Athletes have become bigger and stronger and are in better shape nowadays, and the trend towards endurance training has only accelerated this phenomenon. Athletes are getting leaner and more ‘ripped’ than ever, in nearly every sport.
It used to be that a baseball player, for example, would focus on exercises specifically designed to improve the specific skill set that they needed to succeed on the baseball field. The same sport-specific training was true for every sport. But as people began to see the broad-spectrum benefits that came with endurance training for events like the triathlon, it became evident that an individual with greater strength and endurance in any sport could benefit from a more well-rounded circuit of exercises.
It didn’t take long before regular people started to realize that they could benefit from endurance training, too, and it quickly became more and more popular. Today, its appeal is at an all-time high. Even weekend athletes, as a result of endurance training, are becoming almost indefatigable.
I get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.
Generally I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.
The category Your Health Questions attempts to take a more proactive approach to answering your questions so that everyone can benefit from the Q & A.
“First off very good site, very informative.
I am 33 5-11 170lbs. I just went from a split where I was doing 30 min low intensity cardio after the work out. I have been enjoying the full body workouts; I feel I get more out of it.
I am trying to maintain the muscle I have and get more ripped toned. Should I keep doing a low intensity cardio session after my work out or should I move to HIIT or some sort of other interval training on the off days?
I always read cardio after lifting or in the am is the best. So will I still burn fat doing cardio on the off days? Help!!”
First off, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad I can help someone with my babbling.
Now, regarding your cardio questions, I have a couple responses and then I will discuss my reasoning:
My opinion is that you should focus more on high intensity interval training (HIIT) than on aerobic cardio.
If you insist on doing aerobic cardio at the same time as weight training, then it should be performed after weight training, but then you have to accept the drawbacks of doing cardio after weight training.
If you insist on doing aerobic cardio, not at the same time as weight training, but on the same day as weight training, it should be performed in the morning, on an empty stomach.
If you insist on doing aerobic cardio on a non-weight training day, then you have 2 choices:
in the morning on an empty stomach – to maximize fat loss
any other time of the day – used as active recovery
If you plan doing HIIT, it should not be performed before a workout.
Cardio in general works best when performed 8-10 hours before or after weight training, or on a separate day.
If you’re looking to keep your cardio fitness levels running high throughout the year regardless of weather conditions or other hindrances, then the incline treadmill workout is the best training option.
Incline workouts offer many benefits.
For starters, it’ll help you simulate hill running, thus burn off colossal amounts of calories without having to go outside and stomach the bad weather. In addition, incline workouts are great boredom busters, hence if you dread indoor cardio training, use the incline to your advantage and make your workout more challenging and fun.
As a result, if you’re not doing an incline workout—at least once per week—then you’re doing yourself a big disservice.
Interval Training is simply THE most efficient type of cardio you can perform. You can get pretty much ALL the benefits of longer-duration cardio but without the long duration. Moreover, you don’t get the boredom, you don’t spend all your time doing it, and you don’t have nearly the risk of overuse injuries.
In a Nutshell:
Low-intensity exercise is defined as working at a heart rate of about 60 percent to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate (equal to 220 minus your age; thus, if you are 20 years old, 220 minus 20 is 200 maximum heart rate).
High-intensity exercise is defined as working at about 75 percent to 85 percent or more of your maximum heart rate. Using the example of 200 as your maximum heart rate, working at 60 percent of it would be 120 beats per minute. Eighty percent would be 160 beats per minute.
I don’t HATE endurance cardio. I’m trying to give it a chance, albeit a slim chance.
It has its purpose in workout routines, especially for those who are untrained, obese, or have health complications that make high intensity training dangerous. But I can’t just blow off the continually mounting evidence (for the past 15 years) that high intensity interval training is optimal for fat loss and for developing speed, power, muscle, and even endurance!
For many years now, hardcore trainers have been touting the superior effectiveness of high intensity intervals for fat loss. But still, trainers, athletes, housewives, couch potatoes, televangelists, martial arts instructors, teachers, doctors, and pretty much anyone outside of the ‘hardcore trainer’ group suggests that if you want to lose weight you have to either walk everyday or jog for at least an hour a day 4-5 times a week. Wake up people!
How to ramp up the speed for better fat loss and fitness gains
If you want to run faster, then you need to start running faster. This may sound as a cliché but because it’s true.
Speedwork—in all its forms—is key for unlocking your full potential as a runner. Not only that, speedwork will make you fitter, enhance the range of movement in your joints, boost power and drive in your lower body, and it will eventually help you to run harder for longer.
Furthermore, Speedwork is key for weight loss. According to many studies, interval running—a form of speed work— burns up to three times more calories than sticking to a steady and easy pace. Of course, long runs at a low intensity have their benefits, but when it comes to burning the flab, speedwork wins the race.
For many of us the hardest part about working out is motivation. This could be due to the fact that you haven’t made fitness a priority; when you’ve always got something more important on your plate it’s all too easy to put your health on the back burner.
Or maybe you’ve been exercising diligently and you’re simply not seeing the results you want, a situation that can be frustrating and discouraging.
It could even be that you simply don’t find your exercise routine particularly challenging or fun.
Whatever your reasons for skipping the workout day after day, the truth is that you need to find ways to get motivated, and interval training can provide you with several benefits that might just move you to get your butt off the couch and into gear.
Here are a few benefits of interval training to consider: (more…)
Any physical activity makes you expend more energy and as a result, if you are an active person, you will burn fat. Normally, the body will transform carbohydrates into energy. However, fat is used as fuel for metabolism and movement.
You could also use thermogenic foods and supplements, such as caffeine and hot peppers, to facilitate faster results, but diet and high intensity exercise are the two top ways to lose weight fast.
Weight Training and Burning Fat
Aside from a sensible diet, your fat loss program should include physical activities such as weight training and conditioning drills. However, the training sessions should implement an appropriate fat loss strategy for optimal results. Training with heavier weights and fewer reps has shown in numerous studies to preserve muscle mass on a low calorie diet, increase strength, stimulate fat burning, and elevate metabolism.
It is a common myth that we should train with low weight and high reps when trying to lose fat – that strategy is just a prescription for strength and muscle loss.
This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of pharmacy technician certification. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org