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The Cardio Question & The Weighting Game

What is Cardio? Why should you have been doing a cardio workout ages ago?

Cardio is short for Cardiovascular. This means that this exercise is meant to work out your heart. Why is this so necessary? Your heart is an organ and a muscle.

You wouldn’t ask a 5-year old to open that incredibly frustrating, impossible to open jar of kosher dill pickles that mocks you from its shelf in the fridge, would you? No. You would go and get brawniest member of your household and demand they conquer the task of opening that jar! Why? Their muscles are far more capable of handling the stress of exerting the force required for opening that jar.  We know this.

Now, think about your heart. It’s not that big, but it thinks of your body as that pickle jar. Every day you live, it walks to that fridge and opens up that jar for you. Isn’t it nice?

What if your heart was not up to the task? Well, you would not die from one day of not eating pickles. However, you would eventually die of starvation.

What’s my point?

You heart needs to be strong enough to handle your body.

If your heart is being overworked because it has to open up 2-3 times more jars for you, it WILL apply for early retirement.

So, how do we keep our hearts working for as long as possible?  We exercise our hearts!

Now that we know why, let’s move on to What.

Cardiovascular exercises are about getting that heart rate up to a target beats per minute. There are several formulas to calculate your target rate all over the web. (I don’t want to endorse one or the other, but I recommend you visit WebMD.com.) Regardless, how you calculate your heart rate, getting up to or around that target is necessary to burn fat. The bottom line about cardio is…if you’re not sweating, you’re wasting time.

I’m not saying that you should go as hard as you can for 30 minutes straight. I am saying that you should have a workout that in about 5 minutes in you begin to perspire.

I don’t advocate that slow easy walk on the treadmill UNLESS it is chocked full of hearty inclines and occasional high speed intervals! That’s what works out your heart people! That’s what burns those calories! That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!

Bursts of intensity help train your heart and burn fat faster than the slow and steady pace some people may prefer.

If you have injuries that you’re concerned about, speak with a medical professional FIRST! Don’t do it, get hurt, and then have a serious medical emergency, okay?

Now let’s talk about How. What’s better?  Running, walking, swimming, bicycling, or dancing? ….The Answer….

Do whatever you enjoy! Do what’s best for your body. Remember that visit to the medical doctor’s office that you were supposed to have? Yeah, you should know at this point if you can handle a rock climb or not.

People with injuries may want to walk a trail or swim as opposed to the high impact experience that running provides.   Rowing is a great total body workout. The point is you can switch up these activities to keep your workout regimen fun. May I recommend kickboxing? Dancing? Spin Class? Zumba?

The key exercising is to a do little bit more, go a little bit further than the last time. You do what to experience that sweat-pouring-down-your-face experience for at least 10 minutes of your workout. That’s 33% of your 30 minute workout. That’s not even half, so don’t be discouraged!

We’ll talk about how to do this in depth a little bit later.

Some people start a playlist of music to move to and just dance around for 30 minutes straight. That works too!

IMPORTANT!  DO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If your chest begins to hurt, STOP and BREATHE DEEP BREATHS. IF the pain persists, then discontinue your workout. Your heart may not be used to you going all out the first time. It’s okay to start a reasonable intensity and work your way up.

Remember, our heart is a muscle we have to work it to make it strong. Don’t set impossible or difficult goals for yourself. That’s the quickest way to failure.

PART II Weight Training

Push ups. That’s right. I said it. Push ups. Lifting your own weight is the really one of the best way to build strength. Push ups. Try to incoporate excercises that require no weights at all. You lift yourself. If you can’t think of any…no worries….I will find some for ya! *wink* *wink*

Weights!

There are all kinds…dumb bells…kettle bells, barbells….galore!

You can strap them on your ankles.

And strap them on your wrists.

You can use an elastic band.

You can hold them in your fists!

Machines and beams and benches oh my!

…Sorry…I had a Dr. Seuss moment…but my point is Weights are as versatile as cardio workouts…or at least they can be, if you think about them properly.

Weight Training is what cardio does for your heart. It works your muscles and builds them up so they can handle the stress of exertion. Weights cooperate with gravity to help us work out bodies. If can train our muscles to become more efficient under the constant gravity that’s pressing down upon us…ladies and gentlemen…we are getting stronger.

So just keep lifting…just keep lifting…*That’s right….it was a Finding Nemo Reference*

We will talk about the importance of not skimming on your reps…what a rep actually is…and why you do want to have that insane moment where you press through the pain…at least once every workout.

DOs

DO STRETCH BEFORE YOU BEGIN ANY WORKOUT! Whether it be cardio or weight lifting. Stretch. If you don’t,  your body WILL make you wish you had.

Follow the instructions as listed on the machine if you’re using one.

Select an appropriate weight for yourself. A weight that causes your muscles to strain just to pick it up is too heavy for you to work out with alone. For your safety, have a buddy there to spot you in case your muscles can’t handle the exertion. If you lose control, it could be harmful to you or someone else.

Formulate a plan. Until you get your favorite movements memorized, go into the workout with a written task of what you want to complete. You don’t want to be that person who sits down on the machine and stares at themselves in the mirror for 25 minutes trying to figure out what they want to accomplish that day.

DON’Ts

Quit. Don’t quit. You can do whatever you put your mind to. Those last two reps that seem impossible and are painful are the ones that are going to transform you. So, don’t quit.

Next Post: Sample Total Body  Workouts for the Novice : How to Write Your Vision and Run With It

Stay Blessed. Go Vols!

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2 Responses to “The Cardio Question & The Weighting Game”

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