Fitness for Busy Folk

Tag Archive: cardio

Putting Cardio to the Test + A Better Solution


You want to have certain criteria in place when choosing the kind of training you want to choose when trying to lose fat. For those that have busy lifestyles, the best criteria is:

  • Must be time-efficient
  • Must elevate metabolic rate for prolonged periods of time
  • Must be fun
  • Must be safe

So lets put three of the most popular forms of cardio to the test:


Walking is often the exercise of choice for beginners (regardless of age or gender). Initially, most beginners will get results with walking because it’s an increase in their level of activity.

After some time, just like with any form of exercise, results will diminish. So, the next course of action is to increase the distance of the walking, and frequency of the walking. But here’s the problem: you can’t increase the distance and frequency for ever!

You have a minimal amount of time to devote to exercise per week, so what do you do?

A better option:

Although you will eventually face the same issue with jogging and then running, I do believe these are beneficial tools to improve your endurance, and get your mindset towards more intense forms of exercise.

So, if you’re walking right now, start speeding up the pace with power walking with an eventual transition to jogging. After 3-4 weeks of jogging, move onto running. Then start implementing sprints and interval running into your program!

Here’s a great sprinting program to try when you’re ready: Sprint Conditioning by Mike Whitfield


Another popular form of cardio is aerobics. Aerobics comes in the form of step classes, aerobics classes, Zumba, etc. Aerobics shares a similar problem with walking: it does nothing for your metabolism.

So, initially the program might work for your, but if you’re not engaging in movements that elevate your heart rate, or those that engage your muscles, you won’t get the metabolism-boosting benefits you see with strength training or sprinting.

A recent remedy we’ve seen is combining aerobics with light-weight dumbbells. This is an ok solution, but at some point your body will become strong enough so that the light weight dumbbells become ineffective.

A better option:

Slowly start incorporating a session of full-body strength training. So, if you’re doing 3 days of aerobics, drop one day and make that your full-body strength training day.

A great program that provides the perfect balance between strength and cardio is Turbulence Training. Click here to check it out.

Spin Class

Doing intervals on a bicycle is perfectly fine, but in recent times fitness instructors have started adding in all sorts of crazy movements to make the classes more fun. Here is sample video of what I mean:

Some unnecessary movements I’ve seen in the video:

I’ve read about the dangers of standing up while spinning, but I won’t go into that here, simply because I am not qualified to make that judgement call. But I will tell you that doing ab crunches from the bike, standing up while boxing, swinging your arms, arms behind your back – all that is absolutely unnecessary and detracts your mind from what’s important: getting an intense workout. Here’s a great article from a spin expert that comments on this workout.

I’ve also seen videos of people doing hip hop moves while on the bike. I’ve also seen videos of people doing bicep curls while on the bike and other dumbbell movements.

A better solution

Instead of spin classes, perform straight intervals on a bike or treadmill consisting of 30 seconds on of intense effort, followed by 30-60 seconds of lower-intensity effort.

Do that for 20 minutes, and you’re done.

Lessons Learned:

Lets go over some key points from this article:

  • Research your method of exercise before embarking on it
  • Make sure workouts are safe
  • Perform full body strength training at least twice a week
  • Build yourself up to interval training

With GREAT gratitude for you every single day,

– Parth

PS – Stay safe!

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Workout Idea of the Week: Change is Good


Many people are hesitant to change, not only in life, but also in their daily workout routines. To maximize results in your daily workouts, change is inevitable. I know, you have your niche, what seems to be working, and what feels good.

Well, I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but without variety in a workout routine, those results that you are so proud of now, will soon diminish That’s right. As you become more settled in to your daily workout plan, so do your muscles. Not only are you more comfortable, but so is your body. Although, this may feel like a positive element in your workout plan, for your body, it is not.

Getting too comfortable, doing the same routine over and over will lead to less results as your muscles become familiar with the workout. In order to prevent repetitive boredom, yes, your muscles will get bored, you need to change up your routine and add variety. Without variations in workout routines, your muscles are not challenged, and your results will not increase.

