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I love cardio

I love cardio

Let me start by saying "I hate cardio", actually I hate steady state cardio. This is the type of exercise that has you running on a treadmill or sweating over a cross trainer or plodding the cold and wet streets jogging. It's mindless, it's repetitive, it's so incredibly dull and it doesn't really work.

But you need cardiovascular fitness, so what do you do? Find something that you enjoy! Sounds obvious but it can be hard to find the right thing for you. Everybody is different so don't think that you can get the same result as another person by doing the exact same thing, you need to experiment to find out what is right for you.

So, what do I do for cardio workout? Tabatas or 4 minutes of hell, I love these because you can do anything for the 4 minutes, as long as you go full blast. I like to vary mine by doing bag or pad work, kettle bells, Olympic lifts, rowing machine or mixing them all up. Why I love these is the variety, intensity and I can get them over and done with quickly.

My second 'go to' cardio workout is sprints, I try to vary my workouts but a basic workout would start with a warm up, then 5 x 30, 40 or 50 metre sprints followed by 2 x 100m finishing with 1 x 200m. Again, this is another fairly short but intense session. These are great for strengthening your lungs, heart and legs. They are a fantastic fat burner and you only need to do them once a week at most.

My third 'go to' cardio workout type is my weight training, I make sure that I programme regular 8 week cardio intense lifting. The basics of this type of training is high reps, short rests and normally super sets or circuits.

My fourth 'go to' and much underrated is walking, just plain old fashioned walking. You don't need to do anything special, just get up and go for a long walk. It doesn't need to be brisk or power or Nordic, it just needs to be about an hour, constant, enjoyable and regular. It's what we are designed to do, if you don't have time try short weighted carries, they'll get your heart pumping.

Having said all of this, I have succumbed to the steady state cardio, on the treadmill or the cross trainer. I understand why people do it, it's easy, that's why so many trainers rely on it. You press a button and leave the client to watch tv or listen to music. You don't need to understand periodisation or super sets or 1RM or strength Vs hypertrophy, you just need to push a button. Also, if you come from a running background your 'go to' exercise is always going to be running and in the long term running, or any steady state cardio, is just going to make you good at that one exercise and any physical changes you make are down to genetics. If you want to look like Mo Farah you need his genetics, otherwise you will probably end up like the average runner or aerobics instructor with spindly little arms and legs and a little fat gut.

I will never run a marathon or swim the channel or do a triathlon, not because I couldn't but because I have a short attention span and would rather invest my time into lots of small challenges. I also try and use my play for my cardio workouts, I love climbing and bouldering and try to go at least once a week. I also really enjoy kayaking but I don't get to go very often, I enjoy a game of tennis, even though I am rubbish at it. Play is finding activities that challenge you but you enjoy doing just for the sake of doing. So, go and try something different, try something new, just have fun and don't worry about being good just enjoy yourself.

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