Give HIIT Cardio a Shot

Fitmark Ambassador Jennifer Slovinski explains how HIIT training can increase your fat burn

Every morning at 4am, I head out to the gym for my first session of the day. It never ceases to amaze me the things I see at this early hour. Every day it’s the same. The same faces pounding away on the treadmill or spinning their wheels on the Elliptical yet no matter how many hours they log their bodies are still the same. Dissatisfied with their outcome thus far they increase their cardio time. What they don’t realize, something I had to learn for myself is that instead of burning fat they are actually burning away the one thing that keeps your metabolism running at peak levels.

Fitmark Ambassador Jennifer Slovinski

Fitmark Ambassador Jennifer Slovinski

When you do long bout’s of constant steady state cardio your body resorts to using muscle tissue to fuel your workout. So while you pound away on the hamster wheel instead of burning fat what you have done is burn off the glycogen stores stored in your muscle tissue and liver, and started to metabolism muscle tissue to fuel the insane cardio that you inflict on your body every day. In return you body becomes softer and less efficient at burning calories. Now what if I told you there was a way to workout for less time but burn more fat. Would you be interested? Do I have your attention?



H.I.I.T. cardio (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the best ways to burn fat. Studies have show that the shorted the work interval the more fat is burned. I like to do 8 seconds of full out wind sprints with 12 seconds of recovery.

I do this for 24 rounds. This can be done on either a spin bike, elliptical, or treadmill. Unlike constant steady state cardio which uses muscle as fuel, H.I.I.T. uses the fat stored in your body to fuel your workout. I know what you are thinking. I use to think the same way. I always thought you had to log hours of cardio. Coming from a reformed cardio junkie H.I.I.T. is the way to go. Why spend and hour doing something that only burns glycogen and muscle tissue when you can spend 10 to 15 minutes doing a workout that burns fat and spares muscle. Take it from me, the reformed cardio junkie; more is not always better when it comes to cardio and burning fat. I challenge you to stop the cardio madness now. Give H.I.I.T. a try. Your body will thank you.

Stay fit,
Jennifer Slovinski
Fitmark Ambassador 2013 

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The Best Way to Increase the Afterburn Effect

Finding the right balance between training hard and burning fat, while sparing lean muscle is a challenge every athlete and fitness enthusiast faces on a daily basis.

If you spend enough time in the gym, you’ve heard that long cardio sessions are no longer revered as the most effective way to burn fat. In fact, weight lifting and interval training are proving to be the most beneficial way to work out, both for cardiovascular health and increased EPOC. The Best Way to Increase the Afterburn Effect

What is EPOC?

EPOC stands for post-exercise oxygen consumption and as the name suggests, happens after you leave the gym. When we train hard, we put into motion a chain reaction of biological processes like muscle building and refueling that require a great amount of energy. While the body works hard to restore itself to a level of homeostasis, it continues to burn calories.

Research is showing that EPOC can last up to 37 to 48 hours after you work out.

Adapting your training to increase EPOC can be done in a number of simple ways:

  • Reducing rest times between exercises places a greater demand on muscles.
  • Lifting heavy weight and working within 75% or more of your 1RM.
  • Changing your aerobic training to interval training to increase anaerobic activity.

Another way to increase EPOC is through diet and the consumption of monounsaturated fats like olive oil, an oleic acid. The Mediterranean Diet is rich in olive oil and is one of the most heart-healthy ways to eat.

In one research study published in the journal Metabolism, scientists out of the University of Texas found that people who followed diets rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil had higher levels of EPOC than their counterparts whose diets favored saturated fats like palmitic acids, common saturated fats found in most fast foods.

To test this theory, the researchers placed subjects on a 28-day diet and split them into two groups:

  • Group One ate a diet that consisted of 78.4% oleic acids
  • Group Two ate a diet that consisted of 42.1% palmitic acid

At the end of the 28 days, subjects engaged in a cardio session of 80 minutes on a stationary bike, working at 60% of their maximum target heart.

The subjects were then tested for EPOC immediately afterwards. Group One continued to burn fat for up to 270 minutes after exercising and showed an increase of 9.7% in EPOC, while Group Two showed no visible increase at all.

This research focused soley on the effect of cardiovascular exercise. If the subjects had used weight lifting or interval training as their measure, imagine how much higher their EPOC would be.

Mark A. Samuel

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Borsheim E., Kien CL, Pearl WM. “Differential effects of dietary intake of palmitic acid and oleic acid on oxygen consumption during and after exercise.” Metabolism. 2006 Sep;55(9):1215-21.

Training with Efficiency

For the seasoned fitness enthusiast who is a regular at the gym, January can be one of the most frustrating months of the year.

Training with EfficiencyAs the crowds pile in and the lineups start building, your patience and precious time can fray pretty quickly. Now more than ever, you want to revamp your old routine and design one that will move you past those people waiting for the treadmill and straight into the training zone.

Here are a few pointers to help you maximize your time in the gym and get the most fat-burning effects from your training.

If you separate your weight training days from your cardio days, start combining the two together. This will save you time, but more importantly, will torch more calories and make for a more efficient and intense workout.

For example, when you plan out your weight lifting program, whether you’re focusing on particular body parts or creating a circuit for a full body workout, instead of taking the time to rest in between sets, incorporate some active recovery in the form of cardio to pump up the intensity and fat burn.

The easiest way to do this is to take a jump rope with you to the gym. After each set, grab your rope and crank out 30 seconds to one minute of jump rope exercises. Then without delay, continue on to your next set and repeat this pattern until you’ve completed the full circuit. Then take a much-deserved break of 2 to 3 minutes at the very end of the circuit to rehydrate and catch your breath before starting again.

To test this theory, scientists out of the University of California studied three groups of individuals during training:

  • Group 1 = weight lifting only
  • Group 2 = cardio only
  • Group 3 = weight lifting plus cardio

Group 3 performed 30 seconds to one minute of cardio between sets and showed greater improvements in strength gains, muscular endurance, flexibility and fat loss.

This study involved 28 female college athletes who exercised for three days a week for a period of 11 weeks. The results were undeniably in favor of concurrent exercise and a program that combines resistance training with cardio:

“The results suggest synergy, rather than interference between concurrent strength and aerobic endurance training, support prescription of concurrent exercise under defined conditions, establish the importance of exercise timing and sequence for concurrent exercise program outcomes, and document a highly effective athletic training protocol” – Journal of Strength and Conditioning.

Mark A. Samuel

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University of California, Santa Cruz, USA (2008, September 22:1487-502). Concurrent training enhances athletes’ strength, muscle endurance, and other measures. J. Strength Cond. Res.