What does an effective cardio workout look like? Archaic fitness guidelines would have suggested 30-60 minutes of single paced lumbering cardio (think walk, bike, elliptical). If you are training for an endurance event like a marathon this makes more sense, but if you are looking to improve overall fitness and body composition you can accomplish far more in 20-30 minutes. Here is how:
Use 20 minutes on the treadmill as a base.
- Foam roll lower body and warm up 5 minutes on another piece of cardio (this is NOT part of the workout!)
- On treadmill:
- Minute 1-4: slow jog
- Minutes 5-10: increase your speed by intervals to a faster pace (not quite a sprint) and hold
- Minutes 11-20: alternate walk and full on sprint by minute
This format can be extended to 30 minutes, and can be made more difficult by alternating gradient. It also applies to the bike, rower and elliptical.