• 10 Minute Workout

    No time? Find just 10 minutes and you can get the job done!

    When I’m running short of time, nothing works better for me than Tabata training. A Tabata is just 4 minutes long, but work hard enough and you’ll carry on burning calories for up to 24 hours due to the ‘afterburn’ effect known as post-exercise oxygen consumption.

    When I really want to get the job done asap, I grab a skipping rope and some boxing gloves and an interval timer on my phone - there’s plenty of great apps out there where you can schedule your entire workout. In 10 minutes, I’ll complete a nifty little 2 minute warm up (because we never skip a warm up do we guys?!) and then two back to back hardcore Tabata’s. Job Done. The workout looks like this:

    Minutes 1&2: Grab the rope and get skipping, start slow and build up to a quicker skip. After 2 minutes your heart rate should be fired up and you’ll be ready to jump straight into boxing. Skipping is a great exercise in it’s own right in my opinion, it’s not easy!

    Tabata 1: 8 rounds, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I’ll alternate my punches here between rounds, so for one lot of 20 seconds I’ll be flat out jab cross punching and then the next will be hooks. Trust me by round 8 it’s tough.

    Punch Bag

    Tabata 2: The same protocol with new combinations: Usually a round of swing kicks alternating legs each time, followed by a round of jab cross punches as fast as I can.

    I finish with a quick cool down stretch while I catch my breathe, whizz on some extra deodorant and then usually it’s straight into whatever’s next!

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Workout at Work

    If sitting down is the new smoking, we’re all blowing smoke for our entire working day.

    46% of desk job workers reported gaining weight since taking their desk job, with 56%| of office workers claiming they don’t feel they get enough physical activity.

    If you work at a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than anywhere else in your life and that comes with its drawbacks.

    The problem being that we know there is a problem, but sitting is so deeply rooted into office culture, it’s difficult to change it.

    In fact, sitting is literally just the icing on top of the cake with office culture. Dentists have now warned that the tradition of bringing cakes into the office could also be causing our poor oral health and obesity. Office ‘cake culture’, bringing cakes in for Friday’s, birthdays and post holiday gifts has become a trend and it’s not one that’s great for our teeth or our waistlines.

    We need a new form of office culture to save the NHS and ourselves with the rising rate of obesity and other obesity related diseases caused by a lack of activity.

    Workout at Work

    EHOH

    Sundried believe that supporting staff health should be part of our healthy company ethos, which is why we created the concept of EHOH.

    EHOH stands for ‘every hour on the hour’ and is simply the way we break up our long periods of sitting by adding mini - workouts (or even just stretching our legs) whenever an hour passes. It’s not the perfect plan and it won’t solve all the health issues associated with office jobs, but it’s a step in the right direction, keeping our heart rates and energy levels elevated.

    The addition of exercise into your working day doesn’t have to cost you staff focus or paid time either.

    A regular 9-5 office worker will spend their entire 8 hours of work sedentary. 7 hours working at a desk and an hour going for lunch - again, sat down.

    EHOH proposes we shake up this regime. Instead of having an hours lunch, we suggest taking 30 minutes and spreading your other 30 minutes of lunch into your EHOH intervals.

    Research supports working out at work

    Research published in the Journal of Workplace Health Management by the University of Bristol found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work or exercised during lunch breaks - were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.

    It also found that people's general mood improved on days of exercise but they became more anxious on days without exercise.

    The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of it's kind to prove that exercise during work hours has mental, as well as physical benefits. Of those involved with the research, seventy two per cent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, seventy nine per cent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised and seventy four per cent said they managed their workload better.

    A study by the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that incorporating just 2.5 hours of exercise per week into the workday led to a noticeable reduction in absences.

    So a happier more time efficient, focused workforce who get more work done can be achieved just by encouraging exercise at work.

    But what about all the cakes and office snacking…

    Working out at work can make you hungrier yes, but typically eating at the desk is brought on by boredom and not physical hunger. Therefore having the mental stimulation each hour of a short workout can help to encourage you to eat less and stay more focused.

    Working out at work shouldn’t be a matter of frantically doing dips off your desk every time the boss leaves the room, exercise should be a priority for employers. Fit and healthy staff also means less sick days.

    Workout at work to be all day active

    Research has shown that even those who exercise after work are at risk of severe health issues if they continue to sit for the rest of the day.

