Workout Challenge: Try These Fat Blasting HIIT Cardio Workouts

159302282Running tends to be one of those things that people either love or hate. Marathoners and runners who love that cardio workout high couldn’t imagine their lives without training and racing.

On the other hand, the cardio-haters out there equate running to torture. Maybe they hop on the elliptical and watch television as they glide along for half an hour. Or perhaps they run for miles and miles, because in the end, they reason that shedding the pounds is worth it. But unfortunately, these individuals may be wasting their time. Instead, they could benefit far more from some high intensity interval training (HIIT) – which doesn’t even have to involve running, if that’s not your thing – to burn more calories in much less time.

Find Out How Much Exercise You Actually Need To Lose Weight

Effort over Endurance

Endurance athletes need to push the limits of how far they can run if they want to improve their conditioning. Sometimes that means running further. For them, distance is important – especially if they expect to complete a marathon or triathlon.

But for someone just trying to lose weight or build lean muscle, going further isn’t the answer. If the goal is to improve body composition, effort – not distance – should be the focus. That means going harder, faster, and for a shorter period of time is better than going longer. That’s where the beauty of high intensity interval training comes in.

Upping the Intensity

Research shows that 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be as effective as a cardio workout that’s twice as long. This type of training, commonly referred to as HIIT, puts the focus on the intensity of a workout. An interval workout features periods of all out effort, followed by brief periods of recovery. The recovery is usually spent walking or jogging, and then repeating the high-low pattern.

A HIIT workout for beginners could include a brief warm-up followed by ten all out sprints. Each sprint lasts 60 seconds, while the recovery could last up to two minutes. A well conditioned exerciser might choose to complete longer high intensityy intervals  of up to two minutes, while reducing the duration of the rest periods in order to create a greater challenge.

Learn Why HIIT Cardio Workouts Are So Effective at Blasting Fat

Cardio Workout Challenge: 4 Incredible HIIT Workouts

115939472For better results, and in less time, give one of these HIIT workouts a try. Remember; don’t push too hard too fast. That’s more likely to results in injury than progress. Instead, start to take small steps towards a healthy lean lifestyle.

1. Track Workout:  Sprint 200 m at high intensity, followed by a  100-200 m lower intensity jog for recovery. Repeat this 8-12 times.

2. Fartlek:  During a 30 minute run, sprint for 30 seconds, with 60-120 seconds light and easy jog. Or, incorporate other up-tempo exercises during your 30 second high intensity interval, such as high-knee running, leaping, or other moves that seriously increase your heart rate for an intense cardio workout. Alternate high and low intervals 8-12 times.  

3. Hill Repeats:  Find a steep hill and sprint up it for 60 seconds. Walk or jog back to the bottom of the hill and repeat this process 6-10 times.

4. The Workout Challenge – 10 minute HIIT cardio workout: Sometimes, a HIIT workout doesn’t have to include any running at all. This 10 minute HIIT routine is fantastic, as it includes strength training workout and cardio workout in one.

  • Burpee (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Jump Squats (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Alternate Lunge (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Pushups (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Sit-ups (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Mountain Climbers (60 seconds)
  • Rest (30 seconds)
  • Plank Hold (60 seconds)

For a bigger challenge, check out this research-proven 7 minute fat-blasting HIIT cardio workout.

How Hard Do You Have to Work Out to Get Results?

How Hard Do You Have to Work Out to Get Results?How do you feel post-workout?

Sometimes after a long cardio workout, you’re so tired you can’t move. Then, on other days, you don’t even break a sweat. You’ve committed yourself to your workout routine, you’re putting in the time and the effort, you are doing your cardio workout, your weight training and strength training workouts. But how do you know when enough is enough? And how do you know when it’s too much? Wouldn’t you love to have some way of measuring your output to make sure that you are working hard enough to get results, but not so hard that you’re risking injury?

How to Make Sure that Your Weight Training and Cardio Workout Will Get You Results:

1. Write it Down

The first step towards assessing the difficulty and effectiveness of your workout is planning and tracking your progress. Here, a training journal goes a long way. Use a simple pad and pen to write down what you are doing and when. If you are running, track your mileage. If you’re lifting, record the exercises you perform, along with the weight you are using and the number of reps and sets you are completing. You can also record how you felt before or during the workout, based on the exercises, distance, or load used. The next time you hit the trail or the gym, you can adjust your workout – making it easier or more difficult – based on your past experience.

2. Your Cardio Workout – Talk it Out

When it comes time to head out for a run, use the “talk test” to gauge difficulty. Conversational pace is the baseline for the talk test. This is a moderate pace that you can maintain while still carrying on a conversation. If you were to speed up, your heart rate and breathing would increase, making it difficult or impossible to speak. On the other hand, if you slowed down, you would experience no discomfort.

The moderate, conversational pace is used to increase cardiovascular conditioning for long, slow and steady runs. Increasing your speed to a pace that makes a conversation impossible is best for speed and fat burning. Running sprints, hills or bleachers would take place in this zone. Creating a conditioning routine that involves intervals of both conversational runs and non-conversational runs will build well rounded fitness, and will help you determine that you’ve put in enough effort to get fat burning results without overdoing it.

3. Weight Training – Over or Under?

With your cardio workout taken care of, it’s time to assess the difficulty of your weight training routine. From the start, it’s important to know that weight training is a process of tearing down muscles and allowing them to rebuild. It’s more important to realize that this does not mean that you should be in pain following a workout, but that you should expect to feel some level of soreness.

The principle of progressive overload will allow you to achieve results, without risking injury. This principle says that you should increase the amount of weight you are lifting or the intensity level of the exercise overtime. This is where the training journal comes back into play. Select a weight that is manageable for 10-15 repetitions. If you can perform more than 15 repetitions (over), go ahead and increase the weight. If you are unable to reach 10 repetitions (under), reduce the weight until you are able to complete at least 10 reps. In time, that weight will become easier, you will be able to perform more than 15 repetitions, and it will be time to increase the weight once again. All this information will be stored in your handy training journal, and you will be able to progress in your weight training at a pace that is both effective towards getting results while also remaining safe and injury free.

4. Is it Working?

Now you might be wondering: “how long does it take to see results?”

This is a little different for everyone, but in most instances, you will begin to feel changes within 2-4 weeks. What this means is that exercises will become easier, weights won’t feel as heavy, and you won’t become fatigued as quickly. It might take a little longer for you to see results, like dramatic changes in muscle tone or a smaller waistline. You should usually start to see these sorts of visible changes in the mirror in about 4-8 weeks.

When working out in order to improve your fitness level and how you look and feel, wasting your time and energy is the last thing you want to do. Monitoring your progress and assessing your output using these methods will allow you to ensure that you are doing exactly what you need to be doing in order to reach your goals, while making sure that you are not overdoing it in ways that will only end up setting you back.