I’ve been reading up about H.I.T, aka High Intensity Training, aka ‘Fast Exercise’ a bit lately. I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet since January this year with modest success (modest mostly because I’ve been a bit immodest on the days when I’m not fasting. And I’m not fasting at all at the moment because I’m sick. Being sick and hungry is just cruel. But I digress…)
The H.I.T. concept has been around for a while. Basically, the idea is to work out at a high intensity for a short period, then pause or work out for a lower intensity for a short period, before doing another blast of high intensity, which has proven to be more effective than working out at a slow, steady pace. While I’ve dabbled with H.I.T in some of my workouts in the past, since increasing my working hours this year, I’ve found my opportunities to exercise becoming increasing slim (while the same cannot really be said about my physique).
What intrigued me about the Fast Exercise book, was just how little time they reckon you actually need to spend exercising. As in, they claim even a couple of 20 second bursts are enough to make some difference. (I know, seems crazy, but there are studies to support it and I’m not going to argue with something that says you only need to do 40 seconds of exercise a day.)
Then I read something that really got me excited: ‘Fast Exercise can be done at work… as long as you work somewhere with at least four flights of stairs.’ Explained the book, all I needed to do was find a quiet stairwell, start at the bottom, and then ‘bound’ up the stairs for 20 seconds. Then pause for 1-2 minutes and ‘bound’ up the stairs for another 20 seconds.
Better yet, proclaimed the book, I wouldn’t even break into a sweat, so no need to change out of my work clothes, although they wisely suggested changing out of high heels first.
How fabulous! I thought. I could creep away, head to the fire escape, change into sneakers, do 40 seconds of bounding and be back at my desk faster than you could say, ‘just popping to the loo!’.
So I did just that. Off I snuck with sneakers in hand, and entered the fire escape, which closed behind me with a thud and a click. I put my shoes on and bounded away. After two intense 20 second bursts (hello, burning thighs and lungs!), I smugly celebrated the end of my workout and heading back down the stairs to the floor I started on. Door locked. Bugger. I’d have to descent five flights of stairs to exit at ground level.
Once I reached the bottom, I saw a big sign saying: ‘Caution. Door alarmed.’ Double bugger. Did that mean I was going to set off the fire alarm if I exited from the door? I know the fire alarm goes off a lot at my workplace, and it has quite a high level of security. Would a big burly guard come running towards me and crash tackle me to the ground as I emerged from my concrete prison? I couldn’t risk it, so I started trudging back up the stairs, lamely trying each door on every floor to see if any of them magically opened.
Back at my original floor, a sign said, ‘To exit, ring bell to contact security.’ Ok, I could do that, I thought. Perhaps I could even have a giggle with the security guard about how I’d just popped in to do a spot of exercise in my pencil skirt, blouse and sneakers. Only, nobody answered.
I started to panic. Would I be locked in here all day? Would I be found in a year’s time, nothing more than a pile of bones with bad dress sense? There was only one thing for it, I had to put my high heels back on. After five minutes of wandering aimlessly up and down several flights of stairs (doing FAR MORE exercise than my daily quota and working up a distinct sweat in the process), my predicament came to a rather anti-climactic end. I heard someone outside a door and knocked frantically. A woman opened the door, I smiled casually, said ‘thanks’ and sauntered off.
I’m not sure what the solution is to finding time to exercise, but clearly 40 seconds in the stairwell wasn’t it.
How do you fit in exercise? Or don’t you?