    Dr. David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalisation, heart disease and cancer and even premature death.

    The researchers looked at 47 studies that asked people how much time they spent sitting and exercising, as well as rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death from any cause. The more hours people in the studies spent sedentary—like watching TV or sitting behind a desk—the higher their risk of all of these negative outcomes. Heavy sitters showed a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who sat less, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and 24% greater odds of dying from any cause. These rates were the average among people who both exercised regularly and those who did not.

    The Sundried collection has been developed to encourage all day activity, where exercise is intrinsic. From working in the office to cycling to meetings our activewear is smart and functional.

    Walking meetings

    It doesn’t have to stop at EHOH either, a pilot study on walking meetings conducted at the University of Miami discovered that office workers who swapped one seated meeting a week for a walking meeting added an extra 10 minutes of physical activity easily into their regular routine.

    The research saw 17 employee’s from the university conduct one of their 30-60 minute meetings whilst walking. They were encouraged to bring water, sunblock and other necessities.

    On average their moderate - intense physical activity increases as a result, from 107 weekly minutes to 117 weekly minutes by the third week following the new protocol.

    The researchers also noted that whilst the walking meetings were not large calorie burners, what they did do was significantly improve the employees moods by breaking up sedentary spells.

    "The data collected from this pilot study suggest that walking meetings were not only well accepted by our sample of workers but were easy to implement and feasible to conduct," Alberto Caban-Martinez and his team wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    We need to create a shift in office norms, instead of bringing in a cake on your birthday, why not have the birthday burpees ? Earn that cake! All it takes is one office worker to start EHOH and eventually the other’s will follow (even if they don’t want to, eventually the guilt will get to them)!

    A shift in office culture has to start somewhere, so join us and get your office moving with EHOH and workout at work.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • HIIT ABS

    Can you achieve a beach ready belly from working out? ABSolutely.

    The sun’s out and that can only mean one thing, it’s time to try the Sundried summer shred.

    This workout combines ab focused moves with high intensity cardio intervals, to keep your heart rate up and your body burning calories, not just during, but after your workout.

    Let’s get to it.

    HIIT Abs

    Warm up

    To make sure your muscles are warm, limber and ready to exercise, we need to get your blood pumping and that means cranking your heart rate up. Start by jogging on the spot for 3 minutes and then complete: 10 squats, 10 push ups, 10 lunges and 10 burpees. That should do the trick.

    HIIT ABS

    Your abdominal workout comes complete with a twist, you will not exclusively be training abs. Oh no. That’s far too easy. Between each exercise you will do 30 seconds of cardio.

    Why? Because training your abs lying down burns about half a cucumber. We need to burn calories (energy) to lose body fat and reveal a toned tum, so in between each set of core exercises, crank up the intensity with cardio acceleration. For 30 seconds you will alternate between high knees, heel kicks and star jumps adding a grand total of 10 minutes of high intensity interval training to your workout by the time you’re through!

    Roll back mountain climbers

    Start by lying on your back and bring your knees into your chest, rock back onto your shoulders and use the momentum of your movement to roll forward, place your hands in front of you and then jump your feet back into a plank. From here complete 4 mountain climbers, bringing your knees in towards your hands. Then lift your hands off the ground and roll back. That’s one rep. Go for 10 reps per round.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 second of high knees. Keep your knees up nice and high and tilt your pelvis forward to get more of a burn into your abdominals. (Tip: If you aren't able to time 30 seconds, aim for 60 reps).

    Plank Split Squat Thrusts

    Hit the mat and come into a plank off your hands, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Jump your legs forward towards your hands, splitting your legs so a foot lands by either hand. Jump your feet back to meet in your plank position. 10 per round.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 second of heel kicks. Kick your heels towards your bum cheeks as fast as you can. Remember the aim is to keep your heart rate up, so keep the intensity high.

    Oblique Plank Pull Throughs

    Grab a dumbbell and place it within reaching distance. Lay on your side and prop yourself up on your forearm, underneath your shoulder. Lift the hip so you are into a side plank, using your free hands grab your dumbbell, reach up over your head extending your arm out straight and then down and through the gap between your stomach and the floor, keeping your hips lifted at all times. Complete 5 one side, switch and match your other side up.

