Cardio, you know you love it or you hate it. But is it a necessary evil?
Moreover, does the type you do make a difference to your goals and performance?
Of course it does!
The Cardio Conundrum
If it’s something you don’t really enjoy doing, then why spend a large chunk of your training doing it? Yes there are benefits cardio training but do you really need to be doing it for endless hours to see results?
There are major health benefits to doing cardio based workouts, for those wanting to improve their endurance, health and build muscle. How much, how often and what type you do is completely dependent on your end goal.
Whatever your goal, you don’t have to spend endless hours running on a treadmill to achieve it. Whats more, it may not be the most efficient way to get what you want out of your workout. Pick the right workout for your training and you’ll get a lot more out of it then just picking the safe option.
You’ve decided you want to improve your endurance and you’ve set yourself a goal. You have a marathon coming up and you want to know how to best go about achieving your goal of setting a good time and not almost dying during the race. However, you’ve not done much training and you want to get better fast.
Unfortunately there’s no real way around it, if you want to be a better endurance runner, you’re going to have to put the miles in. A combination of steadily building up the miles, while throwing in some smart strength training and sprints, will give you the well rounded set of skills needed to be a decent endurance runner.
However, when most people embark on endless hours of cardio, they usually have a different goal; Fat loss.
Somewhere on your fat loss journey, you’ve been convinced that spending hours on a treadmill or a cross trainer are going to be the best thing for your goal. While there are benefits to low intensity steady state cardio workouts when it comes to fat loss, there are better things you could be doing.
Sprinting and High Intensity Interval based workouts have shown much better success at producing body composition changes in rapid time. Due to the massive hormonal changes that come with a sprint workout, you lose fat, build muscle, recover faster and get fitter; much faster then you would with traditional cardio training.
So the next time you’re thinking of adding cardio to your workouts, first ask why! If the goal is improved fitness and rapid fat loss, give this tried and tested fast fat burning sprint session a go…
400m Sprint – followed by 4 minutes of rest
300m Sprint – followed by 3 minutes of rest
200m Sprint – followed by 2 minutes of rest
100m Sprint – to finish.
All in all, this workout should take no longer then 15 minutes, including the rest periods. Remember, this is sprint workout, meaning you have to run as fast as possible on EVERY sprint! No saving energy for the next sprint. Try this workout once a week for the next 8 weeks and just watch the fat fly off!