James Lawrence—who goes by the moniker “the Iron Cowboy”—recently completed 50 Ironman triathlon courses in 50 states in just 50 days, setting a world record along the way. A Young Living brand ambassador, Lawrence shared some pointers for making the most of your cardio workout in the new year.
Maybe your goal is to run a race. Perhaps you just want to run around with the kids. Whatever your goal, turning up the intensity using interval training this year will help you meet that goal.
Interval cardio is when you change the intensities throughout your workout session. The purpose of this type of cardio session is to boost your heart rate and recover it several times during your session, ensuring you are making the best use of your time while at the gym. While there are no special rules for performing cardio at the gym or at home besides properly warming up beforehand, here are James’s five quick tips to get you started with your cardio training:
Limit interval length to two minutes.
If you’re doing one of your intense intervals and you can go longer than two minutes, then you probably aren’t exercising hard enough to generate a significant post-exercise calorie-burning effect.
Go at least 10 seconds per interval.
You can make efforts as short as 10 seconds, but remember that the shorter the intervals, the more sets you’ll need to complete. For example, one interval routine I use with my clients while biking is 10 repeats of 10 seconds of hard pedaling with 20-second rests, then 8 repeats of 20 seconds with 40-second rests, and finally, 6 repeats of 30 seconds with 60-second rests.
Mix things up during your cardio routine. You may do three hard efforts on the bike, then go over to the treadmill for three more, then move on to the elliptical trainer or rowing machine. Using the random setting on most machines is another easy way to add variety. You can also keep yourself engaged by just changing which type of cardio you do each day.
Combine cardio with weight training for big benefits.
During your next weight lifting circuit, combine hard cardio efforts between weight training exercises. This can be as simple as jumping rope as hard as you can for 30 seconds between each weight training set. No jump rope? Just do jumping jacks or burpees instead.
Remember, the purpose of cardio intervals is to allow you to go very hard during your intense intervals. If you don’t recover properly, you won’t be able to do cardio intervals properly. I recommend at least a 1:2 interval-to-rest ratio and up to a 1:4 interval-to-rest ratio. For example, a 1:2 interval-to-rest ratio would involve hard 60-second efforts followed by easy, 2-minute recovery periods. Don’t forget to cool down and drop your heart rate back down before ending your cardio session.
Now that you know how to do high cardio interval training, it’s time to hit the gym!
Bonus tip from James:
As part of my fitness strategy, every morning I use Pure Protein Complete™ in my smoothie and chase it with a shot of NingXia Nitro™ and a can of NingXia Zyng™. I also love using R.C.™, PanAway®, and Cool Azul™ essential oils topically.
– Brand Ambassador James Lawrence
Which cardio training tip from James will you incorporate into your workout? Let us know in the comments!