Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

The Benefits Of Running for the Weight Loss Battle

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Running can help achieve that fit body you’re aiming for. Today, we will explain to you how running can be good in the battle for weight loss!

Many people strive to have a body that will impress. However, the path going there isn’t a simple battle. Many challenges will hinder you from making progress. The first thing that you should ask yourself is, are you up to the challenge?

Spartan Runners

Although running sounds like a simple exercise, its benefits will amaze you. Running has many advantages including better health, uplifted emotions, weight loss, and improved focus. (more…)

What is the Best Time to Schedule Cardio Training?

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Your QuestionsI get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.

Generally I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.

The category Your Health Questions attempts to take a more proactive approach to answering your questions so that everyone can benefit from the Q & A.

Scott wrote:

“First off very good site, very informative.

I am 33 5-11 170lbs. I just went from a split where I was doing 30 min low intensity cardio after the work out. I have been enjoying the full body workouts; I feel I get more out of it.

I am trying to maintain the muscle I have and get more ripped toned. Should I keep doing a low intensity cardio session after my work out or should I move to HIIT or some sort of other interval training on the off days?

I always read cardio after lifting or in the am is the best. So will I still burn fat doing cardio on the off days? Help!!”

Response:

First off, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad I can help someone with my babbling.

Second, I agree with you about full body workout routines. I find full body training to be far more effective at stimulating all kinds of gains than a traditional split routine.

Now, regarding your cardio questions, I have a couple responses and then I will discuss my reasoning:

  • My opinion is that you should focus more on high intensity interval training (HIIT) than on aerobic cardio.
  • If you insist on doing aerobic cardio at the same time as weight training, then it should be performed after weight training, but then you have to accept the drawbacks of doing cardio after weight training.
  • If you insist on doing aerobic cardio, not at the same time as weight training, but on the same day as weight training, it should be performed in the morning, on an empty stomach.
  • If you insist on doing aerobic cardio on a non-weight training day, then you have 2 choices:
    • in the morning on an empty stomach – to maximize fat loss
    • any other time of the day – used as active recovery
  • If you plan doing HIIT, it should not be performed before a workout.
  • Cardio in general works best when performed 8-10 hours before or after weight training, or on a separate day.

Female Sprinting

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How to Run Interval Sprints on a Treadmill

Friday, March 10th, 2017

The High Intensity Incline Treadmill Workout

treadmill sprintsIf you’re looking to keep your cardio fitness levels running high throughout the year regardless of weather conditions or other hindrances, then the incline treadmill workout is the best training option.

Incline workouts offer many benefits.

For starters, it’ll help you simulate hill running, thus burn off colossal amounts of calories without having to go outside and stomach the bad weather. In addition, incline workouts are great boredom busters, hence if you dread indoor cardio training, use the incline to your advantage and make your workout more challenging and fun.

As a result, if you’re not doing an incline workout—at least once per week—then you’re doing yourself a big disservice.

Here are a few practical tips that can help.

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How to Make Treadmill Training More Fun

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

In cold weather climates, many runners log a large number of kilometers on the treadmill, and most of them complain that treadmill workout is rather boring. If you have the same problem and want to beat boredom while running on a treadmill, try the following tips. They will certainly make your treadmill running more fun.

Treadmill girls

  • Run with friends

If you have a friend who also trains on the treadmill in the same gym, you need to get her/him next to you. This way you will likely motivate each other as well as provide distraction in order to make your workout more efficient and faster. You do not have to run at the same pace with your friend(s).

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What is HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training) and How Should You Use It?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

What is High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT)?

High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) is essentially resistance training for fat loss, and like HIIT, it really is a big deal. HIRT training is the most effective way to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), increase your Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and burn calories at the same time.

When using HIRT you will execute several exercises together (sometimes called a super-set or giant-set), for a certain number of reps per set, for a certain number of minutes, without rest.

Along with HIIT, HIRT is a useful tool when avoiding endurance cardio while trying to lose fat, and it actually increases muscle mass more effectively than HIIT.
Eat Stop Eat
HIRT training will give you the following benefits:

  • Increase metabolism for up to 36 hours post-workout
  • Outperform aerobic exercise in fat loss studies
  • Maintain muscle mass on a low calorie diet
  • Build muscle mass on a moderate to high calorie diet
  • Minimize fat gain on a high calorie diet
  • Burn more calories than treadmills, endurance cardio, the Gazelle exercise machine, and elliptical trainers
  • Increase muscle density
  • Improve anaerobic endurance
  • Improve aerobic endurance

You may supplement this info with the post titled, “What is HIIT?

