NOTE: I have a detailed article about how you can perform the right kind of cardio for maximum results. You can read that article here.
So you are running endless hours on a treadmill, spinning your wheels like that poor little hamster (Spanky) you had when you were growing up, pumping away on the elliptical machine, not seeing anymore results, totally lost about what else you can do in or out of the gym to stay in shape. I’m here to tell you that it is not your fault. For years it is what we have been told.
“Just get 30-45 minutes of aerobic activity in a day and you will be fit.”
All that running and elliptical pumping might get your heart beating a little or work up a little sweat but it is doing nothing to tighten that butt, shed those extra pounds, lose that belly fat, or add a little muscle to speed up your metabolism. The only thing all that cardio has done for me and many others is put some aching in the knees, pain in the hip, and help loose more muscle than fat.
Much like the Paleo eating style derived from our cavemen and women ancestors, our cardiovascular training should mimic theirs as much as possible. After all, it’s in our DNA right? Think about the day in the life of a “Cave person.” to be politically correct. They spent most of the day walking around at low intensities, getting in an occasional sprint for 10, 20, maybe 30 seconds while chasing down some food to eat. Lifting some heavy rocks, picking up some heavy wood, jumping, swimming, and RESTING…. A LOT!
So Why Should I run Fast/Intervals?
- Increases muscle fiber strength
- Increases insulin sensitivity (absorption of glucose, mobilizes stored fat)
- Increases aerobic ability (without running for days!)
- Increases growth hormone production which helps with fat loss
- Increases metabolism/calorie burning after exercise
- Endorphin production is high (puts you in a good mood)
- Yields a heightened immune response (no more sniffles)
- Less time to perform (more bang for your buck)
- Totally fun… race someone!
Sounds awesome right? Let’s jump in and learn how to run like the Flash.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT RUN HOURS ON END
- Plateaus after 8 weeks (anything after is counterproductive)
- Increases oxidative stress (increases aging)
- Increases adrenal stress (tiredness, allergies, foggy brain, depression, insomnia, inability to mobilize body fat)
- Requires TONS of carbs
- Is totally boring
- Requires tons of time to burn calories
- Does not efficiently burn calories post workout
Read more about the right kind of cardio here.
MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
For you entrepreneurs out there or marketing nerds I want to talk a bit more about why your return on investment (ROI) is profoundly tilted towards interval training versus traditional cardio. I probably should direct this towards the ladies a bit more as you gals out there are the ones that typically look at me like I am crazy when I tell you not to run an hour every day and to keep your cardio to 15-30 minutes.
The most important aspect of training is the total caloric expenditure. More calories are burned in less time doing high-intensity interval training versus traditional cardio. This also carries over after your workout. Your metabolism stays sparked for a longer period of time after a high-intensity interval session then if you were to perform traditional cardio. This spike in calorie burning can last up to 24 hours.
JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO MAN!
Give the following routines a try. They are perfect if you like to alternate weight training days with “cardio days.” However, you can add them on to the end of any strength training routines or just mix them in when you feel it is necessary to drop a little junk in the trunk.
- Workout 1: 4 sets 30 second sprint 4:00 walking rest
- Workout 2: 4 sets 30 second sprint 3:30 walking rest
- Workout 3: 4 sets 30 second sprint 3:00 walking rest
- Workout 4: 5 sets 35 second sprint 2:45 minute rest
- Workout 5: 5 sets 35 second sprint 2:30 minute rest
- Workout 6: 6 sets 35 second sprint 2:15 minute rest
- Workout 7: 6 sets 35 second sprint 2:00 minute rest
- Workout 8: 7 sets 35 second sprint 2:00 minute rest
Simply follow the same protocol but increase the sprint sessions to 40-45 seconds and use rest intervals between 1:30 – 2:00 minutes. You can also perform anywhere from 6-15 sets. Don’t be afraid to add variety with equipment as well. Run outside, use a treadmill, run hills, use a bike, rowing machine, double-unders, burpees, etc….
Here are a few more fun ways to make your cardio training more effective and fun!
Run-baby-run (max efforts of):
- 1 mile run; rest same time it took you to run
- Run ½ mile; rest same time it took you to run
- Run ¼ mile
Fish Out Of Water (max effort):
Perform 6-8 sets of…
- Row 500 meters, Run 400 meters; rest 2-3 minutes
Hop, Skip, and Jump Away (max effort):
Perform 6-8 sets of…
- 50 double-unders or (150 single jump rope)
- 400-meter run
- 25 box jumps
- Rest 2-3 minutes
Get outside and get your cardio on, do it inside, but whatever you do, just do it right!
P.S. If you want to learn more about how to perform cardio to increase fat loss, join others using scientifically proven methods to increase your willpower, motivation, all in the name of becoming the healthiest version of yourself.