Cardio Bunny Or Meat Head?

Cardio Bunny Or Meat Head?

You don't need to pick cardio over weight training, there is as always a happy medium.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 10 Oct 2017

Training Beginner
5 Mins

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You may have noticed when you hit the gym that there are two types of gym-goers: cardio bunnies and meatheads.

Cardio bunnies are the ones that are sweating away every time you go to they gym. But you may have noticed that they never really get anywhere – and by that we don’t mean because they’re on a treadmill or stationary bike! We mean their shape rarely changes.

On the other side of the gym, you have the meatheads. These are the ones that see cardio as cardi-no. The ones that break into a sweat just removing the weight collars from the barbells.

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from our time within the fitness industry over the years, it’s that there is almost always a sweet spot to everything. And yet for some reason, most will remain black and white about their training technique.

For example:

Low carb Vs High carb – what’s wrong with ‘moderate carb’?

Heavy weight & low reps Vs low weight & high reps – why not combine both to yield the best results?

The same can be said with a cardio balance as too much cardio and little resistance training will result in a ‘skinny’ physique.

And yet for those ‘bodybuilding’ who think they don’t need cardio will have a rude awakening that, come ‘game day’, they could stand to lose that extra 10-15lbs.

So how do you strike a healthy balance?

Well, the answer is likely going to frustrate some of you – ‘it depends’.

It depends on:
  • Rate of current progress
  • What’s the target deficit in terms of energy expenditure?
  • How low are current calories?
  • How much time can you commit?
We’ve seen our best results coming from clients that utilise a combination of creating an energy deficit via both diet and cardio. It appears that using both avenues leads to a better physique as opposed to purely exhausting one or the other.

At RNT, we tend to use three types of cardio ranging from beginner, intermediate and competitor level for different situations and outcomes:

Step Count: This is a staple within all of our RNT transformation journeys (within physical means, of course) as it can be fitted easily into a client’s lifestyle and can be done wherever and whenever. Steps could range anywhere from 8,000-20,000 daily. To read more about getting your steps in, check out this article here.

LISS (Low Intensity Steady State): This is still low impact in terms of its effects on joints and recovery, but at a slightly higher intensity than a step count by usually setting a heart rate target (e.g. 120bpm). This is ideal for intermediate clients that can set aside between 25min-60min daily.

HIIT (High Intensity Steady State):  As the name implies, this is high intensity and therefore its impact upon recovery and joints will be greater than the previous two options. The real benefit for this type of cardio is that it burns a lot of calories in a short period of time. HIIT is generally capped at 15-25min 2-3x per week MAX for the majority of clients. Though, as with everything, exceptions can be made for certain circumstances.

Below are a few examples of how your cardio set up could look:

Complete Beginner – Step Goal

DAY | WORKOUT | STEP TARGET 

MONDAY | Full Body | 8,000 
TUESDAY |   | 8,000 
WEDNESDAY | Full Body | 8,000 
THURSDAY |   | 8,000
FRIDAY | Full  Body | 8,000 
SATURDAY |   | 8,000 
SUNDAY |   | 8,000 

Intermediate – Step Goal and LISS

DAY | WORKOUT | STEP TARGET | LISS 

MONDAY | Upper | 8,000 | 25min 
TUESDAY | Lower | 8,000 | 25min 
WEDNESDAY |  | 8,000 | 25min 
THURSDAY | Upper | 8,000 | 25min  
FRIDAY | Lower | 8,000 | 25min  
SATURDAY |   | 8,000 | 25min 
SUNDAY |   | 8,000 | 25min 

Advanced – Step Goal, LISS and HIIT

DAY | WORKOUT | STEP TARGET | LISS | HIIT

MONDAY | Upper | 12,000 | 40min 
TUESDAY | Lower | 12,000 | 40min  
WEDNESDAY |  | 12,000 | 40min | 18min
THURSDAY | Chest & Triceps | 12,000 | 40min 
FRIDAY | Back & Biceps | 12,000 | 40min 
SATURDAY | Shoulders & Abs | 12,000 | 40min  
SUNDAY |   | 12,000 | 40min | 18min
 
As you can see, these are three quite different set ups in terms of training and cardio. Naturally, these cardio strategies are not concrete, and would be tailored to the individual in question.

Our advice when devising such a cardio plan is:
  1. Decide where you are in terms of beginner, intermediate or advanced.
  2. Next, consider how much time you can dedicate to your cardio as well as how extreme of a goal you have?
  3. Finally, look at how both your weight training and nutrition is set up in order to maximise recovery.
While meatheads are often averse to cardio and see it as a waste of time, striking a healthy balance between cardio and resistance training can improve your overall performance and, in our experience, your physical outcome.

As with every transformation, training is never black and white, and everybody has their own thresholds. The key is self-awareness and identifying where you rest on the spectrum. Only then can you truly tailor your cardio strategy to best complement your strengths and physical goal.

Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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