Cardio exercise is, by definition, exercise that raises your heart rate. That’s it! Somewhere along the way (maybe with the 80s aerobics craze?) cardio became synonymous with treadmills, stair climbers, and long distance running. A quick Google search verifies that we are still in the dark ages when it comes to defining cardio. When step aerobics and elliptical are listed among the best “cardio” workouts, it’s no wonder cardio gets a bad rap!
If your heart rate is elevated, congratulations, you’re doing cardio! You don’t need to be slugging it out on an elliptical. I mean you certainly can, if you want; some people like those things! But I’m here to tell you there is a world of possibilities when it comes to cardio exercise.
Give me a kettlebell and I’ll show you some cardio. Just sayin’.
The core is comprised of all the muscles that attach to the spine. When most people think of core they think of abs. The abdominals are part of the core, but just a part. The lats, glutes, and a bunch of other muscles make up the core. They move the spine and also keep the spine stable. You could do crunches to work your core, but that would be like shoveling your driveway with a spoon. It wouldn’t be very effective and it’ll probably end up hurting your back.
What if I told you that pushups are awesome for the core? I’m just here to blow your mind. You’re welcome :)
Long Lean Muscles
Your muscles have a starting point (origination) and an ending point (insertion), determined by your bones. Making your muscles longer is as easy to do as making your bones longer. You with me?
Muscles are inherently lean because they’re made up of, well, muscle. Muscle fiber is lean. It has a tiny bit of fat in it, but not a lot. Muscle is lean. Making your muscle leaner is as easy to do as making water wetter. Still with me?
So, contrary to popular belief, there is no exercise that can make your muscles longer or leaner. Not even yoga, pilates, or barre. Or lifting light weights at high reps.
Toning and Bulking
Lifting weights can make you bulk, but it takes much more than doing a “typical” workout 6-7 days a week. Bulking up is a full time job. It requires lifting massive amounts of weights for many hours, using strategic rest and rep schemes. It also requires eating like a horse. It’s not easy to do, yet I hear so many women still talk about being afraid to lift weights or do Crossfit because they don’t want to be bulky. I think there is some confusion and these ladies actually DO want to have muscles. Muscles that show. Muscle TONE.
If you start lifting weights you will probably add muscle mass to your body. If you have a layer of fat covering the newly acquired muscle mass, you might just end up looking bigger. If you want to have tone (aka muscle definition), you need to obliterate that pesky layer of fat hiding what’s underneath.
I heard about an article that was going around (viral, if you will), on the premise that burpees are bad. Then I saw a celebrity hot-shot trainer share on his Insta that the best way to do a burpee is to NEVER do a burpee. And then I saw a health care professional share a post encouraging all her followers to stay as far away as possible from protein shakes. Ignorance is everywhere. Do this exercise. Don’t do that exercise. Eat this. Don’t eat that. Can we just stop for a second and start thinking before we preach? (Not you, I know you’d never do that.)
You might not like burpees, and you would not be alone. But as an exercise, burpees aren’t inherently bad. They can be good for some people, bad for others. Some people even like them! Are burpees bad? No! They’re just burpees. Are they bad for you? It depends. The thing itself - whether it be a burpee or a protein shake, isn’t inherently bad. It might be bad for you. It might not. It just depends.
We are all experiments of one and it’s up to us - and maybe with the help of a coach - to uncover the right combination of #allthethings that help us flourish.
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