I was always one of those guys scared to death of cardio.
“If I want to build muscle, doing cardio won’t accomplish anything but eat up all those hard-earned muscle cells” I used to think to myself every time I passed a treadmill.
But as you may know, at Contrarian And Free we talk a lot about performance enhancers such as SARMs. The unfortunate part of SARMs, and steroids for that matter, is their negative effects on your cardiovascular health.
And you don’t even need to use or know what SARMs are to be concerned with cardiovascular disease.
High levels of bad cholesterol, clogged arteries, bad circulation, and high blood pressure are some of our world’s most common health problems. Don’t we all know someone who’s had a heart attack or struggled with hypertension?
I was researching some chemical compounds that happened to affect my body in a bad way. My blood pressure had gone through the roof. I struggled to breathe all day long which made my girlfriend suspect I had asthma. At night I felt my chest pounding and I heard the pulse of blood going through my ears.
But now, I feel wonderful.
And the blood pressure is well within the healthy range.
The Secret To How I Became Healthy
One important reason was that cleaned up my supplementation and diet. But also because I started doing cardio — something I had NEVER done seriously before.
I had asthma as a kid, which made endurance sports a dread. And as a grown-up, my gym bro instincts told me to stay the hell away from any exercise you performed for longer than 40 seconds.
But I knew my health needed a serious turn-around and cardio was probably one of the most efficient ways to accomplish that. I was right.
At first, I eased into it.
Five minutes on a stationary bike before my gym workout. Enough to leave me a bit sweaty and winded.
Then I began doing short intervals on the bike. I naturally prefer to train intensively for a short time, like a powerlifter. Doing something for too long bores me. Which made high-intensity intervals a perfect fit for me in the beginning.
Especially since intense intervals have been proven to increase cardiovascular endurance faster than low-intensity exercise in beginners.
And with time, I slowly began to get into long low-intensity cardio.
Today, I usually perform 30 minutes of cardio after my gym workout in the afternoon. It can be anything I feel like, the treadmill, bike or cross-trainer. And by the evening, I walk at a moderate pace on my cross-trainer at home for an hour.
I never think much about what I’m going to do or how I’m going to do it, as long as my heart rate gets elevated and I break a sweat.
It has made me feel better in multiple ways:
Previously, I used to constantly have cold hands and feet which are often signs of poor circulation. But since I began training my heart, that has gone away.
And let me tell you, my entire body feels it. My muscles, my brain… heck, even little Mr. Contrarian enjoy the improved blood flow.
It’s hard to tell if it’s due to the cardiovascular exercise, since I’ve also leaned out in the meantime, but my veins began to pop more. Which could be explained by the improved blood flow.
Clarity of mind
I used to have brain fog that made it a struggle every time I wanted to concentrate. It couldn’t be fixed by cutting out carbohydrates from my diet, drinking loads of coffee or consuming a bit too much nicotine.
But when I made a habit of moving my body in a way other than lifting weights…
It got fixed.
You will not feel like you get a boost in your mental capabilities. But obstacles that previously clouded your mind will be gone.
It’s much easier for me to maintain focus and think clearly now.
And right after I’ve had a walk, run or bike ride, the blood pumping through my brain somehow gives me all these great ideas. It’s always after a cardio session I have to run and write down all the ideas I’ve had during the exercise.
More calm & better sleep
My mind’s always going in overdrive and I have a hard time winding down. It’s easier for me to be up all night working or thinking than laying down to rest.
When I stick to my cardio regimen my body feels naturally tired at the end of the day. I feel the need to sleep at a reasonable time.
It’s also easier to remain calm throughout the day, since my body gets used for its natural purpose — moving around.
My challenge to you
I’m not going to argue with anyone whether cardio is good for you or not. Just listen to me and start doing it for 30 minutes every day. Come back in two months and tell me if you don’t feel any better.
Until next time,
— Alexander Contrarian