CV, Endurance, Fat Burning & HIIT

CV, Endurance, Fat Burning & HIIT

This article is geared more for beginners, but many others may benefit too. Firstly I would like to define what aerobic training is and how it differs to other types of training. Aerobic training utilises the body's ability to perform exercise aerobically, in that I mean, the mechanism that your muscles use to convert food into energy requires oxygen to complete. (Unlike that of anaerobic training: e.g. weight training). (There is a glossary of terms at the bottom of this page)

At this point I would like to outline one common misconception - CV or cardiovascular training is a phrase commonly used by people to describe aerobic training of all kinds. This is not the case as I will explain later in this article; however I have made this point now so as to avoid confusion from hereon in. There are several variations of aerobic training, they are all different and achieve a wide range of goals. Some of the more common reasons for incorporating aerobic training in a program are to shed excess body fat from unsightly places, to increase muscle tone/define body shape or to maintain a healthy respiratory system. All are very valid reasons and even irregular aerobic exercise will benefit anyone of any age/gender immensely, and although the paths are different, the goals are usually, ultimately the same: To look and feel and be in good health.

As I explained earlier, there are a variety of aerobic training methods, the more common of which are listed below with there effects on the body, and the basics of how and why this is so as you can see all of the types of training together, what they achieve, and how well they do it. This will aid you in either incorporating, creating or changing your program so as it suits you better and you get more out of the effort you put in.

  1. Cardiovascular Training

  2. Endurance Training

  3. HIIT

  4. Fat Burning

  5. These are the four main categories that I will cover in this article.

    1. Cardiovascular training/ Cardiorespiratory endurance

    Quick definition: a repetitive, rhythmical and steady state of relatively high intensity (when compared with fat burn training) exercise that uses the whole body, or at least two large muscle groups to do so.

    Examples: swimming, cycling, running, boxing, kayaking, rock climbing, and to an extent - martial arts

    More info: cardiovascular training increases the bodies demand for oxygen and nutrients, and in doing so, increases the workload on the lungs, heart and many other muscles involved in the process of respiration and helping to increase your cardio respiratory endurance important - cardiorespiratory endurance is not to be confused with muscular endurance.

    As this type of training is more for those whom are concerned with the health and efficiency of their respiratory system it is as stated before, relatively high intensity. In that, your muscles have to work hard and demand so much oxygen that your heart should be working around 80% of its maximum and your lungs are using around 95% of their maximum capacity.

    This equates as follows: for everyone there is a general rule of thumb. Take the number 220, and minus your age in years from that figure. From this you can easily calculate my working heart rate for CV training. Multiply 220, minus your age in years, by 0.8 to get your target heart rate.

    If you haven't got access to a gym but want to monitor your HR as you go, (stopping for 1minute to count the beats is very impractical, hinders your workout and the fact you've stopped will affect your HR as well) then either invest in a heart rate monitor, or simply get good at mental arithmetic and stop for 5 seconds count the beats and times them by 12. That gives you your current BPM.

    Cardiovascular training is very flexible, in that it has many applications: swimming, running and cycling to name a few, so you should never get bored. And can be tailored to your needs. It is just as possible to be fit doing 3 longer sessions a week as it is to do 5 shorter ones. Although, as long as you have plenty of sleep, eat well, drink water and get one rest day a week, then more is better - generally. Never do more than 6 sessions a week. And pace yourself.

    Also a good way of measuring your progress is to calculate your resting heart rate, the lower the better, like golf.

    Benefits: main - increased cardiovascular fitness. Toning of major muscle groups and to a lesser extent, fat burning.

    N.B. >>> Common injuries with high impact training are shin splints and joint pain. To avoid this, make sure any footwear you have is new(ish) fit for the purpose (don't run in your brogues) and you warm-up and stretch properly before and after every session.

    2. Endurance training

    Quick definition: also referred to as stamina (not cardiovascular stamina) this is the maximum duration an individual can sustain an activity before the onset of fatigue forces the muscles to stop working.

    Examples:

    • Short term - press-ups until failure (circuit training)

    • Medium term - 1500m sprint/run

    • Long term - 5000m run

    More info: As with CV training, it is the rhythmical repetition of an exercise, usually incorporating large muscle groups, but generally of a higher intensity (and lower HR) and for a shorter period of time. Short term endurance activities are typically sustained for a period of 1-5 minutes and use predominately the white muscle fibres that are responsible for fast, hard contractions. (This is slightly anaerobic, but not too much). Longer term activities are usually for a period of 5+ minutes and are less dependant on the white muscle fibres, as the pace is usually slower.

    The working HR with this type of exercise is not really important, as the focus is more on the muscles than the respiratory system.

    For this type of exercise I can highly recommend circuit training as a very efficient method for building muscular endurance. This is bet described as a cycle of varying exercises using the whole body, or a large muscle group with no additional resistance but your own bodyweight and going to failure on 1 set per cycle.

    Example circuit would be:

    • Press-ups

    • Skipping

    • Pull ups (chins)

    • Squats

    • Star jumps

    • Rope climbs

    Do as many reps as you can in 1 minute then rest for 20 seconds before moving on, repeat circuit 2-5 times.

