Tag Archives: HIIT

4 Reasons to Quit your Cardio Routine

I have a bone to pick with the world today, and it relates to running.

As athletes and even as a society, we rely way too damn much on “cardio” to get us fit.

Seriously, when did we decide that “cardio” was the best way to get back in shape?  Sure, long duration cardio is good for your heart health, but the negative effects completely outweigh the positives when you’re looking to FIRM and TONE your body (read “lose the fluff off your midsection or tighten up those thighs”).

4 Reasons to Quit Doing so Much Cardio

4.  It requires tons of foot-strikes per workout.  Running a mile can mean your feet hit the ground 1300-1500 times in that 10 minutes.  This pounding really adds up!  Ouch!  Your poor joints!!!

3.  The “after burn” effect of steady-pace cardio is pretty crappy.  It’s especially awful compared to lifting where the “after burn” lasts up to 24-36 hours after the workout is over or even sprints.

2.  Over time too much cardio puts undue stress on the body.  Any workout stresses the body, but this moderate intensity/long duration BS that everyone is doing creates a high stress environment in the body.  This can KEEP you from losing weight or even make you gain weight!

HINT: If you look a little puffy or water-logged all the time and you’re doing a lot of cardio? You might be in this stressed state.

And the #1 reason to quit cardio???

1.  You have to do more and more to continue to see results!   Your body isn’t stupid.  It adapts quickly to new challenges.  Every time it adapts, you have to lengthen your workouts to see results.  Who the hell has time for that??

I go into more detail in my DIY workout program, but if you want to get back in shape – if you want a tighter bod – then you have to stop doing so much damn cardio!!

For all you doubters….

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Sorry Lauren, but there’s no way I’m giving up cardio.”

To you I say this – I know it’s scary to think about NOT running or biking or ellipticizing every day…

But I’m not telling you to quit working out; I’m telling you to ease up on cardio so that you have time and energy for more efficient workouts.

All this cardio is NOT helping you reach your goal of a hotter bod, so to get different results you gotta DO something different.

Baby steps towards this “less cardio” goal will work, too.  You can get in an effective cardio session in by trying a workout like this on the cardio machine of your choice…

(best in “Manual” mode)

-Warm up for 5 min
Part A
-Go as fast as you can for 20 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Go extremely slow (aka recover) with low resistance for 40 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
Part B
-Go as fast as you can for 30 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Recover for 30 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
Complete Part A and B once more each
-Cool down for 5 min

Total workout time: 30 min

Here’s the beauty of sprints, aka high intensity interval training (HIIT) – the total time you’re “working” in this session is barely over 8:00, but you gotta realize that in those minutes, you’re working WAY harder than you ever did during a regular bout on the elliptical.

Why?  Because when you’re pedaling for 30 min at a steady pace, you can’t keep up a super high intensity… not like when you’re sprinting.

This makes the training extremely efficient, and it’s also extremely effective.  Not to mention that as your body adapts, all you have to do is increase the resistance on the machine or sprint faster.  You don’t have to keep increasing your workout time… just the intensity!!  Isn’t that awesome?!?

Now that you have all this information on why boring cardio is killing your “get in shape” efforts, I’m going to challenge you to a duel!

Juuuuust kidding.  It’s not a duel!   That would be kinda fun though… except that I’m not really into violence… so scratch that…  Though I’m sure we could put our heads together and come up with a non-violent duel.  Hmmmmm


Your challenge for the week

Substitute the sprints above for at least half of your cardio sessions this week, and let me know how it goes.  

I will say you’re gonna have a tough time watching TV or reading a book if that’s what you usually do during cardio.  So put that thought out of your mind right now.  It’s gonna be 30 min of actual WORK.

Can’t wait to hear what you think of sprints!  Love em or hate em, I want to hear from you.  Ok??  Good!

Until next week!!

<3 Lauren

P.S. – In my Survive the Holidays workout program, our training sessions will get your heart pumping like cardio but take half the time that you normally spend working out – and I can guarantee you’ll be just as exhausted by the end.

