- http://www.mamalaughlin.com/ <--I actually found most of the following links through her site
OK, so that was necessary because I got the subject for today's post from one of those blogs. And it's not even a recent post, but I just saw it today. http://missmadisonscharmedlife.blogspot.com/2012/04/too-much-cardio.html.
Are you still with me? I know I've distracted you with like a Million links to click. But if, by some chance, you're still reading this post, let me direct your attention to the true source of today's topic: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cardio-confusion.
This article is fascinating reading. And if I still have your attention (even after link a-million-and-one), I'll try my best to sum it up: long sessions of lower-intensity cardio--like, oh, say, running for 30 minutes--isn't necessarily the best way to lose weight. In fact, it might stall your weight loss.
Basically, the crux of the article is that you need to do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to increase your metabolism, build muscle, improve performance, and make your body function better. Cardio is great for burning up fat stores, but it's not going to be very efficient at burning the fat unless you hit those anaerobic energy systems with non-cardio exercise sometimes. A lot of people out there focus way too much on cardio and do way too much of it, with little or no results. You can decrease the amount of cardio you do while increasing your results (weight loss) by incorporating more HIIT into your workout.
And that is definitely something I haven't done. This past week I've incorporated more strengthening exercises into my workout in the form of the plank exercise. You might even be able to consider it interval training, since I have to take brief rests between the different plank positions. But now I really want to come up with a HIIT routine that I can cycle into my workouts. I'm not quite sure how to do that. I don't have a gym membership or weights. I guess I could start with burpees, jump squats, and sprint/walk intervals, but I'm not sure that would give me a full workout--certainly not the 40 minutes of strength training recommended by this article. Pete and I have been talking about buying a weights set on Craigslist for forever and just this Sunday he suggested we try to find one this week, though. So maybe I could start as early as next week?
Looks like I'll be researching HIIT routines!
Oh, and if you're interested in getting your intervals on, there's a free interval timer app for the iPhone that I found today. Just search for "Interval Timer - For Fitness..." (your phone should be able to automatically fill in the rest of the search). Looks good!
Update: OK, after more research, I'm understanding this more. You replace cardio with HIIT for the most part. You do this in addition to your strength-training (I had thought strength training was combined with HIIT). Then, if you have a slow metabolism (Hello!) you can do some cardio. So, for example, I think I'll try to do strength training for 40 minutes, followed by a 15-minute HIIT routine (either intervals on the treadmill or something like this) 3 times a week. The other three days, I'll do my runs. When I get strength-training equipment, that is. :)