The Truth About “Cardio”

So what really is cardio? Let me break it down for you :

Cardio – Any bout of exercise that raises your heart rate typically >/=20 minutes

Exercise – Activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health or fitness

Allow me to redefine what you mean when you say “I need to do more cardio” — “I need to do more exercises to raise my heartrate to improve the way I look and feel”

Application of cardio workouts to our fitness routines are one of the biggest misconceptions with regard to fitness that I have seen to date.  They are the premise of what we believe it means to be fit, but with a little bit of knowledge you can improve your fitness without being stuck on a that dreaded treadmill for 45 minutes.

Introducing….(drumroll please) short rest intervals! If the definition of cardio is to sustain an elevated heartrate, the way we go about doing so is entirely individualized.  I am not into those long boring dreaded runs on the treadmill so here is how I go about doing my cardio, and how you can go about doing the same thing.

Supersets – Grouping of multiple exercises together with little to no rest in between.  If you are lifting weights, your body is working and your heartrate is increasing and that is a fact.

The key here is to be aware of the time you are spending in between exercises and sets. If you are going from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between, your body is maintaining a level of cardiorespiratory work (elevated heart rate) along with muscular demand (building lean body tissue) to help increase both body composition and heart health.

The fact of the matter is that running on a treadmill isn’t necessarily for everyone but improving fitness and body image certainly is.  By lifting weights with little to no rest in between exercises and sets, you are getting the best of both worlds in that you are :

A: Doing “cardio” – Demanding that your heart supplies the working tissues with blood and other necessary means to produce work – elevating your heartrate

B: Building muscle.  The single most effect way to change body composition.  Building muscle will increase the amount of calories you expend at rest in order to get that shape to your body that you have always wanted.

C: Enjoying your workouts: The single most important piece of the puzzle.  Find what you enjoy and stick with it; there is no one size fits all!