What are my specific goals?
What am I doing to attain these goals?
Am I just doing cardio “to feel good?” i.e. ‘endorphins’
There are a TON more questions you should be asking yourself-but one thing I do talk a lot to my clients about is NOT overdoing your cardio. It truly does not matter how much weight you want to lose. Anything over 60 minutes a day is counter productive and will lead to overuse injuries, making you more susceptible to colds and upper respiratory infections because your immune system will be compromised from high levels of cortisol. If that sounded foreign to you: just think that when you do too much cardio your body gets stressed out (cortisol is released) and can make you weak in many ways. The repetitive nature of running, elliptical, etc can put pressure on your joints and ultimately cause an injury over time. You may get into the symptoms of over training, which is a legit illness that can last 3 months and it’s only cure is rest.
When you look at your body-think of it like a sculpture. Draw an outline of your body on a piece of paper if you must. Get out a pen and actually draw where you’d like to see improvements that make sense. I.E. narrower waist, rounder glutes, more defined shoulders, etc and add a weight loss goal if needed.
*Fun Fact: I used to be a cardio addict. It also was the time when my body fat was very high and I had NO muscle definition. Cardio truly can be an addiction: because we all know that runners “high” is legit. Fear not-you can break that addiction. Remind yourself that weight training does NOT make you bulky (unless you are male and train a certain way). On the contrary-it shapes your body. Training with resistance makes you strong and injury proof.*
I will use one muscle group as an example here or else this will turn into a book. 🙂 Let’s say one of your goals is to have bigger and rounder glutes. Your plan of attack should include hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, kickbacks, step ups, lunges, sprints….and about a dozen different varieties of all of these movements. (No matter what the goal-remember not to neglect other areas of your body of course in your training, just train your specific area of interest differently to attain your goal. This is why having a personal trainer is a bonus). Notice ‘sprints’ in bold. If you want bigger and rounder glutes, SPRINTING is your cardio. Along with sprinting on an incline, among MANY other variables. If you do too much steady state long cardio and your goal is bigger and stronger glutes, that cardio will eat that muscle that you are trying so hard to build for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you will see minimum results.
All this being said, EVERYONE is different, everyone has different goals, and everyone has different abilities. Personal trainers that are capable streamline plans for each individual that they are training to make your goals a reality. Also-when you are trying to build any muscle, REST is critical for muscle recovery. If you are hitting that muscle every damn day with some sort of cardio-it will never get a chance to recover and get stronger (GROW), plus you MUST EAT EAT EAT the RIGHT way (usually more FOOD if you make the right choices: again this is why a personal trainer is a fantastic investment) if you want any muscle group to get strong and have some growth.
Now speaking of weight loss-this cardio principle still rings true! If you train INTENSE, add in some HIIT (high intensity interval training), and lift with absolute FERVOR, then your training session is pretty much all you need! In 30 minutes I can train a client and leave them dripping with sweat, which means their heart rate went up, which means THERE WAS A CARDIO ELEMENT to it, therefore they burned calories and will be burning calories long after the session is over (after burn effect) SO IN TURN …. they lose weight over time while getting strong. 🙂
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS…actually THINK about your goals. Get specific! Do NOT chase skinny! Chase HEALTHY. Chase STRENGTH. Chase FUNCTIONAL FITNESS. You train hard in the gym so you can live with vitality outside of the gym and not injure yourself! Once you get in this MINDSET everything else “magically” falls into place. 😉
More questions? Feel free to contact me for anything. If you live in the Charleston area, I offer my first session at Exemplar Fitness for free. There are always corporate specials, hospital employee discounts, as well as veteran discounts to train with me personally.
I also offer a “Sweating for the Wedding” training package for Brides and/or their bridal party: 3 month and 6 month packages available.