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Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the award winning book, CindySays… "You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Her web site is

It's time to spring free from the same old physical routines. Renew your mind, body and spirit by adding variety to your workout regimens. If your exercise is replicated day after day, I bet your systems are bored and progress is at a standstill. Your muscles as well as your heart and lungs must be challenged in order to improve, so shake up everything by mixing patterns, pace, timing, scenery, songs and especially intensity. Only then will you begin realizing your goals, feeling more energetic and unlocking the fun in fitness.

Are You a Human on a Hamster Wheel?

Running, peddling, walking, rowing or climbing without variety will put you on the fitness path to nowhere. Don't be too hard on yourself, though — we've all either done it or seen it. Mindless workouts on stair masters and treadmills in moderate, steady state, repetitive movement won't ever give you a strong, lean, durable body.

Jump Off

If you want to start making big strides in your fitness level as well as improve the way you look and feel, change the way you move. One way to mix it up is to simply rev up your steady-state cardio into a high-intensity interval workout (HIIT). This is a training technique that alternates between short periods of high-intensity activity and longer periods of low-intensity or recovery activity. HIIT can quickly enhance your performance, stamina, lung power and calorie burn.

Quick — Slow

A HIIT program can be applied to all types of cardiovascular exercise such as running, rowing, cycling and even swimming — anything that can be sped up and slowed down. In terms of perceiving intensity, on a scale of 0-10, moderate cardio intensity — such as what is seen on most cardio equipment in gyms, feels like 5-6. HIIT revs up that intensity to at least 7 for a minute and then slows it down to an intensity of 5-6 for two minutes. The intensity level can be higher or lower, and time spent within this intensity can be longer or shorter depending on your current fitness level. Keep in mind it should feel more challenging than your regular workout.

Warm Up

It's important to begin with a light to moderate five-minute warmup and end with a five-minute cool down to prepare your joints and muscles for the work to come. For example, if you were a walker, you might alternate one minute of speed work (walking very fast, jogging, walking a hill or incline) with two minutes of recovery work (recovering at a slower pace, no incline, less challenging). The is also a very efficient way to train, taking just 25 minutes to complete as opposed to 60 minutes.

If you are ready to renew your workouts, think about trying high-intensity intervals and watch your fitness level reach a new high.