Why Cardio Sucks… And What to do Instead

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Fitness

sled pushingI hate doing cardio.

There are very few things I find less appealing than the thought of getting on a stair master and huffing away for thirty minutes straight.

I’d imagine five rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime to be less painful.

Going for a long walk or bike ride a few times per week at a low intensity is a great idea and I think everyone should do it.

Pounding your joints on a machine at a high intensity for 45 minutes, five times a week? Horrible idea.

When I opened Renegade Gym back in the early 90′s it was devoid of cardio machines. That’s because I wanted my clients to be strong, athletic and lean. They weren’t gonna get there by me sticking them on a cross country ski thingy.

To get ripped and build functional strength endurance you need to train like fighter, not an 85-year-old chess champion.

So, instead of treadmills and rowers, I filled my gym with sleds, tires, battling ropes, sandbags, kettlebells, farmers walk handles, jump ropes, medicine balls and various other implements.

We mix and match these training tools, along with a variety of bodyweight exercises, into a 5-10 minute circuit that’s performed as a “finisher” after your main strength-training workout has been completed. It burns fat like crazy and dramatically improves your conditioning.

Sometimes we’ll even include one of these short sessions on an off day or in hotels when traveling. Since they only take ten minutes they give you no excuse for not being able to get a workout in.

This style of training is what I call Renegade Cardio.

Too Much Traditional Cardio Makes You Small & Weak

Renegade Cardio burns fat far more effectively, spares your joints of the typical overuse injuries, and doesn’t cause the excess cortisol production traditional cardio does. That means you’ll actually get to keep or improve your strength while leaning down instead of getting weaker.

A recent study at the University of Tampa showed that adding jogging to a weight-training program decreased strength gains by 50%!

When you’re getting weaker you’re losing muscle. And if you’re losing muscle your body fat percentage is going to be on the rise. Neither of those is a desired outcome of training. At least amongst the people I’ve worked with.

That’s why I do Renegade Cardio. It’s nowhere near as detrimental to your gains nor is it anywhere near as lame and boring. It’s actually quite fun; especially when you have a training partner or two that you can challenge and compete against.

So How Do You Implement Renegade Cardio?

Simple; after you finish your main Renegade strength training workout, you pick one of the 52 fast, fat blasting workouts I’ve put together for you, get the equipment you need, get a timer and do work!

Here’s a sample workout for you to try using bodyweight only:

1a) Deck Squat* – 2-3 x 30 sec. on x 0-30 sec. rest

1b) Mountain Climber – 2-3 x 30 sec. on x 0-30 sec. rest

1c) Seal Jack – 2-3 x 30 sec. on x 0-30 sec. rest

1d) High Knee Sprint in Place– 2-3 x 30 sec. on x 30-60 sec. rest

*These will be too hard for most people to do down to the floor so you can use a 4-6 pad as shown below.

Try to move through the circuit from one exercise to the next with as little rest as possible. If you do three rounds with no rest between the first three exercises and thirty seconds after the entire circuit it will take you seven and a half minutes. But don’t feel the need to do that. Do whatever you are capable of and strive to improve over time.

Here’s a sample workout using a variety of training tools:

1a) Kettlebell Bootstrapper Squat– 2 x 10 x 0-30 sec. rest

1b) Jump Rope- 2 x 50 turns x 0-30 sec. rest

1c) Slalom Jump Burpee- 2 x 10 x 0-30 sec. rest

1d) Kettlebell Swing- 2 x 20 x 0-30 sec. rest

1e) Medicine Ball Slam– 2 x 10 x 45-90 sec. rest

Again, take as little rest as possible, but don’t make yourself sick. Do the best you can and try to do a little better next time.

Give those a try and let me know you like them.

PS. Want 52 more fast, fat blasting finishers and 10 bonus hill sprint and strongman workouts? Grab your copy of Renegade Cardio HERE.