I hate running – I’ll just run tomorrow – you’ll lose your gains! You’ve either said it to yourself, or said it to someone else, cardio to the average gym goer is the devil. What many don’t realize is that by skipping out on cardio you’re actually robbing athletic ability and slowing progress. Aerobic exercise, when done properly, can lead to as much muscle growth as you’d expect with strength training – so stop avoiding it like the plague. Cardio doesn’t have to be monotonous, boring, and downright dreadful work in the area your gym guru told you never to venture. Here are five ways to get your cardio without running.
Consisting of primarily whole body movements, kettlebells attack your weaknesses and simultaneously bring up your strength. Basic movements such as the swing, snatch, and clean and jerk, are incorporated into workouts that string these together to shock the body in the most barbaric way. The workouts on paper may not seem that daunting but when performed, many experience a cardio burn in the lungs unknown before. With each movement being full body, core engaging, and cardiovascular taxing, there is no break – unless you just can’t take the pain.
2. Tabata Sets
Developed by Professor Izumi Tabata in 1996 using Olympic speedskaters, this style of HIIT training will push you past your limits every set. Make no mistake, Tabata sets are possibly the most intense HIIT you will ever find. In only four minutes of work, your cardiovascular work will increase and you’ll shed fat faster than almost any other style of cardio. Sounds like an infomercial right – “but wait, there’s more!” A 2008 study by Gibala, M.J., “Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: Similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance” found that just 2.5 hours of Tabata training was as effective as 10.5 hours of endurance training. Do yourself a favor and battle through a few Tabata sets.
It’s no secret that fighters are kings of cardio. Some of the most iconic images of boxers depict them in sweatpants, hoodies, and no gloves on…because they are running. The reason boxers run is because “if you can’t breathe, you can’t fight.” Make no mistake; group fitness boxing classes are no joke. These classes rely heavily on how you go about your own workout. Sure, you can show up and just breeze through but if you put in maximal effort, you will leave with less stress and an incredible cardio workout.
4. Cardio Acceleration
With the common approach to cardio being – lift weights first, do cardio after – many do not factor in all the time spend just sitting and wasting time. Instead of sitting down gawking at women or posting selfies, how about knocking out your cardio while torching fat in between your sets? Jim Stoppani, one of the most sought after doctors in exercise physiology, developed what he calls Cardio Acceleration. Let us use the king of all bro exercises, the bench press, as an example. Once you’re done with your set immediately start bench step-ups in the exact spot you were just bench pressing for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and then repeat. It’s ingenious to use this time to spike your heart rate, work on your cardio, and strength train all while doing your regular workout!
Think about it – where can you get a workout, a tan, and guarantee women will be present – the pool ! Your body is in a constant struggle with gravity all day long without you working out, so it makes perfect sense to give your joints and your back a break occasionally. Swimming does just that while checking the cardio, flexibility, core strength, and social outlet boxes. Forget limiting yourself to a pool for lap swims; head to the beach and really change your environment.
In the middle of August you shouldn’t be dreading cardio. Now is the perfect time to perfect your physique and head into the fall as King of the Summer. Think outside of the box when looking to shred that last bit of fat off – your body with thank you for it.