The Fast Way to Get Fit?


Not too long ago, a very nice reader asked me about my fitness routine. I’m afraid to say: I don’t have one!

When we were in New York, I’d walk 5-10 miles every day without even trying! A mile to the office, a mile home, a few more going out to lunch and dinner. It was fantastic—I miss that! When we moved here, I figured I’d be riding a bike enough to compensate, but it’s not the same. I still spend more time driving, and I’m rarely biking very long. I joined a workout group for a while—maybe a year?—and started to feel really strong: burpies and squats were a part of my routine. But… you know… time, babies… excuses. Truth? I just don’t want to commit to the 2 hours it took out of the day.

So I’m really intrigued by these studies that keep suggesting short bursts of high-intensity exercise as a better alternative to the hour-long fitness class. That’s good news for me!

Back in August, The Guardian ran an article about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You alternate 10 one-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise (near your peak ability) with 10 one-minute periods of recovery, amounting to two or three 20-minute workouts a week. “You can do HIIT on a bike, running, swimming, on gym equipment like a cross trainer, or by sprinting up and down the stairs. … and people seem to enjoy this regime more than any other.”

I’ve tried it a few times in the pool this summer, and sprinting for 60 seconds is harder than it sounds!

Next came another article about a study in Denmark that came about because “high-intensity interval workouts have a drawback that is seldom acknowledged. Many people don’t like them and soon abandon the program.” The good news, they discovered, is that you can make the high-intensity bits even shorter—short enough to count in your head. 10 seconds may be enough to get the same benefits: “Run, ride or perhaps row on a rowing machine gently for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds. … Repeat.”

Of course, the most important part? Doing anything at all.

Have you tried a routine like this? What’s your fitness routine, (if any)? 

P.S. Aron and Hudson doing the 7-minute NYT App routine in our driveway (now he likes the 5-minute SWorkIt Pro). Once upon a time I was a rower—probably the fittest I’ll ever be. And here’s are some of my go-to workout gear—when I go-to…

[Photo via Hello Fashion / top: Nike Half-Zip]

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category