I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now, but I wanted to wait until I got everything up and going before I did. Working out is definitely one of the keys to weight loss and to getting in shape and being healthy. We all have different goals. Once you have defined your goals, you will know what you need to do. My goals are:
- Size 10 again because it’s healthier for my frame (I’m 5′ tall)
- Have more energy. I am battling chronic pain and fatigue as well as anxiety and depression. If you’ve heard of the “spoon theory,” I need more “spoons” each day.
- Be able to do things with my family and not be so self conscious. This is both a mental thing as well as a physical one
- Build muscle/lose fat
- not spend my life doing cardio
I hate cardio. Hate it. But it is necessary for overall health. Why? Lifting weights builds muscle and muscle helps burn calories. Muscle does not “weigh more” than fat. However it is denser, so a pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat.
There are so many muscles in the human body, and the more you have working to your advantage, the more calories you will burn with less work. So weights are necessary. I love weights because even though they burn fewer calories initially, they burn more while you are just walking around or sleeping.
To lose a pound, you need to burn 3500 calories. Lifting weights will burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes depending on your size and fitness level, how hard you work and how much you are lifting. Cardio will burn about twice that depending on all the same elements. The difference is, cardio usually stops burning about an hour or so after your workout, but lifting continues to burn because when you build muscle, it burns faster than not having muscle.
All this is to tell you about HIIT Cardio. Again, I HATE cardio and can’t stress that enough. Nothing is more boring than an hour on a treadmill or bike or whatever. Hate. It. My brother has been working out for about a year now and he was telling me about HIIT cardio, High Intensity Interval Training Cardio.
The way HIIT works is you set up an interval timer and you rotate between a minute or so of “normal” cardio and a minute or so of “high intensity,” which is pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can. You switch back and forth between the two having “intervals” of low and high intensity until the cool down. The punch with HIIT is that it continues to burn calories for an additional 24 hours or so AFTER the workout ends. Unlike cardio which brings your heart rate to a certain level and keeps it at that level, HIIT takes your heart rate up, brings it back down, brings it back up, and keeps the cycle going. This is part of the reason programs like Curves fitness work when done correctly.
HIIT also helps you build muscle while doing cardio because it pushes your body to the max. One HIIT session will last 30 minutes and should not last longer than that. You should shoot for 3-4 of these sessions per week. Have you got time for that? LOL. Now, this is not for everyone and is not for beginners. You need to have some level of fitness before starting or you have to remind yourself to start of SLOWLY.
There are several interval timers out there and several different programs you can use. I’m going to walk you through one of my “typical” programs and tell you what I’m listening to as I work.
I’m using a free interval timer I found in the Apple App Store. It allows for using different intervals for different workouts. I have a 30 minute weights timer and a 30 minute bike timer. The weights timer is set for 45 seconds of high intensity and 1 minute of low intensity. The bike timer (for recumbent bike) is set for 1 1/2 minutes of high intensity and 1 minute of low. I like this because I can push myself to maximum reps and then rest or push myself to maximum speed and rest. For the bike, my “normal” speed is 10 mph. My “intense” or “high” speed ranges from 15 to 22 mph depending on the day and how I’m feeling. The goal is not to beat yesterday’s time. It’s to beat what you are feeling RIGHT NOW. So if my normal is lingering around 8 mph, I know my “high” is going to be closer to 15. And that’s ok. You want to work at the maximum you can do RIGHT NOW.
The concept behind HIIT is to push yourself a little more each day and to end each workout with a cool down that makes you feel accomplished. You will get more out of HIIT if you do more. You can go super slow then work up to your “normal” speed and treat it as if it were your “high” speed, but you won’t be getting anywhere with that. You have to push yourself, like with anything else.
So what kind of music gets you pumped?
My HIIT list includes:
- Five Finger Death Punch “Mama Said Knock You Out”
- Kid Rock “Bawidaba”
- Marilyn Manson “Disposable Teens” “Kaboom Kaboom” “Doll-Dagga-Buzz-Buzz”
- Anthrax “Bring the Noise”
- Limp Bizkit “Nookie” “Rollin”
- Family Force 5 “Bulletproof”
These songs have the right intensity I need for my bike. For the weights, I have a slightly different mix.
- Fergie/Slash “Beautiful/Dangerous”
- Fall Out Boy “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”
- Kid Rock “Jackson, Mississippi”
- My Darkest Days “Pornstar Dancing”
- Maroon 5 “This Summer”
- Atom Smash “Do Her Wrong”
- Black Stone Cherry “Blame it on the Boom Boom”
It doesn’t matter what your list is, but it needs to be something that can keep up with the level of intensity you are using. My weight lifting songs are not as intense as my bike songs because the weight lifting HIIT is not as intense as the bike weight lifting sessions.
When you do a weight lifting HIIT session, you are lifting as much weight with as many reps as you can in that space you have. Mine is 45 seconds. I focus on one muscle group. Then I switch to the next muscle group for the low intensity and then go back to muscle group 1 for my high intensity. My weight workout will look like this:
- Low: glutes
- High: abs
- Low: Biceps
- High: glutes
- Low: abs
- High: Biceps
- Low: Triceps
- High: abs
- Low: shoulders
- High glutes
I don’t have a set routine, but I typically do “floor” work then “sitting up” then “standing” and I try to rotate this each time, so I hit all the major groups I’m hoping to hit. I end each session with push ups for both a low and a high. I also use my exercise ball because it rocks!
There are so many things you can do with an exercise ball, and I’ll document those later. For now, just know that it helps for a lot of the major exercises and it helps relieve stress on your back!
So, get ready to HIIT it, then HIIT it again. If you want to read more about HIIT cardio, there’s a lot of info out there. If you have any questions or comments, “Hit” me up. See what I did there? Ok. I’ll go now.