If you haven’t signed up for this FREE program yet, click this link to do it.  Clock’s a tickin’ so don’t delay!

5 Fat Loss Lessons from “The Croods”

This weekend I went to see the most recent DreamWorks spectacular called “The Croods.”  Yeah, I’m 9 years old at heart :)  It got a 65% on Rottentomatoes.com, and I (generally) tend to agree with the reviews on there.

5 Fat Loss Lessons from The Croods

I’m glad I went because I enjoyed it!  It was funny (think Ice Age type humor) for kids and adults. Even though there wasn’t as much adult humor as say Shrek had, the cast did a great job (Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds :) ), and there were some really sweet parts – especially father/daughter stuff — I might have shed a tear or two in my popcorn….


I realized later that “The Croods” also had a few lessons for me about fat loss and living a lifestyle that supports fat loss (known by many as the “fat loss lifestyle” or FLL).  Huh?!  I know, right?! I’m just as surprised as you are!

What are these lessons?  Here are the tidbits I picked up…

1.  The cavemen knew what they were doing when it comes to physical activity and balance in energy expenditure.  These people alternated between times of HIGH intensity energy expenditure (you know, running for their lives from some sort of prehistoric tiger OR chasing down their own dinner) and times of LOW or NO energy expenditure.

It was either a dead sprint or a leisure pace.

[I'm also pretty sure cavemen never decided to go do an hour of steady state cardio. :) ]

So, the caveman’s favorite “cardio” would have probably been HIIT (high intensity interval  training), and it’s also my favorite way to approach cardio equipment.  On the elliptical, I go all out for a minute and rest till I’m ready to go again for 15-20 min and wow! I am dripping sweat and feel all sorts of muscles burning!  

2.  Cavemen did a LOT of walking, and walking is a big part of living the FLL.  I don’t mean power-walking either.  The walking I’m talking about is slow, leisurely, and RELAXING.

If you’re on a treadmill, I mean a pace of 2-3 mph.

Walking is a great way to lower cortisol while still moving your body (most exercise actually   releases cortisol which is a good thing when you’re working out!  but chronically high cortisol is not good, so we gotta find things that help us relax and lower cortisol when we’re not working out).

Incorporating 30-60 minutes of leisure walking a day can be a huge benefit for anyone!

3.  Don’t let yourself get ridiculously hungry- cause then you overeat!  There’s a scene where the family hasn’t eaten in a while, then they finally catch some huge bird thing and they devour it all in about 30 seconds.

I know if I don’t eat enough during the day, I become the incredible eating woman when I get home from work.

Eating meals/snacks high in lean protein and fibrous veggies at regular intervals throughout the day often helps many people to control their hunger, energy and cravings (HEC) <– When these get out of whack (i.e. low energy, high cravings, high hunger) it’s easy to over-indulge.

4.  Caveman Guy says to girl, “You’re SO heavy.”  Girl says, “Thank you!!!”  Remember ladies, muscle weighs more than fat.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but don’t forget it when you step on the scale.

As a former athlete, there’s a good chance that you still have quite a bit of muscle on your frame, so don’t fret if you and your girlfriend are both a size 8 but you’ve got a good 15 lbs on her – that’s the muscle!

Avoid the scale. I vote pictures and circumference measurements for keeping track of progress!

5.  Don’t “never not be afraid.”  This is the opposite of what Father Caveman taught his
family in the movie initially (I think his name was Grug but whatevs).  He told his family “Never not be afraid.”

Well, I’m saying to do the opposite.  DON’T be afraid.

How does this relate to FLL?  Cause living a FLL requires changing up how you live your life if you want fat loss results to stick.

And change can be scary.  But don’t be afraid.

Make one manageable change at a time, and these little changes will add up to the FLL over time.

So there they are!  The 5 Lessons I got from The Croods :)  Leave a little love (<3) in the
comments if you’re like me and are psyched when you find lessons in unexpected places!