This form of exercise has had a horrendous time of it lately, fat loss coaches, muscle building coaches and functional fitness guru’s have been saying how ineffective steady state cardio is for your goals. But did any off them ever ask what your goals are?
Ok, so for muscle building and fat loss, no it’s not the optimal training methods, lifting stuff and eating well is far better. However it does have a place.
Hard training takes it’s toll on the mind & body, if you read the most popular advice on the internet it is go bigger, faster, harder every workout, train, then train some more. Go hard or go home. Lift heavy, do high intensity, spring hills, the whole 9 yards.
little is ever said about recovery. For many an athlete I recommend going out once per week for a gentle jog in the park. I tell them to put on the ipod and get out in the fresh air, it’s as much for their mental state as anything else. For that hour, or however long you are out, no body can touch you, no one can reach you, it’s just you. it’s time to just cover some ground, moving along but not puffing, panting, creating stress and generating adrenaline. it is chill out time.
Two very influential and highly decorated martial artists and conditioning coaches have recently been talking about how regular early morning fasted walking helps them stay lean while not impacting on their other training. These guys names are Steve Maxwell, a man in his 50’s who maintains single digit bodyfat all year round rolls on the mat with JuJitsu player half his age, and Scott Sonnon a Sambo champion and all-round hard charging individual. Gentle cardio, the type where you barely elevate the heart rate but get into a nice deep breathing pattern will lower the cortisol levels in the body, lower cortisol = faster recovery and better body composition. If your cortisol levels are up, your anabolic hormones, the ones that repair you and make you grow will be low. Lower cortisol, especially in the evenings and you’ll sleep better. And sleep is where the greatest recovery takes place.
So steady state cardio, the “long slow boring” cardio has merit. Done in the morning before breakfast it aids in fat loss without tiring you out for your proper training later, done later it can leave you chilled and ready for relaxation, done for a longer session on a weekend gives you time to reset your head.
Do I do slow cardio? Yup, I love walking the dog and also cycle to and from work. These are essential parts to my day, time that I’m away from the phone, the internet, the TV and all the other energy sucking vampires that surround us in day to day life.
Oh, before I forget. Yesterday we ran the Levels 3 and 4 kettlebell lifting workshops, we had a well motivated audience who came armed with questions and left with knowledge and answers. These workshops are unique in that I encourage discussion and do not insist on the dogmatic following of any one lifting system or style, one of the participants to the course was visibly surprised by this as she had taken other peoples courses previously. if you want to learn, or improve your lifting as well as learn how to apply the kettle to your own goals, these are the workshops to attend. There is NOT one true way. The Wild Geese way is to help you find your own way. Check the side bar for the next workshops and drop me an email to book your place. All participants receive an accompanying manual worth €12.99, these eBooks (on special offer here!) are loaded with detail, photographs and ideas.