The Best Ways to Achieve Your Fitness Goals
For many people, “cardio” is a dreaded word. Thoughts of countless hours in the gym running on a treadmill or doing innumerable step-ups come to mind.
Cardio is hard, but it’s necessary… Especially if you are trying to cut weight after doing a long bulk. When it comes to cardio, there are 5 things you keep in mind. Following these conditioning tips will help you lose body fat and reveal the hard-earned muscle that you’ve worked for!
The 5 Best Conditioning Tips to Get You Lean this Year
1. High Intensity Is King
When doing conditioning for fat loss, high intensity training is the key. You’ve probably heard the word ‘HIIT.’ It stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it is one of the best ways to lose body fat. Fast-paced, explosive interval workouts are crucial if you want to see quick results.
Think of HIIT as short and (not so) sweet workouts. Research shows that they are one of the best ways to lose body-fat (source).
An easy way to do interval training is to do what’s called EMOM training. EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute. For instance, you could do 8 burpees every minute on the minute. Once you complete your 8 burpees, rest until minute 2 begins. This should take anywhere from 15-30 seconds. Rest until your next minute begins. Do 10 minutes total (or whatever number you come up with).
Add a quick EMOM at the end of your workouts. You can do them with any workout, but aim for full body exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, air squats, and other similar movements.
This is a simple way to start adding HIIT workouts to your fitness routine. If you add these high intensity workouts to your routine every week, you’ll start rapidly seeing results! You can learn more about high intensity training here.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Take it Slow
It may seem as if there is a contradiction in this article. Both low and slow cardio and short and intense are recommended — why is that?
The reason is simple: your body needs both forms of cardio.
Short, intense cardio sessions use carbohydrates stored in your body as fuel. Doing HIIT sessions depletes your stored carbs and helps you to get leaner. Long, slow distance cardio breaks down fat for fuel. Being able to target both forms of energy will help your fat loss efforts.
We suggest doing one long, slow cardio session each week. The goal isn’t to get out of breath; in fact, you want to be going slow enough that you can maintain a conversation the whole time. This taps into your body’s ideal heart rate zone. It will build your endurance and burn fat without using your muscle tissue as a fuel source.
So get out there and run or bike. Spend a good 20 minutes moving, but not too fast. Remember, you should be able to hold a conversation.
3. Row, Row, Row
One of the best forms of cardio is rowing. One of the main reasons it is recommended is because it is zero impact (i.e., it won’t beat up your joints like running does). This is awesome for your overall health as years of jogging can damage your joint tissues.
Rowing also allows you to get accurate data on your workout. You can look at exactly how many meters you rowed, your split times, etc… For data nerds, that information is invaluable. It is useful to have the data to see how you improve week-over-week. For instance, if you rowed 500 meters at a 2:47 pace last week, and this week you did it in 2:44, it’s easy to see your improvement!
Celebrate those PRs, because they don’t happen every day. Having those little victories is the key to making consistent gains in the gym. Learn more about rowing here.
4. Use a Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor is one of the best investments you can make if you want precise data on your cardio output. You can see how your body is responding to the challenges you are putting it through.
This is especially important if you are doing longer, slower workouts. You can find your heart rate fat burning zone. Yes, that’s a real thing!
You want to be working at around 70% of your max rate for maximum fat burn and minimal muscle wasting.
Using a heart rate monitor is key because it allows you to adjust your workouts to ensure that you are getting the exact type of response you want.
5. Do What Works For You
As much as we all love to dig into the most scientifically advanced ways to lose body fat, at the end of the day, do the form of cardio that you find most enjoyable. Do what you know what you will stick to.
If you hate biking, then it wouldn’t do me any good to give you an in-depth cardio routine that involves biking. Even if that routine was the best routine on the planet, it would be a failure.
So whether your preferred way to do cardio is kickboxing or long hikes, build on that. Don’t be afraid to add in new movements and training ideas, but make sure you get the foundation right.
Always remember that doing something is better than nothing. So get out there and train! Make cardio fun again.