Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength?

By: John D. Barlow

I have been doing some research into how to get better at cardio and strength training for years now. My goal is to not only improve my own physical condition but also help others achieve their goals as well. A few months ago, I came across a great article written by one of the best coaches in the world called “The Science Of Endurance” which helped me immensely when trying to figure out what type of exercise would work best for my needs.

Unfortunately, it was published over 20 years ago and I couldn’t find any recent copies online so I decided to write this article based on the information that I could find.

When you are looking at your body right now, you probably notice that you don’t look like a professional athlete anymore. You may even feel a little fatigued or weak from all the hard training you’ve done lately. That’s because your body hasn’t had time to recover yet.

Your muscles aren’t fully recovered and they’re still recovering from the intense workouts you did recently. If you want to get stronger, you need to train them again soon!

Now let’s say that you’re a competitive powerlifter or strongman competitor. These athletes usually compete in several events such as deadlift, bench press, squat, etc., and each event requires different types of exercises.

Deadlifts are great for your lower back and hamstrings but not much else, while bench press primarily works your chest and triceps. Now let’s say you normally do both of those exercises every day for years on end.

Without doing any cardio at all, what happens to your body?

It stops getting stronger and starts deteriorating. The deadlift might make your lower back prone to injury, which then makes you unable to lift as much. Your chest and triceps won’t develop as much strength, which means you’ll be weaker on the bench press. Your body isn’t able to recover from all the intense training you’re doing, so you become weaker and less fit than you used to be.

If that’s the case, then why not just lift weights every once in awhile and take lots of rest in between?

You might have heard about the “Eastern Bloc” style of training that was popularized by countries like Russia and Romania. This involves doing lots of cardio and running before lifting weights, then lifting very heavy weights twice a week only. It’s a very effective style of training for developing raw strength but it can also take a toll on your joints if you’re not careful. Many former athletes in these countries have had lots of problems with their lower backs due to heavy squatting.

So is there a happy medium between doing no cardio and doing excessive amounts of it? Is there a way to get the most out of your cardio without hurting your strength training?

Well it just so happens that there are several ways. As you will see, many of them are directly related to the type of sport that you do. And thanks to modern technology, you can now do many of these sports indoors with limited space. But before we get to that, let’s first take a look at how cardio affects your muscles…

How Cardio Affects Your Muscles

Just as with strength training, there are two different forms of cardio: Low Intensity and High Intensity.

Common forms of Low Intensity cardio include jogging, swimming, cycling, and other activities that don’t make you sweat. Common forms of High Intensity cardio include running sprints, uphill treadmill runs, and other activities that make you break a light sweat.

Most athletes tend to focus on doing lots of High Intensity cardio because of several reasons. For one thing, it burns more calories so you can lose weight easier. It also improves your aerobic and anaerobic (short and long term bursts of energy) capacity, which allows you to perform better in any sport that requires these.

And lastly, it increases your blood flow and heart strength so you have more endurance during games and are less likely to get tired.

Sounds great, right?

Well here’s the problem: Doing too much of this causes a change in your body. Imagine your body is a battery, and your energy is the electricity. Your “battery” (body) has two chambers (chambers of energy) containing “electricity”(energy).

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - gym fit workout

When you do Low Intensity cardio, you are doing aerobic activity that doesn’t require as much energy. This is like trickle charging your “battery.” In other words, it’s not using up all your energy stores so they slowly begin to build up.

When you do High Intensity cardio, you are doing anaerobic activity that is depleting your energy stores much quicker. This is like charging your “battery” all the way to 100% and then overcharging it, causing it to leak. So in other words, you’re using up a lot of energy, but not building it up.

So as you can see, Low Intensity cardio helps “condition” your body to perform better in your sport while High Intensity is great for short term bursts of energy during competition, but not ideal for conditioning your body for sports.

The other problem with doing too much High Intensity cardio is that it puts a lot of stress on your body. This is especially true if you’re not eating right (or eating too much) or not getting enough sleep. Doing these things combined with excessive cardio can cause serious injury and even shorten your life span!

This is because your body is getting overstressed and not recuperating.

So what does this all mean?

