Watching Forest Gump run inspired me to run. But have you ever experienced the trauma of running when you’re overweight? Running was never something I saw as an enjoyable activity, not until I was fit that is. Now I love running.
You see, in life, it doesn’t matter what activities you decide to partake in, as long as you accept the learning curve that applies to these things. With practice and tenacity, you will become the master of whatever you commit your time to.
The truth is, we all train for different reasons, some of us train to improve heart health and stay in shape, while others are running through mountains to find peace within. But at the core of it, all of us keep training because we love it.
As it is written, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24
Cardiovascular training is good for the heart and mind as it boosts feel-good hormone levels and improves mental clarity. Running is only one of the many awesome forms of cardio.
You can choose to cycle, swim, surf, dance, or skate your way into better mental and physical shape. As you improve from week to week you will fall in love with the activity you’ve chosen.
Plus, cardio will strengthen your heart muscle, increase lung capacity, and reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome. Anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you break a sweat. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, anything you love.
It is written, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
Interesting fact: Cardio has helped thousands of people quit their smoking habit. I believe it’s connected to an increased awareness of the impact smoking can have on performance.
Cardiovascular training makes use of the lungs, heart, and red blood cells to transfer oxygen and nutrients to other cells. Smoke contains carbon monoxide which binds to red blood cells, and this will reduce the effectiveness of red blood cells to bind to and carry oxygenated blood to the working muscles and the brain.
Smoking will reduce your performance, even to the extent of causing erectile dysfunction (ED). If that’s not a good enough reason to kick the habit, I don’t know what is. You do you brother.
“Your love for fitness can give you the desire to put bad habits away.”– Coach Jan
The best thing about cardiovascular training is the fact that when you are fit, you move with ease. But if you are un-fit, important things like playing with your kids turn into a marathon.
There are three (3) main cardio protocols, each identified by their own level of intensity. You will need to know them if you have specific performance goals. They can all be used in a balanced training program and during sports activities these 3 protocols might also overlap.
LISS Cardio is categorized by heart rates ranging between 90 – 120 bpm. This can be measured by using the ‘Talk-Test’ or a Digital HR Monitor.
LISS improves fat loss without the metabolic afterburn effect. This is best used to increase muscle endurance and burn body fat without overloading the joints and ligaments to much.
Low-intensity work is best for beginners and the elderly population and should be performed for 30 – 90 minutes at a time. Go for a walk to talk. Call your grandma; uncle; friends; and God.
Examples: Walking, Cycling, and Swimming.
MISS is categorized by heart rates of 130 – 160 bpm lasting 30 minutes or more. This is one of the most popular forms of cardio as it burns significantly more fat while also promoting the release of natural feel-good hormones.
MISS Cardio boosts endurance, reduces anxiety, relieves depression, burns body fat for energy, and blunts hunger. This type of cardio is best for intermediates and students who are going through the adolescent growth phase of life.
MISS will help you better cope with life and should be performed as often as is needed.
Examples: Jogging, Boxing, and Zumba
This style of training should be classified as resistance training. You will perform short bursts of intense exercise at 70 – 90% effort maintained for 5 – 30 seconds, followed by an active rest period of 30 – 90 sec. Do 8 rounds.
The amount of force required to move that fast will activate the type 2 muscle fibers, the same fibers that are responsible for muscle growth. Look at the difference between marathon athletes and a 100m Olympic sprinter.
Examples of high-intensity interval training include 50 – 100m sprints and bodybuilding style training with minimal rest between sets.
HIIT will boost your metabolism for up to 72 hours after training, known as the Afterburn Effect (AE). HIIT training is only for advanced athletes with good technique. HIIT will build a strong athletic physique. Just Start Slowly.
LIFE IS A MARATHON
Starting too fast can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints. It’s important to master every step you take. Maintaining your level of fitness is pretty easy, you just keep doing what you’ve been doing. But you will notice that it gets easier, and then you can do a little bit more.
The real challenge you need to face is to go beyond the comfort zone without forcing the process. Start slowly and progress with baby steps every week. Most of the time we want to run before we can walk. First listen, then talk.
Doing this with a healthy desire in your heart is important as we can quickly turn what we do into an idol if we desire the results more than we desire to hear from God. Your heart and mind must be renewed before we can start.
In the previous step we touched on the mind and the power we hold within us. When we learn to master our thought life we can sow seeds that grow and leads to an abundant life.
The heart is the center of our being and it is the muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. Blood cells carry an abundance of nutrients incl. oxygen to every part of the body, incl. the brain.
But as we all know there is much more to heart health than what meets the eye. Your emotions, your stress levels, your diet, and your faith all contribute to the way your heart is beating.
It has been shown that harboring emotions like unforgiveness and anger can poison our hearts, hardening them, even to the point of hatred.
The condition of your heart is important and you don’t want an unhealthy desire to drive your actions. Think of your own heart as the Spiritual Epicenter and EVERYTHING you do, think, and say will originate from that place.
The kind of work you do, the food you prepare, and the children you raise will all be influenced by the condition of your heart. During step two you really should consider to fast and seek God.
Go for a walk and talk.
As it is written, “Not what enters a man defiles him, but what comes from his heart.” – Matthew 15:11
On the next page we will look into nutrition and the role of different nutrients in your body. But before you move on, take some time to reflect.
P.S. Be the Blessing.