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Question
Posted by: Paula | 2012-03-14

Cardio Only

Hi doc, I am wondering if you can help.

I would like to embark on a cardio only exercise routine for a while. Reason being- I have been doing a combo of cardio plus weight training and I have put on weight (muscle) but I am not looking toned or slimmer. I am looking bigger, as though I am building muscle under fat (fat I am not burning fast enough).

So, my plan is to do at least 3 x 40 minutes at the gym doing cardio only (I''m currently burning about 500 calories per 40 minutes session, according to the machine), then 1 x combo (20 minutes cardio, then weights). One break day, then very light cardio over the weekend (walking my dog).

While I admit my diet needs some improvement, I dont eat junk food everyday, eat at least 2 veggies at dinner, wheatbix in the morning, lots of white meat, etc.

Would my cardio plan be OK? I don''t need to burn masses of fat.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI Paula

I think the cardio is the way to go, but don't totally bin the weights. Even if "weights" becomes a core session once a week, and a few body weight exercises like lunges, squats, calf raises etc. Those are important to keep you strong and reduce injury risk, and help you keep lean mass up.

So that's really very important. I think though that the biggest change will come not so much from doing different things, but from training at a slightly higher intensity at least once or twice a week. Lift the intensity so that you burn say 700 Calories in a 40 min session (that's a pretty intense session, as you'll discover). And don't overdo it, but if you can get something into those sessions where you're training harder, raising that heart rate, it often makes a difference.

Then the advice nobody wants to hear is that all the training in the world doesn't do much if you are not eating well. And sometimes, a reasonable diet can be made into a good diet with a few small changes, adn that is often the difference you need. So I'd look at this as an important piece of the puzzle.

Ross

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2012-03-26

HI Paula

I think the cardio is the way to go, but don't totally bin the weights. Even if "weights" becomes a core session once a week, and a few body weight exercises like lunges, squats, calf raises etc. Those are important to keep you strong and reduce injury risk, and help you keep lean mass up.

So that's really very important. I think though that the biggest change will come not so much from doing different things, but from training at a slightly higher intensity at least once or twice a week. Lift the intensity so that you burn say 700 Calories in a 40 min session (that's a pretty intense session, as you'll discover). And don't overdo it, but if you can get something into those sessions where you're training harder, raising that heart rate, it often makes a difference.

Then the advice nobody wants to hear is that all the training in the world doesn't do much if you are not eating well. And sometimes, a reasonable diet can be made into a good diet with a few small changes, adn that is often the difference you need. So I'd look at this as an important piece of the puzzle.

Ross

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