I know that’s true for me. The good news is I have found a better way that is more effective and takes less time. Take all of your old beliefs about how to do cardio and throw them out the window.
First off, if getting a six pack in the shortest amount of time is your goal then we need to change your mindset. We get way too focused on the 30 minutes or hour we spend in the gym as the only time our body is able to burn fat. Focus on creating an environment where your body is able to burn fat 24 hours a day. This is accomplished by proper nutrition, moderate aerobic exercise, and resistance training. Let’s talk about the cardio component.
When is the best time to do cardio, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach right? Actually it doesn’t matter when you do cardio as long as you do it. Remember we are thinking “outside the hour” of exercise and creating a 24 hour fat burning machine. To be most effective for fat loss you need to do your cardio after weight training rather than before. What intensity level do you do cardio at? The fat burning zone, right? Wrong again. It is true that you burn a larger portion of calories from fat when you do cardio at a low intensity. Increasing the intensity out of the mythological “fat burning zone” will allow your body to burn more total calories and potentially more fat. You have also created an environment where your metabolism will be stimulated for the next 24 to 36 hours. You could be burning fat while you are sitting there reading this article.
I know this stretches your thinking. We naturally resist change, so if your head is starting to hurt that’s ok. This concept is nothing more than high intensity interval training. So how do you do it? I find my clients get the best results with the treadmill, but you can really do anything that will get your heart rate up. Let’s go through a typical workout. Start by doing a 5 minute warm up. Next pick an intensity level that is around 85% of max. This will take some experimentation at first. Run for one minute at this speed then hop off the treadmill and straddle it for a minute rest. I generally start my clients out at 6 of these intervals if we are doing it after a weight training session and as many as ten if it is a cardio only day. You can speed things up by doing 30 seconds on and one minute off. Intensity can be increased by speeding the treadmill up or increasing the incline. Follow with a 5 minute cool down and you are done.
That’s it. Nothing complicated, but it’s extremely effective. You should be breathing heavily by the third set and have a really good sweat going by the end. This will save you a great deal of time and not be so boring. Listen, if you aren’t seeing results or need a change of pace, give it a try.