…steady state cardio.
What do I mean? Steady state cardio is what pretty much everyone does when they get on a piece of cardio equipment. (You know who you are.) You stay on the elliptical for 20 – 30 minutes at one speed and get off when you reach the number of calories you feel you need to burn to feel good about that McDonald’s trip you made over the weekend. (I know who I am.)
What you should be doing instead, and I challenge you to try this week, is 20 minutes of interval training. You can still stay on the elliptical or whatever piece of equipment you like but instead of staying at the same speed do 30 seconds as hard as you can and recover at a lower level for 90 seconds. Repeat that over and over again for the 20 minutes. Not only does it burn more calories while you’re on the equipment but it keeps you burning calories after you get off (This is known in the fitness biz as EPOC – Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) Steady state cardio does not have the same effect. If that doesn’t convince you, or you’re not trying to lose weight, this type of training will also increase your cardiovascular fitness as your heart and lungs get used to working harder and recovering.
So, go out there, grab a piece of equipment (or your sneakers and head outside) and get your heart rate up. And down. And up… (But don’t forget to do some weight training as well!)