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.
- Low Impact
- Long Duration
- 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.