The Ultimate Guide to Cardio Workouts

Getting into good shape and maintaining it can be a lot of work – and, if you have got things right with your strength training, you might remain unsure what to do about cardio. This uncertainty isn’t necessarily unusual, given that the forms of cardio you can try are staggeringly varied.

What type of cardio would be most appropriate for you? Also, at what times should you try it? Here are detailed summaries of three of the cardio types that are most popular today.

HIIT: High-intensity interval training

It’s hard not to be familiar – at least to some extent – with HIIT if you already know about cardio. However, this isn’t going to stop us putting forward a definition of HIIT. This is where periods of all-out intensity are alternated with spells of moderate intensity, as Oxygen explains.

By engaging in HIIT, you can train your aerobic and anaerobic systems at once while honing your metabolic flexibility. That flexibility concerns how successfully you can transition between fat-burning at the recovery stage and carb-burning in the intervals.

By kick-starting your metabolism, HIIT can ensure that your calorie-burning continues long after the training itself, says Men’s Health. Just 20 minutes of working out could see you burn 5% of body fat, Southern Illinois University researchers have found.

Tabata training

This could be deemed a form of HIIT; however, it differs in lasting under five minutes at a time. You would start by working as hard as possible for 20 seconds, resting and recovering over 10 seconds, and repeating this sequence across eight rounds or four minutes.

One six-week study discovered that participants in this kind of training grew their anaerobic capacity by 15%. Meanwhile, their aerobic power and VO2 max – the main metric recording power, pace and endurance – increased by 15%. As the body is worked at full capacity without being allowed to recover completely, it boosts its oxygen uptake – hence these impressive improvements.

Tabata training should, when possible, be done before strength training to ensure that energy can be entirely dedicated to the former. However, breaks of one or two days should be taken between sessions of Tabata training to let the body fully recover.

VIIT: Variable-intensity interval training

This, too, could initially appear to be a flavour of HIIT; however, a crucial difference with VIIT is that intervals and the work-to-rest ratio can be varied in duration and intensity. Your body would be prevented getting used to the routine quite as soon.

With VIIT, you can increase the number of intervals that you do in a specific amount of time. Therefore, the effect of EPOC – exercise post-oxygen consumption – can be strengthened and so you can burn 20-35% additional calories during the training and the following 24 hours.

Educating yourself about these different kinds of cardio can help you when preparing to join one of Prestige Boot Camp’s fitness boot camps, which take place in pleasant settings including Devon and Spain. Call 0117 973 12 13 for more details.


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