How many times have you heard: “Oh my God, I’ve gotten so fat, I need to hit the treadmill as soon as possible” or seen a person who is skinny as a toothpick and runs every day like a maniac? Probably countless times, right? Cardio can do great things for your body, but at the same time, it can totally ruin it. Here is how to do your cardio the right way.
People need to understand that a flat tummy and a lean body don’t come from starving yourself and doing hours of cardio every day. Too much cardio can lead to a catabolic state where your muscles will literally eat themselves. Besides that, your metabolism is going to slow down, your strength levels are going to plummet and your fat will still be glued to your stomach.
Cardio alone isn’t enough – your diet matters as well
Remember, working out makes up 20% of your success, while diet is responsible for 80%. When you are working out, you are not losing fat – YOU ARE LOSING CALORIES AND WATER. Fat starts disappearing once you reach a calorie deficient and stay at it constantly. The only way to achieve this is to stop filling yourself with carbs and empty calories. In other words, you are not allowed to look, smell and especially taste sweets, alcohol and non-natural juices anymore.
Now when your diet is fixed, you are ready to jump to level two, a.k.a. look into gym supplements. And hold on for a second – never, ever say they are the same as steroids. Supplements are here to help you achieve your fitness goals faster, easier, and of course, in a tastier way. They don’t run through your veins and make you look like Hulk, no. You have probably heard at least once in your life about proteins, right? If you haven’t – they are what helps your body grow and build muscles. Our growing muscles need a lot more protein, and you will provide them with it by having a nice tasty protein shake after your workout, especially cardio. If you are on a weight loss program, choose isolate protein – it is a pure protein without fats and calories.
Symptoms of too much cardio
Even medicine, when consumed too much, turns into poison. The same goes for cardio, too much of it can lead to many different over-training issues, like injuries, pains and aches. Not to mention all the mood changes and bouts of fatigue you will also experience. Marathon runners tend to suffer from colds and respiratory infections because their cortisol levels have reached the sky. If any of this happens to you, it is an obvious sign that you need to cut back on the cardio.
Do it the right way
Cardio doesn’t mean just running on a treadmill. There are many different types of cardio:
- LOW INTENSITY – LONG DURATION CARDIO: It is usually done at 40-60% of your maximum heart rate and it is perfect for beginners who have a high fat percentage. It is supposed to last really long, sometimes even 90 minutes, and the exercises involved are: swimming, yoga, bike riding, walking, etc. The best would be to do this type of cardio AFTER your strength training
- MEDIUM INTENSITY – MEDIUM DURATION CARDIO: Your heart rate should now be at 70% of your maximum and the workout should last approximately 20-40 minutes. It is harder for beginners and it is recommended for those who have already been working out for a while. Exercises include: jogging, faster bike riding, swimming.
- HIGH INTENSITY – SHORT LASTING CARDIO: Your heart rate should be at 80-85% of your maximum, and the workout should last 5 to 20 minutes. It is great for overall health improvement and for speeding up the weight loss process. It also improves your strength and endurance. The exercises recommended are: running, faster swimming, faster bike riding, basically any workout where you can increase the intensity.
- HIIT: A perfect example of this is superfast running which lasts for 3 minutes and then easy 1 minute running, repeated 4 times. It helps you melt that strong fat tissue and improves your strength and endurance. Also, it reduces the possibility of getting diabetes.
- ANAEROBIC INTERVAL TRAINING: It is similar to HIIT, but the hard periods are at 85-100% of your maximum heart rate. It is recommended to engage in HIIT just once or twice per week and a perfect example of this type of regime is the Tabata Protocol: warm up for 5 minutes on a treadmill, after that, sprint for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds. Repeat this 8 times and cool down for 5 minutes.
That would be it. Of course, you shouldn’t in any case stop doing cardio – you should just start doing it the right way and you will be amazed with the results.