Everyone has their own opinion about cardio. Some feel it will take away their muscle, others do it for fat loss. I feel that cardio is very important. Cardio gets your heart rate up in order to burn some fat. You will burn fat during cardio exercises as cardio increases your metabolism and will improve your body’s ability to recover faster. I love just talking a walk on the treadmill after my weights sessions. It’s a nice cool down and also relaxes my muscles a bit.
So as you may know, you get different types of cardio. I divide mine into 2 groups: LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I usually do LISS on the days I am a little more tired or drained from work. I’ll do HIIT when I am short on time and need to fit in a quick workout. Sometimes, if I have a lot of time, I do both LISS and HIIT in one workout. Below are some things I do at the gym:
- Walking on the treadmill
Yes, it sounds easy, but you work up quite a sweat! I do a warm up of just walking for about 3 minutes, then I set the incline up to the highest level (on the treadmill I use it is on 15), then I up the pace a bit to about 5.5 km/h to 6km/h. I walk like this for about 45 minutes to an hour, trying not to hold on to the bars. If I do feel like I need a break, I hold onto the bars for about 30 seconds and take a sip of water.
I used to hate cycling until my boyfriend took me to a spinning class. Now I absolutely love it! The spinning classes at our gym is a bit late in the morning, so I only go on Saturdays. If I do feel like cycling though, I still do it! Find a nice fast pace that you feel like you would be able to keep up for about 30 minutes and adjust the resistance accordingly. I usually do this for about 30 to 45 minutes and try to keep my heart rate above 160. This is such a good fat burner and it tones your legs. It’s a win-win situation!
I love doing this if I don’t have a lot of time. I walk for about 2 minutes as a warm up, then start running. I start with 8 km/h and every 30 seconds I go up with 0.5 km/h until I feel like I am running at a good pace (about 11.5 km/h). I run for 30 seconds and just step off the treadmill for 15 seconds. (Hence “interval” in HIIT). I do this for about 20 – 30 minutes. As a cool down I walk for about 5 minutes.
As mentioned before, cycling is my favorite thing now. On the bicycle at the gym, there is an interval option. The warm up is about 2 minutes long at a resistance of 2. (I try to cycle as fast as I can during the whole workout) After 2 minutes, the resistance increases to about 8 for a minute and a half. Then another minute of the resistance at 2. After about 5 sets of these (depends on how long I am cycling) the resistance that went up to 8, goes up to 10 now, so you have to work a lot harder! This lasts for about 3 sets. I love those last 3 sets as I can feel my heart rate going up even more. This also motivates me to push harder as I know I am almost done with my workout!
Rowing works with the same concept as mentioned above. I usually only row for about 15 minutes. I have a 2 minute warm up, and then for 30 seconds I row as fast as I can and 30 seconds rowing a little slower. Cool down for another 2 minutes.
In conclusion, there are so many ways of doing cardio. Other examples include jumping rope in intervals or tabata exercises. If you are interested in doing tabata workouts, you can literally just type it into Google, you will find so many ideas, pictures and explanations of what it actually is!
Also I just want to mention, I listen to my body. If I don’t feel like running today, I am not going to push myself into doing it. I do what I feel like on the day, sometimes I walk for 5 minutes on the treadmill and realise that I don’t want to be on it, so I move on onto something else. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something that you won’t enjoy. Do what makes you happy 🙂