Cardio Training 101

Most everyone who is in the gym does cardio at one time or another, it’s the best way to burn calories – period! Intense work, get the heart pumping and keep it pumping. Well what most don’t know, and don’t realize about cardio is what it takes to make it effective, and most important – burn fat.

Let’s first talk about “conventional” thought on burning extra calories. Many people like to walk, some jog, some don’t do anything at all – but to the walkers, they’re trying but just not hard enough. It’s a great lifestyle change, and a great headstart, but to get to the next level one needs to build strength, and confidence, is to concentrate on the %MHR, or percentage of maximum heart rate.

Wikipedia has an excellent resource on Heart rate and ways to measure it.

An acceptable range for fat burning is 50-80%MHR, obviously try to jump into a training method with caution and try to find a comfortable, but challenging, range for heart rate. Understanding heart rate helps you understand how your body burns fat, and knowing how to burn fat with heart rate means you can wrap your training around these principles.

The 3-L’s

  1. Low Impact
  2. Long Duration
  3. Low Intensity

The best method I’ve ever came across for myself was concentrating on my %MHR, and tailoring the 3-L’s around such a workout. I kept a brisk walking pace, slow enough that I was comfortable walking on the 15% grade I use for higher intensity. I also made sure to workout for long durations, after around 20 minutes of low-intensity cardio liver glucose has been used up, and the body starts to pull it’s energy from fat. That’s something many people don’t realize when they hop on the treadmill, or take a walk for a short time. 30-60 minutes was the most effective range I found, and it depended more on my will to keep going for the full 60 minutes or cut it short.

It’s obvious that I was walking with all this, and I chose it for a reason. I do not want to start off early in my life by wearing down my knees, my gym has a low-impact treadmill or elliptical trainer that will take a lot of extra stress off the knees. I noticed I felt much better with my regular leg workouts, and got cleaner movements without compensating for sore knees.

So what did we learn today? Work hard enough to challenge yourself, and maintain that for 30-60 minutes, and use an exercise you can tolerate.

I know nobody likes cardio, but some are easier to live with than others.

About the Author

Community Thoughts (10)

We encourage community interaction, actually we demand it! Add to the discussion, but please do not spam. Use your name in the name field, not a keyword. We have the right to delete comments we deem spammy. By submitting a comment you agree to the the full comment policy here.

  1. TB-MilwaukeeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t especially like cardio, but I do like the feeling I have when I’m done. Thanks for the good post today.

  2. Allyn PaulNo Gravatar says:

    I really like elliptical trainers because of the low impact. The other nice thing is that the ones at my gym basically tell you where your heartrate should be to brun fat because you input your weight and age and all that and then grab the bars and go.
    I usually try to do about 45 minutes of cardio AFTER I reach the target heartrate, which for me is 128BPM.

  3. treadmillNo Gravatar says:

    Something you said in your post really caught my attention. First, let me tell you that I work in the fitness industry. We deal with hundreds of people a day and take thousands of dollars in orders everyday. It makes me wonder why people would spend so much money on something they do not enjoy. I, personally, enjoy running or jogging on a treadmill. I prefer it to long complicated workouts that require so many different excercises. It’s nice to just hop on a treadmill and run.

  4. you have to stay in the fat burning area ; i think is between 70-80% of your Max hear rate.(cardio is 60-70%)

  5. The best cardio exercise is simply the one you will do day in and day out consistently. Choose one which you enjoy doing and don’t be afraid to mix the exercises up.

  6. AlexNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Israel

    I think long and boring sessions of cardio are not the answer for fat loss unless you want to look like those skinny marathon runners (too skinny with no muscle to show). A serious weight training program with some moderate amount of cardio will be a better choice in my opinion.

  7. FitnessGuyNo Gravatar says:

    Getting a treadmill or elliptical trainer with heart rate control can be very effective. By determining your desired heart rate for fat burn, you can plug in your heart rate range. However, it is important to know what is a high enough heart rate without over doing it. If you are just getting back into exercising it is highly recommended that you consult your physician. You want to start gradual and work your way up.

    The benefit of working out with HRC is that you can start moderately and constantly improve. Your heartrate becomes your guideline.

    Treadmills with heart rate control, not heart rate monitoring, run around $1,200 or more. Some machines will be equipped with HRC control, but you have to pay extra for the chest belt. They usually are under $50.

  8. Great post, I too have seen the best results when I can get myself to stay on the elliptical (or treadmill) for at least 45 minutes, preferably an hour. It’s slow and boring, but at least I’m moving slowly enough to be able to read or pay attention to an audio book while I’m doing it, so it’s not as dull as it might be. Thanks for the advice.

  9. EllipticalNo Gravatar says:

    You find low intensity for long periods easier to get done consistently than high intensity for short periods?

Share Your Thoughts