It means that you should do the right types of cardio to get the most out of your body without harming yourself. And contrary to popular belief, long sessions of steady state cardio (such as jogging) are not ideal for athletes. While they may help you lose weight and keep you relatively “fit,” they don’t prepare you for your specific sport because they don’t prepare your body or condition it in the way that your particular sport does. This is why most professional athletes have their own personal trainers. The trainer knows the best types of cardio and exercises to prepare their athlete for competition and to reduce the likelihood of injury.

So how can you use this information to help you reach your goals?

Glad you asked!

If your goal is to lose weight quickly, then doing a lot of steady state (Low Intensity) cardio is the best way to do it. If you’re like me and want to be able to play video games for extended periods of time without getting tired, then High Intensity interval training (alternating between short bursts of high intensity activity and lower intensity recovery) is the best way to go.

These types of training can be paired with weight training as well. In fact, most professional athletes do some form of weight training in addition to their cardio in order to strengthen their muscles, prevent injury, and increase speed, power, and overall performance.

So what does this mean for you?

Well if your goal is to lose weight quickly, then I would advise you weight train and do a lot of steady state cardio. If your goal is to get really good at a particular sport, then I would advise you weight train and do some form of interval cardio in order to train your body for the challenges that you’ll face in your sport.

Now if your goal is to just be healthy or fit and not necessarily lose weight, then I would advise you do some form of weight training as it will strengthen your body and increase your performance in other physical activities. Personally, I do some form of weight training every week no matter what and I can feel the difference when I don’t.

Now the next question: What type of weight training and what types of cardio are best?

Well that depends on your goals, your body type, and how much time you have.

Types of Weight Training:

Now there are many different types of weight training, but they can generally be grouped into two categories: Isolated movements and compound movements. Isolated movements focus on one particular muscle group while compound movements use multiple muscle groups. The type of weight training you choose to do depends on your goals, but for the purpose of this guide I’m going to go over compound movements.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Compound movements are the best way to increase strength in my opinion. They also tend to burn the most calories since they require more energy, so if your goal is to lose weight then these are the types of weight training you should focus on.

The following is a list of popular compound movements:

Squat: This is arguably the king of all exercises as it works your whole body. It especially targets your legs and butt, but it also works your abs, lower back, chest, arms, and even shoulders to an extent.

Deadlift: This is another great exercise as it works virtually every muscle in your body. Since it’s similar to the squat you still work your legs and back, but you’ll also hit your abs, arms, chest, and shoulders a bit more as well.

Bench Press: This is the classic chest builder, but it also hits your triceps and front deltoid muscles a bit more as well.

Overhead Press: This is great for building shoulder and upper-back strength. It also works your abs and a bit more of your chest and arms as well.

Lunges: These are great for working your whole legs, but they also work your core a bit more as well.

Chinups: These are my favorite exercise as they work almost every muscle in your body. Chinups are great for your arms and back, but they also work your legs and abs a bit more as well.

Types of Cardio:

There are three main types of cardio which are all popular for different reasons. Each type has their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to find the type that’s right for you.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GymFitWorkout

Long Slow Distance ( LSD ): This type of cardio is done for a longer period of time, but at a slower pace. Usually around 60-70% of your maximum heart rate or around the rate where you’re no longer breathing hard. This type of cardio is good for endurance and those who are just beginning their journey to get in shape.

HIIT: This type of cardio is done for shorter periods at a much higher intensity or around 80-95% of your maximum heart rate. Though the cardio session may only be takes a few minutes, it can be very taxing and may require you take a break afterwards to catch your breath. This is great for people who are already in good shape, want to get in better shape, and/or need to lose weight.

Weight Training: This type of cardio is done by lifting weights and not nearly as tiring as the other types of cardio listed above. Though you’re still expending energy, it’s not as much as the other two and therefore is a little bit more manageable. This type of cardio is great for building muscle and those who are trying to lose fat while retaining their muscle.

Those are the three main types of cardio, but there are other types as well. Some include:

Elliptical Trainers: These are pretty common and a lot of gyms will have them. They can range from simple machines that have steps that move back and forth with resistance to actual Ski Machine Substitutes. These are good for people who have bad knees or hips as they are less impact and people who don’t want to run outside in the cold.

