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Health and Fitness News Article - TheraGear Article Resource

Cardiovascular Workouts - Doing it right

Article #28

What if I were to tell you that most if not all of the cardiovascular exercise
you do was worthless? Well, guess what over 50% of the people who perform
cardio in an attempt to burn fat are wasting their time hours and hours
of it! Are you one of them?

Before you call me crazy, let me explain. Im not saying that cardiovascular
exercise cant or doesnt burn fat; its just that most people
are not performing the right type of cardio workouts. Before I get into the
details, let me first cover some of the basics.

Just like anything in life, if you want to be successful you must do two things:

1. Know what youre doing (or learn); be knowledgeable

2. Have a plan (detailed/well thought out)

How Cardio Exercise Affects Your Body

Well, Im going to make sure that after reading this today you will be
able to do both. So lets start with your knowledge. Its critical
that you understand how your body works and what happens when you exercise.

The human body is constantly burning a mix of fuels or energy sources: fat
and glycogen. Glycogen is energy stored in muscle cells that is primarily used
during intense muscle contractions. Some examples of these intense muscle contractions
would be strength training, running, hard physical work, etc. So basically,
during low to moderate activity levels, your body first uses whats in
the blood stream and then uses primarily fat.

When you are highly active you use more glycogen and less fat. You are probably
wondering what all this has to do with you and your cardio workouts right?
Well, it matters a lot!

There are different benefits of different level of activity. Let me explain
to you the system use, why I use it, and why its the most effective.
I recommend three basic level of cardiovascular exercise:

Level 1: Long easy workout (ex. walking 60 minutes

Level 2: Moderate intensity / moderate time (ex. fast walk 45 minutes)

Level 3: Short, hard workout (ex. running 20 minutes)

NOTE: It doesnt matter what activity or piece of equipment you
choose. All that matters is that you get to the desired level.

Lets talk about what happens at each of the three levels. When exercising
at the Level 1 pace, your body burns more colonies from fat, HOWEVER the total
number of calories is small. In order for you to burn a lot of body fat at the
easy level you would need to do it for hours at a time! Not too practical is
it? This is not to say there arent benefits because there areits
just not the best choice when it comes to fat loss. The primary benefit is increased
blood flow and circulation, which means youll feel better, youll
recover more quickly, and youll be healthier in general.

Ok, lets talk about Level 2 now. At this level you burn more calories
but less are from fat. Moderate work will result in a larger increase in metabolism
than the easy Level 1 and will last 2-6 hours in most cases. You also get the
benefits of increased blood flow but you also have to remember that its
a bit more stressful than Level 1. The main benefit, or I should say possible
benefit is increased endurance (cardio/respiratory) If your workouts are progressive
(challenge the bodys systems to work harder over time nearly each workout
if possible).

Last but not least Level 3. At this level you burn the most calories per unit
of time. You also burn less fat during the workout, but the plus side is you
deplete muscle glycogen which means youll be less likely to store new
fat because any excess calories will be stored in the muscles instead. This
type of workout also results in the largest increase in metabolism, which will
generally last 4-24 hours or more.

The Level 3 workout is by far the most effective when it comes to fat loss
for four reasons:

1. Burn more calories in less time

2. Largest increase in metabolism that lasts the longest

3. Helps to add and maintain muscle tissue

4. Depletes muscle glycogen which means youre less likely to store new

So whats your goal? As you can see there are benefits at each level
and how often you perform each workout should be based on your goals. You can
get the benefits of all three but you must be cautious in how you structure
your program. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

If your primary goal is:

Fat loss

1-3 Level 3 (10-20 mins)

1-2 Level 2 (20-30 mins)

1-2 Level 1 (40-60 mins)

Optional Endurance

1 Level 3 (10-20 mins)

2-3 Level 2 (20-40 mins)

1-2 Level 1 (40-60 mins)

General Fitness

1 Level 3 (10-20 mins)

1-2 Level 2 (20-30 mins)

1-2 Level 1 (40-60 mins)

So to recap, you really need to know what your goals are, and what levels you
need to be at and how often. Below is a link to a chart that gives you
the heart rate zones for all 3 of the workouts based on your age.

NOTE: If you are on blood pressure regulating medication you should
first consult with your doctor and reduce the numbers by 10 each. If you are
not currently exercising or have not exercised at the different levels before
I advise you build up your intensity slowly.

If you would like more information on cardiovascular exercise please give me
a call. You reach me at 240-731-3724 or by emailing

Heart Rate Based Cardiovascular Exercise Guidelines

here for Guidelines

Jesse Cannone is a certified personal trainer and author of the best-selling
fitness ebook, Burn Fat FAST. Be sure to sign up for his free email course as
it is full of powerful weight loss and fitness tips that are guaranteed to help
you get the results you want.

If you would like to discuss this article click the link below.

By Jesse Cannone CFT, CPRS, CSPN