Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio

benefits of zone 2 cardio

Hate cardio or afraid to do cardio cuz it’ll “kill your gains”? Even if you’re a “cardi-NO” kind of person, regular cardio really is one of the BEST things you can do for your lifting performance, health, and physique.

 

Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio
  • improve heart health
  • improve mood, depression, anxiety
  • improve insulin resistance and blood sugar levels
  • lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • more easily maintain body weight
  • age better, keep up with your dog and kids
  • improved performance when lifting and exercising
  • reduce risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

 

Where Did the Fear of Cardio Come From?

One of the reasons the “don’t do cardio, it will kill your gym gains” vibe surfaced was because research even a few years ago (circa 2017-2018) was mixed. At the time, studies leaned that tons of cardio and lifting might negatively impact ability to effectively build muscle, perform your best, get stronger, etc.

But fast forward to present, research currently leans that lifting and cardio CAN be very complimentary – IF following good programming (likes ours at Paragon Training Methods), eating adequately to support recovery, controlling training volume between the two, and so on.

 

We Love Cardio at Paragon Training Methods

In addition to our lifting programs where you can lift 3, 4, or 5 days per week, you also have the option to stack on up to 3 optional cardio sessions per week. You can run, bike, swim, row and you have the choice of 2 zone 2 sessions and 1 zone 5 session each week.

And of course we’re always doing what we do best at Paragon: encouraging our members to smash lots of calories, carbs, and sleep (cuz we already handled the intelligent workout programming that allows them to prioritize recovery).

 

What is Zone 2 Cardio?

Zone 2 Cardio = slow and steady cardio. It’s an “easier” (read: kinda boring and monotonous) pace where you’re trying to keep heart rate between ~60-70% of max heart rate. I say “easier” in quotes, because it definetly DOES take some grit, concentration, and is a bit of a mental game to keep your heart rate steady and consistent.

Heart rate monitor is the way to go, but basically know that zone 2 is likely a pace that you could maintain for 30-60 min while only nasal breathing, or a pace that you could maintain while also holding a (slightly strained) conversation with someone.

Biking, rowing, or briskly walking on an incline treadmill are usually the best options for Zone 2. You can certainly run, ski erg, etc – just might have to work a lil harder to maintain your heart rate (:

Try doing 20-30 minutes of zone 2 cardio 2-3 times per week. Then work up to longer sessions of 40-50 minutes!

 

Where To Go From Here

You can always check out my e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Nutrition, Muscle Gain, & Fat Loss if you want to get more details about supporting your nutrition and fitness goals (:

And we’re always posting workout and nutrition tips on our Paragon Training Methods Instagram page. Follow along for free workouts and more tips to help you look and feel your best!

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