Ah, the great outdoors. Nature is wonderful, but the hassle of exercising outside makes the indoors all the more appealing. You have lots of options for working out indoors, but there are also lots of ways to waste your time. You've seen the people who are draped over their cardio machine of choice for hours.They look miserable. There’s a quicker and more effective way to maximize your fat loss.
Intense and Indoors
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a concept personal trainers have been using for years because it's proven to be the most effective cardiovascular workout for fat loss. HIIT is a style of cardio that utilizes work and rest intervals. Although HIIT can be done indoors or out, it’s well suited for the indoors because you’ve got all the equipment you need at your fingertips. You can also vary your workout with any type of cardio equipment.
How to start? The intensity and number of intervals will depend on your fitness level. It may require some experimentation to find the intensity and time that works for you. Generally, you'll want to stick to a 1:2 ratio. If your work interval (which should be very high intensity -- think sprinting) is one minute, your recovery will be two minutes.
Using Intervals to Boost Your Heart Rate
Warm up for five minutes on a stationary exercise bike (or any cardio equipment of your choice). The warm-up should be done at a fairly easy pace.
Interval 1: Using a stationary exercise bike, pedal as fast as you can for one minute. After your sprint, do not collapse on the floor, however tempting that may be. Immediately sitting or lying down after engaging in intense exercise is tough on your heart. Allow your heart rate to come down gradually with active recovery and keep moving, whether it’s pedaling slowly or walking around for two minutes.
Interval 2: Using an elliptical machine, run as fast as you can for one minute. Actively recover with a slow jog for two minutes.
Interval 3: Perform as many squat thrusts (also called burpees) as you can for one minute. If you can't sustain the squat thrusts for one minute, switch to jumping jacks. Recover for two minutes with a slow march or step-touch.
Interval 4: Hop on the treadmill and add a 4 percent incline. Walk or run as fast as you can for one minute. For your recovery, reduce the incline to 1 percent and walk for two minutes.
Depending on your fitness level, repeat the entire workout two or three more times. After your final interval, walk at an easy pace to cool down for five minutes and allow the heart to recover. This workout is just one of many ways to do high-intensity interval training. HIIT can be done with any cardiovascular exercise, and you can experiment with the intervals to find the best work-rest ratio to suit your goals.
Effective and Efficient
HIIT is extremely effective because it places a high demand on the body with an immediate recovery. Switching between quick and slow intervals forces the body to adjust quickly and burn a lot of calories. Because this workout is intense, make sure to work at your own pace. If you can’t keep moving, go as long as you can, and then begin your two-minute recovery.
Because you are indoors in a temperature-controlled environment, it will be easier to focus on your workout and pushing yourself. Indoor intervals allow for variety, comfort and results!
Kelly N. Vance is an ACE-certified personal trainer and accomplished fitness and nutrition writer who has worked in and written about the fitness industry for 10 years. Her additional qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a minor in English and multiple fitness certifications.