Browse the Table of Contents for this Post

What is HIRT? HIRT Theory BMR and EPOC
Who Can HIRT Benefit Who Should Avoid HIRT Design a HIRT Routine
Sample HIRT Training Splits Sample HIRT Training Routines
HIRT Routine #1 HIRT Routine #2 Olympic HIRT Routine

The Theory Behind HIRT

The important things to know about HIRT are:

  • HIRT workouts help maintain muscle mass when following a low calorie diet
  • HIRT workouts outperform diet and aerobic exercise in fat loss studies
  • HIRT workouts increase metabolism for up to 36 hours

The principles of HIRT are:

  • Full body workouts using sets of 5 to 15 reps
  • Pushing through the lactic acid burn
  • Utilizing a variety of combo-sets (super-sets, tri-sets, giant-sets, etc…)
  • Utilizing compound exercises
  • Focusing on the largest muscle groups

Most important, we have to stay true to the two rules of HIRT:

Rule #1 about HIRT: Don’t talk about HIRT. er… no, that’s a rule for a different club I attend on Saturday nights… ah, I’ve already said too much…

Seriously though, HIRT is all about maximizing intensity – you will get out of HIRT what you put into it.

  1. You must maximize the intensity of each set. That means pushing it until you collapse or complete the drill. No resting or slowing down before the time limit is up.
  2. You must maximize the intensity of each workout. Use all the time available to you, to complete as much work as possible. This is the only way to realize the maximum metabolic and muscle retention benefits of HIRT.

BMR and EPOC

As I mentioned before, along with burning calories through exercise, two of the most important factors in exercising to lose fat, are increasing BMR over the long term, and increasing EPOC per workout. Let’s learn a little more about BMR and EPOC, shall we?

Why do we care about BMR?

Your BMR describes the base metabolic rate for your body. It tells us how many calories your body burns at rest. Burning more calories at rest means you will lose fat faster or gain fat slower (if your daily calorie intake is too high). Improving BMR is simple: when you have more muscle mass, your body has a higher BMR.

Increasing your BMR will help you burn more calories over the long term.

Why do we care about EPOC?

Your EPOC describes how quickly your metabolism returns to your BMR after exercise. Because it deals more with the aerobic energy system, HIIT is more effective at increasing EPOC than HIRT, but not by very much. When targeting fat loss, we want to focus on workouts that increase EPOC as well as BMR.

The higher we can pump the EPOC after each workout, the more calories we will burn in the short term.

Who Can Benefit From HIRT

Anyone who wants to lose body fat while keeping all of their hard earned muscle mass, or anyone who wants to minimize fat gain while attempting to gain muscle mass. Alongside HIIT, HIRT should be a vital component to any serious fat loss plan.

HIRT would be useful for people who:

  • are looking to elevate their metabolism (BMR) long term
  • are looking to maximize short term fat loss through resistance training
  • are looking to keep as muscle as possible during a cutting phase
  • are looking to minimize fat gain during a bulking phase
  • are looking to increase aerobic endurance
  • are looking to increase anaerobic endurance
  • are looking to burn more calories on a daily basis
  • are looking to supplement their HIIT workouts with additional fat burning exercise
  • are athletes who participate in a sport such as boxing, MMA, soccer, basketball, football, wrestling, etc…, who need to increase muscular endurance in 5-10 minute bursts, while minimizing body fat

Who Should Avoid HIRT

Unlike HIIT, there are virtually no people who should avoid HIRT. Grasping at straws, the few people for whom HIRT might not be the best solution include those who:

  • are not cleared by their doctor to begin a high intensity exercise routine. Check with your doctor before starting HIRT.
  • are overzealous. You can’t use HIRT 3-4 times a week, and strength training or HIIT 3-4 times a week. Even though HIRT is not neurologically as taxing as HIIT or strength training, you still must rest between workouts.
  • are looking to maximize strength gains. Excessive HIRT and HIIT workouts will slow down strength gains.
  • are looking to increase speed. Because no sprints or max effort attempts are included in HIRT, speed will probably not be affected.

Designing a HIRT Training Routine

HIRT can be used for either cutting or bulking, usually maintain muscle mass while decreasing bodyfat, but also to minimize fat gains while increasing muscle mass. HIRT is also somewhat effective at improving aerobic endurance and even more effective at increasing anaerobic endurance.

As always, your diet is still 75% responsible for determining how these goals are achieved. Manipulate calorie intake and macronutrient ratios to gain muscle or lose fat according to your goals.

These are the guidelines I will use for creating a HIRT workout:

  • Each HIRT workout must be a full body routine.
  • Sets of 5 to 15 reps will be used. Lower reps to focus on muscle gain, higher reps to focus on muscular endurance.
  • Each HIRT workout will use super-sets, tri-sets, or giant-sets.
  • Each HIRT exercise will be a compound exercise focusing on the largest muscle groups.
  • Each super-set should last 8-10 minutes.
  • 60-90 seconds rest between super-sets.
  • No rest within a super-set.
  • All exercises should be executed explosively – meaning as fast as possible while maintaining good form.

