Hi friends! Happy Thursday!
I am officially off regular night-shifts. I will not miss how disruptive it is to my life outside of work or my sleeping pattern, but I will certainly miss my co-workers + those slow nights where we were able to really get to know each other. Looking forward to the new challenge of day shift!
Today I wanted to expand on the topic of cardiovascular training. One thing I think is really important is to understand the WHY behind the exercises modalities that you are selecting. This will help you to better accomplish your goals.
Cardiovascular training is very, very popular. Not only do *most* gym goers choose to do the cardio machines while at the gym, but the number of 5ks, adventure races, half-marathons, and marathons seems to increasingly grow in number of races + number of participants.
I want to breakdown two popular types of training: steady state cardio and HIIT training. Let’s take a look:
Steady-state cardio: This is exactly what is sounds like. Slow to moderate intensity cardio. This is what you are doing if you are on the elliptical for 45 minutes, going on a long run, or walking on an incline at the gym at mostly the same pace.
Benefits: Long-term benefits include decreased heart rate, increased stroke volume (how much blood your heart pumps per beat), decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These training adaptations will translate to improved performance during exercise, but also carry over to your non training time. Essentially if you regularly train your aerobic system your heart doesn’t have to work as hard when you are not working out, which is very important for your overall health. Additional benefits included: decreased stressed, more restful sleep, improved mood, aids in weight loss, + more. There is a place for this form of cardio!
Drawbacks: Overuse injuries abound if you are constantly doing steady state cardio. You put a lot of stress on your joints if you are pounding mile after mile day after day. Additionally, you can send your body into a catabolic state where it is holding onto fat and breaking down your lean tissue for energy. If you are spending too many calories on steady state cardio, your body will slow down its metabolism and go into conversation mode.
How to be successful: Hydration, hydration, hydration! Make sure you have the right gear! Proper footwear will go a long way. The proper selection for you will depend on your exercise of choice + your foot type, so as always…I’d recommend heading to an expert! Local running stores are amazing places to get help. Additionally, you can’t just jump into running 5 miles if you are currently coach potato status. Lastly, don’t do too much! I opt for a day or two of steady state cardio a week…max!
High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT: HIIT refers to workouts that utilize short + intense bursts of exercise followed by recovery. Think all out effort, rest, all out effort, rest…on repeat. This form of cardio training has seemingly become equally as popular as the steady state variety.
Benefits: You can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. These workouts are meant to be challenging + short lived, giving people with a busy schedule the opportunity to get the most bang for their buck. You are able to increase your anaerobic + aerobic endurance. HIIT training burns more calories + fat in less time than steady state cardio. Several studies have shown that people enjoy hit more than steady state cardio, and enjoying something definitely helps make it stick.
Drawbacks: Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, just like steady state you can do too much! This physically demanding exercise modality requires you to rest between sessions, so that your body is able to recover from the stress of the workout. Just as in steady state cardio overuse injuries can occur. Form is also huge in HIIT training.
How to be successful: HIIT is not typically recommended for someone that is brand new to exercise. It is important to build a firm aerobic base before jumping into the higher intensity circuits. Learn proper form + that quality is still important while you are increasing quantity.
There is room for both steady state cardiovascular training + HIIT training in your routine!
When my goal was fat loss + increased athletic performance (aka before growing this little baby), I had an assessment with my friend Nick Rosencutter. We talked a lot about my love for running + competing in triathlons + half marathons. He put it frankly that the things I really enjoyed + my fitness goals didn’t align very well. He asked if I wanted to have a marathon runner body or a sprinter body. There is nothing wrong with either of those body types, but he knows I was seeking a toned + sleek goal (more of a sprinter/middle distance body). He made sure that my main exercise modality was weight training followed by higher intensity interval training and finally only wanted me to do 1 day of steady state cardiovascular training.
Think about your goals + what training methods would best help you to meet them. Also, as I’ve mentioned I still performed well in my triathlon because high intensity exercise does translate to improved athletic performance + built my endurance.
I hope you learned something to inspire your training today! Hope everyone has a great weekend.