Show of hands, who reading this hates cardio? Just as a
guess probably everyone raised their hand or at least thought about it. That is
because in a nutshell, cardio sucks. Who wants to sit on a stationary bike for
45 minutes three or four nights a week? Yet if you walk into any gym at almost
any time of the day or in the evening you will see any army of people marching,
peddling, stepping, and sometimes running along at a steady pace to try and
burn those calories.
Why spend so much time in there if you don't have to?
The Secret of
Interval training isn't some hot new exercise system. It has
been around for quite some time, but far too many people don't take advantage
of the concept. Did you know that you can get the same effective workout using
intervals and only working out three times a week for thirty minutes that you
would doing five hours of steady paced exercise?
That means you can have a whopping 3.5 hours to do something
else. That is a football or baseball game, quality time with the kids, poker
night, or two nice naps. Who doesn't want to save the time?
So how are they comparable? Research has shown that
utilizing intervals, fast paced for short bits mixed with moderate pace,
utilizes both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Comparatively a steady pace
tends to use only slow twitch muscle fibers. This mix is more effective for
many processes in the body to cause the body to adapt. The brief bouts of
intensity kick things up a notch and force the body to respond faster by
increasing blood flow, burning triglycerides, increase blood vessel production,
It's Not that Hard
Some people might complain that intervals can be difficult,
but really what they are missing is that they are a challenge and extremely
engaging! What is really difficult, by comparison, is logging five hours of
boring, steady, cardio work that numbs your mind.
The intervals are actually pretty simple to do. First you
pick your cardio exercise of choice for the day. One great idea is to use a
different machine each session for variety. Start by warming up for 5 to 10
minutes until your body is ready. Then pick up the pace to go pretty hard for
30 seconds. What is pretty hard? It is not all out effort; more like 80 percent
of maximum. If you are running you should still be able to say a few words
after the 30 seconds like, "more water please."
Now that the heart rate is up, back the training down to an
easy or moderate pace for 2 to 4 minutes. This is completely variable based on
your fitness level. The idea is to get back to a heart rate that allows normal
conversation. Once at that point keep the level up for 30 more seconds then go
back to sprint mode. Ideally you will do anywhere from four to six intervals in
your session. The goal should be to take less time for the rest periods and add
more total intervals into the same time frame as your cardiovascular ability
The Bottom Line
Just about everyone hates cardio. So instead of going in for
endless hours of boring work, try a different more efficient method. It gets
the same goal accomplished in less time and is much more of a challenge
Stephen Jansen writes about bodybuilding and fitness for Nutribomb.com you can find article by Stephen ranging from training tips to product reviews Betancourt Nutrition by following Stephen at the Nutribomb Blog.