Jason Deranian is MAC’s Fitness Director. As a devoted Personal Trainer and health enthusiast throughout his adult life, Jason created MAC’s fitness philosophy to prioritize expertly developed exercises over unfounded wellness trends. Here is his take on this month’s featured fitness craze.
I’ve observed over the years, most gym-goers have their favorite workouts and their favorite machines, often without mixing it up. These folks are usually the most likely to ask questions like, “How come I can’t lose the weight I want?” or “I’m working out four days a week and haven’t seen any changes”. Most of us are creatures of habit and don’t deviate too frequently from our routines. Personally, I know a few people that make the effort to go to their health club ready to exercise who will turn around and go home if their favorite machine is occupied! Yes, you read that right. People will actually make the effort to get dressed, get in the car, drive to the health club and leave if forced to deviate from their normal routine. This article is not about listing the reasons why that mindset is a recipe for plateaus, nagging injuries and failed outcomes. This article is intended to motivate, inspire and help you enjoy variety. When done responsibly, your body will appreciate it!
When is the last time you experimented with the features on your favorite indoor bike or treadmill? If you haven’t yet discovered these valuable features, then you should give it a try. At the MAC, we have over 100 pieces of cardio equipment and over five different manufacturers. All of our machines have unique and beneficial features. The next time you’re on a Matrix treadmill, upright or recumbent bicycles, I challenge you to try SPRINT 8: A proprietary program only offered through Matrix that might just help improve your results and offer you a chance to experience more variety in your routine.
Sprint 8® is a 20-minute, fat-burning, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout and is customizable for any fitness level. Sprint 8 is much more than your run of the mill HIIT workout. Sprint 8 training program is designed for everyone. The workouts are pre-programmed for a beginner, intermediate, advanced or an elite athlete. The machine automatically changes speed and either incline or resistance during the workout alternating between the higher-intensity intervals and the recovery intervals. To get started, simply enter your age, weight and desired level of intensity. If you are unsure which level to select, please ASK A MAC TRAINER for help.
HIIT workouts and cardiovascular exercise are two examples of effective strategies for both weight-management and improving cardiorespiratory health. Sprint 8 is an efficient way to optimize your workout and your time. This 20-minute program is user-friendly, with simple steps on the large display screens.
What are intervals?
Intervals are typically designed with four parts. They include a short warm-up followed by interval splits of short higher-intensity efforts that transition into a period of active recovery ending with a cool down.
The example workout below is designed with a 3-minute warm-up, a 30-second sprint or maximum effort. In between each 30-second sprint is a 90-second active recovery interval The workout concludes with a 2.5-minute cool-down.
What’s a SPRINT?
Each sprint is 30-seconds long and must be performed at an all-out effort. If you could go longer than 30 seconds, your effort may not be quite enough. It is very important to realize this will be different for everyone and your "all-out intensity” may be a fast walking pace. It’s not about what speed, resistance or incline being used it’s about how you feel while you are exercising that determines the appropriate intensity.
Signs that you are performing at the appropriate intensity include being out of breath, sweating and feeling the muscle burn. See rate of perceived exertion (RPE) chart below and for more on exercise intensity, check out MAC Fitness Professional, Masha Proshutina's post here.
What’s ACTIVE RECOVERY?
Following each sprint is a 90-second period of active recovery. In this phase, keep moving, allowing your intensity and heart rate level to come down. If you feel you've recovered in less than 90 seconds, work harder in the next sprint to realize the full impact of the Sprint 8 program.
A good way to know if you’re working with the right effort is to follow the RPE chart:
If you haven’t been exercising regularly, have never tried sprinting or are over 60 years of age, begin slowly. Sprint 8 is effective for adult exercisers of any age, but going too hard too soon can lead to injuries, which will sideline your efforts and delay your goals. Ramping up slowly also allows your body to become accustomed to your new exercise routine. This may mean staying at four sprints (instead of eight) for a period of time. Listen to your body and keep pushing ahead at your own pace to finally complete eight sprints.
Sprint 8 is a tool to help achieve wellness goals but remember, variation ultimately delivers results. Try not to rely on a singular workout, piece of equipment or sport. The human body is designed to move in different ways and directions. If you're sticking to minimum exercise variety, the body can become accustomed to those few, repeated movements. This can leave you susceptible to injury due to overuse as well as creating vulnerabilities in any underutilized joints, muscles and movement patterns.
So the next time you are heading for a workout and find your favorite machine in-use, don't feel discouraged, experiment with something new!