The Group Effect

Yesterday at the gym I had… an interesting experience. But First

..OK this isn't really what's first

… let me say that I officially have a go-to method for performing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Now, for those of you who are exercise-enthusiasts, I’m sure that you know all about HIIT. But, if you don’t, here’s a list of the Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training:
1. HIIT burns fat more effectively than standard “endurance” cardiovascular exercise (45 minute moderate jog, elliptical, etc).
2. HIIT takes around 20 minutes. “Endurance” training takes 45-60 minutes.
3. HIIT has been shown to improve athletic performance. It’s a great way to get faster if you’re a runner. (I’m not)
4. HIIT can substantially improve insulin action (in young men –> but it’s likely to do the same in other groups as well). This indicates that it may be a good way to prevent type-2 diabetes.

Basically, HIIT appears to be the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to cardiovascular training. The premise is simple: alternate a moderate cardiovascular effort with a super-high-intensity cardiovascular effort for about 20 minutes. Most people like to do a 2:1 ratio moderate:high intensity. (So 1 minute moderate, 30 seconds high)

Well, despite all of these awesome benefits, I still had not been able to get myself on board with this training until recently. For me, working out on a machine by myself is boring, and I like to read a magazine while doing it. Trying to adjust the level and check the time sort of detracts from my magazine-reading pleasure. But alas, I finally found a solution!…

The Stepmill

If you’re looking to get your body sweaty and your heart a-beating heavy, this is your machine. (just don’t lean on the rails) This baby has a “speed interval” setting in which you choose a level 1-20 (I chose 13), and it automatically alternates between a slower pace and a faster pace every 2 minutes. While this is a longer interval for HIIT, it worked just perfectly yesterday evening.

After only 22 minutes on the machine, I got off real-sweaty and feeling as if I just ran a mile as a kid after never-exercising-ever-in-my-life. I don’t mean to deter you by saying this, I only mean to say that you get a great workout! And I didn’t have to adjust anything but the rate at which I moved my feet. (meaning, I still got a little magazine-readage in… not much, but I did.)

Alright, back to the f***ing annoying interesting thing that happened to me yesterday (breathe now because I’m getting long-winded):

I was planning on going to a Cycle class, so I was wearing a wicking tank top and knee-length compression shorts. Unfortunately, I was too late for the class, and I decided to do the above stairmill HIIT workout. As I was checking into my local YMCA, I noticed that a few boys in their mid-teens (personally estimated to be 15-16) were shaking a vending machine, trying to get free snacks. They give up and start walking towards the fitness section of the gym. I also walk this way but at a quicker pace than their moseying stroll. As I approach them, I see one say to the other, “Behind us?” turn to me, then say, “Oh.” As I walk ahead of them, one sheepishly starts it. “Hey!” Then his friends begin chiming in softly with a few more comments. (You know, they wouldn’t want to be too conspicuous) I forget what was said, but I understood the meaning: typical young male calling out at a female walking past. (Keep in mind- I’m 23) I breathe a sigh of relief (not actually- I just thought it sounded nice) as I turned the corner to walk further towards the fitness section of the gym. I turn off on a hallway to fill my water bottle. As I come back out on the main track towards the fitness area, the mid-pubescent males were right behind me. They became a little more bold with their statements at this point; throwing in a louder “Hey!” and other basic questions/statements to try and get my attention. The counselor in me was th|-|is close to turning around and informing them that their behavior was (1) appalling, (2) sexual harassment, and (3) f***ing stupid. I did not. But a (BIG HUGE) part of me wishes that I had.

What would you do if a few mid-pubescent boys started cat calling you at the gym? 


3 thoughts on “The Group Effect

  1. The teacher in me would have told them, very politely, to shut up. Granted, I’m 6’5′ and a guy, so I doubt I’d have this issue. The sarcasm would have probably oozed out too, but that’s how I deal with teens. But I find that sarcasm tends to work with teens.
    But if I would have witnessed it, I would have said something to them and then politely asked them if they wanted to talk to a manager about how they were trying to go about paying for “snacks.”
    You probably did the right thing unless you had witnesses to keep them from being too bold.

  2. Oh, forgot to mention, Intervals are the way to go. On the elliptical I do two minutes on a high setting and two at a low, but I go for an hour. So it isn’t in the true HIIT fashion. Before I rolled my ankle, I did 1 minute at 9 mph and 1 at 4 on the treadmill. I usually try for 10 sets which gives me a good 30 minute workout with a cool down.

  3. Pingback: Jinx! | EatMyBeets

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