This is a great question that we get asked all the time. If you’ve noticed by now, Fitness Evolved has no “cardio machines.” “If you have no machines, how am I going to get a cardio workout?” “Don’t I need to do cardio if I want to lose weight/burn fat?”

Let’s tackle this in two parts. First, let’s define a “cardio workout.” Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that elevates your heart rate and respiration rate for any period of time. If you’re weight training, you should be using a heavy enough load to cause you to breathe heavy and elevate your heart rate in every set you do- usually at a higher rate than sitting on the recumbent bike “spinning” while reading a magazine, or bouncing on an elliptical talking to your neighbor about the week’s events. Often times, after a good set of squats, kettlebell swings, or pullups, people are breathing too hard to accomplish these tasks (read a magazine or even talk!).

Elevating your heart-rate with a set, letting it recover, and elevating it again, repeatedly, trains your heart to beat hard and efficiently and recover quickly to enable you to do more. If your workout takes 45 minutes to an hour, you’re getting a much more beneficial “cardio workout” than you would on any machine, plus you’re adding strength, increased muscle activity, and movement skill to the mix! A well-designed fitness program will take all of this into account and hit all of the bases in each workout.

So, what’s the best way to get the most “bang for your buck?” Strength training at an intensity that’s high enough to increase your heart rate, increase your respiration rate, and demand work and adaptation out of your muscles. Swing a kettlebell, throw a big cargo-rope, do some sprints, but most importantly, get off the cardio machines!!!

Check in later for Part 2, addressing the weight loss/fat-burning dilemma.

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