Ah, cardio. The one thing we all need and the one thing we hate doing to most. Jumping on a futuristic looking piece of cardio equipment for a half an hour or more or running in the streets does not sound appealing to most people. I can’t say that I blame them. Instead of gearing up to grind through another long-slow distance run (LSD) cardio session, try to mixing things with HIIT. In earlier articles, we discussed what HIIT is and the benefits of HIIT with strength training. Here is a brief recap of HIIT followed by some great cardio routines that incorporate HIIT methods.
The (BRIEF) History of and Explanation HIIT
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, has been around for hundreds of years. Although the science behind it was not yet known, competitive runners have been using a HIIT style of training to improve their lactate threshold, VO2Max, and increase their ability to stay in different training zones longer. In the 1930’s, Fartlek training was coined, and HIIT became more modernized and structured as our scientific understanding of HIIT became more clear. This is where every cardio session would work on intervals of various tempos (high/medium, medium/high, high/low, etc.) This type of interval training has been a staple in cardio training programs and has in the last couple of decades worked its way to the forefront of strength and conditioning. CrossFit is a strong believer in HIIT. They frequently use a 1:1 work to rest ratio in their programming. There are naysayers of CrossFit, which I understand, but the proof is in the pudding. When done correctly, HIIT can be an effective training tool to maximize result while decreasing training time.
In a 2008 study, data showed that subjects following a 20-minute HIIT program lost nearly six times more body fat than those who followed a 40-minute cardio program performed with constant intensity of 60% of their maximum heart rate. HIIT increases the metabolic rate. This means that while you are sitting at home on the coach, you continue to burn calories. This is due to EPOC or excessive post exercise consumption. To simplify, HIIT starts the fire which takes longer to put out compared to LSD.
Here are two great and easy routines for HIIT Cardio for either on a track or treadmill:
Most public schools allow the residents to use their track facilities as long as it does not interfere with school functions.
1. After a proper warm-up, begin on the curved portion of the track with a light jog. On every straight away (100 meters) sprint at 90% of your max. Return to jogging pace on the curved portion. Do this interval for one mile to two miles. Every four laps is a mile.
2. This workout is one that I discovered scouring through pages of CrossFit workouts, and I have to admit, it is pretty awesome. Once again, fair is fair, and I think this is one of my favorite training regimes when it comes to cardio training.
Run 1600 meters (four laps)
Rest 3 minutes
Run 1200 meters (three laps)
Rest 2 minutes
Run 800 meters (two laps)
Rest 1 minute
Run 400 meters (one lap)
As the distance DECREASES, INCREASE the pace. I prefer to do this routine on a treadmill because I can increase the tempo to make sure that I run faster as distance decreases. When done correctly, the system should be stressed, the lungs should be on fire, sweat should be pouring and fat should be burning! Try incorporating these into your cardio routines and see the results!