The 'C' word- Know your fitness domains// 6.15.15


12 Minute AMRAP

650m run to buy in (one time only)

6 Pull Ups

10 Front Squats

8 Push Jerk

Know your fitness domains. First up // CARDIO

As a result of my CrossFit snobbery, I cringe anytime someone says "Cardio". I only cringe mainly because I'm a jerk, and my first thought is, "you don't even know what cardio is, you just don't get it." So here is a rundown of what Cardio is and is-not when you define it next to the other 9 fitness domains.

Cardio is short for Cardiovascular Respiratory Endurance. Broken down even further// Cardiovascular- your heart, veins and arteries. Respiratory- Your lungs and the muscles that support them (diaphragm). Endurance- How efficiently they work to deliver oxygen to your muscles and organs for any sustained period of time. To really pinpoint what "Cardio" refers to, it is all about oxygen delivery.

Here's some things to consider about Cardio- good and bad.

A. Cardio Respiratory endurance is really important! And good news// You can increase your cardio endurance in ways other than 45 minutes on the treadmill. Any timed or scored workout, aside from heavy days, is increasing your cardio endurance, even if it's only 5 minutes. BUT doing long drawn out cardio, is not increasing your work capacity for shorter efforts.

B. When moving slowly over long periods (cardio as you used to think of it) your body's best fuel source is Fat. Sounds good right? I want to lose fat, so I'll spend an hour on the elliptical? Well yes and no. That fat burning zone on the machine is right, you're using Fat as your fuel source, but only while you're on the machine. And consider this. A whole amazing host of hormonal things happen to cause adaptations when we stress it (exercise/train). The most efficient way for our bodies to endure long distance human locomotion is to dump weight. And it's easiest to dump weight from a human is through muscle mass. Muscle is what uses fat. Drop muscle, drop your best fat burner. And when you step off the bike, you preserve fuel for your next long distance effort. The opposite is true for weight training, or gymnastics, or intense cardio. We'll burn fat long after we stop!

C. Think about your previous longer distance and/or time effort. Was your limiter really your breathing? At least for me, the thing that slows me down is a body part like my knee, or foot or hamstrings. The blood is pumping, you're still conscious (uncomfortable yes), so the cardio is there. We're limited somewhere else/ most likely stamina.

D. As humans, we like to do what we're best at. Endurance biased athletes need to strength train more. Athletes who identify as Power or speed athletes benefit from sustained longer efforts.






Devin JonesComment