Yes, I’m 40 and once again this summer, I intend to wear a bikini.
Some may disagree. Some may think that after 39, you should retire any piece of clothing that shows your mid-section. I, however, can’t help feeling that by hanging up the two-piece, I would be giving in to age and laziness and gravity. I refuse to surrender to these opponents of fitness. So I stubbornly cling to my bikini…one of the last vestiges of my youth.
Hence the dilemma each year when faced with the prospect of actually putting on said bikini and walking around in public. If I worked harder during the winter, took advantage of those long, dark evenings to log hours on my treadmill, I know it would not be such a problem. But summer always sneaks up and finds me ill-prepared. Six weeks until Memorial Day, more than five extra pounds to lose and only 30 minutes to work out. What’s a girl to do?
Shedding pounds quickly requires a commitment to eating right, training with weights and plenty of cardio. Its that simple.
But I hate cardio. There, I said it. Give me anything else. I will do hundreds of crunches, lunges up and down my street, lift ridiculously heavy weights. I’ll do anything not to have to complete long, boring sessions of treadmill walking. But, sadly, building muscle alone is not enough to get bikini ready.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a cardio-haters best friend. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy. In almost every way, it is harder than spending an hour walking. But for me one of the most challenging parts of long cardio sessions is boredom. With HIIT, I am not bored because it is challenging and changing. I work as hard as I can for a short amount of time and then get a break. It increases metabolism so I burn more calories throughout the day. Plus I don’t need to do an hour of cardio because 20-30 minutes of HIIT is enough.
You can turn almost any workout into a HIIT workout and get more bang for your cardio buck. The goal is to work really hard for a short amount of time, get your heart rate up to the highest end of your target heart rate zone then move to an easier exercise that allows your heart rate to come down for a bit. This cycle is repeated several times. So it doesn’t matter if you are on a treadmill, outside on a walk or doing plyometrics, you can turn any work-out up a notch with HIIT. And after a few weeks of this kind of training, you may find yourself looking forward to putting on whatever swimsuit you choose.
A word of warning: HIIT is serious exercise and not for everyone. As with all exercise, check with a doctor or a trainer to make sure you are ready for the intensity of a HIIT workout.