When I went to Blissdom back in February, I made a leap of faith.
Are you ready for this?
I packed my workout clothes.
I used to pack workout clothes when I went to conferences, and I finally stopped because it just never happened. But this time I was determined to work out at least once while I was away. I was doing so well with my workouts at home. I wanted to keep my momentum going, and I knew that I’d be eating a lot and that exercise would help keep me feeling energetic and, ahem, regular.
So I faithfully tucked some workout clothes into a corner of my suitcase and set out for Nashville.
Peer Pressure Always Helps
I’m not sure I’d ever have gone to the Fitness Center by myself, but fortunately my room mate is a faithful worker-outer — yes, even at conferences!! — so she drug me along with her.
Okay, I went along willingly, but I credit her for getting my fanny out of the cafe where I was happily typing away with a mug of coffee by my side.
I detest the treadmill, which is another reason that I’m always reluctant to work out when I’m in a hotel, but Christina showed me a program that she has been doing that she swears gives you a great workout in only 20 minutes. It’s called Peak 8.
What is Peak 8?
She’s a big fan of Dr. Mercola, and he has written about this method of exercising many times. I had read about it, but I had only tried it when running. Christina does this on the recumbent bike. I don’t think I’ve ever so much as put a toe on a recumbent bike, but game for a new exercise to add to my growing repertoire, I hopped on.
The basic premise is this.
You start out doing whatever it is you are doing — running, biking, whatever — at a comfortable pace for about 3 minutes. That is your warm-up.
Then you set your timer for 30 seconds and increase the resistance of the machine, and you pedal (or run) as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Ideally you know your heart rate or something, but I just pedaled for dear life, like someone was chasing me thru a dark alley.
By about the 20-second mark, you think you are going to DIE, but you push yourself because you know it’s almost over.
Then you recover for 90 seconds, pedaling at a comfortable pace at a low resistance. That part is like a cool drink of water in a hot desert. It feels SO GOOD.
Then, just when you are thinking, this is too easy to be for real, you do it again. You pump up the resistance and start pedaling like a madwoman for 30 seconds.
Then you recover for 90.
You do this 30-second high intensity / 90-second recovery sequence eight times.
Get it? Peak 8!
After the 8th time, you can continue to recover for a minute or two, and then you’re done.
What are the Benefits of Peak 8?
I’m so glad you asked.
So evidently, according to a study published in the journal Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, short burst, high-intensity type exercises have “anti-aging” power. How about them apples?
They also boost boost the production of the human growth hormone (HGH). For what all that means, you’ll have to read the whole article. [source]
Another Mercola article states that “a new study in the Journal of Physiology found that about 20 minutes of high-interval training provided the same benefits of longer exercise sessions that focused on endurance training.”
When you break your exercise session into short segments that alternate high intensity with a rest period in-between, known as interval training, it can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities in a fraction of the time.
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about maximizing my time. I don’t have any desire to run marathons. I don’t want to be exercising for hours. I just want to get it done and get back to work and family and everything else I have going on. So this Peak 8 high intensity interval training is right up my alley.
So, how’s it working for ya, Jo-Lynne?
Unfortunately I have not done the Peak 8 since I was at Blissdom. I keep thinking that I want to add that to my exercise routines, maybe after my weekly weight-training sessions, but I’m always so tired by then, the idea of a high intensity aerobic activity makes me want to cry.
And I really don’t want to commit to going to the gym one more day a week, so I have never gone just to do Peak 8.
It is much easier to do on a machine than it is to do on the road. I actually tried it with my running, but I was so afraid of falling, I quit. The irony is, of course, that I DID fall, and fall badly, (I am still recovering and planning to see the doc today) but not when I was doing intervals.
My point in sharing this is that hopefully it will inspire someone to try something new. Maybe you’re crunched on time and you have an exercise bike or treadmill gathering dust in your bedroom. You should SO try this! It’s a great way to get in a complete workout in 20 minutes. Who doesn’t have 20 minutes, ya know??
How about YOU?
Have you done interval training?
Do you like it?
Is it a regular part of your workout regimen?
Inquiring minds and all that . . .