It is common to hear fitness professionals and physicians when asked how to build abs, prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are attempting to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something like “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week preserving your heartbeat at a moderate level”. Before you just surrender for this popular belief and be the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked as much as be.
In fact, you may be surprised to understand that some of the leanest and meanest people I know (women and men), NEVER do any type of normal or traditional cardio. And I’ve spent over 15 years exercising in various gyms, and spending time with athletes of all kinds, so I’ve seen it all. I will say that there can be a place for low-moderate level cardio for really overweight or deconditioned people, but even just in those cases, there might be more effective methods.
But what exactly is “cardio”? Most people would consider cardio to become pumping away mindlessly on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or coasting with an elliptical machine, while watching the TV screen at hawaii of the art gym. Itrrrs this that I call “traditional cardio”. Hmmm, no surprise the majority of people get bored with their workouts and give up after a couple months without seeing results.
First, realize that our bodies are made to perform exercise in bursts of exertion then recovery, or stop-and-go movement rather than steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is among the most important aspects to think about inside your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans would be the only creatures anyway that make an effort to do “endurance” type activities. Best sports (except for endurance running or cycling) will also be based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine a good example of the various effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, think about the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that’s very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, as the typical dedicated marathoner is much more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which may you rather resemble?
Another factor to bear in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on the body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as more than An hour per session most times of the week) increases toxin production in your body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and may result in a pro-inflammatory response in your body that can potentially result in chronic diseases. However, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a far more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a proper heart), as well as an increased metabolic rate response (which could help with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heartbeat range and doesn’t train it to reply to numerous every single day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and get over a number of demands which makes it not as likely to fail when it’s needed. Think about it by doing this — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease can make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heartbeat to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart in order to handle rapid alterations in heartbeat or blood pressure level.
The key aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio may be the recovery period between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially essential for your body to elicit a healthy reaction to an exercise stimulus. Another advantage of variable cyclic training is the fact that it’s a lot more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential advantages of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint deterioration, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolism following exercise, and an increased convenience of one’s heart to take care of life’s every day stressors. There are lots of methods for you to reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training. One of the absolute best types of variable intensity training to really reduce body fat and enhance serious muscular definition is performing wind sprints.
Most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion. In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between everywhere intensity intervals on a piece of content of fitness cardio equipment) is an additional training method that employs exertion and recovery periods. This can help to build abs effectively.