by Andrew CSCS, March 12, 2018
When it comes to working out, the most common answer to the question, “What is your goal?” is, “Lose weight.” For many people, this goal probably makes sense. However, we need to dig a little deeper to uncover the best approach to do so. By just looking at the number on the scale with “tunnel vision”, we isolate just one of the many variables that need to be looked at in order to reach the real goal; look better. Ultimately, the true baseline measurement that needs to be looked at is body composition (body fat percentage). In other words, what is the number on the scale made up of? By looking at this variable, we can accurately look at how much muscle mass a person has versus the amount of total body fat that they carry. This is important to know and track because we want to build a certain amount of muscle mass as we are losing body fat.
The follow up question to the answer, “lose weight”, would be, “what is the best approach to lose weight?” The majority of the time people will say, “cardio”. Despite being a simple, safe, and common approach to losing weight, typical “cardio” training is a vague term with a lot of different meanings. For most people, “cardio” consists of walking/jogging on the treadmill, using the elliptical, or pedaling on a stationary bike. Using these pieces of equipment for 30-60 minutes at a time each day you come to the gym will eventually get very boring. Our body’s plateau and we no longer see the results that we were looking for. This is commonly the reason why people get bored with exercise and stop their workout routines.
Utilizing different, creative, and more efficient modalities to train your cardiovascular system can help to keep workouts exciting, enjoyable, and effective. Here are a few examples of Cardio Training Styles that may help maximize your workouts.
- Tabata Circuit – 4 exercises (typically bodyweight or very little equipment) done consecutively for a duration of :20 seconds of work followed by :10 seconds of rest between each exercise. Complete multiple rounds of these 4 exercises and increase the number of rounds as your endurance improves over time.
Bodyweight Squats x :20sec (:10sec rest)
Pushups x :20sec (:10sec rest)
Jump Rope x :20sec (:10sec rest)
Burpees x :20sec (:10sec rest)
- Anaerobic Complex – When there is a limited amount of equipment available, a complex can be utilized to be as efficient as possible. A complex is a series of three exercises done in a row two times consecutively with no rest between. Once the three exercises have been completed two times through, a period of “active rest” occurs (a low impact bodyweight exercise used as a break between bouts of exercise).
- DB 4pt Row > Pushup x8
- DB Squat > Overhead Press x8 < x2
- DB Split Squat x4e
*Active Rest* Front Plank x :30sec
Mikeska, D.. (2014). A 12 Week Metabolic Conditioning Program. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 61-67.