3, 2, 1 Plan

Sharon Rekieta, Fitness and Wellness Director - 13th July 2012

Want to blast fat? Need to refresh and renew your program? It is as easy as 3...2...1...!

Perhaps you started a walking or running program months ago because you realized adding activity was a great way to lose weight - and for a while it worked well but now progress has stalled.

Or maybe your current routine started with a bang, you had energy to burn and enjoyed every minute but lately it has grown stale and you find yourself with little enthusiasm and almost no motivation to workout.

Consider this fresh 3...2...1... format as a way to blast fat and refresh your routine.

Each number corresponds to the duration (time) and a "zone" or "perception of effort."

"3" is three minutes in a zone that feels slightly challenging.

"2" is two minutes in a zone that feels moderately challenging.

"1" is one minute in a zone that feels extremely challenging.

The format is very easy to follow. Whether you're walking or running, after a brief warm-up, pick up the pace so it feels slightly challenging and stay in the zone for three minutes. Then increase the pace again so your workout feels moderately challenging and stay in that zone for two minutes. Finally, finish with a one-minute burst in a zone that feels extremely challenging and makes you breathless. Keep in mind that the "zone" is your perception and could change day to day; so listen to your body, as it will tell you how much effort to expend.

Continue to repeat the six-minute segments as many times as you like. You'll quickly accumulate minutes and reach a total of 30, 45 or even 60 minutes before you know it!

How does the 3...2...1... plan blast fat and refresh your routine? First, interval workouts burn more calories than steady-state formats. And, by having set time segments and effort levels, your decision-making is minimal so there is less opportunity to take it easy. The progression challenges you physically while engaging you mentally and the recovery period gives you just enough time to catch your breath so you are more likely to maintain the intensity in zone 3 knowing that a break is coming soon. Finally, there is a positive psychological component. Accepting and completing a challenge kicks in your "feel good" endorphins and you'll finish with a feeling of happiness and accomplishment.

So the next time you want to blast some fat or do a different type of workout, think 3...2...1... and power on!