Squeezing a workout into your day can be a struggle. Getting your kids up and ready for school, prepping workday paperwork, commuting, fixing food for your family, unreliable vehicles, parent-teacher meetings, and just some alone time with your honey can be enough to saturate your day and leave almost no time for training.
If you manage to sneak in a workout, often your cardio sessions fall by the wayside. Sometimes, there's just not enough time to fit in 20 extra minutes on the bike.
It's time to take back your HIIT training, your 20 minutes on the stairmill, and/or your spinning class. Hit the fat loss fast-forward button with these four simple cardio strategies!
1. Wake Up ... and Run!
When your alarm goes off, don't wander into the kitchen for breakfast. Get your shoes on and do some steady-rate, lower-intensity cardio training.
Because your body will tap into stored body fat for energy, this empty-stomach cardio can be a great way to kick your fat burning into high gear.
Sprint sessions or other high intensity workouts aren't a great idea on an empty stomach. You don't have the fuel substrates (blood glucose) to sustain ramped-up energy.
That means your body will look to your lean muscle mass for energy—not the right way to go about looking shredded. Run for 20-45 minutes at a steady pace.
If you're already quite lean and concerned about lean muscle, consider supplementing with half a scoop of protein powder or 10 grams of BCAAs before you hit the road.
2. Eat Circuit Workouts for Lunch
Use your lunch break to squeeze in a session of circuit training. Circuits are great because they usually don't last more than 20-or-30 minutes, and they provide both resistance and cardiovascular conditioning.
Choose 8-to-10 compound and/or machine exercises, alternating between your upper and lower body. Do 10-15 reps in order to increase your heart rate and challenge your muscles. Perform each exercise with zero rest.
After a full circuit, pause for 1-2 minutes to catch your breath, then jump into another circuit!
Perform 2-5 circuits for a great workout. You'll kill the cardio and weight-training birds with one circuit stone!
3. After-Work Intervals
At 5 p.m, the gym is noisy and crowded with people releasing the stress of their workday. If you're generally a part of this melee, try skipping the gym floor and implementing HIIT sessions 2-or-3 times per week.
Interval training is a great way to boost your fitness level and enhance your metabolic rate. It's also great for revving up your energy for whatever the evening might offer.
To do interval training, alternate intense bursts of cardio with less intense bursts.
Each work session should last 15-to-60 seconds; each recovery session should be 2-or-3 times longer than the work session.
If your day really beat you over the head and you don't have the energy to sprint on a treadmill for 20 minutes, try caffeine or thermogenic fat burners. They're designed to help increase energy levels.
Interval training is intense. Don't do sessions more than three times per week, or you may find yourself on the fast track to overtraining.
4. Choose a Weekend Adventure
Everybody's playing for the weekend. Two days to relax and enjoy yourself are necessary for good health. As it turns out, weekends are also great for getting in those missing cardio workouts.
Choose an outdoor adventure: a long cycle ride, a hiking path in the mountains, or head to the river for some kayaking. Anything you can sustain for an hour or two, do it to it!
Get a great endurance workout, detach from stress, and enjoy yourself.
More Cardio Clues
Vary your cardio training style through the week. If you just do HIIT training, you find yourself more apt to fatigue, boredom and plateaus. Changing up your cardio routine will target different aspects of your fitness level and offer many benefits.
Do all four suggested varieties or combine 2-or-3 into your cardio training regimen. Keep your body guessing, and keep seeing results.