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Create Your Own Fitness Routine (Part Three): Choose Cardio

Create Your Own Fitness Routine (Part Three): Choose Cardio

Crystal O'Rourke, B.S.

Crystal has plenty of experience working with marathon and half marathon runners, as well as running races herself.  It was only fitting we asked her to chime in for this part of the blog series...Enjoy!

Creating Your Own Fitness Routine Part 3:Choose Your Cardio


Goal:Weight loss

Cardio: Intervals > Long Slow Distance

Cardiovascular exercise can sometimes be the hardest part of a weight loss program, because many people dislike doing cardio. However, it has many benefits to help you lose weight. When your goal is to lose weight, you must remember the ultimate equation: caloric expenditure must exceed caloric intake. Adding cardio into your program will make you burn more calories! When choosing a cardio program, make sure you know your target heart rate zone (ask a trainer if you need help) and stay within that zone during the workout. One last important piece of information regarding cardio is shorter harder workouts burn more fat versus longer duration workouts. For example, if you run on the treadmill for 45 minutes you are using and burning more carbohydrates as energy, whereas if you do interval work such as ropes, slams, or sprints you are using and burning  fat  that has been stored as energy.


Goal: Maintaining / General Conditioning

Cardio: Do what you enjoy(keeps you coming back for more)

Once you have reached your weight loss or fitness goal and want to maintain your level of fitness follow these simple tips :

Tip 1 – Aim to go to the gym at least 3 times a week, but continue to be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

Tip 2 – Take more walks! While walking is not considered a high intensity exercise it is still a very good way to stay active. Taking walks keeps you active without interfering with your appetite and caloric intake.

Tip 3 – It’s very easy to stay on track when your goal is to lose weight (and fit into that bathing suit) but can be very challenging to stick with it once you reached your weight loss goal. So in order to stay disciplined find workouts you truly enjoy. Whether it’s hiking, group exercise classes, home DVDs, or swimming, if you enjoy it, it will help you from lapsing!


Goal: Weight Gain

Cardio: Long Slow Distance

Building muscle requires a surplus in calorie intake per day, whereas cardio burns calories.  We can try to offset some of the extra calories burned by vastly lowering the number compared to traditional cardio. Walking, slow jogging, light elliptical, and slow stepper are all great ways to keep your heart in shape without burning too many calories. However, there is a simple solution, eat more but keep it lean! For example, if you burn 300 to 500 calories doing cardio, just eat that amount of extra calories. Lean protein in preferred because it helps repair the muscle as well!


If you missed parts 1 & 2 Check them out at the below links:

Part 1

Part 2

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