There are many many ways to get lean and prep for stage. With some of my clients yes, we do cardio, with others I don’t. With myself I don’t. And for myriads of different reasons.
I was extremely determined NOT to do cardio for my last comp and yes it worked for me on a number of levels. I won my shows, I got leaner than I ever had in my life and most of all it saved me TIME.
But on another level, I think we need to still consider this current mantra going around (no cardio). I am suggesting that cardio has a number of other benefits. And I am also saying, cardio is only ONE way to prep for stage. And it’s kind of a moot point to attempt to argue the best way to prep for stage.
I’ll give you an example. If I was to get back on stage I want to be able to do some sprints. Why? Nothing to do with getting lean. Or helping with my powerlifting. I have decided sprinting once a week I derive GREAT ENJOYMENT from and I like the feeling. So why the heck can I not prep and sprint one a week whilst I’m at it? Here are 8 virtuous reasons off the top of my head but feel free to ad to them if you wish.
- It’s going to improve your mood. Suffering depression, sprint works. Climbing, hiking hills that have steps, doing the 1000 steps makes me feel amazing, and I want to feel MIND-BLOWING!
- Cardio done outside offers a natural high and can feel exhilarating. Try a 27km like I did from Aurthurs Seat to Mt Schank through the forest, overlooking the beach, and tell me you don’t feel incredible afterward. Vitamin D production is a bonus.
- Cardio exercise increases, well, cardiovascular fitness. Lately, there’s been some talk about marathon training being detrimental. I think this is sensationalised because honestly, when it comes to the general Australian population, people need to be exercising MORE, not less. In light of the fact that most people are sedentary, 99% of people will benefit from any/all kinds of cardio. The key is not to use it as a weight loss tool.
- Sometimes it just feels good to sweat. Sometimes my squats and deads do NOT make me crack a sweat. Well, not much of one – and you can’t tell me I am not busting ass. You try working sets of 200 kg squats for triples. But my body is obviously good at disappating heat. I need to sprint and do that crazy Jacob’s ladder to make the sweat pour out. And sometimes after a hard day, a day where it’s been about everyone else but Ingrid, I just want to to in and get rid of all my crazy, pent up toxins and craziness running through my head. Cardio in short sharp bursts can be an antidote.
- Cardio boosts immunity. Partly due to the cortisol/stress effects of it. Ever go on holidays and get sick? Cortisol (a stress hormone) decreases on holidays and as a result, our immune defenses are less (along the same lines of why you would get a cortisone shot – it decreases inflammation). A little physical stress can be a good thing.
- Sprinting is the most underrated exercise to develop the abs. Yes I know, I hear some of you saying, no Ing, that’s all in the food. Yes, of course food is 100% important – but please just take a look at a Melinda Gainsford – enough said! Sprinting makes you a badass.:)
- Sprinting can boost functionality. It boosts power, speed, flexibility and YES it can even build muscle. Opt for shorter sprints, like 70 metres or 20s sprints up hill for best results. Rest as long as you need to in between.
- It can be fun! I fell in love with exercise in my early 20s after reading men’s bodybuilding magazines and having ladies like Lenda Murray and Bev Francis as my idols. I even liked Jane Fonda, I kid you not (and did you know she is a super smart intelligent woman – her autobiography is amazing).
If you like dance routines, choreography, step aerobics, moving to the beat of the music, Zumba and other dance-based group classes good for you because its better than sitting on your couch when you get home from work and not moving at all! If Zumba is the only thing that will get someone into a gym, who am I to tell them not to do it? It can be the ‘gateway’ workout. Maybe someone who dances will eventually step into the gym floor and push some weights. Good. Done!