There are two main methods of cardiovascular exercise.
We're going to discuss both of them today:
- Steady State Cardio
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Steady state cardio will be used the majority of the time with the WLC System because it is more effective at burning fat directly from your body.
HIIT will be used only when needed to provide that extra kick.
HIIT is great at burning fat too!
Steady State Cardio
Steady state cardio is a form of aerobic exercise performed in a rhythmic fashion without increasing or decreasing the intensity of the exercise.
During steady state cardio, you keep your heart rate within a given range throughout the entire cardio session.
Imagine jogging at the same pace for 30 minutes.
This allows you to keep your heart rate within a fat burning zone. You'll burn more fat this way and get leaner much faster.
There are different levels of intensity for steady state cardiovascular exercise. Each level of intensity provides different fat burning effects…
Low Intensity Cardio
Low intensity cardio uses fat as its primary fuel source. This is great, but you don't burn much fat at all during low intensity cardio sessions… here's why:
You have to go for very long durations just to burn a small amount of fat. It's just not worth the time. You don't get much bang for your buck.
You won't be using much low intensity cardio at all for our programs.
A few people that are on muscle building cycles and have trouble gaining muscle can opt for low intensity cardio over other options, but that's about it.
The large majority of people should use other forms of cardio.
Medium Intensity Cardio
As you start to raise the intensity of steady state cardiovascular exercise, the fuel source starts to shift from fat to muscle.
Lucky for us, the primary fuel source for medium intensity cardio happens to be fat.
We can burn more fat from our bodies with medium intensity cardio than any other form of cardiovascular exercise.
That means you'll be performing medium intensity cardiovascular exercise the majority of the time on this program.
You get the most bang for your buck with medium intensity cardiovascular exercise.
Medium intensity cardio will be used for fat loss cycles and muscle building cycles. This cardio will burn fat at the fastest rate. You'll maximize fat loss with medium intensity cardio.
High Intensity Cardio
High intensity cardio is not a good choice for burning fat.
You can burn the largest amount of calories on average using this form of cardio, but it's very hard to perform cardio at this intensity for long durations.
It's just too hard to stay at this high level of intensity.
Imagine sprinting full speed for as long as you can. You wouldn't last very long, would you? No one can.
The primary fuel source for high intensity cardio shifts from fat to muscle. So, you'll be burning hard earned muscle during high intensity cardio. Do you really want that?
High Intensity steady state cardio will never be used on our programs.
It's very hard to exercise at this rate for very long at all. Muscle can become the primary fuel source, and that's not what we're looking for here.
We want to burn fat, which requires longer periods of time at lower intensities.
There is an alternative to high intensity steady state cardio, though. This alternative allows you to burn more calories overall and really revs your metabolism throughout the day and night.
Let's learn more about this alternative…
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training consists of periods of high intensity cardio mixed with periods of lower intensity cardio to give your body a break from the high intensity period.
Imagine sprinting as hard as you can for a short period of time followed by walking or jogging at a lighter intensity.
Repeating that cycle over and over for a certain duration is an example of a HIIT cardio session.
HIIT sessions will not last as long as most steady state cardio sessions because you'll be burning more calories in less time, and you'll be stressing your body much more due to the high intensity periods.
It's not wise to do long HIIT sessions.
HIIT will mostly be used during muscle building cycles and sometimes during fat loss cycles.
HIIT will be used during fat loss cycles only if you reach a plateau that you just can't get past. HIIT will provide you with that extra kick that you need to get the fat loss going again.
You may never need to do HIIT during a fat loss cycle, but it's sometimes fun to add in a HIIT session here or there.
HIIT stresses the body more than medium intensity steady state cardio so use HIIT during muscle building cycles when calories are high and less stress is placed on the body.
Use HIIT only as a last resort during fat loss cycles.
You'll learn more about High Intensity Interval Training later too…
Some Methods of Implementing Cardiovascular Exercise…
There are an unlimited number of ways to implement cardiovascular exercise — many other programs like to put steady state cardio down because they like to say that it's boring.
Steady state cardio doesn't have to be boring… it can actually be quite fun when you know how to implement it with different methods.
Here are a few different ideas you can use to make cardio a lot more fun… variety is key to having fun:
In Between Weight Lifting Sets
In between each set of your weight lifting workout, you can perform small amounts of cardio.
For example, you would finish a set of bench press and jump on the elliptical machine and perform 60 seconds of medium intensity cardiovascular exercise.
This will definitely affect your weight lifting workout, though, and I don't recommend doing so.
You don't want anything affecting your weight training and want to have maximum strength available for every set. Don't fatigue yourself too much between sets.
A Mix of Different Activities
You can easily put a group of different exercises together to form a fun cadiovascular workout.
For example, you could do these activities: jump rope, burpees, body weight squats, push ups, and cycling.
You would do 2 minutes of each with no rest in between… do 2 minutes of jump rope, move onto burpees for 2 minutes, then move to body weight squats for 2 minutes, and so on.
Audio Books During Cardio
One of my favorite things to do during cardio workouts is listen to different audio books. Audio books are amazing because you can learn new things while you're exercising.
You just can't beat a good book — a good book will stomp a movie any time.
You get to use your imagination and your imagination is much better than any movie scenes.
Once you get into a good audio book, you'll look forward to your next workout just so you get to listen to your book.
Unusual But Fun Activities
Doing activities like pushing a wheelbarrow around your yard with heavy weights is different but fun.
Pulling a weighted sled around is another weird but fun exercise that burns fat like crazy.
Sprinting up a hill and then walking back down the hill and repeating is a good form of HIIT that can be very challenging but fun.
Our programs will have a carido plan for you with fun and different workouts that produce results.
Cardio doesn't have to be boring and isn't boring when you're having fun and burning fat each and every workout.