QUICK WORKOUTS CAN BE VERY EFFECTIVE

We’ve passed the halfway point in Biggest Loser “20” and I have to say, it’s been pretty interesting. Our leader, Christy Henry, has lost an amazing 32.8 lbs, and she’s done it in just seven weeks. Another has lost about 25 lbs, and we have several who have lost around 15 lbs.

I’ve really tried to mix things up with this group. They’ve done a couple of tough new kickboxing workouts, with weights, ropes and other exercises mixed in. They’ve done a workout in the park where they also ran there and back. Last week, they even took on a hill run, up and down the overhead bridge (by the football field), complete with battle ropes at the bottom!

But during each Biggest Loser, I like to introduce a concept called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Always a tough workout, HIIT keeps making a comeback in fitness circles because it allows you to burn a lot of calories in a fairly short amount of time.

This week their HIIT workout was about 28 minutes long, based on doing a hard minute of work followed by an easier minute for recovery. They did a 7 minute round on each of four pieces of cardio equipment: a Treadmill, Rower, Elliptical, and an AirDyne bike. Here’s what each round looked like:

1 min warm up at 50-60%*
1 min at 70%
1 min at 50-60% to recover
1 min at 80%
1 min at 50-60% to recover
1 min at 90%**
1 min at 50-60%

*of a maximal effort.
**just short of having to stop.

After completing that seven minute round, they moved to the next piece of equipment, repeating the same routine. While a person could complete several rounds of a HIIT workout on a single piece of equipment, I wanted them to experience it on a variety of things. It also keeps it interesting and is pretty good for the body too.

Shorter workouts are becoming the norm, due to busy schedules and other time constraints. For example, Monday’s popular boot-camp workout was based on a protocol created by a well known exercise physiologist named Tabata. It calls for eight intervals per exercise, for 20 seconds on and just 10 seconds of rest. It’s only four minutes per exercise, but it’s pretty tough. We did seven stations, eight sets each, for a total workout lasting just 28 minutes. I think they found it challenging.

Even the latest workout DVDs have been trending shorter, like the super popular T-25 series, which is just 25 minutes in length. The newest version of P90X3 has also shortened their workouts to just 30 minutes, 6 days a week. In both cases, they were responding to the main reason people either didn’t finish their program, or didn’t even start it at all: people reporting that they just didn’t have enough time.

This week’s Biggest Losers have found the time for some good results. Brian Bradley finished first, losing 5.2 lbs and 2.2% of his body weight. Jennifer Bowers placed second, losing 4.2 lbs and 1.7%. Matt Murphy was third, losing 4.6 lbs and 1.4%. Christy Henry finished fourth, losing 1.8 lbs, and Brad Adams was fifth, also losing 1.8 lbs, both losing about 1.0%.

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