Cardio Workouts · High Intensity Interval Training

Burning Calories! Or…High Intensity Interval Training

Welcome to the world of burning calories!  Things have changed since I first started working out.  Was it 1975? Or  1976? It’s really, really hard to remember.  First we had this jogging boom, a running trend.  We all bought white Nike’s with a red swoosh for running. Now that I think of it, they were way too heavy for running.  But cool, very cool.

Then ten speed bikes got popular.  I had a Raleigh with skinny little tires that I rode all over for miles and miles.

I never ever considered the word  “aerobic” until real aerobic classes were invented in the ’80’s.  We wore Olivia Newton-John headbands, tights and leg warmers while exercising to hard rock music full-out for an hour.  Our teachers actually were trained for teaching class a specific way followed by specific stretches.  First time I ever exercised with a plan.

Me in 1993
Me in 1993

Not until I started lifting weights and competing in bodybuilding in the late eighties did I learn about building muscle and how muscle itself burns more calories.  That’s when I learned how to burn calories doing cardio.

The task is to make your heart rate increase in ranges from 65% to 85% of your maximum heart rate (check this site to figure yours  Doing intervals of higher intensity makes your body continue burning even after you’ve quit. I am all about that!

Here’s the skinny on burning fat:  (Get it? Skinny? Hehe.)

A pound is 3500 calories.  If you eat more calories than you need to live on, the calories are stored as fat, then…you’re fat! It’s such simple math.

My basal metabolic rate is 1,710 calories per day.  I’ve cut that to 1,200 calories through cutting fat, carbs, planning and neurotic logging of food consumption.  So 1,710 x 7 days is 11,970 calories for a week. But 1,200 x 7 is 8,400, so I’ve saved 3,570 (remember 3,500 calories is a pound) just from better eating habits. That’s just one pound a week, bummer, so here’s how to lose more…shhhhhhh……BURN SOME FRIGGIN’ CALORIES!

You can’t starve more because you’ll lose muscle and become skinny fat. Gross!  So build muscle and burn fat.

stationary bike
The mean stationary bike!

Here’s what I do three times a week (more if I’m trying to get “Luigi’s on West 57th’s” pizza off my butt.)

The little yellow card is something I copied for target heart rate.  I had to figure my maximum heart rate which is 164 then multiply it by 65% and 85%.  I do intervals with my Wahoo Heart Rate monitor. The first 3 minutes are a warm up then I cycle through 2 and 3 minutes intervals with the goal of reaching 65% and 85% of my maximum heart rate.  It’s really simple.  I just change the levels of the bike to make my heart rate go up or ease down.  There’s a couple of time where I go full-out to reach my max heart rate which I’ve yet to do because I think I’m dying.  It’s a 30 minute workout but because of the intervals my body keeps burning extra fuel (calories) for even longer.

 Obviously during a hard cycle.
Obviously, during a hard cycle.
My HR Program
My heart rate program

To the far right is the app reading during an 85% cycle. The pic to the left is the  heart rate card I made myself, it’s got the minutes of riding in the left column and the heart rate I should try to attain during those minutes.  I stay busy watching the minutes, my heart rate and changing the levels on the bike and it goes by really faster than you’d imagine. Notice it ends at minute 27? That’s because after that I do a final easy 3 minutes.  And I ran out of room…

When I’m finished I hit the “pause” button and then the “stop” button and Wahoo shows my total calories burned, my average heart rate and my highest heart rate.  It’ll even keep my sessions in a history file.

 After it's all over.
After it’s all over.

As you can see, I burned 229 calories in 30 minutes.  But with the almighty HIIT program I’ll keep burning calories even longer for the rest of the day.  If I do four of these sessions per week, that’s another 916 calories.  MORE WEIGHT LOST!

I’ve also worn my Wahoo during weight workouts (I’ll cover those another day) and I burn even more calories during that one hour than 2 half hour cardio sessions!!!  I also use this same program doing intervals on the dreaded (oh, so, dreaded) stair climber.

Anything you do, weights, bike, stairs, elliptical, running, do it in high intensity intervals. Switch it up by 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds easy, (also called tabata) or just switch up the minutes to one hard and one easy.  Switching it up is key.


Thanks for reading and here’s hoping I lose another pound,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s