“What’s the best form of cardio?” It’s a question asked by many and there are numerous answers. The right answer is different for everyone because it’s based on each person’s individual needs. This question grabbed my attention and I immediately went to work on it. It brought up other questions like, “What cardio works for weight lifters? They have specific goals they want to achieve without an aerobic overload. What cardio works best for the elderly?”
Cardio can be summed up as any cardiovascular exercise such as running or biking over an extended period of time. It’s very important for our overall health and plays a key role in weight loss. Without this form of exercise the human body could not function. Not to mention you would be incredibly sedentary. But who has time to spend on the treadmill, riding a bike or swimming? Nowadays people really focus on short and effective workouts that produce the best results.
Cardio For Weight Loss
Being out of shape is never fun. It’s actually the opposite of fun, and that’s why we decide to lace up the shoes to go out and do something about it. For most people that means buying a pair of $200 Asics and going overboard with jogging everyday, and quiting a few weeks later because of injury or boredom. Instead of doing this I would recommend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Usually HIIT only takes twenty minutes of your time to get a full body workout. This is done with no equipment and only bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your home or while on the road. Not only are these exercises more enjoyable and people LIKE doing HIIT, but they are proven to get results fast.
No matter what your ability level or health, there’s always a HIIT program for you. HIIT programs have proven to be successful for the very old, the obese, and very sick at whatever intensity is considered “all-out” for them. For example, instead of going out for 1 hour of continuous walking try interval walking/jogging. Interval walking should consist of alternating every 3 minutes with low-intensity walking and high-intensity walking (fast pace). The results will be significant reductions in fat mass, visceral fat, and fasting glucose. These are all precursors to weight loss and not achievable with continuous walking alone.
Cardio Option for Weight Lifting:
As another option, I recommend a different form of interval training called HITC (High Intensity Continuous Training). This differs from HIIT training because it stimulates fast twitch muscle fibers and doesn’t cut into possible muscular growth. Before we get into the benefit of HICT lets talk about the benefits of weight lifting. The main goal for any weight lifting program is to gain size and strength. Although weight lifting does burn fat stores, it will never melt away fat entirely to reveal six pack abs or ripped arms. The reason for that is almost all weight lifting programs lack a key component to fat loss: cardio exercise. Until now, traditional cardio was the only method to achieve fat loss and a lean appearance.
Since there’s a way to bypass traditional cardio, more people are starting HICT. After adding this to your routine you will get more out of your workouts than you ever thought possible. If you’re a weight lifter or if you’re looking for a “jacked physique” this is going to be a godsend.
Traditional Cardio isn’t for Everyone
Cardio has always been sort of taboo because it allows for a catabolic state of muscle wasting. Once you go beyond your aerobic limits you actually start to lose muscle. That’s exactly the reason many weight lifters avoid cardio like the plague! Luckily for you, there is a middle ground that will allow you to get the best of both worlds…
HITC is designed to enhance your aerobic development in explosive movements over an extended period of time. Workouts will last anywhere from 20 minutes to 60 minuted based in your physical preparedness. Depending on your specific aerobic needs the workout can be shorter or longer, with 5 minute breaks in between 20 minute bouts. During the workout your heart rate shouldn’t exceed 150bpm. Each exercise consists of an eccentric and a concentric movement lasting 2-3 seconds. Rest 3-5 seconds in between reps then continue.
Take a look at this example of a weighted step up HICT workout—>
Ideally you would use a weight vest weighing 20-40 lb. and hold 10-15 lb. DB’s in each hand. Using a weight vest will help balance the load without placing too much weight in your hands. I set up a box so that my thigh is around parallel to the floor or slightly higher, and set a metronome app on my phone (or stand in front of a clock) to ensure that I perform one rep every 2-3 seconds. You can use whatever method you’d like to ensure than you perform a repetition every 2-3 seconds. I typically switch legs every 15-30 seconds to avoid fatigue.
High Intesnsity Continuous Training (HICT) is the best form of cardio to aid in muscle building. This includes exercises like weight-vest step ups, sled pulls with heavy weight and stationary bike with high resistance. These exercises are explosive and powerful, but at a much slower pace than normal. The key is to enhance the muscle fiber’s endurance so it can handle heavier loads for longer durations. This is all done without exhausting the muscles completely. For best results I recommend implementing this at the end of a hypertrophy workout.
As your online fitness coach I aim to create a fitness plan that matches your unique needs. Working out without a detailed plan and expecting to reach your goal is useless. There has to be a vision that aligns with what you want to achieve. To get a fitness+nutrition plan designed specifically for you, visit the Crevfit website and schedule a free consultation.