Tag Archives: high intensity interval training

Best Way to Burn Calories: Cycling Interval Training

A few months ago, we discussed HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for treadmillsNow let’s move onto the bike. If you want thighs of steel, this is the workout for you. You will come off the bike feeling like your legs way a hundred tons after this workout because you’ve worked so hard. HIIT is a great way to stay in shape, turn the fat-burners on high, and improve oxygen capacity. Think you had to run 6 miles a day to do that? Think again! HIIT is a great time-saving way to stay in shape while constantly challenging your body, thus burning more calories. Plus, you build more muscle because you’re doing more powerful exercises that require force (sprints, etc.).

Interval training burns more calories and challenges your body more than most cardio programs due to the nature of intervals. You are constantly changing your speed and pace, thus forcing your body to try to adapt. In sprint mode? Your body has to fight to give your muscles and lungs enough oxygen. In recovery mode? Your body has to slow down all its systems to try to provide you with the right recovery tools. But do you let it recover? Of course not! Thus, your body is constantly attempting to adapt to the conditions you force upon it, but the nature of intervals cause it to never be able to properly catch up, which makes us stronger in the end.

Do this for a minimum of 15 minutes. The best would be 25-30 minutes, or even more if you’re feeling crazy.

  • Begin with a 3-5 minute warm-up of 75-80 RPMs. Let your legs get warmed up so you can TOAST them.
  • Start your 1-minute sprint. I want you to pump those pedals as FAST as you can, get your RPMS above 100, maybe above 120! If you need to up the resistance, do it! Go hard! Train with purpose! Listen to awesome music!
  • Once you hit a minute, go into 1-minute recovery mode–think of it like a fast enough pace without killing you. Cycle easy, but not too easy.
  • Repeat–go back into your sprint for a minute. Then return to recovery.

If this seems too advanced for you, try doing 30s sprint/1min recovery. If this seems too easy for you, try doing 1min sprint/30s recovery. There are so many ways to change this up to fit your needs. HIIT is one of my most favorite ways to train and this is just ONE example. Doing HIIT on the bike will accelerate muscle development in your legs, shaping you to be more powerful in that part of your body. Keep your eyes out for more on this series of how to burn calories and the best HIIT tricks. Use this workout to stay hungry and fit!

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Double cuteness!!

Double cuteness!!

21-Day Shred Time

So it’s the last three weeks of prepping for my contestand it’s time to shred! I’ve been doing really well eating and exercising, working hard (except for my little ice cream vacation). It just so happened that at this time, I saw that celebrity trainer, Ashley Conrad, had a 21-day “Clutch Cut” programPerfect. With my main coach, Chris (aka Hungry), giving me the thumbs up to do this program, I was excited to get started. Click on that link and you’ll see the program. It’s a lot of high-intensity stuff, cardio, lifting, and nutrition. You need all three to make a difference.

Building up my back and shoulders

Building up my back and shoulders

I just finished Day 3 which was a rest day. I’m not a huge proponent of rest days for myself during this contest, especially on week days, but I did the best I could. All I did on Day 3 was run a mile and do some core. No lifting. Day 1 was an intense circuit with 15 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on the treadmill. All in all it was probably a little over an hour for the workout.  And it was good. I would love to do this with my clients. I would recommend it to anyone who’s trying to build muscle and burn fat. Here it is:

  • Clean and press
  • Overhead med ball throws
  • DB rear lunge
  • Pushups
  • Bench dips
  • Sprint in place
  • Bodyweight squat
  • Lat pull down
  • Med ball jumping jacks
  • Incline pushup
  • DB curl
  • Lateral raise
  • 1 arm row

photo 1 (17)

For pictures and instructions, check out the link above. For this circuit, you are supposed to do 4-6 sets (I only had time for 4, but got a killer workout) with 30 sec rest in between (I didn’t take the rest to increase cardio). It was great and hit all parts of my body. Two days later, my hamstrings are still sore and those are sometimes hard to hit for me so yay! There was also a core circuit at the end you can check out.

