HIGH-INTENSITY CONDITIONING: 1-2 days, 5-20 minutes

This can be intervals of sprinting, biking, swimming or any type of movement that challenges you.

This can also be strength movements that you perform quickly, with little or no rest between exercises and sets. If you do this, choose a weight that allows you to perform 8-12 repetitions.

These sessions push you to the limits of your capabilities. You will be breathing hard and will not be able to carry on a conversation while you work. Your work periods will be between 8-9 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (PRE) Scale.

The above being said, you will not always have the energy (or desire) to push yourself to these extremes. This is completely, totally, entirely OK, and it is important that in these instances ~ when you are tired or sore, for example ~ that you do decrease your intensity. Therefore, all of the high-intensity conditioning sessions can be altered so that instead of pushing yourself to an 8-9 on the RPE scale, you can find a 6-7 RPE. In this case your conditioning session would be more medium-intensity, which is great.

If you are very tired, choose an easy walk instead of conditioning.

Remember: We are taking the long view, imagining yourself at 90 years old and beyond. Work hard when you have the energy, but never push yourself. Learn to listen to and trust your body.  

Warm up for 5 - 10 minutes by walking, biking, skipping, jogging, dancing or anything else that gets your blood flowing.

You can put a short 3 - 10 minute high intensity finisher at the end of your strength training sessions if you have the energy.


Basic High-Intensity Conditioning

This can be done with any mode of movement ~ from walking a hill to swimming to biking to kettlebell swings ~ as long as it challenges you. See the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale for intensity guidelines.

REMEMBER: Progress slowly. Don't overdo it. Challenge yourself, but don't push yourself.

Warm Up for 5 minutes.

Work Hard (RPE 8 - 9) for 30 seconds.

Rest for 30 seconds - 1 minute, as needed. Your rest will be active, like walking or pedaling slowly on the bike. If you are new to HIIT, take a full 1 minute rest or even longer if you need. As you get stronger, your rest periods will be shorter.

Repeat the 30 second work effort for a total of 3 to 10 cycles. If you are new to HIIT, start with 3 cycles only. See how you feel in the subsequent days before adding on a 4th cycle.

Cool down with slow movement for 2 minutes. Stretch as needed after that.

Breath Ladder

Choose a movement from the list below and work your way to as many reps as you can, up to 10. When and if your reach 10 reps, try to come back down the ladder. See how far you can get.

Remember the rhythm: 1 rep, 1 resting breath. 2 reps, 2 resting breaths. 3 reps, 3 resting breaths and on up the ladder...

Bodyweight Squat
Squat Jump
Clean to Squat
Squat to Press
Any Burpee Variation