Cardio Training – What Kind Should I Do?

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This is a common concern, especially for those people who have been working out for a while, but aren’t seeing good enough results. The issue is really getting variety in your workouts, to constantly challenge your body to working harder. Fitness professionals often refer to the FITT factors; this means the Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of exercise performed.

In terms of cardiovascular work, there are several types of training you can do. First, we have Tempo Training. This means doing continuous aerobic exercise at a moderately challenging intensity, or 14-17 RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). Do this type of training for 30-60 minutes.

Second is Long Slow Distance Training. Again, this is continuous aerobic exercise at a low to moderate intensity (11-13 RPE), for 60-80 minutes. Think about a moderately challenging bike ride around the city, or a beginner spin class. This type of training stimulates an increase in the size of our mitrochondria. Those are the centres of our cells that act like “fireplaces” to burn fat and carbs. So this cardio type will increase the size of the “fireplaces”, allowing you to burn more of both those energy sources.

Cardiovascular Training

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Aerobic exercise is a vital part of any training program, and yet many of us aren’t sure of what type to do, for how long, or how often. As a personal trainer, I apply the FITT principles to any kind of physical activity – Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

Most of us should aim to do aerobic activity between three and five times per week, for 30-45 minutes per session. This means getting your heart rate elevated for a sustained period of time, and you should feel tired, but not flat-out exhausted, at the end of it.  This brings us to the intensity of your cardio workout.

People new to exercise may want to stick to a moderate pace, still getting to fatigue, until these workouts become easy, and they notice that their results – cardiovascular endurance, weight lost – are plateauing.  At this point I encourage clients to vary their cardio workouts both in intensity and duration, or time.  First, I get the client’s resting heart rate, and determine the range of elevated heart rate we’re going for.  Then I set them up into different types of cardio challenge, varying the type within the week.  The client may be doing up to four types of cardiovascular challenge: Long Slow Distance, Continuous Interval, and Supramaximal Training. Here’s what such a program might look like (the bpm – heart rate – is a suggestion and will change for each person).

Exercising with Upper Crossed Syndrome

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Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) is a postural problem that starts with muscle imbalances between the muscles of the front and the back of the upper body. The shoulders round inward, the upper back starts to develop a rounded, hump-like appearance, and the head juts forward into Forward Head Posture. Tight muscles typically include the pectoralis major, the levator scapulae, the upper trapezius , latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoid, and the subscapularis (part of rotator cuff) . The weakened muscles include the rhomboids, posterior deltoid, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, deep cervical neck flexors, and the teres minor and infraspinatus (also part of the rotator cuff).

Upper Crossed Syndrome

A person with UCS will often have headaches, a feeling of extreme