Cardio

Every solid, well-rounded fitness plan includes both strength training AND cardiovascular exercise. To ensure that you're cardio is effective, follow these tips and techniques.

Biking Is The New Driving.

DaveyWaveyLifeCycle

Me, biking my way through California!

Last week, I traveled from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The trip is nothing new for me; I jump between the two cities several times each year. But this journey was different. Instead of a 55-minute flight, I completed the 545 mile, 7-day trek on a road bike.

Each year, more than 2,000 cyclists and hundreds of volunteers participate in the AIDS LifeCycle. This year, I was honored to participate in the event (which raised more than $16 million for the cause) to film an upcoming video for my YouTube channel.

As someone who never bikes, a few things were immediately apparent:

  • Bike seats are designed by the devil; my ass is still sore – and not in that good way
  • Butt butter is a very awesome thing
  • Being on a bike seems to make everything a little bit more beautiful

Think of your last trip through an airport. It probably wasn’t particularly enjoyable. Or think about the last time you got on a highway, or drove through some traffic. Compare that to the freedom and solitude of being on a bike, riding your way through nature.

happiness_chartBeyond enjoying nature, burning more calories (we burned 3,500+ calories per day) or moving more, biking has another benefit. Research shows that bikers and walkers enjoy their trips more than drivers. When it comes to biking and walking, 67% of people enjoy their trip; that number drops to 58% for drivers.

Of course, biking has its limitations. Driving and flying can obviously be more practical, and most people aren’t going to bike for 545 miles. But there are plenty of situations in all of our lives where we can trade four wheels for two… or, in some instances, just use our own two feet. Sure, it may take a little more time… but it’s worth the tradeoff.

Do you enjoy biking? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re looking to burn calories or move more without leaving your home, try Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. You can download it now and get started today!

 

You’re Using The Elliptical Wrong.

elliptical-machine-2302Oh, the elliptical.

I don’t want to crap on such a beloved piece of gym equipment. After all, it’s a great, low-impact option particularly for people with knee injuries or issues. And it’s certainly a better option than sitting on your couch eating potato chips. But when we talk about workout efficiency and effectiveness, most people aren’t using the elliptical to it’s full potential.

You’re probably using the elliptical wrong if:

  1. You think it’s easy.
  2. You can have a conversation while using it.
  3. You can easily read a book or follow a TV show while on it.
  4. You spend more than 30 minutes using the elliptical.
  5. You don’t break a sweat during your workout.

Unlike the treadmill (where you can set a speed and force yourself to push hard), the elliptical is more self-motivated. You may start out hard on the elliptical, but there are no consequences for slowing down or slacking off. With a treadmill, on the other hand, if you slack off – you fall off.

This isn’t to say that you can’t have an amazing, efficient workout on an elliptical. It’s possible. But it requires being extremely focused and strategic. Here’s how to use the elliptical properly:

  1. Crank up the resistance. You only get out of your workout what you put into your workout – and resistance will increase the intensity of your elliptical session. Use it!
  2. Monitor RPMs. Though you can’t set speeds like a treadmill, monitoring your RPMs is the second best. Pick an RPM level that you find challenging – and stick to it. Keep pushing yourself to stay above it.
  3. Shut up and crank up. If you’re chatting with your neighbor, this is an indication that you have additional untapped lung capacity. In other words, you’re not working out to your potential. Stop chatting and work out harder.
  4. Increase resistance and RPM level over time. The idea isn’t to do the same workout each day, unless you already have the body of your dreams. The idea is to constantly challenge your body by progressing to higher and higher levels. Keep besting your previous records.
  5. Keep workout time short. Efficient but effective workouts are key. If you’re able to maintain your elliptical workout for 40 or more minutes, your workout intensity is too low and your sabotaging your results. Keep your workouts under 30 minutes by using strategies like high intensity interval training.

 

If you’d like to challenge yourself with another low-impact cardio exercise, try rowing. It’s good on the knees and can be an effective alternative to the elliptical. Swimming can be another option.

The moral of the story is that it is AWESOME that you are working out. But it would be even more awesome if you got the most out of your workout.

P.S. Want stronger abs? Download Davey’s Six Pack Workout for 5, professionally filmed ab workouts that will change your body forever!

 

7 Treadmill Myths You Probably Believe!

o-SMILE-TREADMILL-570The treadmill can be an incredibly useful and effective tool in any workout. But it’s no surprise that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this piece of equipment.

