Cardiovascular Intensity Levels Explained
You never know when that cardio training will come in handy. Don’t get stuck in a running rut! There’s so much more to cardiovascular training than following the “running as fast as you can for as long as your can” mentality.In fact, more isn’t always better. By switching up your intensity level, it prevents both injuries and boredom. Train smarter rather than harder!
Here are the three main cardio training categories:
Long Slow Distance: Working at a heart rate intensity of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate has long been called the “fat burning zone.” While true, it’s not the most effective way to burn fat and boost cardiovascular fitness. The goal in completing Long Slow Distance cardio is to increase your ability to burn fat while you sleep. You’ll know you’re working aerobically and at a heart rate range of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate if you can easily carry on a conversation.
Do Long Slow Distance training one to three times a week – depending on your weekly total, it should account for 25 percent.
Interval Training: What makes Interval Training so great? Not only does it boost your cardio fitness and heart rate, it has a lingering effect on your caloric burn – upwards of 30 percent! That means you can burn 30 percent more calories than you would normally burn throughout the day.
Interval Training consists of working at or above 85 percent of your max heart rate for a period of time, followed by a recovery period at 60-70 percent of max your max heart rate.
Sounds awesome, right? If you only do this type of training, you also burn more sugars rather than fat during your workout. Do too much interval training and you run the risk of burning that hard earned muscle.
For Interval Training, stick to one to three times a week or 50 percent of your overall cardio training.
Steady State Training: The toughest of the three! For this, you wantto work just at or slightly below anaerobic threshold — roughly 75-85 percent of your maximum heart rate.
This training category is the toughest because you have to stay at a relatively high intensity for five to 20 minutes. In comparison, Long Slow Distance training is easier to maintain and generally feels good, where Interval Training is far tougher but only last a short while. Challenge yourself to work Steady State Training one to three times a week or 25 percent of your overall training.