    Cardio acceleration: Star jumps. Complete 30 seconds of star jumps, as quickly as you can!

    Dorsal Raise vs V Sit (see images)

    Two for the price of one. Start laying on your front with your arms extended over your head. Perform a dorsal raise by lifting your hands and feet at the same time, then roll over onto your back and perform a V sit. You do this by keeping your legs and arms straight and reaching them towards one another, folding your body in half.

    Cardio acceleration: We’re back to your first cardio acceleration move. 30 seconds of high knees. Keep your knees up nice and high and tilt your pelvis forward to get more of a burn into your abdominals. (Tip: If you aren't able to time 30 seconds, aim for 60 reps).

    Dumbbell Russian Twists

    For this exercise, start seated with your back straight and knees slightly bent, lean back until you feel your abdominals engage. Grab a dumbbell and extended it in front of you, holding onto it with both hands. Twist your body to touch the dumbbells to the ground either side of you. Make it harder by lifting your feet off the ground. Tapping the double once to either side counts as one rep and you should go for 10.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 seconds of heel kicks. Part 2.

    Flutter Kicks and Scissor Kicks

    Lay on your back and place you hands by your sides, palms down. Lift your legs off the mat, keeping your back firmly pressed into the ground. Start with flutter kicks, making little pulses up and down with the legs as though you were swimming, count for 20 seconds here and then begin crossing one foot over the other for scissor kicks for a 20 seconds more.

    Cardio acceleration: Star jumps. Complete 30 seconds.

    Crucifix Plank:

    A crucifix plank takes your regular plank and makes it twice as hard. Maybe three times. Place your hands out in line with your shoulders so that your body forms a T shape and then position the rest of your body to meet you in a plank. Hold here for 30 seconds, if you feel you’ve got more in you… I challenge you to hold out longer!

    Now repeat the entire circuit, with the cardio acceleration, 3 times over.

    Cool down:

    Make sure you spend adequate time cooling down and stretching to prevent the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

    Suggested cool down: Cat/Cow Yoga stretch.

    Prepare for it to ache everytime you laugh for the next few days, if it does you’re on track. Ha ha ha!

    Remember: Abs are made in the kitchen, so combine this workout with a healthy lifestyle to achieve the best results.

    HIIT abs, Workouts

    Meta description: HIIT abs Workout. This Sundried shredded routine is designed to get your stomach ready for summer, asap.

    ‘I do’ want a flat stomach

    Who doesn’t want a flat stomach?

    Wedding or not, I think this is true for all of us. We’re at week 3 of our wedding workout routine now, so you should be getting used to training, seeing some hard earned results and making your ‘something new’ your wedding body.

    Let’s get to it.

    Warm up

    To make sure your muscles are warm, limber and ready to exercise, we need to get your blood pumping and that means cranking your heart rate up. Start by jogging on the spot for 3 minutes and then complete: 10 squats, 10 push ups, 10 lunges and 10 burpees. That should do the trick.

    ‘I do’ want a flat stomach

    Your abdominal workout comes complete with a twist, you will not exclusively be training abs. Oh no. That’s far too easy. Between each exercise you will do 30 seconds of cardio.

    Why? Because training your abs lying down burns about half a cucumber. We need to burn calories (energy) to lose body fat and reveal a toned tum, so in between each set of core exercises, crank up the intensity with cardio acceleration. For 30 seconds you will alternate between high knees, heel kicks and star jumps adding a grand total of 10 minutes of high intensity interval training to your workout by the time you’re through!

    Roll back mountain climbers

    Start by lying on your back and bring your knees into your chest, rock back onto your shoulders and use the momentum of your movement to roll forward, place your hands in front of you and then jump your feet back into a plank. From here complete 4 mountain climbers, bringing your knees in towards your hands. Then lift your hands off the ground and roll back. That’s one rep. Go for 10 reps per round.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 second of high knees. Keep your knees up nice and high and tilt your pelvis forward to get more of a burn into your abdominals. (Tip: If you aren't able to time 30 seconds, aim for 60 reps).

    Plank Split Squat Thrusts

    Hit the mat and come into a plank off your hands, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Jump your legs forward towards your hands, splitting your legs so a foot lands by either hand. Jump your feet back to meet in your plank position. 10 per round.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 second of heel kicks. Kick your heels towards your bum cheeks as fast as you can. Remember the aim is to keep your heart rate up, so keep the intensity high.

