In The Gym…Part 2
In The Gym…Part 2
After yesterday’s article I received a lot of questions as to what I do for “cardio.” So I thought I’d give a little run down on what I do, my thoughts, and dispel some myths out there.
First and for most, ANYTHING CAN BE CARDIOVASCULAR. Sex, weight lifting, playing a show, etc. It just means the use of your cardiac system. To take it one step further, aerobic exercise (jogging, classes, elliptical work) is not an interchangeable word for cardio. They are two completely separate terms, one having to do with your aerobic system and the other your cardiac system. So let’s dive into some stuff…
1. AEROBICS ARE NOT NECESSARY FOR HEART HEALTH– you read that right. This is a misconception that emerged in the 80’s (thank you Richard Simmons) and has stuck since. Do you know that your heart is a muscle? And it’s surrounded by other little muscles that support its function. So let me ask you this, when working out your chest, do you actually spend countless hours doing thousands of reps on that one muscle expecting it to grow and function properly? I hope you said no. It’s the same for your heart. It will respond best to anaerobic style exercise, such as lifting weights, sprinting, interval training, etc. In fact, endless aerobic work is not only NOT a proven method to keep your heart healthy, in fact, it can stress the muscle and put it under major (and unnecessary) work. So that’s something to think about.
2. AEROBICS ARE NOT NECESSARY TO BURN FAT- why? Because burning fat is not simply “burning calories” and then bam, you look like a shredded beast. It’s actually a matter of proper hormone function, primarily insulin working well enough in order to oxidize the fat cells in your adipose sites (fat stores) and literally “burn” fat. So long story short, attempting to burn calories for the sake of losing weight or burning fat will not really work in the long run, sure you might drop 5 or 10 lb’s in the beginning, but everyone I know has just hit a major wall when taking this route and doing more will almost never, ever work.
3. WEIGHT LIFTING CAN BE CARDIOVASCULAR– note I said cardiovascular, not aerobic! In fact, weight lifting is anaerobic and undoubtedly the most efficient way to keep your heart healthy and fat off your body. It’s simply a matter of rest intervals, rep ranges, and central nervous system stimulation. Try doing 7 dips, rest 20 seconds, and then 5 pull ups, rest 20 seconds, and repeat 5 times…if that doesn’t get your heart racing I don’t know what will.
4. SPRINTS, HIIT ARE THE BOMB– have you ever attempted a 400 meter sprint on a treadmill? It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. And no, sprinting on a treadmill does not even come close to how hard it is on a track, TRUST ME. But that being said, doing interval training on a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike can be very very useful for burning fat. This summer I did a lot of sprinting, and I turned into a little beast for a while. The only drawback is that it’s just as demanding as a weight lifting workout, which requires even more food to refuel my body and I had to save for tour and the album, but oh well. The reason these two options are great is because they elevate your testosterone and actually build muscle. And the process of building muscle requires lots of energy to do i.e. calories. Therefor your metabolism will increase from this, which is a good thing my friends.
Okay, to wrap things up, this is what I do for my cardio..
NOTHING!!! Okay, I’m just kidding. But I don’t do any aerobic work and I never advise anyone to do it. Weightlifting is way more fun, challenging, and exciting. I’ll usually do two workouts a week that are centered around higher reps and less rest in order to challenge my cardiovascular system and keep me moving and groovin’. But that’s it.
However, if you enjoy long distance running, and it relaxes you and is a stress reliever, by all means do it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do something you enjoy. But I am saying that if you’re spending hours in the gym on an elliptical in hopes that you’ll burn fat and reach an ideal weight and you’re NOT seeing results, it might be time to cut back and focus on the weight lifting.