In recent months I’ve talked a lot about nutrition, resistance training and things such as consistency, making training manageable and progressive overload however a subject I rarely mention is cardiovascular training.
It’s probably because this isn’t my area of expertise and isn’t considered as important for fat loss these days compared to nutrition and resistance training. I also find a vast majority of people train for vanity reasons, myself included, with the motivation for people to look the way they want and again cardiovascular is more beneficial for internal elements of the body not external/visual aspects…. So does that make cardiovascular training any less important than other types… hell no!
As I’ve mentioned above, because you don’t always visually see the benefits of cardiovascular (cardio) training it doesn’t mean it’s not doing anything. The biggest profits of cardio are a stronger heart and more efficient lung function, which also results in improved endurance… I think you’ll all agree those organs are pretty damn important to us and you are looking at an increase in quality of life and life expectancy if you have good cardio. Cardiovascular training can be used as a tool to help with fat loss especially if you struggle to control your nutrition and calorie intake. Basically the only way to lose fat is to put yourself in a calorie deficit but if you aren’t mentally strong enough to do that with food alone you can use cardio to burn off them extra calories that you have over-eaten.
So what should you be doing for your cardio training I hear you ask? Well… believe it or not it doesn’t really matter what you choose to do!
Let me explain… a huge scale study was done at Hull University to try find which cardio exercises were best for your body. The conclusion was “No specific set way will improve endurance more than another”, so if your goal is better endurance and/or improved heart and lungs there’s no piece of cardio equipment (bikes, rowers, treadmills etc) that is better than the other. This means my advice to you when it comes to CV training, is just do whichever you enjoy. Don’t spend hours on pieces of equipment you hate, if you hate the rower stay away from it, if you hate the treadmill, again stay away, because the chances are you will be getting just as much benefit from using something else you prefer and therefore will enjoy your session more and in turn are more likely to remain consistent with your gym visits…. If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll understand just how important consistency is.
Finally I’d just like to give you an update on Stephen. Hopefully you all remember him from previous blogs. Stephen had a serious issue with a part of his spine. To cut a long story short he had a condition which compressed part of his spine and was resulting in many problems for him physically and mentally. Stephen underwent a complex operation to relieve the compression on his spine but unfortunately there was some lasting damage to his spinal cord. This means Stephen needs some complex rehabilitation and I’m helping him with this.
I’ve done rehab successfully many times with members and clients, we’ve had some incredible successes with people such as Adrian Morris (hip) but Stephen’s is the most difficult and potentially dangerous I’ve dealt with….. It’s all good news though as Stephen is making some fantastic improvements, mainly down to his consistency and work ethic, which is credit to him and when you look at some of our other rehab successes, again such as Adrian Morris he’s exactly the same sort of person as Stephen… It’s simple, you have to put the work in, you have to push yourself (progressive overload) and you have to be able to motivate yourself, you’ve got to be a grafter.
After our session yesterday Stephen mentioned he wouldn’t have been able to make the improvements he has without me giving him the confidence to progress things, just to show you a few examples of his progression but bear in mind Stephen had spinal surgery (about as serious as it gets), so everything needed strengthening and we had to start light.
Hamstring Curl and Leg Extension (start 18kg now 45kg) Outer Thigh (start 14kg now 41kg) Low Row (start 15kg now 45kg) Right and Left bench step ups (start 2kg now 10kg) and Leg Press (start 80kg now 110kg). So just to put that into perspective, it might seem that Stephen is still lifting light on some exercises but his progress in % terms is around 150% increase on many of his exercises!!! That would take most of us years to do. Well Done Stephen, you’ve done all the hard work, all I’ve done is give you a little more confidence with your training.
Have an awesome March everyone