Time for Fitness
Having a new dog in the house is amazing, but it has drastically changed my lifestyle and daily routine. Instead of being able to hop out of bed, drink a protein shake, and head to the gym for my morning exercise, Devin and I have to coordinate where Bradley will go, who is going to take him. Remembering what I need for my workout was enough, but now remembering the leash, collar, treats, poop bags, a water cup, and more? It’s taking longer to get going in the morning, and means my workouts have been less frequent lately.
Changing Up the Routine
Taking time to get my cardio in for the week will definitely be needing a re-work. Bradley isn’t a great walker yet, and I can’t imagine he’d be very happy to run with me when he’s much more interested in all the new smells, pups, and sounds around him. One day he’ll be a runner dog, but I don’t think that day is coming any time soon.
When I was really into running, often for long distances on asphalt, I could dedicate an hour or two to a nice long jog 2-3 times a week. Then, as with other exercises in life, I got bored. I mixed it up with training on the stationary bike, or yoga. Then I got really, really into surfing, and stopped worrying about the gym altogether. Then it was back to the gym, then back to running. I do my best to allow my body to guide my workouts, focusing on whether it needs a relaxed and easy stretch session, a hardcore abs day, or some good old distance cardio.
Maintaining my routines is a valuable part of my mental health, as well. Endorphins and all those other giddy hormones that fitness gives me are especially important in helping me to deal with stress and hormonal imbalances when PMDD hits extra hard.
Lately, my body has been begging me to incorporate more HIIT into my workouts. What is HIIT? It’s short for High-Intensity-Interval-Training, and it’s gotten super popular, especially in the last 5 years or so. Higher intensity workouts are the ultimate for efficiency, calorie burn, and building up our anaerobic system.
Don’t know what anaerobic exercise is? Luck for you, I do!
Anaerobic exercise is any type of exercise that depletes the body of oxygen. Think bursts, speed, agility, and heavy breathing. Whereas aerobic exercise requires sustained breathing and does not deplete the body of oxygen, anaerobic exercise is all about raising our heart and breathing rates quickly in short intervals of time.
Differences: Anaerobic or Aerobic?
I love my aerobic exercises. Distance runs, long walks, distance swimming, and leisurely paddles out to the line-up are all great examples of aerobic exercise. You’re breathing, but not gasping for air. I also, however, love my aerobic exercises like high knees, scratching for a wave, land sprints, and mountain climbers.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises are both hugely beneficial for alleviating depression and anxiety. On top of that, both types of exercise improve our overall fitness and performance i.e. make our surfing that much better (because that’s always a plus).
Efficiency is Key
Having a new dog means less time for distance runs and a newly found emphasis on efficiency and shorter work-outs. Until our little guy is a better walker, and his neutering stitches heal, running around with him is out of the question, which is why I wanted to share some great HIIT workouts with you today!
Not only are these workouts fantastic for shortening the length of time at the gym, they also provide the killer benefits of anaerobic exercise for physical health such as lowered blood pressure, increased stamina, and a healthier metabolism. Besides that, HIIT does wonders for my emotional stability and sanity, because I’ve found the heavy breathing and sweat-drenching workouts send my endorphins through the roof in a 1/3 of the time it takes for distance runs to achieve the same effect.
Finally, HIIT helps my overall confidence out in the ocean, because I know my stamina is better, my fast-twitch muscles are more attuned, and hold-unders are that much less scary knowing I’m improving my breath-holding abilities.
Warm-Ups are Crucial
Before I get into some of my favorite HIIT exercises, I can’t stress enough how important a quick warm-up still is before doing these exercises. Although it might seem better to jump right in, doing these exercises with “cold” muscles can lead to injuries. It is critical that you do a warm-up to get your blood flowing before giving these a try. I do 6-7 minutes on the stationary bike with a medium intensity, or 10 minutes of fast-paced walking on the treadmill as my workout, but you can customize it to whatever your body is feeling up for!
BOSU Ball Training
My favorite HIIT exercises are using a BOSU ball, which is a half medicine ball mounted onto a flat plane that has handles. My top 3 BOSU exercises are BOSU burpees, BOSU toe-touches, and BOSU jumping side squats. I love doing 10 (or 30 second intervals of rest then exercise) of each 2-3 times to start my HIIT training.
BOSU burpees have the added bonus of shoulder and arm strengthening to improve paddling while your heart pumping for a complete body workout.
BOSU jumping squats get those glutes working. Our glutes and hamstrings provide stability and balance while surfing. Plus, this training is an incredible toning tool for the quadriceps and hamstrings.
Finally, toe touches combine balance-training, core, and cardio all into one. Keep your shoulders upright and facing forward, working your lower body only, to best engage those lower stability muscles and improve your posture.
If you don’t have a gym membership or BOSU ball, 3 other awesome HIIT exercises to try are regular burpees, which achieve the same results minus the instability aspect, jumping jacks, which make me feel like a little kid again, and high knees. All 3 of these exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, as a warm-up before surfing or as a bonus to your current workout routine.
Don’t Forget to Listen
Most importantly, listen to your body with these exercises, and do each of them slowly at first, to get your form lined up correctly. Doing these exercises with improper form can cause more harm than good. And, don’t get discouraged if these are more challenging than you expected (as they certainly were for me) because it’s a completely different system you’re training, after all.
When you’re someone like me who is significantly happier and more joyful after a great workout, HIIT is the perfect way to get cardio in even when time is constricted, while improving specific aspects of your health that will improve your surfing and overall well-being. I love incorporating HIIT into my workouts, and I’d love to hear some of your favorite HIIT exercises or thoughts on HIIT in the comments below!
Until next time, XOXO BeachBumPoet