Cardio! There are so many different schools of thought on cardio and how much is adequate and how much is too much. It really all comes down to your goals. A marathon runner vs. a bodybuilding athlete vs. someone just looking for overall health/wellness/weight loss the cardio requirements for each of these different types of goals is going to be very different.
Over the years, I have experimented with many different types of cardio, lengths of cardio sessions, and even timing of my cardio sessions throughout the day. In short, all cardio works depending on YOUR GOAL.
So what is your goal? Are you looking to get into shape for a race? Or just drop some weight? Well, once you know what you are training for you can make your game plan. In the meantime here are some cardio workouts that I have used in my past training throughout the years. Try it out in your weekly routine.
2 x Per Day Cardio – Morning Session (Fasted- on an empty stomach) 30-45 minutes. Second Session – after your workout or before bed. 30-45 minutes. Steady state cardio, keeping a heart rate between 130-145.
Pros- Gets you to drop weight quickly/ body fat loss.
Cons- Very time-consuming. Two sessions a day at 45 minutes each is carving out 90 minutes everyday to devote just to your cardio.
HIIT – 15-20 Minute Sessions – 30 seconds of “sprint”/intense work followed by 1 minute of easy pace. Start with a 2-3 minute warm up. Then start intervals until you hit goal time of sessions (15 or 20 mins).
Pros- Helps shed fat fast. – Fits easy into schedules.
Cons- Intense and hard, sometimes when the energy level is low it can be hard to mentally make this workout intense.
Incline Walking– Set the treadmill at an incline that is challenging for you. Then choose a speed that is going to put you into a quicker pace, like almost a speed walk. Pretty much the fast walk you do when you’re headed into the Nike store. 😉
When I do incline walking I generally walk for 40-
Pros- Gentle and low impact on your joints. You can read a book, magazine or watch YouTube comfortably. Works up a great sweat. Burns a ton of calories, especially at a 60 minute time on 15% incline and 3.8-4.0 speed.
Cons- Can get boring, so bring entertainment.
Stair Climbers- My old go to for a good booty and hamstring workout and cardio that always makes me sweat hard!
Pros- Sweat city! – Steady state or interval options. – Low impact. – Works legs well.
Cons- They are hard, especially the step-mills with the rotating stairs.
Running- Running always makes me drop weight quickly, however, I do notice it affects my leg muscles and the work I have done to grow them. So, think about your overall goal. I usually incorporate in running a few times a week to keep me functional and athletic.
Hope this gives you some ideas to freshen up your cardio workouts! Remember, brainstorm what your goal is and build off of that. Having a plan is only going to help you get to your goal faster. Having a road map creates direction so you can focus your energy properly. With our busy schedules there is only so much time, so have a plan and work your plan.