To maximize results from exercise, you need to change it up. Now, the changes made to your daily workouts do not have to be extreme. Even the slightest changes can intensity your workout. Check out these tips and ideas to challenge your body and intensify your daily workout.

Increasing the Incline

Whether you are walking or running on a track or a treadmill, change can be created by simply increasing the incline. If you prefer to walk or run outdoors, then choose a different path every other day. Find a course that offers a more challenging terrain and incorporates a variety of uphill inclines. If you prefer to walk or run on a treadmill, then raise the incline.

As your perform your daily cardio or warm-up with the new inclined position, you will feel the change immediately as your body has to work harder to meet the new challenges of the inclined terrain or treadmill position.

Adding Speed

Another easy change that can be incorporated into a cardio routine or daily warm-up is to increase the speed at which your body is moving. Incorporate short intervals of sprints into your daily run to increase the success of weight loss and fat burning. If you prefer a stationary bike, elliptical or treadmill for daily cardio, the change will have the same successful outcome.

Increasing the speed of your run in short intervals will intensity your workout and prevent your muscles from becoming bored with the repetition from a constant pace.

Pick a Day

Pick a day to work certain muscles groups. If you incorporate free weights or use lifting equipment at a gym to target specific muscles, then a great way to successfully challenge your muscles is to do one specific muscle group per day. This not only will prevent boredom and repetition, but also, this will give muscles time to rest and can prevent injury from overtraining.

How to know your workout is ready for a change:

  • It gets easier and easier every time. If that once challenging five mile runs seems like a breeze, then you need to kick it into high gear or add some creative terrain
  • You are bored. Exercising, believe it or not, should be enjoyable. If you are bored it’s definitely time to spice it up a bit!
  • No results. Results from your daily routine are less noticeable or your weight loss has hit a plateau. If this is the case, intensify your workout with any of the additions we mentioned earlier. Remember, challenging yourself will lead to successful results.

Do not be afraid of change. Get creative and go for it!



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Interval Training for Quick Weight Loss

We all want that extra push, when we work out, to help us burn more fat. The minute you put on your workout clothes, it’s like you’re a changed person; you want to do whatever it takes to burn as much fat and calories as possible in the time provided.Sometimes, we’re even so crunched in time that we can only workout for a 30 minutes, which means that we need to maximize every minute by exercising vigorously.

This is where high intensity interval training (HIIT) comes into play.

HIIT is the practice of doing quick exercises while alternating from short intense exercises to less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short period of time, specifically good for those times when you only have 30 minutes available to workout.

How does interval training help you lose weight?

The fact that you’re alternating between intense and less-intense exercises boosts your weight loss results exponentially.

How it helps your body:

- Boosts metabolism

- Activates fat burning process throughout the day

- Increases cardio level

- Speeds up muscle building process

Running distance won’t do to your body what HIIT will, not because it’s not effective but because it’s stagnate. Running distance requires a stable pace without a lot of intervals in between, while HIIT puts together the cardio required to run distance plus more to withstand the fast-paced exercises.

HIIT can also provide better results than any other types of exercises as it works together with strength training. You can incorporate interval training into your strength training to increase your metabolism and boost your fat burning process. For example, you can do ten burpees in between your squat sets, or do jumping jacks in between each set of lunges.


The trick is to keep the heart rate high up while you’re building muscle through strength exercises.

This will burn more calories as you take less time to recover between sets, which is what normally happens during strength training. The higher the heart rate, the more fat is burned and the more fat is burned, the faster the results.

Doing the right HIIT exercises regularly increases your fat burning process throughout the day, due to the increase in metabolism, and also boosts your weight loss as you burn more calories in your thirty minute workout.

You curse a lot while you do the exercises, that’s for sure, but the results are simply phenomenal, which makes it all worth it!



