For awhile I did zero cardio.
All I did was lift weights.
Some folks might say that’s great, no cardio needed.
Others may say, dude you NEED to do some cardio for your heart!!
In the fitness world, there’s always extremes.
Fortunately we have free will and our own choices to make.
It became evident to me that I needed to do some cardio training for various reasons.
Honestly, I don’t like it and I NEVER look forward to it.
That being said, I DO enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I’m done.
Pride in the fact that I pushed on when I didn’t want to and I went BEYOND my self-imposed limitations.
In the photo above, I rode the bike 45 minutes, keeping my heart-rate at 65% for the duration of the cycling.
Initially, my goal was 30 minutes. Once I passed that time I kept saying to myself “five more minutes” or “just one more minute”…
Endurance is a different animal
If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I value strength training. I believe EVERYONE should lift weights.
On the other hand, I also think people need to move more.
With desk jobs, commutes and recliners, we all sit way too much.
Everyone needs to walk daily.
Go for at least thirty minutes. Up to a few hours.
Take it to another level and put a weighted backpack on and walk for a few hours as fast as you can.
That kind of training is a different animal than three sets of bench press.
Strength has different benefits than endurance. This seems obvious but it’s often overlooked.
When I decided I wanted to do some obstacle course races, I started doing a little research. I realized I needed to start running if I wanted to perform well in these races.
Since I was doing ZERO cardio at the time, I had to start slow and give my body a chance to adapt.
Years ago, when I began a running program, I just ran like crazy and my body eventually adapted.
Now if I do that, my knees will be screaming for mercy, so I have to be smart about running.
The point is, there are completely different challenges that you can face with strength training and aerobic exercise.
Personally, endurance is much harder for me.
Especially in my mind.
I start breathing heavy and I want to stop.
That’s our normal instinct.
Which is why I am determined to do it. To push myself to overcome and achieve that pride of not quitting.
Going beyond that discomfort and coming out the other side. Mentally stronger.
Not every workout can be 110%
Each workout, you do your best. Just realize that not every single session will be your best performance.
It will be the best you can do on that day. You put enough of those days together and you’ll have results to show for your effort.
You can always do a little more.
There’s all kinds of ways to make progress.
You did 5 reps last time? Do 6 for one set.
You ran for thirty minutes last week? Run for thirty-one minutes.
Maybe you did 30 pull-ups during a workout last time. This time you do 31.
Slow and steady increases over time, lead to big achievements.
Moral of the story
I’m not trying to get everyone to run marathons. If you are focused on making big gains with your strength training, you might not want to do any cardio.
There are benefits to cardio, even for guys who just want to lift weights.
Intuitively, I knew I was avoiding cardio because I hated it. Of course, it’s great to hear powerlifters say you don’t need any cardio and that running will make you skinny and weak.
Truth is, only you can decide and forget what anyone else says you should or shouldn’t do.
For me, endurance training is more than just keeping my heart healthy. It’s a big test for the mind.
How far can I go?
When will I quit?
Let’s see what you’re made of.
When is the last time you pushed yourself on a run, bike ride or climbing a hill?
It’s a different animal, especially when you get outside in nature and take in that fresh air.
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