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Cardio Smardio, What is Smart Cardio?

It's probably the most feared type of training ... cardio. You hear it over and over, 'I have to get my cardio ...' In my home gym (or if you prefer 'fitness center') cardio equipment is upstairs in the (large) attic overlooking heavy equipment. So the people here say, 'I must go' above '.'

No matter how many people say they don't like it. Well, the fact is usually boring. It's so boring. That's why more modern fitness centers have TVs to watch, or even provide free magazines (you know ... that show you all 'secrets' that look like Mr. or Ms. Super-Space-Commander-Hard- Body) to read.

But actually, it does NOT have to be this way. You can decide (in fact you have decided ... most don't know) how effective and exciting your cardio training will be.

Let's start with what you want to achieve. Most do cardio to burn calories, and, as a result, burn excess body fat. Great, now is the best way to reach down a few inches without spending HOUR on the ellipse.

If fat burning is your main reason for choosing cardio, there is no better time to do cardio in the morning with an empty stomach. Your blood sugar is at its lowest level until your body turns to burning fat for fuel. Nice.

However, if you are not a morning person do not give up. If you combine resistance and cardio training in the same session, perform resistance training first. Your glycogen (the carbohydrate stored in the muscles and liver) will be depleted after your weight training as it uses glycogen first for muscle fuel. Then your body moves to your fat store for energy during your cardio.

Another way to mimic your morning routine (almost always) is to get your cardio on an empty stomach. Remember from the previous chapter, an empty stomach is defined as 2 hours after your last meal and 1 hour before the next. So if you get to the gym at 5:45 make sure you don't eat anything after 3:30 pm. Better yet, make sure your midnight snack is high in protein because then your metabolism becomes too much to digest carbohydrate-free protein to increase your glycogen.

While this book is about you learning how to keep your gym time to a minimum, I wouldn't be fair to you if I failed to mention 2 cardio sessions a day. Why not? Because some of us have a harder time than others to get our body fat to an acceptable level. If that's you, and you can find the time, 2 cardio sessions of 30-45 minutes each can really speed up fat burning. Even when I have a lot of fat to lose I do 2 cardio sessions daily until my goals are met. Only then do I return to 1 session a day.

Copyright 2006 J Lance Curtis


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