Man, if you think you’re overweight, or even that you are not, but can see there’s excess of fat when you look at yourself in the mirror (shirtless), which you wish you wouldn’t, then there’s no way out: we’ve got to invest in the cardio workout.
Of course weight training will also contribute to weight loss and definition, but only when you get your heart to beat fast, results will be visible quickly. And these days there are loads of options that make us sweat: bike, treadmill, elliptical, stair stepper and the good old rope.
The point is finding the best kind of workout to make your fat melt in record time. Alright! I know I’m exaggerating a bit here, but who wouldn’t love to see their six pack as soon as possible?
Well, here are three different kinds of cardio workouts for you to compare. The basic workout, the HIIT and the fasting training. I’ve chosen two experts to talk with me and help me draw a conclusion on thiss. Take a look!
Basic cardio workout
Well, this is a piece of cake really! You know your first time at the gym when the instructors tell you to walk from 20 to 30 minutes on the treadmill? This is basically that! “About any activity you do for longer than 2 minutes, in a continuous and prolonged way, at a low to moderate intensity, reproducing a cyclical and repetitive movement”, explains André Trombini, a physical educator at the gym Bodytech.
According to him, running, walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, skiing, skating, skipping rope, climbing mountains as well as gym classes, are examples of cardio workouts. “What’s difficult about this kind of workout is controlling intensity as to avoid getting fatigued too fast”, he clarifies.
Some of the benefits of the basic cardio workout: the increase of aerobic metabolism, decline of the Heart Rate during exertion, improvement of the peripheral circulation and the development of a more economical metabolism. “ That is, you can do more using less energy”, points Cacá Ferreira, a corporate technical manager at the gym Cia Athletica.
And besides all that, anyone can do the basic workout, since its intensity will always remain between low and moderate. “Just by doing it correctly you’re already winning, since your body is in motion. However, before taking up any activity, it’s essential to see a doctor, so that he can evaluate you and give you the go-ahead. Plus, a physical educator is indispensable”, Trombini advises.
And how long should you do it in order to lose weight? Well, that’s a bit controversial. For Cacá Ferreira, between 45 and 60 minutes. “This way, the person will burn 500 calories daily, which should help shed 1 kg in one week, as we’re talking about 3,500 calories a week”, he figures.
Trombini, in turn, is a bit less demanding: “If we’re talking about a moderate to low workout, I’d say from 20 minutes to one hour. This is the best way to use fat as fuel and to improve your performance”, he adds.
Cacá has prepared a fantastic training plan with cardio workout for us. It’s quite simple. You can use the elliptical, the bike or the treadmill.
Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours per session.
Beginners: 30 to 45 minutes; intermediate: 45 to 60 minutes e advanced: 60 to 90 minutes.
Number of times a week: 2 to 3 (beginner), 3 to 4 (intermediate) and 5 to 6 (advanced).
Intensity: 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (you can use the formula 220 – your age to know what your maximum heart rate is), that is, if you’re 30, do 220 – 30 = 190. In this case, the recommended heart rate will be between 114 and 133.
How to go about it: continuously.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This workout is based on a scientifically proven concept of weight loss and fat burn, which consists in higher intensity. “But struggling in a particular exercise is just not enough, since the concept of intensity is a much broader concept than one can imagine and must be carried out according to scientific knowledge”, Trombini explains.
And he goes on: “What we have here is a basic model of the HIIT workout, where you can pick your exercises. You can choose cycling, running, skipping rope, the trampoline or whatever you like best.
The whole point is respecting the high intensity and the resting moments as much as you can, in which the focus is a short duration session, with the highest intensity exercises as possible. “That means that when we talk about HIIT, it’s important to know, in the first place, that it’s done at the highest intensity one can”, Trombini adds.
Cacá Ferreira tells me that the session is 4 to 30 minutes long, which can improve glucose metabolism and maximize fat burn in a much more efficient way because it increases your resting metabolic rate.
