Transforming Your Dad Bod: HIIT Cardio

It seems all of us fathers have something in common: We are always short on time. There are so many things going on in our lives that it is sometimes tough to get away for an hour and get a workout in. Alternating workouts between strength training and cardio is the perfect way to stay fit and lose the dad bod, but it is difficult to find an hour every day to do so. But what if I told you that your cardio workouts only need to last about ten minutes and can easily be accomplished in the comfort of your own home without having to spend any time traveling to the gym. This could be a workout schedule you can stick to!

Well, there is such a cardio routine and even though it takes drastically less time, it will still produce great results!

The Problem With Long Distance Moderate Paced Cardio

I’m guessing I am like a lot of you fathers out there. Cardio is not our favorite workout to do. We would rather be pushing around some serious pounds in the weight room instead of mindlessly running on a treadmill for half an hour.

About ten years ago or so, I was asked to join a slow pitch men’s softball team. The team was pretty horrible, and we won very few games, but I picked up some valuable training ideas.

At the time, I was doing the ordinary cardio of running on the treadmill and using the recumbent bike once or twice a week. I always did these half-heartedly though because I already knew the problem with this type of cardio.

Long distance cardio does burn fat as you sweat away with your arms and legs pumping up and down, but it just doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t discern between fat and muscle in your body. So, once it gets tired of burning away fat, it will also burn away your muscle mass. And muscle mass is tough to acquire so the last thing you want to do is eliminate much of it doing long distance cardio workouts. As men, we need to try to retain as much muscle mass as we can!

There are numerous studies and research completed on this topic, but all you have to do is believe your eyes. Take a look at long distance runners, the ones that always seem to sign up for marathons, and you will notice a couple of things. They may be great at running miles on end, but there will usually be very little muscle on them. Just check out the professional athletes that are long distance runners in the Olympics and other such events. They are thin and wiry and their arms combined might measure a little less than one of my biceps.

Anyway, back to the worst slow pitch softball team of all time. A few of my teammates were sprinters. In fact, they were former college sprinters that had ranked as some of the best in the state. They couldn’t hit the ball more than ten feet, but they could beat almost all of the throws to first base. Plus, they had a solid amount of muscle mass and hardly a shred of fat on their body. They were lean with muscles and abs and everything.

They had kept up with the training that they had learned through the years and did one or two short sprinting workouts at the track every week. In addition, they hit up the weight room only once or twice a week as well. In any case, it was the perfect combination as it left them pretty well shredded all year long.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If you look at professional sprinters you will notice how different their physiques are from the long-distance runners. Sprinters still have muscle mass, but their body fat percentage is super low. Their physical appearance is like that of a lean bodybuilder instead of a runner.

There is a reason for this. Their short high intensity workouts attack the fat and leave the muscle mass intact and where it should be: Still on the body. That is the beauty of HIIT cardio workouts.

Time Commitment

A HIIT cardio session only takes a time commitment of about 10 to 15 minutes. You can keep it very simple as well. Just complete 30 seconds of intense, full-out cardio (biking, running, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc…) and follow it with 30 seconds of cool down. Keep doing this for 10 to 15 times and then your workout is over. You’ll be physically spent and your cardio session will only have taken about 15 minutes in total.

I like to alternate these HIIT cardio training sessions with my strength training workouts during the week. For instance, if I do a chest workout on Monday, then on Tuesday I will do a HIIT cardio session from home and it will only take 15 minutes. On Wednesday, I may do a biceps and triceps workout at the gym, then on Thursday, I’ll do another HIIT cardio session down in my basement. For best results, just keep alternating days between HIIT and strength training to maximize what you can gain out of both.

The Results

Not only does HIIT cardio take less time to do, but it produces better results than long distance cardio that is completed at a moderate pace. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that HIIT produced 28.5 percent more weight loss when compared to those much longer cardio sessions. HIIT will give you better results in less time!

Besides the fat loss, HIIT will also make it easier to add on more lean muscle mass. HIIT cardio will raise your testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) naturally through these short and intense workouts. When you combine this effect with strength training, you should be able to add on a few pounds of lean muscle mass and perhaps improve on your personal best lifting records at the gym.

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Lose Fat and Gain Muscle: Win-Win

If you are truly interested in losing your dad bod once and for all, make HIIT a regular part of your lifestyle. As high-intensity cardio can wear you out, it is best to set a program in place that won’t increase your risk of injury.

Trying to run several sprints as fast as you can might end up with you taking a tumble at some point if you are getting up there in age. If you feel you might pull a muscle or hurt yourself some other way while running like a maniac, I recommend doing your HIIT cardio sessions on a stationary recumbent bike. It will be safer as it won’t actually have you traveling at high speeds and the cool down can be handled much easier as well.

If you don’t have your own recumbent bike, now would be the perfect time to get one. Schwinn has a pretty nice one on Amazon. You can also get a highly rated one for under $200. You can use it for the rest of your life as you keep your slim waist size along with your broad shoulders and big biceps!

Be sure to check out parts 1 & 2 of this series:

Part 1: Transforming Your Dad Bod: Diet Your Way to Fitness
Part 2: Transforming Your Dad Bod: Strength Training Makes All the Difference

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