Fitability

Deb Bailey AFPA, MAT, CanFitPro, YMCA

Cardio Training – What Kind Should I Do?

 

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

 

Interval Training has you doing 3-minute stints of low-level cardio (RPE of 10-11, or easy), with 3-minute stints of high intensity cardio (RPE of 16-18, or very challenging). Do these intervals for 30-60 minutes.

 

And finally, there’s Supramaximal Interval Training. This is an extremely challenging cardio model. Each cycle consist of doing cardio for 1 minute at your fastest and most intense rate possible, followed by 2-5 minutes of active rest. That means doing an easy walk or gentle cycling to stay active, but at a much lower intensity. Here’s the challenge: work your way up to 15-20 cycles per session of Supramaximal Training. The great thing about this type of training is that it increases the “afterburn”, or how long your body continues to burn fuel at a higher rate than usual, for the longest time of any of these types of cardio.

 

So how can you put this all together for a very effective variety of cardio workouts? If you are doing cardio four times a week, this chart suggests a schedule that will give you variety and results from your workouts. This shows you a cycle over a period of 4 weeks, which you can repeat when you’re done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AEROBIC

FITNESS STRATEGY

           

 

LSD (Long Slow Distance)

60-80 minutes: continuous aerobic exercise at moderate intensity

 

Continuous Interval Training

30-60 minutes: alternate 3 minutes bouts of low and high intensity

 

Tempo Training:

30-60 minutes continuous aerobic exercise at high intensity

 

Supramaximal Training:  15-20 supramaximal exercise bouts for 1 min., with 2-5 min. active rest between bouts (walking to next cardio station or going much more slowly on the same cardio exercise). Supramaximal = your top speed

 

 

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WARM-UP

Stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical, low-moderate pace

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

AEROBIC ACTIVITY

 

Session 1:

LSD (Long Slow Distance)

Session 1:

Continuous Interval Training

Session 1

Tempo Training

Session 1:

Supramaximal

Training

 

 

Session 2:

Tempo Training

Session 2:

LSD (Long Slow Distance

Session 2: Supramaximal

Training

Session 2: Continuous

Interval training

 

 

 

Session 3: Continuous

Interval training

Session 3:

Supramaximal

Training

 

Session 3:

LSD (Long Slow Distance)

Session 3:

Tempo Training

 

 

Session 4: Supramaximal

Training

Session 4:

Tempo Training

Session 4:

Continuous

Interval Training

Session 4:

LSD (Long Slow Distance

CHALLENGE

Get to at least 200 minutes total cardio  per week

Get to at least 200 minutes total cardio per week

Get to at least 200 minutes total cardio per week

Get to at least 200 minutes total cardio per week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

AEROBIC

FITNESS STRATEGY

           

 

LSD (Long Slow Distance)

60-80 minutes: continuous aerobic exercise at moderate intensity

bpm = 121-146

Continuous Interval Training 30-60 minutes: alternate 3 minutes bouts of low and high intensity

Low bpm = 51-67

High bpm = 134-152

Tempo Training:

30-60 minutes continuous aerobic exercise at high intensity

bpm = 159-177

Supramaximal Training:  15-20 supramaximal exercise bouts for 1 min., with 2-5 min. active rest between bouts (walking briskly to next cardio station or going much more slowly on the same cardio exercise). Supramaximal = your top speed

 

 

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WARM-UP

Stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical, low-moderate pace

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

 

7-10 min.

AEROBIC ACTIVITY

 

Session 1:

LSD (Long Slow Distance) 60-80 min:

Bpm = 121-146

 

Session1: Supramaximal

Training:

Session 1: Continuous

Interval training:

Low bpm = 51-67

High bpm = 134-152

Session 1:

Tempo Training:

Bpm = 159-177

 

 

Session 2:

Tempo Training

Session 2:

LSD (Long Slow Distance

Session 2: Supramaximal

Training

Session 2: Continuous

Interval training

 

 

 

Session 3: Continuous

Interval training

Session 3:

Tempo Training

 

Session 3:

LSD (Long Slow Distance)

Session 3: Supramaximal

Training

 

 

Session 4: Supramaximal

Training

Session 4: Continuous

Interval training

Session 4:

Tempo Training:

 

Session 4:

LSD (Long Slow Distance

 

Get 150- 200 minutes total cardio (not counting warm-up time) per week

Get 150- 200 minutes total cardio (not counting warm-up time) per week

Get 150- 200 minutes total cardio (not counting warm-up time) per week

Get 150- 200 minutes total cardio (not counting warm-up time) per week

 

 

As for the type of cardio activity to do, it’s important to vary your challenges. If you enjoy cycling classes, recognize that this works the quadriceps and hip flexors particularly, and choose other activities, such as swimming, aerobic classes, kickboxing, elliptical, treadmill, snowshoeing  or skiing to round out your cardio workouts. This is a good way to avoid overuse injuries of any particular muscle group.

 

 

 

 

Exercising with Upper Crossed Syndrome

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).

 

Read more: Exercising with Upper Crossed Syndrome

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