Break Away From the Boring and Ineffective Cardio Routines – Adopt These Methods to See Phenomenal Results!
The Cardio Workout Fallacy
It drives me nuts when I see people working out like mad in gymnasiums day in and day out; jogging or walking on the treadmills, several hours at a stretch. They can be seen performing exactly the same routines over and over again, usually talking on their cellphones, watching some favorite TV show or reading some magazine. I see them doing this day after day, month after month, without seeing any positive change in their body composition. Why do you think this happens?! Actually, it’s quite simple!
Initially, whenever you start working out, you may find the going quite tough. However, our bodies are amazing machines. They quickly adapt and become efficient at the same workout routine over a period of time. Provided you don’t push any boundaries or alter your exercise regime, your body will quickly make adjustments to make itself comfortable. Every time you repeat a certain workout routine, your body will adapt itself to meet the increased demands, become more efficient and start burning lesser number calories and fats.
Hence, the bottom line when it comes to undergoing weight loss or fat loss is breaking out of your normal cardiovascular comfort zone and challenging yourself to see better and quicker results.
You need to push yourself beyond your self-imposed limits!
Being humans, our mind and body is conditioned to take and follow the path of minimum resistance, resulting in ineffective workout routines. In turn, this has a major impact on the time required for seeing visible results. Whenever anyone tells me about their body’s need to stay in a fat burning zone for burning calories, it makes me go crazy in anger! Just forget your freakin’ fat burning zone! It is nothing but a silly excuse to not push yourself beyond your self-imposed limits. Your body’s natural metabolic rate will never get better if you don’t force yourself to change. Unless and until you put a good amount of intensity training into your workout regime, you won’t start seeing any visible changes, period!
So, when I’m asked why is it better to do intense 25 minute workout than slow and steady 45 minute workout routine, when it is possible to burn more number of calories in 45 minutes, my reply is pretty simple – though you may burn increased number of calories during your 45 minute workout, once you stop, your metabolism will also come to a halt. On the other hand, whenever you indulge in intensive cardiovascular interval training, your body will continue to expend energy for the remaining part of the day to help you recover from the challenging routine that you put it through. This phenomenon is referred to as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. It implies that you’ll consume more amount of oxygen in order to recover from such intense training routine than you would by performing a slow and steady 45 minute cardio routine (regardless of how long it is).
What are the signs that you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough?
Below mentioned are the signs that you aren’t working hard enough. If any of these apply to your daily routine, you cannot expect to achieve your fitness goals. It’s extremely important that you maintain your complete focus on the work you’re doing at that time, which is exercise. It takes all of 20 to 25 minutes and your world won’t come crashing down if you get through that much time without any distraction.
- You get to enjoy your favorite TV program without getting worked up.
- You’re able to comfortably engage in a conversation with the individual working out on the machine next to yours, or with someone at the other end of your mobile phone line.
- You don’t work up any sweat and have the energy to go on for another 20 to 25 minutes.
- You can comfortably read your favorite book or magazine and pass the time while your lower half works out!
Here’s how to get a good cardio workout!
Start with a cardio exercise you’re comfortable with and do it as follows:
- Start with a 3 to 5 minute warm up, slowly increasing your resistance or speed with each passing minute.
- Then, increase its intensity for about a minute, pushing yourself to an intensity/speed equivalent of 8/10.
- Thereafter, bring the intensity level back to around 3/10 and continue it that way for about 2 minutes.
- Repeat the above-mentioned routine at least 5 to 6 times.
- Get into the cold down mode slowly.
Above-mentioned points are merely an example to show you how a high intensity interval training routine works. Give it a shot and I can promise that you’ll be totally shocked to see the results. You’ll surprise yourself by its effectiveness and efficiency!
Mix things to keep boredom away!
Keep mixing things to prevent boredom. For instance, you can shorten the high-intensity intervals to around 30 to 45 seconds, simultaneously taking the intensity level beyond 8, up to around 9 or 10 / 10. Restrict the low intensity level to around 60 to 90 seconds (rather than 2 minutes). Furthermore, as you shorten the high-intensity intervals, increasing their total repetitions to around 8 -10 will give you an even better workout. All in all, keep the whole routine inside 20 to 25 minutes.
Let me show you how I personally do this type of cardio workout routine on a treadmill:
My one-minute high-intensity interval workout constitutes:
- 3 to 5 minutes of warm up at 3-4 intensity level
- One-minute high-intensity workout at 7 – 7.5 level
- 1 to 2 minutes of low intensity workout at 3.5 level
- A total of 6 intervals, followed by
- Cool down
Please note, I maintain an incline level of 7.5 – 10 during this cardio routine. The intensity level shown above is actually the speed level. Don’t try the same levels in case you’re just starting out. If you’re a beginner, it’ll be better to start at a level which works best as per your current fitness status.
My 30 – 45 second high-intensity interval workout routine constitutes:
- 3 to 5 minutes of warm up at 3 – 4 intensity level
- 30 to 45 seconds of high-intensity workout at 8 – 9 level
- 60 to 90 seconds of low intensity workout at 3.5 level
- A total of 8 – 10 intervals, followed by
- Cool down
As mentioned earlier, you can change these intervals and speed levels based on your current fitness status. What’s most important is that you push yourself to the limit. Speed level and intensity are quite subjective. What may be 3 to 4 intensity level for one maybe the equivalent of 8 to 9 for the other!
Variants of interval training
I’d also like to mention here that interval training isn’t just limited to a single type of cardio machine. You can follow this type of training routine in several different ways as follows:
- Change your machines every 4 to 5 minutes, for example, you can start running on a treadmill, then move onto a stationary bike, followed by an elliptical machine.
- Perform hill sprints. You’ll first have to locate a hill outside! Once you’ve warmed up sufficiently, start sprinting up that hill. Walk back down and then sprint up again. This can be done anywhere from 3 to 10 times depending on your current fitness level.
- I love bringing about some variation in my everyday cardio routine, thereby taking up the intensity and giving a new dimension to the interval training. Following is an example of how I bring about such change:
- I jump rope for around 3 to 5 minutes
- Then switch to a treadmill and do 30 seconds sprints and 30 second walking intervals for about 5 minutes
- Thereafter, one-minute of burpees
- I, then repeat this routine at least 2 to 3 times
I’m sure you’ve got a fair idea about a healthy and effective high-intensity cardiovascular routine by now. The best way to start is by increasing the intensity of your current workout session, and introducing some intervals into it.
I must also mention that you need to maintain a good diet along with this routine to see best results. Proper nutrition is indispensable when it comes to any fat loss or weight loss regime. It is very difficult to work off the after-effects of bad diet habits, no matter how much you work out! Last but not the least, bring about some change in your daily workout routine. This will help in keeping things interesting and you motivated!