Sprints, HIIT, Tabata, P90X, CrossFit, etc. are examples of workouts that are cardiovascular in nature. It is normal to assume that activities such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. are cardio but resistance training is not. This is a fallacy.
Full-body resistance training workouts that are done at a fast pace take on a cardio-like nature. The P90X workout uses a series of resistance training exercises, but these are done fast and with minimal breaks. That essentially means the workout is both a cardio and resistance training session. It kills two birds with one stone and is very effective at burning fat and toning your muscles.
However, this article is not about the P90X or any workout in particular. It’s about you finding the strength to persevere when every fiber in your body is telling you to just stop and take a break.
Cardio workouts are not easy. Most bodybuilders who are massive and can lift weights that would bend the barbell most often do not do high-intensity cardio. They either just walk briskly or go for a slow jog. Cardio just seems like too much work. Many of them will not be able to handle a Tabata session.
When you’re trying to lose weight, your goal should be to work slowly your way up to high-intensity sessions that last for about 10 to 20 minutes. While this may seem like a relatively short duration, if done correctly, it will seem like forever. As Einstein said, time is relative.
Hard cardio will leave you gasping, sweating, panting, cursing, etc. You’ll definitely be in the “hurt box” for the entirety of the workout. A short 10-minute high-intensity session will burn more calories than a long 45-minute slow cardio session any day. That’s because the high-intensity session is so demanding that it will put your body in fat burning mode for 8 to 14 hours after the workout. Sometimes, even longer.
Slow cardio only burns calories during the workout session. Once the session ends, the calorie burning tapers off and stops pretty quickly. So, even though you worked out longer, you reap fewer rewards.
When it comes to cardio, less is more… provided your less is intense.
So where do you find the determination to carry on when you just want to give up?
The answer lies in your reason for wanting to lose weight. What is your reason? It’s always an emotional one. Most people lose weight to look good. A woman may want to look stunning in her evening gown. A man might want to have abs that turn women’s heads at the beach. They want to be admired. They want to look and feel good.
You absolutely must know why you’re doing it. When your cardio session is grueling, and you really don’t find it in you to go on and push yourself, think about your why. Ask yourself why you are doing this… Once you remember, you will give it your best.
Another way to motivate yourself will be to have a countdown timer. There is something very motivating about watching the time decrease. You know that you only have a limited time to do your best. You will give it your all because once the time is up, your workout will be over and you’ll be done with it.
Always remember that if you cut corners, you’re only cheating yourself. If today you do not say good enough, tomorrow you will always have enough. There is a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you gave it all you had. If you didn’t, when the workout is over, you will feel some guilt and regret that you could have done better.
So, suck it up and train hard. “If you train hard, you will not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” – Herschel Walker