Many people believe that cardiovascular exercise is an integral part of any exercise regimen, but is this really the case? Is it even worth is to integrate cardio training into your regular workout? Hopefully this article will raise some interesting discussions about cardio workouts. Maybe you will get a new perspective and change up your workout.
Is Cardio Bad?
I don’t believe that all cardio is bad cardio, but I do believe that traditional cardio is not the best way to get in shape and build lean muscle. Most people do not actually benefit from cardio exercise. In fact, the cardio movement is not based in science or fact. The cardio movement came as a result of gyms trying to get women in the door. Women didn’t want to bulk up with weights, so gyms had to come up with a marketing scheme to make women interested. This is how cardio training was born.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few strong and lean people who never do any type of traditional cardio workout. They don’t need to. These people do enough intense strength training to get their heart rate up and burn calories. There are some circumstances in which traditional cardio can be recommended, such as in cases of overweight or very out-of-shape individuals, but even these cases may benefit from other types of exercise.
What exactly is cardio?
Before we examine why cardio is unnecessary, we must define exactly what we mean by cardio. Cardio can be simply defined as any exercise that gets the heart rate up and strengthens your heart and lungs. Unfortunately, for some people this means watching TV while mindlessly running on a treadmill or elliptical. This often leads to boredom and lack of motivation. It isn’t surprising that so many people decide to give up on their exercise routine.
If you are observant, you will notice that cardio doesn’t have to mean mindless and boring exercise. There are more effective and interesting exercises that can be done that are still considered “cardio”. Whether you are weight training or resistance training—this can still be cardiovascular exercise.
Here are some examples: Let’s say you do a clean and press which entails lifting a barbell from floor to shoulder and pushing it over your head. Women may think that this is only appropriate for men, but ladies can do this exercise with smaller weights. This is still much more beneficial than doing mindless cardio.
Exercises like the clean and press are often thought of as weight training exercises, but if you complete 10-15 reps with a heavier weight, your heart rate will go up and you will be getting a great workout. If you just change your thought process a little bit, you can get faster results and be much more satisfied with your workout.
Now consider doing 20 reps of one-arm snatches with each arm with a kettle bell or dumbbell. You will definitely feel the burn and have no doubt that this counts as “cardio”. Your heart rate will go up and you will be breathing hard for sure. What about bodyweight squats, pushups, or lunges? Of course your heart will be pounding and you will be struggling to breathe!
Bye Boring old Cardio!
Once you start working out like this, you won’t want to go back to the boring treadmill. Some people may try to tell you that this is strength training or weight training and it is but it is also a great way to do a cardio workout. If you want to save time, get a more effective workout routine, and create a workout routine you can maintain then try thinking a little differently about your cardio workout.