I read a great blog piece the other day about fitness being the new ‘Status Symbol’. Basically the premise was that anyone these days can achieve what 20 years ago was seen as status symbols: driving a BMW or flying to exotic destinations. Our lifestyle has vastly improved in the last couple of decades and we now have credit cardsJ!
But no about of money can buy a fit body and a healthy glow. You can try and throw money at it, but the bottom line is that you have to earn it and that’s why not everyone has got it. What’s required is dedication, some discipline, the motivation to feel and look good and the consistency to follow through with weekly fitness sessions, whilst choosing and creating healthy meals.
It’s hard work achieving fitness goals and not succumbing to the lure of convenience and slacking off! At our age, you can’t take a week off fitness and eat and drink whatever you like and expect things to stay the same: we are not in our 20’s and 30’s anymore. Our bodies are, if we are blunt about it, wasting away…each year! It’s our job to keep things ticking over and remain strong but flexible.
On this trip we’ve had some big days driving: 700 to 800km per day sometimes, between sunrise and sunset. You are limited to what you can achieve physically even if you look after what you put in your mouth! Making the effort to exercise every day when you are on holiday, or travelling allows you the ‘wiggle’ room to go ‘off track’ slightly with the food and drink, when required. It will help you to maintain your weight, and that’s all we want to do on this trip, it’s all about maintenance!
We’ve been following our HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) principles which state that just getting your heart rate up once or twice a day for 10 secs or 1 minute has huge benefits, physically. So we are ‘Hitting It’ on the road and looking for fast and furious ways to get in a bit of exercise.
We read about these steps down to an awesome beach just off the highway. Lonely Planet had counted there was 283 steps down to Lock Wells beach in SA. We pulled in an hour after lunch, ran down to the beach and then sprinted to the top (Jack counted 286 steps). It took us 2minutes back up and it took another 5 to 8 minutes for my heart rate to come back down. Knowing what we know about the science of HIIT, it takes our body quite a while to get back to its preferred resting state after ‘shaking the shit out of it’, and during this time, it has to burn heaps of calories (ahh! the after-burn effect) to stabilise all the hormones, which is great, because we had about 3 more hours of sitting in a car! Another day, we spotted a jetty stretching out to sea (it was 800mtrs long) in a small town called Beachport in SA. We pulled over and walked to the end of the jetty. It was windy and wild (30 knots an hour- we were the only people on it J). We got to the end and turned into the wind and sprinted back to the car. The local cafe workers came out to check out who these two maddies were! Heart rate: maxed!
Those were two quickies: ideally a local oval is perfect for 4 x 4 minute Tabata squats, burpees, push-ups and sprints. We take just one exercise and do it as fast as we can for 20 secs, then rest for 10 secs before doing it again. We do 8 sets of 20 secs on, 10 off in the 4min. It takes 4 minutes per Tabata drill. (We give ourselves 90secs recovery between each Tabata set)…..we try to keep each other honest, honest!
These little HIIT sessions are interspersed with our other movement and activity, which we don’t see as exercise but rather as enjoyment. Doing the HIIT sessions just keeps things ticking over and allows us that ‘wiggle room’ and keeps us strong enough to do all the things we love doing, like cycling into Adelaide City from Glenelg Beach, along a 20km off-road track. The track is as flat as a pancake and I don’t think I got my heart rate up once, but my legs got a great workout and it was a wonderful way to see the city. If you are in Adelaide, pick up the free bikes in the city and explore the linear track: city to the beach. An easy, peasy ride and you don’t even need your own bike!
If you have only got 5 minutes, then make it worth your while and get your heart rate up, the science is saying, 4 minutes a day is plenty and Tabata (20 on/10 off for 8 rounds) is perfect. Use your HIIT timer to keep you honest. Count every set to try and maintain your reps for all 8 rounds.