Cardio is one of the most optimal ways to maximize the productivity of your workout sessions and help you burn fat faster. Losing weight can be difficult depending on your body type; however, with a better understanding of your body requirements and optimal exercise, you can progress quickly and achieve better results by the end of each week of an intense workout.
Cardio refers to long periods of aerobic exercises where you train your heart muscles to build more endurance, which allows you to perform long hours of intense exercise without losing your breath.
Throughout the article, we shall talk about a particular cardio method and what role it can play in your body sculpting. Let's first breakdown some basic terms for clarity before we go on with it!
Aerobic exercises are your usual workout where your muscles breathe aerobically, I.e., they get their bundles of energy to perform the workout from the oxygen in the air.
Anaerobic respiration occurs when you force your muscles to perform highly intense workouts such as sprinting or heavy weight lifting hence depleting your muscles of all the oxygen; therefore, they start breathing an anaerobically, i.e., without oxygen, and as a consequence, lactic acid begins to accumulate in your muscle tissues.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of cardiovascular exercise that essentially synthesizes aerobic workouts and anaerobic workouts by first starting your high-intensity anaerobic exercise, then allowing you to take short amounts of recovery periods (aerobic) until you reach your limit.
HIIT is cardio on extra hard mode. Each set needs to be as intense as you can take it to be. Intensity is very crucial to boost your endurance levels. And of course, all the intensity helps you burn maximum calories, which in turn allows you to lose more weight.
HIIT periods are short and don't last long, which is reasonable because you are pushing yourself to the maximum.
HIIT workouts, if done correctly, can yield many benefits, here we shall discuss some of them.
One of the best things about HIIT is that it helps you achieve more growth during shorter periods; you can achieve more growth, endurance, and loose fat quicker in 10-15 minutes of HIIT compared to an hour-long usual workout.
This means that you can focus your remaining time doing your other exercises, or if you happen to have a busy schedule, you can wrap up the training and go on with your day doing your job or studies.
HIIT allows you to achieve more in less time. That's one of the reasons people prefer adding HIIT in their schedule.
HIIT is known for its weight loss benefits; HIIT pushes your body to the max, it compels you to take your breathing to the next level, and the more you breathe, the more calories you end up burning.
HIIT works on your metabolism and your endurance, which means that you are burning calories as fast as you can during HIIT. That's one of the main differences between HIIT and steady-state cardio.
You burn calories not only during your workout but also after the workout via EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption); due to your metabolic rate now operating on a high level, the fat burning continues as you head back home from the gym.
With the right technique, you can take your usual exercises into HIIT's domain by increasing the intensity and allowing yourself to take recovery periods in between. Lunges, running, and jumping can work if you want to take your workout to the HIIT level.
Everything goes as long the exercise you are doing follows the rules of HIIT and helps you take your heart rate to the max.
HIIT, along with the heart rate, takes your metabolic rate to the max. Both the exercises and the post-exercise EPOC greatly contribute to that. Furthermore, it increases HGH (Human Growth Hormone) up to really large proportions, such as 400-450 percent.
The human growth hormone helps you maintain body temperature and promote the growth of your body. In youngsters, HGH is responsible for incrementing their height, but the process stops as they grow up.
HIIT improves your heart health by forcing your heart to adapt to both the anaerobic and aerobic exercises; HIIT workouts force your heart to adapt to lengthy durations of high-intensity workouts by allowing you to take a short break between high-intensity anaerobic workout sessions.
Compare this to normal anaerobic exercises where you quit the workout after a while. This strategy takes your endurance rate to the max and gives you the ability to perform high-intensity workouts without losing breath.
Steady-State cardio tends to deplete you of your hard-earned muscle mass along with the fat. When you are dieting or pushing your body to the max in cardio workouts, your body tends to react in a way where you end up losing your muscle mass.
That's why trainers recommend regulating your cardio, so you don't end up losing the muscle, this can potentially hinder your muscle growth. On the other hand, HIIT has proven to preserve both of your interests, I.e., it helps you lose your fat proportions while preserving your muscle mass.
Another good thing about HIIT is the fact that it doesn't commit you to do your workout in a specific location such as a gym, since the equipment is not necessary, you can just as well perform HIIT in your home or any other location where you happen to be. You just need to pick a good exercise suitable for the location and the time you have and start your workout session.
In HIIT, you don't remain in the same mode of breathing like a traditional cardio session; you switch between anaerobic respiration and aerobic respiration throughout the workout.
This not only trains your body for each mode of breathing but also makes your body versatile to switch between the two when you perform the workout.
Any exercise which takes stamina and endurance can go; people do Jumping jacks, High knees, Jump lunges, and modified workouts in HIIT with 10 seconds of rest in between. Let's discuss some workouts which you can perform in HIIT.
Kettlebell is a cast iron ball with a handle attached to it. Incorporating a Kettlebell in your workouts is a great way to boost your muscles' strength, such as glutes, hamstrings, and other hip muscles. It makes you a better runner during your cardio sessions as well.
You can do Kettlebell HIIT by picking a circuit that your trainer recommends you or find it from a blog. You can combine Kettlebell swings, jerks, and squats. Pick certain time duration of exercise (usually 30 seconds) and then take 10 seconds of rests in between.
Bike exercise is a great way to train your quadriceps and calves; the risk of injury is low in this workout, and while doing HIIT, you can extract a lot of benefits from it.
Stationary bike workouts are a great way to burn your fat; you can start pedaling during the intense session and then allowing your body to cool down during the short recovery periods of 10 seconds.
Battle ropes are one of the best exercises to burn your fat and take your heart rate to the max. You can combine single-arm waves with double arm waves of both being 30 seconds with a 10-second rest in between.
The energy expended when you hit the ropes contributes to the endurance building qualities of HIIT. ONNIT features some amazing battle ropes and if interested we have a battle rope review right here.
Sprint workouts are one of the basic exercises you can do in HIIT, they don't need any equipment, and you can achieve good results from them. During these workouts, you push your body to the max while also allowing your body to cool down and rest when doing HIIT.
You can do a couple of sprinting exercises in HIIT, such as mountain slider, thruster, and other variations. If all out workouts are your thing then maybe you should look at Shaun T and Insanity for a home blaster workout.
While performing HIIT, there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to, an exercise, when done wrong, tends to be harmful rather than beneficial.
This is a mistake many people do; your body is like a machine; it can't function properly without an adequate amount of fuel.
Preparing your body before diving into intense workouts can lead to injuries, always warm-up and stretch before your workouts.
Excess of everything is bad. Know your body, and avoid putting too much strain. For most HIIT trainings less is more overall and you can end up with stress issues should you push too long and hard.
With the cons out of the way, you can be assured that HIIT workouts, when done correctly, are a great way to lose weight while building endurance and stamina.
I love to do HIIT as a nice change of pace, I did it before with Insanity as a nice break from a purely weight lifting approach. It will definitely help you drop body fat levels the harder you push the better your results can be!
If you are looking for some good options for at home based workouts for your cardio then I can provide some of the best options I have found: