A long slow walk to nowhere
I hate the term cardio.
Most of the people I saw in the gym the day I where on what I like to
call “the long slow walk to nowhere”. Even if I liked the term cardio,
what these people were doing would best be qualified as Ultra Low
Intensity Calorie Burning (ULICB) or Ultra Low Intensity Cardio Training
(ULICT). Just figured I’d make up my own acronyms. Everyone else does.
I have trouble believing that anyone walking on a treadmill, while
holding on no less, is getting much of a cardiovascular workout.
I know, I know. It is better than watching TV. But, guess what, at
most of these places you can walk slowly and watch TV. If only they
had waitress service, you could eat while you walked also. Here is my
analogy. Walking is to exercise as eating sugar packets at Dunkin Donuts
is to nutrition. Yes, if you were starving you could get calories from
sugar packets and fend off malnutrition. That doesn’t mean it is good
What I witnessed was the cardiovascular lowest common denominator.
Lets get one thing straight. If you want to improve your fitness you
need to challenge yourself. Walking is a great place to start. However,
if you continue to walk at the same pace for the same time the benefits,
beyond calories expended, decrease and potentially disappear.
Back to Charles Staley’s 180 principle. Everyone is holding on. Let go.
Everyone is walking flat. Raise the incline. Everyone is walking for a
long time. Walk up a hill and then rest. That’s it. Start a simple
interval training program if you have been walking for a while. First
step, buy a heartrate monitor. You can get them at www.performbetter.com.
Buy a cheap one. All you need to do is know your heartrate. Next time you
walk use your monitor and see what your heartrate is during your walk.
This is what we will call your Comfortable Working Heartrate. Most middle
aged people would need to break 110 beats per minute to get a cardiovascular
effect. Either way, don’t worry about it. Just figure out what heartrate
you normally walk at.
Next time you walk warmup for 5 minutes at your normal pace and then
raise the incline to 5%. Walk for one minute. This should move you
about 10%-20% ( this will be 10-20 beats in most cases) out of that
steady state comfort zone. If it’s more than 20% higher, reduce the
incline to 3%. If it’s less, raise it to 7%. Step off the belt and
wait for your heartrate to return to 100 beats per minute.
The bottom line. Do a 180. Do the opposite of everyone else. Don’t
be a hamster.
If you only have an hour to exercise weight training will burn more
calories and make more positive changes than an hour of cardio. The
research is very clear on that. Pressed for time, do a total body lift.