15 Minute HIIT Workout To Boost Cognitive Function, Reduce Toxins, and Build Endurance

Austin Gray
February 28, 2020
15 Minute HIIT Workout To Boost Cognitive Function, Reduce Toxins, and Build Endurance


Peloton is the new workout bike craze, and I believe this is for good reasons. I’ve personally tried the Peloton workouts a handful of times and I love the quick workout structure they’ve developed. Every time I’ve completed a Peloton workout, I end up drenched in sweat and feel great going into the work day. I considered buying one but decided I didn't want to spend the $3k for the so I developed my own strategy instead. I’ve been able to achieve the same benefits of sweating out toxins, boosting brain function, taxing my cardiovascular system, and releasing good endorphins all on a standard “run of the mill” stationary bike. 

Some mornings I’m pressed for time before work so I wanted to come up with a way to accomplish my workout goals in a quick 15 minute format. If you have access to a stationary bike, you can copy this framework. I can say with confidence that you’ll feel like a million bucks going into your workday if you copy the format correctly. And the best thing is, it’s only 15 minutes. 

Workout Overview

  1. Warmup (Minutes 0, 1, 2)
  2. High Intensity Training (Minutes 3, 5, 7, 9, 11)
  3. Steady Resistance (Minutes 4, 6, 8, 10) 
  4. Cool Down (Minutes 12, 13, 14)

Warmup (Minutes 0, 1, 2) 

The warm-up section is for three minutes sitting in the saddle. This is meant to get your blood moving and prepare you for what’s up next. Depending on the brand of your workout bike, you’ll need to experiment with your resistance and output to develop your own metrics. For my specific bike, I place the resistance at 12 and work to stay between 95-100 RPMs. 


I have developed this pace to get my blood pumping enough without being completely out of breath at the end of the 3 minutes. Your warmup pace is crucial to develop as this is the same pace you’ll use for your “Steady Resistance” pace. At the 3 minute mark, we’ll move into the “High Intensity Sets.”

High Intensity Sets: (Minutes 3, 5, 7, 9, 11)

After completing the first 3 minutes in the saddle at your warmup pace, we’ll increase the resistance upon hitting the 3 minute mark. For this portion of the workout, we’re looking for a short burst of max level output for 60 seconds out of the saddle. In layman's terms,  you’ll be standing up and pedaling hard. On my bike, I increase resistance to 19 or 20 and work to stay within the 70-75 RPM range. When developing your own metrics specific to your brand of bike, start by increasing the resistance to a point where pedaling gets hard while seated on the bike. 

When you’ve found this level of resistance, stand up out of the saddle and pedal hard for 60 seconds. You’ll know if you’ve increased your resistance enough if you’re out of breath at the 45 or 50 second mark. Remember, this portion of the workout is meant to gas you. You should be gasping for air by the time you hit 60 seconds.But don’t worry, once you hit 60 seconds, you’ll have 60 seconds to recover at your “Steady Resistance” pace before your next “High Intensity Set.” If done correctly, you’ll be pushing hard out of the saddle during minutes 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. By the end of the 15 minute workout, you’ll have completed 5 High Intensity Sets by rotating between High Intensity and Steady Resistance sets. 

Steady Resistance Set (Minutes 4, 6, 8, 10) 

For the Steady Resistance Set, you’ll sit back down in the saddle and use the same resistance and RPM metrics as your Warmup pace. After you’ve completed 60 seconds of High Intensity work during minute mark 3-4, back your resistance off to the same number you started with. On my bike, that means I’m reducing the resistance from 19 down to 12. Work to maintain the same RPM’s from your Warmup pace at 95-100. You’ll be out of breath from your max effort during your High Intensity set, so use this time to focus on controlling your breath. By the end of this 60 second recover interval, you should be close to regaining control of your breath. 

At the end of this 60 second mark, transition back out of the saddle and increase your resistance back to your High Intensity metrics. Repeat this process of switching between High Intensity and Steady Resistance until you hit the 12 minute mark. If done correctly, you’ll be recovering during minutes 4, 6, 8, and 10. 

Cool Down (Minutes 12, 13, 14)

If you follow the process correctly above, you will have completed your final 60 second High Intensity Set between minute mark 11 and 12. At this point, you should be absolutely gassed and out of breath. If you’re not gasping for air and light headed at this point your resistance isn’t high enough. Take note of this and make sure to increase the resistance mark for each set the next time you come back to this workout. Upon reaching the 12 minute mark, reduce your resistance back to your “Warmup” metrics and focus on staying between 95-100 RPM for the next 3 minutes. This “Cool Down” time will allow you to gradually regain control of your breath. I’m usually pretty light headed by the time I complete my work sets and it takes me somewhere between 2 - 3 minutes during my cool down to get my breath back down to a normal rate. 

Conclusion

I absolutely love this workout when I’m pressed for time in the morning because it’s quick and to the point and accomplishes a lot of the reasons why I exercise in the first place. Dave Asprey has published research on the topic of HIIT workouts and the relationship between cognitive function, well being, and creativity, and  I believe most of the benefits to be true. This workout allows me to sweat out toxins, boost brain function, and overall well being before I get into my work routine. 

Try it out and let me know what you think on Twitter. 

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