Rowing Machines: These are also fairly common in gyms and they can range from simple machines that mimic rowing a boat to actual rowing boats. These are good as they work several muscle groups and really get your heart rate up. The only problem is some people find them to be boring and they can be hard on the back.

Stationary Bikes: These are pretty common as well and they can be found in a lot of gyms. These are good if you want to get in a little exercise but don’t want to put in the effort for a run. They can also help if you have bad knees or other joint problems.

The only problem is that they can also be boring for some and not work several muscle groups as much.

Those are the main types of cardio, but as I said before there are other types. If you’re a beginner, start slow and only do 20-30 minutes of cardio at a time and increase it as you see fit. Remember, you can always increase the time you do cardio, but you can’t decrease it, so make sure you have time for your routine.

As for what to do when you’re doing cardio, the choice is entirely up to you. If you like music, bring an IPod or something of the sort. I like to watch TV, so I’ll usually bring an old portable TV and watch TV while I run on the treadmill.

As long as you’re focused on something other than the pain you’re enduring, then it’s all good.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Whatever you do, DON’T WATCH THE CLOCK! This is a trap that many people fall into and it ruins everything. The point is to get your heart rate up and be done in a timely manner, so if you focus on the clock, you may find yourself not going all out because you want to prolong your time spent on the treadmill.

Now for some tips:

Warm up for at least five minutes before and after your routine. This will prevent injury and increase your body’s ability to endure the activity.

As I said before, start slow. Don’t jump onto the treadmill and run five miles. This will not only cause injury, but it can cause death.

Start with jogging a mile and slowly increase the time and the speed.

Don’t watch the clock and as I said before don’t set it ahead to make yourself feel better. Just do your routine and be done with it.

If jogging or using an exercise bike gets boring, try interchanging these two activities every couple of weeks or so.

If you’re bored, try listening to music or watching TV. If you still can’t stand the boredom, read a magazine or something similar to that. Just don’t start chatting with other people working out, it’s not worth the distraction.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

When you work your way up to longer routines, try taking B-vitamins before and after your routines to prevent muscle cramps and exhaustion.

These are just a few tips that I can think of for now. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Okay, now get off your asses and start working out!

Part 4: Training

Okay ladies, now it’s time to talk about training. As I said before, if you want to be big, you need to eat big. There’s really not other way around it.

If you’re looking to gain mass, you’re going to have to force your body to put on muscle through several means. The first and foremost way is exercise. We’ll go over these in a moment, but the main types of exercises to build muscle tissue are resistance, cardio, and flexibility.

The next way to build muscle is by eating. Now I’m going to give you all a list of things that you NEED to eat in order to put on mass. The first thing is eggs.

You should be eating several eggs every day. Now I know what you’re saying, “Eating all these eggs is going to make me fat!” Well let me tell you, if you’re eating several eggs, you’re probably also eating lots of other stuff and you’ll still shed more fat than you would have otherwise. Next, you need meat. You should be eating at least several ounces of meat a day. Beef is always a good choice as are lamb and chicken. If you can, try to also eat some tuna or other fish. They have tons of protein in them. Now vegetables are also important. The more vegetables you can eat the better. They’re also very good for you. You should always have a good five to seven servings of vegetables a day in order for your body to put on muscle. Also, be sure to drink lots of water every day. I can’t stress this enough. Water is important for many reasons and one of them is that it helps your body build muscle. Last but not least, you need to eat lots of carbohydrates. Pasta and bread are great sources of carbs and will provide your body with energy for your workouts. Now there’s a lot of debate about whether or not you should be eating carbs or cutting them out altogether in order to shed fat. Well I’m going to tell you right now that unless you want to be a bean pole, cut the carbs is not the way to go. Now there’s a lot of other foods that are good for you and I encourage you to explore all your options, but remember, eating junk food all the time isn’t going to do your body any good. It’s also important to eat the right amounts of food at the right times in order to maximize your muscle building efforts.

Now that you know what you should be eating, let’s go over a few supplements that can help you reach your goals even faster. The first one is whey protein. There’s really no need for me to go on and on about why this stuff is good.

