I recently put some information on the bulletin board outside the group fitness room about different cardio options. Every week I see the same people slaving away on the ellipticals...watching the calorie counter....feeling like the 'must' burn a certain amount of calories or their workout won't count. Some people take Body Pump and then spend time on the elliptical. Research has shown that although you will burn more calories overall doing the elliptical at a steady pace(steady state cardio)- a shorter workout consisting of high intensity intervals will burn more calories AFTER the workout is over. With our busy lives we don't have 60-90 minutes to spend in the gym...so why not maximize our time with some HIIT training! Keep reading to find out more
Don’t have an hour for cardio? Good!
by Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT www.builtlean.com
When most people think of cardio, they think of long, boring jogs, or endless hours on the elliptical. I’ve got good news for you: there’s a method of cardio that takes much less time and is far superior to jogging to help you burn fat. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and this article will give you the basics so you can take your body to a new fitness level.
What is High Intensity Interval Training?
High Intensity Interval Training(HIIT) involves alternating between very intense bouts of exercise and low intensity exercise. For example, sprinting for 30 seconds, then walking for 60 seconds is high intensity interval training. HIIT can be used both anaerobically (in the gym with weights) and aerobically with cardio.
Why Is HIIT the Best Cardio to Burn Fat?
Exercise physiologists used to believe that “steady state” cardio was superior for fat loss because relatively more fat is used by the body as fuel at lower exercise intensities than at higher intensities. The “Fat Burning Zone” shown on most cardio equipment as only 60%-65% of max heart rate is really a myth and is NOT optimal for burning fat. Yes, you burn more fat relative to glycogen when going for a walk, but what we care about is total fat burn. At higher intensities, you are burning far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. In addition, Interval training allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a much longer period of time than steady state, so you burn more fat.
As an added bonus, there’s also an afterburn effect known as EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption). You burn more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training, whereas going for a jog burns almost NO calories after.
Sample HIIT workout CARDIO
- Pick your work:rest ratio. Beginner? Start with a lower work time and a longer rest....20:60. As you get stronger increase your work and decrease your rest. 30:45
- Pick your exercise. Elliptical, treadmill, bike, running, jump rope, box jumps, jump squats, burpees,etc.
- Set your timer and GO! Repeat for 6-10 cycles. Beginner? start with 3-5 cycles.
As you get stronger be sure to introduce changes into your routine to keep your body progressing.