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Cardio activities for women

Cardio workouts are without a doubt essential if you want to shed the excess pounds fast. A twenty or thirty minute cardio session will boost your metabolism and get your body in fat burning mode. Diet alone is not enough for weight loss.
2 or 3 cardio sessions a week will accelerate your weight loss and you’ll be able to see positive changes much faster. This will motivate most women to stay on track with their weight loss journey instead of throwing in the towel too soon.
There are a few tips that you can employ to make your cardio workouts more challenging. The tougher your workouts, the more calories you’ll burn and the fitter you’ll get. Let’s look at 5 tips that will really help you get the best out of your cardio training.

1. Fasted cardio

Cardio activities for womenThere is often much debate as to whether one should do cardio on an empty stomach. Some people say that it’s very effective while others say that it’s extreme and will burn lean muscle instead of fat because your glycogen levels are low.
The truth of the matter is that fasted cardio is very effective. It has to be done when you wake up after a good night’s sleep. Your body will be in a fasted state and since there is no food in your stomach, your body will burn its fat stores for fuel.
However, your cardio sessions should NOT be rigorous. The best type of cardio that you should do is just brisk walking. You want to raise your heart rate and break a light sweat but the intensity should not be too high. You should be able to hold a conversation. If you’re panting and gasping for air, you’re going too fast.
Walk for 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate pace and your body will burn its fat for fuel. Do this daily and over time, you’ll notice that your weight drops steadily. This is one of the most powerful fat loss methods out there.

2. Inclines

Inclines refer to slopes, hills, etc. Anytime you walk uphill or climb stairs or swim against the current, you’re adding resistance to your movement. It will require extra effort to walk or run uphill. If you’re on a treadmill, set it at an incline and you’ll burn more calories during the same duration of the workout.

3. Speed and intensity

When your cardio sessions are kept short but intense, your workout becomes anaerobic in nature. When this happens, your body will go into fat burning mode for hours after the workout is over. Overall, you will lose more fat and get fitter.
Short, hard cardio sessions will always be more effective than long, steady state cardio sessions. If your level of fitness allows you to engage in hard cardio, go for it. Your fat will melt off faster and your stamina improve noticeably.

4. Added resistance

Besides walking or running uphill, you can add resistance to your workouts by using weights. Wearing ankle weights and running makes it that much tougher. Throwing on a weight belt or a haversack with a couple of weight plates will take your cardio session to a whole new level because you’re hauling more weight.
This makes the entire workout more tiring and you’ll burn more calories. Even holding a pair of lightweight dumbbells while walking will make a difference. Constantly find ways to add resistance to your workouts.

5. Splitting up your sessions

Another interesting way to get the most out of your cardio sessions is to split them up. Instead of doing 45 minutes of cardio at one go, you could split in into a 25-minute walk in the morning and a 20-minute workout around 6 PM or so.
By splitting your sessions, you’ll keep your metabolic rate constantly elevated. Your metabolism tapers down once your workout ends. If you train in the morning, by noon or so, your metabolism will start to dip. If you have another session in the early evening, you’ll rev up your metabolism again.
This will put your body in fat burning mode throughout the day. You will lose as much fat as possible during a given time period. Of course, you’ll need to eat clean and be at a caloric deficit.
If you have these 2 in place and you employ the cardio tips mentioned above, you can expect to see visible change in your body within 30 to 60 days, provided you train consistently.
Most women do lose some weight when starting off but they always regain the lost weight because they start skipping workouts and lose consistency. This is a cardinal error. Consistency is everything. If you’re persistent you’ll get it and if you’re consistent, you’ll keep it.

