CARDIO 101 FROM FIT BY KATY
WHAT DOES FBK RECOMMEND FOR MY WEEKLY CARDIO?
When you join FIT by Katy through the app, a program or challenge we recommend you start your cardio at 3 times a week for 20 minutes!
WAIT, THAT'S IT?!
Yup! If you're doing minimal cardio before you started with us, usually 3 times a week for 20 minutes plus strength training is exactly what your body needs.
We know you've been conditioned to think you need hours of cardio to lose weight, but it's just not the case. More cardio isn’t always better. Overdoing cardio can cause inflammation, slow recovery times, and makes lean muscle gain muscle retention difficult.
An easy way to think about this is that cardio burns more calories while you are actually performing the workout. Strength training changes your body's composition (hint: lean muscle) so that you burn more calories all day. Thus, strength training is the most sustainable way to lose fat and keep it off.
WHAT IF I WANNA DO MORE?
Feel free. BUT you'll most likely regret it down the road. 😉
When you increase cardio too quickly, your body starts to adapt to doing that amount of cardio on a regular basis.
What does that mean? You might lose some quick lbs. up front, but at some point, you're going to stall your progress because you physically cannot increase the amount of cardio you are doing on a weekly basis. You do not want to get yourself into that situation!
WHAT COUNTS AS CARDIO?
Cardio is short for “cardiovascular activity” also called aerobic exercise. It helps increase your heart and breathing rates, resulting in a great workout for your heart and a few major muscle groups.
Cardio should be tracked when your heart rate is around 130-150 BPM (this varies from person to person but is a good average to use). You’ll want to choose your type of cardio based on the level of intensity your fitness goal requires.
If you’re looking to gain muscle or maintain, stick to low to moderate-intensity cardio, whereas if you’re looking to lose weight you’ll want to do moderate to high-intensity cardio.
Incline walking on a treadmill, fast-paced walking outdoors, or easy pedaling on a spin bike are all great examples. Normally you’ll need to do closer to 30 minutes to ensure your heart rate is in the proper range for a full 20 minutes.
Jogging on a treadmill, Stairmaster, bike with higher resistance, elliptical/arc trainer, jumping rope, bodyweight cardio sessions, etc. are all great examples for 20 minutes.
Spin bike with high resistance or fast speed, running on the treadmill and outdoor sprints with rest/rest walk periods between until heart rate settles to a normal pace are all good options, based on your experience level. You’ll want to limit high-intensity cardio to a maximum 3x per week and space sessions out as these are more taxing on the body and are harder to recover from.
CARDIO IS STILL IMPORTANT, FRIENDS!
We use cardio as a tool for heart health in our programming. If you’ve ever looked up “how to lose weight” intense cardio is usually right under-eating 1200 calories a day. No thanks!
We recommend 3x20 as a starting point because even though cardio is great to increase your energy expenditure (burn some calories), that’s not what we’re using it for. We’re using cardio to keep your heart healthy, and putting parameters on the amount you’re doing is going to make sure that you’re not overtraining and hindering your progress.
REMEMBER, FITNESS IS PERSONAL!
These are our informed recommendations from certified trainers, based on our years of experience training thousands of women who have seen incredible results. That said, fitness and health is extremely personal.
Work with a FIT by Katy coach to settle on the best cardio recommendations for you your body. If you aren't able to grab one our FBK coaches, then use 3x20 as a starting place and tweak those numbers after weeks of consistency.
You may want to do less if you're seeing progress, or increase by around 5 minutes / week if you're plateauing.