Cardio Fat Loss Pyramids

February 18, 2013

Here’s a quick post for those who have asked me recently about what I mean when I talk about cardio pyramids that Im doing.

Please bear in mind that my goal is not fat loss and I’m usually not such a cardio bunny.  This is part of my training for a five day endurance event in June.  If I were chasing fat loss, the current research (and my practical experience) is clear, and I’d do shorter more intense intervals (HIIT), perhaps twice per week atop of a personalised resistance training programme.

Note on HIIT: I love intense intervals for fat loss.  However, my issue/observation is that most people cannot keep a decent intensity up across several work loads and the intensity drops, which means its not HIIT, and it won’t be very effective.

However, this type of pyramid training also does wonders for fat loss.  The only thing I would say is that this kind of conditioning is tiring, seriously draining in fact, and is likely to disrupt a regular resistance training schedule (not my priority for the next few weeks).  It other words, it work, but it’s knackering.

I’m also pretty structurally stable and I’m carrying a reasonable amount of lean mass.  I wouldn’t advise it if you’re not, especially on the treadmill.

Pyramid examples:

Complete pyramid

I’m currently using 15kph for my speed (because it works for my training/heart rate purposes) and using the treadmill (my event is on foot).

The ascending side, certainly the first and second workload, should be within your comfort zone.  Three minutes should be tough, and four minutes should be very uncomfortable indeed.  The way down is just and uncomfortable journey to a stop.

3-5min warm up

60s (s=seconds) @ 15kph, 60s rest

Note: To rest, I jump to the side and let the belt carry on.  Probably more sensible to set the treadmill to slow down or do so manually.  Just make sure you’re back at 15kph (or your work pace) on the minute.

120s @ 15kph, 60s rest

180s @ 15kph, 60s rest

240s @ 15kph, 60s rest

180s @ 15kph, 60s rest

120s @ 15kph, 60s rest

60s @ 15kph, 60s rest

3-5min cool down

Due to my training goal I’m including some steady 10kph stiff before the cool down. I take 60s rest and I go for ten to fifteen minutes and the slower speed.

Start at pace you know you can do and just try and complete it at a faster speed each week.

Ascending pyramid

I currently use 13kph for this.

3-5min warm up

60s at 13kph (again, you need to determine your work pace)

Rest 60s

Next I go for 90s and rest for 60s.  Basically, I keep adding 30s to my work intervals, keeping my rest intervals to 60s, until I can’t do another one.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself doing this one.