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Cut Your Cardio Time in Half
Posted by Administrator on 3/10/2013 to Health and Fitness

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 Intervals

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, and more!

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 increases.

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 mentally.

Stephen Jansen writes about bodybuilding and fitness for you can find article by Stephen ranging from training tips to product reviews Betancourt Nutrition by following Stephen at the Nutribomb Blog.

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