Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yeah no, Don't Put Me Down for Cardio + A Few Interval Cardio Workouts

If you are a Pitch Perfect fan, as I am, you will know exactly what the above photo means, if are missing out!  I will be the first to admit that I don't love cardio the way that I love strength training.  That is until I learned about the wonder that is interval cardio training.

First lets talk a little technical about cardio there are two main types, low intensity (steady state) and high intensity or interval training.  Steady state is getting on a piece of cardio equipment, treadmill, elliptical, bike, you get the picture, and staying at a steady heart rate for the whole session.  Some believe that this is best for weight loss because you are in your "weight loss heart rate zones", sounds right but what happens is your body adapts to this quite quickly and you won't be burning as many calories as you once were.  This is okay if you can only stay at low impact for medical reasons, but for those of us looking for a challenge high intensity interval training (sometimes called HIIT).

HIIT is cardio with a twist and there are two ways I incorporate them into my workouts, the first is on the treadmill with 2 or 3 different intervals per 30 or 45 minute session.  I will also add them in during my strength training to burn more calories and not have to do a separate cardio session.  High intensity intervals work by raising your heart rate then letting it recover many times over and over.  This forces your body to adapt and change.  It doesn't know what is coming next and will keep it guessing.  This process also boosts your metabolism and can even burn extra calories once your session is complete.  In my book HIIT is the clear winner.  Now that being said it is good to mix up your workouts and to have some days that are lower intensity to let your body and muscles recover.  It is even nice to get outside and go for a walk on a recovery day, this will also help your sore muscles because it gets you moving and blood flowing to help them recover.  Have you ever noticed that when you are sore and you sit around how stiff you can get?  This is why getting moving will help!

Okay, ready for some workouts?  Here are a few workouts I do that incorporate HIIT!  Let me know how you can thank me later ;-)

Workout 1-
Treadmill Intervals:
5 minute warmup @ 3.0-3.5 mph (do not skip this, you need to warm your muscles up before the HIIT session)
2 minutes @3.5
1 minute @ 6.0
30 seconds @ 7
Repeat with the 2 min @ 3.5 and continue until you have reached your desired time.
I guarantee that you will be sweating and that the 30-45 minutes will fly by.

Workout 2-
Circuit workout (total body with HIIT mixed in)
5 minute treadmill warmup @3.5 mph
Circuit #1- Repeat 3x before moving on to #2
Pushups- 30 seconds
plank hold 30 seconds
bicep curls- 30 seconds
jump squats- 30 seconds
1 minute sprint on treadmill at 6.0-7.0 mph

Circuit #2-
Upright dumbbell row- 30 seconds
tricep kickbacks- 30 seconds
bicycle crunches- 30 seconds
jumping jacks- 30 seconds
1 minute sprint @ 6.0-7.0 mph

Circuit #3- (if you're still alive! Stick with 2 circuits if you are just beginning to workout)
Reverse lunges- 30 seconds
bridges- 30 seconds
toe touch crunches- 30 seconds
mountain climbers-30 seconds
1 minute sprint @ 6.0-7.0 mph

* A few notes:  use a weight that you can lift for 30 seconds but is challenging.  Also, find a fitness timer that beeps at you when you need to change circuits.  I use a Gymboss interval timer.  Its bout $20 but well worth it.  You can set your time and a rest time to get to your next circuit.  I love it!  Make sure to let your heart rate fully recover before starting your next circuit.  You can also just do 2 rounds of each circuits if you are doing these for the first time.  Also, if you are doing this workout at home and don't have a treadmill you can do sprints in the space that you have just run back and forth for the minute at a full out sprint.

Get on that treadmill and get going!
Stop back and let me know how you do!  I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by!