Mamatoga Fit Tip: At Home Fitness, Week 4: A Little of the Right Kind of Cardio Can Give Amazing Results

Back when I was a stay at home mom and my kids were younger, I was a cardio junkie. I taught a ton of cardio classes and I took some too. I taught kickbox, step, and Zumba, and any other modality that required fast moves and lots of sweating. Funny thing is, now that I don’t do as much cardio, I am actually slimmer and leaner. Combined with my healthy eating plan, I also maintain my weight much more easily and consistently. As I have said, those are the benefits of a solid strength training program. But this week IS about cardio so I am going to stick to that theme. Because the truth is, when the right kind of cardio training is paired with your strength and foundational exercises, you can get some amazing results with minimal time commitment.

I will say, however, in that window of small time you will also work really hard. The type of training I am referring to is HIIT training, high intensity interval training. What is also surprising to many people, is the fact that in the course of a 20 to 30 minute training session (warm up included), you will rest for almost half of that time. (Trust me, you’ll need it!)

You can perform HIIT on any piece of cardio equipment of your choice if you want. I do run on the treadmill at least once a week for an extra cardio workout, but simply because I enjoy it. The beauty of the exercises I am going to show you is that you don’t need any equipment for them. You can do them anywhere, including in the comfort of your own home.  You could even do them in your office at work if you wanted to.

The whole point of HIIT training is that whatever exercise you perform, you work to near maximum aerobic threshold. That means that by the end of the given duration for each exercise, you HAVE to rest before doing it again. There are lots of different ratios used for HIIT training and you can mix those up too. For example, say if you selected four exercises such as a squat thrust, box jumps, mountain climbers, and single footed lateral hops (30 seconds for each foot). You could perform each exercise for 30 seconds and rest for 60 seconds in between. Then you repeat the cycle two more times. With the rests in between, this workout totals just over 22 minutes. Add in a warm up and you have a 30 minute cardio workout that you can do anywhere and at any time.

Another advantage of working to this degree of intensity is that you get an amazing caloric after burn. Much greater than if you were to just do some steady state cardio on a machine for an hour. And it takes less time. I also like that I don’t have to go to the gym to do these exercises.

Also know that because of the degree of intensity you will work at, it is not recommended that these workouts be done any more than twice a week in combination with your strength workouts. Recovery time is equally important and we will talk more about that next week when we go over the breakdown of all four components (Foundation, warm up, strength, and cardio) and I show you how to use this program as an excellent kick start for your At Home Fitness program.

Videos for these exercises will be available at this link tomorrow so be sure to head over to Real [Fit] Life and check them out.

In the meantime, you can get caught up with Week 1: Foundation, Week 2: Warm up, and Week 3: Strength training.

Check out more from Jeannine at her blog Real [Fit] Life! And don't forget to vote for your favorite Gym/Fitness Studio in our Mamatoga Moms and Kids Choice Awards 2011 here!