Cardio training is one of the physical exercises that has been demonstrated to improve the brain:
- The Aristocracy of Cardio.
- The Brain Boosting Benefits of Cardio.
- 5 Brain Boosting Benefits of Cardio.
This post will teach you a cardio routine that will make you push your limits, enhance your brain, burn calories… and all this in only 20 minutes!
The technique for cardio that I’m about to explain was developed by Bill Phillips and explained on his book Body For Life.
He calls it, the 20 minutes aerobic solution. How does it work?
- First decide which activity are you going to use for cardio. It could be cycling, running, swimming, rowing,etc. I recommend doing it on a machine (for example on a treadmill) because you need to take into account the level of intensity at which you train at every moment.
- You start the training at a very peaceful level that we will call level 5 of intensity. Level 5 is a level at which you move comfortably (like while walking fast).
- Levels do not correspond to a number on the machine you are using. Furthermore, each person has a different level 5, depending on the amount of exercise he is used to do. For anyone, Level 5 is a very comfortable level in the exercise you chose. For example, in my case, level 5 in the treadmill is 7.5 km/h.
- You keep level 5 for two minutes. After that, you increase to level 6. Increasing a level implies to increase the speed by some amount. If you are on a treadmill it could be a 0.5 km/h increase or an increase of 1 km/h. In my case, I increase 0.5 km/h.
- Maintain that level for 1 minute. After that, increase another level, to level 7 and keep there for another minute.
- Repeat the process two times more increasing to level 8 for a minute and then to level 9 for another minute. Your level 9 should be a level of maximum intensity where you can keep the cardio but not for too long. It should be a challenge for you to maintain that level for 1 minute. If it is not, then your level 9 is too low, and hence you have to increase all your levels.
- After a minute at level 9, you take down the intensity to level 6 and maintain there for 1 minute. Then repeat for three times more the same approach increasing intensity up to level nine and then decreasing the intensity to 6.
- After your fourth time at level 9, do not decrease to level 6 but increase to level 10 and do it for a minute. Level 10 is where after the minute you cannot do a second more at that level. This is your limit.
- Then decrease to level 5 for 1 minute, and end the exercise.
You should do the described technique at least 2 days per week. I would also recommend to combine cardio training with stretching, because muscles tend to become stiff from doing cardio.
For a complete body training, combine this with work with weights in alternate days. I propose the following schedule that includes everything:
Tuesday: Cardio (20 minutes) + Stretching (20 minutes)
Wednesday: weights training (about 1 hour)
Thursday: Cardio (20 minutes) + Stretching (20 minutes)
Friday: weights training (about 1 hour)
However, for those who want to be pro, I recommend doing weight training, and then afterwards, do the cardio workout. This way you will get the maximum benefit on fat burning. But be aware, this plan will let you exhausted (if you are not, then you are not applying the levels correctly).
So, no excuses of no time for cardio! It’s only 20 minutes! What are you waiting for!