How to Maximize Your Cardio

Do you spin your wheels doing your cardiovascular workouts? We live in a world that wants instant gratification. With limited time, people are always looking for the most efficient way to maximize it. When it comes to cardio, they want to know which exercise will burn the most calories for maximal fat loss. With options ranging from upper or lower body, sitting or standing, high or low impact….it can be overwhelming for any novice gym goer.

So what’s the best? The exercise you’ll do long term, not get bored with, and will get you into your target heart rate zone…that’s the one! Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to which is most effective. Ultimately it comes down to the intensity and duration of the session that will impact the amount of calories burned and fat weight lost.

Cardiovascular (or aerobic) fitness is the ability of your heart, lungs, and organs to consume, transport, and utilize oxygen. With proper conditioning, your heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body while utilizing oxygen more effectively. This results in a higher level of cardiovascular fitness.

The two primary categories of cardio are weight bearing and non-weight bearing exercises. Weight bearing is any exercise or activity where your feet and legs support your body weight against gravity. Examples include: jogging, running, stepping, walking, golf, and tennis. These exercises are beneficial to strengthening bones, tendons, and ligaments.

During non-weight bearing activities, your feet and legs are supported by your body weight against gravity. Example includes: cycling, rowing, and swimming. These are beneficial because of the lower impact they have on your joints, compared to weight bearing exercises.

In order to improve cardio fitness, it is essential to increase time, distance, speed, and/or intensity. Continually doing the same cardio routine leads to adaptation (due to an improved level of fitness) which results in your body becoming less efficient at expending calories. Interval training, which is working at varied intensities within your target zone, is the best way to maximize caloric expenditure.

The quicker you can reach your target zone (usually through high impact exercise) the more effective you’ll be at increasing the amount of calories burned. Unfortunately, the built in heart rate monitors found on cardio machines do not offer the most accurate way to gauge this target zone since the pulse from your fingertips and hands are not as strong as your chest. The most precise and reliable way to measure your heart rate is to utilize a chest strap monitor.

Find out specifically where your target heart rate range is and how to optimize your cardiovascular training by contacting Dan at (978) 807-8579 or visit

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