Not only is cardio a good way to supplement a consistent workout routine, it can be used as a mental tool to help prepare yourself for the day ahead or to unwind, unplug and get away from the world around you - if for only a few fleeting moments.
But what kind of cardio is right for you? Let’s go over two popular forms and the pros and cons of each.
Steady state is any form of cardio where you maintain a steady intensity for a set period of time.
OUR RECOMMENDED ROUTINE:
Go outdoors, fill your lungs with fresh air and walk briskly for 30-45 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to walk just fast enough where you can carry on a conversation without running out of breath.
If the great outdoors aren’t an option then jump on a bike, elliptical or treadmill. If you’re on the tread we recommend 30-45 minutes at 7.5-10% incline while walking 3.5-4mph.
DAYS PERFORMED A WEEK: 3-5 (first thing in the morning or immediately following workouts)
PROS OF STEADY STATE:
CONS OF STEADY STATE:
H.I.I.T. - or High Intensity Interval Training - is any form of cardio activity that alternates periods of higher intensity with periods of lower intensity.
OUR RECOMMENDED ROUTINE:
We typically perform HIIT on an ‘off-day’ (one where we won’t be performing a workout) and also after we’ve eaten. As the name implies HIIT is high-intensity and we wouldn’t recommend performing it while fasted as it would be counterproductive.
Try and find a park, a track or somewhere with plenty of space and warm-up by briskly walking for a minute or two in addition to performing some lower body mobility. Next, begin H.I.I.T. with an all out sprint for 20 seconds. Follow this up with 40 second active rest (walking at a slow pace) and you’ve just completed your first round. Repeat this process over and over again. 20 seconds sprinting all out, 40 seconds active rest. For those new to H.I.I.T. we recommend up to 10 rounds total to get a feel for it and for those who are more comfortable with the routine we recommend 15-20 rounds.
Don’t have a park or open area? You can also perform it in the gym on a rowing machine, battle ropes or by utilizing bodyweight exercises such as mountain climbers.
DAYS PERFORMED A WEEK: 1-3 (typically performed on off-days from the gym)
PROS OF HIIT:
CONS OF HIIT:
This is a common question to which you’ll give an easy answer - whichever you prefer. For us personally we’ll stick with steady state (either fasted first thing in the morning or immediately following our workout) and throw in a H.I.I.T. here and there on our days off from the gym.
For 30 days I tried to eat and workout like a competition bodybuilder while logging every day in extreme detail along the way. Turns out it's just as hard as I thought it'd be, and more!