There are some pretty big myths kicking about the world of fitness these days, some of our favourites are “working hard in the gym turning that fat into muscle” and “I don’t do cardio, it’ll burn my gains”. Now the second one is something we’ll talk about in more detail later on, but before we talk about that let’s deal with the first one. We’d like to think that we could rely on the world-leading scientists to master the ability to turn fat (something that causes much more serious health risks than causing us to look cuddly) into muscle. And to be honest, until they show us a way, we’re going to stick with what the science has told us this far. Fat, is a completely different property to muscle, rest assured if you want to cut down and get lean, you will need to work hard to get that body fat percentage down to really demonstrate your musculature. This work is done by eliminating one and developing another, not by magically turning one into the other.
It is important to understand that everybody trains for different reasons, so as always, we must stress that what we’re telling you is based on what we’ve learned in the past, combined with a little bit of self-directed study if you will. Take for example the endurance athlete, clearly, they’re not training to be the biggest guy in the room, but they’re certainly up there as one of the most elite groups of athletes on the planet…I wouldn’t want to be challenging Sir Mo to a marathon, but equally, he’s not jumping in the ring with AJ anytime soon, it’s about how relevant your training is to your aims. Cardiovascular training is something that everybody should include in their regime regardless of aims because of the vast benefits to health in many areas, as well as improving performance/training ability, it reduces the risk of so many health conditions.
Now, what people often struggle to comprehend is that a cardio workout is not always about getting on a bike or a treadmill for an hour and slogging away. Many bodybuilders include a cardio day a week and it will still consist of weightlifting. A cardiovascular workout is anything that raises your heart rate, this could be a circuit class, spinning, swimming, HIIT sessions, to name a few. The important thing is to find something that you can work hard with and firstly, not get bored, secondly, that is suited to what you’re looking to achieve. If you’re looking to get yourself in shape ready for the summer, sometimes it is worth taking the time to get some steady-state cardio in to burn the fat. If it’s a performance based goal, such a pre-season or in preparation for an endurance race, then we’ve found much better results when we’ve trained specific for our goals.
Bottom line – get out there, work hard, and do what you don’t hate!