Cardio for muscle mass
Two HIIT workouts that will make you a defined beast full of muscles.
If you want to be strong, defined and have physical condition, I have good news for you: you can skip running 10 kilometers and walking for hours on a stationary bike. You can completely skip the endurance effort if you don't swallow it!
HIIT (high intensity interval training), or short and intense sprints done close to maximum capacity, is all you need .
Specificity matters, so if you're getting ready to run a marathon, HIIT can't take the place of low-intensity training. You will also need at least 10-14 hours of such training, weekly. But if your goal is to lose weight, increase your muscle mass and have defined and strong muscles, and a good physical condition, do short and intense conditioning .
When you do too much intensity cardio, you send the wrong signal to your body to maintain muscle mass and strength. Muscles are heavy, require a lot of nutrients and a lot of water and burn a lot of oxygen. The body adapts to what stimulus you give it, so if you do too much low-intensity cardio it will burn your muscles to get rid of the mass with the highest energy consumption .
HIIT is a form of cardio that increases lung capacity, VO2Max and increases your fitness while preserving your muscle mass and strength. And intense sprints at maximum capacity improve metabolism! In the case of low-intensity cardio, caloric burns stop when the effort is over. In the case of HIIT, they continue throughout the day.
Not only does HIIT last less, but it also brings you greater benefits compared to the effort and time invested in it. HIIT can even build some muscle mass!
Fitness is important for muscle growth throughout the body. The better you are, the more sets and repetitions you can do in a shorter time, because you recover faster between sets, which means higher increases.
How to implement HIIT in your training
HIIT is most effective when done on days when you do not do weight training, or on the same day but in a separate session of 4-8 hours from the weight training. You start with 1-2 HIIT sessions per week and depending on the intensity of weight training you increase up to 3-4 per week (4 being already a lot).
HIIT training 1
Every 3 minutes x 6 sets : 10-20 seconds maximum effort on a rower, assault bike or on the running track. What's left up to 3 minutes you rest then start another set. You do this 6 times.
HIIT training 2
Power intervals at the rower : 5 rounds of 60 seconds each, paddling for the longest distance you can cover in 60 seconds. The break between sets is 3-5 minutes. Your whole body will scream in pain in rounds 4 and 5, if you reach the necessary intensity.
The body will go through very unpleasant sensations during HIIT. You will go far from the comfort zone and you will feel "immersed" in a lactic acid bath.
HIIT is difficult, that's why not many do it. But if you have seen that doing low-intensity cardio does not help you look the way you want, HIIT is the alternative you are looking for.
Embrace the discomfort, it is the only way to progress!