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If fitness were a pizza, there’d only be one slice of cardio!

You wanted to get fit. So you started running. At first, you trained for a 5K run, and then a 10K run. Then you thought a half-marathon was a good idea. After logging half a dozen halves, you decided to go for it: to train for a marathon.

Cardiois a bit like tanning: The darker you get, the darker you want to be, and before you know it your skin is orange and wrinkly at best, or you have skin cancer at worst!

When it comes to cardiotraining, its like the old saying, Too much of a good thing is just that: TOO MUCH!

Now, Im not suggesting cardiovascular training or metabolic conditioning is bad, nor is running, per se, but cardio is only one small piece of the overall fitness puzzleno more important than strength training (both lifting weights and bodyweight strength acquisition), speed and power training, flexibility and mobility work, not to mention rest and recovery!

This meansGASP IN DISBELIEFthat you do NOT need to do cardioevery time you come to the gym. Its just one slice of the pie, folks.

Even though we reiterate this all the time, there are still many of you who believe who just cant wrap their heads around the idea that they dont need to condition everyday.

Whats the met con today?

Why is there no conditioning today?

I need to condition to get a good workout!

If you have said this aloud, or even thought it, youre likely one of these people. You likely think you need to condition to lose weight (or to avoid gaining weight) and that your fitness isnt getting better unless youre working at a high heart rate for a sustained 20 to 30 minutes each day.

This is simply not true.

So what is a better prescription for fitness, weight loss, leaning up, and overall health?

In a perfect world, we want you all to come four days a week (five or six if youre body can handle it and you have lofty performance goals). Two or three days a week should be devoted to strength training, and two or three days a week to skill work with some metabolic conditioning (aka cardio). There would also be flexibility, mobility and accessory work sprinkled in most days, and youd have an entire day or two of complete rest and recovery (or maybe a day of active recovery like a long walk, hike or light swim).

Still dont believe me? If you can relate to any of the below, then what do you have to lose? Maybe try trusting our advice and giving the less is more approach to cardio a chance

Why am I not losing fat??

You cardio it up all the time, and eat well, but you still have that layer of pudge that just wont go away. It could be because youre not taking your strength training seriously (i.e. you dont pay attention to percentages and skip sets as youre waiting for what you see as the real workout). It could also mean youre stressing your body so much from all the conditioning that your hormones are out of whack. Bringing down your cortisol levels through the less is more approach might be a good place to start. Cardiovascular overload can also lead to high blood sugar levels, which might also be affecting your bodys ability to lose weight/fat.

Why do my joints always hurt?

Do you skip the mobility work to log a 3-mile run after class? Then you wonder when your knee is going to magically heal itself so you can squat again?

Why arent I getting stronger?

The age-old belief that you cant get both stronger and better endurance all at once isnt necessarily true; however, if youre overloading your body in one area its going to be impossible to make gains in the other area. If you dont feel like your strength gains are happening as fast as youd like them to, then consider reducing your conditioning work and adding more strength accessory work. Talk to your coach for help.

Why do I feel to drained of energy?

Exercise is supposed to help you have more energy, not less! If you feel like youre not recovering well, consider NOT doing that extra spin class and 10K run on the weekend.

If you think you fit this bill but still arent convinced, or youre ready to consider making a change, contact your coach for a chat.

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