The Key to Effective Cardio

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Question: Doing cardio, no matter what machine I’m on is too boring. What else can I do to burn off the fat? If I watch the cardio theater, I feel like I haven’t done anything. I get caught up in the show and the next thing I know, I’m holding on to the hand supports and have slowed down. How do you beat the boredom?
Answer: Effective cardio requires self-discipline. Any physical training, for it to be productive, requires self-discipline. Using the treadmill is a very effective way to do your cardio and get results. It needs to be intense and watching a television screen dilutes your focus for the very reason you stated; you get caught up in what you’re watching. Your focus shifts from the workout you were supposed to be blasting through and becomes something that you endure. A couple of years ago a study concluded that watching television or reading reduced calorie expenditure by as much as 22%. Effective training is mentally driven. Challenge yourself and set reasonable goals for your training. Focus driven training for two to three hours a week makes the other 165 hours of living easier.
Forget about your walking speed on the treadmill. Walking faster is not going to make you burn more calories especially if you are traveling so fast that you have to hold on to keep from falling. Walking quickly on a steep incline while holding on or using other means of supporting yourself does not challenge your body no matter what the calorie counter on the machine reads. In one gym a guy even used an old ski belt to secure himself on the treadmill so he wouldn’t have to hold on and he could not be convinced that he wasn’t burning 500 to 600 calories every 40 minutes since the machine readout doesn’t lie. All he was doing was basically moving his feet to keep pace with the treadmill. Instead, walk at 2.8 to 3.2 miles per hour. Set the incline at 5% for a minute or two. Increase the incline to 15% if you can and walk at a steady pace taking slightly longer strides than normal. Keep this up for 30 to 40 minutes and watch the pounds melt. Intensity is the key to burning fat. If you are able to loosely hold on and read a book or watch a movie, then you are not training with intensity. As we have all seen by the Michael Phelps food consumption that if you are training intensely and frequently you can eat a great deal of food and continue to lose fat. The cyclists in the Tour de France also eat enormous amounts of food. Bodybuilders shedding fat prior to competition still eat a large quantity of food but it is clean since they want to lose fat and maintain muscle.
Cardio training becomes intense when you decide to make it intense. Being bored is a state of mind and mindlessly working out will produce mediocre results at best. Listening to the radio usually does not spur one into training harder. For most, a specific selection of music is best. Make a CD or download songs that you like, ones that drive you to perform. Assemble a mental environment that is conducive to building excellence. If you can mentally go there your body will follow. To walk for 30 minutes only requires 7 or 8 songs. If you can listen to 7 or 8 songs you usually have completed 28 to 29 minutes of training. Cover the timer and forget about it until the predetermined songs are completed. Then and only then check your time. If you need to reduce the incline during this time set a limit for recovery and return to your necessary work level. You’ll get results more quickly. This particular method works well with whatever cardio machine you prefer. Effort and intensity are the keys to your success.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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