Article written by: Sarah Anton

Sarah Anton is a fitness and health expert who’s been on her own fitness journey for more than two years. She’s a professional writer aspiring to guide individuals into a healthier life. You can find out more about her at

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2 CrossFit Benefits


Do we really need another article on CrossFit?

…because…why not? The rest of the internet has had their take on it, why can’t Shah Training weigh in on Crossfit?

To be fair, we have written on CrossFit before:

While these articles were great case studies on specific training methods in relation to CrossFit, we haven’t examined CrossFit to see if it’s a good stand-alone program…until now!

Here are two key observations I’ve made regarding CrossFit:

#1 – CrossFit will BOOST your Cardio

If there is one muscle group CrossFit trains, it’s your heart. This is because of the large amount of metabolic circuits included in the CrossFit daily WODs. I recall a few years ago, after performing mostly Kettlebell and Bodyweight circuits for most of the summer, I randomly went for a run in October.

I was surprised to be able to go 3 miles without a single run during the summer. (I’m notoriously bad at running, my body just isn’t built for it).

CrossFit works in a similar manner. After training at such a high intensity level, it’s much easier to perform a lower or moderate intensity task such as distance running.

If you’re a distance runner, or engage in any sort of heavy-cardiovascular activity, it may help to perform a scaled-down CrossFit workout one to two times per week.

#2 – Training to be good at CrossFit will make you better

All the top guys in CrossFit – Dan Bailey, Neil Maddox, Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa – they do additional training other than the WODs.

Makes sense.

I’ll give you an example based on the first workout I see on the Crossfit site:

3 rounds of:

  • Wall-ball shots, 20-lb. ball, 10-ft. target (reps)
  • Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 lb. (reps)
  • Box jump, 20-inch (reps)
  • Push press, 75 lb. (reps)
  • Row (calories)

Just so happens it’s a Fight Gone Bad.

Lets say after performing this workout, you score a 300. Now, if you set a goal of scoring a 500, you can start to examine the workout, break it down and start working on your weaknesses and improving your strengths.

For example, if you scored the highest on sumo deadlift high pulls, but didn’t do so great with the rowing. Perhaps rowing 2-3 times per week will help you improve your score. Perhaps your back muscles need some work. Add in the bent over row and other variations.

You see how that works?

The workout itself becomes your goal, and in the process you improve your overall physique.

Verdict: Doing the CrossFit WODs, especially unsupervised, is dangerous and opens yourself up to all sorts of injuries. However, what I have found that the most benefit from CrossFit comes from enrolling in classes that help them perform Olympic Lifts, engaging in the hard metabolic circuits as a supplement to their regular training, and using the WODs as a goal to strive for.

Get 51 metabolic workout finishers here

Enjoy and challenge and transform yourself,

– Parth

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How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn for Fat Loss?

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

If you depend on classic aerobic cardio for fat loss, you probably spend 30 minutes on a machine trying to burn a set number of calories.

But does that work?

Does burning 500 calories per day cause you to lose 1 pound of fat per week?

Well, according to science, it should. But if it did, you probably wouldn’t still be reading this article.

Back in the day, I used to write a column on fat loss myths for Men’s Fitness magazine. Here’s a classic weight loss topic I covered.

Myth: I need to burn 500 calories each workout to lose fat.

Truth: Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was the calorie-counting monitor on treadmills, elliptical machines, and stairmasters.

Because of these, millions of men and women now obsess about the number of calories burned per session. You’ve probably even been one of those people, watching it creep up ever so slowly during a slow-cardio session. All the while knowing that you can wipe out a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with one fell swoop of the Krispy Kreme hand.

Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that if they don’t burn 300-500 calories per session, then they won’t lose fat. After all, that is what you’ve been told time and time again in those fluffy fitness/fashion magazines.

The problems with this approach to fat loss are numerous. First off, it’s difficult to say if the calorie counters are even accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio machines overestimate calorie burning by up to 20%.

