Not getting the results you want or maybe you’ve hit a plateau? It's time to make a change! When it comes to cardiovascular activity, duration, frequency and intensity are the top levers to pull. The good news is the modification is simple!
Cardio activity is the best way to improve your metabolism. But the latest trends in cardio push most people out of the steady beneficial range. Intervals and high intensity training hit the top cardio zones and aren’t the best way to improve overall fitness and metabolic function.
Elite athletes majority of cardio is in Zone 2. That's where they accumulate hours of endurance and metabolic efficiency.
To increase metabolic fitness, fat needs to be mobilized and that requires oxygen. When we are struggling to breathe, the body will mobilize glucose for fuel and leave the fat intact. This means, in the more challenging heart rate zone 4 and zone 5, oxygen is in high demand, so the body will burn glycogen.
Fat burn happens best in Zone 3 and Zone 2 because oxygen isn’t in high demand, so the body can more comfortably convert fat for fuel.
While you may see your heart rate adjust with intervals, as you increase and lower pace; once you’ve hit the higher glycogen burning zone, the source of fuel for the duration of the workout will remain the same. Because our body isn’t able to effectively switch back-and-forth between the higher zones that burn glycogen and the lower zones that burn fat; elite athletes have that ability, we don't. That’s why the most effective fat burn happens in endurance sessions, dedicated to maintaining a consistently lower heart rate.
Intervals and High Intensity Workouts in Zone 4 & Zone 5 are only needed once a week if you want to improve speed, power and VO2 Max. So dial down the intensity and enjoy the slower pace!
A fitness tracker or smart watch that measures heart rate is the best way to determine the zone. But if you don’t have one you can use perceived exertion. Which means, you can maintain a phone conversation with someone, but they’ll definitely be able to tell you are working out, because you are breathing heavier than normal. If you can’t maintain the conversation comfortably, then your body is in need of more oxygen and you’ve transitioned to the higher zone.
Yes it’s true! Because your aging, your heart rate zone is changing. Be sure to get the latest update on your targeted heart rate. Use this tool to calculate. Or if you have your resting heart rate data click here to calculate a more accurate range based on your current resting heart rate. See image of my most recent calculation below.
6 days a week is required to change metabolic health, get to a healthy body weight and challenge an aging and slowing metabolism. Said another way, 6 days a week is needed if you have one or more of the following: type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity or metabolic syndrome.
4 days a week is required to maintain a healthy metabolism. Which means, you’re already at a healthy body weight and consistently maintain a healthy eating pattern. If you’re younger, you may be able to maintain health with as little as 2 days weekly. One day a week isn’t enough for anyone at any age.
How much is enough? There is a minimum and a maximum time to get the best results. And more isn’t always better after a certain point. Get duration details and more as an Ovvia Member! Members use this link to get my specific recommendation in the Member’s Resource Library and find out more about my cardio workout routine too!
Muscle makes a big difference to overall health! That's why incorporating resistance training is also important, learn more, listen to my podcast episode E6 - Exercise: How to Kick-Start Your Metabolism
Always check with a health professional regarding what’s best for you, before starting any physical activity.