    Oblique Plank Pull Throughs

    Grab a dumbbell and place it within reaching distance. Lay on your side and prop yourself up on your forearm, underneath your shoulder. Lift the hip so you are into a side plank, using your free hands grab your dumbbell, reach up over your head extending your arm out straight and then down and through the gap between your stomach and the floor, keeping your hips lifted at all times. Complete 5 one side, switch and match your other side up.

    Cardio acceleration: Star jumps. Complete 30 seconds of star jumps, as quickly as you can!

    Dorsal Raise vs V Sit (see images)

    Two for the price of one. Start laying on your front with your arms extended over your head. Perform a dorsal raise by lifting your hands and feet at the same time, then roll over onto your back and perform a V sit. You do this by keeping your legs and arms straight and reaching them towards one another, folding your body in half.

    Cardio acceleration: We’re back to your first cardio acceleration move. 30 seconds of high knees. Keep your knees up nice and high and tilt your pelvis forward to get more of a burn into your abdominals. (Tip: If you aren't able to time 30 seconds, aim for 60 reps).

    Dumbbell Russian Twists

    For this exercise, start seated with your back straight and knees slightly bent, lean back until you feel your abdominals engage. Grab a dumbbell and extended it in front of you, holding onto it with both hands. Twist your body to touch the dumbbells to the ground either side of you. Make it harder by lifting your feet off the ground. Tapping the double once to either side counts as one rep and you should go for 10.

    Cardio acceleration: 30 seconds of heel kicks. Part 2.

    Flutter Kicks and Scissor Kicks

    Lay on your back and place you hands by your sides, palms down. Lift your legs off the mat, keeping your back firmly pressed into the ground. Start with flutter kicks, making little pulses up and down with the legs as though you were swimming, count for 20 seconds here and then begin crossing one foot over the other for scissor kicks for a 20 seconds more.

    Cardio acceleration: Star jumps. Complete 30 seconds.

    Crucifix Plank:

    A crucifix plank takes your regular plank and makes it twice as hard. Maybe three times. Place your hands out in line with your shoulders so that your body forms a T shape and then position the rest of your body to meet you in a plank. Hold here for 30 seconds, if you feel you’ve got more in you… I challenge you to hold out longer!

    Now repeat the entire circuit, with the cardio acceleration, 3 times over.

    Cool down:

    Make sure you spend adequate time cooling down and stretching to prevent the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

    Suggested cool down: Cat/Cow Yoga stretch.

    Prepare for it to ache everytime you laugh for the next few days, if it does you’re on track, ha ha ha!

    Bonus: Completing this workout will help make your cake tasting feel a little less guilty!

    Remember: Abs are made in the kitchen, so combine this workout with a healthy lifestyle to achieve the best results.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Get Fit at Home

    Can you get fit at home? Why, of course you can!

    Whilst going to the gym hosts a multitude of benefits, you can get fit at home. Ever have those days where you just don’t want to see anyone, or you ran out of petrol for the drive to the gym, or you can’t leave your children? We’ve got the answer, home workouts.

    With home workouts, you are your gym. Using your bodyweight can be a great way of getting fitter, leaner and stronger.

    Training at Home

    Benefits of Exercising at Home

    Money

    Money is one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing a gym membership and prices can be anywhere from £20- £100 a month, that's £1,200 a year. Save your money and train at home, if you need more kit, the chances are it’s still going to work out cheaper.

    Time

    Time is another major factor when it comes to training. Whilst having no time to go to the gym may seem like a valid excuse, everyone has time to go home. Training at home means you can fit exercise into your regime as and when the opportunity arrives, even if it's broken into multiple smaller workouts.

    No waiting for kit

    Queuing for kit at the gym can be frustrating and a busy gym can leave your heart rate dropping whilst you feel frustrated and unmotivated waiting for the machine you need next. Training at home guarantees no-one can slip in front of you onto your kit and your heart rate stays elevated throughout your training, as you switch from one move to the next seamlessly.

    No watchful eyes

    Sometimes going to the gym can get you more motivated, as you don’t want to be seen putting in a poor performance. Other times people can just be frankly, annoying. Whether it’s awkward moments where you catch someone's eye doing hip thrusters, or someone who just seems to be more interested in staring at you than in their own workout. Avoid all the annoying people and workout at home.