Just trust me that you need to be taking it in supplement form whether it be powders, bars, juices, or whatever else they can make of it. This stuff is great because it’s packed full of all the things that help your muscles grow. Next we have creatine. Creatine helps you build muscle faster. It increases your strength and allows you to work out longer and harder. Now this one is a little controversial because there are some studies that show that it might have negative side effects in the long run, but it’s been used by weight lifters for years and there haven’t been any noticeable side effects yet. Your choice whether or not you take it, but I’d suggest giving it a try at least.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - from our website

After taking in all this information, you might be wondering how to put it all into practice. Well here are some tips that should help get you started on your muscle building journey.

First off, make sure you’re eating enough food. Now this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t actually do this. You should be stopping a couple times a week and just thinking “damn, I’m really full.” Eating six small meals a day is better than three big ones.

If you can afford it and if you have the space, buy a fitness bench so you can do weights in your home. They’re great because you can do a lot more than just bench presses. Dumbbells are also good if you have the space and money.

Now when it comes to training, I’m not an expert, but I’ve done some research and here’s what I’ve found. Many personal trainers and bodybuilders recommend working different muscles on different days with at least a day of rest in between. This is called “splitting up” your workouts.

Say you’re supposed to work your chest, back, and arms one day. You would work your chest first, then rest, then work your back, then rest, then work your arms. Splitting it up like this allows for maximum recovery so you can go all out the next time you hit that body part.

Another method is to work the opposing muscle groups together. So if you were going to work out your chest and back, you would work your chest first, then rest and then work your back. This allows you to push yourself that much harder since you’re not letting all the fatigue build up before doing the other muscle group.

However, some people recommend only using this method in the off season when you’re trying to gain mass. The reason being is that using this method causes a lot of fatigue and you’re more likely to get injured if you don’t have the stamina to keep yourself from harm.

Now as for what to do, here’s a good sample of a routine you could do:

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Say your arms are really lacking and you need to focus on them. Here’s what you do:

Warm-up beforehand by stretching and light cardio for 5-10 minutes.

Do 1 arm exercise for 5 sets of 10 reps and then take a break.

Take a 1-2 minute break before doing the next arm exercise and then do 5 sets of 10 reps for that exercise as well. Then take a 3-5 minute break. If you’re splitting up your workouts like I suggested, then take a 1-2 minute break before starting the next part (in this case your back).

After all the sets are done, stretch a bit more if you need to and call it a day.

Now you don’t necessarily have to follow this routine to the letter, but this should give you an example of what you can do. If you want more information on different routines, there’s some links at the bottom of this post that’ll help you out.

As for supplements, I’m not too sure what to recommend since I’m more of a natural bodybuilder. Here’s some good links to help you:

So now you should have a good idea of what kind of routine you should do. I can help a little bit more though.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - from our website

I’m a believer that doing cardio does more harm than good in building muscle, but everyone has their own opinion on it. If you really want to do cardio while bulking, then try to keep it on the lower side. Even something like walking can mess up your gains if you do too much of it.

Personally I don’t do any cardio while bulking.

How to bulk is a bit of a tricky subject nowadays with so much conflicting information out there. Some people recommend going for the “dirty bulk” where you’re eating a ton and just lifting heavy things and hoping for the best. Other people recommend the exact opposite with their “clean bulks” using healthy foods to fuel your lifting.

I recommend a little of both.

A dirty bulk can work well if you have the right genetics for putting on muscle. It’s basically just eating a ton of food regardless of what it is. If this is working for you, then more power to you; however there’s always room for improvement.

Eating healthy while bulking will definitely help you reach your goals faster and a lot healthier as well. (

Plus who doesn’t like eating healthy food?

!)

Here are a few healthy foods you should consider eating:

Chicken, turkey, and any kind of lean meat. Eggs (Breakfast of champs!

Need I say more?

). Oatmeal, wheat berries, brown rice, and other whole grains. Low fat dairy products like milk (Don’t go overboard though), cottage cheese, and yogurt. Vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and tomatoes. Fruits like Apples, bananas, and oranges. Beans and nuts are good if you need a little bit of extra calories as well.

These foods will give you the best chance at putting on lean mass while boosting your health at the same time. If you’re not eating healthy, you’re only doing yourself a disservice in the long run.

