In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than a good hard work out. I am probably in the minority in that thought but dag gum it, I like to sweat. And nothing and I mean nothing works up a good sweat like an intense cardio session.
If there is one lesson that I have learned over the last eight months is that there isn’t an exercise better for over all weight loss than cardio. The weeks that I have seen my biggest weight loss are those that have had heavy cardio sessions. Did you know that you can burn up to 500+ calories in one 30 minute cardio session? Cardio is of course good for everyone but especially great for people who have a lot of weight to lose.
It’s my opinion that cardio should be the back bone of your work out routine. If you aren’t doing some sort of cardio each day, then you might want to re-think how you are working out. I also don’t believe in long distance running. Sure, you’ll burn a lot of calories, but it doesn’t promote muscule growth and quite frankly…its boring.
For those looking to shed pounds or just get in shape, I believe there are two options to choose from.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Low Intensity Cardio (LI Cardio)
Both options attack your stored fat cells but do it in completely different ways..
Lets start with HIIT
HIIT is exactly how it sounds. Think of it as the grilling of cardio sessions. High heat for a short time. An intense interval training session is designed to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time and keep your body burning fat all day long. A typical HIIT session will only last 20-30 minutes and can be done at a gym, in your neighborhood, on an elliptical, treadmill, on a track etc.
Here is an example of a HIIT session on a treadmill:
- Start out with a light jog or walk for two minutes.
- Increase speed to your max level and sprint for 30 secs. Do not jog. SPRINT!
- Return to a light jog or fast walking for 1 minute.
It can be done with walking as well.
- walk at a slow pace to warm up
- increase to a brisk walk for 1 minute
- for 45 seconds walk at your max speed
- Return to brisk walk for 1 minute
- repeat steps 2-4
If you are on an elliptical lower the resistance to an acceptable level and follow the above example. Same for running in your neighborhood, on a track or even on a bike. Also, you should always eat a good meal at least one hour before performing HIIT to insure your body has enough energy to perform at a high level.
LIC is the complete opposite of HIIT. It is a low intensity session, designed to attack your stored fat cells and NOT intended to burn a lot of calories. LIC should be performed on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning or after weight training. This way your body has no choice but to burn the fat stored up on your hips, thighs, abdominal etc. The key is taking it low and slow. Keeping your heart rate between 125-135 is optimal for fat burning. Anything higher and your body will start searching for energy (protein) aka..your lean muscle. You DON’T want this to happen. Remember low and slow.
Here is an example of LIC:
20-30 minutes of a light jog (5 mph) or brisk walk on a treadmill first thing in the morning.
20-30 minutes on an elliptical after weight training.
Before doing any cardio session, make sure you are well hydrated and keep a bottle of water near you at all times. It’s a simple thought but by drinking water while exercising you will be able to go longer and farther.
I personally do a combination of HIIT and LIC every week. On my off days (the days I’m not weight training) I do a HIIT session after work. I have a two mile course at my house that has a lot of hills and gives me the opportunity to change things up. i.e. sprinting up hills, jogging for a while, then running hard for a 1/2 mile. Each day I do something different. Before and after a weight training day, I do 10 minutes of LIC. Usually a light jog.
It doesn’t really matter if you do HIIT or LIC. As long as you are doing something. If you keep your body guessing, you will always be in fat burning mode. Plus! YOU will never get bored. Constantly push yourself to run harder and farther than you did the day before. Even 10 extra steps each day is a victory. If you push yourself, you’ll be amazed at the results.
If you would like a more personalized routine I would love to help. Just email me at DIY.Fitness.Info@gmail.com