Today I decided a fitting topic would be cardio. I woke up to a text this morning from one of my online clients asking how much cardio should she be doing and what kind. The previous night my sister was saying she needed to focus more on her cardio, and my dear client LB and I had a chat tonight over appropriate amount, types and the pros and cons of cardio. I in fact get asked all the time how much cardio I do. This is because people equate leanness and cardio. Let’s be honest, no ones ever seen a fat person win a marathon, therefore cardio must make you skinny right? Wrong. In some cases it can be the opposite. Cardio is catabolic. That means it causes breakdown, of fat and muscle. It’s also perceived as trauma to the body, long term trauma raises your cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and guess what cortisol does? It causes you to store belly fat. Yes, I do some forms of cardio when necessary, but never steady state. Conditioning work is also a great way to lean out without hours on the treadmill. Metabolic conditioning simply refers to structured patterns of work and rest periods to elicit a desired response from the body. In this case fat loss, improved body composition and improved cardiovascular health. The body has several different methods of getting energy. Different ratios of work to rest periods call upon different energy systems and cause specific adaptations. These styles of workouts are also far more efficient as they not only obliterate calories in far less time than steady state cardio, but they also tax the muscular system more heavily, therefore increasing your basal metabolic rate and EPOC, so your body continues to use calories long after you’re finished lying on the floor in a pool of your own sweat. Some great and time efficient methods of conditioning are high intensity interval training (HIIT). I personally like to run 30 seconds all out on max incline or the stepper, only for the less clumsy and brave of heart, then walk/jog for 30 just long enough to catch your breath, and repeat for about 20 minutes. I promise this will destroy your butt and your lungs. Another favourite is prowler sprints, weighted, supersetted with kettle bell swings. These are an amazing combination of both strength and conditioning of your gym is equipped with the proper equipment. Lastly, I’ve been invited this week to try out a new compound circuit of farmers walks/deadlifts by a male friend of mine who happens to also be an incredibly attractive nationally ranked physique competitor and a well known coach. I promise to let you ladies know how embarrassingly pathetic I am at trying to remain cute while simultaneously trying not to die or pop a blood vessel. Glistening sweat and red cheeks (partially from exertion, partially from bashfulness) are attractive right!? Oh, and how effective it is all well, all in the name of fitness!