Fitness Friday | Peak 8 Training

When I went to Blissdom back in February, I made a leap of faith.

Are you ready for this?

I packed my workout clothes.


I used to pack workout clothes when I went to conferences, and I finally stopped because it just never happened. But this time I was determined to work out at least once while I was away. I was doing so well with my workouts at home. I wanted to keep my momentum going, and I knew that I’d be eating a lot and that exercise would help keep me feeling energetic and, ahem, regular.

So I faithfully tucked some workout clothes into a corner of my suitcase and set out for Nashville.

Peer Pressure Always Helps

I’m not sure I’d ever have gone to the Fitness Center by myself, but fortunately my room mate is a faithful worker-outer — yes, even at conferences!! — so she drug me along with her.

Okay, I went along willingly, but I credit her for getting my fanny out of the cafe where I was happily typing away with a mug of coffee by my side.

I detest the treadmill, which is another reason that I’m always reluctant to work out when I’m in a hotel, but Christina showed me a program that she has been doing that she swears gives you a great workout in only 20 minutes. It’s called Peak 8.

What is Peak 8?

She’s a big fan of Dr. Mercola, and he has written about this method of exercising many times. I had read about it, but I had only tried it when running. Christina does this on the recumbent bike. I don’t think I’ve ever so much as put a toe on a recumbent bike, but game for a new exercise to add to my growing repertoire, I hopped on.

The basic premise is this.

You start out doing whatever it is you are doing — running, biking, whatever — at a comfortable pace for about 3 minutes. That is your warm-up.

Then you set your timer for 30 seconds and increase the resistance of the machine, and you pedal (or run) as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Ideally you know your heart rate or something, but I just pedaled for dear life, like someone was chasing me thru a dark alley.

By about the 20-second mark, you think you are going to DIE, but you push yourself because you know it’s almost over.

Then you recover for 90 seconds, pedaling at a comfortable pace at a low resistance. That part is like a cool drink of water in a hot desert. It feels SO GOOD.

Then, just when you are thinking, this is too easy to be for real, you do it again. You pump up the resistance and start pedaling like a madwoman for 30 seconds.

Then you recover for 90.

You do this 30-second high intensity / 90-second recovery sequence eight times.

Get it? Peak 8!


After the 8th time, you can continue to recover for a minute or two, and then you’re done.

What are the Benefits of Peak 8?

I’m so glad you asked.

So evidently, according to a study published in the journal Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, short burst, high-intensity type exercises have “anti-aging” power. How about them apples?

They also boost boost the production of the human growth hormone (HGH). For what all that means, you’ll have to read the whole article. [source]

Another Mercola article states that “a new study in the Journal of Physiology found that about 20 minutes of high-interval training provided the same benefits of longer exercise sessions that focused on endurance training.”

When you break your exercise session into short segments that alternate high intensity with a rest period in-between, known as interval training, it can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities in a fraction of the time.


I don’t know about you, but I’m all about maximizing my time. I don’t have any desire to run marathons. I don’t want to be exercising for hours. I just want to get it done and get back to work and family and everything else I have going on. So this Peak 8 high intensity interval training is right up my alley.

So, how’s it working for ya, Jo-Lynne?

Unfortunately I have not done the Peak 8 since I was at Blissdom. I keep thinking that I want to add that to my exercise routines, maybe after my weekly weight-training sessions, but I’m always so tired by then, the idea of a high intensity aerobic activity makes me want to cry.

And I really don’t want to commit to going to the gym one more day a week, so I have never gone just to do Peak 8.

It is much easier to do on a machine than it is to do on the road. I actually tried it with my running, but I was so afraid of falling, I quit. The irony is, of course, that I DID fall, and fall badly, (I am still recovering and planning to see the doc today) but not when I was doing intervals.


My point in sharing this is that hopefully it will inspire someone to try something new. Maybe you’re crunched on time and you have an exercise bike or treadmill gathering dust in your bedroom. You should SO try this! It’s a great way to get in a complete workout in 20 minutes. Who doesn’t have 20 minutes, ya know??

How about YOU?

Have you done interval training?

Do you like it?

Is it a regular part of your workout regimen?

Inquiring minds and all that . . .

For more about Peak 8, you can read Lydia’s post on Burst Training. And I’m linking up with Fitness Friday over at SuperExhausted.

Join the Conversation

17 thoughts on “Fitness Friday | Peak 8 Training

  1. I haven’t done interval training myself but that sounds like something my dad used to do when he would be trying really hard to loose weight safely yet fairly quickly. It always seems to work for him. He used to have me ride my bike while he ran in front or behind me so he wouldn’t be by hisself. I never liked being in front I never knew how close or far away he was lol!

  2. The best shape I have EVER been in was when I was doing a version of this. I think mine was like 3 minute moderate pace and then an increasing, building intensity x 3 minutes….at the end point you are feeling like you will fall off the treadmill and then a three minute recovery.

    Interval training is a must if you don’t want your body to adapt to your normal routine and stop giving you the results you want.