The next step is to figure out your caloric intake. This is going to be different for everyone depending on your metabolism and how much effort you want to put into this. I’m just going to give a ballpark range that you should fall around:

If you’re 15 years or younger, try to eat at least 4000 calories. If you’re 16 or older, try to eat at least 5000 calories. If bulking for the first time, try to get in about 500-1000 more than what I said above.

You might be eating a lot now, but trust me when I say this is just a baseline. You might even need to eat more than what I suggested if you’re really trying to bulk up!

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - from our website

Now that you know how many calories you should be eating, it’s time to split them up. Here’s how I would split them up on a “dirty bulk.”

450 cals – Protein (Chicken, Turkey, Lean Meats) – Aim for 2 to 3 servings. (100-150 calories)

1000 cals – Carbohydrates (Oatmeal, Rice, Wheat Berries) – 4 to 5 servings. (200-250 calories)

100 cals – Fat (Nuts, Oils, etc.) – 1 to 2 servings. (100-200 calories)

This comes out to a 1550 calorie meal plan. If you’re bulking properly then you should be eating 5 to 6 times a day. Here’s what each of your meals should look like:

Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked in Water or Milk with Raisins. (Cost: 100 cals)

Pre Workout: Apple or Banana. (40-50 cals)

Post Workout: Whey Protein Powder mixed with Water or Milk. (90 cals)

Morning Snack: Whole Wheat Pita Bread, 1 tablespoon of Peanut Butter, and an Apple. (250 cals)

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

Lunch: Tuna mixed with a Whole Wheat Pita Bread and a serving of Yogurt. (350 cals)

Afternoon Snack: Beef Jerkey, 1 cup of Whole Milk, and a few Nuts. (400 cals)

Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice, and a serving of Yogurt. (500 cals)

Evening Snack: 1 serving of Proteins and a serving of Carbohydrates before bed. (100-200 cals)

This is what my diet looks like when I’m bulking properly. The reason why I separate my calories into Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats is because our body needs all three of these nutrients to survive. You can get the same bulking effect by eating one big meal of surplus carbohydrates, but your body will feel much better (and perform better in the gym) if you eat a balanced diet high in protein too.

Why not juice or use meal replacement shakes?

I hear this question a lot, so I’ll address it here.

First of all, if you’re really serious about putting on muscle mass then the last thing you want to be doing is drink half your calories in shake form. You want real whole foods that are going to make you feel full.

While it’s true that a lot of these meal replacement shakes and juicing do provide a great way for people to lose weight, but that’s not what we’re doing here. These methods are even more impractical for not only putting on mass, but also keeping the muscle you build.

Why?

Because as soon as you go back to “real food,” you’re going to lose all the weight you worked so hard to put on in the first place.

But say you want to bulk using meal replacement shakes or juice…that’s fine, just don’t come crying to me when you can’t keep the weight on.

If you want to bulk using these methods, go right ahead. Just don’t bulk for too long because it’s not going to be easy to keep the weight on if you do decide to transition back into eating whole foods again.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - gym fit workout

Listen to my advice on this and you won’t have to learn the hard way.

Now that we’ve got the diet part down, let’s talk about something you’re going to need: Supplements.

Not every single supplement under the sun, you’ll just need a few basic things. The first thing you’re going to want is a good multivitamin. It’s best if you can find a multivitamin that contains all of the vitamins and minerals listed in my bulking diet above.

Second, you’re going to want a good protein supplement. Whether it be in the form of a protein shake or in bar form is up to you (and your budget) but you’ll need it. You DO NOT want to try to build huge muscles without one.

It’s not going to happen.

Third, a good pre-workout supplement. This one is optional, but if you’re looking to work out harder and build more muscle in record time, then you’re going to want one. A lot of people just buy a bulk powder form of popular pre-workouts like NO Xplode and such and just mix it with water.

I prefer to just use a pre-workout supplement that already has the optimal dosage of the ingredients already in each serving. It’s up to you and your budget.

Again, these are all things that I’ve bought and can give an honest opinion about. If you want more information on these supplements or just other ones in general, feel free to send me an email and I’ll help you in any way I can.

