Running is a great conditioning tool and can be tweaked and tailored to provide many benefits and yield results that any client might be seeking. It can build both muscular and aerobic endurance, strengthens the limbs without any outside resistance other than body weight, and can help achieve weight loss goals when programmed properly. Here are ways different variations of cardiovascular training can get your clients results.

Man and Woman Running

Run Longer Distances

I find that the right integration of running into my clients’ routine vastly improves their fitness level. Running not only serves as a great warm-up, the longer you maintain it the more calories will be burned. Running recruits virtually every muscle in the body working in order to propel the body forward and thus burs more calories per minute compared to other cardiovascular endeavors.

However, clients with certain physical limitations such as knee and back issues may opt for forms of cardiovascular training that cause less joint impact such as the elliptical and stationary bike. Either way, as fitness professionals we must assure proper running form and machine use to generate the best possible results. Have your clients lace up those sneaks or mount that bike and go a bit longer than the norm!

Increase Strength Training Rep Ranges   

Similar to increasing the duration of your clients’ cardio sessions, the same principle can be applied to strength training. Increased repetitions of a lower weight will burn more fat for fuel than heavy weight and low reps. Resistance strength training rep ranges over 25 is most ideal for fat loss. What would a workout like this look, including weight and reps?:

  • Move: Bench press 
  • Weight: 45 LBS
  • Rep Range: 45-60

As a professional it’s great to know what works for each individual client in regards to your methods of training while being mindful of any limitations they may have. I find that high rep ranges, though more “painful” as a great deal of lactic acid will build up, are beneficial to all categories of clients (major weight-loss, weight-loss; and the firming or gaining client).

Include High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is exactly how it sounds: HIGH INTENSITY. HIIT is the total opposite running longer distances. The idea is to employ 100% effort during the short work interval and to rest or do a recovery movement during the longer interval. You can assign your clients bursts as short as 20 seconds and as long as 90 seconds of an activity as long as near to max effort remains the focus.

You could design a hill-sprinting program that only lasts 10 minutes, but will blast calories while recruiting Type II fibers. It might look something like:

  • Warm up jog 2 minutes
  • Sprint @ incline 7, 8mph for 30 seconds
  • Walk 90 seconds @ 3mph
  • Sprint @ incline 6 @ 8.5mph for 30 seconds
  • Walk 90 seconds @ 3mph
  • Sprint @ incline 5 @ 9mph for 30 seconds
  • Walk 2 minutes @3mph
  • All out sprint no incline @10mph for 30 seconds
  • Recover and walk 2 minutes

With this cardio variation concern isn’t placed on rationing your clients energy over a long stretch of time. This method can work really well with strength training as well as cardio. High-Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) involves short intervals of a strength move followed by longer intervals of a recovery movement. This can work well if you want to include the higher reps of weight training as an added component to heavier lifting.

The outcome is not only burning a ton of calories and sculpting those arms and legs but also improving metabolic conditioning without doing any running at all. What variations of cardio do you utilize to mix things up and still get results?

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