More is not always better when it comes to cardiovascular exercise; this is one of the biggest mindset mistakes that many of us make. Love it or hate it, cardio is an essential component of fitness when applied correctly. But, used and abused, it can turn into that justification for eating just one more bite or having one more cocktail. Our internal rationalization goes something like this, “If I eat [insert your addiction here] now, I’ll just do 10 more minutes on the elliptical tomorrow.”
Fear Not. For lasting results, cardio should not be our top priority. A common misconception is that in order to lose weight, “I need to do cardio, since lifting weights will make me bulky”. Once we understand that adding strength exercises will rev up our metabolism so our bodies burn more calories long after our workout is over, we can get over that fear.
Mix it up. Doing the same routine week after week will ensure us a stubborn plateau. Instead, change things up regularly to avoid mental and physical boredom. Keep thinking about ways to can change up loads (weight), duration, repetitions and movements in a workout. Constant variation (not to be confused with randomness) is one of the foundations of the CrossFit program...”training for the unknown and the unknowable.”
Don’t Be Fooled. If our goal is to burn fat we need to get our heart rate up and out of the “fat burning zone”. Another common misconception is that we need to exercise at 55-65% of our maximum heart rate (MHR) to burn the most body fat. The reason it’s called the “fat burning zone” is because the body consumes a greater percentage of fat but it does not consume more fat than the “high intensity zone.” And the good news is that when we exercise between 75-90% of our MHR, we won’t need to exercise for as long of duration to get the results we want. Not sure what your maximum heart rate is? Google “Karvonen Formula” or try this free online calculator. You’ll need to know what your resting heart rate is first.
Remember to go at whatever pace is challenging for YOU. Listen to your body’s limits. But also, if you don’t actually challenge yourself, you won’t end up going anywhere with your goals. Have fun and feel free to ask me any questions below.
About Angela: Angela is a fitness expert with over 12 years of experience in the industry; certified CrossFit & CrossFit Kids Coach as well as the co-owner of CrossFit Salus, opening soon in Middletown, NJ. She received her BS in Exercise Physiology from Iowa State University where she also participated in collegiate cheerleading. Angela is certified with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, YogaFit, Spinning and also an American College and Sports Medicine Wellness Coach.