How to Take Your Cardio Workout to a New Level

Can you think of anything more torturous than spending an hour pedaling away on a bike or plodding along on the treadmill? You’re not alone. Most exercise enthusiasts dread conventional cardio – why?

Because it’s b-o-r-i-n-g.

So why do it at all? The goal of a cardio workout is to lose the unwanted inches and to develop the efficiency of your heart and lungs. But new studies are out that show our slow-go cardio sessions may not be as effective for burning off that holiday bulge as we thought.

When you plod along on the treadmill at an even pace, your body enters what is called a steady state. This means that your body has adjusted to the pace and is now trying to conserve energy.

Conserve energy? But I thought the point was to burn energy?

And so your dilemma goes: You can’t stand the monotony of traditional cardio and it leaves you with less than satisfactory results. So what should you do?

The answer is HIIT, a new training technique that blasts both boredom and fat.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose (fat) tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.”

“HIIT speeds up your metabolism and keeps it revved up for some time after your workout. The bottom line is that HIIT training burns a greater number of total calories than low-intensity training, and more calories burned equals less fat on your body.”

What is HIIT?

High-Intensity Interval Training: is an exercise strategy that improves performance with short training sessions. These sessions involve a warm up period, several short, maximum-intensity efforts that are separated by moderate recovery intervals, and a cool down period.

In other words, your 60 minutes of low-intensity cardio is replaced with more effective, High Intensity Interval Training for as little as 15 minutes. The addition of explosions of speed into your comfortable pace will increase your power, muscle tone, speed, strength, endurance and best of all will melt the inches off.

Here is an example of a HIIT program – this can be done on any form of cardio equipment or even jogging outside or swimming laps:

* Start with an easy 4 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, sky rocket your intensity for 30 seconds.

* Return to your normal pace for the next 30 seconds and then sky rocket again.

* Repeat this 30-30 interval for 6 minutes and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

After your HIIT session you can expect to burn more calories due to an increase in your metabolism – sounds good, right? If you aren’t ready to jump into a full-fledged HIIT session, try on of the following modified HIIT workouts:

Modified HIIT 1:
* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, increase your intensity for a full minute.

* Return to your normal pace and remain here until you have recovered enough to go again.

* Repeat this 1 minute interval with full recovery time between each one for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

Modified HIIT 2:
* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, change your speed and intensity for 2 minutes.

* Return to your normal pace for 2 minutes and then change your intensity and speed again. The key is to keep your body guessing – you aren’t doing full intensity work, but you also aren’t staying at the same pace for the entire length of the workout.

* Repeat this 2 minute interval for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

There you have it – all you need to take your cardio workout to the next level.