You’ve heard of HIIT and how life-changing it can be, about how powerful and motivational it is and the aesthetic differences you can see in a short matter of time.
What if I told you that there was an equivalent for cardio-eccentric athletes like you and I?
VIIT cardio is a safe way to push the limits and see what you’re capable of without overdoing it.
It stands for variable intensity interval training, which works in a similar fashion to HIIT, but with some stipulations.
All too often, people push themselves with cardio to their breaking point, without ever knowing what that breaking point is from the start.
It’s very easy to overdo it, so having a system like this in place can make all the difference.
We’re going to go over what it is, how you can use it, and the health benefits of adopting this tried-and-true cardio workout method.
- 1 What Exactly is Variable Intensity Interval Training?
- 2 Benefits of VIIT
- 3 Difference Between HIIT and VIIT
- 4 Examples of VIIT Workouts
- 5 How Long Should I Focus on VIIT Cardio Training?
- 6 It’s a Game-Changer
What Exactly is Variable Intensity Interval Training?
As the title suggests, you’re going to perform different dynamic movements and aerobic exercises at different intervals.
One interval can best be described as switching into “beast mode” and giving a small segment of time everything you’ve got.
If that sounds a lot like HIIT, which I’m sure you’re aware of, it is. They have very similar foundations.
The difference here is that instead of a 1-2-3 rule, where things get more intense, you can use a 3-2-1 rule, where things get less intense.
You could even use a 2-3-1 if you wanted to add those variables as the title suggests.
You can switch up the durations, but that’s not the sole reason to use a VIIT program.
Variable intensity means that you don’t need to go completely insane with every individual set or segment of time.
You can apply 50% effort to one set, then 60% to the next. Consider it the initiation version of performing HIIT, but with a cardio eccentric focus.
More people should be doing cardio each and every day.
It’s been proven that if you exercise on a consistent (different than constant) basis, you will be able to extend your life by 7.2 years, on average.
Most of that beneficial exercise is cardio-related.
VIIT is designed to let you increase or decrease intensity as you see fit, so you can customize your daily workout as you go.
You don’t have to get discouraged because one day, you had your intensity set far too high—you can just adjust it for tomorrow.
It’s a methodology behind making custom workout plans.
By adding varying degrees of difficulty to your workout and changing it as you go, it’s far less likely that you will stop doing it when the going gets tough.
VIIT for cardio can make the world of difference in your personal health score.
Benefits of VIIT
VIIT isn’t the most talked-about exercise method in the world, but it has plenty of benefits that you can take advantage of if you know where to start.
Low Impact Workouts
It matters what intensity you do it at, but if you’re smart, intensity and impact don’t have to be the same.
Jogging, running and sports like tennis can be brutal on your joints, but with low impact workouts, you mitigate damage to your body while still losing weight and trimming that waistline.
Minimizing Injury Risks
HIIT training comes with high intensity injuries, especially if you let your enthusiasm and adrenaline get the best of you.
It happens to the best of us. With VIIT, you’re not putting everything you’ve got into every single workout.
You’re taking it steady; not slow, not fast, just steady. You’re able to focus on your movements and form, and ensure that you’re doing everything properly.
Good form will always outweigh speedy workouts (which is why CrossFit is terrible, by the way).
Your endurance is basically how long you’re able to carry on for before fatigue gets the best of you.
To be totally transparent, your endurance is partially achieved in the kitchen based on your diet.
Because you can fatigued from lactic acid that excretes from your muscles, a good diet and mitigate the production of lactic acid, but so can VIIT cardio.
When you do HIIT, you’re usually using weights or your own bodyweight as a tool.
That’s great, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it wears you down faster.
You can increase your endurance with VIIT to eventually take on more difficult exercises as time goes on.
Controlling Insulin Resistance and Blood Pressure
Insulin resistance is not good, but it can occur from leading a sedentary lifestyle, even if you’re not overweight or otherwise unfit.
You have something in your blood called LDL, which controls your cholesterol.
When your cholesterol is high, your blood pressure is high, and your body is putting more work into pumping the normal amount of blood that you need to survive.
It’s not a good thing. VIIT cardio doesn’t push your body beyond its limits, it just gradually eases symptoms of high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Putting a little bit of physical strain on your body is good, but it also has mental benefits that we haven’t really discussed so far.
When you feel stressed out, you know how it hits that spot in the back of your head that you just can’t quite explain?
That’s not a good thing. That constricts your blood vessels, it can damage your body.
When you produce feel-good hormones in your brain through exercise, such as serotonin, you’re reducing the physical effects of stress that are ravaging your body.
You produce those feel-good hormones from exercise, plain and simple.
Difference Between HIIT and VIIT
HIIT is not strictly cardio.
I’ll get that out of the way right now.
It’s super effective at sculpting your body, reforming your muscles, and putting you through one of the most ghoulish workouts of your life (with more than enough benefits to match), but it’s vastly different from VIIT.
Let’s look at their names to start. HIIT standards for high intensity interval training, and VIIT stands for variable intensity interval training.
We’re looking for intensity, we’re looking for intervals, but they vary on caloric burn, the exercises used, and the benefits you can reap from them.
VIIT is basically the cardio-friendly version of HIIT.
