You just got done squatting 2400lbs and you look at what is next on your workout program. 15 minutes of cardio.
For some, this may seem like a punishment, for others, this could feel unnecessary. You’re already working out, right? Why should you need to do cardio on top of lifting weights? There is no need to push yourself that much more when you’re already doing the things you think you need to be doing, right?
If you think this or anybody ever tells you that, it’s definitely a huge load of crap. So change your mindset completely or unfriend the person that fed you these lies.
For me, I think of cardio as a necessary evil. It is absolutely horrible and I hate it, but I feel like it needs to be done.
What’s the point of being able to lift all these weights if you’re going to get tired after climbing two flights of stairs? That just doesn’t correlate in my mind.
Don’t just be a lifter, be physically fit all around. Workout, be fit, eat healthy. Do all three. Don’t just pick one and stick with it. That’s like saying I’m only going to focus on math in school when you have six other classes you are taking at the same time.
“I’m not hating, I’m just telling you”
If you were an athlete growing up, you remember the pain you automatically felt when your coach said to get on the line. You knew that what was coming up next would be dreadful.
Your coach may have done it as a form of punishment, but when you look back at it, there was always a motive to his madness. Maybe you got on the line and did your sprints because you were fearful of what would’ve happened had you said no. You may have also done it because deep down you knew that it was something that had to be done.
At the time, for a young athlete, it seems completely bogus to be running and running and running with no real purpose, but as you got older and have matured slightly, you began to see the importance of this running even though it probably never felt any better.
“You can hate it or love it”
Cardio is something that nobody likes doing. Never have I met somebody that runs just to run. There is always a motive behind the madness.
I ran cross country in high school and I hated practice every day. Sometimes I wished the school day was longer so I wouldn’t have to go to practice. Running miles and miles every single day, never going at a comfortable pace, always being timed.
Those were not the best days at all, but there was a purpose for doing all of it. I’m a competitive person so of course I would run my ass off at every meet and try to get the best time possible, but that wasn’t my main focus when I joined the team.
My reason for joining the team was to get in shape for soccer season. Cross country always fell right before soccer season and I found it to be the perfect opportunity. I would play club soccer year-round, but there were only two practices a week and one game on the weekend. Not the ideal scenario for somebody that was looking to play soccer beyond the high school level.
Cross country gave me an outlet every single day after school. I was able to push my fitness to a new level. This new level gave me that much more of an edge over my opponents. Knowing that I can outlast them during the duration of a game with no breaks was something that boosted my confidence like you wouldn’t believe. Coaches and players alike were able to see the difference.
“Guess I gone crazy, first deal changed me”
The point I’m trying to make is that cardio is something that can push you to new levels, even in the gym. You want to be able to push your bodies to a point that you never thought it could reach.
This allows you to grow both physically and mentally. Mentally you know that you can be stronger and more fit, physically you can see more weight being lifted while at the same time not feeling as tired as you would with lighter weights. That sounds like a great scenario to me.
Recently at the gym, Elisa and I were about to start our daily workout. Our warmup just happened to be 100 walking lunges and 100 jump squats. Already doesn’t sound appealing right?
Well, we begin the warmup and about half way into the jump squats I feel myself breathing way heavier than I thought I should.
I’m here pushing myself and I’m already getting winded in the warmup! You’ve got to be kidding me. Well safe to say the rest of the workout just felt like a disaster because I was already feeling slightly tired from the get go.
This Is a Must
“So, I went harder”
If you want to start performing better at the gym, you need to start adding cardio to your routine. Yes, it sounds horrendous and it probably should, but you’ll thank yourself later for doing it.
You don’t have to go out and try to run a marathon or anything, but add some sort of cardio every day. This cardio will help you add more muscle at a faster rate and drop some of that unwanted fat.
Who doesn’t want that? More muscle in less time. Less fat on your body. Always being ready for pool and beach season! That sounds like it should be on an infomercial for $19.99, but you’re getting this exclusive one time offer, for FREE!
“Just made me madder and adamant to go at ’em”
The more you lift, the bigger your muscles get, when you get bigger muscles, you begin to lose some mobility.
I’m sure we’ve all seen pictures of these big muscle guys that can’t even touch their head because they have such massive muscles. Well, these are extreme cases and more than likely won’t happen to you but you never know.
Cardio helps loosen up all the muscles in your body. This, along with some stretching, helps keep your muscles elongated. Elongated muscles mean that you are more flexible. Flexibility leads to more efficient workouts. Being more efficient with your workouts means that you will be able to get that stronger body. You’ll get closer to the future you that you’ve imagined for some time.
Running Not Required
“Hustle and the struggle is the only thing I’m trusting”
If I haven’t convinced you yet about cardio, hopefully I’ll be able to do so very shortly. Cardio does not mean you have to run. Cardio does not mean you have to be on the elliptical. Cardio does not mean you have to ride a bike. These are great forms of cardio, but cardio relates more to increased heart rate.
