Cardio is easy.
It’s like riding a bike. (Well it kinda is.)
The only difference is the bike is on fire. You’re on fire. Everything is on fire.
Because you’re in hell...or Arizona...whatever. Same thing.
But the actual definition of cardio is cardiovascular exercise. It includes any exercise that raises your heart rate.
I like that definition.
Because technically, when you #liftweightsfaster, you raise your heart rate. Just ask my #rippedgirls.
However, despite my disdain for cardio in my life, I know there are plenty of you out there who do enjoy it.
So I’m dedicating this entire month to all things cardio, including topics such as:
-What are the two main types of cardio?
-Do you really need it? Which is more effective?
-I want to run a race, now what? (And if this is you, stay tuned for something special at the end of this month.)
While my version of cardio is a basic leisure walk, there are two very distinct forms that you should be aware of, steady state and high intensity.
What is steady state cardio?
To put it simply, steady state cardio is any activity you perform at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate for an extended period of time, usually 30 minutes or more.
Examples of steady state cardio include speed walking, jogging, swimming, skiing, jumping rope, etc. In essence, you are pacing your work load for the duration of your workout.
Steady state cardio is great for overall cardiovascular health but it is not the magic bullet when it comes to an effective fat loss routine. More on that next week.
In the meantime, if you enjoy steady state cardio (that doesn’t compute with me), then do it. However, if you’re in the anti-cardio camp like me and you would rather stab your eyeballs out over spinning like a hamster stuck on a wheel, then feel free to skip it.
And the antithesis to steady state cardio…
What is high intensity interval cardio (Alex)?
That is correct for today’s Double Jeopardy.
By definition, interval cardio is working at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate for a short period of time, usually no more than 2 minutes at a time. Realistically, most of us will be at the 30-60 second timeframe.
After this brief time period of maximal effort, you rest and then rinse and repeat the timed interval for a block of time. This block of time is anywhere between 20-30 minutes.
Sounds intense doesn’t it? I mean, how else would it get its name?
Examples of interval cardio include sprints, speed drills, timed swim laps, etc.
Due to its intensity, this form of cardio should be limited to 2-3x per week, max.
So now what?
Well, stay tuned girl. I’ll be going into specifics all this month.
Both forms have their specific benefits and applications. It really depends on your goals and what you ENJOY doing.
I mean let’s face it, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.