While HIIT does definitely give you major cardio benefits, most of the focus is on a branch of exercise and fitness called calisthenics.
It’s where a lot of the moves come from.
If you notice, HIIT training videos or images usually show athletes doing push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges—all of which are good by the way—but you don’t see them engaging in many cardio-only activities, outside of jumping jacks and knee highs.
But with VIIT cardio, you’re taking intensity, revving up your heart rate, then letting it get some oxygen so you don’t go into overdrive mode.
VIIT training uses the heck out of equipment, as well, whereas calisthenics under the guise of HIIT is designed specifically to use your own body weight as a form of resistance.
It’s a very effective training method, but it’s also strenuous and not for beginners, no matter what people tell you.
It’s rough on your body, and makes it very easy to feel like quitting if you don’t see rapid improvements.
There’s nothing wrong with either method, but VIIT puts the spotlight on the health benefits gained from cardio, while leaving less room for bulking, or intense muscle growth.
You’re more likely to slim down and tone your body with VIIT, but you are less likely to gain bulk or increase your muscle size by a tremendous amount.
Last but not least, there are different skill thresholds. You can start VIIT right now if you want, because you’re controlling the intensity.
It varies. One minute, it can be intense, and the next two, it can be mild to moderate.
Whatever is going to help you get more active and start seeing changes.
With high intensity interval training, you have to hit the ground running and not fall behind, so it’s a much more elitist mindset during the workouts.
Examples of VIIT Workouts
Because you’re the one controlling the intensity, it’s up to you to ensure things don’t go off the rails to the point that your body cannot handle it.
Listen to your body above all else—you don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman right out of the gate, it will come with time.
These are all VIIT workout-friendly exercises that you can control without too much strain.
Whether you want to stick to an indoor bicycle or actually get a street bike and hit the open road, it’s completely up to you.
Cycling on a moderate intensity, which sits right in the middle of the variables that you want to adopt, can burn over 400 calories in a single hour.
That’s a fraction of a pound, but that’s just for one day of cardio exercise.
You can add cycling in intervals if you use indoor equipment, but outdoor cycling will basically be your entire workout for the day unless you’re just going around the block a few times.
When I started incorporating this into my workouts, I thought it was going to be easy.
I was happily wrong, because this works up a sweat and gets your heart pumping like nothing else.
Jumping rope is a fun and energetic way to include some moderate intensity one minute intervals into your regimen.
The most basic, beloved, long-lasting cardio workout there is.
These are basically the number one staple of VIIT workouts, because much like your idea of going for variables, you’re also going to have a full panel of speed and incline controls at your fingertips.
You can literally choose the intensity with the push of a button, find your comfort zone, and increase your caloric burn as time moves on.
Yoga doesn’t have to be intense. In fact, you can sign up for light or moderate intensity yoga sessions.
Some people do it to relax, and some people have sweat yoga, where it’s like HIIT but with a slightly friendlier atmosphere.
Yoga classes help you learn proper form and keeping pace with other people, as well as burn a ton of calories while you work through the motions.
Jumping on trampolines sounds like a fun activity that kids get to do, but it’s more than that.
When you jump on a trampoline, you’re working out your abdominal muscles, and pumping blood through your legs.
After a few jumps, you can feel the blood rushing, and you’ll quickly see how it impacts your cardio.
Swimming is now only medium to high intensity, but it fits in with the principles of VIIT workouts because it’s little to no impact on your joints.
It’s intense when it comes to muscles that you work out and calories burned, but it’s not something you’re going to be sore from the next day.
If you have the opportunity, get into swimming to really turn the tide on your fitness.
Running in Place
Yes, it’s not the most fantastic thing you can do, but it works similarly to knee highs without the same level of intensity.
You can position your knees wherever you want them to go, you can run in place for as long as you feel comfortable and whatever speed you desire.
The point is to gradually work up the intensity, but for now this will work to keep that blood pumping while you wait for your next interval.
How Long Should I Focus on VIIT Cardio Training?
This is how I look at it: where you’re choosing the variables, you will eventually see where you plateau, and gently adjust those numbers.
You’ll do five more jumps on the trampoline here, maybe sign up for a longer yoga class, or another ten laps in the pool.
Eventually, as you progress and the difficulty falls off, you will know when it’s time to move on up.
You can either continue a VIIT mindset, or you can then switch to HIIT (if you want to do the latter, I have all the necessary HIIT exercises that you should be doing as well).
I would focus on VIIT cardio training until you feel as though you’re healthy enough to proceed with HIIT.
As always, you should check with your doctor and get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other panels tested to ensure you’re healthy enough to go from variable intensity up to high intensity.
The last thing you want to do is slip into an injury before you are ready to make the next move.
Work on VIIT exercises until you’ve seen the changes that you wanted, and you’re hungry for more.
It’s a Game-Changer
Cyclists and runners, it’s time to rejoice and find a better, more efficient way to work out while still getting to do what you love.
VIIT is the future of cardio workouts. You endure less impact on your joints and knees, and you get to save the one thing you can’t get back: time.
We all know that working out (especially cardio) can extend our lives and increase their quality, but if we can achieve that without having to spend more time than is necessary, then that’s what we should be doing.
VIIT is that answer we’ve all been looking for, and now, you’re equipped to take it on and put it to the test.