Cardio Training for a Winter Ski Holiday

cardio training

We all promise ourselves that we'll get fit for the rapidly approaching ski holiday, but in reality most of us never do. So what cardio training can you do in preparation? Read our quick fitness guide to help.

As you can imagine, the types of cardio training are varied and offer you with some choice. From high to low intensity fartlek to circuits. All of which can help you achieve the fitness goals you set yourself.

Each type of cardio training exercise below has advantages and disadvantages so whether you are a beginner or an advanced gym user, choose the exercise that is appropriate for you and build up the time per week as you approach your winter holiday.

Low Intensity - Long Duration

Your Intensity should be about 40%-60% of your Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax)

  • A slow, easy, continuous and long exercise 40 minutes+ (walking, cycling, jogging, etc)
  • The least demanding form of aerobic training
  • Easy test to see if you are doing right is the ability to keep talking
  • Great for beginners to cardio work
  • Good for fat loss and getting obese people working out

Medium Intensity, Medium Duration

Aerobic workout, so now around 70% of your max HR

  • Usually takes between 20 - 40 minutes
  • For beginners, the next step from low intensity
  • Great for fat loss and increasing your aerobic capacity
  • East test to check if you are doing it right is the onset of heavy breathing but not the point you have to stop

High Intensity, Short Duration

This is for more experienced gym users as you will be looking to reach about 80 - 85% of your max heart rate for up to 20 minutes at a time.

  • Between 5 - 20 minutes dependent on fitness level and intensity
  • Aerobic at 80% - 85% of HRmax (the Anaerobic Threshold by general consensus)
  • This is a very demanding level of training - not beginners

Aerobic Interval Training

  • Varying times and intensities of training (5 mins easy, 20 mins moderate and 1 min high intenisty for example)
  • Covers moderate to high intensity aerobic work, alternated with low intensity activity ('rest') e.g. 5 minutes fast jog, 1 minute slow walk - repeat three times
  • The key is simple variation during the workout, but do not workout so much you need to stop

Anaerobic Interval Training

Up to 100% of your HRmax - short hard bursts.

  • High intensity for short periods of time then rest for the same or a longer period of time
  • Intensity of between 85 - 100% of your HR max
  • For example, sprint as fast as possible for 20 secs, walk for 40 secs, sprint 30 secs, walk 60 seconds and depending on level of fitness, repeat 3 - 6 times

Fartlek Training

Also known as 'speed play'. Builds stamina.

  • A mix of all the above over between 15 and 30 mins depending on fitness
  • For example a 10 min warm-up run, 1 min medium run, 30 sec sprint, 2 mins walk, Fast run 2 mins and a slow jog for 5 mins to end
  • Great way to cover the whole workout intensity range (as well as preventing utter boredom!)

Circuit Training

This ensures aerobic weight training and works your entire body building strength, stamina and recovery.

  • Depending on fitness level from between 20 and 50 mins
  • Using a number of exercises (stations) to work entire body, like curls, pulldowns, leg curls, shuttle runs etc.
  • Always use light weights, to prevent 'failure' of muscles - but no so easy you don't notice it!
  • Each exercise is repeated continuously for a given time interval like 1 min, then short rest and repeat the cycle 1 to 3 times
  • A great way to do aerobic work and weight training whilst not getting bored
  • As an aerobic exercise its great as it works the entire body instead of just the legs

By Will Smith

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