So, if you already work out, I think HIIT is perfect for you. Because it should be done by physically well-conditioned individuals seeking to reach their limits. “I don’t recommend beginners or individuals with orthopedic limitations to try it, especially those with knee injuries. Besides those people who, for some reason, need to keep their blood pressure or heart rate at a lower pace”, the technical manager alerts.
How about duration? “Studies have shown that keeping a high intensity (about 84% to 91% of your maximum heart rate) from 12 to 20 minutes promotes great calorie burn. There’s also the increase of enzymes and hormones that make fat mobilization easier for over 24 hours after the workout session”, he adds.
Cacá and Trombini have designed, each, a customized workout plan for us to follow. They’re quite interesting and totally worthy. Let’s start from Cia Athletica’s technical manager’s:
You can use the treadmill, the bike or the elliptical.
Warm-up: 5 minutes at 60 to 70% of your maximum HR.
Workout: 8 sprints x 20 seconds (84 to 91% max HR) x 10 seconds of pause (still). Increase each sprint until you reach 100% or over your maximum HR.
Return slowly: 5 minutes at 60% of your max HR.
Trombini also gives his contribution: Remember this kind of workout is aimed at individuals who are already well-conditioned.
Skip rope for one minute, trying to skip as many times as you can.
Recover for 30 seconds or 1 minute.
Frequency: 10 to 20 sets.
Fasting cardio workout
I have recently written about Intermittent Fasting, a diet that’s been gaining more and more supporters all over the world. Well, now we’ll explain to you how the fasting workout works in fact.
As you can imagine, running, walking or biking, for example, must be done, here, on an empty stomach. According to Trombini, this kind of activity will increase your calorie burn and improve the insulin profiles in your organism.
“On the other hand, it must be controlled. You can’t exceed your limits because you could get fatigued, or you could get a sensation of fainting or even get hurt. That’s why it’s essential to remember that the exercise should be done at a low intensity”, the physical educator alerts.
And who can try this kind of workout? If you’re diabetic or have self-immune or pre-existent diseases, then you’d better try something else. Now if you show no signs at all of such problems or any others, you can get into your sneakers and go for it. Provided you’ve seen your doctor, of course.
“Professional supervision, at least in the first sessions, to evaluate and measure the cardio workout intensity and time is very important. An individual protocol is created then, reducing risks and, once you’re being monitored, it can be used just fine”, André Trombini explains.
Fasting Workout Plan
So, you like the fasting cardio workout? I knew you would. That’s why I have asked the physical educator to help me out with an exclusive workout plan. Check it out!
Trombina tells me that the workout plan will have low continuous nonstop intensity, and can be done on any machine. A nice frequency would be between 3 and 5 sessions a week. If they’re three, alternate the days. The workout should last 30 minutes, at least, and one hour at most.
– slightly above your comfort zone
– keep the pace without interruptions
Comparing the three workouts
After this talk with the two experts, I think it’s clear that what we have here are three cardio workouts that are quite different from each other. The basic workout, which is for beginners and for people aiming at activities that last longer (running and bike races, etc), promoting cardio respiratory benefits, that is, more breath for activities during longer.
The HITT, on the other hand, is a more intense method, with shorter time, for people avoiding tedious or boring activities, or struggling to squeeze an activity in their schedules”, Trombini explains.
As for the fasting workout, it tends to be, according to the physical educator, a strategy towards aesthetics and boosting your metabolism in the morning. “You should still be careful as this kind of workout shouldn’t be done just anyway. Professional guidance and monitoring are crucial”, he advises.
But which workout is the best? Both André Trombini and Cacá Ferreira agree that HIIT is the best one, since results can be noticed more quickly. Practicing the basic cardio workout, results could take longer to show. And the fasting workout has an expiration date, since our bodies can’t take such routine too long. Besides, it shouldn’t be done on a daily basis.
So, I guess we have a winner. If you’re interested in the HIIT, check out our sheet and I’m sure results will come quickly. Nice workout!