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I never do cardio, except when I do

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am a bit of a black sheep here in that I don't do cardio. It's not that I think it's ineffective. I know it's effective, I used to do a ton of it, and I lost a lot of weight during the same time that I was doing it (and also not really eating anything). My issue with cardio is that I would rather pull my fingernails out with my teeth than do cardio on a regular basis. I believe (after obsessively watching the Olympics) that different people are built for different athletic pursuits. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of the lovely and strong women who ran in the marathon and the other running events, the cycling events, the swimming events, and so forth. I do however see my body type in the strength sports. It's not just that I think my body is more suited to strength sport, but that I have managed to excel at strength sport while I have never ever managed to not suck badly at any form of cardio sport. Obviously it goes back to being picked last in the daycare badminton tournament like all our other weight and fitness "issues," but rather than try to suffer my way into cardio mediocrity, I've chosen to spend all my time doing stuff that I (a) love doing, (b) do well, (c) know how to do, and (d) don't hate.

I have tried to love, or at least, to not hate, cardio on many occasions over several years but the closest I've come is getting to a state of zoned-out blah. When I practice strength sports, I experience all kinds of euphoria (and pain too, of course). When people say things like "if you don't do cardio, it will take you twice as long to reach your goal," my response is "oh okay, yes, definitely, sign me up for that, that is completely acceptable!"

(And I even hunted down an article someplace that claimed that doing strength training regularly had positive effects on the cardiovascular system. I ran with it! (metaphorically. I don't run.)

Except on Monday. My husband and I live in the beautiful, warm, and sunny country of Greece, which despite what some people think, has four seasons including a COLD winter (at least where we live). In mid-November, trust me, it's cold here. After work, we drove out to the beach wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants. The heat in the car was on. Once on the beach, a quick change into swimsuits, and into the FREEZING Aegean Sea for a swim. It took about ten minutes to get into the water, and I kept running out of the water and sprinting as fast as I could up and down the beach. In the water, I did high knees as fast as I could to warm up. I only managed to swim for a few minutes and couldn't keep my head underwater at all, but it was still tons of fun.

That's the kind of cardio I'm willing to do. No tracking, progressing, or pushing myself for another minute. I just stopped when the hypothermia set in.

I did impress myself with how fast I could run though. So maybe it's true... maybe the explosive power I work on in strength helps with cardio fitness in the form of short sprints. Or maybe it doesn't take cardio fitness to sprint up and down a freezing beach in a bikini!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I don't do cardio, either. Its been over 2 years, now, and has not had any negative effect on my weight/fat loss, at all. My strength routine lasts 45 minutes and it gets my HR up, pretty decently.

    Not everyone needs cardio. Luckily, I'm one of them! emoticon
    2840 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/10/2012 9:39:56 PM
    emoticon emoticon
    2864 days ago
    MPLANE37 - I know, I know... in an ideal world, I would do it because I know it's good for me. Here's the article that I was talking about by the way - http://www.livestrong.com/article/3
    It's not a serious article at all - much less an academic article. I know my cardio fitness sucks. And if I didn't know, I could walk up a few flights of stairs and figure it out emoticon . It's actually in my plans to start doing SOME cardio exercise eventually, but not until I'm so completely fixed into my gym-going routine that something like dreading cardio won't make me skip the gym (this is a huge problem that I used to have when I did cardio - if I didn't feel like doing it, I just wouldn't go - and nothing got done, not weights either).
    2866 days ago
    Love your story of running into the sea and out again... sounds like the perfect sort of cardio - the kind where you're enjoying yourself!

    2866 days ago
  • MPLANE37
    Cardio exercises can drastically alter the cardiovascular system for better, increasing the longevity. Also, they reduce stress better than strength training. I have never seen a study that relates strength training to cardiovascular fitness nor a study about stress reducing effects of strength training. I do like both cardio exercises and strength training, and do more strength training than cardio, so I am trying to be unbiased here.

    I do agree with you in that the marathon running is probably overrated. It is an endurance sport in the extreme of the spectrum, and can even be deadly for some people who otherwise would live long happy lives.
    2866 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/14/2012 3:15:23 PM
    I hate cardio and all excercise so I understand... it's boring. However I have to do cardio so I listen to audio books on my MP3 player when I walk and it's no so bad. You are so brave going into that cold water!!!
    2866 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Your perspective is much more "on track" with real life! Don't apologize. Enjoy it!

    We all have different "strengths," and it sounds like you are playing to those strengths for you! You go girl!
    2866 days ago
  • -VIXEN-
    I am with ya, girl. I love, love, love to work out with weights but I only run if I am being chased! I have found some cardio dance routines that are bearable but I would so rather do a hard core strength training work out. I figure, as long as I am doing something, I am better off than just sitting on the couch. :)
    2866 days ago
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