A couple days ago we discussed how women who work out will not and cannot get bulky. The benefits of lifting weights versus cardio were compared, but not everyone is comfortable with lifting weights. There are options to improve your cardio routine to help you burn more calories and even save you time to run home and bake that delicious two layer double chocolate cake that you’ve been dreaming of all day.
Meet: HIIT – high intensity interval training. Okay that was a mouthful, let’s take it down to the basics. HIIT is a strategy of training that alternates between short periods of intense anaerobic exercise and quick recovery periods. When you exercise moderately, your body uses fat and glycogen as fuel in order to provide energy for you to continue exercising. Your body will allow you to continue working out until all of that glycogen has been depleted, this usually takes up to about 2 hours. As you slowly exercise, your breathing gets heavier, allowing oxygen to enter your body and fuel your muscles along with glycogen, this is aerobic exercise.
In anaerobic exercise, the intense workout doesn’t deliver oxygen to your muscles and only glycogen is used to fuel your body. This causes the formation of lactic acid, which can cause discomfort if sustained for longer than two minutes. This is the reason why anaerobic exercise is used only in short bursts of high energy. Intense bursts of energy required for anaerobic exercise allows for lean muscle mass to be built much faster compared to aerobic exercise. In the long run this also helps to burn more calories when your body is at rest.
HIIT training consists of anaerobic exercise since it requires repeated short bursts of energy at your maximal output possible. It can be modified for a variety of exercise routines such as cardio or weight training.
HIIT in Cardio
The next time that you go running on the treadmill or elliptical, instead of opting for spending 2 hours at a moderate pace, try HIIT. Reduce your total time to about 20 minutes maximum and burn more calories. Instead of running at a steady pace, alternate between 15 seconds of all out sprinting and then knock it down to a leisurely stroll for 15 seconds. Repeat this sequences for at least 10 times to complete your workout. Rest completely if you don’t have the energy to walk. If you find that 15 seconds is too easy, increase the intervals to 20 seconds, and then gradually up to 30 seconds if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Once you’ve mastered HIIT cardio training on a flat incline, start bumping up the degree of incline to make the workout harder.
We bet that you’ll be sweating and panting by the end of this short and quick workout!
HIIT in Weight Training
If you’re not seeing enough progress with your weight training, why not incorporate a little big of HIIT into it as well? Most people lift a moderate weight that they think that is manageable, complete a set of about 8-10 reps and then take a break of about 30 seconds to a minute before repeating the process a couple more times. An alternative is to go all out and try completing a series of exercises at maximal effort before taking a short break and moving onto the next exercise. It’s easier to perform body weight exercises for HIIT weight training as the rapid movements will make it difficult to use weights safely without hurting yourself.
Hopefully by this point you’ve been pushing yourself hard enough that your muscles will be completely maxed out and tired.
Have you ever tried HIIT? And if you haven’t will you incorporate it into your workout routine?
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