“I’m trying to lose weight, so I’m just doing cardio”
This phrase is really becoming an epidemic, as people waste countless hours on ellipticals, tread-mills, and stationary bikes, with very little to show for it. The results they’re after, an overall leaner physique, is really best accomplished through High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at appreciating volumes.
Sticking to a HIIT workout for a full six weeks while keeping your diet clean, will likely get you closer to that shredded body you could never achieve through endless cardio sessions.
When it comes to cardio, HIIT is definitely the best way to strip off body fat, to the extent that there’s literally no reason to hop on a treadmill and run at a steady pace for 30 or more minutes unless you’re an endurance athlete. And if you’re like most people who come to this website, chances are you don’t desire the physique of a marathoner.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with HIIT, it involves intervals of high-intensity exercise (such as running at 90% of your max heart rate) followed by low intensity (walking at a moderate pace) or complete rest. This is in sharp contrast to the typical steady-state cardio most people do at a moderate intensity, such as walking on a treadmill at 60–70% of their max heart rate. HIIT was originally developed by track coaches to train runners, but it has crossed over to the fitness industry due to its fat-burning benefits confirmed many times over in scientific studies. A lot of these studies found that subjects performing HIIT burned significantly more body fat—and in less time—than those who did steady-state cardio programs.
The major reason HIIT works so well for dropping body fat is due to the greater calorie burn (or EPOC—Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) that’s maintained after the workout is over. In other words, you burn more calories and more body fat while you’re sitting around doing nothing. In addition to this increase in resting metabolism, HIIT is effective at enhancing the mechanisms in muscle cells that promote fat burning.
When most people think of HIIT they think of it as applicable only for cardio, yet it can also be used in weight training. After all, weight training itself is a form of HIIT—you do a set with all-out effort, rest, then do another set, rest, and repeat. Resting two to three minutes between sets, however, is too long for a training session to be considered an effective form of HIIT. But all you have to do is shorten rest periods and you’re doing a kind of HIIT that burns fat.
Here is a great tip to get you started with HIIT and your weight training program. Try 10 sets of 10 reps for each exercise per muscle group. HIIT is incorporated via the rest periods between those 10 sets. You’ll start with no more than 60 seconds between sets at the beginning of the program and progressively drop rest periods by 10 seconds over six weeks until you have little or no rest and are doing 100 reps straight through.
Select a weight that’s equal to 50% of what you could normally do for 10 reps. Don’t worry about going too heavy. If you can’t complete all 10 reps before the eighth set, drop the weight by 5–10 pounds. If you can’t complete 10 reps during or after the eighth set, finish all 10 sets doing as many reps as possible for each. The next time you train that muscle group, decrease the starting weight by 5–10 pounds.
On HIIT of 100’s during Weeks 1–3, when rest periods are 30 seconds or more, perform the first three sets of 10 as fast and explosively as possible. This will help build more muscle power and strength, despite using lighter weight. On Sets 4–6, keep the movement slow and controlled, focusing on the contraction and squeezing each rep at the top for one to two seconds. This helps establish a strong mind-muscle connection, which is critical for muscle size, shape, and separation. During Weeks 4–6, when rest periods are down to 20 seconds or less, your goal is to simply complete the 100 reps. Don’t worry about rep speed or control; just get the reps done with the best form possible while your muscles are on fire.
Rest between all sets following the HIIT 100’s exercise is limited to one minute to maximize fat burning.
CHECK OUT THE RESULTS
While the major benefit of this program is rapid fat loss, the fringe benefits are just downright impressive. Even though the weights you use will generally need to be on the lighter side, your muscles will still get the signal to grow. HIIT makes a very light weight brutally difficult to move. This pushes muscle fatigue to new levels, all of which stimulates the release of muscle- building hormone. Suddenly (during your 6 week period with HIIT), you will realize the benefit. The physique you were after is taking shape, the results will let you take a serious step forward toward your goals.
Just Try It! You’ll be glad you did.