Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Take your cardio to the next level

I have a ton of people ask me how they can make the most out of their cardio routines…basically, how to burn more calories in less time. That’s easy (and challenging J)! High intensity interval training (HITT) is designed to blast through calories like they’re going out of style. Whether you just want to get out of a cardio rut, break through a weight loss plateau, burn more calories per workout session, improve your cardiovascular fitness or decrease your running, biking or swimming distance-time, HITT is for you! Basically HITT is simply going between bouts of moderate exercise and intense exercise and repeating.

Benefits of HITT:
  • Blast more calories: the more rigorous the workout, the more calories you burn…even if you are only doing a minute of rigorous work at a time!
  • Banish boredom: changing things up every few minutes or so will keep you on your toes…literally! J
  • Improve your cardio capacity: as you continue your HITT, you’ll be able to go longer during the high intensity part!
  • You don’t need a gym or any equipment to get a great workout: you can do HITT with any motion including walking, jogging, running, biking, elliptical-ing swimming, doing jumping jacks and really any repetitive movement that elevates your heart rate.
So choose your poison…exercise, that is…and get started today!

Here’s a sample beginner HITT program. Use the chart below to determine how hard you should be working.
5 minute warm up
1 minute at RPE 5*
1 minute at RPE 8
Repeat the one minute intervals at 5 and 8 for a total of 20 minutes
5 minute cool down

As you continue your training, increase the duration of your workout. In fact, here is a treadmill interval workout that I've used to increase my race pace in the last couple months.

*10 Point Scale for Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
  • 0 - Nothing at all (like sleeping or laying on the couch)
  • 1 - Very light
  • 2 - Fairly light
  • 3 - Moderate
  • 4 - Some what hard
  • 5 - Hard (you're working but it's not killing you)
  • 6 - Harder
  • 7 - Very hard
  • 8 - Very very hard (this is a major should be breathing very very hard)
  • 9 - Super hard
  • 10 - Hardest (this is your maximum can't sustain this for very long)

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