Not all things are created equally, and the same goes for our choice of workout too. To help find out what type of cardio workout is most effective for your body and lifestyle, we spoke to RENPHO Fitness Advisor, Joe Dowdell, who was able to offer valuable insight into how much cardio is needed to get the most out of your fitness!
The Best Cardio Workout Caters to Your Lifestyle
How much cardio you really need depends on three criteria that are specific to your lifestyle and weight training frequency.
- What is your goal?
- What is your fitness level?
- How many days are you willing to train each week?
For those looking focus on their weight goals but can only dedicate three days of gym per week, Dowdell recommends adding some post-workout cardio conditioning at the end of each weighted workout.
For people who are already fit and willing to train 5 days per week, Dowdell suggests adding an isolated cardio workout session for two of those 5 days. Later, the emphasis may be placed heavily toward workouts in favor of cardio sessions.
For those who are entirely new to training or recovering from an injury, their training would need to be finely adjusted according to the frequency, volume and intensity of cardiovascular training.
“It’s important to understand that intensity and duration have an inverse relationship, so by and larger, the greater the intensity, the shorter the duration of the training session,” says Dowdell. Your cardio workout style will fall somewhere between the two which is why a personal trainer or AI fitness solution can really be helpful in determining the best exercise for you!
What Muscle Groups Benefit for a Bike Cardio Exercise?
Whether outdoors or indoors, a bike ride provides a full workout to the lower body muscles. These are the Gluteus Maximus Semimembranosus (Hamstrings), Semitendinosus (Hamstrings), Biceps Femoris (Hamstrings) Vastus Medialis (Quadriceps), Rectus Femoris (Quadriceps), Vastus Lateralis (Quadriceps), Vastus Intermedius (Quadriceps), Adductor Magnus, Gastrocnemius (Calves), Soleus (Calves) and Anterior Tibialis.
Dowell notes that it also engages the core muscles in an isometric workout by forcing you to maintain the correct postural position while riding.
Another added benefit is that cycling presents an effective way to burn calories while also minimizing joint stress.
The potential downside to bike exercises is that “weight bearing methods of cardiovascular training will burn more calories than non-weight bearing when equated for duration and intensity,” says Dowdell.
This means that cycling is an incredible exercise that burns less calories than running, rowing or skipping; something that might not appeal to people with weight loss goals in mind.
Slow Cardio or Fast Cardio, Which Is Better?
While it depends on your goals and fitness level, Dowdell believes there’s a big upside to mixing it up with different forms of cardio training—from low, medium and high intensity workouts.
This reduces your body’s ability to adapt to the different states of cardio intensity which stops it from falling into a ‘comfort zone’ that can reduce workout efficiency.
Low intensity workouts help build an aerobic base that form the foundation for physiological adaptation which improves overall endurance and recovery between bursts of high-intensity fitness. Medium and high intensity workouts will physiologically increase glycolytic enzymes, the body’s ability to buffer against hydrogen ions and other metabolites.
Recommended Pre-Cardio and Post-Cardio Tips
The best way to warm-up before a cardio crusher exercise is to loosen up progressively. “In other words, use 5 minutes to gradually increase the intensity until it reaches around 75-80% of the prescribed workout intensity,” says Dowdell.
“After the cardio session, I would then suggest a few minutes of static stretching for the muscle groups involved in the activity.”
The benefit of using the RENPHO AI Smart Bike to train over other bikes is that each of the 70+ Power and Video Courses provided will intuitively ease you into the training session with a warm-up and warm down baked directly into the experience, this reduces the hassle of calculating your own warm-up and cooldowns.
What is the Best Metric for a Successful Workout?
For Dowdell, his favorite piece of technology is a Heart Rate Monitor. “I make all my clients wear a heart rate monitor when they train so we can see real-time feedback of how hard they are working," he explains.
From your heart rate, the percentage of your Maximum Heart Rate and how fast you are recovering after each set of an exercise can be calculated among other things.
If you’re looking to add the RENPHO AI Smart Bike to your home gym collection, it’s worth noting that Apple Watch and ANT+ heart rate monitors can be synced up for a seamless ride and track experience.
However, there are also many other data analytics that are valuable for monitoring cardiovascular training include RPM and distance (MPH or KPH) among many other goals. At the end of the day, the best metric for success is the one that gets you up and active each day!
Personal trainer and strength coach Joe Dowdell is one of the most highly sought-after fitness experts in the world. His motivating teaching style and unique expertise have helped transform stars of television and film, musicians, pro athletes, CEOs and top fashion models from around the world.
Joe was the former founder and CEO of Peak Performance; a 10,000-square-foot private training facility in NYC, which was voted the #3 gym in America by Men’s Health Magazine.
In January 2018, Joe launched his new global brand, Dowdell Fitness Systems, which offers a wide variety of smartly designed training programs that can either be done at home or in the gym depending on the program.