Here are a few of the most common:

  1. Calories burned is accurate: MYTH! Our bodies are very, very unique. It’s completely ridiculous to believe that by typing in your age and weight, a treadmill can accurately calculate your caloric burn. This is a gross oversimplification. Instead, use calories burned as a very general guide.
  2. You’ll run the same speed outside as on a treadmill: MYTH! Just because you can run a six minute mile on the treadmill doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to run one outside. The outside world is a very different beast with lots of added variables including weather, headwinds, uneven surfaces, hills, traffic and much more. Moreover, the spinning treadmill belt actually enables you to run a bit faster. This is especially important to consider if training for a 5k or competition race.
  3. You should always do cardio before strength training: MYTH! If your goal is cardiovascular endurance or weight loss, it may make sense to do cardio first – when you have a fresh set of legs. But if your goal is muscle size or strength, hit the weights first while your energy is still high. In actuality, the order of cardio versus strength training doesn’t make a huge difference; it’s more important to do what works for you.
  4. If someone is on the treadmill next to you, you’re not racing: MYTH! I’m only half joking with this one. Runners can be very competitive, and sometimes it’s nice to have an extra challenge.
  5. If you run at a 1% incline, it simulates outdoors running: MYTH! This is a very common tool and something that I’ve previously recommended. Because treadmill running is easier, adding an incline can help increase energy output and better simulate outdoors running. But the 1% incline is very general, and represents an over simplification. It’s only been found to accurate at running speeds of 7MPH or faster.
  6. Holding the treadmill handles while running is smart: MYTH, MYTH, MYTH! This myth needs to die today. Holding onto the treadmill handles is dangerous, especially at faster speeds. It also fundamentally changes the way your body moves and can make you less stable when walking or running without a treadmill. Moreover, holding onto a treadmill while moving at an incline actually negates the incline. All around, it’s a terrible idea.
  7. Sweating more will help you lose weight: MYTH! Well, it’s technically true that sweating results in weight loss – but the weight being lost is water, not fat. As soon as the body is re-hydrated, all that water weight comes back on. Nonetheless, you’ll see people running in sweatsuits to increase perspiration. It’s a silly idea that’s not backed by science.

Treadmills are a great tool. I use one almost every day and absolutely love it. But it’s important to separate fact from fiction and to have a safe, smart and effective workout.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle definition, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout and get started today with this exclusive workout series.

Study: Listen To Music During High Intensity Interval Training.

Concept-2-Rower-Male-ImageWe know that music can be a powerful, motivating force in exercise. In fact, I previously referenced a study that found music can boost output by as much as 15%.

Unsurprisingly, most of the research around music and exercise has centered around traditional, steady-state exercise. Such as running on a treadmill at a set speed for 30 minutes. However, more and more exercisers (myself included!) have shifted to high intensity interval training due to it’s many benefits. By alternating between low intensity exercise and bouts of high intensity exercise, participants get more workout bang in a shorter amount of time.

But does music provide the same benefits for high intensity exercisers? When you’re engaged in a high intensity interval at maximum effort, does music even make a difference?

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario set out to answer those questions through a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. For the study, 20 healthy participants with no experience in high intensity interval training were recruited. After establishing a baseline, participants listed their favorite music. The participants then completed one high intensity interval workout with music, and another without. The output was then compared between the two workouts.

Regardless of music, participants felt that each workout was equally challenging. Despite that, output was significantly higher during the music workout. In other words, participants were able to work much harder – even though it didn’t feel like it.

Whether music distracts you from discomfort, motivates you to move or just makes exercise more fun, it can be an important tool to use during your workout.

P.S. To try my high intensity interval training workout, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout! You can do it right from the comfort of your home. But don’t be fooled… you’ll sweat like you’ve never sweat before!

 

5 Treadmill Mistakes You’re Probably Making!

653_1Treadmill walks, jogs, runs or sprints can be a great way to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. But there are a lot of mistakes that even avid gym-goers make.

Here are 5 common treadmill mistakes:

  1. Spending too much time. When it comes to time on the treadmill, more isn’t more. If you’re spending 30 or 45 minutes or more on a treadmill, you may be cannibalizing your results. Longer cardio sessions result in the release of an anabolic hormone called cortisol that reduces protein synthesis, facilitates the conversation of protein to glucose and stops tissues growth. It’s also associated with increases in fat stores around the body’s midsection. Instead of a low intensity, long cardio session on the treadmill, challenge yourself. Do more in less time. Maybe even try high intensity interval training.
  2. Holding on. Please, stop holding onto the treadmill. By holding on, you’re negating the intensity of your workout – especially if you’re using an incline. In fact, it’s estimated that holding onto the treadmill reduces calories burned by 20% – 25%. It also worsens posture, balance and doesn’t translate to real world gains. If you’re running on a street or track, there’s nothing to hold on to. Let go.
  3. Static stretching. A lot of runners engage in static stretching before their treadmill session. It’s the type of stretching wherein you hold a pose for an amount of time – like touching your toes. However, recent studies suggest that static stretching decreases strength and power and increases injury risk. Replace static stretching with dynamic stretching like jumping jacks or arm circles.
  4. Not using the incline. Many runners ignore the incline – mostly because it makes the workout more challenging. But that’s exactly why you should love and use it! For every 1% increase in the incline, you expend 4% more energy. This is especially useful if you’re not able to increase your speed, but still want an extra challenge. It also shifts muscle use upward – and can give you a great butt workout.
  5. You’re on autopilot. Doing the same workout every day gives you the same results. Most cardio exercisers cruise through their workout session. Some are even able to talk on the phone or text while exercising. I’ve got news for you: If you can text while running, you’re not running fast enough. If you want enhanced results, you need to increase the intensity of your workout; you will always get out of your workout what you put into it. So instead of doing the same old treadmill workout, do something that’s intense and challenging. And then keep pushing yourself.

What other mistakes do you see people making on the treadmill? Share them in the comments below!