Friday, March 14, 2014

Fitness Friday: Guest Post Edition

Today's guest post is brought to you by Marlee. She has begun a fitness blog called! Check out her awesome tips and stories! Today's excerpt is called "Cardio Won't Cut It." Here's Marlee:

If any one is cardio's biggest fan it's me. I could run, elliptical, bike or do any cardio exercise all day like Forest Gump! It took me 8 years to realize that cardio by itself won't cut it. I wasn't going to reach the goals I had set for myself simply by running more. Now for anyone who doesn't know, cardio is short for cardiovascular. Cardiovascular exercise is also known as aerobic exercise where you're body is using oxygen and you're working at a relatively low or moderate intensity. This is different for different people. For me cardio would be my daily 6 mile run at a moderate pace but for others it could be going for a walk or jog. Depending on your fitness level and goals your cardio exercises will be different. 
A huge fitness myth especially for females is that you need to do more cardio to lose weight. Sure, nothing burns more calories than going for a run but in order to burn fat and keep it off you need to also incorporate healthy eating and resistance training. So many women fear lifting heavy weights because of another ridiculous myth that lifting weights will make them "bulky". This couldn't be more wrong! As a female your body doesn't produce enough testosterone for you to become bulky without the help of steroids or performance enhancing drugs. Resistance training and weight lifting will allow you to build muscle, increase your metabolism, and burn more calories throughout the day. The more muscle you have the higher your basal metabolic rate. What that simply means is the lower your body fat and the higher percentage of muscle you have the more calories your body will burn when you aren't working out. Cardio exercises may burn tons of calories while you're doing them but weight training produces an after burn effect allowing your muscles to keep burning fat you're done working out. 
A well rounded training plan should include cardio, weight training, flexibility, and healthy eating. If you incorporate all four of these into your program you'll get the lasting results you've always wanted! For so many years I thought that to be a better runner I had to just run more, no matter how fast or slow I could go. I was told more miles=faster times. Well I was putting in 50+ miles a week with no results. One reason is because most of these miles were slow easy runs just for the purpose of getting my mileage up. Jogging miles on miles on miles was in no way going to bring my 5k time down, if anything it made me slower because my body was getting so used to running so slow. I remember one week I ran 70 miles and I was so excited I'd finally accomplished that. Well the next week it was a struggle to get 40 because of how bad I was breaking down my muscles. I wasn't strong at all I just had great cardiovascular endurance. By bringing my mileage down to no more than 50 miles a week and adding weight training 4-5 days a week I've been able to avoid injury, stay energized, build muscle and take 2 minutes off of my 5k time all within a year!! Keep in mind I'm running that much because I have to for my sport. If you're just trying to improve your fitness, lose weight and get in better shape 30-45 minutes about 5 days a week of cardio is all you need! Don't overdo it or you will get burnt out and frustrated. Find exercises you enjoy doing and add variety to your training! Most importantly have fun with it and results will come! Be patient.

Good luck and stay strong!
- M 


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