We always hear that cardio is necessary in order for us to increase our fitness levels and reduce our fat storages. But how do we know what type of cardio to do and when to do it?
To keep it simple, there are 2 basic types of cardio; low intensity and high intensity. Both types have their different benefits, and both have the ideal times they should be done.
As a general rule we always try to complete cardio on an empty stomach. Not eating 2-3 hours beforehand and at least 1 hour afterwards allows us to get the most out of our cardio. If we complete our cardio and can't wait 1 hour due to hunger or being busy, consuming something high in protein such as a protein shake will help suppress the hunger for longer.
As high intensity cardio predominantly uses carbohydrates as a fuel source, it is better to do it earlier in the day before we have consumed any carbohydrates. The reasoning for this is that if we eat food containing carbohydrates and then exercise we use the recently consumed sugars are energy rather than the carbohydrates already stored. High intensity cardio should not last longer than 30 minutes at most. Any longer, the cardio is not intense enough.
With low intensity cardio, fats are the primary source of energy used. Due to this, and the fact we normally shouldn't consume huge amounts of fat in single meal, low intensity cardio can be completed at almost any time. Once again, we want to try to not eat a couple hours beforehand and 1 hour afterwards to burn as much as possible. We want the low intensity cardio to last at least 45 minutes to really make an impact of out or fat stores.
A final tip with cardio is that we should aim to do about 3/4 of our cardio as low intensity, and about 1/4 of our requirement at a high intensity. This is the most efficient way of burning both carbohydrate and fat stores, and increasing fitness.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.