Cardio for Losing Body Fat

Subject: Cardio and body fat

Sex: female
Age: 13
Gymnastics Level: 9

What cardio excercises are the most effective in losing body fat? Our old gym did about 30 minutes of cardio every day, and our new gym does practically nothing. What can I be doing at home to keep cardio involved in burning calories and losing body fat?

First, let me say that you should not really be thinking about or be worried about body fat at your age and since you are a high level optional gymnast.

Extra Reading

Before I answer your question, I would really appreciate it if you would read two other articles I have written. The first article is about gymnasts nutrition and diet.  The most important thing you should take away from that article is that girls your age should not even know the word diet, much less be on one.  Eating healthy is good for everyone, not just gymnasts and this article should give you some good information about that.

Strength-to-Body-Weight-Ratio Needs

The other article I would like you to read is about achieving and maintaining a good strength-to-body-weight ratio. There is some good information in that article that may help you answer some of your questions.

Diets – NO! High Intensity Cardio – OK

While diets are not any solution at all, there is nothing wrong with doing high intensity cardio work. There is something wrong, however, with gymnasts doing long periods of low-intensity jogging or other low-intensity aerobic exercise. If you were doing 30 minutes of slow constant jogging at your old gym, this actually could have had a somewhat negative effect on your explosive speed and power for vault and tumbling. Gymnasts need and want explosive power and jogging for long periods of time develops a different kind of body and muscle response.

High Intensity Cardio for Explosive Speed and Calorie Burning

What you want to do, both for effective calorie burning and to develop the kind of explosive speed and power that gymnasts need, is to do high intensity aerobic exercise. The secret is to do 60 – 90 seconds of all out running or aerobic exercises and then completely recover with 3 – 4 minutes of rest, slow walking, stretching or some other very low intensity activity so you can go all out again in the next set. Do 7 – 9 sets of 60 – 90 seconds of sprinting or other similar high intensity exercise. This type of exercise raises your heart rate and calorie burning rate higher and longer than any low intensity exercise could and is compatible with gymnastics training. You can do this type of training 1 – 3 times per week depending on your strength-to-body-weight ratio needs.

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