What If You Applied Interval Training…To Housework?!

Ahh…what to do with an ENTIRE day off?! I woke up feeling excited yet overwhelmed. The whole family was home from school and work due to a holiday. Yay! Precious time. I briefly entertained thoughts of fun outings like heading to the beach for the afternoon. I LOVE the beach, and a breath of fresh ocean air sounded downright glorious.

But as I looked around at the piles, unfinished projects, and general mess that goes hand-in-hand with an active family, it all grabbed and held my attention more than the idea of a day trip. Like everyone, our family has a to-do list that is miles long. Sometimes we feel defeated by it. We prioritize and make schedules and plans. Sure, there are days you toss the list, leave the messes and go to the beach! But on this particular day, I felt we needed something different.

I started to think: what if we stayed home and formatted that to-do list a little more creatively? A little more intentionally, perhaps. Then it hit me–I had an idea. I sat the family down and said excitedly, “Ok! Who knows what interval training is? We have a lot to do and a whole day off to tackle some of it. We’re going to do it interval style!”

Dictionary.com defines interval training like this:

interval training


  1. an exercise and training program in which each session consists of periods of intense exertion alternating with periods of rest or lighter exertion.

This type of exercise has proven to be highly effective on the body. We even use it in some of our Body & Soul Fitness programs. And so, I thought, maybe, just MAYBE, it would also be highly effective on my house!

I showed everyone what I wrote out and we went for it!

  • 45 min-clean great room
  • 15 min-rest
  • 45 min-exercise dogs
  • 15 min-rest
  • 60 min-trip to thrift store for Halloween costumes
  • 15 minutes rest
  • 45 min-solo work: bedrooms, office, etc.

Dinner, yard work, and so on! We called it “interval working” or “interval chores.” Not only did we accomplish more than we typically do in a day, we also had plenty of time to relax and watch a family movie that evening. And the kids–they loved it! They enjoyed the challenge of beating the clock, and the joy of accomplishment as a team. We reaped the benefits of work balanced with rest that day!

Approaching our housework through the paradigm  of “interval chores” was a new, adventurous change from our normal work/rest rhythms. In fact, it was EXACTLY the glorious breath of fresh air that this ocean-loving girl needed!

Paula Huss is a certified group fitness instructor with Body & Soul Fitness, and also serves as assistant Western Regional Director. She currently leads classes at Mt. Olive Ministries in Milpitas, CA, where her husband, John is Senior Pastor. They have three creative kids: Max, Gina, and Drew as well as two energetic rescue dogs. Paula is passionate about encouraging others to keep moving, eat well and enjoy healthy, renewing rest. She also loves to sing, and listen to crashing waves.

1 Comments on “What If You Applied Interval Training…To Housework?!”

  1. Wow, Paula! This is sensational! Creative, fun, gets the job done, and you all felt accomplished to contribute to the Family team effort. I love it! You are very motivational. 🙂

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