postheadericon No cardio – how did it go?

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A few weeks ago, I decided to experiment with a no cardio regimen. The experience was interesting, and I do not regret trying it. But, as I explain below, I will probably (almost surely) not become a “no cardio” advocate – at least not for myself.

Ok, the results. I did get through about the first three weeks with no cardio. For the first two of them, I actually felt great. I enjoyed strength training more knowing I would have the next day off. The schedule was much easier to deal with, since I didn’t have to make time for strength days and cardio days. The additional time saved by not doing cardio could be redirected to additional strength work or to other pursuits. I still slept well, because strength training has that effect on me. My appetite actually decreased a bit, allowing me to drop a couple of the ten or so pounds I am still looking to shed. That was the good news. On the other end, I noticed a slight dumpy feeling after about three weeks, and then a real funk – almost a depression, but not quite. I hadn’t realized or appreciated how much cardio gave me a bit of a zing, added energy to my day, and frankly, is just plain fun. So I decided to break off my experiment a week early, ending it with what is arguably the most intense of the butt-kicking cardio workouts – an Insanity DVD. That first workout felt like a cool glass of lemonade on a ninety degree day. So I kept going and added cardio back into my schedule in much the same way it had been before. Adding cardio back into my schedule felt normal, balanced, and energizing. It was as though the missing piece had been added back into my exercise life.

So would I recommend a no cardio regimen to anyone? As usual, those kinds of questions often have answers like “it depends.” Each of us has to figure out our own best routine and adapt it as needed over time. But for me, the answer is clear. Cardio brings balance to my fitness training, makes me feel better, and is the perfect complement to a very enjoyable strength training regimen. So at least for me, cardio is staying.

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