To cardio or not to cardio…….
To support the weight training (which is vital) I do always recommend cardio training in my clients routines, be that low or high intensity, playing a sport, or just going for a long walk, they all have value.
The word cardio usually gets people thinking about a treadmill or cross trainer sat in the corner of the gym, but it accounts for a lot more than what you think.
Cardio actually describes any exercise that raises the heart rate or uses the cardiac system, but because of the old stigma with lifting weights or at least lifting them without any real intent, weight training isn’t thought about as cardio, but it should.
For the sake of this article Im going to leave weight lifting and focus solely on which type of activity/ cardio I prescribe for when a client is looking to get into their best shape possible, one which can be done away from the weights area of the gym, and also which one will burn the most body fat.
I like to break down cardio into low intensity and high intensity training, basically whether you want to work your heart hard and get it beating fast, or keep it at a slow constant rhythm but raising it slightly higher than it would be at stand still.
Low intensity cardio
First of all I want to explain that with fat loss, calories burned is the most important thing you should be looking at.
With low intensity cardio (think long walks) your heart rate wont climb as high as it will if you was to say, go sprinting. But unlike sprinting you can perform the low longer endurance type style for a sustained period of time, meaning you stretch that calorie burn out over a possible hour or even further, and you don’t feel exhausted after it.
High intensity cardio
A lot of activities can be put into the high intensity cardio bracket, think any exercise where its harder to breath or keep a sentence together if trying to talk
These cardio sessions burn a lot more calories in a shorter time period than a standard slow walk, but they also get you fitter in the meantime, and they are actually my preferred option to train.
The downside to this type of training though is to see the benefits you obviously have to push yourself hard and get into that uncomfortable zone to really get the heart rate high.