A lot of people get confused about or over think their cardio/conditioning. This could be because there are so many horrible cardio myths and guidelines, or simply because most of us hate conditioning.
I don’t know about you, but I love lifting weighs. It makes me feel strong, look great, and shows my improvement each time. But when it comes to conditioning, I hate it. It leaves me breathless, makes me feel weak, and it’s harder to gauge my improvement.
But at the end of it, I feel great. I accomplished and fought through it! I know its needed to improve my physique internally and externally so I make sure to get it in at least 2-3 times per week.
So that brings me to the first, and most obvious, law of conditioning.
#1- IT’S A MUST
– When it comes to training, conditioning must be implemented at least 2-3 times per week. That goes for the same with strength training, but nobody will achieve an all-together fit physique without incorporating both types of training. Conditioning is needed to improve your cardiovascular system, which will help you be in shape for all other types of fitness and allows you to keep endurance up. It’s also needed to keep body fat low by stimulating your metabolism, burning through the glycogen stored up in your body, effecting your heart rate positively, and also using your hormones to benefit your fat loss/muscle-building.
#2- BREAK OUT OF THE COMFORT BUBBLE
– This one is huge! I know it’s nice and easy to walk or jog on the treadmill, which is why most people use it for cardio. But what about, pushing prowlers? Pulling weighted sleds? Doing barbell complexes? Running hill sprints? These things all sound scary to most because it pushes you outside the comfort zone. Makes you work really hard, sweat a lot, and actually uses full body muscles to do the work. If you don’t feel completely worked after a conditioning session, its time to turn it up. These kinds of exercises are proven to burn more fat and build muscle while performing it. This will get your heart rate up higher, quicker and allow you to burn much more in the process.
#3- FULL BODY EXERCISES
– This is another important one, because the more muscles you use the more energy (calories) you will burn. If you can do high intensity intervals performing full body movements, you will see much better results. You can look at it like an engine, the bigger the engine is the more fuel you need to run it. So add more muscles into the session, make your engine bigger, and use more of you fuel to get the job done. This could be anything from EDT’s (escalated density training) with multiple exercises, boot camp style interval training, weighted conditioning like sleds and prowlers, or barbell complexes. Just about anything other than low intensity cardio. Now, that’s not to say you should never perform low intensity cardio because it does have its benefits. But if you had to choose between the two or incorporate one over the other, this is going to be your choice.
#4- SET A DEADLINE
– This is more of a guideline or recommendation than a law, but it can help you tremendously. If you have nothing to do all day and go to the gym planning on getting some conditioning done, you’ll take your sweet ass time… this will only result in slower intensity than what’s necessary. So when you step foot in the gym, set a timer. Give yourself 30 or 45 minutes to complete a specific program you have laid out already. You cannot just “Wing it”, when you are going to do conditioning. If this is difficult to you, an easy way to solve the problem is to join a boot camp or small-group team session at a performance gym. These training sessions re almost always laid out to be about 45 minutes and it takes the brainwork out of it for you.
#5- LOAD IT UP OR RESIST IT
– This means exactly what it says, load up some weight or resist your movements. If your running sprints; get a parachute behind you, someone resisting you with a band, sprint up hill, or pull a heavy ass sled! This is going to burn some serious fat while building some lean muscle mass! The point is to put some resistance against your body because this will cause more muscular tension and fatigue, and will also raise the core temperature much more causing a bigger caloric burn. Put your body under resistance, give it tension and be explosive, the body was meant to be powerful; not sluggish.