Year of Sweat Squared

Take 2: High Intensity Interval Training for Lazy Inclines

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High intensity interval training … it’s on the radio again, it’s on TV again, it’s in the newspaper again!

I first heard about it in 2013.  This is what I wrote then …

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All I had left from the insurance payout, after the bank took its bit, was enough to buy a push bike. It was the late 80s, or maybe the early 90s, when a V8 had rear-ended my little, and not-yet-paid-off, Datsun. There was a larger problem. I no longer had a permanent job and banks were not giving personal loans to single female temps with a credit card debt and no collateral.

I diligently rode to work for a while but eventually got tired of always pushing it up hills. Not riding it up hills; pushing it up hills. I’d bought a mountain bike because I’d heard the oval cog would help with inclines. It didn’t.

A few years passed, my mid 40s, and I’m studying at uni.  The part-time temp jobs would periodically dry up and the student allowance was not much – enough to either bus to me to uni every day OR allow me to eat that week.

Distance meant that riding the bike, rather than taking the bus, was not an option.

So I split the difference. I rode to uni and caught the bus home. Then, reversed the journeys the next day. The bike was chained to a stairwell in one of the uni buildings. No-one complained. I got to eat half the time.

With all that riding, you’d think the hills would get easier.  They didn’t. And, truly, I’m not talking about steep hills either. I’ve read that there are about 20% of people who just cannot increase their aerobic fitness. It’s a genetic thing.

Today, the bike is jacked up on an indoor trainer because high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT) is the go. I found two articles that claim a positive impact on blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. One study seemed to be simply asking, “Does this work?”. It involved 10 x 60 second intense bursts of cycling interspersed with 60 seconds rest. The other researchers seemed to be trying to find the minimum required and suggested 3 x 20 second bursts interspersed with a couple of minutes of gentle cycling.

At this point, I’m somewhere in the middle; 3 x 60 seconds going as fast as I can, interspersed with a few minutes wandering around the house doing stuff. The aim now is to do more than 3 per session. The bike is right near the kitchen. It seems entirely practical and achievable to work in the kitchen AND burst a HIIT on the bicycle every couple of days.

If I get to 10, I wonder if that means I’m not really one of the 20% and instead just incline lazy?

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And then what happened?

I’m definitely inclined to laziness.  The bike’s still there, jacked up on its indoor trainer near the kitchen, but my motivation comes and goes.

No excuses.

Sometimes these things only work when there’s no choice.  I had no choice when I rode all those miles to get to uni, rain or shine.

Thinking about it now, I could have stayed home when it rained … but I didn’t. Why? What sort of motivation was that strong?

Intrigued and captivated

That’s the only way to describe my six years of study – intrigued and captivated.  My hair wasn’t gray then, but on its way.  I was the old one sitting up the back of the lecture theatre while herds of noisy youngsters filed past.  Someone had very kindly allowed me to be here, taking in all this information – philosophy, sociology, history, a bit of anthropology, a bit of linguistics – so much … too much … not enough days …

So, I keep getting on my bike because there wasn’t a choice.  I didn’t want to miss anything.

I saw a quote recently:

When we know better,
we should choose better.

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I know I’m supposed to get on the bike, but it doesn’t intrigue and captivate me.

At least I’m back walking.  The view is a better, and it does captivate and intrigue …

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