    Petrol

    Fueling your motor a) isn't cheap and b) isn’t great for the environment, so kill two birds with one stone and train at home instead. You can spend the extra time you saved driving throwing in a few extra sets to your workout instead.

    Childcare

    If your gym doesn’t have a creche it can be hard to find someone to watch your children while you go workout. Working at home means you can workout and still play parent, granted you may have to stop every now and then, but it’s worth it. Your children seeing you staying active also encourages them to join in and move more, with obesity being such a huge risk in the UK it's great to encourage your kids and set the right example.

    It's You vs You

    We hear this all the time in gym motivational talks, but when it boils down to training at home, it really is you vs you. There’s no-one but you to answer to, so it’s time to really go for it. No one will see how sweaty you get so you can push that extra bit harder, knowing your showers only around the corner.

    Cleanliness

    Training at home is more hygienic, providing your not a real mucky pup. Despite gyms being cleaned, the gym environment breeds germs. The perfect environment for bacteria to spread is the warm moist environment of the gym. The list of bacteria most gyms carry is longer than my arm, so we’re not going to go into it with too much detail. Just the sheer volume of people handling the same kit you are can lead to spreading bacteria. Even if your house is messy, at least it’s your mess.

    Downsides to working out at home

    Lack of  Equipment

    Its nice to have the variety of different equipment and when you first start you may not have much kit. Technically, most of it isn’t really needed, but it’s nice to shake things up every now and again. After training at home for a while, most people will find their collection grows and what started as a set of resistance bands soon becomes a set of resistance bands, a dumbbell tree, a chin up bar, a punchbag, a TRX ….

    No One to motivate you

    Some days even the best athletes lack motivation, it happens. Getting yourself to the gym can often be the hardest part, but once you're there you’ve got to do something with yourself or you’ll look lazy and the PT’s will soon be over to give you an extra earful of motivation. When your at home, there’s no-one but you and maybe the voice on a DVD to motivate you so it can be hard to get in the right mindset.

    No spotter or trainer

    Without a trainer or a spotter you are more susceptible to injury, from either executing the move wrong or lifting heavier than you can handle on your own. Having people around you can be really beneficial from a safety perspective, especially if you're lifting.

    Lacks social aspect

    We’re social creatures and training at home lacks the social aspect of going to the gym. If when you go to the gym you spend more time exercising your mouth than other muscles however, this could be a good thing!

    Tips for working out at home

    Remove distractions

    Working out at time is one of the biggest culprits for getting distracted during your workout. Zone in. From telephone calls to the front door to pets or children, home workouts are at risk of interruption. Your best bet is to remove all the distractions before you work out. Switch your phone to do not disturb, put your pets in another room and remove your children. Kidding. Just warn them what mummy/daddy is getting up to so that they know you’re busy, give them something which will keep them occupied for long enough for you to work out or let them join in.

    Create adequate space

    When you're short on time it can be easy to just try and get your workout in without clearing the room you actually need to move. If you can, try to dedicate a space as specifically your workout zone, this will make it more official, as well as avoid you kicking and breaking something. Make sure any equipment you have and might need is stored here. The last thing you want is to be hunting around for kit at the crucial moment.

    Schedule

    Try to schedule your workout into the day, be more specific than just “when I get home from work”. Try more “I get home at 6, so I’m going to do some chores and then workout at 6.30pm”. Set an alarm for this time, so whatever you’re doing, you’ll get a reminder and be more likely to keep your workout date.

    Gear up

    Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you should be working out in your PJs, especially if you're a woman. Training without support for your breasts can damage tissue. Wearing the right activewear supports your training and will enhance your efforts. Check out the Sundried collection

    Consistency is key

    As with any form of training, the key to success is consistency. One home workout routine won’t make a difference, nor will one healthy meal. In order to get fit, you need to be consistent with your training, whether that’s at home or the gym. We are what we repeatedly do, so try to incorporate your workout into your routine so it becomes a natural habit.

    Plan your workout in advance

    Plan your workout in advance so you know what’s coming and aren't left guessing what to do next. Whether you're following a written routine, dvd or app make sure you know what moves are on the agenda so you don’t waste any time wondering, what’s next?

