let’s talk cardio.

i hate it. ok post over.

just kidding! i’m not letting you all out that easy!

but i do  hate cardio. i wish i loved it. i wish i enjoyed running, but i truly just hate it.  it actually stresses me out to be on a cardio machine for more than 25 minutes. i get all antsy and feel like there’s other stuff I can be doing.

now, i admit, i used to be addicted to spin class. 45 minutes 5 days a week i’d get up at 5:15am to get my spin on. and i’d torch like 450 calories! WOOHOO! I did this for a few months, and thought, yeah! i’m going to get an awesome body burning all these calories during spin class! WHOMP. wrong. i actually started to plateau with growing any muscles, my abs were not poppin’ and i was super confused. but i’m burning all this fat?! so how am i not jacked by now?!

because i wasn’t burning fat.  i was for about 15 minutes, then after that i was burning my hard earned muscle. and no one’s got time for that. nope.  leaving your heart rate at a constant level for so long  no longer has you in fat burning mode – and your body actually gets used to that level and adjusts.  therefore you’re pretty much just burning everything else, but fat, because your body wants to hang on to that stuff.

so spin and i… we had a talk and i said i had to move on to bigger and better things. i do miss the ‘post cardio’ high sometimes, as i’m sure is kind of similar to what all you running addicts feel maybe?

so how do i keep extra un-wanted fat off, if i don’t run for an hour straight?! well all you pretty little cardio bunnies… it’s called HIIT.  and in 25 minutes I burn over 200 calories, but it’s all FAT calories ( i just made up fat calories, yes i know it’s not a real term but you know what i mean. mr. know it all).

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training.  i’m SURE you’ve heard of it, because it’s all the rage. if not, listen up because your fat-burning potential is about to go into overdrive.

            “an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods.  HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise.  usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4-30 minutes.  These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning” – wikipedia

now what the heck does all that mumbo jumbo mean?! it means playing around with your heart rate constantly during a short period of time will literally burn fat right off bod.

You’ve heard of those interval workouts – those DVDs that promised to tone you in just 60 days”.  They all use a form of HIIT.  Now HIIT isn’t just on a cardio machine, it happens during weight lifting as well. 
HIIT plays a crucial role in your metabolism.  But how can you change your metabolism and stop plateauing if you’ve been an avid cardio bunny for life?  You must increase muscle mass and increase your muscle’s oxidative capacity.  Your muscles actually have these energy producing units called “mitochondria” and that is where Adnoside Triphosphate (a quick burse of energy tha we get in our muscles when we contract them: IE a few reps on a heavy weight) and fats are burned.

So the more of that mitochondira shtuff you have and the more active they are the greater oxidative capacity you will create for overall fat loss.  HIIT increases this capacity – while long distance cardio only burns calories during that time period,  not a constant burn past that running session into a 24 hour period like HIIT does for you (aka boost in metabolism)and doing this hurts you down the line because, as I mentioned with my experience in spin class, your body will adjust to it.  With HIIT you are torching those pesky calories at the moment also, BUT you actually end up changing the muscles metabolism which then boosts YOUR metabolism because you increased the mitochondria density of your muscles. 
What a lot of people don’t realize, is that you need to put your body in an uncomfortable mode and use its max potential.  That long run feels ‘good’? yeah no, you need to be dying, testing your body the way it’s suppose to be tested.  But only for a short period of time.
Ok ok ok… so HOW to do HIIT?! I had to educate first, and then we will get into the fun stuff.
First: here’s my EXACT cardio routine.
3 times a week
I get on that massive stair machine (or you can do it on a treadmill incline or no incline)
plug in 25 minutes (90% of the time it’s 20, let’s not kid myself)
do a comfortable pace for 5 minutes to warm up and get my blood flowing
then it gets fun..
for 1 minute I raise it to the highest level I  can go (obviously use your judgement, we don’t need you being swept away off the treadmill or breaking your face because you couldn’t keep up with the stairs pace)
push through that 1 minute
after that is over, bring it back down to the comfortable pace you started off at – do this for 1 ½ minutes
remember to breath – this 1 ½ minutes is so important to get your heart rate back down to a normal pace (or close to it). 
jeez that 1 ½ minutes went by too fast:  pick your ass back up and bring it to the highest level again.
Do this back and forth until you’ve hit 3 minutes left on your timing your so anxiously staring at (dripping on).
then cool down at a really slow pace to get your heart rate back to total normal.  Don’t get off the machine until your heart rate is good. Aka: you’re BREATHING not huffing and puffing all over the place.

to make it easier to read:
25 minutes
5 minutes normal pace
1 minute SUPER fast
1 ½ minute normal pace
(back and forth – you’ll want to quit by this point but don’t)
3 minutes left: cool down

STRETCH! Stretch your entire body, not just your legs
No worries.  HIIT can be done anywhere and everywhere
Here’s another example:

Grab a jumprope
set a timer for 10 minutes
3 minutes jump at a normal pace
1 minute whip that thing around you like there’s no tomorrow
1 ½ minute jump at a normal pace
back and forth until that buzzer FINALLY says you can put that damn rope down

Lifting weights and it’s not your “cardio” day but want to pick up your heart rate a little?
claim 3 machines, or have yourself mentally prepared to do 3 different free weight movements (curls, shoulder press, and dips – totally made that routine up but you get the point)
do a much lighter weight than usual – we don’t need you breaking yourself, or anyone around you.
be ready to go through the routine 5 times (no need for a timer)
1st machine (or exercise) go at it for 50 reps
2nd machine 50 reps
3rd machine 50 reps
Do this entire cycle 5 times.  You can think me later when you’re sweating your ass off
here’s a great one if you don’t have a gym accessible (like when you’re sitting on the couch playing bubble breaker and shoving your face with cheetos and ho-hos (do they still make those?))
  Holla HIIT! Add a mile sprint in between each circle and only do each circle once! and 931188_665851430096388_1119625876_n.jpg 421×630 pixels
A SUPER quick way to get your heart rate up when lifting:  after 20 minutes of weight lifting, grab a jumprope and whip it out for 30 seconds straight – then get back to your lifting.  Your heart will slow down but your fat burning metabolism will be in overdrive (it’s literally saying what the heck did you just do to me).
here’san awesome article on HIIT and at the very bottom an 8 week HIIT program with exactly what to do. Give it a try!! 

*public annoucement* don’t go by the calories burned that the machines give you. because you just plugging in your weight means nothing. that machine doesn’t knowww you, it doesn’t know how tall you are, how old you are, your body fat percentage.  so if you’re OCD and MUST know your calories burned, invest in a heart rate monitor, one you can customize it to KNOW you.

Ok – so lessons learned: muscle burns fat, muscle creates a faster metabolism.  So all you crazy cardio bunnies wondering why you don’t have a tight ass? It’s because you’re burning it all off, and your fat is just hanging out, right where you left it.  Cut your time in half (unless you’re an avid marathon, long distance runner for sport, then you are excluded from this because that shit is awesome and super rewarding), speed up your heart rate, and LIFT SOME WEIGHTS! 

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