well being that has been absent for quite some time.

A pretty exhausted Sofia just off the treadmill. Sweaty and very satisfied with herself! And the eyes were a lot more energetic after some recovery ;)

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