Well, this part of the season is reserved for some weight management. Hollydays are over. The gym is full of people, new year resolutions and the all year gym rats are everywhere. For those that do the work at all seasons nothing special will change, they’ll go on with the workout routine and familiar lifestyle. But, for those just starting, after all those cookies, cakes, bottles of alcohol and greasy foods, January is the first month of their desire to do something good with them self.
Then it comes. Long hours of treadmill walks or runs, sweating on the stepper, pushing the bike pedals hard. All that for a dream of the well-toned lean body. Depending on the physical state, these activities can be very challenging, even more, if one has no clue about what’s going on in this burn fat game. And, based on experience, a vast majority of people do it wrong. Woman in particular.
Now, cardio is good for all sorts of reasons. It’s healthy. But that doesn’t mean it will guarantee success with weight loss if it’s not carefully implemented in all the other aspects of training. It can even lead to failure if you go ahead of yourself and try to go too hard with some advanced cardio exercise. These are mostly proclaimed today as quick ways to burn fat, only half an hour daily to a lean body, and all sorts of good marketing strategies to maintain good body composition with a fewer fat percentage. And good marketing is all about making money, not about the health or condition of the people it addresses. Most often these methods found their way from professional sport to the recreative everyday level, but forgot to take one plain fact in mind – most of the people in the gym are not professionals. So, when you see some middle-aged women to do interval training, struggling to maintain the rest-work cycles, fighting just to get some air, ask yourself is this the best way to be doing it? How can that do any good for me? That’s in case you are in poor after-holiday shape.
On the other hand, if you have some experience and are in good condition, try it. You know your body already so there can be no surprises, right? Feel free to push some limits. Still, do it wisely and when needed. Do not go for those methods on an everyday basis. That’s not the way it should be done. As with strength training, you need some periodization. When you have one hard week, go for two slow to moderate weeks of cardio, just to regenerate and ease the pressure. Then, when ready, go hard again.
And how about no cardio at all? Believe it or not, it can be done. Even do it doesn’t seem like it, this way can be more demanding than any other form of cardio in the gym. You can hear that talks from the people who hate treadmills and love iron – just lift the barbell faster. There is some truth to it. Here the intensity is the key. High repetition range, low rest time, if any. Lots of compound movements, like squats, presses, deadlifts, lunges… combined with somewhat lighter loads. This way you’ll elevate your heart rate, and you’ll be done in a half an hour. As a reward, you’ll be burning calories for another two to three hours. This training is definitely not meant for beginners. For this kind of training you should already have a lot of experience, and you should really know your strong and weak sides.
Progression and cardio training
Steady-state long cardio sessions are the most common form of cardio training. Even today it has its place amongst the gym population. Is it the most effective way of burning fat can be debatable. The idea behind the steady state cardio is to force the body to start to use fat for energy. The main problem is the fat burning mode or time frame when the body starts to do just that. With no prior exercising, where you could deplete the glycogen reserves and the energy from eaten food, this burning time frame can be after up to 40 minutes of your training. So, if you are walking for 1 hour, the only time you’ll be burning fat is in the last 10 – 15 minutes. Sounds like a waste of time. Not to mention the intensity of the walk. If you goo too slow, you’ll burn too few calories. If you go to hard, again, there won’t be enough oxygen in your bloodstream to back the burning machine up. Pair of advice – use the heart rate monitors in combination with slow state cardio training, and keep your bpm value to your suggested age. That way you’ll avoid these mistakes. Still, this is the starting point when thinking about cardio training. From there, when you rump up your condition, you’re ready to go for more challenging forms of cardio.
And that would be interval training. Here you’ll cause a bit of metabolic stress to the body, forcing it to mobilize more energy to go through the routine. And to burn more fat afterward. Basically, you do some hard intervals, followed by light movement. Go for 15/60 when starting ( 15 seconds of sprinting on a treadmill, or similar, and then 60 seconds light jog or walk ), then progress to 30/60 intervals, when ready. Do 6 to 8 rounds and you’re done. All about intensity here. Remember, do not rely solely on the interval training method, and do not use it indefinitely. Youll need some steady light cardio to recover after a week or two of the intervals.
Even more intensive methods can than be used, but only if you’re ready, confident and when fully understand what these methods really do to your body. Our advice would still be the combination of strength training and cardio sessions right after. This is the most widely used method to lose some pounds with as little pain possible. This way you’ll burn the calories from eaten foods throughout the day with bars and dumbbells, and then hit the fat storage right away on the cardio machines. Cardio session of 35 minutes after strength training will suffice. This method takes the best from two worlds, combines them in easy to endure manner while giving you the result you want when it comes to burning fat.
For the end, we need to mention that the food must be under control when doing any kind of fat burning regimes. Be smart and consistent and you’ll definitely stay on track.