Step 3: Work Hard, But Take It Easy

This is a common problem that a lot of guys (and girls) have. They want to see results right away, so they put way too much strain on their bodies and end up getting really hurt in the process.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GYM FIT WORKOUT

You’re not going to get huge after your first workout (unless you’re already pretty big and/or have a great metabolism), it’s just not going to happen. You need to build up your muscles, which involves a lot of rest and eating right (which is what we’ve covered).

But what should you be doing in the mean time? How should you be working out?

Well, this one is simple. Don’t kill yourself.

Most guys walk into the gym and go straight for the free weights. Then they start throwing weight around like their name is Conan.

Stop right there.

First, you don’t know how to use most of that stuff. Second, you’re not going to learn by overdoing it on your first time in the gym. Take it easy, like I did with the treadmill when I first started.

Start off slow and work your way up gradually. Don’t try to rush into things or you’re going to hurt yourself and possibly set back your muscle building goals.

So what should you actually be doing?

I recommend starting with the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike for a few minutes to get your body warmed up. After a few minutes, head over to the free weight section (or whatever machine you feel like using) and start doing some light weight training.

As for what kind of workout to do, try to follow a plan like the one I gave you in the bulking diet above. It lays out a pretty good routine that you can follow.

While you should have a general idea of what you’re doing, you might want to buy a workout guide (they’re usually pretty cheap). They usually give you more of an idea on how to do the exercises and how many sets and reps to do.

There’s always the internet as well.

There are thousands of articles out there on proper weight training techniques. Just do a search for something like “beginner weight training” or “strength training for dummies”.

I’m sure you can find something.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned, you can also just look at the free information on this site. It’s all designed for people like you, so it should give you a good idea on what to do in the gym.

Every guy needs to do cardio. Even if your goal is to just be big and strong, cardio will help you out immensely. Here’s why:

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - Picture

There’s more to fitness than just being big and strong. You need stamina, speed, flexibility, and even endurance.

You’re probably thinking “I’ll just be big and strong and won’t need any of that”. Unfortunately, even big and strong people suffer from lack of endurance.

Have you ever seen a professional weight lifter?

They can hardly walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded.

Now you might not ever have to run a marathon, but if you’re chasing a perp down the street or racing to get away from a fire, you’re going to be wishing you had done some cardio.

There’s also the fact that most attacks on police happen without warning. If you’re in poor condition, you won’t be able to respond quickly enough.

Of course, this leads into another reason why I do cardio.

Your body has an adaptive capabilities. What this means is, the longer you do something your body becomes better at that activity. This is both a blessing and a curse.

If you’ve been a couch potato up until now, your body is probably in very poor condition. Relying on your body’s adaptive capabilities, it will quickly become fit just by walking around and doing basic things.

This isn’t good if your job requires a lot of running or other athletic endeavor. Your body will quickly catch up to you and you’ll be in good condition.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - at GYMFITWORKOUT

However, if you’ve been in good shape and then become a couch potato, your body won’t revert back to it’s old shape. If you start exercising again, it will quickly catch up to that level and no more. This is why it’s a blessing and a curse.

This is also why it’s recommended that you keep up some level of exercise even after you’ve reached your goals. Keeps your body “younger”.

Remember though, you don’t want to do too much. As I said earlier, your goal is to be big and strong. If you’re running a lot, you’re not lifting as much.

Also, if you start becoming really lean, you’re going to look a lot smaller. This isn’t really a concern for cops since most of them are pretty big to begin with.

If you’re naturally skinny then you probably don’t have to worry about this as much. Some extra cardio now and then won’t make a difference, but if you start bulking up too much then you’ll just end up looking out of shape, which isn’t good for cop work.

The other reason is that it can be easy to overdo it. Most guys tend to do way more than they should. They try to run a mile when they’ve never ran any amount of distance before.

This can cause damage to your knees and other joints, which you don’t want if your goal is to stay big and strong.

Also, it tends to lead to overuse injuries. If you’re running long distances then you’re probably landing with a lot of force and this can cause small tears in your muscles which don’t heal as well if you continue with that activity.

