The Father of HIIT

There are some pretty popular workout routines floating around these days, but HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one that has become really popular. HIIT involves doing an exercise at a high intensity for a short period of time followed by a rest period. Due to the amount of work during the high intensity phase these workouts do not last very long. There are variety of these routines you can do and if you push yourself hard enough, you can get your heart racing. A good example of a HIIT workout would be running sprints. You would run all-out for the sprint and then rest for a certain period of time or as necessary.

Now there are short and simple exercises which tire the body rapidly, and so save our time; and time is something which we ought to keep strict account. –Seneca XV: On Brawn and Brains

One of the biggest excuses I hear today by people not exercising is that they don’t have enough time. Logging excessive hours in the gym is not for everyone. And if you study philosophy, there is some pretty good advice from Seneca, a Roman stoic philosopher. In his 15th letter, he discusses the excesses of the ancient equivalent to our modern-day gym rats. Spending all their time working out led to them eating more and drinking more. Seneca actually says they had spent so much time working on their bodies that their minds had become dull (this from the excessive food and no doubt wine). From a philosophical standpoint, getting in a quick HIIT workout may be the way to go. The Stoics believe that time is one of our most precious commodities. You only get so much of it, and it would be a shame to waste it.  Is there a better use for our time than spending all of it plodding along on the treadmill? Seneca seems to think so. He says that while yes we should be working out our bodies, we need to “come back soon from body to mind.” So get that metabolic pump in that is going to keep those calories burning throughout the day. But when you are done, consider working out the part of you that is really going to enhance your life and future. Again, here is Seneca:

The mind must be exercised both day and night, for it is nourished by moderate labor, and this form of exercise need not be hampered by cold or hot weather, or even by old age.

Never done a HIIT workout or don’t know where to begin? There is an amazing amount of free resources on the internet. Give them a try and see which ones work for you.