How Women Can Accelerate Fat Loss by With These 5 Cardio Tips

Latest Update: Saturday, August 8, 2020

Is Your Cardio Routine Doing More Harm Than Good

cardio training

cardio trainingBefore you start wasting hours upon hours on those boring treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, let’s examine if low-moderate intensity, long duration cardio exercise is really doing your body any good, or if it is mostly a waste of time. I hope you will concede upon finishing this article that there is a better way to get in great shape, and it doesn’t have to involve endless hours on boring cardio machines.
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.
Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.
For example, lets say you jog trying to maintain the same pace for a good 45-minute run. As long as you didn’t encounter any big hills along the way, you probably maintained approximately the same heart rate the entire time – let’s say it was 135 beats/minute. Now, let’s contrast that with a much more effective workout of doing 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with walking for a minute or two in between sprints to recover. With this more effective workout, you’re rapidly changing your heart rate up and down on a much larger scale, forcing it to grow stronger to be able to handle varied demands. Your heart rate would probably alternate from 110-115 during the recovery walks all the way up to 160 bpm or more during the sprints. This doesn’t mean that sprints are the only way to take advantage of this style of training. Any style of training that incorporates highly variable intensity will give you these improved results.
The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training.
In addition to the previously mentioned wind sprints, most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion. In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog;

Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and a strong, lean body.
Latest Update: Saturday, August 8, 2020

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to exercising is the aches and stiffness you feel roughly around 24 hours after your workout.
This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
The symptoms are usually pain in your muscles when you move and your muscles may feel weak and tender.
This is normal and nothing to be worried about. Women who have led sedentary lifestyles for a while will experience this in the beginning. In fact, both genders are susceptible to DOMS and it is part and parcel of working out.
Over time as your body gets used to the activity, you will not become sore unless you increase your training load and intensity. As long as your training is hard and there are micro tears in the muscle fibers, there will be pain.
You must be able to distinguish the difference between muscle soreness from cramps or muscle strains and pulls. DOMS is just discomfort that arises from inflamed muscles that are healing. Your body will not be in pain if you’re not moving. Muscle soreness is felt only when you move.
Cramps, however, are sudden pain spasms that arise due to a contraction of muscle fibers. The best way to treat cramps is to stretch the muscle. Massaging and stretching a cramped muscle will ease the pain.
The same does not apply to muscle soreness. Stretching before workouts, muscle rub creams, massages, ice baths, etc. cannot prevent muscle soreness. They may provide temporary relief but you will still need 2 to 4 days for your muscles to heal.
It can be discouraging in the beginning when you embark on a training program and plan to exercise regularly but after one workout, you can’t move without groaning for a few days. You’ll need to rest till you’re healed.
The best way to prevent this is to make your first few sessions light. The goal is to just do a few of the exercises and use light weights. If it’s cardio, don’t go all out and give your maximum effort. Just stick to a slow or moderate pace.
Even short 15 or 20 minute sessions will suffice in the beginning. This will prevent your muscles from being too sore the next day. Always ease into your training regimen slowly. By slowly and gradually increasing your intensity and training load, you’ll be giving your body time to adapt to the demands placed upon it.
Many women are eager to lose the weight fast or get fit overnight and they try to give it their best. Common fitness mantras like ‘Go hard or go home’ and ‘No pain no gain’ do not help here.
These motivational quotes are best used by athletes and people who train often. When you’re just starting off, do go slow. Slow progress is better than no progress.
In the event that you still have muscle soreness, you can try soaking in a tub of water with Epsom salts or you can try over-the-counter muscle rubs. These will provide temporary relief.
If you’re experiencing muscle soreness in your legs, you can always focus the day’s workout on your upper body and vice-versa. There’s no need to skip a workout if just one part of your body aches. You’ll feel satisfied knowing that you at least got something done for the day.
However, if your entire body aches and this can occur when you do full-body workouts, you can rest or go for a slow walk. Resting and recovery is just as important as activity. It doesn’t mean you’re off track. Even a tiger crouches before it leaps.
So, don’t feel dejected and quit just because your first few sessions are causing you pain. Maintain a positive mindset and keep pushing forward knowing that pain is weakness leaving the body. Approach your training in a gradually progressive manner and you’ll be just fine.

Dealing with Muscle Soreness and Pushing Forward

Latest Update: Saturday, August 8, 2020