We see it all the time, people slaving away on cardio equipment for hours at a time to no avail. We are told that we need to do cardio in order to drop body fat and attain the physique that we desire but what is really the point of cardio and how do we utilize it properly?
The reason so many people struggle to see results with cardio is because they lack intensity. Intensity in exercise is something that was forgotten with the formation of commercial gyms that, unfortunately, can lead people to believe they can see results without the effort. Many people believe that by coming to the gym and getting on the “magical” treadmill it is somehow more effective than a run outside. So how exactly do we gauge intensity? I would recommend using a proper heart rate monitor. Not the one on the machine that you put your hands on but rather a chest strap. Some popular brands that I know of are Polar and MyZone.
Once you have your heart rater monitor, I would challenge you to attempt to get to the 85% of your max heart rate at least 6 times during your cardio session. Fat loss is accelerated when we perform high intensity bouts interspersed with less intense bouts. Having your actual heart rate will be a motivator and push you to get to intensities that you might not otherwise. One of the cool perks of such intense cardio is you really take advantage of the excess post exercise oxygen consumption (aka after burn) that keeps your metabolism elevated for a period of time once your exercise is complete. You should start to notice improved results in both body composition but also cardiovascular health in general. One of the greatest things about high intensity intervals is that you can accomplish way more in less time so get your intensity up and see results!