Monday, December 8, 2008

Types of Cardio Training

There are a number of types of cardiovascular training that can help you meet your fitness and training goals Today I'm going to talk about three of the most common types in use. I'll address each of them separately and examine how they can be incorporated into your fitness regimen for maximum fat loss and fitness.

Steady State

Steady State cardio is done for 60 to 75 minutes. It tends so be somewhat monotonous and may even be considered by some as boring. During this type of exercise we want to keep our heart rate at 55-65% for maximum fat loss effect. How does this actually work you might wonder. Performing steady state cardio has little to no effect on cardio vascular fitness levels, but it does wonders when it comes to burning through fat.

Let's look at it in this way. Put a pan on the stove and put some butter in it. The pan represents your body and the butter is the fat you want to destroy. If you turn the heat to a low setting the butter or fat will slowly melt away and the integrity of the pan in unaffected. It may take longer to melt the butter but it gets the job done without sacrificing anything else. More on this pan analogy in the following sections.

Interval Training

Interval training occurs when you work hard for period of time, usually about one minute, followed by a recovery period of the same duration. This can be continued for 30 or even 60 minutes. The objective is teaching your body to go harder for a shorter period of time without crashing. It also amps up our metabolism, resulting in a great afterburn.

It has been found that by doing this type of cardio, the body increases its cardiovascular ability or the ability for the heart to pump blood and oxygen to other parts of the body. It has also been shown to increase the body's anaerobic capacity. This means that your body will become more efficient at using other means than oxygen to supply energy to itself.

Turning again to the butter and pan analogy, it would be similar to turning the burner on and off. As you do this the pan (your body) starts warm but stays warm and gets even hotter. It continues to melt the butter even when the pan is turned off and it is using indirect heat (anaerobic) to melt the butter when the direct heat (aerobic) is turned off.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training is the cousin to Interval training. HIIT occurs when you go all out; balls to the walls, so to speak, for 20 seconds, maybe thirty and then in a recovery mode for the balance of the minute. You will repeat this cycle for about 20 minutes; maybe 25 if you are lucky. When you are done with a HIIT session you should have nothing left to give. When you do HIIT it puts your body in an anabolic state. Because of this we can only continue it short amount of time and could suffer muscle loss if we do not fuel ourselves properly.

Consider the pan analogy once again. In a HIIT session we torch the butter (fat) within minutes but if the pan has nothing to burn after the butter has flamed up, it will actually turn upon itself and ultimately warp or ruin the pan.

Each of these modes of cardio can and should be incorporated into your exercise regimen. Keeping your body guessing at what will come next and how it should respond, is key to successful weight loss.

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