What do you think of when you hear about cardio? An hour-long jog? A long, steady session on the exercise bike?
If it’s any of those things, you’re doing cardio, but you’re not doing smart cardio. There are lots of things you can do to burn calories, but if you’re reading this article, you know that you want the calories you burn to come from fat, not lean mass. Traditional long, slow distance cardio burns muscle and fat pretty indiscriminately. In fact, if you do enough, you may find that your body burns muscle preferentially to ease the demands of doing so much aerobic work. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want.
So how do you do cardio without sacrificing precious muscle? The answer is interval work. Definitely get yourself cleared by a doctor before jumping into intervals, because the whole idea is to rapidly and repeatedly raise your heart rate, alternating the high heart rate work with brief recovery periods. The optimal way to do interval work is probably to do walk back sprints.
Sprint all-out for 15 seconds, then turn around and walk back to where you started. It should take about 45 seconds to walk back. Once you’re back where you started, sprint for 15 seconds again. Do seven sprints your first week, and add one sprint per week until you’re up to 20 sprints per session. If you’re not up for sprints, you can work on the elliptical machine. Simply go all-out for 15 seconds, then pedal or walk at a recovery pace for 45. The same build-up pattern applies.
In order to grasp this concept, you must first learn what your body burns for energy during strenuous exercise. The human body accesses certain nutrients for energy and does so in a precise manner every time.This access order never changes. Let me repeat,never changes. This is the scale: