If you think you need cardio to get results, then you must be out of your mind! Just kidding, you need Cardio, Cardio, and more Cardio! We love it, we hate it, but we need it. Just like doing laundry. When it comes to getting the results you truly desire, asides from the strength training and nutrition, cardio is a must. You don’t like the idea of running on a ‘dread’mill or ‘kill’ipticle for 30 minutes, let alone an hour. But you feel guilty for having those drinks and that burger last night so you have to burn it off. So what is the best way to burn it off and exactly how much, how long, and how intense should the cardio session be? Well that’s what we will dig into today.
Before we dig into a new method of cardio, I want you to understand that cardio comes in many ways. “Cardio” meaning “cardio vascular endurance” is the body’s ability to continue exertion while getting energy from the aerobic system used to supply the body with energy. Wait, What!? Basically, cardio means having the endurance to keep working at an intensity level that is both manageable and still challenging to your body. Some examples are long distance running, swimming, or biking. If your body has a poor cardio vascular endurance, you will fatigue quicker. Sometimes feeling a shortness of breath. But the good news is, you can fix it. Just like you train muscles to get bigger and stronger, or leaner and defined, you can also increase your cardio endurance level. Now … how can you make cardio fun…
We established that many of us, including myself, are not a big fan of doing cardio on a treadmill or bike for a long time. So what can we do? Well there is one type of “cardio” called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Some fitness professionals know it as HIIT or metabolic training. What this type of training consists of is various exercises and different time frames that hit every body part in 45-60 minutes; we really don’t need to be in the gym for more than that. Although it’s my way of cardio, I don’t establish it as only cardio, as you would with long distance running. Why? Because with HIIT, you are doing more than cardio. You are, no pun intended, hitting every muscle group by doing exercises with various movements, heavy to moderate weight and progressions in a certain time frame; this does not only work cardio, but muscular endurance and strength as well. Here is an example of a High Intensity Interval Session, or Fat Burning Session as I call them.
The time frame is a 40:20. 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest. You will complete 5 exercises, each individual exercise will be done in 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of rest going into the next exercise. Once you finish the last exercise, you will take 50 seconds of rest and repeat the cycle. Beginners can repeat the cycle 5 times. Advanced can repeat the cycle 7-8 times.
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Body Weight Push Ups
3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
4. Alternating Dumbbell Curl
5. Body Weight Speed Squat
50 seconds rest, repeat
As you can see, I added a few exercises that require weight. You activate every muscle group and all it takes is 45 minutes, 35-40 for beginners. The next question is how much, how long, and how intense?
Let us break down the following question of how much, how long, and how intense, one at a time. If you are a beginner, you might consider doing this at least 2-3 times a week. Intermediate or advanced could go 5 times a week. It’s safe to say we establish that 45-60 minutes is all you really need. As for how intense, that depends on you. Normally I encourage my online clients and personal clients to go at 100%. This doesn’t mean that my 100% will be the same as yours. We are all different. Go at what feels like YOUR 100%. If I were to ask you at the end of the session how you felt on a scale of 1-10. 1-Eh, ok, could have been better; 10-Out of breath or destroyed as my clients say. If you say 8, 9 or 10, then you know you gave it your 100%. Anything less than that is fine as well, if it happens from time to time. You probably had a rough day or night, and hey it happens.
Everything that I just explained, showed you a new way to spice up your cardio. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the treadmill. Some people love it, just like they love the bike, swimming or whatever it is that gives them their satisfaction of cardio. But if you are like me and do cardio to drop a few pounds or maintain weight, while losing fat, maintaining muscle, and want to avoid the repetitive routine, then this is the right workout for you. Best part, you can always change the time frame and exercises so it’s never boring. It’s worked for many of my clients, friends, family, and myself.
“On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who has supported me on my journey in fitness. All my family, friends, co-workers, and mentors. My passion for fitness and educating the public will always continue to grow. I look forward to growing as a Professional Fitness Trainer through training and learning the lives of my clients. Thank you all for the support. This blog is for you!”