Whether you have been trying to shed those extra pounds or trying to maintain your regular fitness, the cardio workout is an essential part of your routine. Depending upon your goal, there are numerous ways of incorporation a balanced cardio workout plan. Since a cardio workout is essential, it’s important to understand what to do and what not to.
There should be a reason for everything you do and monitor the results that you get. I’ve seen people doing the same cardio workout day after day rigorously but after a month or so their results are not as were expected by them. What they don’t get is that our body is adaptable and we need to give it something new every time. So, I came up with these 10 Biggest Blunders that people have been doing:
1. Doing too much steady-state cardio workout
Just imagine you’re running outside, suddenly a car comes speeding your way. What will you do? Either you’ll stop or speed up to avoid being hit by it. But in a gym, I’ve seen people set the pace at a constant speed and walk or jog for hours. This form of exercise where your heart rate remains the at a consistent pace for the entire workout is know as Steady-state cardio workout. You don’t challenge your heart rate for a better workout.
A Tip: Achieving a varied heart rate is possible. Try H.I.I.T or interval training. This burns more fat and calories post workout.
2. Doing the same type of cardio workout every time
Our bodies are good at adapting to our environment as well as towards exercise stimulus. Ever heard people telling you that they have hit the plateau and can no longer see a drop in weight. This is the reason behind it.
A Tip: Try out various cardio machines and workouts with varying difficulty and intensity.
3. Doing cardio workout before your weight training
Cardio Workout is essential to anyone’s workout plan. But, it can be detrimental when done at the wrong time. Suppose, today is your LEG DAY. Doing a 30-45 minutes jog or running before you get under the bar for squats, you’ll be fatigued which can lead to poor form or worse potential injury.
A Tip: Perform your form essential lifting first and then hit the treadmill.
4. Doing cardio workout on an empty stomach
Have you been running empty stomach thinking you’ll burn fat? No! No! No! it doesn’t work this way. Time and again I’ve told y clients and friends to have something about an hour ago before their workout. This should essentially contain some carbs and proteins that you may burn as fuel and not your lean muscles.
A Tip: A nice choice for a pre-workout snack is bananas or peanut butter.
5. Doing only cardio workout to create a deficit
O.K. so you have been following what I’ve been saying in earlier posts, but most of the population at-large needs to be reminded.
HERE IT GOES: DOING ONLY CARDIO ISN’T ENOUGH!
You think that since cardio workout makes you sweat and at times difficult, it’s all that you need to create a calorie deficit for weight loss. By this analogy, people keep doing more and more cardio without watching what they eat.
Cardio workout is a simple and nice way to overtrain your body and become exhausted. Remember, your body needs to recover after doing intense exercises, otherwise you may suffer injuries, burnout, your sleep, and immune system could suffer and moreover you tend to lose muscle mass.
A Tip: You can spend all day on the treadmill and never outrun your bad choices. Better watch what you eat rather than doing more cardio to burn off the extra calories you took.
6. Not using appropriate weights during a cardio workout
I’ve seen people doing a cardio with 2 or 5-pound dumbbells. They are doing biceps curls, lateral raises and what not while running, jumping or doing other exercises. These do little to strengthen the muscles you’re trying to work and measly burn the calories.
Though they are not harmful, but they take away from the intensity you could otherwise be applying to far more effective cardio or weight training.
A Tip: Exceptionally if you’re using weighted vests, this enhances your cardio workout as the weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t require additional movement. It will also increase your calorie expenditure.
7. Relying totally on machines for your cardio workout
Ever wonder why you don’t want to get up and hit the gym? Of course, you were doing a great workout and have achieved some results. You know repetition leads to boredom and since your body is adapting itself for the same workout over and over again, your results are no longer visible. This leads to a low interest and eventually skipping workouts.
A Tip: Get outside, play high-intensity games like squash, basketball, etc. Also, you can cross train, where you engage in a variety of exercises. It improves overall performance and will help you remain motivated.
8. Focusing only on cardio workout
Especially for Ladies in the house. You want a tighter, firmer physique, probably look like a model or a diva. Often I’ve seen ladies doing a lot of cardio and less or no weight training, but it should be the other way round.
Ladies your focus should be more on free weights unless of course you’re training for a specific sport that requires a high level of cardio fitness. If your goal is a tight feminine physique, it’s achieved best through regular weight training.
A Tip: Strength training is essential for weight loss. By building muscles, you’ll burn more calories while at rest or doing your jobs.
9. Skipping warm-up before a cardio workout
Jumping right into a workout with cold muscles puts you at risk for injury! Walk on the treadmill, jump rope, do jumping jacks, or even do a few sun salutations to get your blood pumping. You only need 5 minutes to warm up your muscles and make sure they’re ready for your workout.
10. Not stretching after a cardio workout
That 5-minute post-cardio stretch you’re always tempted to skip is needed to help you maintain and improve your flexibility. A flexible muscle has greater strength potential. Improved flexibility also increases cardiovascular endurance and performance, and helps you avoid injury. So don’t skip your stretch!!