Tag Archives: cardio

Yeah, No. Don’t Put Me Down For Cardio…..

Cardio.

There are die hard fans & avid “would-rather-die” fans.   Some people do it because they have to, some do it as a warm up & others will avoid it like the plague.

I hate cardio.  I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than partake in HIIT training & the thought of using a treadmill makes me all squiddly. I absolutely & unequivocally do not understand those who can run for hours; whether that’s on a treadmill in the gym or those who think that there is nothing better than running a marathon.

My Life’s Motto

That being said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those who CHOOSE to do all the cardio because it’s what they enjoy doing – I’ll happily congratulate you on beating your PB or getting a medal at the end of a gruelling race.  Just don’t expect me to go with you the next time you decide to run, I have better things to do…..like sit on the sofa & do nothing.

Once upon a time I did not think this way, I thought anyone who did cardio for longer than a warm up was insane – however (& this is where it may be a little confusing as I already said I hate it) I am a better, “healthier” person because of cardio.  I don’t consider what I do to be cardio though; because I absolutely, undeniably LOVE what I do (those new to the blog, I cycle around 60 miles (95km) a week, every week) It’s not a chore – most days – I don’t class it as cardio because cardio to me insinuates getting all sweaty & jumping around like a lunatic in a warm, stale gym studio; or as previously mentioned *shudder* running.

I genuinely believe that you should find a cardio form that you enjoy, because if you do – you’ll want to do it more than forcing yourself to do something you hate; it’s why I don’t do HIIT, aerobics, P90X, spinning etc – they’re my idea of torture.

Anyway, I have a point.  (I’m sorry if this seems really unstructured & garbled; I have a lot on my mind & trying to isolate my point is proving a little difficult)

  • I cycled everywhere as a child, I thought getting back on a bike would be easy, it wasn’t.
  • For the first few weeks, if not months I had to pace myself; stopping to catch my breath because it felt like my lungs were on fire
  • My water bottle became my best friend
  • The thought of cycling after it’d snowed was the least enthusiastic I’d been about doing anything for at least a decade
  • My legs hurt, my chest hurt, my face hurt.  I seriously questioned my sanity more than once when I started cycling again

You know what?  I could have easily jacked it in & went back to a 5 minute “death sentence” on the cross trainer for every gym session, but I’m glad I didn’t.  I absolutely love being out on the bike.

The human body is a delicate piece of intricate machinery & like a beautiful car, it requires a lot of TLC – Something far too many of us, have all at one point or another not done.  I knew when I first got my bike last year that I was not fit, but was not expecting the ordeal it was to cycle on a daily basis.  My blood pressure has always been pretty steady; sometimes on the lower scale, but my resting heart rate was something else; averaging around 75BPM.  Below is a screenshot from my Fitbit app; my resting heart rate is now anywhere between 48BPM – 53BPM & I owe it to cardio.  Cardio has also been a MASSIVE help in my weight loss & reduction in body fat, I lost 6lb in the first month of cycling to & from work or the gym.

THAT’S AN ATHLETE LEVEL RHR!

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Also, y’know if the zombies ever appear; never, ever forget Rule #1:

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Motivation Requires Sacrifice

Whilst I was walking home from the school run my mind wandered to my Instagram post from this morning, I’m a massive convert to TimeHop; I find it fascinating to read over my posts from years ago – talk of cookies, eating whole tubs of ice-cream, being overwhelming tired & having pain that excruciating I needed steroid injections to stem it. Along with many, many rage posts.  It’s strange to read them sometimes & others have me instantly flashing back to the precise moment that they happened.

Anyway. Back to Instagram…..I walked past the mirror mid-getting dressed & I was pretty fucking pleased with my reflection.  My other half reckons I can’t walk past a mirror without looking in it & he’s right. I make no excuses for my narcissism, and have no intention of changing. I don’t make it a habit (much) to take photos of my reflection; in fact a massive pet peeve of mine is those who snap selfies in the mirror & look at their reflection instead of the camera lens.

I’ll admit, changing has not been easy – there are still days where I don’t want to cycle to work, let alone the gym and sometimes I will allow the want to be “lazy” and get the bus. I always pine for my bike when I do though.  However, the point in this post is to give some of my tips to stay the course & become the person you’ve only ever been able to dream about.

Zig-Start

TIPS:

  • Invest in a Personal Trainer – I know this may seem like a major expense, but even if you see them once a month & then follow a programme they have set for you will help!  In my early weeks going to the gym I only went if I felt like it. Paying to see Andy meant that I had to go, he sets me things to do without him & I know the next time I see him, he will ask if I’ve been to the gym since the last time we met.
  • Stay the course – It sounds easy enough; Go to the gym, train, ???, PROFIT. It really isn’t that simple though. We have, as a human race become so dependant on machines to do things for us. Yes, technology has advanced so we don’t have to hunt for our food or walk miles to get to places but does that mean we should be complacent with our health?  Training requires effort, it’s hard graft – if it was easy then everyone would do it.
  • Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition – Food!  Glorious food!  Anyone who reads this regularly will know I love food.  What you eat is tantamount to what you do in the gym, if not more so. Reduce the carbs & increase the protein is a good starting point.  I didn’t realise what a negative effect not eating correctly could do.  Seriously.  All that effort put in to training to lose it from eating poorly? Don’t forget to stay hydrated too!  I’ve seen what dehydration during sports looks like & it does not look like a pleasant experience.
  • It will hurt – After my first leg day I wondered if I’d ever be able to walk again properly. I wish I was joking, but I’m really not. When I was much, much younger I used to run cross-country at school & my legs never hurt to the degree a proper leg day gets you. It’s not just your legs either; ever tried to take a sports bra off after doing a silly amount of skull crushers & chest presses? No? It’s almost impossible.  How about laughing after crunches?  I’ve done it, it gave me muscle cramp in my abs which I couldn’t stretch back out for ages!
  • Weights! – If there is another reason to invest time with a Trainer, I can’t think of a better one than learning to use weights effectively. When I started going to the gym I spent most of my time on cardio machines, wishing I was fitter or dead….whichever was gonna come faster!  Cardio has its place, but I now believe it should be for warming up as opposed to the reason you go to the gym. Lifting heavy shit is awesome & with the right guidance is really, really awesome.  The feeling of beating a personal best? Incredible!  I did 90kg the other day – a good 20kg more than my body weight.
  • REST! – I know I’ve said stick at it, eat well, train hard but all of that work & effort is worth nothing without looking after yourself. I have two rest days a week – my days off work & Saturday is an “Only cycle” day, as the gym opens too late for me. The most important thing is to give your body the recovery time it needs, if that’s 4 rest days a week to begin with then so be it.  However, never drop them entirely. They are vital!

Doing Makes a Diff Pic