Yes, you can look like that too…
Photo courtesy of Laurent Jean Philippe
They say you can’t run from your problems. Well, I respectfully disagree. Got a problem with a little extra fat? Not as tight, toned, and defined as you’d like? Just want to be able to run a mile without getting completely winded? For these problems, a little running and/or movement is just what you need. But I’m not talking any kind of running; I’m talking HIIT. HIIT is one of the most explosive, powerful, and formidable tools you have in your arsenal. Knowing how to utilize it properly is the biggest obstacle and the one in which we’re going to instruct you on today.
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It is a format used with cardiovascular exercise which has you going all out (100% max effort) for a short period of time, followed by a longer and more relaxed period. The HIIT format can be used on a variety of cardio work; running, biking, swimming, jump roping, and plyometrics to name a few. An example of HIIT running would look like: 30 seconds max effort sprint/1:30 jog, repeat this 2-minute combo 15-20 more times for 30-40 minutes of HIIT running.
Because it works. Seriously, the HIIT format is the best way to do your cardio. Study after study has shown HIIT to burn more calories, result in great fat loss, and improve endurance faster than steady state cardio. You know steady state cardio…chugging along on the treadmill at a set pace for 45 minutes to an hour. HIIT will boost your post exercise caloric burn by increasing your EPOC.
How to Use HIIT Most Effectively
Going out and doing HIIT sprints, biking, etc. without a method to the madness isn’t going to be as effective as a well-designed HIIT plan. A well-designed HIIT plan takes into account opposing muscle groups, has tried-and-true interval times that have been carefully calculated, and offers the variety of a cross-training program so you continually make gains. Lucky for you, we’re going to give you exactly what you need to get started.
Photo courtesy of audiovisualjunkie
The HIIT Workout
Who’s it for? This workout is for anyone looking to burn serious fat in a hurry. HIIT is great for maximizing caloric burn and jump-starting your metabolism; two things absolutely necessary if you want to make any meaningful weight loss progress. Additionally, due to the explosive nature of this workout, it could be ideal for non-overweight individuals looking to go from ‘average’ to TONED. Quick aside; “toned” is simply less body fat covering your muscles thereby making them look more defined, pronounced, etc. That’s all “toning” is….burning body fat.
I told you this workout would deliver fast results right? Well, that comes with a small caveat. You’ve got to put in the work required of you. Your progress will be directly correlated to the amount of effort you put in. Simple as that. This is a 5-day a week, INTENSE routine. Great thing is, many before you have attempted this workout, and I’ve been able to refine and calculate the best intervals and schedule…so rest assured, there will be rewards for all of your labor!
Day 1 – HIIT Running
In Day 1 we’re going for a pretty standard :30/1:30 split. We’re shooting for 30-40 minutes of HIIT running today, which is 15-20 repetitions of the above combo. Whether you’re running outside or on a treadmill, go HARD during your sprints and bring things down to a slow jog and really catch your breath. After 8-10 reps, you’re going to need that rest time to make it through the sprints.
Day 2 – HIIT Jump Rope
A jump rope is a great tool that will help deliver fantastic results. Even better, you can obtain one for less than $5. Make the investment. On Day 2 we’re going to be doing a boxer-esque workout. A good starter split would be 1 minute straight jumping/30 seconds rest. Your goal will eventually be 3 minutes jumping/30 second rest; just like a boxing round. Shoot for 3 minutes to start, but work with what you can until your endurance progresses. Go for 30-40 minutes total.
Day 3 – HIIT Cycling
Day 3 involves you getting on a stationary bike or road bike if you’ve got one. With cycling, we’re hitting our body in a low impact manner, which results in the ability to push the sprints a little longer. Let’s shoot for a :45/1:15 split today. You may need to bump the resistance during the sprint to fully allow you to max yourself out. Shoot for 40-50 total minutes of HIIT cycling, which is 20-25 repetitions of the above combo.
Day 4 we’re going to hit our body in a completely different way than we have so far. We’re taking 2 different plyo circuits and repeating them 10 times each, for a total of 40 minutes of HIIT cardio. Move from exercise to exercise, only resting when instructed. Check out the combos below…
- 30 seconds Burpees/30 seconds Mountain Climbers/30 seconds Squat Jumps/30 seconds rest – repeat 10 times
- 30 seconds Turbo Lunges/30 seconds Line Jumps/30 seconds Boxer Kicks/30 seconds rest – repeat 10 times
Day 5 – HIIT Brick
Brick workouts are frequently performed by triathletes during their training. Working out in this format has been a tried-and-true method to increase endurance and effectively tax your muscles. We’ll be starting on the bike then transitioning to a run with little to no rest during the switch. We’re shooting for 30 minutes on the bike and 30 minutes on the run, for a total of 1 hour. On the bike, shoot for a :30/1:30 split. On the run, we’re going to go for 1 minute sprint/2 minutes slow jog. Not everyone will be able to sprint for 1 full minute. If you can’t just go as long as you can and ramp things up over time.
Keeping things fresh is the key to making progress and avoiding burnout. Give this HIIT workout a try for 6 weeks. By then, your endurance should have noticed a nice spike. After 6 weeks, we’ll start to lengthen the times of your max effort segments of the above splits. Some things I’ve found to be very effective and what you’ll be looking forward to…
- 800m sprint/800m jog
- 1 minute “slow” sprint on full stationary bike resistance/2 minute slow pedal
- 30 second max effort row/30 second slow row
- 10 second sprint/15 second total rest
This is a three-part plan taking a total of 18 weeks. If you stick to this plan you’ll have lost a significant amount of body fat, built explosive and lean muscle mass, and exponentially increased your endurance. Subscribe to our blog so you’ll be alerted when part II is released
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