Monday, February 25, 2013

How to Cardio: A Quick Start Guide

How to Cardio: A Quick Start Guide

One of the aspects of the Crosspit program many people love is the fact we leave you to decide what kinds of cardio to do. The benefits of this flexible program are that you can work current activities into your training and you will always have more familiar activities to perform your cardio with. In response to some of the other training primers we’ve presented that summarize and index many or our blog topics, we present you with this primer on how to make cardio an efficient part of your HIIT program.

Cycling is a very efficient and low impact exercise that allows you to burn calories at a high rate with very little stress and impact on your joints. The legs are the largest muscle group in the body making them the prime mover is a good way to involve a lot of muscle work. Some people use cycles for transportation which means more calories burned throughout your day. 

We’ve skipped over basic walking and running because they are well known and rather inefficient forms of cardio. Running up stairs is an entirely different stories. The incline and force of gravity load your muscles up and kick your lungs into high gear to keep up. If you’ve got knee or back issues and fear the impact will cause damage, fear not because you can still walk up stairs.

Swimming is a great way to torch calorie and preserve your body because it requires the participation of every muscle head to toe. The suspended nature of your body in water relieves you of any impact concerns, and for those of you who want the added challenge, learning to hold and control your breath will increase cardio and the ability to focus through physical stress like nothing else.

We agree that running on a treadmill can be incredibly dull and discouraging, that’s why we’re telling you to Crosspit the outdoors. Many challenging obstacle based races such as Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash combine the beautiful elements outside to challenge you endurance, strength, speed, agility, cardio, and just sheer determination. These events take advantage of much of the training done with Crosspit and are a great opportunity to show off your new performance capacity.

Yoga is not just a fad for those seeking enlightenment or extreme flexibility. It’s a great way to raise your heart rate and burn calories while relieving muscle tension and increasing range of motion. That’s two birds with one simple stone. 

One question we receive regularly is how people can monitor how much work they do while completing cardio on their own. A great way to track your in-session pace and work is to use a heart rate monitor. They are much easier and inexpensive to use than ever before and will help you find a quick sense of pace that you can use in your Crosspit workouts and your own cardio sessions. Calories counts down to the minute and weekly results at the tip of your fingers.

One of the biggest myths we’ve busted is the one says training on an empty stomach burns more fat or training on an empty stomach is a short cut to burning fat deposits. STOP! IT IS NOT! This very dangerous and misinformed practiced is based on a very simple assumption that if your stomach is empty your body is forced to use fat as a direct source of fuel. Well it doesn’t and this practice is not only a waste of your time and effort, it’s a serious health risk that can cause short and long term problems. Do yourself a favor and never practice on an empty stomach again. If you want your body to look good and perform great… STOP HURTING YOURSELF.

The endless options available for cardio exercise extend way beyond our discussion but you can see we’ve given you a lot to work with and send you down the road to success. If you’ve got any other favorites you want to share with us feel free to hit us up at Facebook or Twitter and let us know, otherwise we’ll see you back on the training floor...PIT UP!

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