Next, depending on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively useless and at the very least, inefficient. It takes a long time for you to burn a lot of calories and one study showed that men who only used cardio training for weight loss ended up with a reduced resting metabolism. You are basically undoing the calorie burning by depending only on cardio. On the other hand, guys in the same study that used strength training didn’t suffer a reduced metabolic rate.

So what is the solution to burning fat in a faster, more efficient method? The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form of exercise.

Your body will burn more calories after exercise (when you use intervals) than it does after you do slow cardio and your metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the afterburn effect. How do you do intervals? Well, you could sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets – using the bike preferably or treadmill if you are experienced with it.

Within that short time frame the intervals will cause your muscles to go crazy with activity (I call it a metabolic turbulence). This crazy metabolism boost causes lots of calorie burning after exercise to get your body back to normal. The result is you would end up burning more fat and more calories in the post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under control.

Now there is one time where you’d want to count calories, but that is when you are counting up and determining how many calories you eat per day. Again, you can wipe out an entire workout’s work in less than a minute simply by eating garbage. Without some structure and discipline to your nutrition, there is nothing that even my programs can do to help you lose fat.

So exercise nutrition control and interval training. These are the two anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and get lean.

For some great, high intensity bodyweight-only workouts proven to help you lose fat, check out Craig’s Bodyweight workouts. Click here for more information.

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15 Minute Bodyweight Workout

Image by abbyjane Here is a really great bodyweight workout using simple, basic movements that’ll take just 15 minutes of your time:

Perform 5 rounds of:

2 minute interval:

  • Pullups, 5 reps
  • Pushups, 10 reps
  • Bodyweight Squat, 20 reps

1 minute rest

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set the timer for 2 minutes, and perform as many rounds as you can of each of the exercises listed for the suggested repetitions
  2. After the 2 minutes, rest for 1 minute
  3. Repeat four more times

Some ideas on how to make this workout harder:

  1. Increase the time interval. You can perform 3 rounds at a 3 or 4 minute interval, or 2 rounds with a 5 or 6 minute interval, followed by a minute rest.
  2. You can replace the exercise for difficult ones. For example, perform Side to Side Pullups instead of regular pullups, hindu pushups instead of regular pushups, and squat jumps for bodyweight squats.

Some ideas on how to make this workout shorter:

  1. Shorten the rest period to 30 seconds
  2. Use alternative interval schemes such as Tabata – 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

One of the best ways to help you with your intervals is to use the GymBoss Interval Timer. It costs just $19.95, and you can program it to help you keep track of any sort of intervals you may use. Click here to grab yours today.

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Turbulence Training Workouts for Obese People

Obese individuals can still follow typical Turbulence Training workouts. However, they just need to lower the intensity and change around some of the exercise selection.

The main Turbulence Training principles remain the same:

  • Use Multi-Muscle Exercises
  • Organize them into Supersets
  • Use Interval Training for Cardio

According to Craig Ballantyne, as long as your doctor approves you for exercise, you’re ready to go. In fact, he’s trained men over 300lbs and women over 225lbs using Turbulence Training principles.

If you are obese, you want to start off with the Introductory and Beginner level workouts included in the original Turbulence Training Manual. In these workouts, 90% of the exercises have you lying down on the ground.

Hence, the workouts will be easier than other TT workouts for obese individuals. But, they’ll still be intense, and they’ll still provide results. If anything, they’ll build up your body so that you can perform tougher workouts.

Obese individuals need to get stronger, and learn how to use and move their bodies again. The best way to accomplish this is to use bodyweight-only movements.

However, many people can barely move. So performing pushups or squats is out of the question. A better alternative would be to use dumbbells to improve overall strength and mobility.

Most people work backwards. They do a lot of cardio to try an melt the fat off, and then try to build up their muscles with weight training. This will only lead to injury.

Craig Ballantyne warns of is steady state cardio. This is especially dangerous for obese individuals. Too much jogging, cycling, or aerobic exercise will lead to overuse injuries.

