Conditioning sucks. There’s no other way to put it. If you’re the type who actually likes to lace up the Nikes and hit the pavement for a few miles, I’m seriously concerned with what type of mental illness you suffer from. And when it comes right down to it, I’m glad your crazy ass is on my side.
That said, conditioning is a crucial part of any good workout program. Like any type of strength training, conditioning requires progression. You don’t just get up and go run six miles on your first day. You’ll end up sore, hurt, and probably won’t be working out again for a long while.
Science shows that with progressive strength training and shorter, more intense conditioning, the benefits far surpass traditional, low-intensity, steady-state cardio. Not only are you getting into shape, but you are metabolically conditioning your body to burn fat, even hours after you’re done working out. Side note: we are not old ladies, so we should not be training like them. We condition, we do not do cardio. No more speed-walking around the mall, gents!
I recently watched Zombieland, and they mention that the first rule of surviving the outbreak was cardio. (The word “cardio” is a pet peeve of mine.) It reminded me that I’d be screwed in that situation. I prefer picking up heavy shit over mindlessly jogging down the road. So to get my ass in gear, and get better conditioned in a way that brought back memories of my athletic training, I recently added a conditioning day on my off days from strength training. This is inspired from Jim Wendler, who is a strength coach and has one “Viking Day” per week where he does badass conditioning with sleds and other implements. For this particular workout, all you need is a quarter mile track and something heavy to carry. On paper this workout looked like I’d breeze through it. But afterwards my lungs felt like they’d smoked two packs a day for the last 25 years.
Each lap is a quarter mile. For those who do not have a track, measure it out on the street. Every lap you aren’t carrying an object, you should be pushing to increase the speed.
1st lap – farmer’s carry
2nd lap – ½ speed jog
3rd lap – farmer’s carry
4th lap – ¾ speed jog
5th lap – farmer’s carry
6th lap – full sprint
After it is all said and done, you will have completed a mile and a half.
For the “farmer’s carry” you have a few options. I like to carry my 92lb kettle bell since it’s awkward to hold especially when you’re tired. Another option I’ve used is a 5 gallon bucket and each time I complete a lap I’ll fill it up a little more with sand or water. If you have no access to heavy training implements, take a backpack, fill it full of books, bricks, rocks, anything for added weight, and get to walking. Whatever you use, I promise, your forearms will be bulging like Popeye the Sailor by the end.
For you dedicated lifters, I recommend trying this workout as an active recovery day. The stress placed on your body should not affect the rest of your week’s workouts. If you’re not currently training, it’s time to ask yourself, “Why?” Time is not a good excuse. I have two kids. I teach classes at a start-up gym 10+ hours a day. And I still get my workouts in, even if it’s midnight. Time for a wake-up call—get on a regiment and see how you can optimize your body.
Socrates said over 2,400 years ago, “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
Pick something physical you enjoy and go after it 100%. I recommend to people all the time, just buy a cheap punching bag, watch some YouTube videos, or hire a trainer for a couple sessions to learn the punches. Try boxing six three-minute rounds per day. You’d be surprised at the lean muscle you build and the stamina you develop. Whatever you do: kick ass, stay physically prepared for any challenge, and be consistent!
If you do complete this workout, give me a shout in the comments or on my Instagram page. Let me know the time it took you to finish, and what you thought.
Follow Cam on Instagram @moderncaveman.55