Find Your Cardio Plan
If you’re familiar with The 3 Pronged Attack for Weight Loss, you know that there are three prongs to this amazing weight loss plan: CARDIO, WEIGHT TRAINING and DIET. Cardio is one of the three prongs since it is a proven method for achieving weight loss.[i]
In order for cardio and the other two prongs in The 3 Pronged Attack for Weight Loss to be as impactful as possible, it’s important for you to find the cardio plan that works best for you because the more you enjoy working out, the more likely you are to stick with it and achieve your weight loss goals.
In order to find the cardio plan that works best for you, you’ll have to do two things: find your training method and find the equipment you can want to perform it on.
Find Your Training Method
Find your training method and equipment based on what best suits your goals, physical fitness level and personality.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
If you live a fast-paced life and desire a competitive training program that provides awesome weight loss benefits without spending hours in the gym every day, HITT is for you!
HIIT consists of performing multiple consecutive bouts of short burst high-intensity activity periods followed by low-intensity recovery periods. [ii] HIIT workouts can vary in time, intensity and the equipment you choose to perform them on.
The Benefits of HIIT
- Reduces abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.
- Improves blood pressure.
- Improves your body’s VO2max (maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use).[iii]
- Improves your cholesterol profiles.
- Improves your insulin sensitivity.[iv]
- Doesn’t take much time out of your day.
- Your body continues to burn up calories (up to 7 percent of those burned during your exercise) post-workout.[v]
LISS (Low-Intensity Steady-State)
For those of you who enjoy taking long relaxing runs and are not necessarily the “intense” type, low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio is probably right up your alley. While LISS workouts will take you longer to complete than HIIT workouts, you can still achieve excellent weight loss results!
A typical LISS workout involves maintaining a low-to-moderate exercise intensity level for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your fitness level. You can also perform LISS workouts with a variety of exercise equipment and amenities.
The Benefits of LISS
- Burns calories & helps you lose weight.
- Better for people recovering from injuries.
- Strengthens your heart.
- Improves your cardiovascular endurance.
- Provides an easier transition than HIIT for those who are just starting to work out, or have taken a long hiatus.
- Sustainable for people who want to lose weight but don’t enjoy intense exercise.
- Can be performed closer in time to weight training workouts.
Find Your Equipment
Once you’ve discovered what training method you want to follow, you’ll want to decide what equipment you want to perform your cardio on.
Low-Impact Cardio Equipment
The Pool – Whether you are performing aqua aerobics or swimming laps, performing exercises aided by the buoyancy in a pool is an excellent form of cardio for people recovering from injuries. It’s also a great way to stay cool during your workouts.
Cardio Row Machine – Unlike most other forms of cardio, cardio row machine workouts also train your upper-body! Due to the entirely different motion it has from other cardio options, it is a very low-impact form of cardio.
Elliptical – The elliptical provides a cardio workout similar to the treadmill but without the same stress on your hips and knees. It also stimulates greater quadriceps activity![vi]
Stationary Bike – Similar to the cycle (below) but with less impact and more back support. You can increase the resistance or your speed, and as a result, you can increase the amount of calories you burn.
Treadmill (walking) – As long as you keep the pace slow, the treadmill can be a low-impact calorie burning cardio option.
Moderate Impact Cardio Equipment
Step Machines – The amount of impact can vary with step machines depending on the height and vigor of your steps.
Cycle – The cycle and the stationary bike are very similar but the cycle requires more core strength and can be a bit more vigorous, depending on how you use it.
High-Impact Cardio Equipment
Treadmill (jogging or running) – The treadmill is the optimal cardio equipment for burning calories.[vii] Also, while it is a high-impact form of cardio, it is still easier on your body than outdoor running.
Once you’ve chosen your training method and the exercise equipment, you want to perform cardio on you’ll have one-third of The 3 Pronged Attack for Weight Loss mapped out. Now all you have to do is go out there and do it and stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.