Q: A few weeks ago you mentioned using interval training on an exercise bike. How is that going? Is it working for you? Do you feel that it is increasing your anabolic hormones? I’m thinking about giving it a try on my elliptical machine if you give it a thumbs-up. [Read more…]
All of my pondering and research into the leg development of sprinters and cyclists has changed my cardio… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve heard it brought up a few times by others recently, and I remember from your old daily training blog that you guys sometimes use interval cardio to burn more fat. What is that and how should I use it?
A: There are surprising facts about using interval cardio to burn more fat, but before we get to those, let’s explain interval cardio on a running track. To do interval training, you sprint the straightaways all out and walk the curves. Another good example is running stairs—you run up for intensity and coast down. In other words, you alternate high-intensity bursts with lower-intensity activity.
Q: I need to lose fat quickly, and I’ve been reading a lot about interval cardio training. I want to try it, so how would you suggest I work it into my program? I just started using the Heavy/Light 10×10 Workout based on one of your recent newsletters that made it sound great.
A: As we’ve said, high-intensity interval cardio is like doing another leg workout, so you must be cautious. For those who don’t know what HIIT is, a good example is sprinting the straight-aways and walking the curves on a running track.
You’re alternating anaerobic work, all-out sprints, with active rest, walking. Studies show that it’s an exceptional way to burn bodyfat for a number of reasons…[Read more…]
If you’re like us, you’re a little concerned. Spring is just a few weeks away and summer will be here before you can say, “Who stole my abs.” When the heat hits, you don’t want to be the victim of an ab-napping. It’s a lot more fun if you peel off your shirt that first warm day at the beach, pool, or lake and your midsection looks like acid-etched granite.
Of course, there is a downside. You have to put up with all the glares, stares, and the questions, like, “Man, how do I get ripped?” or “What workout are you on?” or “Can I touch your abs?” LOL![Read more…]
Q: In The Ultimate Mass Workout you suggest doing the hills setting on a treadmill or interval cardio with sprints as the Ultimate Exercise for calves. Can you explain more about the interval sprinting and treadmill effects on calf training, as well as how to integrate intervals into my workouts?
A: The Ultimate Mass Workout is our first e-book, the original X-Rep manual, and after we published it, we discovered a big midrange exercise for calves you can do as part of your leg workout in the gym—knee-extension leg press calf raises…[Read more…]
Q: I’m using the four-day version of The X-traordinary 4X Mass Workout. Will that help me stay as lean as possible over the winter? In the past, I’ve had trouble in that area. I tend to blow up to a smooth fat boy over the holidays. Is 4X the way to go so I don’t chub up?
A: First, understand that no workout program will prevent you from becoming president of the Chub Club if you eat like crap all the time. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy some fattening foods and desserts every so often, but it sounds like you lose control. Moderation is the key. Stay on a healthy diet most days during the week, but allow one or two for splurges. Do NOT make junk meals an everyday occurrence. Imagine YOU in this picture to stay on track… [Read more…]
Q: I keep reading that interval cardio is better than steady-state aerobic exercise for fat loss. Should I be doing intervals instead of ending my workouts with 30 minutes of medium-intensity fast walking?
A: Interval cardio, which is going all out for 30 seconds alternated with slower, steady-state work for one minute, has been shown in research studies to burn more fat postexercise than medium-intensity steady-state work. The reason? Muscle damage. Running or pedaling a stationary bike all out for 30 seconds brings in the fast-twitch fibers, just like a weight workout, damaging them. The repair process is what boosts the metabolism and fat loss. It’s been shown that fat is used as an energy source during the muscle-repair process.
In our X-treme Lean e-book we use the example of running on a track for interval cardio—you sprint the straight-aways and walk the curves. As we explain in that e-book (the Q&A section on page 87-88), interval cardio is very similar to an intense leg workout with weights. Because of that, if you choose to use it, you should not use it the day before or after a heavy leg workout. You can, however, use it as one of your weekly leg workouts or in conjunction with a leg workout. For example, you could do your normal leg workout, but reduce the volume so you can end the session with interval work on a treadmill or stationary bike.
The main point about interval cardio is that it can trigger overtraining if you simply use it in place of your steady-state cardio. It takes more thought to implement it correctly because you are damaging muscles—essentially adding another high-intensity workout to the mix.
If you have a lot of fat to lose, steady-state work at the end of most of your upper-body workouts is a good idea—that is the 30 minutes of medium-intensity walking you’re now doing. After weight training, all of the sugar is out of your bloodstream, so your body is primed to burn fat almost as soon as you hit the treadmill.
If you want to do interval cardio, use the above recommendations—as part of your leg workout or as a separate leg workout during the week. It will add up to a faster fat-to-muscle transition rather than no-gaining overtraining.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson