How to structure and approach your weight loss cardio training
The scientific studies have confirmed that combination of cardio and resistance training is the most effective for achieving the weight loss goals for most people. However, we need to personalise each of those training types to ourselves, our enjoyment, body-composition, goals, environment and more. In this blog post I will talk strictly about CRT or cardio training.
My intention here will be to help you structure your cardio training for the best chances of achieving your weight loss target.
Let’s dive in.
The two key ingredients to an effective cardio weight loss programme are:
We will talk about each one a little bit later.
In order for cardio weight loss programme to be effective and to inspire the desired adaptations, first we need to enjoy it. Generally, it’s very hard to stick with the cardio exercise that you hate or not enjoying doing at all. Remember that consistency is one of our key ingredients to an effective weight cardio weight loss programme. Furthermore, we are likely to be consistent in a long term with something that we enjoy doing.
Our goal with the cardio weight loss programme is to achieve a long-term negative energy balance by focusing on our total energy expenditure.
I will mention that there are four common cardiorespiratory training methods:
- Continuous exercise training – recommended for beginners
- Fartlek training – More suited for athletes but people with intermediate level of experience can find a great benefit as well.
- Tempo training- Higher intensity exercise and recommended for people with intermediate-advance level of experience
- Extended interval training – More suited for endurance athletes
We will be talking more about each one in one of our future posts.
Like I have mentioned briefly before, the first step is to choose the cardio exercise that you enjoy doing. Whether is running on a treadmill, running outside, cycling, rowing, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy it. The way we find what cardio exercise we really enjoy, we need to try out different ones. The rule of thumb: rhythmic exercises involving large muscle groups should be selected for cardio training.
The second step is to achieve a minimum of 150-250 minutes of physical activity per week at a moderate intensity. This could be exercising three times per week, 60 min session or walking twice per week, 75 min walks. It’s all up to you, your preferences and your schedule. A very important concept to have in mind in this step is consistency. You need to be consistent with your minimum requirements week in and week out.
When you established your fitness base with a minimum requirement and you have been consistent, now is the time to increase the intensity and energy expenditure gradually. You may increase the minutes spent on cardio exercise or you may train within the minimum requirement but at higher intensity performing more work. When it comes to this third step, I would consult a fitness expert because he or she will know how to personalise intensity and the right energy expenditure to your fitness level and experience.
Here are some simple guidelines.
In order to progress in your weight loss CRT, it’s very wise and practical to increase one variable at a time, example, volume or intensity. If you start with running for 30 min 2x per week, your next preferred next step can be to increase the running volume to 3x per week.
No matter how many times per week you do your cardio weight loss programme, if you take in more calories that you expend in your cardio programme, you will not achieve your weight loss target. This is the fact and nature’s law. So, you must pay attention to your diet and what type of foods you consume and its calories.
We come to one of our two key ingredients for an effective weight loss programme which is consistency. This is logical and little bit cliché right? Yes and yes but without consistency no goal in your life can be achieved. It’s impossible to avoid this principle and still achieve your goal.
What drives our consistency? In most cases, our internal motivation, our why. So, keep in mind your why when you start your weight loss cardio training. Your why needs to be your personal motivation and strong enough to get you to and through your training session. Many people quit their weight loss training programmes because they lose sight of their why or their why was not strong or motivating enough in the first place.
So, if you want to achieve a consistency towards your pursue of your weight loss goal, you need to dig deep inside of yourself and ask why do I want to achieve this particular goal. Remember, your why needs to be personal and motivating enough. When you have your why, try this little trick. Write down your why regarding your weight loss cardio training programme, every morning after you get up out of the bed or right before your workout. Try this for 30 days and see what happens.
This concept is a very powerful one and mixed with consistency can do wonders in your life and in pursuit of your weight loss goal. Simply having someone to check in, to hold you accountable for what you already committed doing, is very effective. We tend to let down ourselves very easy and often, but letting someone else down is another story, especially when that someone is our friend or a trainer that we are paying.
Embarking on a weight loss journey with your friend or someone you can trust is also very useful.
This is why our company is based on accountability. Your matched trainer is checking on you frequently and holding you accountable.
Here are some few tips about how to tap into the power of accountability:
- Find some great communities online and people with the same goal as you;
- Let your fitness expert holds you accountable and check-in on you regularly;
- Write down your weight loss target and the date by when you intend to accomplish it and share your goal with your most trusted friends. Let each of them check-in on you every 1 or 2 weeks.
Cardio is only one piece of puzzle when it comes to achieving the weight loss target that you desire but it’s a good start.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post,
Let me know what you think in the comment section below,
Damir Pervan, Founder and CEO of TrainChampion