You might be wondering what the following article by Greg Bobby has to do with martial arts?  Well, you have to have good cardio to do martial arts, in fact the first part of all or our adult classes include a good cardio workout.  Being healthy is self defense and being healthy helps make us better martial artists.  Whether we practice jujitsu or karate or what ever, we need to have cardio fitness, so pay attention there is a lot of great info.

The following is an article written by a good friend of mine, Greg Bobby.  Greg is a top notch personal trainer and a real stand up guy.  He has been in the fitness industry almost as long as I have been in the martial arts.  He knows what he is talking about.  How do I know this?  As many of you know I was a competitive powerlifter for many years, so I know when someone is bad or good, and Greg is the best in the area.  From general workouts, to nutrition, to sports training, competition training, strength and physique training he is your man.  Trust me he know what he is doing.

Cardio and Weight Loss

Looking to get into shape for swimsuit season?  Maybe you’re just looking to fit better into those jeans you haven’t been able to fit into in awhile.  If your goal is weight loss you may have questions on how to incorporate cardio to maximize your results.  Well look no further, for I will shed some light on the question.

First some general information on losing weight is in order.  In order for your body to utilize your fat stores for energy you must be in a calorie deficit.  This can be achieved by lowering your

A picture of a young couple discussing workout plan over white background

calories, increasing your calorie output or ideally both.  Skimping on the gravy and going for a run can both help.  The nice thing about incorporating exercise is you don’t have to cut as many calories to put yourself in a calorie deficit.

Are all forms of cardio equal?  The answer is no.  Although getting moving is better than sitting around watching the latest episode of reality TV!  Obviously you will burn more calories running than walking.  If you are just starting an exercise routine then you want to choose exercise that fits your fitness level.  The American Heart Association recommends about 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.  This can include sports, martial arts, weightlifting, cardio and other activities that get your heart rate up.  How much you need for weight loss depends on several factors such as:

  • How many calories you eat
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your metabolism
  • Activity level throughout the day
  • Intensity level of your exercise
  • Form of exercise you perform

All of these have an impact on how your body responds to exercise.  Some you obviously can’t change.  So let’s look at the one’s you can.  If just starting aim for 3-4 days a week of cardio.  30 minutes a session is a good guideline to follow.

Intensity is probably the best way to optimize your results.  The higher the intensity the more calories and fat you burn.  An easy way to increase your intensity is to add intervals to your cardio.  This is called HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). For example if you normally jog for 30 minutes add in some intervals.  Here is an example:  jog like normal for 5 minutes then perform 5 intervals consisting of a 60 second sprint/run followed by 2 minutes of your normal speed, then finish up the with your normal speed for 5-10 minutes.  You can play around with the duration of the intervals and number that you perform to increase that intensity.  Why is this more effective you ask?  It has to do with EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption).   Because of EPOC your metabolism remains elevated for hours after your workout.  Working out at 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate will result in the greatest EPOC effect.  After an intense cardio session your body has to perform processes to restore your body to its resting state and this can take up to and beyond 16 hours research has shown.  That means you’re burning more calories and fat for up to 16 hours after your workout with interval or high intensity training.  This after burn can really get your metabolism going quickly.  There are plenty of HIIT workouts you can check out.  They don’t require any equipment and there is a lot of variety you can add in so you don’t get bored.  It is important to change it up so your body doesn’t get accustomed to your workout.  This will lower the effectiveness of your program so switch things up frequently!

To increase your activity level throughout the day take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Get up and move if you have a desk job.  Go for a walk during lunch.  Take the dog for a walk.  Anything that helps increase your calorie expenditure.

Personal trainingOne big component missing in the weight loss game that hasn’t been discussed is weight training.  Additional muscle helps increase your metabolism. Maintaining the muscle you have while in a calorie deficit is important and resistance training is key to that.  Along with giving you the shape you are looking for.

In my next article we will discuss the role of resistance training in weight loss.  Until then get up off the couch or chair and get moving.  Increase the endorphins which make you feel better and lose some weight in the process.  Remember to increase that intensity to maximize results.  Also change it around to keep your body off balance.  Exercise should be fun and enhance your life so find what works best for you!

Greg Bobby

Total Symmetry Personal Training