It’s about embracing the pain
You’re tired of sucking wind either when working out or doing anything mildly strenuous. You want to be able to make it through a workout, push yourself hard, and make a quick, or quicker than normal recovery.
You need to work out your cardio respiratory system. Time to build the heart and lungs. It can be tough but the payoff is tremendous.
Stated earlier, the benefits can be realized when doing normal day to day activities such as going up a couple flights of stairs, having to walk a longer than normal distance, or something unexpected such as having to push your vehicle out of the deep snow (hopefully you haven’t had to do this).
The benefit of having a strong cardio respiratory system will lead to quicker recovery when working out. What I mean is it will take less time for your heart rate to return to normal. So you can push yourself doing interval training and have your heart rate lower quicker as you get ready for your next intense interval. So instead of being out of breath, heart racing when you are getting ready for the next interval, you will feel stronger and ready to go. That’s a nice feeling.
Another benefit is an increase in performance. Why? I’ll explain what the cardio respiratory system does and I think you understand how performance will benefit.
The cardiovascular and respiratory systems work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to body tissue, such as muscle. It is also responsible for removing waste. Our respiratory system takes in oxygen providing it to our blood, and it removes carbon dioxide, the waste product. Our cardiovascular system is what moves the oxygenated blood to our tissues, delivering oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.
More oxygen will be delivered and more carbon dioxide will be removed as efficiency increases. One large influence on this is what is called stroke volume. Stroke volume is the amount of blood that can be pumped in one beat of our heart (specifically the left ventricle). The typical amount of blood that is pumped in one beat is 70 milliliters. As we become fitter the ventricle becomes larger and stronger, able to move more blood and contract with more force. When resting, our body required a specific amount of blood to be circulated. For someone who is fit, and has a larger than normal stroke volume, the heart does not have to work as hard to deliver the amount of blood needed.
When we are training the effect of having a larger stroke volume means more blood is pumped to our tissue than someone with a smaller stroke volume. I’ll try to explain it this way. You have two people filling a balloon with air, one with a pump that with each stroke delivered 1 litre of air, and the other person, the fit person, had a pump that delivered 2 litres of air with each stroke. The balloons are the same size, requiring 100 litres of air to fill it. The amount of strokes per minute are the same for both people, 20 strokes (think of heart rate, each person’s heart rate being 185 bpm’s when working out). The average person, who can only pump 1 litre per stroke requires 5 minutes to fill the balloon (20 strokes/minute x 1 litre = 20 litres per minute). The healthy person requires only 2.5 minutes to fill the balloon. The healthier person can move more air per stroke requiring less work overall. Apply this to the heart and it makes sense why someone with a larger stroke volume, a healthier cardio vascular system, can accomplish more work at the same heart rate than the person with the smaller stroke volume. Does that make sense? Maybe? If it doesn’t, or it seems convoluted, let me know.
So what do we do to improve our cardio respiratory system? Cardio training. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that you have to start running. Cardio training does not have to include running, or biking, or elliptical machines. Now you like me, right? I’m going to change that. With what I tell you next, you may end up hating me. I’m ok with that because I know you will benefit from what I’m going to tell you, and that is my goal. I’m doing this for you, not me.
If you follow my blog, have read some or most of the articles you probably know I’m a fan of intense workouts. Slow and easy is not for me. I’m not going to get into why because I have done that in other posts. What I’m going to do is layout some options you can use to help you become better, stronger.
Intervals: Interval training can be a number of things. Tabata is a good example of interval training. 20 seconds of full out work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes total (or longer if you love pain). 60 seconds of 90% intensity followed by 30 seconds of 60% intensity work. Another example could be 90 seconds of 90% work followed by 30 seconds of 60% work. There are so many benefits to interval training. Better utilization of glucose (provides energy to our body), higher resting metabolism, growth in our stroke volume (yeah!), etc.
Intervals can vary quite a bit. From the 20 second work 10 second rest of tabata to 3 minutes work, 1 minute rest of another interval method. The work you do can be anything as long as you hit the targets. Jump squats, burpees, sprints, mountain climbers, clean and press, etc. If you want to run on a treadmill, go for it. It’s up to you.
Are there benefits to activities such as going for bike rides, quick walking, jogging or none interval activities? Sure. Different benefits but they are there. We can’t do interval training all the time because it is taxing to our body, and our body needs time to recover from these hard workouts. Throwing in a non-interval training activity is a great way to add variety to our workouts and there may also be other benefits realized. Some people when they run can turn their mind to a place that brings them peace and relaxation, and happiness. There’s a lot to be said about benefits of this. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Exercising should not be totally exclusive to one activity. That’s how we end up with imbalances and sometimes boredom.
It makes sense.
Add interval training to your workout. Start off easy, one session per week. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself. Do this for a month and I know you will be pleased with the results. Kill it. Have no mercy when you train and you will ultimately be triumphant.
It may not feel that way, but trust me. You are awesome and you will kill it. You always do.
Yours in health,