As part of our 50% Off Fat-burn Plan as seen in the October issue of FLEX - on newsstands now - here are five cardio workouts to help you drop that unwanted body fat. But first, here are nine important tips to make sure you maximize the amount of fat you burn during your sessions.
>> Do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio three times per week.
>> If a single, continuous session of cardio seems too boring, break it up into smaller segments.
>> Do cardio either first thing in the morning or immediately after weightlifting. If that isn't possible, do it when you can - that's much better than not doing it at all.
>> The best cardio machine for fat-burning appears to be the treadmill.
>> The best form of cardio for maintaining or enhancing leg mass and strength appears to be the stationary cycle.
>> Working out at 70%-80% of your MHR burns the most amount of fat the workout.
>> Interval training keeps your resting metabolism elevated higher and may lead to greater overall decreases in bodyfat over time.
>> Take in 10-20 grams of protein before cardio to preserve muscle.
>> Supplements such as caffeine, carnitine and HCA can help you burn more fat during cardio workouts.
CARDIO CATEGORY: MUSCLE PRESERVATION
Balancing cardio with weight training is a constant struggle: You want to do cardio to get lean, but not at the expense of losing muscle. While diet, intensity and a number of other factors will come into play, there is one choice you can make that will help your cause. The key may be to focus on the stationary cycle as your primary form of cardio exercise. Scientists from the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland) found that athletes who strength-trained and did their cardio on a stationary cycle for 60 minutes twice per week gained more leg strength and thigh muscle size than those who just strength-trained. To keep the gains coming and the fat away, try the "Cyclical Gains" program three times a week, and be sure to keep total cardio time to under two hours per week.
WORKOUT 1: CYCLICAL GAINS
Try this workout on the stationary cycle (upright or recumbent) three times per week to keep up the muscle gains and fat loss.
Intensity Time (% Max HR) 50% 1 min. 60% 1 min. 70% 5 min. 75% 15 min. 70% 5 min. 60% 2 min. 50% 1 min. BONUS CARDIO PLANS
WORKOUT 2: STEADY BURN
Try this targeted heart-rate workout on a treadmill, or, if necessary, an elliptical machine, stair-stepper or stationary cycle. Adjust the intensity of the machine to hit the prescribed intensities, which accommodate warming up and cooling down.
Intensity Time (% Max HR) 50% 1 min. 60% 2 min. 75% 24 min. 60% 2 min. 50% 1 min.
WORKOUT 3: HIGH THEN LOW
Try this pyramided-intensity workout on the treadmill or stationary cycle to burn 25% more fat.
Intensity Time (% Max HR) 50% 1 min. 60% 1 min. 80% 15 min. 60% 15 min. 50% 1 min.
WORKOUT 4: INTERVAL CHALLENGE
Try this workout on the treadmill or other cardio station. This routine will help you burn fat long after your session is over.
Intensity Time (% Max HR) 50% 2 min. 60% 1 min. 80% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 85% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 90% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 85% 1 min. 50% 1 min. 80% 1 min. 50% 2 min.
Note: You don't have to measure your heart rate every minute to figure out your intensity. Once you know the speed on the treadmill that gets your heart rate to the desired level, you just adjust the workout each minute by speed.
WORKOUT 5: THE BREAK-UP
To minimize boredom and still burn fat, do this workout three times in a day on your choice of cardio machine. You could even use a different machine for each of the three bouts.
Intensity Time (% Max HR) 50% 1 min. 60% 1 min. 75% 6 min. 60% 1 min. 50% 1 min.