My Changing Views On Cardio

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

January 2010 I started my first ever contest prep.

I knew I had a long road ahead of me, I was not starting in a good place.

May of 2009 I ended a relationship with my then trainer who had me doing… a lot of cardio… on very little food. It made me miserable and um… scrawny.

april

I really wasn’t a fan of how I looked… nor how I felt. I was tired. All.the.time. and miserable. Oh how miserable I was when I dreaded another “level 9 60 minute cardio”

That’s really no way to live your life. Miserable, unhappy and hurting. My body ached. Cardio, and I mean HARD cardio seven days a week took it’s toll pretty fast and when I stopped working with this trainer I had about as much desire to do cardio as I did to rip out my wisdom teeth with my bare hands.

Sounds like I was in a great place right?!

I threw myself into workouts, I did bootcamps that kept me fit… but very little cardio.

bootcamp

… and slowly (or not so slowly…) the rebound started.

Then I decided to hire a real live nutritionist/naturopath because he would CLEARLY fix me right? I did cardio 3 days a week and ate… A LOT.

Simply put. I got fat.

I was strong, but struggling in the cardio aspects of my bootcamps, my energy wasn’t there and I was gaining weight rapidly.

So again… I quit my coach.

When I started with Joe that January I was afraid of the cardio aspect. I didn’t want to feel like I had a year earlier. He assured me we could do this and with that promise, I took my before photos, and handed myself over to him to start the journey.

jan 10 001

Ummm… Not so pretty. There was A LOT of work to be done.

And so… on that day I began double cardio.

Twenty minutes of intervals after my morning workout and 40 minutes of low intensity steady state after work.

I won’t lie, some days that just SUCKED. But I got through it. And I competed.

The funny thing is… at the end of TWO preps like that I didn’t feel gross. I didn’t feel miserable, tired, cranky. I felt… GREAT.

Somewhere in between show number one and show number two my wonderful sister in law asked me to run a 5mile race with her while I was home on vacation. Being me my thought was “5 miles?! Ha! easy! fine!” … and promptly did NOT begin training for it.

The day after my second show I got up, I had a non tracked breakfast…

Classic 009

Greek yogurt with pb on an apple with carmelized apple if you’re wondering… I could only eat half the bagel. WEIRD.

Anyway!

After I finished eating…  I slipped into my new lululemon running shorts (… incentive to do the race) and hit the pavement.

Classic 012

… and “easily” covered 5 miles in about 45 minutes.

And you know what? I felt AMAZING. I felt athletic and happy and… yeah, you get my point!

A few weeks later I went home for vacation, rocked the race despite having to stop at the ER to fix my asthma on the way to the start line. It was a GREAT feeling.

5miles

During my offseason my cardio was down to three times a week, it was a nice change and refreshing.

When January and prep rolled around this year I definitely was NOT put on double cardio and simply did 40 minutes of low intensity steady state and only recently did I add 10 minutes of hard cardio after my evening workouts.

Sure, some mornings are tough to get up, but for the most part? I jump right out of bed, eat my breakfast, grab my coffee and bag and get going. I LOVE how morning cardio makes me feel.

This week is a prime example, I don’t always feel like doing cardio when I get to the gym. My legs are sore, my back is sore… everything is sore… but I tell myself five minutes. Just give it five minutes.

… and then I kill it. I have been having some AMAZING cardio sessions, am AND pm this week. While I know part of it is the change up to my routine now that the deathmill is fully functional again

jan 13 006

But a lot has to do with attitude. Simply loving the changes I’m seeing in my body. Yes, I’m leaner than ever before (with Joe) and approaching the weight I was in that photo at the top… but I don’t FEEL like I did in that old photo, nor do I look like that.

When I see myself in the mirror and photos I see a happy, healthy and athletic looking body and THAT has fully changed how I see cardio. It’s not a dull and boring death sentence, but a great part of my day.

Who knew?!

How do you feel about cardio?!

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Comments
  1. I looooooove cardio. I did a lot of running for 7 months and got burned out. For the past 2 months, I’ve been focusing mostly on strength training and now I’m ready for the cardio again. I mean, I do crossfit…and that’s cardio in itself. So I do it, just not in the form that I did before.

    I feel the best when I’m strength training and not doing JUST cardio, even if I’m a heavier weight. That I know for sure. Now that I figured that out, I’m keeping up my strength training during marathon training so I get the best of both worlds. 🙂

  2. Kari says:

    Glad you’re feeling healthy and happy! You look fabulous!

    I actually don’t mind cardio. I’ve been doing AM & PM cardio for quite awhile, and it’s just like another part of my day. Not something I dread, just something I do that keeps me feeling good.

    • ihearteggs says:

      Thanks Kari! And you’re right, at this point it really is just part of my day, it’s like brushing my teeth, i know it has to be done, so i do it!

  3. I heart cardio (running is my exercise of choice). Especially in the morning. Like you said- getting up and there is the hardest part…

  4. I love your outlook oh my goodness. I agree though-too much cardio gets tiring very quickly. My coach last summer had me trying to lose weight quickly for cross country…lighter=faster…in his eyes at least and I nearly passed out a few times. Needless to say I didn’t know if I was going to run again. Luckily that has all changed since.

  5. My problem is I only like cardio – but just outside cardio, no gyms for me. Running, biking, swimming, walking. I hate strength training, but force myself to do it!

    You look amazing, your coach has done a great job, and it is so wonderful that you feel great and have so much energy.

  6. Lisa says:

    I actually like it most of the time now that I see it as something fun and not something I HAVE TO DO!

  7. Crystal says:

    Glad to hear you finally found your sweet spot! Gotta love the “deathmill”, it is always killer! 🙂

  8. lifttorun says:

    I prefer cardio to anything. Some days I’d rather just lift, but cardio + lifting = best results.

  9. im a runner bahah therefore i heart cardio… a little too much… im trying to get my love for lifting and its starting!!

  10. Glad you found what works for you! You look great by the way. 🙂 I like cardio (swimming in particular), but mixed up with some lifting and yoga works best for me. I get bored doing one kind of exercise.

  11. Your’re absolutely right about Cardio….originally I was doing Cardio steady state 5 times a week then added in my HIIT day I hated it…now Im downt o 3 days a week and its manageable and I dont hate it! I love being on the deathmill weird right? i enjoy it more than any other Cardio equipment…maybe its because I have no desire to run
    haha

  12. allieksmith says:

    LOVE this post! I always try to give my workouts 5 minutes if I feel a little crappy and it really helps because I think that if I can do five minutes I can do 10 or 20, etc!

    I am glad you are learning to love cardio on YOUR terms!! I enjoy cardio because I like running and swimming and just being active in general. I wish I could be more serious about weight lifting. I think I would be one of those people at the gym that you hate because I have no clue what I am doing LOL!

    Once again, GREAT post 🙂

  13. Lisa says:

    What a great story Becca. You’ve come so far, not only physically, but mentally too and you should feel so proud about that! Us women and our body images, it’s so great when someone gets through that, good for you!

    I personally love cardio and I love to run! Just makes me feel so good-especially in the morning. I’m a morning work-out-aholic, just starts my day out right and I’m in a good mood.

  14. I love cardio. I actually used to be WAY to into cardio. I would spend 100 minutes… doing cardio.. but never saw any changes in my build. I was totally unbalaanced. now, I use a mixture of strength, cardio, and circuit training and feel much better!

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