There’s no avoiding it so let’s at least try to enjoy it. Aerobic exercise or cardio is a part of any complete trainee’s workout program.
The standard used to be to do thirty minutes of this type of training per day. That usually meant a half hour of running nowhere on a treadmill. The good news is you’re about to be let in on some fitness tips to not only divert from that run to nowhere, but make it easier and fun. Cardio made easy allows you to get all the results without spending countless hours in the gym.
Cardio Made Easy
1. You can break it up.
That’s right, maybe you don’t have an extra thirty minutes, or maybe it’s too daunting. Two fifteen or three ten minute sessions broken into segments isn’t as bad. In fact, a study done in Japan and published in the June 2007 edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology found that fat metabolism increased when test subjects took a break between cardio sessions.
2. Switch it up
I recommend if you have access to various pieces of equipment to use them. The gym is full of treadmill junkies. The truth is they see the other machines, but have no idea what they are or how to use them. Don’t be scared to ask. If you’re at a commercial gym, by all means ask the staff for help, you’re paying them. Once you learn to use the other machines you can split up this part of your routine. Try ten minutes on three machines each. Now you have variety and the time passes faster. Men’s Health ranked the five best cardio machines.
So what machine is the best? There is differing opinions and research as to if one is better than another. The simple answer is they’re all good, and better than nothing. Use trial and error, whichever feels the most comfortable and most natural to you is best. When you use what is best suited for you, you’ll get the best results.
3. Home at the gym
If you’re buying a cardio machine for home use be careful how you spend your money. You can spend anywhere from $100 to over $3000 on different pieces of equipment. If you can afford it buy the mid ranged item. This should be fine for basic home use, however a lot of retail based cardio machines are not made for hard use and will break down over time. They do sell Commercial Grade equipment which is better built but you’ll pay for the difference. Most of the machines in your local gym cost thousands of dollars and are built to take abuse.
If you can’t afford any or gym memberships then check out your local high school. Some have a track that is open for use outside of school hours. Also every major metropolitan park should have a running trail. Other options are community centers, community colleges, and gyms in apartment complexes (considering you or family/friend reside on the property.)
4. HIIT fat where it hurts
No, the double “I” was not a misprint. High Intensity Interval Training (see the double I) is what we are talking about. It’s less complicated than it sounds and brings about greater results. There are numerous studies proving the effectiveness of HIIT for improved aerobic training and cardiovascular health. Anada’s McMaster University called HIIT “a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long term exercise.”
HIIT alternates bouts of high intensity exercise with low. For example, you can run for thirty seconds then walk at moderate pace for thirty seconds. This has been found to be more effective in burning fat as well as sparing more muscle tissue. A typical HIIT workout lasts around twenty minutes. If you’re coming off being sedentary or used to slow paced cardio you may want to aim for ten to fifteen minutes to start.
HIIT offers a little more variety and is more intense than steady state cardio.
As an alternative to HIIT try a Tabata workout. Developed in 1996 by Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata, the Tabata takes only four minutes but done correctly is found to utilize 170% VO2 Max (the measure of how much oxygen the body can use). Tests have found that one four minute Tabata session could burn as many calories as a sixty minute jog.
A Tabata session should include a warm up period of about ten minutes. Go at a full out effort for 20 seconds (as hard as you can go in your chosen activity) then rest 10 seconds. You continue this for eight rounds. Dr. Tabata stresses that subjects must go all out in that twenty second work session. Despite being only four minutes in duration, a Tabata should not be easy.
5. The last dance
Now since we’ll be doing cardio training and weight training we must prioritize. A lot of people like to do the cardio first to get it out of the way. This is fine but not the best way to get maximum effort. Since cardio workouts are lower impact and less stressful to the body we save them for last.
Why do we save this for the end? The first reason is simple. We are saving our energy to apply it to the weight training we’re doing. Being tired while lifting can cause you to not be able to do your necessary number of repetitions, and it can hinder form which can lead to injury.
Second we want to increase our heart rate which in turn increases blood flow. Increased blood flow will help you recover from your weight workouts. During workouts a lot of chemical reactions occur. The breakdown of some of these substances for energy leads to byproducts that can cause fatigue and soreness. Increased blood flow will help to remove these waste products. The increased blood flow will also help bring nutrients from your post workout meal to aide in muscle repair.
Finally, we can lose weight. Weight training can burn more calories than any cardio session. Since our weight training has used our Glycogen stores the body is now forced to burn fat for energy.
6. Accelerate your cardio
Cardio acceleration is a process in which you perform short bouts of aerobic exercise between sets of anaerobic (resistance/weight training). So no more banging out ten reps then standing there for thirty to sixty seconds resting. Cardio acceleration was made popular by fitness authority Jim Stoppani PhD. Using this method, you can realistically get in 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise along with your weight training. This will increase your metabolic rate throughout your workout and lead to greater calorie burn.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a daunting task. These fitness tips for cardio made easy allow you to get into the routine without have loads of time. Print them out and refer to them often.