    Benefits: main - increased muscular endurance. Toning of major muscle groups and to a lesser extent, fat burning.

    N.B. >>> common injuries with high impact training are shin splints and joint pain. To avoid this, make sure any footwear you have is new(ish) fit for the purpose (don't run in your brogues) and you warm-up and stretch properly before and after every session.

    3. HIIT

    Quick definition: high intensity interval training. This is a hybrid version of both extremes of fat burning sessions and CV work. This is where short bursts of incredibly intense exercise are followed not by rest, but less intense exercise.

    Examples: hill sprints and any CV work that is cycled in its intensity

    More info: this method of training is incredibly effective and literally turns your body into a fat burning furnace. You get the respiratory benefits of very high intensity CV exercise and the fat burning benefits of lower intensity exercise. This shifts your metabolism into overdrive and, if you can handle it, is almost twice as effective as any other method. This effect is magnified further by adding an incline to your work (as running up a 10 degree gradient burns twice as many kcals/hour than on the flat). it is also worth noting that as you need muscle to sprint @ MHR, your body will be using anything but muscle to fuel itself, this is not the case with lower intensity exercise.

    Example session:

    Hill sprints; choose and incline of say 10% and 200yards long. (Your average road bridge is suitable).

    Sprint up (as fast as possible - so you nearly feel sick) - this should take a fit man about 30 seconds Walk quickly down - this should take around 1-2 minutes

    Or

    If I was about to do my normal 8 mile run that would take me around 50 minutes, half that time (25 minutes).

    And do this, disregard distance completely.

    Weeks 1-4

    • 10-60sec best effort(as near to 100% MHR as possible)

    • 4 minutes relaxed pace (60% of your MHR)

    • Repeat until 25 minutes is up 2 times a week along with 2 other aerobic sessions

    Week 5-9

    • 10-60sec best effort (as near to 100% MHR as possible)

    • 3 minutes relaxed pace (60% of your MHR)

    • Repeat until 25 minutes is up 2 times a week along with 2 other aerobic sessions

    Week 10-15

    • 10-60sec best effort (as near to 100% MHR as possible)

    • 2 minutes 30 seconds relaxed pace (60% of your MHR)

    • Repeat until 25 minutes is up 2 times a week along with 2 other aerobic sessions

    Week 16-20

    Same as week 10-15 only for longer. Say for 30mins or if your feeling cocky, 35mins.

    The MHR interval should be increased steadily, and although in this example the time @lower heart rate is decreased, that would not be beneficial to beginners. staying at 3-4min LHR and work on increasing the time of MHR from 0sec-1min. keep going until you can complete 20-35minutes, then decrease the time @ LHR.

    This is very, very effective as it uses the absolute best of you during the best effort/sprint phase as you should be going flat out, even if by the end your sprint pace has been reduced to a crawl, that's what best effort means. CV training only uses 80% of your maximum for the duration of your workout. HIIT uses 100% of your resources for as long as you can hold out, then you don't rest; instead go at 60% of your maximum until your ready for the charge again.

    Benefits: main - total preservation of muscle mass, increased cardiovascular fitness, toning of major muscle groups and the absolute obliteration of fat.

    Extra note, this will kill you, so don't do it more than 3x a week a week. Especially if you're in a bulking phase or on steroids as it soaks up too many valuable calories.

    N.B. >>> common injuries with high impact training are shin splints and joint pain. To avoid this, make sure any footwear you have is new(ish) fit for the purpose (don't run in your brogues) and you warm-up and stretch properly before and after every session.

    4. Fat Burning

    Quick definition: an exercise regime that targets the fat stores around the body as the primary source of fuel for energy instead of glucose/glycogen.

    Examples: jogging, cycling, slow swimming, hiking/walking

    More info: This is achieved by maintaining a constant rhythmical activity for a reasonable period of time (20-60 minutes is ample) at a medium-low intensity (about 50-60% of your MHR). This is not enough to make the muscles use up all of their glycogen, but instead use the fat reserves around the body. This has the knock on effect of increasing your aerobic efficiency as it takes more oxygen to metabolise fat than it does for carbohydrate. And duration is the key here, not intensity or speed.

    Example session

    Jogging at a steady state and around 50-60% of your MHR (as calculated in part 1).

    • Mon: 20 minutes

    • Tue: 30 minutes

    • Wed: rest

    • Thurs: 40 minutes

    • Fri: rest

    • Sat: 60 minutes

    • Sun: rest

    Benefits: main - fat loss and to a lesser extent - improved cardiovascular fitness

    A good way of monitoring your progress is to look in the mirror.

    N.B. >>> common injuries with high impact training are shin splints and joint pain. To avoid this, make sure any footwear you have is new(ish) fit for the purpose (don't run in your brogues) and you warm-up and stretch properly before and after every session.

    Glossary of terms:

    MHR = maximum heart rate

    HR = heart rate

    HIIT = high intensity interval training

    BPM = beats per minute

    m = meters

    CV = cardiovascular

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CV, Endurance, Fat Burning & HIIT