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3 Types Of Cardio For Fat Loss and Comp Prep

Ingrid Barclay on Wednesday, 18 November 2015.

I just wanted to follow up from Saturday’s post on cardio as I said that I would share my top 3 favourite ways to cardio for fat loss, especially when prepping but also aimed at the general trainee too.

Let me reiterate what I have posted many times before, women’s bodies are a complex survival machine. Cutting calories too much or doing too much activity will stop progress in its tracks, so you simply CANNOT fall into the trap of overdoing the cardio aspect. I guarantee it will backfire on you if you do not have a healthy metabolism.

Click on the link below to see my description of my top three types of cardio.

My favourite types of cardio for women:

  1. Sprint intervals. Start off with dynamic mobility work, followed by about 5 minutes of gradual warm-ups. Then it’s the sprint intervals: the next 5-15 minutes (start with 5 the first time out) you go hard (90-100% effort) for 5-15 seconds, easy for 45-60 seconds and repeat. End with a 10-15 minute cool-down (walking or easy jog) and stretching. Total duration for the whole session will be in the 20-25 minute range. Start with 1-2 sessions per week and increase up to a max of 2-3 sessions. And no, I don’t recommend Tabata intervals for most people. There are more interesting ways of killing yourself. Recommended activities for sprint intervals: hill or stair sprints, prowler/sled pushing or dragging, elliptical or rower set at high resistance, Airdyne bike to name a few.


  1. Tempo intervals, where you go at a slightly lower intensity (around 70-80% of max) for 30-60 seconds, easy for 90-120 seconds, and repeat. This is a popular type of workout for sprinters to add training volume without overtaxing the fast and explosive type II fibres. I limit total duration to 20-25 minutes here, as well. Get an idea of what 100% is to you, because when I say 70-80% speed/intensity that’s exactly where you need to be. Elliptical, rower, Airdyne bike, skipping rope, swimming, barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell complexes and soft track or grass field running (with barefoot shoes). I don’t recommend longer 2-4 minute intervals for physique- or power and strength athletes, at all.


  1. Long duration moderate intensity cardio is something I may use in moderation. Also, no lactate threshold training, stick to lower intensities if you insist on longer duration cardio sessions. For recovery purposes or if you’re sedentary during the day – a brisk walk for 30-60 minutes is great, and it can be done on a daily basis as long as you don’t exceed a heart rate of 130-140bpm. I sometimes recommend this option exclusively, meaning no intervals if you’re already doing 4-5 high volume weight training sessions, and trying to improve your leg size and strength. Adding lots of intervals to this will probably destroy you so resist the temptation to do that. Hope this all helps girls.