|Do what the Britney says.|
But it's not just me. At the gym I notice lots of people, especially women, doing the same crap day in and day out that I was doing. In fact I even see a handful of gym regulars who jump from one cardio machine to the next in a bored stupor.
Well I'm here to tell you about something better. There is a way you can do LESS cardio and get MORE results. Yes, it is possible. You can stop being a zombie with a never shrinking ass (hell it worked for me). Let me bring you to the world of the living, my friends. We might not have cookies but we have abs and that's almost better.
I'm talking about HIIT. HIIT, an acronym for high intensity interval training, involves short bursts of maximum, balls-to-the wall level activity separated by longer periods of low to moderate activity. At this juncture I'd like to point out that I said HIIT would allow you to do less carido, not necessarily easier cardio. Please note that not everyone will be ready for a full on hit workout, but the principles can be utilized at most activity levels in some form.
Anyway, HIIT basically allows you to push yourself to the upper limits of your cardiovascular capabilities (or aerobic zone) it has many advantages over steady state cardio:
- Your workouts are generally shorter, yet deliver greater results making your time spent both less and more effective. A minute of HIIT burns more calories. That's just good math.
- HIIT produces excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC), basically a fancy way of saying that your body spends time after your workout trying to make up for oxygen it needed during. Which is just science talk for the fact that your body will do more work afterward and burn more calories for up to 24 hours after you've left the gym. More good math.
- Research suggests that HIIT can help burn fat and retain muscle more efficiently than other forms of cardio. Basically, you get to keep more of your muscle and burn more of your fat.
- HIIT is shown to be good for your heart health and improving cardiovascular strength.
- The variety offered by HIIT can also get you out of the "I'm bored" gym rut because it has infinite variety.
So know that we know some reasons why HIIT is freakin' wicked awesome, let talk specifics. First, while HIIT has many benefits, it's physicality makes it less than prudent to perform daily. Keeping this in mind, I suggest HIIT three times a week on nonconsecutive days; instead of counting on HIIT exclusively, make it part of your routine. Also, remember that the idea is short bursts of strenuous activity. And it should be effin' hard. The key is that is should be hard for YOU and then you can adjust accordingly, continuing to increase the difficult as you become more fit and accustomed to the workouts.
Here's a HIIT workout for you to try! Rather than limit the routine to any one piece of equipment, I found a great workout from Oxygen Magazine that simply relates your level of work and how long they should be; this will allow you to customize the workout to whatever equipment is available to you. While treadmills are perhaps the most utilized for HIIT training, this could be used for pretty much anything so you never get bored. One of the best parts about HIIT is the fact that it can pretty much work with anything as long as you stick to the general principle of work and active recovery.
Please note: RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion and refers to how hard you're working. This measurement is both relative and adaptable based on your level of activity. For example, your work intervals could be a jog versus a walk or a sprint versus a run. It doesn't matter as long as when you get to that interval of work it is some hard ass shit.
Also note your higher intensity work doesn't just have to be faster, but could also refer to increasing your incline (if you were on a treadmill for example). Besides, there is something entertaining as shit about freaking people out while sprinting on a treadmill at a 15% incline. Try it sometime.
Get out there and HIIT something. You might even end up with a hot ass in the process.
And as always, questions, concerns, accolades and general comments are always welcome!