Linda Melone
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Fat burning intervals for women over 50 (includes a new video!)

There’s a lot of talk about intense exercise lately, specifically HIIT or “high-intensity interval training.”

With names like INSANITY, P90X, CrossFit, and KillerDeathForce2000, you know these workouts mean business (okay, I may have made up that last one).

 Happy knees, unlike mine

As someone with knee arthritis, some days my joints hurt just thinking about HIIT.

No joke. Yesterday I hurt my left knee (which has been fairly pain-free up until now) while doing crunches.

Yes, crunches, where you lie on a bench and curl up using your abs — nothing to do with your legs.

I don’t know if I got up the wrong way off the bench or what, but I limped out of the gym as if I’d just finished training with Ronda Rousey.

Lately, my knees seem to enjoy surprising me with painful antics when I least expect it. For example, they also emit a painful “pop” while I’m doing a standing exercise like biceps curls. Again, I’m standing and not even moving my legs.

Oh, those knees are such silly pranksters.

But seriously, what gives?

My doctor tells me (an MRI confirmed that yes, my knees are totally shot and I’ll likely need a replacement in the future) it’s osteoarthritis (OA).

I can’t speak for everyone with OA, but I feel as if someone’s removed my knee joint and replaced it with a Tinker Toy.

Remember the wooden circles and sticks we played with as kids? (Yes, I’m showing my age, but that hasn’t exactly been a mystery up until now.)

Clearly, that was circa the Jurassic Era, eons before the Internet, smartphones and Pokémon Go were even a thing.

We did crazy things like “play outside.”

    We kept in shape running from this guy

It’s a miracle we survived with all those dinosaurs roaming around.

But I digress.

Back to HIIT.

HIIT refers to workouts that involve intervals of high-intensity, all-out, effort alternating with easier, lower intensity bouts of “rest.”

This alternating high-low effort produces something called EPOC, which sounds like a Star Wars character but is actually short for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.”

In simple terms, HIIT produces an “after burner” effect where your body continues to burn excess calories above and beyond the norm as it powers down and works to return your body to your pre-exercise state.

As a result, you burn more calories doing HIIT than you would a steady-state workout.

EPOC explains why you continue sweating after a tough workout even after you’ve showered.

(SIDE NOTE: Have you tried my FREE 7-Day Ageless Body Challenge, yet? If not sign up HERE to get started today!)

The good thing about HIIT is you can adjust it to your fitness level by altering the times and rest periods of your intervals, which changes the overall intensity.

HIIT on a treadmill, for example, can include a fast walk on the “high intensity” end if you’re a beginner, or an all-out run if you’re very fit and your joints can handle it.

In addition to cardio HIIT workouts, you can also trigger EPOC by circuit training without traditional cardio.

The key: Use little to no rest between sets.  

That, my Ageless friend, is what makes it hard. This rapid pace keeps your heart rate up similarly to doing cardio.

Problem is, some of the HIIT exercises aren’t great for those of us with less-than-perfect joints.

Take Mountain Climbers for example. These require good core stability along with upper and lower body strength – and they’re super exhausting if you do them for more than two seconds.

So even though they make a great addition to a HIIT circuit training program, MCs aren’t always doable for a lot of us over-50 chicks or beginners.

With that in mind, I created this sample HIIT program. You can do it whether you’re a beginner or advanced exerciser by using the various modifications…

1. WARM-UP: Walk/jog in place (or substitute your choice of cardio): 3 to 5 minutes

2. STEP-UPS or squats: 30 to 60 seconds

3. PUSH-UPS (wall, chair or floor): 30 seconds or until fatigue (you can’t do a single more rep in good form)

4. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS (modified): 30 seconds

5. CHAIR DIPS: 30 seconds or until fatigue

6. LOWER ABS ON CHAIR: 30 seconds or until fatigue

— Rest briefly, then repeat 2 to 3 times.

NOW YOU.

How’d you do? Did you try the modified Mountain Climber?

Let me know in the comments section below… and please share this with your friends!   

Other posts you may like:

7 Ways to stick to a home workout routine

5 Best bodyweight exercises for women over 50

7 ways to burn more calories walking

Got questions or ideas for a future post? Send ’em to me at linda@lindamelone.com.

Chat soon!

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Melinda says

Sorry about your knee,hope it’s feeling all better real soon.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Melinda!

    Reply
lisa says

Thank you for this! Just what I needed to get some good cardio without injuring (killing:)) myself!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Great! Let me know how you do, Lisa :).

    Reply
Sharon says

If there was a bad knee contest I would win hands down. I’ve been looking for a work out that doesn’t involve me running or jumping because my knees refuse to listen to those commands. I’m going to try your workout for one week starting tomorrow and I’ll get back with you.

Sharon

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Great! I’m with ya, Sharon. Keep impact low and avoid anything that may twist that joint, such as when I got off the ab crunch machine yesterday and tweaked my knee. Go easy!

    Reply
Rosa Maurice says

Sorry about your knee! Like the modifide

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Rose!

    Reply
Peggy says

Hi Linda good luck with your knee that sounds awful. I have real problems with my shoulders and dips are always a no no for me. Can you suggest an alternative?

Thanks love your posts.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Hi Peggy, Yeah, dips are very tough on shoulders. You can do plenty of other exercises that target the triceps and don’t involve dips. This previous post includes two videos you may like: https://lindamelone.com/4785-2/ Hope that helps!

    Reply
Pam says

Thrilled that I found you on FB! At 5′ 0″ and over 50, I need a routine that helps me keep in shape without needing a wheelchair afterwards! I have a hard time balancing gym time, a new love in my life, work and grandchildren. Keep showing us that we don’t have to live at the gym to stay fit.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    I’m glad you found me, too, Pam! So much is a matter of finding what works for YOU, your body, your goals and is something you enjoy. 🙂

    Reply
Lee Totzke says

It would be nice to have a printable page for this workout. Would like to try this. I don’t use electronics except ipod for music

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Great idea, Lee. Let me work on that. Stay tuned…

    Reply
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