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Why HIIT Cardio is Best for Fat Loss

by Renee Harshey

Cardiovascular exercise is the most common form of exercise due to its fat-blasting qualities and wide variety of options to choose from. Each decade seems to have a cardio trend that takes fitness fanatics by storm. In the 80’s, there was the introduction of Jazzercise and Aerobics (think Jane Fonda, tight leotards, scrunchy socks and headbands). In the 90’s, people started taking “step class” at their local gym, a combination of lower body work and aerobics using a riser and free weights. In the 2000’s, Zumba and kickboxing became the hottest trends and every gym in America offered classes for the average gym-goer.

While most of these forms of cardio are still fairly common, the current trend and arguably the most effective form of cardio for fitness enthusiasts of all levels is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is my favorite form of cardio as it’s intense but short, you can do it anywhere and there is a plethora of exercises to choose from. Additionally, with HIIT cardio you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat in turn helping to speed up your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day.

The best part about HIIT cardio is that it doesn’t require equipment or a lot of time making it the perfect workout to slip in to your busy schedule. Here are a few HIIT circuits you can do in the comfort of your own home, backyard or neighborhood.

How It Works: These circuits are a 3:1 interval; three exercises repeated consecutively followed by one minute rest.

  • 20 second sprint, 15 burpees, 20 pop squats followed by 90 seconds active rest (walking at a fast pace) then repeat the circuit for a total of 15-20 minutes.
  • 20 curb jumps, 30 mountain climbers, 50 high knees followed by 1 minute active rest (walking at a fast pace) then repeat the circuit for a total of 15-20 minutes.
  • 45 second jog, 20 side hops, 10-15 push ups (2 minute rest/recovery) then repeat for 15-20 minutes.
  • 1 minute jump rope, 30 mountain climbers, 25 jump squats followed by 1 minute active rest (walking at a fast pace) then repeat the circuit for a total of 15-20 minutes.
  • 20 pike plank jumps, 20 scissor split jumps, 1 minute plank followed by 1 minute active rest (walking at a fast pace) then repeat the circuit for a total of 15-20 minutes.

Here are five HIIT circuits to try when you have a little more time to hit the gym:

  • 45 second treadmill jog, 15 burpees, 30 second rope slams (1.5 minute active rest – walk on treadmill 3.7-4.2 speed) then repeat for 20 minutes.
  • 20 second sprint, 15 ball slams, 30 seconds side hops (1 minute active rest – incline walk on treadmill 3.7-4.2 speed) then repeat for 20 minutes.
  • 1 minute on the stairmaster, 40 squat jacks (use a weighted bar, perform a jumping jack with a shoulder press simultaneously. As you jump out, push the bar up), 30 second pop squats (2 minute active rest –incline walk on treadmill 3.7-4.2 speed) –  then repeat for 20 minutes.
  • 1 minute sled push, 30 second jump squats, 30 second kettle bell burpees (1 minute active rest – arc trainer or elliptical) then repeat for 20 minutes.
  • 1 minute sled pull, 15 renegade rows (use dumbbells), 20 pike plank jumps (2 minute active rest – arc trainer or elliptical) then repeat for 20 minutes.

About the Author

Renee Harshey is the owner of FitChoice Foods, a bikini prep coach at Pro Physiques, and nutrition specialist. Check out her services here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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