Live-it, Don’t Diet! Part 2: High Intensity Interval Training for your Body, Mind, and Spirit!

Hello Friends!

Thanks for staying tuned!

As promised, today I’ll share with you my program for High Intensity Interval Training! This is the basic program that I started with.

I’m building upon this to keep things progressing in a safe, healthy, and powerful way.

When you find an exercise routine that works for you and your can build from strength to strength, from one successful workout to the next, each time feeling the victory and energy in your body, it makes a great impact on your Mind and your Spirit too!

After that, get ready because as you keep it up, you will have new thoughts, new ideas, more energy, and your enthusiasm will grow to be boundless!


This is exactly what I experienced, and what I needed—especially with many responsibilities and challenges in life, and much success to be sure, I needed to get over a hump and HIIT helped me do it.

Before I started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), I researched it in detail and tried out many different approaches and exercises for HIIT.

In the end I developed a model that has worked brilliantly for me and avoids the pitfalls and injuries that I’ve seen others go through as they try to build muscle and strength, lose fat, reach their ideal weight, or redesign their bodies.


I have never pulled a muscle or hurt myself in any way using my 3-PART HIIT PROGRAM.


My 3-PART HIIT PROGRAM follows the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) principle…

that is, there is a minimum threshold to achieve any goal and going over that threshold is unnecessary—it can actually be harmful if severely broached.

In medicine, that means to take the minimum dose to achieve the desired effect. For fat loss or body redesign it means doing an exercise for the minimum amount of time or reps to achieve your goal. Enter the power of HIIT…


High Intensity Interval Training emerged as an alternative to Continuous or Steady State Cardio Training, for example jogging or cycling for long periods of time. Research has shown that HIIT is more effective than steady state cardio exercises for a host of body and health benefits. For a review of the research about the Metabolic Effects of HIIT, check out what exercise scientist at the University of New Mexico, Len Kravitz, Ph.D., has posted here.

In addition to fat loss, building strength, improved cardio, reduced stress, and better overall health, another key benefit of the HIIT program that I use is that it avoids injuries—this is a HUGE deal!


Whether you’re just starting out, or if you are an experienced athlete, staying in the game by avoiding injuries is key and simply can’t be overemphasized. I see many people, guys especially, overdoing it with their training programs and injure themselves.

Some go to the gym 3 times a week for over an hour and just wear themselves out and have little energy for the following 2-3 days. Some try to lift too much weight and hurt themselves. And some even overdo with HIIT by doing exercises they are not ready for.

HIIT exercises you should avoid at the beginning include advanced pull up bar routines, burpees or half-burpees (which can be too tough on the joints for a beginner), or heavy medicine ball or kettlebell exercises. Unless you’re already doing these without injury and with all the benefits, then just FORGET ABOUT IT for now.

Remember, what you need to find is the MED:

Minimum Effective Dose!

If you really feel a need to do these or other advanced exercises, you can always build up to them…little by little, no problem.


So, here it is, my 3-Part HIIT PROGRAM

(The program has Three Categories of Exercises)



1.  Whole Body:   (Mountain Climbers, Burpees, Half-Burpees)

2.  Plank:   (Forearm, Full-arm, Right Side, Left Side, Walking, Folding)

3.  Abs:   (Flat Hands Crunch, Knees Up Crunch, Bicycle, Leg Lifts, and more)

You can see that you can do different exercises within each category.

For now however, we’ll choose the first exercise in each category, which is the easiest to start with.

Each exercise is done for 20-30 seconds. If you are a beginner, start with 20 seconds. You can add a 3-5 second transition in between each exercise if you need to.



1.  Mountain Climbers: 20-30 seconds

2.  Forearm Plank: 20-30 seconds

3.  Flat Hands Crunch: 20-30 seconds



Mountain Climbers

Here is a good example of Mountain Climbers. In this video, Kodjo illustrates 3 levels (beginning, intermediate, and advanced) of the exercise—start with the beginner’s level and ramp up the difficulty as you become stronger.  In the beginning, he mentions that Mountain Climbers is good for upper body strength and sculpting your abs–this is true, but this exercise is good for much more! So definitely try it and also check out the research above at Dr. Len Kravitz’s page.


Forearm Plank

Here is a pic of the Forearm Plank position. While holding this position for 20-30 seconds, contract your abdominal muscles (i.e. pull your belly in) and focus your attention on that area.

Forearm Plank Position

Forearm Plank Position

Flat Hands Crunch

Here is a quick and clear example of the Flat Hands Crunch from Vitality Advocate. After a one-minute intro. Matt shows you the Flat Hands Crunch exercise, which is demonstrated for just a few seconds.  There are other good exercises in this video, but just stick with this first one for now if you are beginning.

For the Flat Hands Cruncy exercise, be sure to:

  1. Keep your back flat against the ground and do not arch it as you crunch.
  2. Exhale and contract your abs with each crunch, focusing your attention on that area.


When you start your program, start with 5 minutes and see how you feel. As you build strength, increase by 20-30 second increments.

Beginner Level:  5   minutes

Intermediate Level: 10 minutes

Advanced Level:  20 minutes (if needed, take a 20 second rest at the 10 minute mark!)

Don’t worry if you can’t do 5 minutes straight the first time, most people can’t!

Do it for a week and track your experience in your body, mind and spirit.


When I began doing this, I quickly moved to a little more difficult variation. During my first week, I noticed a significant increase in my strength and stamina. Even though the first time was extremely difficult to make it through 5 minutes, by the end of the first week, I was increasing it to six minutes and was feeling stronger and stronger.

I lost 1.5 kilos in the first week and on week number two, I added some simple nutritional changes and experienced more strength, stamina, and continued to loose weight.

More importantly, I simply felt better all over and was more aware of my thoughts, feelings, and the goals I wanted to achieve.

After a couple of weeks, I added some simple bodyweight exercises and increased my HIIT to twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening after the bodyweight exercises. I also kept experimenting and tweaking my nutrition—still doing this!

After one month, I added some simple weight training at home.

Now my Exercise Program consists of free weights, body weight exercises, and my 3-Part HIIT Program, which uses many different exercises that fit into each of the three categories (Whole Body—Plank—Abs). I change it up often and I’m loving it!

HIIT has been a great discovery for me and I’ve not only loved playing with it and learning new ways to do High Intensity Interval Training, but it has become a perfect partner to the Tai ji and Qi gong practices that I’ve been doing since 1993. More about that in another post!

For now—Give my 3-Part HIIT Program a try and let me know how it works for you!


Remember, start with gentle movements and stretches to and make sure your loose and warmed up.   If you think this is too much, just start with 30 seconds of Mountain Climbers. If you can’t do 30, do 20 or 15 seconds and build from there, it’s about progress and making daily victories, so take your time and enjoy the ride!

Let me know how its going, I’d love to hear about your experience and if you have any suggestions for the above.

To a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy YOU!


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