On top of that, assuming that the Cardio does help an individual lose weight. They’ll be much weaker after the cardio, then before doing the cardio. Instead, do your strength training first, then try and lose the fat with the cardio.

Most likely, if you stick to Turbulence Training guidelines, you won’t need to do too much cardio. Craig’s workouts help boost your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is a measure of how many calories your body burns through out the day.

Most obese individuals have very slow metabolic rates. And fat is not very metabolically active. In fact, it takes more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does to maintain a pound of fat.

So, putting on muscle will help you lose fat in the long term. There are three things that boost your metabolic rate with regards to exercise:

  • The workout itself
  • The post-training oxygen consumption following the workout
  • The addition of lean muscle mass

I already mentioned how adding lean muscle mass helps you boost your metabolic rate. Now lets take a look at the other two methods:

When you train, your body needs energy. They also produce heat, which is a by product of muscular contraction. The more muscle tissue involved in the exercise that your performing, the more energy is needed and more heat is produced.

This is why Craig Ballantyne sticks to compound, multi-joint movements. After your training, your metabolism will be elevated to help your body recover from the intense workout.

Some studies state that your metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours after an intense workout. Regardless of the number, if you train with a Turbulence Training workouts 3 days a week, you’ll be leaner in no time.

Craig Ballantyne has developed hundreds of fitness programs that revolve around the basic concepts of Turbulence Training.

To get an overall introduction to Turbulence Training, you should grab the original Turbulence Training manual. The manual includes everything you need to get started on your fat loss journey. There are workouts for beginners, intermediate, and advanced trainees. If you go through each program separately, in a few months you’d have literally transformed your health and physique. Click here for more information.

For individuals who have had some experience with exercise or even Turbulence Training, then Craig has numerous other workouts specifically designed for women, muscle mass, bodyweight only, abs training, and more.

You need to make the decision today: Are you going to continue to follow pointless, boring workouts and never get any impressive results, or you going to take a chance and try some trully unique ideas using Craig Ballantyne’s workouts? Start today with either one of the Turbulence Training workouts:

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If It’s Not Measurable, Then It’s Not Manageable

I’ve been making a HUGE mistake. I’ve been tracking my workouts, but not measuring them. Before I go any further, I should probably clarify two words: tracking and measuring. There is a difference.

Tracking is the recording of an event, in our case a workout.

Measuring is estimating by evaluation or comparison.

Image by jeysun35 When you combine tracking and measuring, you get progress. I have been tracking, but I have not been measuring.

Here is the major flaw: Each of my workouts is random, from week to week I perform a completely different workout than the week before, and my workouts rarely ever repeat.I had adopted this training style simply because I realized that I adapted extremely quickly with my workouts and could not stand the thought of performing the same workout week in and week out. However, this was before I had discovered fast, intense workouts. This was when I was doing some hybrid form of martial arts and bodybuilding. I didn’t know anything about metabolic conditioning or how to train with your bodyweight. All I knew was that you were supposed to stay in a gym for 2 hours and do “stuff” until the clock told you to leave (or someone from the staff).

To say that I have not been making progress is a false statement. I have. I see it in my movements. I see it on video. And I see it in the mirror. But all this “seeing” is dangerous. There is something about writing down your time and then comparing it to last weeks time with the same workout: it never lies. When you “see” things you rationalize your way into thinking that you are making progress. Or for some people, you rationalize your way out of making progress.

How do you know you are making progress?

This question was actually posed to me by my bodybuilding friend: “How do you know you are making any progress if you keep doing random workouts?” Good question, and one that I really couldn’t answer. I went to the Crossfit forum to pose the same exact question, and they referred me to their benchmark workouts. Benchmark workouts are simply workouts that are used to measure progress and appear in the Crossfit programming once or twice a week. For example, one of their workouts is Fran. This particular workout may be performed on, say, December 8th, 2006, and will not appear again until February 16, 2007. I’m just throwing out random dates here. But the point is that Fran will appear a few weeks apart, but they will have other Benchmarks within the weeks such as Barbara and Nate.

