Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of any workout plan and should make up the bulk of an endomorph’s exercise routine. Regular cardio improves cardiorespiratory fitness and has an incredible impact on health. Studies show that cardio reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and several cancers.1234 It also improves mental health, sleep, and energy levels.567
Furthermore, cardio workouts burn calories, and in conjunction with diet creates a bigger calorie deficit. It is a combination which leads to greater long-term weight loss.8 Therefore, cardiovascular exercise plays a key role in losing excess body weight, keeping the weight off after weight loss, and maintaining a healthy body weight.910
Endomorph Workout Plan: Cardio
The oft-touted fat-burning zone that you’ll find on many cardio machines burns few calories and is an inefficient, time-intensive way of losing weight.
Striking a balance between interval training and steady state workouts is ideal for endomorphs, as it will test the heart, lungs, musculature and energy systems in different ways. A comprehensive approach will result in faster weight loss, superior fitness, and a wider spectrum of health benefits.1213
Moderate-Intensity, Steady-State Cardio
The first part of the cardio equation for endomorphs is moderate-intensity cardio, performed at a steady pace. To exercise at moderate intensity aim for around 70% of maximum heart rate, exercising for 30 – 60 minutes. It’s an intensity that allows you to talk in short sentences. You should break into a sweat after at least 10 minutes and keep sweating for the entire hour.
If you haven’t exercised for a considerable period, start at about 60% of maximum heart rate (MHR). Slowly increase intensity and workout duration as your athletic ability improves.
As you grow stronger, week by week, your workouts will feel easier. That means you have to make your workout harder to keep your heart rate at about 70% MHR. To do this, you can incrementally increase the length of your workout, your pace, the resistance, or incline as you get more fit. For example, if you started by walking briskly, you might might increase your pace or start a run/walk plan to keep your workout challenging. This will burn more calories, help you to keep on losing weight, and increase your fitness levels.
High-Intensity Interval Training
The second piece of the cardio puzzle for endomorphs, is HIIT. Unlike long constant-pace cardio, HIIT involves exercising at maximum intensity for a shorter period of time. It substantially cuts down the amount of time you need to exercise because HIIT sessions are short and intense.
HIIT also confers several benefits that lower intensity exercise either can’t or is unable to match to the same degree:
- Weight loss. Not only an efficient calorie burner, HIIT also increases the body’s fat burning ability, reduces appetite, and boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thereby countering insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes and linked to excess weight) and improving blood sugar control.1415161718
- Increased muscle mass. HIIT sessions can increase muscle mass, unlike endurance cardio.1920 Furthermore, research shows that HIIT is able to increase muscle mass while simultaneously reducing body fat.2122
- Increases metabolic rate. Moderate-intensity cardio workouts increase metabolism for several hours afterwards. However, HIIT can increase this “afterburn” to a greater degree and in less time.23
Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time or are have any medical conditions.
The table below gives a rough guide of what the different exercise intensities feel like.
|Level/ Intensity||Heart Rate*||Example||Breathing||Sweating|
|Low||< 65% MHR||Leisurely walk||Breathing normal, able to carry on full conversation||No|
|Moderate||65-75%MHR||Brisk walk||Breathing deeper, can talk in short sentences||After 10 minutes|
|High||+ 75% MHR||Running||Breathing fast and deep, talk in short spurts||After 3-5 minutes|
How often Should Endomorphs Exercise?
Endomorphs should aim for a total of 5 to 6 cardiovascular workouts a week. Of these, 2 – 3 should be HIIT workouts. HIIT by nature is intense, which means the body needs time to recover and repair. Therefore, leave at least one day between HIIT workouts. On days between HIIT you can perform moderate-intensity workouts, which are less taxing on the body.