Three Sample H.I.R.T. Training Splits

There are thousands of ways you can integrate HIRT into your workout routine. You can use full body workouts, a 5 day split with HIRT at the end of your strength training, you can go HIIT-less to avoid sprinting, you can focus solely on HIIT and HIRT for max fat loss. You are only limited by your own imagination.

You can choose to implement several kinds of HIRT splits:

  • Priority: fat lossDay 1: 45 minutes of HIRT
    goal – maximal intensity resistance and endurance trainingDay 2: 25 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal intensity cardiovascular trainingDay 3: 45 minutes of endurance cardio
    goal – anaerobic recovery and aerobic endurance training

    Day 4: 45 minutes of HIRT
    goal – maximal intensity resistance and endurance training

    Day 5: 25 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal intensity cardiovascular training

    Day 6 & 7: Off

  • Priority: fat loss, but maximize muscle retentionDay 1: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance trainingDay 2: 30 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal intensity interval trainingDay 3: Off
    goal – recovery

    Day 4: 45 minutes of HIRT
    goal – maximal intensity resistance and endurance training

    Day 5: 30 minutes of full body resistance training plus 20 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal strength resistance training and maximal intensity interval training

    Day 6 & 7: Off

  • Priority: gain muscle and attempt to lose fat at the same timeDay 1: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance trainingDay 2: 30 minutes of HIRT plus 20 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal intensity cardiovascular training and maximal intensity interval trainingDay 3: Off
    goal – recovery

    Day 4: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance training

    Day 5: 30 minutes of HIRT plus 20 minutes of HIIT
    goal – maximal intensity cardiovascular training and maximal intensity interval training

    Day 6 & 7: Off

  • Priority: gain muscleDay 1: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance trainingDay 2: 30 minutes of HIRT
    goal – maximal intensity cardiovascular trainingDay 3: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance training

    Day 4: 30 minutes of HIRT
    goal – maximal intensity interval training

    Day 5: 45 minutes of full body resistance training
    goal – maximal strength resistance training

    Day 6 & 7: Off

Three Sample H.I.R.T. Workout Routines

Sample HIRT workout #1

For this workout, you will have to change equipment and/or stations to move to each new exercise, so your best bet will be to plan ahead and keep all the equipment you will need for the super-set at one station. This will keep rest down between sets.

Execute each super-set for 10 minutes without rest.
Rest for 180 seconds between super-sets.
The workout should take 45 minutes including a 5 minute warm-up and stretching after the workout.

Super-set A:

  1. 10 reps of deadlifts with 20% of your 1 rm
  2. 5 clapping pushups
  3. 5 chin ups
  4. 10 ab wheel roll outs

Super-set B:

  1. 5 jump squats
  2. 5 pull ups
  3. 10 bench presses with 20% of your 1rm
  4. 5 windshield wipers


Super-set C:

  1. 5 one leg split squats with each leg
  2. 10 inverted rows
  3. 10 push ups
  4. 5 fold ups with a half second pause at the top

Sample HIRT Workout #2

For this workout, you will have to change equipment and/or stations to move to each new exercise, so your best bet will be to plan ahead and keep all the equipment you will need for the super-set at one station. This will keep rest down between sets.

Execute each super-set for 10 minutes without rest.
Rest for 180 seconds between super-sets.
The workout should take 45 minutes including a 5 minute warm-up and stretching after the workout.

Super-set A:

  1. 5 push ups
  2. 5 inverted rows
  3. 5 jump squats
  4. 5 cable crunches


Super-set B:

  1. 5 chin ups
  2. 5 pistol (or one leg) squats
  3. 5 Russian twists with a medicine ball
  4. 5 push ups on the medicine ball


Super-set C:

  1. 10 skipping lunges
  2. 5 ab wheel roll outs
  3. 5 dumbbell or kettlebell swings with each arm
  4. 5 neutral grip one arm dumbbell or kettlebell rows

Olympic HIRT Workout

For this workout, you will move from one exercise to the next without any rest at all, since you won’t have to change equipment. Each movement will set you up to transition to the next movement, so that you are only executing one rep of each exercise per set and then flowing directly into the next rep of the next exercise.

This workout mainly utilizes Olympic lifts. Use really light weight or you might die, but you will probably puke anyway.

Execute each super-set for 10 minutes without rest.
Rest for 180 seconds between super-sets.
The workout should take 45 minutes including a 5 minute warm-up and stretching after the workout.

