WARNING – this workout is NOT for everyone. And not for beginners.
I’m no expert on this. Just sharing what I’ve read and what I’m doing. I haven’t been doing it long enough to share results yet.
HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training
I’ve read a lot about it and heard a lot about it. Cardio is something all bodybuilders must do, but a lot of us hate it. I don’t hate it just because it’s boring – I’m pretty disciplined and my inner grown up is in charge. I eat my veggies. I go to bed early, I do my homework…etc. I only started hating cardio because I’m afraid of it. I’m fairly certain I lost muscle when I did my last “cutting” phase in October with the early morning cardio. Cortisol is my archenemy. I had tons of stress and that hormone was elevated. It’s naturally elevated in the morning. And long cardio – I was doing 45 min – will stimulate cortisol, too. Add to that some bad advise about fasting cardio I got because they thought my body would respond like a 30-something body (“I’ve only heard of it not working in books.” Duh – read a book about menopause, why don’t ya? This is why I’m studying to be a trainer now. I’m reading all the books.)…well it was bad news. I can’t do fasting anything.
This is one of the best articles I’ve read explaining why HIIT is effective.
HIIT cardio is short. The whole point isn’t to burn a ton of calories while you are doing it – the point is to change your metabolism so your body will burn fat for the rest of the day. And you need some gas in the tank to do HIIT. You will burn the carbs you have eaten while doing it, but the body will turn on the fat burn later.
I have been using the StairMonster (stairmaster machine). I alternate between one minute at Level 1 and 30 seconds at level 20, and repeat pattern for 15 min. Level 20 is running up the stairs and it’s good for the first few high intervals, but then I need to bring that down a couple levels as I get tired. The high level has to BURN. It has to be high enough that I can’t do it for more than 30 seconds. Not that I’m uncomfortable for 30 seconds, but that I literally CAN’T do it longer than 30 seconds without falling off the damn machine. Heart rate is supposed to get up to maximum…that’s 220-age. Most of the time, you aren’t supposed to let your heart rate get that high, that’s why this is only done for a short interval.
I haven’t thrown up – yet. But I’ve come close. That’s why I think I’m doing HIIT correctly. Hard, haaaaard, HAAAAARD. But I’m done in 15 min. Doing a longer, steady cardio, I used to break a sweat in 20 minutes. Doing HIIT, I start sweating after about 5-6 minutes.
I can’t do this every cardio right now. Two or three times a week, but I’m assuming I will be able to do more as I get accustomed to it. And even for someone who has been active, you have to have at least 24 hours between HIITs to let your body recover. I believe I need that long to let my heart recover. It’s the muscle getting the most work during this workout. I never do cardio before I lift – any kind of cardio. Always after a lift. It’s tapping out whatever energy I have left. If I do a second cardio that same day, it will be a long, steady paced one.
I want to do another body fat check in a week or so. Almost lost the Thanksgiving gain. And I want to give this HIIT a week or so to work it’s magic. I’ll report back.