Friday, September 23, 2011

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Gymboss and a giveaway!!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably interested in fitness. If you are interested in fitness, you have probably heard of HIIT—high intensity interval training. HIIT is a format of exercise
“which you alternate short, very high intensity intervals with longer, slower intervals to recover. This type of training has been used by athletes to improve performance, but it's also been shown to benefit the average exerciser. HIIT training not only helps performance, it also improves the ability of the muscles to burn fat.”
According to, HIIT gets the body’s motor going for a longer period than traditional steady-state cardio, creating an “after-burn effect.” This means that you can work out for shorter periods of time to burn the same amounts of calories.
image courtesy of
My Body Back classes use an interval format. Not only does it help clients get great results, but it breaks exercise sets into bite sized pieces. It is easier to ask a woman, who hasn’t exercised for years, to do an exercise for 30 seconds or a minute than it is to get them to jog for 30 minutes.  My workouts involve a warmup (about 7-10 minutes) HIIT workout (40-45 minutes), ending with abs, stretching and meditation (about 10 minutes).

One of my favorite HIIT workouts uses Tabata sets.  Tabatas have you doing 20 seconds of very high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this for eight sets. The entire Tabata set takes four minutes. I can tell you that by the last minute, you are feeling those reps, no matter what you are doing. I have used Tabatas with squats, curls, pushups, and various high intensity cardio moves. You can use them for almost anything.

A key element of the workouts I teach is timing. If you tell someone that they will do a plank for a minute, have them do a plank for a minute. A 20 second interval for Tabata needs to be precise to be the most effective. Using a watch is sometimes unreliable. If you just watch your second hand (or numbers), then it is easy to lose track of the interval. It is difficult to help clients with form and to encourage/motivate them if you are staring at your watch. Countdown timers are good, but my watch beep isn’t loud enough to hear well over high tempo music that I like to play. Lastly, it is difficult to keep track of how many intervals have been completed, especially if you are participating in the workout. You lose some credibility if you tell them that you are going to do eight rounds and then only do seven or hit them with nine.
Enter the Gymboss. It is one of my favorite (and most necessary) tools for my workouts. I can set one or two intervals up to 99 times. It keeps track of the how many you have left so you can look at it and know exactly where you are. My clients love when I let them know where they are. “Half way there!” or “only 15 seconds left!” The beep can be long or short, soft or loud and can also vibrate (so if you really have the music up, you know the interval is over).

Not only does this little timer work for HIIT workouts, but for run/walk running plans as well. The Gymboss is super lightweight.  It clips onto just about anything. You could clip it onto a waistband and forget about it (until it beeps, of course). In fact, one of the timers is marketed specifically for Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run program.

It can also be used as a stopwatch. I used it the other day for fitness assessments for my Body Back clients. I used it for timing one mile time trials and planks. One improvement I would suggest would be the ability to save the data somehow, since I am timing more than one person at a time.

I bought a Gymboss for myself and another one for my Body Back instructor as a thank you. I love it. It is lightweight and once you figure out the instructions, it is relatively simple to use. However, I wish there was room for a “cheat sheet” because I often forget how to change it and have to do a bit of trial and error to remind myself. There are instructions printed on it to change it to a stopwatch.

You may have noticed the Gymboss ad on my sidebar. If you want to purchase a Gymboss, please click through that since I am part of their affiliate program.  But don’t buy yet! I have a couple Gymboss timers to giveaway to readers. The first timer I will give away here and the second one on my Facebook page.

To enter, the only requirement is that you are a follower.  Click on the first option below in the Rafflecopter entry form and you are in.  You can earn additional entries by tweeting, posting to Facebook or your blog (1 entry for each). Please click the options below in order to get your entry counted. I will draw a winner on Thursday, September 29 after 9 p.m.

Please click "Read More" to get to the entry form!  Thanks!!


Elle said...

I do follow you and I hope all my entries registered!

Love the Rafflecopter when it works!

Awesome giveaway. I was just complaining the other day that my watch doesn't beep my run/walk intervals. Love this gizmo.

XLMIC said...

That is a nifty little gadget! I'm in ... I follow you :)

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I have really wanted one of these!

Kamran Yaqoob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I just got one of these I cannot wait to use it in my HIIT class! No more counting!!!!

Anonymous said...

I could really use one of theses, I follow your blog


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