Want to get your summer bod back? Still need to shred a couple pounds of fat? Tired of doing countless hours of cardio per week? I’ve got the answer for you!
The Average Gym Goer
We all know the very first instinct of a typical gym goer when it comes to weight loss- is to hop on that treadmill and not get off until you feel like you need to call a cab to take you home…or to the hospital. And yes, this approach does work for weight loss but it is not a good way to do it and certainly not the most effective way of accomplishing it.
Covering the Basics
Hopefully you have already heard about the law of thermodynamics. If not, it’s quite simple if you eat more than you burn-you gain weight. And if you burn more than you eat-you lose weight. Now that that’s out there in the open we can start talking about the way cardio can help on your weightloss journey. When you hop on a treadmill and start your jog your body responds by raising its heart rate. This heart rate and the intensity of the activity determines the amount of calories you burn. The most popular method you see in the gym is a nice, comfortable pace jog for a long period of time. This burns a decent amount of calories, and certainly allows you more room in your diet to eat more food. But you end up staying on the treadmill for an extended period of time and I don’t know about you but staring at a TV while running for 40 minutes gets exhausting to say the least.
Benefits of HIIT
I want to share with you an alternative to the regular steady pace treadmill jog. This is a specific method of training called HIIT. HIIT simply stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This method of training is incredibly time efficient and usually takes about 10 minutes to complete. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that this type of workout should never exceed 20 minutes. Not only is it time efficient but it also pushes your metabolism into working at a faster rate for a duration of time following the workout. How great is that?! You are burning more while going through your regular day to day. The benefits don’t stop there. Cardiovascular training aims to increase the body’s ability to deliver oxygen through its blood vessels and also increase the body’s efficiency of maintaining healthy cells. For many years the belief was that traditional aerobic training was the only way of doing this, but scientific studies have proven that HIIT training can actually provide the exact same benefits and in some cases can provide you with even more…and in less time!
HIIT the Treadmill
Alright, now that you know the benefits of HIIT and what it’s for I can bestow upon you the game plan for your workout.
HIIT is done by performing numerous bouts of high intensity activity with a recovery period in between each bout. This is done to stimulate the heart to achieve a really high heart rate (much higher than steady pace cardio) before allowing it to drop down to a moderate pace during the recovery period. This is then repeated for the necessary time.
Before you hop on the treadmill, you have to calculate your target heart rates. Quite simple really. Your maximum heart rate is calculated by taking 230 and subtracting your age from it. Example: 230- 25 years of age)= 205 (your maximum heart rate). This article will state percentages of that maximum heart rate.
For the basic version of the workout we will keep the treadmill at a 0% incline and start at a brisk walking pace. Elevate your heart rate to work at approximately 50% of your maximum heart rate. Progress into a light jog if that is what it takes. Maintain this intensity for 90 seconds.
As soon as that 90 second mark hits, increase the speed on the treadmill to a fast paced run. The objective is to reach 80-90% of maximum heart rate and maintain this rate for 30 seconds.
At this point you will have completed a 2-minute cycle. Repeat the cycle 5 times for a total of 10 minutes. Give yourself 90 seconds at a 50% of maximum heart rate pace to cool down and you are done!
For the people with BAD KNEES!
Just in case you have a bad knee or any other injury that does not allow you to hit the treadmill hard. You can lower the speed intensity and compensate for increasing the % of incline. You will still get the same cardiovascular benefit and not aggravate your injury.
Hope this helps you and takes you one step closer towards your beach bod!
Nik Vasilyev: Digital Fitness Coach