Strong Girl VS HIIT

by Jonna Edwinson

So as we all know, the dreaded word “cardio” can be frightening for us bodybuilders. Muscle is a precious thing for drug-free bodybuilders, so I am often asked if cardio is truly all that necessary. The answer is YES… but of course with a measured program. I find that if competitors don’t plan their offseason right, they end up having to drop high amounts of fat in a very short period of time. That’s when the panicked double day cardio sessions come in to play, and all the hard work in the gym is lost due to the body using muscle for energy because everything else has become depleted.

I have found that HIIT (high intensity interval training) has the best of both worlds when it comes to burning calories. Not only is it time efficient, as you are done in as little as 20 minutes, but you can burn just as many calories and fat as you would in an hour long work out. Now I don’t know about you, but the short duration sounds way better for my busy schedule.

High Intensity Interval Training is a formula using high bouts of sprint sessions with short active recovery periods. Using any piece of equipment you want, you can follow one of my cardio programs below to help you shed fat, get leaner, and stay very well conditioned. During off season I do 2 days a week of HIIT, and when I am leaning out I will bump it up to 3 days a week. The idea is to remember that it’s 100% of uncomfortable hard effort for a short period of time. So start with 1 day a week and see how well you are able to acclimate. This is the one form of exercise that always feels impossible during, but the results after are always incredible.

Now I didn’t say it was going to be easy… but it will be worth it!

HIIT Session #1
Equipment needed: None- just body weight

Warm-up with a 5 min easy jog

40 Sec of HARD effort Mt Climbers
20 Sec RECOVERY
30 Sec of HARDER effort Burpees
15 Sec of RECOVERY
20 Sec of HARDEST effort Knee tuck Jumps
10 sec of RECOVERY
repeat 3x

HIIT Session #2
Equipment Needed: None- just body weight

*this formula is called a Tabata and is known as being one of the hardest Intervals because of the incomplete recoveries. 20 Sec on and 10 sec recovery: It consists of 8 rounds of this formula equaling a total of 4 minutes:

20 Seconds Jump Squats with DB’s
10 seconds of Recovery
20 Seconds of push ups
10 seconds of recovery
20 seconds of Jumping Jacks
10 seconds of recovery
20 seconds of High Knees
10 seconds of Recovery
Repeat back to the beginning 1x

HIIT Session #3
Equipment needed: Bleachers or stairs- You can also use a stair master

30 seconds of a comfortable pace running up the stairs
20 seconds of a little hard push
10 seconds of a full out sprint
Repeat 10x or until you tap out

Remember, the whole idea is to push yourself to your threshold.
You always need to earn your recovery. If you pace yourself, it defeats the whole concept of
High Intensity Interval Training. Have fun with it!

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