The word “cardio” is short for “cardiovascular.” Cardio training is an endurance exercise that strengthens the circulatory system consisting of the heart and blood vessels in your body.
People “do cardio” over long periods as it makes the heartbeat quicker and pumps more blood through your system, bringing oxygen and nutrients to every cell.
Cardio training can be explained as a physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends on the aerobic energy-generating process of the training you do.
It’s any activity that raises your heart rate to 50 – 75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). To calculate your MHR, do the following: the formula is 220 minus your age. For example, if you’re 30 years old, 220 – 30 = 190.
Types Of Cardio Training
Cardio training burns calories in your body. It is a fat killer technique. Many people do it for weight reduction, to improve stamina, etc.
There are different intensities of cardio training. Low or moderate-intensity activity leaves you feeling slightly breathless but still able to talk to someone comfortably.
Low-intensity (LI) exercises include swimming, walking, or cycling.
High-intensity (HI) exercises will leave you unable to speak as you breathe rapidly and sweat. High-intensity exercises include sprinting circuit training, running, or aerobic classes like Zumba.
It is a common misconception that slow, long, and low-intensity cardio training is the best method to use to lose fat. And some find that high-intensity cardio is more effective for fat loss as it consumes a higher amount of overall calories.
So, how to know which one is better?
The answer is that the best type of cardio training, whether high or low intensity, is the one you will use to train regularly.
The most effective plan is to start at a more moderate pace if you are a beginner and slowly increase your intensity as your endurance and cardiorespiratory work capacity improve.
The reason is that beginners doing HI training are highly vulnerable to body burnout due to the strenuous training that causes strains in your body, especially your muscles and joints.
Exhaustion will leave you feeling exhausted, cranky, extremely tired, and too burned out to stick to your routine.
Low-Intensity (LI) or High-Intensity (HI)?
Best Of Both Worlds
If you are a beginner, try using interval training. Start by warming up at a low intensity, and then alternate one minute of high intensity with a one-minute low intensity.
As you improve, you can then start to either increase the intensity and duration of the high-intensity part or decrease the length of the low-intensity part.
By using this strategy, you will be able to burn more calories during the workout. Remember that losing fat is burning more calories than we eat over a period of time.
Combine both LI and HI to contribute to hitting your weight loss goals faster
Remember, to progress slowly. Take your time. Overtraining can lead to burn-out and injury, which can take you out of the game.
Low-Intensity Cardio Training
- Suitable for beginners to develop a base.
- Good for injured & rehab.
- Ideal for recovery from intense training or overtraining.
- Good for stress reduction & de-cluttering the mind.
- Easy to do with little coaching or training.
High-Intensity Interval Cardio Training
- Time-efficient (two or three 45 minute sessions per week is all that is needed)
- Makes heart & lungs bigger & more powerful
- Less risk of heart problems
- Builds functional & real strength that allows you to be powerful in real-world situations
- Changes the way your body stores food
- Burns more fat
Advanced Tips: Try HIIT!
Cardio training is any training that involves exerting yourself for an extended period. Frequently, this will mean running long distances, with jogging being perhaps the most popular form of cardio exercise. But right there, are cycling, swimming, rowing, skipping, and others.
Ordinarily, this kind of cardio training has been a “steady-state.“
That means that you put your running shoes on, you step out of the door, and you run for about 40-60 minutes. It’s steady-state because you are maintaining a steady level of exertion throughout the exercise. In this example, you are jogging at a set pace and then maintaining that pace for a while.
It was always thought to be the best method for burning the most amount of calories and to improve overall fitness. There was a plausible theory behind why this was the case.
Precisely, it was always believed that there was an optimal “fat-burning zone’” and that this zone could be found at nearly 70% of your maximum heart rate.
In theory, this makes sense – by recognizing that faster than 70% of your MHR would put you past your “anaerobic threshold.”
Put differently; you would be running so fast that you would no longer be able to depend on your aerobic energy system for energy. You couldn’t burn fat fast enough, and so you would be forced to depend on energy stored in your muscles as glycogen and ATP.
This seems to make sense, that running at 70% of your MHR and holding the maximum pace at which the body would burn fat, would result in the maximum weight loss. But this isn’t what modern scientific research has found.
Welcome To HIIT
HIIT is an abbreviation for “High-Intensity Interval Training,” and it completely turns this concept on its head. Studies have shown that HIIT is the best way to lose weight.
In HIIT, you alternate between bursts of intense exertion (such as sprinting) and periods of relatively low-intensity exercise (like power-walking or jogging).
This way, you are switching back and forth from your anaerobic energy system to your aerobic system, and switching between muscles and energy stored as fat and burning energy stored in your blood.
But what makes this strategy so beneficial is what happens after the anaerobic training. When you exert yourself to the max by exercising or sprinting at 100%, you drain any energy that may have been available from sources other than fat.
