What about cardio?
When am I supposed to do cardio?
Don’t I have to work my heart, too?
Almost every beginner client will ask one of those questions before starting their training… and after the 3rd workout they never wonder about it again.
Let me explain…
Think about this for a minute: your heart does not know the difference between you running down the street, doing push-ups, swimming laps in a pool, or doing 50 squats. What your heart does recognize is that you are placing demands upon it… and the more muscles that are working and the higher the intensity of the movements, the bigger this demand will be.
So, if your time is important to you, don’t break up your workouts with a weight training portion and a cardio workout. Instead, combine them!
This can be as simple as doing:
- – 10 push-ups
- – 10 sit-ups
- – 10 squats
- – 10 jumping jacks
Repeat this sequence 6 times AND do it as quickly as you can – even time yourself – then see how you feel… I bet your heart rate will go up and you might even break a sweat!
The best part about this kind of training is that it never gets boring. You can change the exercises, the number of sets or repetitions, or the order of the routine. It can be a limitless exercise program that will keep your heart pumping AND tone up your muscles!
Here are some examples that will give you a great overall workout:
- – Run 1 mile, lunging 20 steps every 1 minute.
- – Do 50 sit-ups, then a 400 meter run, sprint, or walk. Repeat for 3 rounds.
- – Run 400 meters, then do 50 air squats. Repeat for 4 rounds.
- – Do 30 push-ups, then a 45-second ab bridge. Repeat for 4 rounds.
- – Do a 30-second handstand, then a 30-second static squat, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for 8 total rounds.
Just get creative and construct simple sequences like the ones above that include exercises that you like… just don’t always skip the ones that you find difficult! Get your workouts between 15 and 45 minutes long, and do them 2 to 6 times a week. The most important thing is to just get started and build them up slowly. And once you get going, you may even want to time yourself to see if you can beat your old records!
Training like this will produce changes in your muscle tone AND cardio fitness… both benefits rolled into one program.
Plus, if weight loss is one of your fitness goals, remember that making your muscles stronger will cause your body to burn more calories, even when you are asleep! Fat STORES energy, muscles USE energy… and STRONGER muscles use far MORE energy.
And, a final note: if you’re trying to lose fat, no amount of any kind of “cardio” will do it for you if you don’t change your diet. Try eating fewer carbohydrates, more protein and fat, along with smaller portion sizes. This is the approach that will yield the best results in the long run.