September 5th, 2010, 05:07 AM
Interval vs Constant Cardio??
I've read a lot of stuff about this online, but I couldn't find anything useful for me... I usually do cardio every time (try to be about 4-5 times a week), 20mins treadmill and 20mins bike. I have no idea what my heart rate is on the treadmill, but I assume it's about the same as on the bike (as I feel as tired). On the bike I choose a program that has intervals and my average HR is always about 162 (sometimes even more), so that counts as a high intensity workout, I assume (I'm 22 years old).
When I'm on the treadmill, I usually go with a steady speed of about 7.5km/h (which is very slow, but it really kills me every time). I've read that it's better to do interval cardio training but... If my HR is about, say, 160 steady, why should I do intervals?? It would only take me longer, and I wouldn't achieve that much of a difference in heart rate... or am I wrong?
September 5th, 2010, 05:20 AM
I'm 24 and my trainer has me do intervals because they help build cardio strength and burn more calories. Near the end of my intervals, my heart rate is around 190-200. Intervals help your heart get used to changes and become more efficient.
155-160 was what I used to try to target because the machines told me that was the weight loss zone, but recent studies show the opposite. That is, that intervals are better (for the reasons mentioned above).
And you should prefer the treadmill over the bike because a higher percentage of your body is engaged, thus you have a more complete workout and burn more calories. Again this is what my trainer has told me.
I figure, my trainer has a degree in kinesiology so I figure she knows what she's saying. But, as always, talk to someone at your gym, or to your doctor, before making any major changes to your workout routine
September 5th, 2010, 07:20 AM
I'd say try intervals; what have you got to lose? you can always go back to what you were doing.
Try kicking up the speed- if you need to drop the intensity then do so, its your workout, keep doing it you will get better and will be able to up the intensity when your more ready. Aim to go as fast as you can for 1-2 mins then drop back to catch your breath for 1 min. If you want to talk heart rates, aim for 50% on your down time (when you rest) and as high as you can get things on your more intense minutes. You will find the better you become, the higher your heart rate will get when going fast but also the faster it will fall on your down times. One thing to add though, if its the speed your changing, keep the intensity the same throughout, if its the intensity your swapping about keep the speed the same throughout.
On the treadmill your heart rate is likely to be a good few BPM higher (maybe 10-25) as your standing and naturally your heart rate will be higher (unless your standing on the bike when you ride). I'd suggest getting a heart rate monitor which will help you see whats going on and log your improvements.
September 5th, 2010, 08:41 AM
It's better for you if you can handle it, it's like jogging at a constant pace versus jogging and then adding sprints in between. You aren't going to be able to sprint for a long period of time, but adding those sprints when you're going all out can really build up your fitness. You'll burn more calories too.
A very long time ago before my asthma got bad I used to run like that, my usual heart rate would be 160-170 (I was a teen at the time), and then during sprints it would be more like 190.
September 5th, 2010, 12:50 PM
Deciding what training works for you is a very personal decision based on your objectives and your temperament.
But exercise of any sort is better than none at all!
Intense interval training is more tiring than consistent cardio. People usually need more rest between sessions. During the session it is more demanding on the heart, cardio and, if combined with resistance, the muscles. My husband enjoys the 'burst' of interval training and finds consistent cardio boring. But he only aims to train 45 minutes for 3 - 4 sessions per week.
Consistent cardio is less tiring but it does mean you can do it 5 - 6 times a week. And you can increase the cardio, heart and muscle demand at a manageable pace. I like to ride a spinner bike standing up with resistance for and hour 6 days a week but speed and resistance have gradually increased over time. I also do about 20 minutes core and weight work which I am gradually increasing at the end of my cardio session.
Which one of us is fitter?
We are both fit.
- He has greater muscle build due to his sex (men build muscle readily due to testosterone) and his resistance training.
- I have strong cardio, reliable heart performance under stress and a toned body build.
We are both lean.
- But that is because we eat a simple home cooked healthy diet and by default manage our calorie intake.
If you manage your diet and have an exercise programme that fits with your lifestyle demands and your temperament you should end up leaner and more toned over time. Depending upon your choices it may take longer but the end game is the same.
I don't believe there is a 'magic bullet' or a 'right way' to achieve long term fitness and weight management. It comes down to committing to a lifestyle of a healthy diet and some form of exercise that works for you.
But to maintain the commitment it is easiest if you do what you enjoy. So if consistent cardio is something you enjoy - then keep doing that. If you prefer the 'bursts' of interval training - then do that. Either way you will be fitter and healthier.
September 5th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Thank you all for the detailed explanations I'll definitely give it a try today... It's just that I'm usually too impatient for results and I want to make the most out of my training. When I get used to running again, I'll probably stop the bike part of cardio anyway But yes, long-term results are impossible... I was going to the gym for 4 months, then I stopped for 4 months and gained all my weight back, so now I'm hoping to lose it faster, as I have some previous training but.. who knows
September 9th, 2010, 03:07 AM
I asked my trainer as I said I would
She said that essentially, there may be genetic predispositions but we only see them at elite levels like professional athletes and olympians. So everyone should be able to enhance their cardio.
As for being impatient for results, I see improvements almost every time I go to the gym! I started with a trainer 9 weeks ago and I cannot believe how much more I can take now!
September 10th, 2010, 08:24 PM
Results are far easier to see in cardiovascular improvement than anything else. Although cardio does seem very hard at first, your heart and lungs do adapt and improve exponentially over a very short period of time once they are worked.
Introducing interval training into your cardio sessions varies your workout and encourages your body to work anaerobically as well as aerobically. Anaerobic activity has a more positive longer term effect on your metabolic rate as it encourages muscle growth which in turn raises your metabolic rate. When this occurs your body uses excess energy stores (body fat) to function during exercise as well as at rest.
So you can see why for burning fat as well as becoming super fit, interval training is a fantastic method of exercise.
Last edited by Jericho; September 10th, 2010 at 08:37 PM.
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