Fitness

Why You Need Cardio in Your Life, and Benefits of HIIT

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Am I doing this pose right?

Raise your hand if you HATE cardio!!

Probably most of you. Which is understandable because I used to absolutely dread cardio as well. I mean, I can’t say I love it now and that I wake up every day and think “OMG YES I GET TO DO CARDIO TODAY IM SO EXCITED WOOOOO” no absolutely not.

BUT, It’s less painful then it used to be since I started implementing HIIT (High intensity interval training) into my cardio routine. Or Tabata, which is the same thing as HIIT or a type of HIIT workout. If your thinking “what the heck is that” just hang tight, I’ll tell you all about HIIT in a sec.

Before I discovered this, I would hate doing cardio because I thought to get the most benefits and the “runners high” I had to do something consistently at the same pace for 30 minutes to an hour. Not true. So it bored me to tears, especially if it was on a treadmill. It was literally the last thing I wanted to do and made going to the gym more of a struggle.

If your thinking right now, “uhh well I just don’t do any cardio”

STOP. Cardio is so important and essential to implement in your workout regimen. People who completely skip it all together and just lift weights I shake my head at. Whats the point of working out if you are able to lift the heaviest weights but you feel completely winded and out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs? I feel like that doesn’t qualify as “fit.” You don’t need to run marathons or anything but you should be doing moderate to vigorous cardio at least 2-3 x a week on TOP of weight lifting. Ill tell ya why:

  • Your heart is a muscle too and it needs to get moving and pumping just like your other muscles so don’t neglect it. In order for your heart to be strong and work properly, you gotta get that heart rate up and get that blood pumping. Neglect cardio, neglect your heart muscle and it will become weak over time no matter how much weight your lifting.
  • Boosts your metabolism. Especially with HIIT because you get the EPOC effect which is Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. (ill talk more about this down below)
  • Increases recovery time. After you have a good lifting session or if your sore from one the next day, going for a brisk walk or light jog can help your muscles recover and repair faster by bringing more oxygen rich blood to those muscles.
  • Your hormones are regulated better as well. Doing cardio gives you that “runners high” feeling because of the endorphins and improved hormonal profile which can ease symptoms of fatigue or depression.
  • Better balance of your blood sugars. You are less likely to get spikes or crashes in your blood sugar levels with more cardiovascular exercise in your workouts.
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Fav cardio pants 

ALRIGHT. Now you know why you need to start doing some cardio, I’m going to take you through what HIIT is and why it’s a great way to get your cardio in. I do HIIT every time i’m doing cardio, unless I go for a long walk or a jog just to de-stress/clear my mind but I almost never do continuous cardio at the same pace for 30 ish mins. Who’s got time for that?

So basically what HIIT is, is short intense bursts of exercise basically giving it your ALL, pushing super damn hard, going as hard as your body will let you and then resting for a short period of time. So what I personally love to do for HIIT is do sprint intervals on the treadmill, so sprinting at 12 speed for 30 seconds then stop for 15-30. OR put the stair master as high as possible and climb that shit until I cant breathe anymore then rest for 15-30 secs. Just enough time to catch my breath. I do about 5-6 rounds of that, depends on how close I want to be to throwing up. Just kidding but it seriously kicks your ass in a short period of time. So your getting an intense, short cardio workout thats insanely effective and then you can move on with your life.

WHY choose HIIT?

  • You burn a shit ton of cals in a short period of time. UHM best thing ever! Studies have shown you burn 20-30% more calories then you do with any other cardio exercise in half the time.
  • Improve oxygen consumption. This is the EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) effect I mentioned earlier. Originally it was said that long periods of endurance exercise was the way to improve oxygen consumption by your muscles, but HIIT has the same effect in again, a short period of time.
  • Your metabolism stays super elevated hours after your done exercising. As opposed to running for long periods of time, your metabolism is only elevated during exercise not after. So this is additional calories burned at rest, just like if you were lifting weights
  • Lowers your heart rate and blood pressure more frequently then just doing moderate exercise.
  • Helps your burn more fat. Studies have shown HIIT is more effective in burning fat and losing weight then doing moderate cardio exercises for 30 minutes or more. With HIIT your pushing yourself so hard in small bursts of time, and getting better results.

Okay now, get out there, hop on a treadmill, bike, stair master, run outside whatever! Just go get your heart pumping friends! Remember its a muscle, and needs some love too. I mean, who wouldn’t want a healthy heart?

Happy Tuesday!

xo

Raquel

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3 Comments

  1. Shauna says:

    Great post! Very informative, love that you can relate to the commonly dreaded cardio workout 👌💗

  2. Great article Raquel. Personally I try to weave sports into my cardio routine, things like soccer and tennis. But here in the Pacific Northwest I don’t always get to do that! HIIT is a great alternative!

    1. Hi Michael!
      Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed reading :). Yes it definitely is! Its my favourite way to do cardio. Doing sports would be a fun way as well.

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