Cardio Workouts: Is your cardio workout effective?

Gym Cardio Area Overlooking Greenery Category:...

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Oh the monotony of it all; the continuous drudgery of the elliptical machine or the treadmill. A resounding sound of the audience booing is typically what comes to my mind when I think of these pieces of equipment. I often hear someone talking about the hour they spend on the treadmill or even worse the 2 hours they spend on a combination of treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes. Sheesh…This is nearly as bad as the Chinese water torture. The truth is you don’t need to spend an hour doing cardio. As a matter of fact an hour is all you should ever spend in the gym from start to finish.

A proper workout consists of a warm up, working set along with a period of cool down and stretching.  The important part is what you do during that working set. That working set usually lasts about 35 to 40 minutes sandwiched between a warm up and a 15 to 20 minute cool down when doing strength training. However during cardio training we can shorten the working set to 20 minutes or in some cases even as low as 4 minutes depending on the intensities.

Your cardio program should incorporate interval training. If you do not currently do interval training at all then you aren’t maximizing your results. Cycling through periods of high intensity and low intensity has been shown to have a greater impact on fat loss and weight loss than steady state cardio.

Click here for more information regarding steady state versus interval training.

“Intervals like sprinting produce high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, these allow more fat to be burned from under the skin and within the exercising muscles. As a result you have an increase in fat oxidation that drives the greater weight loss.”

Interval training allows you to maximize your time, effectively helping you reach your fat loss goals without the monotony of long drawn out bouts of cardio. So why are you still on that treadmill or elliptical trainer going through the motions? Pick up the pace and watch the fat melt away.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

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