Saturday, 07 April 2012 11:37

My thoughts on cardio

Cardiovascular training a.k.a "Cardio". Hey, we've all heard the word. It doesnt matter if we're overweight sitting in the doctor's office, lifting enormously heavy weights while the tubby guy next to you "does time" on the treadmill, or even while getting unwanted advice while your pumping out a good set of pushups.

The term has become so common these days that it's nigh impossible to talk about a fitness program without mentioning cardio specifically. Unless of course your talking about Fast and Furious Fitness - where the emphasis is on staying strong, fit and healthy (and many other things) - but not necessarily "cardio" in itself. 

Now, I realize that some people reading this will automatically take this to mean that I'm not much of a one for cardiovascular workouts, not a huge believer in maintaining a low resting pulse rate, etc etc - but that couldn't be further from the truth. I think those are excellent goals, and that "cardio" should be a part of every workout - but where I diverge from most modern day "gurus" is that I don't believe a workout should be either this or that. Most people today are trained to think of either "strength" workouts or "cardio" workouts - and that is completely alien to my line of thought.

So, am I not concentrating as much on "cardio" as I should be? Am I doing the wrong thing by not endorsing mindless hour long (or more) slow jogging routines that will supposedly give you excellent cardio? 

I think not, my friend - but before you judge, here's a simple test that will have you thinking. And that simple test is this - drop down, and give me 50 slow,good pushups in GOOD form. That's it - 50 pushups - and for those of you that haven't been doing this a while - make that 25. Just make sure that every rep is a good rep, and thats all I demand.

After your done with the 50 (or 25 - and believe me, even 25 pushups done in good form is more than what the average gym goer is able to handle), take note of your breathing? I'll bet your more than a bit out of breath - possibly completely winded if your out of shape at this time. And it's quite likely that your breathing won't return to normal for at least a couple of more minutes - or maybe even more.

And THAT, my friend, is "cardio" right there for you. Pushups are NOT purely a "cardio" workout - but they provide cardio benefits notwithstanding. And thats pretty much the case with most exercises I advocate in the book - they are NOT hour long "cardio" routines. But boy oh boy, they sure do get you breathing harder than you have in a while - and the pushup example was but one of the things I talk about.

I'm not sure where folks came up with the idea of "more is better" when it comes to cardio. You'll have people running on the treadmill for hours, claiming they did "cardio" and yet they have a tough time dropping weight and gaining muscle. Curiously enough, these same people are somehow able to watch TV, chat with the person on the machine next to them, sip sports drinks, and do all this while doing their "cardio" - and then they wonder why they aren't getting results.

Compare that to the minute or so 25 pushup routine I asked you to do. After doing 25 good pushups, even an advanced trainee will be somewhat out of breath - and a beginner will likely be wiped out. You won't HAVE the breath left to chit-chat; and THAT is what real cardio training is all about. And remember, the exercise isn't even a pure cardio exercise like jogging on the treadmill is. 

Now, I know that some people are so addicted to long, drawn out cardio sessions that it would be pointless for me to tell them otherwise. And that's fine by me - to each his own. Just know that the hours your spending pounding the pavement could be better spent elsewhere - with better results - and if you choose to learn how, well, I'm here for ya.

Last, but not least - workouts should ALWAYS be well rounded - i.e. you should be getting stronger, and FITTER through doing an exercise. Simply focusing on one of those two is not ideal - focus on the overall package, not the bits and pieces that make it up.

And that, my friend, is what I think about cardio. Have a fantastic weekend ahead, and if your training this weekend - get after it with gusto!

Best regards,


PS: Fast and Furious Fitness will ensure you get the complete package when it comes to workouts - grab your copy NOW.