Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I am a bit of a black sheep here in that I don't do cardio. It's not that I think it's ineffective. I know it's effective, I used to do a ton of it, and I lost a lot of weight during the same time that I was doing it (and also not really eating anything). My issue with cardio is that I would rather pull my fingernails out with my teeth than do cardio on a regular basis. I believe (after obsessively watching the Olympics) that different people are built for different athletic pursuits. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of the lovely and strong women who ran in the marathon and the other running events, the cycling events, the swimming events, and so forth. I do however see my body type in the strength sports. It's not just that I think my body is more suited to strength sport, but that I have managed to excel at strength sport while I have never ever managed to not suck badly at any form of cardio sport. Obviously it goes back to being picked last in the daycare badminton tournament like all our other weight and fitness "issues," but rather than try to suffer my way into cardio mediocrity, I've chosen to spend all my time doing stuff that I (a) love doing, (b) do well, (c) know how to do, and (d) don't hate.
I have tried to love, or at least, to not hate, cardio on many occasions over several years but the closest I've come is getting to a state of zoned-out blah. When I practice strength sports, I experience all kinds of euphoria (and pain too, of course). When people say things like "if you don't do cardio, it will take you twice as long to reach your goal," my response is "oh okay, yes, definitely, sign me up for that, that is completely acceptable!"
(And I even hunted down an article someplace that claimed that doing strength training regularly had positive effects on the cardiovascular system. I ran with it! (metaphorically. I don't run.)
Except on Monday. My husband and I live in the beautiful, warm, and sunny country of Greece, which despite what some people think, has four seasons including a COLD winter (at least where we live). In mid-November, trust me, it's cold here. After work, we drove out to the beach wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants. The heat in the car was on. Once on the beach, a quick change into swimsuits, and into the FREEZING Aegean Sea for a swim. It took about ten minutes to get into the water, and I kept running out of the water and sprinting as fast as I could up and down the beach. In the water, I did high knees as fast as I could to warm up. I only managed to swim for a few minutes and couldn't keep my head underwater at all, but it was still tons of fun.
That's the kind of cardio I'm willing to do. No tracking, progressing, or pushing myself for another minute. I just stopped when the hypothermia set in.
I did impress myself with how fast I could run though. So maybe it's true... maybe the explosive power I work on in strength helps with cardio fitness in the form of short sprints. Or maybe it doesn't take cardio fitness to sprint up and down a freezing beach in a bikini!