Day 2 was a killer cardio workout. I used the treadmill (she says you can use treadmill, stairmaster, bike, or whatever). It was 25 minutes of intervals:

  • 60 second walk
  • 30 second jog
  • 60 second sprint

It was important to put your all into this and I did. I did so much so that I had a headache for the rest of the day and was exhausted (oops for working out early). It really worked me hard, and that’s what HIIT does, which is why I LOVE it.

photo 2 (12)

For the nutrition part, I’m just doing what I have been, eating clean: lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Keeping me strong and healthy. She says to go gluten-free, but I don’t completely do that. I’ve followed my plan and it’s working well this program. If you’re looking to build muscle and cut fat, do this program! I’d love to have someone to do it with anyone for the next 3 weeks–the more the merrier! Use this Fit-approved program to stay hungry and fit!

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The Best Way to Cut Calories: Swimming

This post was inspired by an old swimming friend that has more recently gotten involved in lifting weights and trying to transform his body. He is an extremely experienced and skilled swimmer so he has a lot of tools at his disposal. He does not enjoy running or biking as a means to burn calories but he is interested in cutting for the summer.

Cutting is a term used in the fitness industry, primarily among physique based competitions, that refers to a stage after bulking where you lower your caloric intake and increase your caloric deficits in order to lose fat. Through this process of lowering body fat percentage, the muscles that a person developed and strengthened during their bulking phase will be more defined, visible and prominent. It has a certain aesthetic effect.

Not exactly your typical lap swimmer (it's Alana)

Not exactly your typical lap swimmer (it’s Alana)

Mr. M (we will keep his identity a mystery) asked me if swimming was a suitable substitute for cutting and the answer is yes. Anything that helps you achieve your caloric deficit amongst a cutting phase, with proper diet and rest, is a proper form or substitute for the classic “cardio machines.” Most professionals have ellipticals, treadmills, steppers or even bikes in their home gyms. There are a few reasons why swimming does not receive attention on the same level. Those reasons are primarily seen as a disadvantage and therefore complicate the process. However, there are certain advantages as well if you are cutting for your own reasons and not trying to be like everyone else. Here are the reasons why people do not use swimming to lose fat:

1. Most people do not know how to swim. That’s true, believe it or not. Beyond that, many people that do know how to swim don’t know how to swim properly. The number of people that can swim the four competitive strokes and various other safety strokes properly is extremely small. Many bodybuilders are among this population and are not interested in learning how to swim. However, for Mr. M, this is not a concern and with strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and butterfly it is very easy to burn more calories than on a machine that plugs into the wall.

2. It is much harder to calculate burned calories while swimming. Machines that plug into walls have abilities to calculate these numbers, therefore making it extremely convenient for someone tracking these figures so strictly to hit their marks properly. This is not the case while swimming, as every stroke will burn a different amount of calories. Pacing yourself will also affect this greatly. Swimming a 100-yard freestyle on 55 seconds and following with a second 100 yard freestyle on 1 minutes and 15 seconds will result in different calculations that need to be made. If you are not extremely strict on your figures, then this is not an issue as you can estimate. You can also buy some new devices in the market that are waterproof and track your calories that are burned. Fit will be doing a post soon about these devices so keep an eye out for that.

3. It is generally more difficult to find a body of water, especially year round, that is safe. You can run and bike on land. You can run indoors in the winter no matter where you live. Finding a safe swimming spot is harder as it is a much more dangerous activity due to the medium of the water. In developing countries swimming is a luxury and something that the majority of the population does not know how to do. Overall, it is simply not as safe.

Despite these factors, I highly recommended Mr. M to swim in order to cut to achieve his goals. The best way is to use all the strokes that you know and incorporate them into a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Switch up your strokes and change your pace consistently to challenge your body to work harder and burn more calories. Swimming for an hour at the same pace does not do much unless you somehow can maintain your full speed, or something close, for that whole time. I love to do 100 and 200 IMs (individual medley- butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle) with the 100s being all out and the 200s being at a steady pace. I will do 5-10 of each depending on how I feel with minimal rest in between. It makes me feel good, keep my skills fresh and avoids putting extra impact on my heavy flat feet.

If you are interested in specific questions related to swimming or cutting calories please leave a comment below. And look forward to more entries in the Best Way to Cut Calories series. Use this to stay hungry and fit!

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Meow

Meow