Let’s talk cardio

Cardio really is regarded strangely in the fitness industry; some seem to hate on it, while others seem to love it and treat it like it’s the only way to lose weight. Personally I think, if used correctly, cardio should be included in every fitness routine. There are obvious reasons why you should do cardio. One is that it’s good for your cardiovascular health. Yes, you can get that from weight training too, but not everyone is into weight training. We need to remember that the benefits from cardio also increases aerobic capacity, and, of course, it is an effective tool in terms of fat loss.

Truthfully, no-one REALLY enjoys cardio. Well it’s more so the thought of it that we don’t particularly like. Personally, when I set out in the mornings knowing I’ll be finishing my workout with 25 mins of HIIT sprints on the bike, or 30 mins on the Stairmaster, it makes me want to turn back and go to bed. But when I break past that sweat barrier, and start to get into it, there is something satisfying about seeing the sweat and knowing I’m putting in effort and hard work.

 

So in an effort to help us live longer and be leaner while doing it, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite cardio methods— I’ve also listed a workout for most of these methods, so you’ll have something to try, if any of these are new to you.

 

1. Incline walking on the treadmill

Starting with my least favourite form of cardio, incline treadmill walking. Reason I’m not a fan, I just find it boring. However, if intensive or sharp bursts of cardio just isn’t your cup of tea, then this one’s for you. Some LISS cardio is a nice way to enhance recovery and get a little extra caloric expenditure.

 

My standard LISS (Low Intensive Steadt State) workout is a 30 to 45-minute brisk walk on the treadmill at 6-7 kph and an incline of 9-12%.

 

Remember: Don’t hold onto the treadmill. It’s cheating.

 

2. Sprints

I like this one because it can be done outside the gym or on the treadmill. And they’re guaranteed to make you leaner, faster, improve the look of your booty, and of course increase your conditioning.

 

If you want to take it outside, why not try hill sprints. My advice would be just to pick a decent hill, and do 13-15 sprints, walking back down or until your legs fail you.

 

If you’re going with the treadmill, challenge yourself. I usually time it to 25 minutes.

I usually start with a 2 minute jog.

Then 40 seconds at 15 KPH followed by 20 seconds at 6 KPH for 20 minutes.

And a 3 minute cooldown walk/jog.

 

3. Skipping

Remember when you were younger, there was always a skipping rope lying about the garage. Did you know skipping burns more calories per minute than nearly any other physical activity.

 

There are 2 workouts you could try here. The first would be to just see how many jumps you can do in 30 minutes

The second would be a form of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. One minute maximum effort followed by 30 seconds normal effort and 30 seconds rest. Repeat x 10 and you’ve 20 minutes done.

 

4. Stairmaster or Stair Sprints

 

So the Stairmaster is my favourite cardio machine, well I actually have two. This and the bike, I’ll go through that one next.

Stairprints can also be done outside, in your apartment block or at home if you’re lucky enough to have decent set of stairs.

 

If you plan to do your cardio on the Stairmaster, I do it as follows – 30 minutes – start on L10 and every 5 minutes I go up another level.

 

0-5 minutes: L10

5-10 minutes: L11

10-15 minutes: L12

15-20 minutes: L13

 

Then I do HIIT – so 1 minute at L18, followed by 1 minute at L12 for the last 10 minutes.

 

If you plan to do Stair Sprints, you could try the following:

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back x 2 (no rest)

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back x 3 (no rest)

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back x 4 (no rest)

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back x 3 (no rest)

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back x 2 (no rest)

Sprint to the top of the stairs and come back

 

Rest 1 minute between each set.

 

5. Bike Sprints

 

My other favourite form of cardio. I use a wattbike so I can turn the dial/intensity up as I need.

 

I do 25 minutes here.

 

I start with 5 minutes warm-up. I up the intensity by 10% each minute. Starting on 5% and that brings me to 45% after the 5 minutes.

Then 20 minutes of sprints: 30 seconds 30% and 30 seconds at 60%.

 

 

Other forms of cardio:

 

So while those are my favourite, and one’s I alternate between, there are also other forms of cardio you can try to get your heart rate up from Kettlebell Swings, to Battle Ropes. The assault bike, to Crosstrainer. Sled work to a full barbell complex workout. (I posted one on my Instagram recently you could try if you scroll through videos, or message me for the deets).

 

Not forgetting classes most gyms offer these days like spinning (my all time faaaaaaaaav, but I don’t get to go because the classes don’t fit my time scheduleL), Zumba, Strength and Conditioning classes, Boxercise, among many others.

If you check up Flyefit gyms website http://www.flyefit.com, you’ll see the wide range that they have to offer and all completely free with their memberships.

 

And then there is jogging, which I find is just Long, boring cardio and unnecessary. Further to that, if it’s done too often, it can lead to some catabolism. Jogging is what we call “moderate intensity steady state” cardio, or, appropriately enough, MISS. Personally I believe, the only reason you should include jogging is if you are training for an endurance event or something like that. Otherwise, cut out jogging and incorporate HIIT.

It will take up half your time, keep you interested and you can switch between the different options daily/weekly if you want.

 

At the moment, I’m incorporating 3 Stairmaster sessions and 3 bike sprint sessions a week, but that’s what works for me, and fits into my goals. Find what works for you, and stick to it. Try get at least 3 or 4 sweaty cardio session in weekly to keep lean, tone up, melt that bodyfat, and stay fit and healthy.

 

 

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