One of the questions we get asked every now and then by prospective clients is “what about the cardio?” We’ve got a stationary bike and a Concept 2 Rower and they are effective and rarely used pieces of equipment in our studio. There are reasons for this.
What we do
The people who end up training with us have usually gone to our website and gotten a sense for how we do things. Walking into the studio certainly makes things clear for most people as they glance at the suspension trainers, sandbags, kettlebells, “Battle Rope”and clubbells. Our goal is to help people lose fat, move better and get stronger. To paraphrase strength coach Mark Rippetoe, “strong people are harder to kill and they are generally more useful.”
How’s that been workin’ out for ya?
When people follow our prescription for strength and nutrition (80% of the battle, BTW) they get the results they are seeking and more. What’s fascinating is when a new person comes in to argue with us about the necessity for long, slow cardio for health and body composition. Invariably, that person is a devotee of the elliptical machine and the occasional 5k run. They also sport the kind of physique that would make Dr. Phil ask: “How’s that been workin’ out for ya?”
Performance, Health, Sex Appeal
For any kind of fitness regimen, it’s important to be clear about the goal. While it’s possible to improve in all of the three categories, you can’t perform optimally in all three. As it applies to long, slow cardio, if you’re running more than 15 miles a week, you’re engaging in the activity for something other than health – and that’s ok. I fantasize about participating in triathlons and adventure races but I’m also clear about the tradeoffs. Competitive athletes in all sports would probably do well to have an aerobic base before they engage in more specialized training but there’s a reason why sprinters look the way they do and marathoners look the way they do.
Intense exercise makes our tissues more insulin sensitive (a good thing). It doesn’t create repetitive use injuries or extreme levels of cortisol (which is a bad thing). Unlike long, slow cardio, intense exercise doesn’t destroy muscle mass or cause excessive inflammation – it does impact Type llA and llB fibers (a good thing) unlike long slow cardio.
In case you needed more incentive to lick the glaze off the donut, research shows that when you train intensely enough, you get the same cardiovascular adaptations that you would get from long, slow cardio, in about 1/5 the time.
It’s amazing how patient Bernadette (especially!) and Yaromil are with these questions. Me…not so much. For all three of us, there’s an urgency to our message and our methods. We are on the front line of what all the bad information has done to people’s health and happiness.
Forty-five years ago, hardly anyone had a formal exercise program and saturated fat consumption wasn’t even a blip on a doctor’s radar. Obesity was also at 1/4 to 1/3 the level it is now. In 2012, Americans exercise more than they ever have and consume the “healthy whole grains” that the medical experts tell us are heart healthy. Look at the rapidly growing obesity rates and ask, “how’s that been workin’ out for ya?” We are in a health crisis that is a threat to our national defense and productivity.
Look around and figure out what it’s doing to individual happiness. Become your own n=1 research subject and fight back. Oh boy, I could go on but that’s all for now.
Who loves ya?
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