Friday, December 4, 2009


This workout is one of the most efficient yet simple ways to push your fitness limits, blast calories and ultimately get into the shape of your life. The nature of this workout consists of high intensity intervals, which means it cannot be done every day.

Many people, especially fitness junkies and athletes, will finish this workout and feel the adrenaline, the endorphins and the results and think if they did it every day, they would get that much fitter (either that or they’ll never want to go through it again). However, this is not the case, the truth is, you cannot push your body to threshold everyday, doing so will lead to diminishing returns and likely burnout and/or injury.

The key is to constantly change up your workouts and keep your body guessing, so try to add this workout in 

once or twice a week as a substitute for your current workout.

The BIG MYTH people tend to fall into believing is that you need more than 30 minutes to get an incredible workout. The truth is, to sustain a longer workout, especially 50 min and over, you cannot perform with the same intensity you would in a shorter workout.                               

 – To get fitter and see big results you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone – it’s okay to struggle, it makes you stronger!

I called this a treadmill workout because it is approaching winter and the convenience of a treadmill is very popular at this time of year, but this workout can also be done running outside or on an elliptical machine if you are injured and need a low impact substitute (I currently do most of my workouts on the elliptical, as a back injury has made me very sensitive to high impact running).

I am going to use a perceived scale of exertion rather than heart rate to indicate the level you should be at throughout the workout. Below are descriptions of each level:

Exertion Levels Defined

Easy (E): Heart Rate (HR) 50%-60% of max. Perceived Exertion: Relaxed, easy pace; rhythmic breathing. Beginning-level aerobic training; reduces stress, enjoyable

Easy Moderate (EM): HR: 60%-70% of Max. PE: Pace comfortable; slightly deeper breathing, conversation possible. Basic cardiovascular training; good recovery pace

Moderate/Tempo (M):HR: 70%-80% of Max. PE: Pace moderate; more difficult to       hold conversation. Improved aerobic capacity; optimal cardiovascular training

Hard Moderate (HM): HR: 80%-90% of Max. Pace fast and a bit uncomfortable; breathing forceful. Improved anaerobic capacity and threshold, improved speed.

Hard (H): HR: 90%-100% of Max. Pace a sprinting effort, unsustainable for long period of time; labored breathing. Anaerobic and muscular endurance, increased  power.


Warm Up - 1.5 miles or 10 min

Stage 1 - 3 x 2min Interval

Breakdown: 1 min moderate - 30 sec hard moderate – 30 moderate - 1 min recovery 

*Repeat x 3

 Steady State/Recovery – 2 min

Stage 2 - 30 Seconds On (Hard Moderate to Hard) – 30 Off  (Easy/ Recovery) x 5

The ’30 seconds on’ should be as fast as you can go in a controlled effort

Cool Down – 5 min 

STRETCH – I cannot stress the importance of cool down and stretching enough – I’ve learned the hard – please do so before AND after your workout.





  1. Would you recommend a change in gradient during the intervals? Changing it would engage different muscle groups as well as increase stamina and heart rate. Just curious.

  2. Hi,
    I apologize for my delayed response (I promise to be more consistent with my posts and answers in the New Year).
    I'm so glad you asked this question! I take it, you are doing this workout on the treadmill and with treadmill running you actually need to set the workout to a grade of '3' in order to be on a 'flat road'.

    I recommend doing all the intervals on a flat road (gradient of 3) the majority of the time and just focus on bring up the speed. It's more about speed and intervals than hill work.

    However you can completely change the workout just by changing the gradient rather than speed for more of a hill workout.

    Or, as you get stronger you can make the workout more challenging by upping the grade to 3.5 or even 4 if you want on the intervals. Depending on the day, I would mix it up and focus more on speed some days and on gradient other days.

    Either way, this workout will blast calories and bring your fitness to a new level.

    Hope this helps!