Have you ever gone to the gym planning to do cardio, then halfway through your ‘cardio’ workout, you realize you aren’t event sweating? Did you put yourself up on the elliptical or stair climber and set it to manual then just move? When you are going to do cardio, the best and most effective way to do it is to get your heart rate up to 85% or so and power away; if you don’t, you are simply wasting your time! The more effort and movement you put into your cardio workouts, the more fat you will burn.
Of course, my first choice in a cardio workout is to go out for a run. However, I only run 4-5 days a week leaving 1-2 days for cross training cardio. I typically do spin class one of the days then on my extra cross training cardio day, I like to mix it up. Now, unless you are an endurance athlete, most people don’t need to do cardio more then 2-3 days a week – as long as you make it count those 2-3 days.
When I say ‘make it count,’ I am meaning that your cardio workout should be anything but easy and you should be able to walk out of the gym proud of your workout. Obviously the easiest way to get cardio in is on a cardio machine, and I am fine with that. However, my thoughts on machine cardio is this: if you are going to do a machine, you should not be on the same machine for more then 20 minutes and you should increase to the maximum resistance at least twice in that time. I like to do 2-3 different cardio machines in one workout, each with the same maximum resistance segments.
The point of switching up the machines is so that your body doesn’t get used to one thing and adapt, taking the effort out of your workout. When you switch it up, you are constantly throwing new efforts at your body, and your body has not choice but to work its butt off (literally!) to get the workout complete. Then when you change the resistance on each machine, you are able to allow your body those peak periods of intensity with time to recover in between – that is how you are going to burn fat! (think HIIT training on a stationary machine).
Here is a killer cardio workout that I like to do – try it and I promise you will sweat your little heart out!