Super-set A:

  1. Power Clean
  2. Push Press
  3. Eccentric portion of Romanian deadlift (down)
  4. 5 reps of bent over barbell rows
  5. Concentric portion of Romanian deadlift (up)
  6. Touch the bar to the floor and repeat.


Super-set B:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Hang Clean
  3. Push Press
  4. Back Squat
  5. Back Push Pres
  6. Touch the bar to the floor and repeat.

Super-set C:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Hang Clean
  3. Push Press
  4. Overhead Squat
  5. Barbell Abdominal Roll Out

The Top 5 Most Efficient Forms of Cardio

Friday, February 5th, 2016

The Most Efficient Cardio You Can Perform

Bodybuilder dipsThis is an excerpt from Nick Nilsson’s book Muscle Explosion: 28 Days to Maximum Mass

Interval Training is simply THE most efficient type of cardio you can perform. You can get pretty much ALL the benefits of longer-duration cardio but without the long duration. Moreover, you don’t get the boredom, you don’t spend all your time doing it, and you don’t have nearly the risk of overuse injuries.

In a Nutshell:

Low-intensity exercise is defined as working at a heart rate of about 60 percent to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate (equal to 220 minus your age; thus, if you are 20 years old, 220 minus 20 is 200 maximum heart rate).

High-intensity exercise is defined as working at about 75 percent to 85 percent or more of your maximum heart rate. Using the example of 200 as your maximum heart rate, working at 60 percent of it would be 120 beats per minute. Eighty percent would be 160 beats per minute.

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High Intensity Intervals are Far Superior to Endurance Cardio

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Male Sprinter

I don’t HATE endurance cardio. I’m trying to give it a chance, albeit a slim chance.

It has its purpose in workout routines, especially for those who are untrained, obese, or have health complications that make high intensity training dangerous. But I can’t just blow off the continually mounting evidence (for the past 15 years) that high intensity interval training is optimal for fat loss and for developing speed, power, muscle, and even endurance!

For many years now, hardcore trainers have been touting the superior effectiveness of high intensity intervals for fat loss. But still, trainers, athletes, housewives, couch potatoes, televangelists, martial arts instructors, teachers, doctors, and pretty much anyone outside of the ‘hardcore trainer’ group suggests that if you want to lose weight you have to either walk everyday or jog for at least an hour a day 4-5 times a week. Wake up people!

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The Best Exercises to Build Your Endurance

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The Top Endurance Exercises

Ripped Abs Chick
Athletes have become bigger and stronger and are in better shape nowadays, and the trend towards endurance training has only accelerated this phenomenon.

It used to be that a baseball player, for example, would focus on exercises specifically designed to improve the specific skill set that they needed to succeed on the baseball field. The same sport-specific training was true for every sport. But as people began to see the broad-spectrum benefits that came with endurance training for events like the triathlon, it became evident that an individual with greater strength and endurance in any sport could benefit from a more well-rounded circuit of exercises.

It didn’t take long before regular people started to realize that they could benefit from endurance training, too, and it quickly became more and more popular. Today, its appeal is at an all-time high. Even weekend athletes, as a result of endurance training, are becoming almost indefatigable.

Here’s why. (more…)

Ramp Up Your Conditioning With Speed Interval Workouts

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

How to ramp up the speed for better fat loss and fitness gains

Female Sprinting
If you want to run faster, then you need to start running faster. This may sound as a cliché but because it’s true.

Speedwork—in all its forms—is key for unlocking your full potential as a runner. Not only that, speedwork will make you fitter, enhance the range of movement in your joints, boost power and drive in your lower body, and it will eventually help you to run harder for longer.

Furthermore, Speedwork is key for weight loss. According to many studies, interval running—a form of speed work— burns up to three times more calories than sticking to a steady and easy pace. Of course, long runs at a low intensity have their benefits, but when it comes to burning the flab, speedwork wins the race.

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5 MORE Ways to Burn MORE Belly Fat During Exercise

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

No Belly Fat ChickOne of the first places the average adult body stores spare fat is around the belly, and this can be a real nightmare for anyone trying to trim down their midsection.

You might think that you’re doing everything right when it comes to your diet and exercise regimen, and yet, for some reason you just can seem to shed the unsightly padding around your abdominals.

If this is the case, you could find that doing everything right is actually all wrong. Your lifestyle might be sabotaging everything.

Here are just a few tips and tricks that could help you to finally melt away the belly fat that’s been plaguing you for years. Sure, they say diet is responsible for 75% of your progress, but if you are doing everything else wrong, your lifestyle could derail 90% of your progress.

Here are 5 more tips to help you lose belly fat:

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