Does the type of cardio matter?

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The word cardio is often linked to weight loss. And thats understandable, it is true that cardio can help you burn some extra calories. Although we often forget that weight loss really is just an additional side effect of cardio and the correct diet. 

Cardio can be defined in many ways, you can be doing resistance training in a cardio fashion, such as lighter weights with high repetitions, or you can be dancing, gardening or cleaning the house. Essentially, anything that increases the heart rate for a certain period of time could be “cardio”. 

Cardiovascular exercise is an essential component of a balanced fitness routine and has a variety of health benefits. There are three primary types of cardio: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), lowiintensity steady-state cardio (SS), and moderate-intensity steady-state (MISS). You can probably already guess which exercise would be HIIT — examples include jumping jacks, burpees, and sprinting. SS cardio can include running, cycling, and swimming. And MISS cardio includes jogging, cycling, and rowing.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for America recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity paired with twice a week resistance training to help improve muscle strength. The resistance training might be with bands, bodyweight or weights. Thats really not much, only around 30 minutes of activity each day, yet the return will be improvements to your mood, your overall health, your weight management and even your overall life quality.

High intensity cardio (HIIT) involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of lower intensity recovery or complete rest. The recovery periods allow you to catch your breath and reduce your heart rate before the next high-intensity interval begins, and so the length and type of recovery very much depends on your exercise choices and intensity. HIIT is a very effective tool for improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing body fat. Studies have shown that it can increase cardiovascular fitness, improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease body fat more effectively than steady-state cardio. Additionally, HIIT can be done in less time. 

Some specific examples of HIIT include a Tabata protocol, with 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 rounds. Or hill sprints, where you sprint up a hill as fast as you can, then walk back down to recover, repeating 4 to 6 times. Or jump rope, as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, repeating a few times. Of course, HIIT can be very tiring so ideally you wont do it more than once or twice a week to give your body enough time to recover. Also, you can always modify and do your best to increase the intensity with whichever exercise you choose. 

Steady-state cardio (SS) involves exercising at a consistent intensity for an extended period, typically between 30 to 60 minutes. Examples include activities like running, cycling or swimming at a consistent pace. It is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance and also to burn some extra calories. Additionally, SS cardio is low-impact and can be done for an extended period. Personally I love doing steady-state cardio while listening to an audiobook. 

Moderate-intensity steady-state cardio (MISS) involves exercising at a moderate intensity, typically between 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for an extended period, typically between 30 to 60 minutes. Examples include jogging, cycling, and rowing. MISS can not only improve cardiovascular fitness but also improve your endurance too. 

The main difference between these three types is the intensity of the exercise. You can do whichever you prefer, but most importantly do whichever one you enjoy because consistency is the key to getting the results that you want. My personal favorite is HIIT, however they all offer different types of benefits so I suggest that you choose one or maybe two of them and give them a try. Your body will appreciate it. 

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do adults need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

ScienceDaily. Moderate Exercise Yields Big Benefits. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104123421.htm

Mayo Clinic. Exercise intensity: How to measure it. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887

National Library of Medicine. The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training vs Steady State Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657417/

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 

AYDA HAS COMPETED IN

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