Tuesday: Health and Fitness

Women and their Cardio

Ok girls, seriously – stop with all this cardio bullshit. Most women (and yes, some dudes) I know go on and on about how their workout regimen absolutely must include copious cardio sessions, these sessions limited to: hour-long spin classes, at least 45 minutes trundling along a treadmill, or perhaps two US magazine’s worth of elliptical. Girls, I just can’t.

(Caveat: this kind of cardio isn’t necessarily all bad. Some people find it relaxing, and there can be some health benefits of longer distance, lower intensity cardio. But this is not the ONLY type, nor is it, in most cases, the best. It’s certainly the most boring. So there).

In most cases, “cardio” is a catch-all word for getting your heart rate up and getting sweaty with the ultimate goal of losing weight. Now, I could go into a diatribe here about how lifting weights is actually one of the best ways to lose weight, as well as change your body composition in such a way that you look, feel, and perform better, but that’s for another post. Instead, I just want to open you up to another, brighter world of cardio options. You see, it doesn’t always have to involve hours of mind-numbing machines. It can be much faster, more intense, and more fun; there are a ton of studies out there that show shorter, more intense bursts of interval training can be much more effective for fitness and weight loss than longer, slower training methods. So here are a couple options:

– Rowing. Most gyms have rowers. Ever tried to row, HARD, for five minutes? Do that and tell me it isn’t cardio.

– Burpees. Not only will this make you sweat, it works on your coordination, strength, and stability. These suck (i.e., they’re painful) but they are also a very fast, very accessible way to get fit

– Stairs. Does your building have more than five flights of stairs? If so, run up them. Then go down, and run up them again. Do this till you want to pass out/barf/kill me. I guarantee this will not take as long as it would on a treadmill.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. It’s more about the intensity and the work you put into something than the overall time. I promise, ten minutes of pushups, squats, burpees, and stair sprints will be better for you overall than an hour spent watching Keeping up with the Kardashians while listlessly peddling a recumbent bike. Better mentally and physically, I must say – if your gym plan involves reality TV, you’ve got more problems than I can fix in one blog post. Until next time!




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