Stand Out From the Competition with Cardio!
So it is getting close to the big day, and you’re looking for a way to stand out on stage from the competition. What can you do so that your muscle definition is impeccable and your body fat is negligible? The answer is cardio! But not your typical cardio, this plan adds a new element with results that will leave you amazed.
Bodies Are Different
Everyone has a different genetic make-up, and some people will need more cardio than others. The best thing you can do is forget about the latest fads and find what balance works best for your body. For pre-competition training, I recommend four days with one cardio session lasting from 45 to 60 minutes. On the other three days, you’ll do two sets of cardio for 45 to 60 minutes.
One Set Days
On the days you are only doing one set of cardio, it must be short and intense. Those are the days you should be lifting as well. Some people choose to lift in the morning and do cardio in the afternoon; others prefer to do it all at once. Examples of these types of cardio are:
- Running for 10 minutes; followed with a set of sprints for 10 minutes; and repeat
- Sprint set: Sprint 1 min; jog 1 min for a total time of 10 minutes.
- StairMaster for 20 minutes; followed by double unders for 10 minutes; and repeat
- Spin Class. Yes, you heard me, it will do wonders. Talk about an intense cardio workout that will help you get lean! It’s a great muscle builder for the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and let’s not forget those quadriceps! Average burn is 475 – 700 cals/hour
- Elliptical machine at a high intensity for 25 minutes; immediately jump on the treadmill and run at a moderate to high pace for one mile; repeat
Two Set Days
These days should be the most fun and you should look forward to them. The first set of cardio is done in the morning with a hard set of abs. This set should be for 45 minutes and should done at a moderate intensity. Aim for your heart rate to be around 65 to 75% of your HR max.
If you do not have a heart rate monitor, please drop what you are doing right now and get one! It is such an important tool for gauging intensity and the amount of calories you are burning.
The second set of cardio should be your “fun cardio”. This should be done in the afternoon or evening and this is for you to let loose and push hard. The added bonus is that your muscles will become seriously defined. Get outside and play a sport.
The best thing about sports is that you are interval training and it is fun. The added bonus is you use muscles in different ways than you do at the gym and you use the little muscles that are so hard to target. This equals a total advantage over the competition. Lean, defined, and ready for a win!
Here are some examples:
- Soccer – High intensity sport with major power to cut an edge in those legs and abs.
- Boxing – I am not talking about “boxing class” at the gym. I mean hit the bag or spar with a professional at a real boxing gym. Membership is usually cheap and the gains are huge
- Basketball– Talk about defining those delts! Hit a pick up game at your local rec center or at your gym. The sweat will drip and your shoulders will get pumped
- Other examples are ultimate Frisbee, flag/touch football, rollerblading, surfing, skiing, and whatever else gets your heart rate up!
The Last Component – The Truth
Every time I read an article that encourages weightlifters to work out on an empty stomach, I cringe. The thought behind it is that your glycogen stores will be depleted after a night’s sleep, so your body will go directly for fat as an energy source. This will then help you lose those last unwanted pounds and define those muscles. It is wrong!
Your body will store glycogen for an average of 12 to 16 hours before it must absolutely be replenished by food. Meaning, if you hit the gym first thing in the morning without fuel, your body will finish off the glycogen stores and go to muscle for fuel!
That’s right, it will go right to the muscle that you have been working so hard to build up. Not to mention you will feel weak and look flabbier, not more defined. Some good breakfast choices are oatmeal, a banana, or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a slice of Ezekiel bread.
Putting it All Together
Now you have all the components to make you stand out from the other competitors on stage. I am going to put it all together for you so that you can be successful. About 5 to 7 weeks out from the big day you need to turn up the heat on your cardio. This is a seven-day a week plan.
- Monday – weights plus 1 hour of cardio
- Tuesday– weights plus 1 hour of cardio
- Wednesday– two sessions of cardio plus abs
- Thursday – weights plus 1-hour cardio
- Friday– weights plus 1-hour cardio
- Saturday– two sessions of cardio plus abs
- Sunday– two sessions of cardio plus abs
Most importantly you need to eat right and drink lots of water. Do not allow yourself to get dehydrated, otherwise you will actually start to look puffy. Add lemon to your water, which will help with breaking down of foods and keeping your digestive system clean. Your foods should be things that you can make at home and absolutely nothing processed.
Think complex carbs before a workout and then get a protein source immediately afterward. Be sure to wait no longer than 30 minutes to eat after your workout. If you follow this plan, you can expect muscle definition you’ve never dreamed of and a massive decrease in body fat percentage. Good Luck!