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Last week I published a post from Charles Poliquin about “cardio” and it’s effects on body composition. I’ve also written about that topic previously, and it’s something that I’m constantly engaged on in the gym because of the amount of people training for fitness events. I’m carrying on the theme this week, but from as different angle.

When the word “cardio” is mentioned, the general perception is that it’s referring to long, slow distance efforts of either running, cycling, swimming or rowing. Anything that requires steady-state activity in excess of 20 minutes.

Anything that requires steady-state activity in excess of 20-30 minutes.

That’s not a typo, I intended to repeat it because “cardio” (steady state exercise) isn’t limited to monostructural activities such as running, cycling and swimming. A 40-minute “MetCon” would be considered steady state activity too. It’s 40 minutes, so you would have to hold a much lower intensity – engage in a steady state – in order to make it through the 40 minutes. Unless you do what most inexperienced CrossFitters do and go out the gates too hot before crashing and burning at 10 minutes. (I have “MetCon” in inverted commas there because a 40-minute MetCon is not metabolic conditioning, it’s steady state activity.)

Similarly, completing two or more MetCons in an hour class would be considered steady state activity. Again, that is so because you simply have to lower your intensity early in the session in order to make it through all MetCons. I call those sorts of classes MetCon Aerobics. They have their place, now and then.

If you’re constantly doing workouts in excess of 20 minutes or have three metcons to complete in an hour all the time, you’re basically just doing steady state activity and you’ll end up experiencing the effects listed in those aforementioned articles. It won’t prepare you for any sort of fitness or exercise event, your gains in fitness will taper off very quickly, and you’ll end up unhealthy.

A short and sweet message today – just like training should be!

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