Ever seen this pic?
Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s me 😉
So when my coach Brooke asked me to incorporate sprints into my cardio workout, I was a little nervous! I’m definitely not a runner, much less a sprinter!
Here’s the deal: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves alternating between periods of super high intensity cardio (like sprinting) with low or moderate intensity cardio (like walking or jogging), is extremely effective. It’s been said to be the most effective form of cardio in a short period of time, improving endurance, fitness, and your physique while burning crazy amounts of calories.
This site has a great explanation of how HIIT works:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is cardio performed at such an intense level that your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy to recover from the ass-kicking you gave it. This is commonly referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume a great deal more oxygen recovering from the exercise bout than you would have if you’d just done a steady-state workout.
This means that you will be burning up to nine times more fat while sitting on the couch later that night than you would have if you’d spent an hour on the treadmill at a moderate pace.
Here’s some more helpful info about this type of training (source):
- HIIT trains and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. You train your anaerobic system with brief, all-out efforts, like when you have to push to make it up a hill, sprint the last few hundred yards of a distance race, or run and hide from your spouse after saying the wrong thing.
- HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.
- HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.
- HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer duration.
- To get the benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself past the upper end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic energy system during the recovery intervals.
Here’s my current HIIT workout (30 minutes total):
Warm-up: 3.8 speed / 10 incline for about 3 minutes, or the length of the first song on my playlist
30 seconds @ 9.0 / 2% incline
1 minute @ 4.0 / 5% – 10% incline
Cool down: 2 minutes @ 3.5 speed / 0% incline
…and holy moly, you’ll be sweating like this:
(although I personally do not look this glamorous when I work out! Much more red-faced!!)
And in case you’re like me and must have good music on your iPod to power through your workout, here’s a great list of workout music from Fitness Magazine.