Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular’

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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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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The Very Best HIIT Routines for Fat Loss and Fitness

Sunday, May 6th, 2012
Male Sprinter

If you want a debriefing on my most recent stance on endurance cardio versus high intensity intervals, check out this post:

High Intensity Intervals are Far Superior to Endurance Cardio

Once you understand how useful HIIT training is for fat loss, read about the following routines that you can use to burn fat and get in awesome cardiovascular shape.

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How to Mix HIIT and Endurance Cardio

Monday, August 1st, 2011

How to Effectively Combine HIIT Sessions with Endurance Cardio

Ripped Woman

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please: walking or jogging for hours on the treadmill, peddling for hours on the stationary bike, climbing a mountain on the StairMaster, and plodding away on the elliptical trainer is NOT the best way to burn calories!

We’ve seen a hundred studies telling us that high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more calories and fat, speeds up your metabolism, and is less catabolic than hours of endurance cardio. HIIT can also be far less boring, will actually help you build more muscle tissue, and increases your resting metabolic rate.

HIIT: Twenty minutes of HIIT cardio improves your VO2 max, burns a ton of calories, increases your metabolism, and maintains or builds muscle tissue all at once.

vs.

Endurance Cardio: Sixty minutes of endurance cardio is not only boring as hell, it also increases cortisol, burns muscle tissue (protein) for energy, and halts protein synthesis.
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Do Cardio After Weight Training

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Should Bodybuilders Do Cardio After Weight Training?

Cardio After Weight Lifting

Spend some time in a corporate gym and you will see hundreds of bodybuilders lifting moderately heavy weight for sets of 10-15 reps, then you’ll see them hop on a StairMaster or elliptical machine for about 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity endurance cardio. There are many reasons for this behavior, the most common being that weight training is just a hell of a lot more fun than cardio.

Apparently the weights-first-cardio-second protocol is considered the most effective way for bodybuilders to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. But is it?
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How to do Wall Balls

Friday, July 9th, 2010
Wall Balls
Wall Balls

Wall Balls is a silly name for an exercise, I know, but that’s what you get when you borrow exercises from Crossfit. In fact, Wall Balls are a great conditioning exercise that builds full body stamina and endurance. It will also make you sweat.

This is an exercise that integrates perfectly into a high intensity interval training (HIRT) circuit, and can also be used to build high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions, but do not translate that well into Tabata training.

Wall Balls also can be used separately as a full body conditioning exercise by attempting to complete X reps as fast as possible, or by attempting to complete as many reps as possible in a set time limit. Either way, it burns!

Medicine Ball Training

Medicine ball training has been around for a long time, and in fact they were used frequently at gyms back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ancient (3000+ years ago) wrestlers and other athletes used to train with various sand-filled implements, which evolved over time into the medicine ball.

The standard medicine ball is a weighted rubber ball measuring roughly 14 inches in diameter, although sizes vary greatly nowadays as you can get a medicine ball from the size of your fist to the size of your body.

Used in a wide variety of fitness programs, medicine balls can be benched, rowed, curled, pressed, squatted, tossed, caught, bounced, squished, and generally manhandled all for the sake of fitness.

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What is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – And How Should You Use It?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

High Intensity Interval Training, often represented by the acronym HIIT, is really a big deal. HIIT training is the ideal and most effective replacement for underachieving endurance cardio.

As a matter of fact, in studies HIIT is 9x more effective at burning fat than endurance cardio.

Female Sprinter
Female Sprinter

More often than not, I have talked about HIIT workouts made up only of interval sprints. Today I would like to discuss HIIT training with resistance machines, but not to be confused with High Intensity Resistance Training, or HIRT, which I will write about shortly.

HIIT training will give you the following benefits:

  • Burn more calories than endurance cardio
  • Burn more fat than endurance cardio
  • Increase power
  • Increase speed
  • Increase muscle density
  • Improve anaerobic endurance
  • Improve aerobic endurance
  • Speed up metabolism for more than a day and a half
  • Shorten cardio training sessions by at least 33%
What is HIIT? HIIT Theory AnaerobicAerobic
Who Can HIIT Benefit Who Should Avoid HIIT Design a HIIT Routine
Sample HIIT Training Routines
Beginners Training 9:1 Intermediate Training 6:1 Advanced Training 3:1
10 second sprints 10 second sprints 10 second sprints
20 second sprints 20 second sprints 20 second sprints
30 second sprints 30 second sprints 30 second sprints
HIIT Exercise Selection HIIT and Nutrition Get Protein Powder

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HIIT Video: High Intensity Interval Training

Monday, September 7th, 2009

In the spirit of Project Swole’s recent focus on HIIT training, Jim Stoppani, PhD, Senior Science Editor for Muscle & Fitness Magazine and author of Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength teaches you how to maximize the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Some of his ideas differ from what my research and experience has turned up in my post describing how to use HIIT, but the video is still a great tutorial with some exercise examples.

One difference you might notice, is that Stoppani advocates a 2:1 interval to rest ratio, while my research shows a 1:9, 1:6, and 1:3 interval to rest ratios are optimal.

His ratio would mean 2 minutes of sprints to 1 minute of rest, while my ratio would mean 20 seconds of sprints to 60 seconds of rest for an intermediate HIIT routine.

While I am sure Stoppani is an intelligent guy, I still definitely favor more rest as it helps your energy systems to recover when you are truly training at maximal intensity.

In any case, watch this video. It’s great.