As I’ve said before, HIIT is my preferred way to train cardio. If I can spend 30 minutes throwing the barbell around and never once stepping foot on the treadmill I am 100% happy. Hell, I’ll voluntarily do box jumps before I get on any sort of machine.
However, lately I’ve been feeling like…behind. Like I’ve been putting in this extra work for my HIIT routines and not seeing much progress. My body has stalled, my weight loss has stalled, and while I look great I’m not where I want to be for my show. At 3.5 weeks out this is always startling to me. No, my diet hasn’t been 100% – but a lot of that is because I’ve found myself saying “What’s the use?” All in all, I’ve been feeling discouraged.
Then I was reading something the other day and realized that I’d been going about this all wrong. See, I’ve been doing “baby HIIT.” I’ll “sprint” for 40 seconds, rest for 20, etc. and do this for 15-20 minutes and it’s whatever. Last year this was the best way for me to lose fat. This year? Nothing. It’s because I’m not really getting to that high intensity level, and it’s my own fault.
Bring in: my heart rate monitor. I sat down and figured out my max heart rate using this calculator. Once I did that, I figured out 75% of my max heart rate. It’s 140 bpm, based on my age and gender. When I’ve been doing my “HIIT” I’ve been getting my HR up to about 145 – that’s not max effort! I’m not saying I should be all the way up to 188 every time, but for a HIIT workout 145 is kinda wimpy. I vowed not to let this become the norm so I’ve changed the way I do my HIIT.
Now, I’ll do the 40 seconds of sprints, then rest until my HR is down to 75% of max, or 140. Then I’ll sprint again for 40 seconds, and repeat. I’ve only started training this way this week, so I’m not sure if it’s working, but I have a feeling it will. Why? Because when it comes to cardio I am a notorious slacker. If you tell me to do an hour of cardio I will get on a stairmaster, put it to a low setting and watch TV for an hour. My powerlifting training taught me to rest a lot between sets, which is great for strength, but not so great for the fat burning effects of HIIT. ESPECIALLY when my HR isn’t getting high enough to do any good.
I’ll see how this heart rate training goes and try to implement it in the off season. I mean, what good is a strong girl if she has no endurance, right?!