I live a few miles away from a beautiful lake in Seattle called Green Lake. Every spring when the weather becomes nice and the sun comes out, people flock to this lake. Around the perimeter of the lake is a jogging path. I drive by this lake daily and get to observe dozen of joggers running around the lake.
[I couldn't find a nice photo of Green Lake, so I put up a photo of a marina that is about 3 minutes from my place. I've lived on the water most of my life and wouldn't have it any other way.]
Were We Meant to Jog for Long Periods of Time?
I’ve touched on this before, but I wanted to discuss this again. I see dozens of people each day jogging all over the Seattle area, so it just makes me wonder…is this a good use of time and energy? The reason I ask this, is because a lot of the people I see jogging look a little run down to me. Mark Sisson has an excellent post on this topic: Chronic Cardio
Actual Marathon Running Is Brutal On the Body!
Without a doubt, running a marathon is torture on your body. I have always felt it was bad and would break down muscle, but I had no idea of the extent of the damage. Art De Vany who is a professor at the University of California, Irvine wrote a convincing article on the negatives of marathons: Top Ten Reasons not to Run Marathons
A Quick Definition of “Marathon Cardio”
I consider marathon cardio to be maintaining a steady, but challenging jogging pace for over 30 minutes. This is a really simple way of looking at it, there are other factors such as heart rate…plus you can do marathon cardio on a bike, etc.
A Fine Line Between Steady State and Marathon Cardio
I recommend a bit of steady state cardio at times to maximize fat burning. This is just something to add after HIIT or a bodyweight circuit to help you lose just a little more fat than HIIT alone. The deal is this…you have to be pretty cautious about going too hard or too long with the steady state portion. In fact do not do steady state cardio after HIIT each and every time…it can quickly lead to burn out and over-training.
We Were Most Likely Meant to Walk and Sprint
The healthiest people I know stay active all day long and walk a lot during the day. In addition to this, they do intense activities for short durations a few times per week. I wrote a post recently regarding workout intensity and burning body fat. I explained that walking on a treadmill was an ineffective way to burn body fat. I should have also explained that I’m not putting down walking at all! I just think that you should walk as much as possible outside of the gym. Your 3-4 visits to the gym each week should be intense and used to jack up the metabolism the rest of the week.
What Many Don’t Know About Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple was on the cover of Runner’s World 3 different times. In 1985 they named him one of the “fittest” men alive. He also placed as high as 4th in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. The guy was a marathon cardio junkie! These days he doesn’t believe in doing marathon cardio and feels better than ever. Want to see how an utra-fit guy in his mid-50′s stays in great shape?
[I've posted this video on my site before, but just wanted to do it again to show people how effective short burst intervals are for contributing to a healthy body. This beach is basically Mark's front yard, by the way! He's also a fellow beer-lover like myself. Here is a guy who stays fit while enjoying life. He's much cooler than most of the people on the covers of fitness magazines.]
Note: So to get ready for summer, think along these lines…a few brief and intense efforts per week, mixed with a lot of slow and steady activity outside of the gym. Keep the diet slightly cleaner than normal if you have a few pounds to lose and you will be good.