I have a bone to pick with the world today, and it relates to running.
As athletes and even as a society, we rely way too damn much on “cardio” to get us fit.
Seriously, when did we decide that “cardio” was the best way to get back in shape? Sure, long duration cardio is good for your heart health, but the negative effects completely outweigh the positives when you’re looking to FIRM and TONE your body (read “lose the fluff off your midsection or tighten up those thighs”).
4 Reasons to Quit Doing so Much Cardio
4. It requires tons of foot-strikes per workout. Running a mile can mean your feet hit the ground 1300-1500 times in that 10 minutes. This pounding really adds up! Ouch! Your poor joints!!!
3. The “after burn” effect of steady-pace cardio is pretty crappy. It’s especially awful compared to lifting where the “after burn” lasts up to 24-36 hours after the workout is over or even sprints.
2. Over time too much cardio puts undue stress on the body. Any workout stresses the body, but this moderate intensity/long duration BS that everyone is doing creates a high stress environment in the body. This can KEEP you from losing weight or even make you gain weight!
HINT: If you look a little puffy or water-logged all the time and you’re doing a lot of cardio? You might be in this stressed state.
And the #1 reason to quit cardio???
1. You have to do more and more to continue to see results! Your body isn’t stupid. It adapts quickly to new challenges. Every time it adapts, you have to lengthen your workouts to see results. Who the hell has time for that??
I go into more detail in my DIY workout program, but if you want to get back in shape – if you want a tighter bod – then you have to stop doing so much damn cardio!!
For all you doubters….
I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Sorry Lauren, but there’s no way I’m giving up cardio.”
To you I say this – I know it’s scary to think about NOT running or biking or ellipticizing every day…
But I’m not telling you to quit working out; I’m telling you to ease up on cardio so that you have time and energy for more efficient workouts.
All this cardio is NOT helping you reach your goal of a hotter bod, so to get different results you gotta DO something different.
Baby steps towards this “less cardio” goal will work, too. You can get in an effective cardio session in by trying a workout like this on the cardio machine of your choice…
(best in “Manual” mode)
-Warm up for 5 min
-Go as fast as you can for 20 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Go extremely slow (aka recover) with low resistance for 40 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
-Go as fast as you can for 30 sec (increase resistance as needed)
-Recover for 30 seconds
–Repeat 4 more times
Complete Part A and B once more each
-Cool down for 5 min
Total workout time: 30 min
Here’s the beauty of sprints, aka high intensity interval training (HIIT) – the total time you’re “working” in this session is barely over 8:00, but you gotta realize that in those minutes, you’re working WAY harder than you ever did during a regular bout on the elliptical.
Why? Because when you’re pedaling for 30 min at a steady pace, you can’t keep up a super high intensity… not like when you’re sprinting.
This makes the training extremely efficient, and it’s also extremely effective. Not to mention that as your body adapts, all you have to do is increase the resistance on the machine or sprint faster. You don’t have to keep increasing your workout time… just the intensity!! Isn’t that awesome?!?
Now that you have all this information on why boring cardio is killing your “get in shape” efforts, I’m going to challenge you to a duel!
Juuuuust kidding. It’s not a duel! That would be kinda fun though… except that I’m not really into violence… so scratch that… Though I’m sure we could put our heads together and come up with a non-violent duel. Hmmmmm
Your challenge for the week
Substitute the sprints above for at least half of your cardio sessions this week, and let me know how it goes.
I will say you’re gonna have a tough time watching TV or reading a book if that’s what you usually do during cardio. So put that thought out of your mind right now. It’s gonna be 30 min of actual WORK.
Can’t wait to hear what you think of sprints! Love em or hate em, I want to hear from you. Ok?? Good!
Until next week!!
P.S. – In my Survive the Holidays workout program, our training sessions will get your heart pumping like cardio but take half the time that you normally spend working out – and I can guarantee you’ll be just as exhausted by the end.
If you haven’t signed up for this FREE program yet, click this link to do it. Clock’s a tickin’ so don’t delay!