  3. I kinda do this (though I didn’t know it had a name). I can’t use run or use a treadmill because of bad knees so I always use the recumbent bike. I will go as fast as I can for 30 seconds (which is conveniently how long the display function on my bike takes to cycle through all the displays and get back to the time display!) and then rest for a while and do it again. I’ll try to do it more defined like you’re saying and see if I get good results!

  4. I haven’t been able to run for a while. Let’s just call it an old childbirth injury. (If guys can use football as an excuse, I can use that, right?) Anyway, I’ve always tried to stay active so I did lots of looking around and research and came across Dr. Sears. He’s been promoting a form of the Peak 8 for a while and I think Dr, Mercola gives him credit on the initial research. Gyms are not an option for me right now…too many kids, too much money, too far away, blah blah. I can’t just do an elliptical trainer or treadmill Peak 8 because I just get bored to death even if it’s only about 10 minutes. I really like some of the Beach Body workouts. Turbofire uses the HIIT, it’s fun and I’ve found that it helps so much with my general cardiovascular fitness. If I could run for distance, I know I’d be better! Otherwise, I can bound up the stairs and run around with my kids without easily. I still need weight training, however. I love the Nike App for the iphone. It gives you 20-30 min. interval training and you can use your ipod playlist for your music. Also, I hate to mention this sometimes because…well…you’ll see if you go to the site….It’s The workouts are incredible. 12-15min…much like HIIT and Crossfit in that they use lots of bodyweight interval exercises. They give you a video example of the workouts and a listing of them on the post. I usually watch the video then copy, paste and print the workout to do at my convenience. Now, my disclaimer is that the woman isn’t wearing much, and the still shots are rather…compromising. I make sure my kids are NOT in the room when the site is up. I’d be curious to hear someone’s opinion on this. I’m not giving them money so, in that sense, I’m not “supporting” them, but I just hate the photographs. If the workouts weren’t so dang good and effective, it’d be a no brainer. In all of my research, I haven’t found one that fits all of my criteria…short, weight and interval training, and super effective…and I have looked around a whole heckuvalot. That’s my long-winded answer to your short, sweet question. 🙂 I’ve seen and read about great results with this, also because it puts your body into “fat-burning” mode and the week’s I’m consistent with it, I definitely notice it in the way my clothes fit and on the scale. Ugh…I can’t stop talking. Sorry.

  5. I thought this sounded a lot like the TurboFire workouts and I see DeAnn said the same. A friend gave us a copy of TF and I’ve done it a few times. I rather like it. It’s intense but it’s quick and you feel like you did something at the end of it all. I was doing The Shred by Jillian Michaels (again) a few weeks ago but life has been a little intense around here lately and now we’ve had family in town for 2 weeks so I’ve been off the wagon. Maybe next week I’ll dust off the TF dvd again and give it a whirl.

  6. I do intervals about once every 2 weeks. Usually when I am pressed for time. I do them alot more when I am on the treadmill but will do them when I am running outside too. Because they are so short, I usually feel like I am cheating though. I usually run 30-60 mins (3-5 miles) and just 20-25 mins seems odd, even when I go all out for the high intervals. I have a couple of different patterns too. 30 sec on, 1 min off; 1 min on, 30 off, 2 mins on, 1 min off. I also vary what the rest period is. Generally, for the 30 sec on/1 min off, I will run all out and then run my comfortable 5k pace ~ 10:30 min/mile for recovery.

    It is nice to change things up and it makes the time go really fast.

  7. I’ve done Insanity which is Interval Training and like it says…INSANE! This has helped me loose over 18 lbs and 5 inches off my waist.

    It works to get your heart rate up and then slow it down for a minute and do it again. Lots of calories burned.

    Great Post!

  8. I tried this last night with just walking on the treadmill. I loved it for a couple reasons. I did feel like it got my heart rate up quickly and I was sweating like a pig by the end. But, by having to watch the time so much and change things up so quickly, it seemed to make the time on the treadmill go by faster than just staying at one speed for most of the workout. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try to do it again tonite!

  9. The first trainer I worked with had me do interval training on my weight lifting days. Sad to say I havent done it since then. I need to start doing it again, heck it doesnt take long and it is so good for me! I have done insanity and it is a great workout, but I just prefer to workout outside if I can. When I run I do interval training, kind of. When I run on the 2 mile loop we have on post I run at a normal jog from one light pole to the next. Then I sprint to the next light pole, job the next two, sprint to the next one and continue this the entire two miles. It is also a great workout that I dont have to do on a machine inside the gym(again hate working out inside!)

  10. interval training is fantastic for weight loss, especially when you are short of time. interval training allows you to do in 20 minutes what a regular workout would take 40 minutes to achieve, Its great

  11. I have been doing the Peak 8 for +month now. I was already in good enough shape working out regular for 2+ yrs, but this is perfect as I wanted to cut my gm time down but stay fit. I think I’m actually better off with this. Only do the Peak 2x a week, spin 2 more and just weights and stuff on the other 2-3 days, always including yoga as I have to stretch daily with my RA. Definitely recommend.

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