HIIT Cardio Basics

If you are the type of person who spends hours on the treadmill and sees no results from your hard work, it’s time to change up your way of thinking when it comes to fat burning. The days of low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio are gone. Enter the new world of HITT cardio. HIIT cardio has been booming for the past several years and isn’t going anywhere thanks to the benefits you can achieve from this brief, yet extremely intense form of cardio.

Those who utilize HIIT cardio have found they can improve their endurance, enhance their fat-burning, increase glucose metabolism, and can even build strength. What’s even better is that many are utilizing this powerful form of cardio to drop unwanted weight while at the same time maintaining their hard-earned lean muscle mass.

How does HIIT cardio work?

I wish we could make it seem more complicated than it really is, but the fact of the matter is, HIIT cardio is a very simple and basic form of cardio. The effectiveness comes in the intensity, not the actual form of cardio itself. A single HIIT cardio session can be done in as little as 15-30 minutes. Let me explain all of the particulars.

As with any workout, you are going to want to warm up properly. This can be as simple as walking for five minutes to get the blood pumping and muscles ready for work. Following your warm-up is where things start to take form and the intensity is kicked up a notch – ok, many notches. HIIT cardio uses periods of intense 100% max-effort workloads followed by low-intensity recovery periods. If you were to graph the workload, you would see nothing but a bunch of peaks and valleys on the graph paper.

HIIT cardio workouts can be completed both indoors as well as outdoors. Personally, I find enjoyment in the great outdoors versus being confined to a gym or home treadmill – but to each his or her own as your mileage may vary.

Each HIIT cardio round will be as follows:

• 30-second max-effort period
• 60-second low-effort recovery period

Each “round” will yield you a total of 90 seconds. 10 total rounds would give you a 15-minute workout (not counting warm-up/cool-down) and doubling that if you did the math will give you a 30-minute workout.

What would a HIIT cardio workout look like?

Assuming you’ve already finished a warm-up, you will start things off with an all-out 30-second sprint which will immediately be followed by a 60-second walk as a recovery period. If you don’t like to or can’t sprint, you can do a max effort on something like an upright bicycle, an elliptical, a rower, a jump rope, or even an Airdyne bike. Following this method will have you start your intense bout and has you end with the same high-intensity for your last bout before you start your cool-down. As mentioned above, decide how many rounds you wish to complete to achieve your 15-30 minute cardio workout.

I know there will be people who like to come up with excuses and say they don’t have a gym membership and it’s cold/rainy outside so they can’t fit in their HIIT cardio session for the day. Well, guess what? You can even use indoor activities such as jumping jacks, running in place, burpees, mountain climbers, and similar movements to fulfill your cardio requirements. Use your imagination and if achieving your goals is a priority to you, you’ll skip the excuses and get in your HIIT cardio sessions.

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