    Stay Motivated

    Comes at a price: Motivation. With the fridge, your tv and sofa all within walking distance, it can be hard to find the motivation to really go for it. You have to stay motivated or your gym equipment will gather dust and become nothing more than extra clutter in your home.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • What cardio should I do?

    Cardio is like marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

    We tend to find two kinds of trainers, those who love nothing more than to lace up and head out for their runner's high for as long as they can and those who talk themselves into 20 minutes of cardio by breaking it down into 4 sets of 15 minutes, counting down from about 4 minutes in.

    Cardio Training

    Low Intensity Cardio

    Low Intensity cardio is easy and everyone can and should, do it. Low intensity cardio exercises include walking or a light cycle. These kind of exercises are low impact and typically performed around 40% of your maximum heart rate, which make them easy to recover from and therefore can be performed on a regular basis.

    Benefits of Low Intensity Cardio:

    1. Burn extra calories. Whilst the exercise is not intensive, moving more burns more calories and prevents from the dangers of sitting. Low intensity exercise can help to burn more calories and maintain weight.
    2. Low intensity build muscular endurance. Low intensity exercise builds muscular endurance, as the body effectively performs lots of easy reps over a long period of time.
    3. Low intensity cardio controls appetite. Psychologically, where we’ve not been physically worked so hard from low intensity cardio, we don’t feel the need to re-feed. Research from The American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that long sessions of low intensity inhibit hunger hormones. The study found that 60 minutes cardio increased the release of an appetite suppressing hormone and decreased the release of a hormone that promotes hunger.

    Moderate Intensity Cardio

    This is often referred to as steady state cardio, it's the kind of cardio where you're going for a steady run, swim or 40 minute session on the elliptical. If you’re an endurance athlete, or runner, this is your golden zone. Typically you will be working at about 60-80% of your maximum heart rate.

    Benefits of Medium Intensity Cardio:

    1. Enhances your aerobic system. Our aerobic systems fuel most of our day to day physical functions, from breathing to our digestive system. Aerobic energy (energy created with oxygen) is present in everything we do, so improving your aerobic engine will improve everything else.
    2. At moderate intensity the left ventricle of the heart has time to fill and contract, developing an increased capacity, pumping more blood with each contraction (over time), lowering your resting heart rate.
    3. Maintain muscle mass. Moderate cardio burns mainly carbohydrates and therefore maintains muscle mass, however, if you run out of alternative fuel sources, eventually your body will turn to your muscle stores for energy.
    4. Medium recovery time. Medium intensity workouts require medium amount of recovery.
    5. Manage diabetes. This level of intensity of exercise helps the body to burn glucose, and regulate blood sugar levels.Those who exercise regularly tend to have better control of their blood sugars and do not see as many blood sugar swings as those who don't.

    High Intensity Cardio

    High- Intensity cardio is the kind that leaves your heart in your throat. It’s the full pelt on the treadmill, flat out throwing of battle ropes or boxing like you’re the next Balboa. High intensity exercise now boasts its the best for torching fat and calories.The sheer intensity of the exercise is what causes the extra calorie burning, not at the time, but in order for your body to recover.

    Benefits of High Intensity Cardio:

    1. Boosts Metabolism for up to 24 hours. High intensity interval training causes an increased need for oxygen, we therefore continue to burn calories EPOC, excess post exercise oxygen consumption.
    2. Increased VO2 max. Your VO2 max is the maximum amount of Oxygen your body can uptake at any one time and is a good judge for your level of fitness. A higher VO2 max means you can perform and recover faster.
    3. High-intensity exercise can burn quite a bit more calories than low-intensity exercise, and as fat loss is dictated by energy balance, the advantage here is clear.
    4. Shorter workouts are great for those who lack a lot of free time to train.
    5. Increased Lactate Threshold. Your ability to handle increased lactic acid buildup in your muscles increases.
    6. Anabolic. For those looking to build muscle, interval training combined with a calorie surplus has been shown in some studies to have an anabolic effect, helping to build muscle.

    The big arguments against cardio:

    It’s: a) too hard, b) boring, c) I’m no good at it.

    A, b, c or all of the above, aren’t really arguments against cardio are they? More like excuses. Let’s target them one by one.

