H.U.G.E. Gym Class: Cardio

Fixes for the top 5 cardio training mistakes
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MISTAKE #3: THE TREADMILL BLAHS

EXPLANATION

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The tedium of standing in the same spot, moving without moving for a half-hour or more, is the number one reason bodybuilders shortchange cardio. Even with all the modern electronic diversions — phones, iPods, computers, TVs — plodding along on a treadmill or StepMill is nobody’s idea of fun.

SOLUTIONS

  • Most modern gyms have more than just treadmills, StepMills and stationary bikes. Take advantage of your gym’s variety. Ellipticals, rock-climbing machines, tread climbers and rowing machines are just some of the other devices, and higher-tech versions of old machines are released regularly.To stay inspired, use a different type of machine each workout.
  • Split your cardio in two. Work a muscle group, do 20 minutes of cardio, work another muscle group, and then finish with 20 minutes of cardio. Recent research comparing a 60-minute cycling session with two 30-minute sessions divided by 20 minutes of rest demonstrates that shorter sessions are more effective for fat loss than one longer session. This strategy also staves off boredom.
  • Go outside. Jog, hike, swim, ride a bicycle, jump rope, play basketball. Nobody said you had to do your cardio in a gym. Doing at least some of it outdoors via sports and other aerobic activities will instantly solve your treadmill blahs.
  • Pick up the weight. Performing full-body exercises — such as cleans and snatches with a light-weight barbell or with dumbbells — is a great way to do cardio, especially HIIT.

MISTAKE #4: INSUFFICIENT RECOVERY

EXPLANATION

The fear of some bodybuilders that cardio will waste away their hard-earned muscle may be exaggerated, but it is not entirely unfounded. After all, treadmills, StepMills and the like will involve lower-body muscle action, just as rope climbers and rowing machines hit the upper body. So if you’re plodding along for too long and/or too often, the extra work may indeed stifle recovery and growth. In fact, studies show that endurance athletes have suppressed testosterone levels due to the excessive miles they rack up. This is another reason to keep your cardio sessions shorter with the help of HIIT.

SOLUTIONS

  • Just as HIT workouts use a minimum amount of iron time, HIIT can reduce your cardio to as little as 20 minutes, three times weekly, thus limiting the muscular workload.
  • Regularly alternate machines, weight exercises and outdoor exercises to stimulate different muscles.
  • Don’t do leg-intensive cardio on leg day, and you may also want to avoid it the day after an especially intense leg workout.

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