Posts Tagged ‘tennis’

As a natural lifter, I need some type of cardio to get cut.  I don’t know how natural lifters are able to get ripped without any cardio and I don’t believe its healthy to remove it from your workout routine.

In my opinion, everyone needs some form of cardio.

The question is what type of cardio and how long.  Also, what type of cardio will remove the most body fat.

Luckily, I have experimented for over 20 years with all different types of cardio.  My personal favorites?

It’s a combination.  Below, I will list the benefits and negatives of different forms of cardio that I have used.

Running (Long distance): I consider over 5 miles long-distance.  I rarely run longer than 3 miles in my training and I only go up to 5 miles for races.  Whenever I have tried adding long distance running, I ended up skinny fat.  Skinny fat is where you are slender but you still carry a large percentage of body fat.

tempo

Sprinting: Sprinting is a really good fat burner, possibly the best in short doses.  Although there are some problems:

sprinting

A) You can only do it for so long.  You can’t sprint every  single day for a year.  You can only do it several months in a year and its typically seasonal.

B) Most people don’t use enough reps.  You can’t just run 100 meters 3 or 4x a week and expect to get ripped, you really need a hard session.

Overall, there are some negatives with sprinting, but when used correctly, it is still one of the best methods to remove body fat.

Tempo runs: This unfortunately has worked the best for me, but, I have found that it is starting to wear my body down.  Tempo runs would be 2-3 mile runs at a fast pace, 3 or 4x a week minimum.  When I am in good shape, I can run these at around a 6:30 per mile pace.

IMG_2962

Racing

The negatives are that it kills my joints, especially my knee’s, and after a while I will start to get skinny fat if my weight lifting goes down.  If you start getting weak in the gym, you need to cut back.

Sports: This can also potentially be the best.  If your diet and weight lifting is on point, there is nothing wrong with playing tennis, basketball or soccer.  Hitting a ball around is good, but a competitive game is better.  You just have to make sure you play 3 or 4x a week otherwise you have to fill in those gaps in with other forms of cardio.

tennis

Bike riding: Zero.  This actually makes me look worse.  It makes my arms tired from holding my body up and then I can’t lift.

bike

Swimming: So/So.  I hate to say this, but swimming doesn’t do it for me.  Top level swimmers get lean but you can’t hold on to any solid muscle mass.

swimming

Kickboxing. Pretty good.  I would just make sure that you take a class AFTER weight lifting so it doesn’t kill your heavy lifting.  My wife is taking kickboxing and she lost 35 lbs in 4 months since my son has been born.

kick

Elliptical. Pretty good.  I’ve been using this as a really good “fill in” cardio workout.  If my legs and joints are hurting, I will do a hard 30 minute elliptical session instead of running.  Its easy on the joints, but doesn’t use the muscles are much as some of the other exercises.  I like that you can basically go non-stop without burning down and it also doesn’t affect my weight training.

elliptical

So, what is the overall winner?

If you NEED to burn body fat, no questions asked, you should start using tempo runs 3 to 4x a week and then start throwing in some sprints immediately after.

If its your offseason, or you don’t want to break your body down, I would recommend a mix of sports, running and elliptical.

Recently, I have been completely mixing it up and I was able to go from 180 lbs down to 150 while also lifting pretty heavy.

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Good luck! And don’t forget, you need to lift heavy.  If your first priority isn’t lifting heavy weights, you wont have anything to cut up after burning off the fat.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

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I love running.  I have been running on and off for over 20 years and I love the sport.

But it wears me out.

For some reason, no matter how hard I try, I cannot run for an entire year straight.  I can run hard for 4-6 months tops and then my body and central nervous system needs a break.

Many runners never take off,  I don’t know how they do it.

Weight training is different.  I have been weight lifting for 20 years straight and I never take off.  I won’t always set records and sometimes I have nagging injuries, but I never feel burnt out from weight lifting.

This summer I am slowly getting back into running, but to be honest, I’m not really feeling it.  As an alternative, I have been trying to get back into basic sports.

Basketball and tennis.

What’s wrong with using sports instead of running? Cardio is cardio.

I played an hour of 3 on 3 basketball last week in 90 degree heat and it felt harder than a 8-mile run.

But more importantly, it’s fun.  Running can get really boring after a while.

So, what it is my advice? Don’t forget about sports.  There is nothing wrong with playing tennis 3x a week or going swimming.  You might even burn off more fat than any type of running.

-John

P.S. I have my 2nd book coming out on amazon in two weeks!

My “problem”  that I have with modern bodybuilding is that many athletes are not really “in shape”.

So what does “in shape” mean?

At a minimum, you should be able to play a full court basketball game or at least a full game of singles tennis.

You should also be able to run without having to catch your breath.

And your vitals should be good.  That means regular blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

I “allow” myself to get a little bit overweight in the winter, but that is ONLY for 2-3 months and never for an extended amount of time.

Most of the time, I will also continue doing cardio throughout the entire winter.

Lifting heavy weights doesn’t get you in shape.  Lifting weights is the easy part and unless you are powerlifting, you probably aren’t even going very heavy.

Don’t forget to stay in shape.  Bulking up forever can get you in big trouble going forward.

Too many heavy weight lifters in the gym, not enough guys in shape.

Don’t forget your cardio

Don’t forget your diet

-John

Check out my book on amazon.com!