Let’s face it: a typical day in the life of a woman used to go something like this:
1. Put on corset
2. Do some sewing
3. Host suitor for afternoon tea
4. Adjust corset (to avoid passing out)
5. Darn father’s socks before supper.
In 2013, it’s about as far removed from that as it can get. It doesn’t matter whether you have a family, a student loan, a messy live-in boyfriend or a flat to manage by yourself: these days, time is our most precious commodity. We could do with a little more of it, please – and, while you’re at it, can you make sure we don’t age any faster? Fab, thanks Time.
You can see where I’m going with this. In amongst our many chores, work schedules, lectures, social engagements and family commitments, where on earth does one find time to squeeze in an hour on a treadmill? Three times a week?
Girl, you got no chance.
If you’ve just blanched at the thought of spending an hour on a treadmill, you will like this next bit. First of all, you’re in good company: treadmills are fairly dull, especially for an hour, and as the nights start to draw in the chances of running outside of an evening are somewhat diminished. But what if I said that you could spend twenty minutes – yes that’s it – exercising, and get better results? You’d probably think I was lying, or working for some mad diet company (it’s okay, I’m not). I’m talking about the joys of HIIT and the beauty of the WOD.
Let me explain.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
The concept of HIIT is to repeat short blasts of really intense cardio with a rest or recovery period for 15 – 20 minutes. Fell runners – some of the fittest athletes in the world – have been using this training technique for decades, and it certainly works for them. Studies from Australia all the way to Canada have shown this method of working out can have significantly better fat loss and health benefits (such as reducing cholesterol) than ‘steady-state’ exercise (i.e. a 40 minute jog).
How do I do it?
All you need is a place to run, a bike or a cross-trainer, and some decent, pretty footwear like the Reebok Nano or inov-8’s F-Lite range, which are unrivalled in quality and the best functional shoe out there. Try the following* ( I’m using running as the example, starting with a high- to low-intensity ratio of 1:4):
1. Warm up for 3 minutes at a medium pace
2. Get your headphones on with some massive tunes – you will need them!
3. Crank up the pace to your maximum, and run flat out for 30 seconds
4. Slow it right down to a walk, or complete rest, for 2 minutes
5. Repeat 8 times
6. Cool down, stretch, and finish feeling like Superwoman.
Advanced HIIT: As you increase in confidence and fitness, you can reduce the ratio to 1:2, 1:1 and 2:1. Do this over a course of 8 weeks or more, not straight away!
The Beautiful WOD
I know the suspense is killing you, so I will explain what a WOD is. It stands for Workout of the Day (‘ohhhhhh’) and is a short and sweet ~ 20-minute staple of CrossFit, a slightly crazy and utterly addictive sport that is so varied, not even I can get bored. I intend to save the full details of the sport – and its growing array of dedicated activewear designers – for post-September 28th, when I’ll be sampling what Reebok CrossFit Glevum** has to offer at their open Community Day. It is free to attend and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, even if only because you’re laughing at my attempts to do box jumps. Which is another good point: laughter has unrivalled health benefits and is the best way to complete any gym outfit, no matter how drenched in sweat you are.
*It goes without saying that you need to take care with whatever equipment you’re using, and ensure your GP has okay’ed your new exercise plans before you start. Injuries are not fun, or fashionable.
**For more info go to www.reebokcrossfitglevum.com or Tweet @rcfglevum.
Lucy Denver is a freelance fitness and motivational copywriter with a keen interest in unique fashion, travel, CrossFit and making sushi. For more information or to get in touch, you can follow her on Twitter @denvertronix.