We see it in gyms all the time. We have our slow treadmill walkers, our never-ending recumbent bike users, and the elliptical lovers. It seems as if people are addicted to the cardio machines, traveling at one speed for as long as it takes for them to break a sweat or two. Once the sweat is broken, they pack it in for the day, taking a twenty-three-hour break from their hallowed piece of cardio equipment and go about their livelihood. To them, it’s mission accomplished! They came in for the seventh day in a row, did their workout, and have won the day. Heck, they probably feel as if they’re on top of the world. This is where I step in and say, “mission failed.”
Sometimes one wouldn’t believe the looks (sometimes offended looks) on the faces of others when I say doing endless cardio is the worst thing for you. Unless your goal is to compete in Ironman, in which case your nutrition regimen is going to feed an entire Somali village for a week, you need to be doing more than walking slower on a treadmill than you would in real life, gliding on an elliptical (where the machine is actually doing most of the work for you), or cruising on a recumbent bike. “Hey, at least I’m doing something, right?” Actually, you’re spinning your wheels and making slower progress than a Cleveland Browns front office. “Yeah, well, why are gyms packed with cardio machines?” Well, cardio machines have their place, just like free weights, battle ropes, resistance bands, kettlebells, and suspension trainers. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing just one of any of them.
Want some Frequently Asked Questions regarding equipment other than easy, simple cardio machines?
Q: If I did free weights, I would get bulky like a bodybuilder, wouldn’t I?
A: Only one in one-hundred-thousand have the ability to achieve any kind of bodybuilding-resembling bulk. So, you wouldn’t bulk up in the slightest.
Q: I’ve never lifted weights or done anything else in the past, so I’m just comfortable using cardio machines. Why can’t I just do them?
A: Well, your claim that you want to change something in your physique as your opposition to doing movements out of your comfort zone is the classic case of actions speaking louder than words. Secondly, we only change when we move out of our comfort zone. This doesn’t only apply to fitness, it applies to life. The reason why you’ve gotten nowhere in the fitness realm is because you’ve refused to move beyond your comfort zone. Remember, we need to condition you, as I said in the last article. So, you need to do new things to see positive change in your physique.
Q: I don’t like doing anything else other than cardio machines. Why do I have to force myself to do something that I don’t like?
A: I’m going to counter this: Do you want to change your lifestyle or not? Secondly, what do you value more, the way you currently look or the way you want to look? You honestly need to think long and hard about how serious you really are about changing because at this point, it appears you want someone to say you’re in the right about your claims to get fit while you and I both know you’re clearly wrong. So maybe you should try doing exercises that you aren’t used to or don’t like in an attempt to change your current physique because once you start to see the changes, maybe you’ll start enjoying those exercises you didn’t like before. Trust me on this one.
Q: I have joint, tendon, and muscle ailments that restrict me from doing certain movements. Do I have to do those exercises too?
A: Any true fitness professional would never allow you to do anything that is going to hurt you or make a current injury, ailment, or limitation worse. We’re in the business of making things better for you, and we’re not about to put you through a cookie-cutter program found online that will make any injury for you worse. You get your own unique program.
Q: How long do I need to stay out of my comfort zone for?
A: Forever! That’s how we continue to change. The more uncomfortable you get in the short-term the more comfortable you are in the long-term. Trust me, go through the trial and tribulation and you will thank me later. And pay it forward to someone else.
Q: Why does success in fitness come so hard?
A: Honestly, because succeeding in fitness is going to help you succeed in other ventures, which are either equally or as hard to succeed in. The second you see success in fitness, the more you want to get out of it. It’s not hard, it’s just challenging. Sooner rather than later, you’re going to accept that challenge because you gain the confidence to do so. Success is hard, but the benefits will last you a lifetime, and that pain of regret is much worse than pain of discipline.
So, if you’re struggling with fitness, thinking you can do just one thing or another (this goes for people who solely lift weights too), you aren’t going to see the results you want from an aesthetic standpoint. You need to get the best of both in order to really reap the benefits and once you do, you’ll think me for this post later.