High-intensity interval training

Wowweeee!!!  I have learned all about High-intensity interval training today!

I am not a gym bunny – in fact I haven’t been into a gym ever!  But this is exciting and interesting stuff….

Read on….

Those of you who know me will have been part of my journey from a size 24, 14 stone couch potato (two and a half years ago) to where I am now, a size 16, 9 stone 10lb much more “energetic” person.

My exercise journey started in February 2013 with a free assessment from a personal trainer at the Physio I attend on a regular basis.  I didn’t do any exercise at all then, and because of my disability, was very sedentary.  I kitted out my garage with some bits of equipment (“borrowed” treadmill, wobble board, stepper, elastic resistance bands, floor matting) bought myself a heart rate monitor and began to slowly but surely build up a little exercise regime for myself.

Back in the early days, exercise was really hard work.  I puffed and panted after 5 minutes of slow walking on the treadmill and needed to rest often.  But as time wore on, I worked up the amount of exercise I was doing, the walking speed got quicker and I can now walk for 3 x 15 minutes at a time, 2.7mph (for me, with short legs, that’s power walking speed!)

There is no doubt that my fitness levels have improved and my physical capabilities have grown.  Alongside this, so has my confidence in myself to exercise and move.   This has had a massive impact on many other aspects of my life and I now enjoy some of the physical activities that were previously denied to me.  I now enjoy gardening in the Summer (and lots of leaf raking in the Winter!).

But recently I felt the need to re-energize my exercise routine – which had kind of fallen by the wayside over the Summer, due to the heat and having caring responsibilities.  Having said that, I was spending a lot of time doing things in the garden, many of which I wore my Heart Rate Monitor for.

I booked for a personal trainer to come to visit me today for a 2 hour session.  Two days ago, I went back to the treadmill and garage gym just to reassure myself that I’d not embarrass myself when he came!

He’s just left, and whilst most of the session was me demonstrating my previous warm up and exercise regime and planning the exercise I’ll be building up to before his next visit (in a month) I am totally AMAZED with what I have achieved!

I have always worn an HRM (heart rate monitor), and realised that I was burning a lot of calories during my exercise sessions (about 1,500 in two hours, including 30 mins warm ups) but I do nothing more vigorously than the walking on my treadmill which doesn’t even get me out of breath.  I was keen that he could advise me on just what I should be aiming for in terms of my heart rate.

Apparently, when I am walking at 2.7mph, my heart rate of around 120 – 130 bpm is working at 75% of it’s maximum!  Therefore, as shown by the calorie burn, I am definitely giving myself a good workout.  The other great news is that I shouldn’t need to exercise as long during each session (1.5 hours max) or as often (I was doing 4-5 times a week for 2-2.5 hours).

What I will now be aiming for is so give myself a 2-3  times a week HIIT session (High-intensity interval training) of only 15 minutes.  This is a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.  So one minute of walking at 3.7mph which gets my heart working to 95% of it’s capacity.  Now 3.7mph wouldn’t get most peoples heart to that kind of level, but for because of my disability and body shape, the amount of energy I need to put in to moving clearly is over and above that of the “average” person.

So….. less time spent exercising, exercising less times a week – but changing the TYPE of exercise I do, which should all have positive consequences.

Best of all, I feel enthused, motivated and ready to go!  My mojo is back!

My message to anyone starting on their weight loss journey – especially those who have yet to discover the benefits and joys of regular exercise…..  ANYTHING is possible… moving even a little to start with is better than not moving at all.  Time spent exercising can replace the rime spent eating and thinking about food.

It may take time, it most definitely takes effort, but the end result is just so worth it!

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