The Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cardio Workout
When you commit to strength training, you are building muscular endurance and strength while keeping your bones and joints healthy and strong. Fat loss is a side effect.
To balance out the good work of strength training, I recommend that my clients participate in some kind of cardio exercise. And cardio is not an exact science. There’s no X times of week + Y speed = Results. Cardio does burn calories but it also helps you keep your heart healthy and prevents disease.
Should I do cardio in the morning or in the evening?
Studies say that you should exercise first thing in the morning. They also say you should exercise in the evening. I say you should exercise when it’s most convenient for you. If this means going for a quick run on your lunch break or waking up at 5 AM — the most important part in finding a place for exercise in your day. Make it part of your schedule and find a time that works for you. You know when’s not a good time to exercise? Never.
What kind of cardio should I do?
The kind of cardio you should do is the kind that you like. Forget about keeping an eye on the calories burned square on the machine. Those numbers are estimates and often exaggerations. This means there’s no point looking for the machine that burns the most calories — instead find something that you enjoy. Some people love spending the focused 30 minutes on an elliptical, catching up or rewatching their favourite TV show. Others would describe this as one of the circles of hell. For others, hiking on the weekend or taking a dance class contribute to their cardio.
Like my advice when it comes to finding exercise time in your schedule, the same goes for cardio equipment and type of cardio. The most important thing about cardio is that you do it.
How Long Should I Spend on Cardio?
If you’re getting started, you should spend 20-60 minutes on cardio, three to five days a week. If you are new to training, three days a week is a good start. If you are more experienced, I would aim closer to the five days a week to increase your heart rate. And this doesn’t mean that you need to run five days a week. You can mix it up with a combination of classes, activities, and cardio machines.
Cardio is one of the few things in life that really is all about you. So be selfish and find that me time. It’s your adventure, so what will you choose?