Cardio is a necessary component of fitness for various reasons:
- It keeps you fit
- It works your heart (the most important muscle of all)
- It can burn serious fat and calories
The amount of fat and calories you burn in the amount of time you burn them depends on your choice of cardio. Here are your options:
- LSD – Long Slow Duration Cardio is exactly what it says on the tin; long and slow. This is appropriate training for marathon runners, long distance cyclists, swimmers and rowers. This method keeps you in the ‘aerobic’ threshold, meaning you use your fat stores for energy and not much else, allowing you to train at a steady pace for longer periods.
- HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is the preferred method of cardio for bodybuilders, sprinters, and fitness models. This method of cardio burns into your fat and carbohydrate stores in a minimal amount of time, and allows your body to maintain muscle. HIIT is performed by breaking up extremely intense intervals with short rest periods. So sprinting on the treadmill followed by a slow jog or complete stop, every other minute for 15minutes. You can do this on any cardio machine by adjusting the time or resistance. HIIT can also be achieved through boxing, weight lifting and various fitness classes.
- Fartlek – Fartlek is similar to HIIT only without specific rest and exertion times. So you may find yourself jogging for 2 minutes, walking for 1 and sprinting for 30 seconds. This should be done for a similar period as HIIT, perhaps a little longer, and is ideal for those whose bodies are adjusting to HIIT and need to shake it up for a few days/weeks. Fartlek is a great option for sportsmen as it mimics the unpredictable nature of sporting/gaming.