Why if cardiovascular exercise is great for so many reasons, is it hated with a passion by almost everyone?

I have been a personal trainer for almost 20 years now and I have developed a “trick” to make cardio fun again!

I had a client that was morbidly obese. She started out with me slow and we would only lift weights and work on some muscle imbalances she had developed over the years with stretching and trigger point therapy. She had a foot that turned out and after we would lift weights, I would roll her calves out and then stretch them. After our sessions, I would tell her to go upstairs and finish with some cardio on the elliptical trainer. Most days she would slip out when I wasn’t looking but one day, she was honest and said, “I love you Brandon but I’m going home!”

Why does cardio suck so much?

That is a trick question because there are several types of “cardio”. The real culprit in most people’s minds when they think about cardio with despise is long slow distance training. Long slow-distance training such as walking on the treadmill, riding the stationary bike or elliptical trainer at the gym is the bane of most people’s existence, why?  Because it’s boring as hell!

How are you supposed to lose weight if you don’t want to do “cardio”?

The answer is to find something you like!

For example, the client I was talking about earlier.  After the session where she left and went home without doing cardio, I knew we had a problem and I needed to come up with a solution to the problem.

In the next session, we lifted weights.  I rolled her out and stretched her then I told her that we needed to do some agility work for her muscles to begin to start functioning properly. I laid out a speed ladder and for the next 20 minutes began to lead her through several footwork drills. Within 3 minutes she was pouring sweat, her heart rate was up, and she was focused on doing the drills properly.  She wasn’t staring at the clock in boredom, she was actually having fun! Now, the truth is that I told a little white lie about needing to do agility drills to correct her movement dysfunction.  But she didn’t know that! All she knew was that her trainer was trying to help her and all I knew is that I needed her do reap the benefits that cardiovascular activity.

Here are my top six ways to make cardio fun again:

  1. Speed, Agility, and Quickness Drills (SAQ) – Speed is the ability to move the body in one intended direction as fast as possible. Agility is the ability to start (or accelerate), stop (or decelerate and stabilize), and change direction quickly, while maintaining proper posture. Quickness (ore reaction time) is the ability to react and change body position with a maximum rate of force production, in all planes of motion and from all body positions, during functional activities. There are many drills to choose from when designing an SAQ workout. Most last between 10 seconds to 3 minutes. Implements such as cones, speed ladders, hurdles, sleds are utilized to develop these capacities. (For example: 5-10-5 cone drills, lateral hoop drills, sled sprints)
  2. Dumbbell, Kettlebell and Barbell Complexes – A complex is a conditioning method based around using any series of movements strung together intelligently so they can be performed from one into the other without rest or having to stop in between using one load in which the set number of reps is completed for each movement before moving on to the next without putting the implement down. (For example: 5 Kettlebell Russian Swings + 5 Kettlebell Snatches, Each Arm + 5 Kettlebell Push-Press, Each Arm + 5 Goblet Squats)
  3. Strongman Conditioning – Prowlers, sleds and farmers walks are a mix of resistance and interval training, for brutally hard conditioning Commonly referred to as strongman conditioning, the exercises you’ll find here are some of the most effective fat loss tools in the arsenal. (For example: 1,000 meter farmer carry for time.)
  4. CrossFit Metcons / Circuit Weight Training – Metabolic conditioning or “metcon” for short is a style of training made popular in recent years by the CrossFit community – although the style of training itself is nothing new. The term describes short bouts of higher-intensity training designed to increase metabolic demand and increase energy usage. (For example: 21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull-Ups)
  5. Trail Running / Hiking – Trail running is a sport-activity which combines running, and, where there are steep gradients, hiking, that is run “on any unpaved surface”. It is similar to both mountain and fell running (also known as hill running).

The moral of the story is that you need to make cardio fun (which we do at La Habra CrossFit)! If you’re ready to get in the best shape of your life and start experiencing all the benefits that health and fitness will bring to your life, give us a call.   We would love to make you our next transformation story!

Have Fun. Get Fit. Feel Better.

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