    1. It’s too hard. Every exercise is going to be hard at some point, when you’ve never done it before, cardio can be difficult, but stick it out and it does get better. Your body is very clever, it adapts and improves, within weeks it will start to get easier, you’ll be able to notice a difference and that can be very motivating. The beginning is always the hardest.
    2. It’s boring. Your cardio is only as boring as the person who designed it. Cardio doesn’t have to be sat on a stationary bike, it could be boxing, kettlebells, battle ropes or plyometrics. Get creative with your cardio and find something you enjoy, think outside the box a little and your cardio won’t stay boring. Tip: If you’re really stuck for ideas, pop into a class such as spin, the instructor will do all the planning for you - all you’ve got to do is go for it!
    3. I’m no good at it. If we always did the things we were good at, we’d never learn anything new, would we? Whilst some people may be more naturally built for cardio, if you work at it, you can be too. Remember: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

    Muscle loss

    Broscience will have you believe that cardio will kill your gains, but is there really any research in it? There is research to support cardio and there is research against it.

    For:

    Cardio decreases recovery times. Intense activity causes damage to muscle fibers, these then repair and grow bigger and stronger. Two factors which affect the rate at which these repairs take place are how much of the substances needed to induce repair are brought to the muscle over time and how quickly waste products are removed.

    Cardio increases blood flow, which can help your muscles to repair quicker by speeding up these two processes. The faster you repair, the faster you can train again and work on your “gains”.

    HIIT training can help you gain muscle: The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published research suggesting that HIIT can actually increase testosterone levels. Testosterone is a muscle building hormone.HIIT also sets off an increase in the concentration of myofibrillar nuclei. Hypertrophy depends on increases in this concentration, along with the content of your muscle fibers.

    Against:

    Prolonged cardio increases cortisol levels. Too much cardiovascular exercise will cause Cortisol levels to increase and Cortisol will eat away at your muscle fibres and reverse the effects of your muscle building training. After around an hour of training, testosterone levels drop and Cortisol levels rise, preventing muscle growth.

    When you’re trying to build muscle, you need excess calories. Cardio burns calories, which can end up putting you in a deficit. Whilst for weight loss, this is exactly what’s needed, when trying to bulk up this could lead you to go catabolic.

    Cardio and Muscle Building

    Whilst there are arguments for and against cardio when trying to gain muscle mass, a lot of the results will depend on the individual, as everybody is different. In order to maintain health, we would never recommend excluding cardio completely, however to gain muscle mass, cardio needs to be maintained with a calorie surplus. Low intensity sessions of between 20 - 40 minutes can be used on rest days or post workout to aid recovery whilst HIIT training may be implemented twice per week as part of a muscle building routine, if fueled correctly and can actually promote further muscle growth. For muscle gain try to aim for 2-3 cardio sessions per week.

    The type of cardio you should do will depend greatly upon your goal.

    Cardio and Weight Loss

    The biggest rule of weight loss is calories in has to equal less than calories out, however cardio can be implemented into a training regime to assist weight loss. Cardio for weight loss is often a long debated subject, is high intensity better or should we work specifically in our ‘fat burning’ moderate intensity zones. Why pick one or the other, why not both?

    For our bodies to change the most we have to keep stimulating your muscles differently, so combining a mixture of HIIT and steady cardio can be great for weight loss. Whilst HIIT will burn more calories after the exercise is finished, steady state cardio still burns a chunk of calories and is easier to recover from.

    Mixing HIIT and moderate cardio such as swimming or jogging will train both the aerobic and anaerobic system to build a good level of fitness as well as assist in a weight loss regime , providing you burn more than you eat.

    With any form of activity, if there is no other fuel source, your body will eat at its muscle mass.

    Cardio for event training / athlete

    A person training for a 10k will usually implement all three types of cardio in their routine, to challenge their different energy systems and build strength in all areas. Despite the 10k being steady state cardio, training would involve low intensity, moderate and HIIT cardio. For example a person may complete 4-5 sessions a week:

    Day 1 complete light cardio, 40 minutes, jog. Day 2 high intensity cardio, HIIT 20 minutes sprints. Rest on day 3, complete further light cardio on day 4, HIIT on day 5, rest on day 6, followed by an endurance run on day 7, where you would run to near the distance of the event.

    As well as doing cardio that is specific to your goal, it’s important to find a form of cardio which you love, or at least like. If you really hate the cardio you’re putting yourself through, you just won’t keep it up.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner