05. CARDIO DURING LOCKDOWN - Which style is BEST ?
CARDIO for Competition, To Trim up or just to beat the boredom
Week 5 of the Blog and we are still allowed to go outside for exercise. I see a lot of people out walking that look like they have never walked before, good for them. It doesn’t take long to build up some fitness and where ever you are at, quite simply that’s where you start. If you can barely walk half way down the block, then just do that…..every day.
This week we are going to look at the various approaches to cardio and examine which ones are going to suit which people. I may have mentioned this before, fortunately, one size never fits all. All types of cardio have their place, the key is to match up the correct cardio to your own lifestyle, metabolism, goals and body type. It is actually easy to do so let us look at some options.
HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training is very popular at the moment and for good reason. If you want to spike your metabolism or don’t have a huge amount of spare time then a shorter, more intense cardio session could be the answer. There is a near infinite amount of ways you can structure a HIIT session and this translates over to being more interesting for most people. For a lot of people regular cardio holds little interest, they simply stop doing it because variety is not thought about. With many people stuck at home at the moment, HIIT sessions offer so much variety, basically just do anything that will make you sweat like a pig in 15 minutes.
On the flip side HIIT sessions are high intensity and you only have one nervous system. On days where you have smashed out a big leg or back session then interval sprints later in the day are going to be sub-par at best. A regular steady state cardio session (walking or bike) may be a better choice in this instance.
STEADY STATE CARDIO: good old regular cardio has fallen out of favour these days with the gurus out there in internet land. There are however some times when a regular cardio session will serve your needs.
My personal experience with regular cardio (walking/stationary bike) is that when performed regularly, fat comes off steadily while the nervous system is still fresh to smash out a productive weights session later in the day. Particularly if you are a heavier person, brisk walking with a few hills for 30-40 minutes will be effective for fat burning while not too taxing on joints.
NO CARDIO: This has been popular among some trainers for the past few years however it is very rare that this approach will work for MOST people. Most clients adopting this ‘fuck cardio’ approach will NOT get the long-term fat-loss results they desire. This approach is most successfully usually used on lean young males, but in saying that, it’s not that hard to get 4kg of fat off a teenager in 6 months.
There are however a few valid points to take out of the ‘no cardio’ method of dieting:
- Starting off reasonably lean makes for a healthier, happier dieting/contest experience.
- Dieting over a longer period is also a wise choice
- You can split weight sessions in two, invest more energy in each session and remove 1 cardio session in the process. You still get a double spike in metabolism with 2 weight sessions. I have used this technique with good results.
- No point doing more cardio than is necessary if you don’t enjoy it
FASTED CARDIO: Unless you are in ketosis, there is always going to be some glucose in the blood, muscles or liver. By doing cardio fasted or when you haven’t had carbohydrates for many hours, you can slightly improve the ratio of carbohydrates to fat used for energy. Having said that the most important thing by far is that you actually do the cardio session, don’t get too hung up on fasted cardio. Just make sure it gets done.
THE BOTTOM (TRIMMING) LINE: My own split on cardio would be approximately 70% of sessions steady state and 30% HIIT. The variety you can get into your sessions, not only will you be more likely to stick to a regular schedule, your body will be less efficient at doing each of the cardio styles. You do not want to become efficient (good) at doing cardio if your goal is to burn maximum calories. Neural adaptation is not our friend when it comes to burning calories through cardio, so mix it up.
I would encourage people to experiment for themselves to see what works best for you. Don’t blindly follow the latest trends on Instagram. Keep track of your results and in no time at all you will have a good understanding of which style of cardio suits you and how you can utilize all styles to get a great result.