When I started going to the gym 2 years ago, I was definitely a cardio girl. I think this is pretty common when you first get into fitness, and a lot of my friends who are just getting into the gym now are loving Spin, running and high intensity training. I used to run on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes then hit the bike for another 20 then finish on the rower then throw in a few weights. Then I observed the amazing results which can be obtained by lifting weights – bulging quads, solid triceps, scultped shoulders, stronger abs – and I was hooked. For about 6 months I attended 3-4 Body Pump classes per week and got really strong, toned and felt a great deal of satisfaction from the routines. Cardio didn’t get a look in!
Now, I do about 15 minutes cardio then do about 40 minutes of heavy weight lifting. I know that building muscle means I will lose fat and gain pounds, but I STILL insist on standing on the scales for gratification. Why? I guess old habits die hard. I still need to shift about 1 stone before I will feel ‘thin’. I seriously need to attack the layer of fat on my stomach (recently checked my body fat percentage and found it was a disappointing 31%) so decided I need to increase my cardio workouts. I see a lot of people’s routine goes like this: Upper body one day, lower body another, cardio another. I have never dedicated a full workout to cardio alone so I though what the hell – lets burn some fat!
On Sunday I started on the stationary bike. This is where I feel I can really work the hardest. I have a knee injury which means the treadmill is out of the question, but I can ramp up the resistance on the bike and get sweaty quickly without any fear of damaging my knee. I did 20 minutes of intervals, some for 60 seconds some for 30 seconds, with a few different resistances. I burned over 300 calories (according to the display, probably not very accurate) which did me just fine.
Then I move onto the rower. I decided just to do 10 minutes straight, without any intervals. I did this because as soon as I started I could feel my back and shoulders aching, and new that as soon as I blasted it for 30 seconds I wouldn’t want to continue. Listen to your body, that’s what they say, right?
I finished off with 10 minutes on the cross trainer. Again, this is perfect for me because there is no impact. I also love anything that works my arms (ta-ta bingo wings!) so this suited me just fine. I chose a pre-designed interval programme which was random and got harder towards the end which I don’t mind. Before I knew it, 40 minutes of cardio had been completed!
Not one to leave out the core, I had to do a little ab work:
Kettlebell russian twists 30 seconds
Opposite toe touches 30 seconds
Bicycle crunches 30 seconds
Rest for one minute then repeat
I’m hoping to do a similar workout once a week, then check my body fat percentage again in 6 weeks. I hope I can shake some of this off before summer arrives! What’s your goal for summer?