For many male-to-females, a top goal is to lose mass; burn excess body fat; and develop a more toned, feminine-looking physique overall. Along with following a well-balanced diet, performing cardio on the regular can be an incredibly effective way to achieve those goals. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) represents a particularly powerful MTF cardio method, since it’s been scientifically proven to burn more calories per session than regular (i.e., steady state) cardio.
So what is HIIT, exactly? HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of high-intensity and longer periods of low- to moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity. An example of this would be sprinting for 30 seconds, then walking for 60 seconds, then repeating the circuit.
HIIT allows you to train at very high intensities for much longer periods of time than steady state cardio, helping you burn more fat. You also benefit from something called the afterburn effect, or EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption), when performing HIIT. Essentially, this means that HIIT increases your metabolism in a sustained way and torches calories for up to 24 hours after you’re done your workout!
If you’re a beginner to HIIT training, be sure to start with lower intensity intervals and wear a heart monitor so you can keep track of your heart rate during the workout. Always start with 3-5 minutes of warm-up, and perform 3-5 minutes of cool down at the end to stave off dizziness or nausea.
Ready to give this amazing form of MTF cardio a try? Here are three top notch routines to get you started:
Elliptical HIIT – Beginner
For this MTF cardio routine, begin with 5 minutes of warm-up, then pedal at the maximum level to which you can push yourself for a total of 30 seconds. At 5:30, reduce the resistance, height of the machine, and speed to a pace that allows you to catch your breath. Pedal for 60-90 seconds before ramping up again and completing another 30-second high-intensity interval. Repeat this cycle 7 times, then do a 3-minute cool down.
Jump Rope HIIT – Intermediate
Jumping rope provides an excellent HIIT workout. Try performing this circuit 5 times through, for a total of a little under 10 minutes:
1st exercise: 30 seconds of slower-paced jump roping.
2nd exercise: 30 seconds of max effort jump rope sprints, raising your knees to your chest.
3rd exercise: 30 seconds of mountain climbers.
Spin Cycle HIIT – Advanced
This form of HIIT is performed on a stationary bike, but appearances can be deceiving – it’s not for the faint of heart. Begin with 5 minutes of slow warm-up, then ramp up and pedal at 100% effort for 20 seconds. After your high-speed interval, crank the resistance down and cycle at 50% effort for 40 seconds to catch your breath. Repeat until you hit 15 minutes, then do 3-5 minutes of cool down.
Looking for more HIIT routines (including some that involve weight training)? Here’s a great collection of options, courtesy of Bodybuilding.com!