Cardiovascular training is an extremely important facet of the fitness and bodybuilding lifestyle. Not only is it good to help minimize the gain of unwanted fat stores, it is also just really healthy overall for you to do. With so many benefits associated with cardio training, it's hard to believe that it is neglected by so many. Even those who don't neglect it, may not doing it properly so that they can benefit as much as possible from all that comes with raising one's heart rate through aerobic exercise. If you are wondering if what you are doing is taking full advantage of all the great effects that cardiovascular training has to offer, then read on to see what the top 5 mistakes are when it comes to performing cardio and then compare your approach.
Mistake #1: No Intensity
You can put in all of the time you want on any piece of cardio equipment, but if you aren't pushing yourself by raising the intensity within your approach, you are probably wasting your time. To really benefit from cardio training, you have to elevate your heart rate. The amount of effort you have to put into the exercise to increase your heart rate will differ from person to person. If you are already fit, then you're really going to have to push yourself. If you're just starting out, a little intensity will go a long way. Generally speaking, if you have a difficult time maintaining a conversation through what's commonly known as the talk test, then you are working hard enough.
Mistake #2: Timing
This mistake is likely the most commonly performed mistake of them all. The time at which you perform your cardio is crucial to your gains. Many times you will see people in the gym perform their cardio first and then follow it up with their weight training. This is a huge mistake! You only want to perform your cardio when you are in a depleted state and you never want to perform your weight training when you are in a depleted state. So by doing cardio first and then hitting the weights, all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, if you have to do both cardio and weight training in the same session, do the weights first and then the cardio. Otherwise, split it up and do your cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then workout with weights later on in the day after you've consumed a few meals.
Mistake #3: Excluding Weight Bearing Exercises
Variety in your choices of cardio exercises is a great thing. It keeps things fresh, keeps you motivated and it allows you to experiment so that you can find what works best for you and your body type. Often times, people will get stuck using the same piece of equipment over and over again and many of those times it is on an "easier" piece of equipment. If you find yourself always switching back and forth between all of the different types of exercise bikes that you have at your disposal, you may want to start incorporating some weight bearing exercises in your routines. Look at using the treadmill, stepmill, eliptical trainer or the stairmaster. These weight bearing exercises will increase your heart rate at a much faster rate due to the fact that you have to move your entire body versus just sitting there pedalling with your legs.
Mistake #4: Duration
Here's a little secret I'll let you in on about cardio; you don't have to spend your whole entire day performing it to see results. Far too often, people waste their time performing endless hours of cardio only to leave them wondering why they're not seeing any gains or loss in body fat. The reason for this is simple; quantity does not equal quality with respect to the amount of time you spend on your cardio. If you fail to adhere to what was mentioned in mistake #1 of this article, then no amount of time that you can put in will ever elicit the response you are looking for.
Mistake #5: Improper Footwear
Since cardiovascular training should be looked at as a daily venture, you're going to want to invest in a great pair of shoes to compliment your efforts. You're going to want something extremely comfortable, durable, supportive and functional so that no matter what type of cardio you choose to do, you can do so with maximal effort without the worry of blowing a tire. My #1 pick for this is The Super Freak by Heyday footwear. These shoes are designed to improve performance whilst providing the person wearing them unwavering comfort all day long.
Even though you may have just found out that you have been doing some things wrong when it comes to performing cardio, it's never too late to change your approach. In the grand scheme of things, at least you were performing cardio which in itself will go a long way.
The only real mistake you probably made was not owning a pair of Super Freaks; so let's correct that one now by going here:
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.