We choose several types of physical activities depending on our training goals – some people want to build muscle mass, others want to reduce body fat and other still want to work on their endurance. There are also people who exercise to reduce stress, to relax or just want to take better care of their overall health. I’m sure you’ve heard about cardio training no matter what your goal is.
Cardio is an aerobic exercise which can help to boost your metabolic rate when performed correctly. It is recommended for all people who are trying to lose weight, regardless of their age, sex or level of familiarity with exercise. Every activity that stimulates our heart and increases its work rate is a form of cardio. Regular cardio training strengthens the heart, oxygenates the body, improves well-being and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardio training is also very popular and often used in bodybuilding because it is the most effective at burning fat with negligible risk of losing muscle tissue (when performed correctly).
There are many theories about the best times for cardio workouts. Let’s look at a few of them:
1. Morning cardio
There are many opinions that morning cardio (before breakfast) is very effective. There are pros and cons of this. On the one hand, low blood sugar and low carbohydrate levels in the morning provide ideal conditions for burning fat, but on the other hand, elevated levels of cortisol in the blood might burn our muscle. If you like morning cardio and want to optimize your workout – eat a light protein meal right before.
2. Evening cardio
Many people who want to lose weight perform cardio late in the evening; right after their final meal of the day. It makes maintaining a caloric deficit easier and helps lose weight. To avoid muscle catabolism, you should distribute your meals over the day so you still manage to eat a small meal after working out. It will help you avoid the losing muscle mass and create better conditions for improved regeneration during sleep.
3. Cardio – before or after strength training?
If you want to lose body fat, cardio training should be done immediately after strength training. Fat tissue is burned only 25 minutes after physical activity. Initially, the body consumes carbohydrate stores, then it burns fat with greater intensity. Cardio workouts after strength training will maximize the weight loss effect (ONLY if you maintain a caloric deficit of course 😊!).
Your goal is very important in cardio trainings. Regular walks, cycling and other forms of aerobic activity are enough if you are only interested in your general well-being and keeping your heart healthy. When your goal is losing body fat, you should perform cardio trainings with the proper intensity. To lose weight: work out from 25 to 45 minutes at least 3 times a week at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
The maximum heart rate formula: HRmax = 220 – age.
Multiply HRmax by 60-70% and you will get the heart rate that should be kept during cardio. Working out above 70% of our maximum heart rate is recommended for those who want to improve their endurance. These conditions actually make it harder to burn fat.
There is no clear answer to the question: when is the best time for cardio workouts? It all depends on your goals and abilities. If you want to lose weight and sculpt your figure, then it’s recommended to do cardio right after every strength workout to optimize its fat-burning effects. But remember – we’re only human. Each of us has limited time for our trainings. We all have stressful jobs, private lives, daily responsibilities. If you do not have a lot of time, do cardio trainings in your free time. No matter if it’s in the morning or in the evening – the only bad workout is the one you don’t do.
Remember to adjust your intensity to meet your needs and possibilities. Choose activities that make you happy – this is the only way to achieve your goals without losing motivation.
Good luck 😊 Looking for more inspiration? Check out www.cityfit.pl