Beginners. High-intensity interval training is very demanding and thus not suitable for beginners. Beginners should start with regular moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise to build a solid fitness base. To do this, start with 30 minutes moderate-intensity cardio workouts 3 times a week and slowly increase these to 5 a week. After about 6 weeks, start to incorporate some short bouts of slightly higher intensity exercise into 2 of your weekly workouts (interval training) to increase your fitness further, before adopting HIIT.
Read more: How to get started with HIIT
Rest. Allow for 1 – 2 rest days a week, during which you take a complete time out or perform low-intensity activities such as yoga, stretching or leisurely walking (active recovery).24
Variety. You needn’t stick to the same exercise for every workout. You can mix things up with different activities, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, in order to prevent overtraining or boredom.
Read more: Best Exercise For Endomorph Body Type
Exercise Timing for Endomorphs
If you can, do your cardio workouts at the same time each day. Research shows that a consistent workout time is associated with higher levels of exercise in people who successfully lose weight and keep it off.25
This consistency helps to make workouts a habit and a firm part of your daily routine – just like brushing your teeth. It’s an automatic process that you don’t even question and do without thinking. If you exercise in the morning, you’ll automatically get on your gear and go out for a brisk walk or run. If you exercise in the afternoon, you might head straight to the gym. The point is, making exercise part of your daily rhythm increases the likelihood of meeting – and crushing – your goals, not just now but in the long-term.
Read more: How to make exercise a habit
Mini-workouts. You can, if more convenient, break a longer moderate-intensity exercise session into several shorter ones. Simply leave the longer workouts for the weekend or less busy weekdays.
Studies suggest that shorter, more frequent workouts spaced throughout the day can as effective as one long workout of equal length.2627 You’re also less likely to run out of steam, enabling you to work out at higher intensity.
What’s the Best Time to Exercise?
The simple answer is that the time of day you do your cardio is way less important than actually doing it, whenever that may be. Do it when you have the time and when you prefer. You might be a morning person or a night owl. Workouts at times that feel unnatural to you feel harder and are associated with greater levels of fatigue.28
Having said all that, if you can and it feels right, exercise first thing in the morning.29 You’re guaranteed to get your workout done. It’s out of the way, before distractions and excuses are able to take hold. Those who stick to their exercise routine long-term, are more likely to exercise in the morning.
Also, morning exercise may enhance weight loss by positively affecting eating habits and appetite, and is more likely to be done in a fasted state which may improve fat metabolism.303132 It’s also the perfect time to get energized and set for the day!
Read more: When is the best time to exercise?
Endomorph Long-Term Workout Plan
After you’ve reached your weight loss goals, assess what works for you and how much exercise you require to stay fit and prevent weight regain. Some endomorphs will require more exercise than others to maintain their weight loss. So you need to fine tune your workouts to suit your body and metabolism. How much you will need to exercise will also depend on your daily calorie intake.
How much exercise? Research suggests that many people who have lost more than 5% of their total body weight need to do at least 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (e.g. brisk walking) a week, to keep the weight off. That’s about 150 minutes of vigorous activity (e.g. jogging) per week.
The best way to keep exercising long after you’ve lost weight is to find an activity that you enjoy doing and make it part of your lifestyle. But also one where you can measure your progress and work towards a goal.
For example, if you enjoy running you can work towards training for a 5K. This takes the focus off exercising just to lose weight, and onto achieving something else entirely. It gives you a real sense of physical and mental accomplishment and a success that goes way beyond weight loss. It’s empowering. And you’ll be hooked on it, not because you have to do it to lose weight or maintain weight loss, but because you love it and it makes you feel great.
The other advantage of training for a goal other than weight loss, is that you will achieve a higher level of fitness. This means that instead of brisk walking, for example, you can run or jog, burning at least twice as many calories per minute of exercise. In other words, it’s easier to prevent weight gain.
Choose any cardiovascular activity that you enjoy, be it swimming, cycling, tennis, or Nordic walking. And if you can join a club, even better! You’ll meet like-minded people and form new friendships, which will keep you motivated and give you more reasons to head out and exercise.