I am constantly being asked "How much cardio do you do?". So, I thought it would be best to write it here to make it easier for people to refer to. I have been consistently training and eating healthy since April 2009. When I first started training I used to do cardio 3x a week for 30-45 mins. I like to switch it up and split my time between running on the threadmill, biking, or on the elliptical machine. I have always liked to perform cardio after weight training. I find that I'm strongest at the begining of my workouts, hence I save most my energy for weight training which is really my passion and leave cardio for last.
Currently my main focus is to maintain my low body fat percentage while at the same time adding lean mass to my physique. This is one of the reasons I like to limit my cardio time to no more than 30 minutes 3x a week. And, as I previously mentioned, I usually leave it for the end of my workouts, after resistance training. I have found the this works best for my body type and for the look I am trying to achieve. This does not mean it has to be the same way for everyone else. I currently don't need to lose any extra weight, but someone with different goals than mine, might need to add more or less cardio to their training routine. You must listen to your body and adjust your workouts and most importantly your diet accordingly to achieve whatever your goals may be.
I have never been much of a fan of cardiovascular training. But, in the summer months I do enjoy being outdoors and take advantage of the good weather by going for a quick run or to climb some stairs. But I mainly do it for the enjoyment of taking in the fresh air rather than for the cardio itself. I don’t knock it though; you have to do what you love and what makes you happy. If you are a runner good for you, but remember to also incorporate some weight training into your routine to build those muscles and get that tight, toned and defined physique that so many desire.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to burn extra calories and fat. It has been shown that doing HIIT instead of low intensity cardio, helps burn more fat. It speeds up your metabolism, which in turn, helps your body burn more calories throughout the day even when you are not training. HIIT can be perform in many different ways e.g, on the elliptical machine, on a bike, jumping rope, or outdoors sprinting. If I want to lean down a bit more for a project or a photoshoot, I prefer this type of training instead of steady-paced cardio and only perform HIIT 3x a week. On the treadmill I like to do 45 seconds of slow walking and then 45 seconds of as-fast-as-I-can sprints, then back to 45 seconds of slow paced walking. I repeat this until I reach about 15 mins total. HIIT can be very taxing on your body and you must pay attention to not over do it. If so, you run the risk of burning muscle mass to fuel your workouts. My suggestion for those wanting to lose extra weight, would be to perform HIIT 3x a week for no more than 20 mins each time, and continue doing steady paced cardio the other days of the week but, remember no matter how much cardio you do or how hard you train, if you don't clean up your diet your hard work will not show. Diet is the key in obtaining a healthy and fit physique and weight training it's what takes your body to the next level.
I wish you all good luck with your fitness goals, be patient, consistent and stay at it!!! :)