I have attempted to create benchmark workouts in the past. But honestly, at that moment I was not as familiar with Crossfit’s programming as I am now. I respect Crossfit, but I’m not sure if all their methods are a right fit for me.

I have two options in terms of measuring progress:

  1. Create a training program based on five to six workouts per week, and repeat them for six weeks straight, attempting to make as much progress on them as possible. This progress can be measured by being able to complete the workout at a faster time, the amount of weight used in the workout, increasing reps, or increasing rounds.
  2. Develop a series of benchmark workouts that appear in your programming each week along with a few other random workouts. Use these benchmarks as measures of progress.

Ok, so the second method is Crossfit. The first method I’ve actually seen on a few bodybuilding forums. People will choose one workout and then perform it along with their bodybuilding workouts as a form of cardio or conditioning. They’ll choose a goal, say drop total time by 3 minutes, and keep working on it until they reach their goal.

Hmmm…I think this time around I’m going to side with the bodybuilders.

I’ve decided to create 5 workouts, some of which I’ve done before, and work on them Monday through Friday. Each workout will have a set of measurement, a different one for each workout. For example, the Monday workout may be focused around time. The Tuesday workout may be focused on increasing weight. Etc. you get the point. I will try this for 6 weeks as an experiment, and then show you guys the progress I’ve made on this very website. Stay tuned!

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Turbulence Training Super Set Workouts Vs Traditional Cardio For Fat Loss

The question is…do you really need to perform lots of cardio in order to lose fat? Or is there another, better way? Last week, someone asked me if I was “anti-cardio.”

I’m not “anti-cardio.” If anything, I’m “anti-traditional cardio.”

Anyone who is trying to get into good shape or lose unwanted body fat believe that all they need to do is tons of cardio in order to achieve their dream body.

There are many people out there that are extremely lean that rarely ever go out for a long, slow and steady jog or do any sort slow, steady cardio. So what do these people do? They do something known as Turbulence Training. No, this isn’t some super secret form of training.

It’s a simple training style developed by trainer Craig Ballantyne which combines High Intensity Interval Training with Intense Super Set Weight Training. Here’s the problem with cardio: It’s great for beginners who’ve never done any cardio before. Anything new will get you results fast.

However, as your body gets used to your workout, you stop getting results. So, people just decide to make their workouts longer. Next thing you know, you’re spending 2 hours a day working out, 5 days a week just for a measly.5 lbs of fat loss per week.

There’s a better way. But, in order to find that better way, you need to ask yourself: what is cardio? Is it really just all about pumping mindlessly on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike?

Nope. “Cardio” is all about getting your heart pumped and geting you huffing and puffing. Cardio exercise is any type of exercise or any activity that strengthens your cardiovascular system.

That is exactly what Turbulence Training workouts do: they raise your heart rate and force your body to work harder. When your body works harder, you boost your metabolic rate.

Your metabolic rate is a measure of how fast your body burns calories. The higher your metabolic rate, the more fat and calories you will burn. Here’s a quick sample of what a Turbulence Training superset feels like: Take a dumbbell and press it over your head for 10 repetitions.

Now drop your arms to your sides, and without resting, hold the dumbbells and perform 10 squats. Now, you can rest for 1 minute. Notice how face your heart rate is pumping. If you are using a challenging weight, you will find your heart rate has increased to about 80-90 % of the maximum recommended rate.

This simple superset will make you feel as if you just ran a 100-meter long sprint. This may look like just basic strength training, but it’s so much more!

You can replace your tradiational cardio with these types of superset routines, saving your lots of time and energy. Of course, you’ll be burning off tons of fat in the process!

If you’re really serious about gaining muscle mass and losing fat, then you need to check out more of Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training workouts.

Click here for more information

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