Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

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
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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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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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Finding Motivation to Exercise First Thing in the Morning

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Morning ExerciseMany people like the energy boost that they get from exercising early since it stays with them throughout the day and leaves them pleasantly sleepy at night. But if you’re not an early riser, you might find that you prefer working out during your lunch break or in the evening, despite the fact that it can leave you pumped up and unable to snooze when your head hits the pillow.

Of course, you may find that exercising later in the day presents you with myriad problems. Perhaps you’re too tired or demands on your time inevitably pop up, preventing you from getting in your workout.

In any case, you might end up deciding that starting your day with a workout is the best way to go. However, it can definitely be difficult to roll out of bed an hour earlier than usual, even if you’re committed to making it work.

So here are a few strategies that should help you find the motivation you need to exercise first thing in the morning.

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Getting Into Peak Shape for a Big Event

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Big Event Fitness

A Short Term Solution

If you’re committed to your health and fitness, then you’ve probably got a regular routine worked out already. But you may have found that over time, your targeted regimen begins to deliver fewer returns in the way of results.

This is not such a terrible thing when you’re merely maintaining your level of fitness. But when you have to look your best for an event like a wedding, a body-builder competition, or even a stroll down the red carpet, you may be keen to up your game where your workouts are concerned.

The process starts with assessing your current state, determining your goals, and then figuring out the steps needed to get you where you want to be within a set time limit. So whether you have several months to prepare or just a couple of weeks, here are some tips that will help to get you in peak physical condition before the big event.

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Burn Body Fat Through Weight Training

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Ripped ManAny physical activity makes you expend more energy and as a result, if you are an active person, you will burn fat. Normally, the body will transform carbohydrates into energy. However, fat is used as fuel for metabolism and movement.

You could also use thermogenic foods and supplements, such as caffeine and hot peppers, to facilitate faster results, but diet and high intensity exercise are the two top ways to lose weight fast.

Weight Training and Burning Fat

Aside from a sensible diet, your fat loss program should include physical activities such as weight training and conditioning drills. However, the training sessions should implement an appropriate fat loss strategy for optimal results. Training with heavier weights and fewer reps has shown in numerous studies to preserve muscle mass on a low calorie diet, increase strength, stimulate fat burning, and elevate metabolism.

It is a common myth that we should train with low weight and high reps when trying to lose fat – that strategy is just a prescription for strength and muscle loss.

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Running for Weight Loss

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

How to Eat Properly When Running to Lose Weight

Female SprintersAside from getting out there and running some serious interval sprints, losing weight is a matter of calories in versus calories out.

When it comes to the burning side, running is one of the best training programs out there for burning the extra pounds and keeping them off for good. Not only that, running is cardiovascular exercise per excellence, thus doing it a regular basis will boost your endurance levels, help you ward off heart related problems, and get you in the best shape of your life.

Nonetheless, backing up your running program with a proper diet is the surest way for permanent weight loss results. For that, here are the diet guidelines you’ll need to lose the weight without sacrificing performance and energy for the workout.

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