If you’re into running or biking or whatever, that’s fine. Just keep it moderate and save it for your off time.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - | Gym Fit Workout

But…

If your goal is to be big and strong, then you need to be doing mostly that. Anything else is just extra and you should only be doing it if you have extra time.

Here’s what I recommend…

1. If you have a gym at your apartment building, then great.

Go there.

2. If not, then find the nearest 24 Hour Fitness.

Even if you can only go at 2 AM when they’re closed, it’s still better than nothing.

3. If not 24 Hour Fitness, then find a university or somewhere that has cheap memberships.

4. If not a university, then find an old school gym that has cheap memberships and is open 24 hours.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - GymFitWorkout

5. If not a cheap gym, then join the military.

If you’re already in the military, then good for you!

6. If not the military, there’s really no hope for you.

Just buy some weights and run outside.

For those in the first five, I recommend weights over cardio. You can always do some jogging or biking or something if you really need to burn off extra energy, but weights will come first.

I say this because your body reacts well to being forced to move a heavy object from point A to point B. This ties into a lot of things like logic and reasoning and physics, so your brain starts working better. Your coordination also increases as well as your strength and speed.

All of these are important.

Even though they’re not the most manly things, you should also start stretching. You don’t want to pull a muscle doing something stupid like picking up a sweet bag of beer or trying to impress some girls.

Now the details…

The way I have it set up, you’ll be working on your goals every day and every night. Here’s what you need to do…

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - from our website

DAILY GOALS

1. Every day, work out.

This is a no-brainer. If you’re staying up late, you should still be doing this. Just because you’re a teenager now, doesn’t mean you get to be a slob.

2. 2 hours of schoolwork every day.

You’re going to have to keep your grades up if you want to get into a good college. If it’s Friday and you have a test or paper due on Monday, then you should at least be doing that.

3. Save money.

I’m putting this in here to build up your savings. You don’t need to buy anything today, you’re going to be working for everything you need later anyway, so put some of it away for a “rainy day.” This can be either a jar in your room or a bank account, whatever you want.

4. Clean house/apartment.

We can’t have you living in a pigsty. Mom would be disappointed.

DAILY GOAL EXPLANATION

1. Pregame warmup.

This is the most important part of your entire day…well at least for building muscle.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - gym fit workout

I can’t emphasize this enough.

Do you want to be a giant fat butt baby?

Then just skip it and become a failure and live in your mom’s basement forever.

No?

Good.

What you’re going to do is a pre-workout warm up. Just light stretching and warm up the muscles you’ll be using. This prevents injury and also increases your strength.

It only takes about 5 minutes.

2. Work out.

Now that you’re warmed up, it’s time to get to work. You need to be lifting weights 3 times a week and doing some cardio and abs/stretching 2 times a week. Here are the workouts:

3. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps Shoulders are a big muscle group and you use them almost every day. Some of these exercises use your own bodyweight, so that’s why we’re only working shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Do each exercise until you can’t anymore. Rest for a minute and then do it again.

Dear Coach: How Do I Get Better Cardio, Without Losing Strength - from our website

Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 15

Shrugs: 3 sets of 15

3. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Back/Biceps/Triceps This is the big muscle group for staying strong, so hit it hard twice a week since you won’t be doing other workouts that target the back as much.

Start with pull ups or lat pull downs to warm up. Then do each set slowly to make sure you’re feeling it right where it counts.

Sources & references used in this article:

Debunking the Myth of Fasted Cardio by S Khoury – breakingmuscle.com

Can Keto and Cardio Mix? by L Taylor – marksdailyapple.com

DEAR by MD Chestertown, CT Stanford, CT Northfield… – assets.usta.com

A two-year randomized trial of obesity treatment in primary care practice by S Moralis – 2019 – The Experiment

Breaking Muscle by TA Wadden, S Volger, DB Sarwer… – New England journal …, 2011 – Mass Medical Soc

Evaluating the effectiveness of an internet-based behavioral program for increasing physical activity with and without a behavioral coach by T Kelso – breakingmuscle.com

Core performance: the revolutionary workout program to transform your body and your life by DA Valbuena – 2013 – scholarcommons.usf.edu

Dear Mark: Diet to Get Lean, Exercise to Get Healthy? by LM Wilson – 2003 – Three Rivers Press (CA)