Does the thought of heading to the gym to face the cardio machines make you cringe as you begin your quest to get in shape?

Finding a form of exercise that works for you is key to finding something that ‘works for you’ long term. Many people find themselves sticking with what they know best – the local gym, where they spend time on the elliptical, treadmill or bike! Sound familiar?

I was recently asked about why I created livefitandsore.com and blog daily about my workouts and what it takes to live healthy and fit — For me, I like to have a record of the work I have done and track my progress. But I share it with others because I think it’s important for those people out there on a similar journey know they aren’t alone. I am not some superhero or have extra help that allows me to do this – the group I workout with every morning at 5A, including me, are full time parents, have full time jobs, manage stresses, illnesses, successes, and challenges just like everyone else— it’s a choice , a commitment and an awareness of the importance of being fit and healthy. And the benefits of leading this life present themselves in so many unexpected ways — that’s one of the best parts!

So, how about starting the new year by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new? That’s exactly what I did 2.5 years ago and it led me to where I am today. I bet that there are probably a few training strategies out there that you have not even heard of, like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), that will challenge your idea of a traditional workout.

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
HIIT consists of short bursts of maximum effort followed by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise. Most HIIT sessions last around 20 minutes. Now – don’t get too excited by the 20 minute time frame – it’s not an easier workout just because it’s shorter! In fact, HIIT is physically demanding and requires you to go at full steam effort during that time. HIIT is the training I have been doing– but my workouts don’t last 20 mins if I am being honest. What I like about it is it constantly challenges you by having you try things you never would have imagined – EVER! During one of my workouts – I had to pull one of those gigantic tires with a rope! How fun is that? This approach can also be applied to everyday exercises – even a neighborhood run can be made into a HIIT workout – sprint, then jog, sprint, then jog. HIIT is the approached used by many local boot camps (http://bit.ly/findabootcamp) and Crossfit (http://www.crossfit.com/) gyms locally and it’s perfect for both men and women!

So use your new year’s resolution to get out of your traditional gym workout rut. Explore different training approaches, do some research, and most importantly, try something challenging, different and completely outside of your norm! There isn’t a doubt in my mind that you can find one that ‘works for you’.

Published in January 2011 – The Villager

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