Tired of Sweating Out a Cardio Workout Plan? Breathe; We Made it Easy for You
“So what is the right way to go about doing this cardio workout plan thing? There are so many options! What do I do? Oh maybe this is too complicated! I should be safe and do nothing.”
Do not let yourself think this hogwash. You are better than that.
This whole “cardio workout plan thing” doesn’t have to be that complicated. It comes down to what your cardio plan goals are as you work out. Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle? If you can focus on that, then you won’t out think yourself and you will find success.
In order to help you get going though, we put together a plan or framework that will help you get going. As you progress you can adjust this to whatever produces the best results for the goals you have.
If you are trying to lose fat, then clear goals are a must-a-roo. Some will be more focused on building muscle and this will become more of a maintenance step. And for others this will be your first time doing cardio in a while or even a cardio plan, so you will have to build it in slowly.
Be very clear in your mind what your goals are for this cardio exercise plan and at the same time you have to be honest about where you are at today. Don’t get caught up in trying to do it all at once. Chances are you probably need to do one (lose fat or gain muscle) more than the other.
If you feel like you need to do both, then always start with losing fat. You get better metabolic results if you are leaner. It also seems to help you gain muscle faster. It also lowers your risk of major diseases much faster as well with lower triglyceride and small, dense LDL particles.
As you start going in one direction (fat loss or muscle gain), the other tends to suffer just a little bit. It likely won’t be drastic, but you can limit any fat gain or muscle loss by eating and sleeping right.
Be vigil in what you want to accomplish and if that means losing a bit of lean mass, to drop large percentages of fat, then do it. Get to where you want to be and then start looking at your next destination.
For example, if you are on a trip from Phoenix to Dallas, you aren’t going to say, “but gosh I would like to be a bit closer to San Diego at the same time.” Not going to happen. Get to Dallas first and then go to San Diego…if you get what I mean.
While this might not be a direct correlation to fat and muscle, focus on one destination first and it will make a huge difference in how fast you achieve your goals.
Here are a couple cardio workout plans you can use. The best cardio workout plan for you will depend on what your goals are.
Lean Mean Machine Cardio Workout Plan
This plan is for those folks that want to lose fat or are just getting started. This will probably be most of you. This is a good safe place to start.
Men you will be given praise as iconic figures of our generation and women we will sprinkle a lot of live, laugh, and/or love in your general vicinity as you find success here. You just have to be diligent and patient in order to get your just rewards.
Now please read below and follow.
Start off with 20-30 minutes a day, 3 days a week.
If you are not producing results you want or you are not losing fat, the problem is probably not in the fitness. It usually falls in the categories of lack of sleep (need your 8-9 hours) or in poor nutrition that is being bombarded by grains and sugar. Tweak those areas first before you start tinkering with cardio duration.
I am all about muscle confusion. The idea is you add, subtract, and change your cardio weekly or every couple weeks to keep your muscles guessing and making sure to hit more muscle groups.
It is healthy to go back and forth between 20 to 30 minutes and then increase your cardio to 4 days a week and drop down to 2 days the next week.
You never need to go beyond 60 minutes in one workout. If you start going above 30 minutes, then I suggest you cut down to 2 days a week at first.
The reason is because you have to give your body proper enough time to rest. I promise your sweet little noggin’ that you will get better results with patience because rest is just as important as the exercise itself.
You aren’t going to run a race horse every day or you will kill it and it sure as hell won’t win any races. You are going to take care of the horse, give it sleep, “num-nums”, a hug and even whisper sweet nothings of encouragement into its ear. Your body is no different and deserves the same type of respect as Seabiscuit.
If you want to test your boundaries and see if more really will make a difference, then I would push it up in the range of 30-60 minutes ranging from 3-5 days a week.
If you are training for a long-distance competition like a triathlon or marathon, then I would consult Joe Friel’s work for better knowledgries. We could be talking about several hours of cardio exercise then on a daily basis. I think for many that can be excessive and even the 30-60 minutes could become dangerous depending on what you are doing.
Remember cortisol is a hormone that is set off by excessive stress we put on our bodies, such as too much exercise. If our cortisol levels are out of whack, then we retain fat even if we are giving a Kenyan a run for his Boston Marathon money. So you have to be careful about it.
Muscle Gain Mama-Jama Cardio Workout Plan
Yeah you may be a guy and think the word Mama-Jama may not apply to you, but this is all about the spirit or essence of what a bad mama-jama means. She is “poetry in motion” as Urban Dictionary states. You all are going to be the same thing after plugging in this cardio. So dig it.
This Muscle Gain Mama-Jama is for the person that is focused more on the muscle gain or maintaining body composition. If this is you, you are going to do 20-30 minutes per cardio session, 2-3 days a week.
If you like where you are at with your body fat, then this is a good ratio. You may say, this isn’t that much different than the Lean Mean Machine plan. I wouldn’t say you were a liar.
This is the baseline that a person needs and often all they need. The Lean Mean Machine allows for more flexibility on the top end for those with a genetically rougher road to travel like me.
This Muscle Gain Mama-Jama is a simple maintenance cardio plan if you are focusing on gaining muscle or if you want to stay where you are at: two scoops of awesome.
You can get more aggressive by doing high-intensity interval trainings (HIIT) during these 20-30 minutes. We talked about how to do this in the previous cardio post.
Again be careful about not pushing it. Cortisol can be as much of a problem for you as anyone else. If you fall in this camp you probably have an issue of overdoing it more than the other folks. Just calm the “bleep” down and do your thing.
Take breaks. Enjoy life. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.
A Strong Warning: As we dive deeper into fitness, I want to make sure you are being cautious and safe. You have to make sure to consult a physician, doctor, or a certified health individual that can give you clean bill of health to start working out if you haven’t in a while or if you are doing something new.
Some of you have been working out for years and this won’t be an issue, but some have not thought about sweating for years. Either way I am excited to learn from you and work with you, but please be safe and smart about this and ease your way in.