The ideal heart rate for improved oxygen use in your body, thus allowing for the more efficient workout, is between 139-152bpm (beats per minute). For those that don’t know much about their anatomy, that may seem high, but I assure you, once you start moving about, your heart can go from 0-100 real quick. Check your pulse after running up a flight of stairs and just feel how fast your heart is going. You may be surprised.
The Tiny Changes
“I’ve been up all night, tryna get that rich”
After doing cardio, your fitness is going to increase. You’ll notice that you can intake more air in your lungs and that your recovery time from a workout is significantly quicker.
This in turn gives you a mental boost. You begin noticing little things about yourself that are better. You are slightly stronger, you can workout longer, your battery just lasts for a longer time.
This has to sound tempting. Who doesn’t want to be that much better at everything they do? No matter what you may think, you can always get better. Always! Never think there is no room for improvement.
The Quicker Fat Burner
“Hate to be inconsiderate”
Cardio also helps you burn fat much faster than just lifting weights. You are burning calories and fat at faster rate so the fat on your body is going to drop.
Pushing yourself to a heart rate that is in the range I mentioned earlier will eventually force your body to start using fat as a source of fuel. You see where I’m getting at? If your body has to use the fat on your body as fuel to keep going, you are going to lose that fat.
Let’s be real, nobody wants to have fat. There are always some spots on our body that we feel can look better no matter what.
Have you ever seen a top marathon runner? They are ridiculously skinny in my opinion. Why? They run constantly and burn off all the fat they have on their body. Running multiple hours at a time without stopping is going to force your body to use whatever energy source it can find.
When you look at other types of athletes in sports that are slightly more physically brutal, you’ll recognize that muscle is a factor as well. Not saying that marathon runners don’t have muscle, but when you look at that type of athlete, you will see that a lot of muscle is not really necessary for more success. More muscle may actually slow these athletes down.
You Do Need Some Fat
“What you call that?”
As tempting as no body fat sounds, it is dangerous to your health if your body fat content is too low.
Your body does need some fat so don’t think you can drop your body fat percentage to zero because 1) that is a near impossible task and 2) your body will begin to shut down. Your body needs fat to absorb vitamins into the body. Fat needs to be present in order to help regulate body temperature. Fat is also essential in protecting organs.
It is pretty simple to see the potential risks of having no fat on your body. Too much of it causes major health risks, but too little causes major risks as well.
You Can Change It Up
“You don’t know the half”
The traditional forms of cardio can be extremely boring at times, so don’t be scared to mix it up. Every form of cardio will help your body. Remember to keep that heart rate elevated. Some may be more effective than others in some cases but they are all serving a vital service to your body and your routine.
Cardio may end up being more important to your entire routine than the weight lifting. You may even end up loving your cardio so much that you’ll want to lift less and less. Depending on where you are at, this may not be the best thing.
Find a Balance
“Pledge allegiance to the struggle”
If by some miracle you end up loving cardio so much that you abandon your lifting routine, you should stop and begin to re-evaluate your goals.
Yes, cardio is amazing for your body and so is weightlifting, but there needs to be some kind of balance. With a balance, there will be a perfect synchronization within your body and everything will begin to function like a well-oiled machine. The perfect well-oiled machine.
How do you find this balance? Well, that’s definitely going to take some time. There is no right answer to that question.
I’ve done routines where I’ve felt there isn’t enough cardio and I’ve done others where I believe there was too much. Honestly, I have yet to find the perfect balance of cardio and lifting, but I have never forgotten the importance of both in a routine.
Do It At Any Time
“Ain’t been easy”
Now you may be asking, how long should this cardio be lasting? My personal “professional” opinion is at least 10 minutes. Ten extra minutes to your workout isn’t going to hurt. This is just 10 minutes that you are spending making yourself look that much better. Do not try to neglect it. You can add it in anywhere in your routine.
If you want to get the cardio in before your workout, go right ahead, if you feel like it’ll be better to have it at the end of your workout, that works too. You can even do your cardio at a completely different time frame than your other workout. If you like getting your main workout done in the morning, it’s cool to get your cardio in at night. As long as you get it in.
It Must Be Done
“Now get this work”
Cardio still may not sound too appealing to a lot of you. It can be a pain in the ass. We get it.
Is there any easier way to do things? No. If somebody does find a great alternative to cardio though, please tell me.
Like I said earlier, cardio is a necessary evil. It is not a double-edged sword that, although it benefits you, hurts you as well. You may never become best friends with cardio, but you will at least learn to become civil with it when you don’t waiver away from it.
P.S.- The quotes in this article are from “Work” by Iggy Azalea
Warning! Some explicit language!