A Weekly Blog By Nationally Ranked Bikini Competitor Vanessa Prebyl
As I promised, this blog will be all about CARDIO!!! Yes, we all seem to love it sooooo much. Today I would like to talk about two types of cardio: Endurance cadio and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I have found that by doing both types of cardio it has helped me lean out faster than just doing one of these methods alone.
As for endurance cardio I suggest running outside, if the weather is nice. There are many benefits from running outside such as: the ability to use your natural stride, strengthen stability muscles, increase caloric burn, vitamin D absorption from the sun's rays, a heightened sense of satisfaction from you workout, and a wonderful release of stress. I personally run outside as much as I can. It is the only thing that seems to noticeable decrease the weight that is held in my thigh and hip area. As a pre-caution, if you usually do cardio in the gym, please listen to your body when starting to run outside. Start slow with a few nice runs just to allow your body to become adjusted to the new demands.
As for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), I have found that by doing this type of cardio I have not only had clients lean out their lower bodies faster, but it also helps build muscle and increase definition in the legs. I personally do about 5 different moves in order to achieve leaner legs which are as follow:
1) Warm-up: 1 mile light jog (make sure your muscles are warm and stretch before and after)
2) Sprints: (perform 4 sets) Start off by jogging to the 10 yard line and then sprint to the 50 yard line. Walk back to the 10 yard line so that you can recover and repeat cycle. ( I recommend that you perform your sprints on a football field so that you can properly gauge the distance and have an area where the grass is well taken care of)
3)Suicides: Perform 4 sets as fast as you can. Sprint from the goal line to the 20 and back, the 40 and back, and finish it off by an all out sprint from the goal line past the 50 yard line. I know many people do suicides in 10 yard increments however, I have found that the less turning, twisting, and changing of direction the less likely of an injury.
4) Stadiums: Perform 4 sets of every cycle. Start off by hitting every step, come back down, then hit every other step (double), come back down and finally hit every third step. The third step will be more like a lunge rather than a quick shuffling of the feet. Rest about a minute or until your heart rate has recovered and repeat cycle. This should be performed in a circuit style so that you do all three then break and wait for your heart rate to recover. Please not that when you come down the stairs do not skip steps and be careful.
5) Jump squats: Perform 4 sets of 15 jump squats. Finally I finish my HIIT with jumping as high as I can 15 times without stopping.
I would suggest wearing a heart rate monitor anytime you do interval training due to the high intensity. The monitor will help aid in knowing how hard you are working and when you are recovered enough to start your next sprint. Furthermore, I can not stress enough the benefits of stretching. The more you stretch the less lactic acid you will have and the better you will be able to get out of bed in the morning :)
My current cardio schedule consists of performing two 30 minute cardio sessions outside (when the weather is good) 7 days a week and one 60 minute HIIT session 1 day a week. Furthermore, please note the days I do legs or lower body I do not do HIIT due to the high demand on the lower body. By separating the days of weighted leg workouts and HIIT it will help against over training the muscles and fight off fatigue.
If you have anything to add to this workout or if you have any additional questions feel free to post a comment on this blog. Also if you would like to ask a question and don't want to ask it in a blog setting, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this workout helps you as much as it has helped and continues to help me.
"it is not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves" Sir Edmund Hilary
READERS QUESTIONS: Two questions have been brought to my attention from my last blog which are as follows:
Q: I know there is such a thing as too much cardio, but how much cardio is needed to lose weight?
A: To lose weight in a healthy way, cardio as well as the proper nutrition is needed. When I was at my heaviest, about 40lbs ago, I started out doing cardio twice a day for 30 minutes and as I became more conditioned I would ass an additional 5 minutes each week. As I approached my first show I was running for 45 minutes twice a day at a very high intensity. Another big factor is how much body fat an individual is carrying. I was carrying 40lbs of body fat when I first started, so I needed to do a lot of cardio. Now I've been able to maintain a low body fat percentage and therefor do not have to do that much cardio to get into contest shape. So to answer your question, if you are going to compete, there are a lot more factors that go into answering this question for you. If you are just starting out, try doing 20 minutes of moderate cardio three days a week and measure your body fat percentage every two weeks. If it goes down, then you are on the right track. If it says the same or even goes up, you will have to re-evaluate what you are easting and/or add more time to your cardio.
Q: I like to lift heavy, therefor, should I make Figure more of a goal than Bikini?
A: Well, it all depends on what you want to do. You can train for any division you want. I too love the feeling of lifting heavy. It is so satisfying to be able to add more wight to my lifts each week. In saying this, I currently do circuit style training with 20 reps of each exercise as heavy as I can. BY training this way, I am able to lift like I want to without building a significant amount of muscle. Circuit training does a body good when it comes to toning up the muscles. However, if you are a gifted athlete who builds muscle easily and can't get past the heavy lifting, then I would suggest you train for Figure. As I mentioned, it all depends on what you want to do. If you still feel unsure of which division you would like to compete in, have someone give you an honest opinion of your body type. Do you have a Figure build or more of a Bikini build? Just remember that it is YOU who decides how your body turns out. All you have to do is make the choice and stay committed.
Much Love To All,