I like posting things here that work for me, but as a disclaimer let me say that I am not a personal trainer or doctor. I am a certified yoga instructor and general fitness buff, so I do have some knowledge you might find helpful.
This time of year, I am sooo busy-auditions and castings pick up, my travel schedule gets hectic, and oh, yeah, I gotta spend time with my family. I also love to eat, especially all the fattening comfort foods that are so prevalent in the winter. These things in combination do not a slim Melissa make. So to combat winter weight gain, I’ve added interval training to my usual fitness routines.
Interval training involves high intensity bursts of exercise followed by periods of recovery exercise. For example, I usually do an hour on the treadmill or elliptical at least a couple days a week for cardio. When I want to amp up the intensity with interval training, instead of running at 6 miles an hour for one hour, I’ll sprint for one minute and jog at 4 miles per hour for two minutes. Repeat ten times, and I’ll have burned more calories in that half hour than I normally would have in an hour. Sprinting in particular activates fast-twitch muscle fibers in the legs, which builds muscle.
A variation of interval training that I am doing at least three days a week is the bootcamp-style workout. I’ll do a five minute cardio warmup, then alternate strength moves with high intensity bursts of cardio such as jumping rope, sprinting in place, or power jumping jacks. If I only have a half hour or 45 minutes, I’ll concentrate on upper or lower body in particular, but if I have an hour or 90 minutes I can get a full body cardio and strength workout.
I don’t recommend jumping into an interval routine if you don’t already have an established workout regimen, but if you are already exercising, it is a great way to break through plateaus and feel immediate results. Hope this helps!