What Intervals Seem to Have Done for Me

I explained in a previous post how using the MyFitnessPal app helped me to lose more than 20 pounds last year. The app alone didn’t do it, but rather it was my discipline in using it, keeping my goals in mind, and adding interval exercises to my workouts. It was my wife who first suggested this to me and I thankfully took her advice.

Let me be clear, I’m not a health care provider, nor am I a personal trainer. Don’t start any new exercise program without consulting your doctor. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me explain what she was talking about.

Adding high intensity intermittent training (HIIT), sometimes referred to as intervals to your workouts may help to burn more calories not only during your workout, which can be shorter, but also throughout the day compared to workouts that don’t include include HIIT. For me, this seems to have been the case.

I used to walk briskly on our treadmill or outside not, but I wasn’t losing weight (which likely also has to do with how many calories I was consuming). Then about three years ago I got into running. I wasn’t fast and I didn’t run marathons (I ran one 5K in October 2015), but I was enjoying it. I found that it not only made me feel fitter, it also did a lot to help me deal with the physical and mental effects that often come with stress, but I wasn’t losing any weight and my feet were starting to really hurt.

When I explained this all to my wife, who is a health care provider, she recommended that I try a combination of walking and running workouts that included short bursts of increased speed. This was some of the best exercise advice that I’ve received as it has allowed me to get in shorter workouts that give me that “feel good” rush, while being easier on my feet. It also appears that this, along with continuing to do strength training three times per week, and being far more mindful of what I’m eating through the use of MyFitnessPal has kicked my metabolism into a higher gear.

Currently I have a few walking / running workouts in my rotation. This morning I did a walking warmup on the treadmill that included walking for 10 minutes at 3.5 mph at an incline of 1. That was followed by four sets of three minutes of walking at 4.5 mph at an incline of 3, 90 seconds of running at 6.2 mph at an incline of 1, and 30 seconds of running at 7.2 mph, also at an incline of 1. This gave me a great 20 minutes cardio workout followed by some strength training. I do these HIIT workouts 3-4 times per week and have noticed a significant improvement in my overall fitness, dropped the 20 pounds, feel like I’m getting the “feel good” rush that I got out of my straight runs, and my feet don’t hurt.

The combination of changes that I’ve been in the past year to improve my fitness and drop the extra pounds has left me with more energy and feeling stronger. It took a long time to find my path to better fitness, but I’ve finally found it. If you’ve found yours, that’s great. If not, don’t give up. It took me a long time to get here and it was absolutely worth the wait.

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