Do You Actually Need “Cardio” Exercises?


In this piece, I have an intriguing talk about cardio exercises, which will hopefully get you thinking in a different way, and trying new things.

You may know that I’ve been called the “anti-cardio” guy before, but this week I’m back to posing the question to you. Do you certainly need cardio exercise to get slender and in good shape? By the way, you’ll see in a moment that I’m certainly not “anti-cardio”, just “anti-traditional cardio.”

Most fitness buffs, weekend warriors, or anyone trying to get fit or lose body fat, think about the fact that they should “cardio” workout to achieve these goals. They would never even have reservations about it.

Then again, I’m not only questioning it, I’m going to dispute it! In fact, you may be surprised to discern that a number of the slimmest and meanest people I know (men and women), DO NOT do any type of normal or traditional cardio. And I’ve spent over 15 years exercising in various gyms and hanging out with athletes of all kinds, so I’ve practically seen it all.

I will mention that there can be a site for low to moderate level cardio for really obese or deconditioned people, but even in those cases, there can be more helpful methods.

But what exactly is “cardio”?

Most people would believe “cardio” to be working away aimlessly on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or riding on an elliptical contraption while watching the TV at their ultra-modern gym. This is what I name “traditional cardio”. This is probably why most people get fed up with their exercises and give up after a couple of months without seeing any outcomes.

However if you look closer, “cardio” work out can be considered any form of exercise or motion that toughens the cardiovascular system. I’m not going to get into anything procedural, like increasing your VO2 max or something like that. To keep it easy, if it gets your heart working, and makes you huff and puff, it’s cardio. I don’t care if you’re using dumbbells or a barbell and every person calls it a weight training exercise. It’s still conditioning your heart.

Let’s take a look at a couple of illustrations. Take a kettle bell clean & press for example, which necessitates lifting a kettle bell from the floor up to shoulders, then push pressing overhead. And listen up ladies, because even though this is typically seen as a manly exercise, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not lifting 250 lbs; if 45 lbs is heavy for you, then you will nonetheless benefit just as much.

At first glance, most people imagine the barbell C&P just as a weight training or strengthening exercise. However, I ask you to complete a hard set of about 10-15 reps on the C&P. If you made use of a challenging enough weight, what you’ll find is that your heart rate may be up to about 80-90% of your suggested max, and you are breathless, like you just ran a 100-meter sprint.

Do the same thing for a series of 20 reps of one-arm snatches or swings for each arm with a barbell, and tell me your legs aren’t burning, pulse racing, and you’re gasping for breath. How about trying 5 minutes straight of bodyweight squats, lunges, and push-ups with really little rest. Again, become aware of your heart hammering, sweat pouring off of you, and chest bursting at the seams for breaths!

Try this and let know me you’re not conditioning your heart with this kind of training! Regular thinking says that these are weight training or strength training exercises. However, they are fulfilling your cardio workout requirements as well (thus, saving you time!).

Not only do you conserve time, but you strengthen and condition almost every muscle in your entire body with these full body exercises. That is, if you do them with enough passion. This is something that can’t be said for that unexciting stationary bike ride or treadmill routine while reading or watching TV.

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