Find me the adult who really looks forward to the cardios, and I’ll show you a man whose joints ache. Even people who claim to like cardio, don’t really like cardio. They like telling you that they like cardio only to intimidate you. They’re lying. What they like is finishing their cardio session.
Cardio is easy, from a planning standpoint. The hardest part about cardio is having the discipline to do it.
Good technique is largely ignored with cardio (which is problematic too). More importantly, cardio is boring; you could be doing more fun stuff. Dedicating time to cardio is not likely not suited for your lifestyle, and it’s not helping you to your goals.
Cardio is Boring
If you have any doubt that this is true, take a quick survey of the gyms in your scope. How many of them have TVs in the weight room? Now, how many have them in the cardio area? Some even have a TV on each piece of cardio equipment.
That’s because we need something to occupy our minds when on the treadmill, because… booooring.
Resistance training has its boring parts too. Can anyone say five-minute plank? Ugh. The difference is resistance training is variable.
Unless you are specifically working on strength training, there’s a good chance you are getting about the gym quite a bit with your resistance program. Cardio? One spot. For twenty minutes or more.
Resistance Training Burns Calories
Get it out of your head that lifting weights equal muscles, where cardio equals skinny.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Just, no. Eating lots of food plus lifting weights equals muscles. Cardio plus eating lots of food equals an overweight runner.
All work burns calories. It takes calories just to exist.
For the average adult body, just for functions like breathing, your heart beating, and your cells dividing, your body burns roughly 1,000 calories every 24 hours from a motionless lying position.
That is a huge average, but the point is you require calories to exist. As soon as you stand, you can increase those calories by about 30%.
Every move after that just takes more and more calories. The more intense the movement [read: the redder your face] the more calories up in smoke.
You’re Not a Marathon Runner
Your gym workout should echo your lifestyle. If you are truly a marathoner, then, by all means, disregard this advice. You need to train your body to run. Cyclist? Get on that bike and pedal!
The rest of us should be engaged in activities that reflect our lives.
Life, when it’s not about sleeping or sitting at that desk, is about standing, twisting, grabbing, lifting and moving. These are all the basic parts of lifting weights, not cardio.
If you have kids, you absolutely should be doing work to train your ability to lift properly. That way, when you’re in the real world lifting your kids, you don’t have to think about it.
Don’t have kids? Do you buy things, load them into your car, then unload them? Same thing.
Use your gym time as lab time. Think of it less as self-punishment, but more as self-discovery. Train proper movement through repetition, just like any activity.
Borrow what we know from athletes. They don’t get better playing the game. It’s all about practice because in the game there’s no time to think.
It is Not Helping Your Goals
Bold statement? Yup. Consider how long you’ve been doing cardio. How much improvement have you seen in the areas that matter? If any, how lasting are those improvements?
How long can you keep up this lifestyle?
The untold story of cardio queens s the damage done to joints. Remember back when we talked about form being ignored?
Steady state cardio when done correctly puts repetitive wear and tear on joints. Most of that the body can take, but there are better ways to move. Just because you know how to run because you’ve been chased before, doesn’t mean your stride is ideal.
Most people’s stride needs work, even for pros. In fact, pros work to refine their stride all the time, mostly to shave off time, but also so their bodies can run or bike as late as possible in life.
No matter what your goal, steady state cardio is not likely the shortest route.
Instead of your gym plan being “________ minutes of good cardio,” consider other modes of movement. Take a 30-day hiatus from cardio. You don’t have to hit Olympic lifts.
Join a class, take yoga or any of the other offering your gym enjoys. The more important part of your workout is your attention to the habit. You can always go back to cardio, but you may find you don’t wish to, not the way you used to.
After the thirty days, mix in five-minute cardio sprints or jump rope sessions. Learn about proper technique, then use it.
Just kill the cardio zombie in you already.