Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Add a little variation to your Cardio Training.... and see Quicker Results.

*This is a re-post*

This post is inspired by:
  • My cousin - who was at the gym for 2 hours a few weeks ago, she said she spent an hour on the bike, 30 minutes on the cross trainer and 30 minutes on the treadmill. I told her she could cut down the time spent with better results by doing intervals on one (max 2) of the three machines she used and it's true!

  • And Ibukun (a reader) :)

I remember when I took up running - I was training for my first ever 5k and following a detailed training plan.

Within a few weeks, I saw results - both expected and unexpected. There was a huge improvement in my running - I started from barely able to jog for 1 minute to keeping a steady pace for 15 minutes! And... I also noticed my clothes started to fit better <--- pleasant surprise :) I ran that 5k and quite a few races after - 5ks, 10ks and 2 half marathons.

But this post isn't about me or my running ;)

It's about the second result of this... the weight loss which was short-lived I noticed that after many months, I started to gain the weight back! I was still running and yes, still indulging once in a while but why wasn't I getting the same results?!?!?!

I had reached a Plateau in my running, doing the same thing but not seeing the desired results. I was running out of habit and wasn't challenging myself anymore - my body was used to it and I might as well have been going for a long walk.

No matter what form of cardio you do - running/walking outdoors or on a treadmill, cycling, skipping, cross trainer, etc - you must vary how you train and continue to challenge yourself. This way your body is continously being challenged and you see results :

Ways to vary your cardio training include:
  • Interval Training
    I know I always go on about interval training. It is one of my favourites plus it's it's been proved to aid fat loss! Another advantage of this is an increase in your endurance and running speed :)
    Interval training = short bursts of intense exercise followed by longer periods of moderate to easy exercise. For example, running at 80-90% of your maximum speed for 30 seconds and slowing down/walking/stop completely for 60-120s (at about 50% of your maximum pace). Repeat at least 8 times.
    Try this 2ce a week.
  • Long Steady State
    This is exercise at a comfortable pace - the body is being challenged but not too much. About 60% of your maximum heart rate. On a scale of 1 to 10, you'd be working at 5-6.
    I'd suggest having a cardio session like this 1ce-2ce a week.
  • Hills/Resistance
    With this type of training, you're constantly challenging yourself. As it gets easier at a certain level of resistance, all you have to do is - increase it so you keep working hard.
    On the bike or cross trainer, you'd have to increase the level which will result in you having to work harder to maintain a certain speed. On the treadmill, increase the incline and outdoors, an uphill route.
    You can mix this with interval training ie Run up a hill as fast as you can/increase the resistance for a set time, slow down/decrease resistance for double the time. Repeat as many times as you can.
    Try this 1ce a week.
The above can be applied to any form of cardio training. Try them and if you have any questions - please ask :)
Photo Credit: Muscle Fitness Tips


Vickii said...

You know how I love my cardio so I found this post great and informative!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Adura. Ibukun.x

Adura said...


In the midst of her said...

Adura, before we even became cyber friends I first "discovered" your other fit buki blog and you inspired me to run. I was on week 8, running for 20 mins straight and then I got pregnant and ...the rest is history). I am currently on week 3 of C25k and loving it.

Adura said...

Hey buddy :)

That's so nice to hear! I met Vickii through that blog and now she won't leave me alone ;)

Oooh I remember Couch to 5K, glad you're enjoying it :)