This then means that by following this strategy, your body can only burn fat for energy – there is no other option left.
Therefore, you will be able to burn even more fat during the aerobic part of your exercises. And when you are all finished and are at home resting, you will continue to burn fat because you’ll still be in a depleted state of stored glycogen.
This is what is called the “after-burn effect.” (known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC) It means that after a hard workout of HIIT, you will continue to burn calories for the remainder of the day!
Further Benefits of HIIT
As mentioned, HIIT can burn more calories than steady-state cardio. Because you’re exerting yourself more at specific points in your training, this means you should also see be finished in a much shorter period of time.
Typically, a HIIT workout can last between 10-20 minutes and be just as good, if not better, in terms of calories burned as in a 40-minute run.
For people that have a busy work schedule, HIIT training is the perfect solution, which allows them to squeeze some time of highly effective training to get incredible results!
There are other benefits to be excited about HIIT.
When looking at any training regimen, what’s always good to remember is the SAID principle or “Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands” – it means that your body adapts to the demands that are placed on it.
If you train at high altitude, you become better at training at high altitude. If you sprint, you become better at sprinting.
Thus, HIIT makes you better at high-intensity exercises – which include running, boxing, sports, sprinting, wrestling, play fighting, moving furniture, rowing, etc.
These are things we are more likely to use in our daily lives, and this is what makes it a more useful and adaptive form of training.
Whereas steady-state cardio makes you more productive at “long slogs,” HIIT makes you explosive and athletic. And this also creates several other significant advantages too.
For example, HIIT has been shown to help improve the efficiency and number of mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny “energy factories” that live inside our cells and have the critical role of creating and utilizing ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
This is the most basic form of energy in our bodies. It’s what provides energy to all our movements as well as all our thoughts. More mitochondria mean greater energy efficiency.
That means better athletic performance and even better brainpower. Your brain cells have mitochondria also!
Were you ever curious why kids have so much energy while older people get exhausted just walking to the store?
One of the primary reasons is the difference in the number and efficiency of mitochondria.
This also enhances your “VO2 max,” which is the amount of oxygen you can use. The higher your VO2 max is, the more efficient you become at oxygenating your body.
This is one of the essential signs of physical fitness and one of the factors that athletes are urged to focus on in their training. But likely best of all is that the kind of explosive movement utilized in HIIT will consistently engage your “fast-twitch muscle fibers.“
These particular muscle fibers contain more mitochondria and are responsible for delivering rapid bursts of power. They’re also the most prominent type of muscle fibers and the ones that will make you look like a bodybuilder.
If you engage in steady-state cardio, then you can risk converting your fast-twitch muscle fiber into a slow-twitch fiber.
Why? Because you are putting higher energy demands on your body over long periods, and this will make your body want to move the ratio toward the most fuel-efficient form of muscle fiber.
Also, you create a highly catabolic state that will starve your body of fuel and forces it to break down both muscle and fat.
This is a reason why most long-distance runners happen to be so thin.
But when you involve your fast-twitch fibers, you tell your body that you need more explosiveness, and you shorten the length of time in the catabolic state.
This, in essence, means that you don’t risk breaking down muscle tissue in the same way, allowing you to create a hard physique, ripped, and powerful.
Women can expect a toned definition, while men can expect rippling vascularity and striations.
This is why HIIT is the preferred weight loss strategy of celebrities and cover models.
To recap: this is a style of training that is:
- Faster than conventional steady-state cardio training.
- Ability to burn a more substantial amount of calories in a shorter time.
- Optimal for increasing energy levels by enhancing the number of mitochondria.
- Effective in protecting muscle tissue deterioration for a leaner, harder physique.
- Superb for all-round health.
- Ready to create an “afterburn effect” for increased metabolism throughout the day.
This exercise is highly flexible and practical and can be performed anywhere? This is a significant reason why so many people love HIIT.
Types Of HIIT Exercises
Doing short bursts of maximum-intensity exercises, followed by a minute of low-intensity intervals. Example: Sprint 30 seconds as fast as you possibly can, then jog for 60seconds. Repeat this for 8-10 sets.
Research shows that HIIT is optimal for fat loss and avoids loss of muscle tissue when done in less than 15 minutes! Talk about saving time and fat-blasting. HIIT is the BEST in every aspect.
- Stretching routine
- Brisk walk
- Simple household chores: mopping, washing your car, vacuuming, yard work
Stepping up any low-intensity exercise by a notch will work as a moderate-intensity workout
- Aerobic exercises
- Jump rope
- High-speed running/jogging
- Jumping Jacks
If you apply the cardio training that you read in this article, you will most certainly lose fat, improve your cardio, run faster, and look fantastic. Always begin slowly and then gradually raise your intensity levels. Get ready for a new you!