Some say continuous others interval, third cross training while others – neither. Literally, there are a dozen different cardio methods that are offered by experts over the last half century. To say that one type fits for everyone is a very optimistic statement. It is best to look at a few key factors that can help you build a routine that fits best for your body and your daily needs.
Before we get to what your goals are, we should look at your body and if there are any limits. For example, if you have a problem with the knee, ankle or hip then stepper or sprinting are not options for you. If you have a problem with the shoulder then marathon or sprint swimming may be too heavy for your tendons.
After reviewing the physiological aspects is the turn to your diet. Anyone on a diet with lots of carbohydrates should do highly intense cardio 2-3 times a week. In my experience, very few people manage to burn carbohydrates and get leaner only with weightlifting. In this case, high intensity cardio is required. Those of you on the low-carb diet must adhere to normal cardio, but if you’re like me, it might mean doing shorter sessions more frequently. It seems that the status has always been to do the maximum, two 45 min. sessions. One morning and one evening but you can break them 3 half hour workouts if it’s more suitable for you.
Now we have to look at your goals. Even those of you who seek to accumulate mass should be doing cardio. Even if you do 3 x 30 minutes sessions while walking your dog around the neighbourhood. The health benefits are enormous, and you will feel the difference in the gym. Minimal, low-intensity cardio will speed up your metabolism, reduce blood pressure and boost your appetite – these are the things that we all need as we grow.
If you are severely overweight – more than 35% body fat, I recommend cardio with a moderate pace, 30 minutes sessions, 6 days a week. Overweight individuals usually suffer from over worn joints, in this situation, high-intensity cardio will make you feel awful or experiencing great pain. It is not said that you cannot add it as soon as getting lighter, but it must be carefully monitored and the changes are gradual.
For those with an average amount of fat or those of you who want to lose 5-10 kilograms of fat, you cannot go wrong by doing cardio after your last meal of the day. Your body naturally slows all processes before going to bed, but a quick 25-30 minute walk an hour after your last meal can be a huge benefit to your struggle with your weight in the long run. Plus, it is much better than to wake up before work or school and make half asleep workout instead to eat breakfast or sleeping.
This, of course, does not mean that early morning cardio is not useful. If it’s the only time during the day, which you can spend on a cardio go for it. You should carefully plan your morning cardio because it can very easily fall into a catabolic state, and that’s not good.
If you keep doing cardio in the morning, then I recommend being high intensity. The reasons to do intense cardio at this time of day are few. First of all, you’re starved for 6-8 hours depending on how long you sleep. Until you finish your workout and sit down to breakfast would have gone from 60 to 90 minutes since you woke up – this is catabolic. When doing high-intensity cardio immediately after getting up, it must have a duration of 10 to 20 minutes. I recommend you take amino acids while you exercise, and plenty of water. Of course, you will finish your workout faster and you will have time for a real breakfast. The most important aspect of the morning high-intensity cardio is that it will boost your metabolism for a longer time than normal cardio.
Whether to do cardio before or after a workout? I’m not a supporter of neither. If you are very busy and do not have another spare time doing cardio, then I suggest you do after training and after your protein shake. If you do it before a workout, it will drain you of energy for weightlifting, and this is a bad idea. Lifting weights should always be first in your training schedule.
Try some of these suggestions into your training regime and share your experience!