A very common question I get – “How much cardio are you going to make me do?”
Well, it depends…
First off, most people need to understand their ultimate goal. If it’s fat loss, then you will be using cardio as a tool to burn more calories. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to use cardio as a way to enhance your performance. Having coached competitive swimming now for 10 years, I understand there’s a clear cut difference between peaking someone for a long distance swim, and peaking someone for a 5-10lb fat loss goal.
Second, you need to take a look at your daily activity, not just what you do in the gym. Do you work a desk job? Are you a construction worker? Are you a stay home mom constantly running around chasing your child? Each one of these questions will have a different approach when it comes to cardio – why add more cardio to your day when you’re already running around like a crazy person?
In terms of burning calories and having a short-term goal of shedding unwanted body fat, cardio is a simple as placing your left foot in front of your right. Over and over again.
So yes, walking counts. Even simpler, think movement – cleaning your house, chasing your kids, taking your dog out for a walk, etc. You name it, it counts as “cardio.”
If you work a desk job, and want to lose an extra 10-20lbs, think about what has changed over the last few years. On second thought, let me take a stab at it…your eating habits haven’t been the greatest and you sit way more these days, meaning you move less. Am I right?
Okay, Eddie, so what are you saying?
Keep things simple and don’t kill yourself in the gym with 5-7 days worth of cardio – I know I don’t and neither to any of my clients. Plus, is that even sustainable? Before you decide to add more to your already busy schedule, see where you are first. And how you do that is simple, invest in some sort of step tracking device (Apple Watch, FitBit, etc.) Track your steps for a week to gather initial data, and adjust from there.
Here’s my rule of thumb if your goal is to lose unwanted weight/body fat – assuming you have sound lifting program and you are eating according to your goals
• Gather a baseline with your steps, what’s your weekly average? I like to work all my clients up to ~70,000 steps per week
• If you are hitting 3,000 steps, or less, per day, aim to hit 5,000-7,500 steps per day for 1-2 weeks
• If you are hitting 5,000-7,500 steps per day, aim to hit 10,000-12,500 steps per day (on average, 10,000 steps will burn 500 calories).
• Find activities you ENJOY to increase your step count (walk your dog, play more with your kids, clean your house more often, park further away when you go to the grocery store, etc.)
The key, like anything else, is to have a plan, be consistent, and have patience. Now get up and move more!
Founder/Coach for AMP Fitness LariosTraining@Gmail.com
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