When I say “cardio workout” you probably have an image of someone running on a treadmill, or some other piece of gym equipment like an elliptical machine, stair climber, rowing machine and the like. Each of these types of workouts will produce a cardiovascular benefit. But most people are doing these workouts because they think it will help them burn calories and lose weight. The cardiovascular benefit just happens to be a nice bonus on the side. Lets face it you wouldn’t workout if it actually made you look worse!
So most people are doing “cardio” workout to lose weight; but this is not the best strategy. Any workout that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up will provide a cardiovascular benefit and burn calories. But for most people the goal is burning as many calories as possible. This is where traditional cardio workouts fail, and higher intensity whole body workouts are proving to be better in 2 important ways.
1. Intense whole body circuit training will build and tone all the muscles of your body better than any traditional cardio workout can. Keeping your muscle mass up will ensure your metabolism stays at its peak.
2. High intensity circuits will burn more overall calories at each workout than a slow traditional cardio workout. This is of great benefit to people who are pressed for time and want to burn the maximum amount of calories in the limited time they have at the gym.
These whole body circuit workouts are based around doing exercises that work lots of muscle groups all at once like:
Squat and Press
Now that we see there are different and better ways to do ‘cardio’ training, how often can we do a high intensity circuit workout for ‘cardio’?
The simple answer is - as often as you like! Assuming that you probably have other things that take up time during the day like work, school, family, friends, and hobbies, I would guess you will probably be limited to one workout per day. So by all means if you can get a workout in every day there is no reason not to.
The higher intensity whole body circuit workouts might take a few weeks to get used to if you’ve never done them before.
For most people I’d say 4-5 times per week is great. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop there. Work your way up to a level that fits with your fitness goals and into your lifestyle.
John Barban is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a varsity strength and conditioning coach. His trademarked http://www.6minuteCircuits.com Circuit Training Workouts is designed to get a full body cardio and muscle toning workout in the comfort of your own home. John is a senior contributor at http://www.grrlathlete.com where you can sign up to get insider information in the nutrition and fitness industry. You can ask John a question on the http://www.grrlathlete.freeforums.org , dedicated to support women with their fitness and nutrition goals.