As much as we hate to sound like a broken record here, but we want to make sure our readers are getting the point and here us loud and clear when we say…CARDIO IS CRUCIAL to any fitness regimen, which you can read more about here if you still are unsure why!
Treadmill Sensei states in best in his article Importance of Cardio by saying “if you want to start extending your life by way of exercise, it is not going to be the muscle building that will help you, but rather the cardio exercise.”
Now as important as we know cardio is for our health, we also know hours spent grueling away on those treadmills or elliptical machines can be about as fun as a visit to the dentist office. This is where those glorious High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts come into play.
According to an online article titled, 5 Ways to Fire Up Your Cardio from Men’s Fitness, “studies have found that shorter, high-intense workouts can have similar physiological changes compared to longer low-intense workouts.” HIIT are quicker and more intense than those hour long grueling treadmill runs, sure to spare you from any boredom, although after doing HIIT you might miss the boredom.
We’ve discussed the perks of HIIT before in What’s So Great About HIIT, where we also shared a workout with you where you change your speed in timed intervals. Although timed intervals are the most popular used, they are not the only way you one can do interval workouts.
In the previously mentioned Men’s Fitness they share a few other ways you can get your interval workout on, and we’ve shared our 3 favorite below:
Go the Distance
Instead of using time as your interval navigator, you go by how much distance you cover. “This will accommodate for daily fluctuations in energy levels and will give you something different to focus on.” If you get bored watching the time, switch it up and try to track how far you are going instead.
Example workout: After your warm up, set your treadmill to distance mode if allows, or simple watch your distance to keep track. Run ¼ a mile then jog ¼ a mile and repeat for 20 minutes. Follow with a cool down. If ¼ a mile is too low for you, you can bump it up to ½ a mile or even a full mile depending on your fitness level. Click here for some great distance interval training examples for beginners.
“Hill repeats are crazy cardio-boosters that can improve strength and explosive power.” As you are running up the hills, using a high-knee lift, you are using different and more leg muscles than if you were running on a flat surface. According to the Men’s Fitness article, your powerful toe push-off is sparking new levels of aerobic power and will result in more fat loss.
Example Workout: After taking a light warm up jog, find a semi –steep hill and run up. Then you will simply walk back down the hill you just ran up. Repeat this 8-12 times depending on your fitness level and be sure to follow up with a light cool down jog. You can also do this specific interval work out on your treadmill by setting the incline mode. Here is a great Incline Interval Treadmill Workout from blogger PBFingers.com.
Alright don’t worry, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Farlek is Swedish for “speedplay”, also known as unstructured interval training. Read this article, What is Fartlek Training for more detailed information, but basically it’s a form of interval training where you are the judge of your intervals based on how you feel. This is a difficult one for beginners due to the fact they still might not be aware of their full potential and don’t push themselves hard enough. So be sure to make it challenging and put in good effort when trying out this workout.
Example Workout: You can do this workout either on the treadmill or on a trail. You first select a time period you want to run, let’s say 30 minutes. Start with your slow jog warm up and then sprint for as long and/or as far as you feel able, then you lightly jog or walk until you catch your breath and are able to sprint again. Don’t worry at all about the timing of your intervals, don’t let that even get in your head, just run as long and hard as you can then jog switching intervals till your 30 minutes is up.
HIIT workouts are a great, high fat burning way to get your cardio workouts over and done with in a fast time! Try out these 3 variations and let us know what you think!
Out of the three which do you want to try first?
Have any other forms of interval training that you do?