Earlier this week I received an email from one of our readers in which he forwarded an excerpt from an article about cardio. This article was written by a strength coach, and in the passage, the coach was explaining why he suggests doing cardio directly after training. The first reason he gave was that it’s convenient. What?
I have to admit I was a little surprised to see convenience listed as a reason for exercise prescription. If convenience were a primary determining factor in structuring a program, life would be a lot easier, wouldn’t it? I’ll tell you right now I’d be eating a lot of fast food because it is more convenient than preparing meals but you and I both know that a diet of fast food, though convenient, will not get the job done. Convenience is not always a great thing to hinge your decisions on because what is best or most effective is not always what is most convenient.
He also went on to support his post-training cardio theory by stating that he was not a big fan of AM cardio, but never really said why. So he has transformed his dislike for early morning cardio into another reason to back up his prescription.
You know, I am not particularly a big fan of the calorie restrictions I have to do during the final weeks leading up to a contest, but I know it is necessary to achieve the results I want. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just set everything up, so it is easy and convenient and never have to do anything that we don’t totally enjoy? Unless you’re planning on riding the next tornado into the Land of Oz, it just doesn’t work that way. When you are working to achieve your goals, no matter what they may be, the best and most effective plan may not always be the most convenient and certainly not always the easiest.
Paul Delia has explained in more than one article as well as in the Max-OT course why cardio directly before or after training is not the most effective way to structure your cardiovascular sessions. He never once said it was the most convenient way to do it, but he does offer real physiological reasons why you should avoid the practice of pre or post-workout cardio.
I’ve had people tell me they have no other time during the day they could do their cardio except directly after training, but they did not try to convince themselves or me that it was the best choice. They acknowledged that it is not ideal timing, but they have to do the best they can with the time they have available to them. They did not try to turn their personal scheduling conflict into a reason to believe post-workout cardio is the most effective choice.
It’s Not Just Cardio
The convenience issue does not begin and end with cardio. Another example is people who pre-mix their protein drinks and let them sit in liquid for an extended period or buy pre-made protein drinks because it is more convenient. Pre-made or pre-mixed drinks are a bad choice because the quality of the protein is greatly compromised and pretty much destroyed in the pre-made protein drinks that are for sale. Once again, just because something is convenient doesn’t mean it is the best choice.
Skip La Cour quoted John Madden (Hall of Fame NFL coach and Monday Night Football analyst) as saying, “When something doesn’t happen the way a coach wants it to happen an excuse becomes a reason. Then, the reason becomes a philosophy.” That is exactly that is going on here. People are taking the excuse of convenience and turning that into a reason, and eventually, that becomes their philosophy. You have to be careful that you don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap.
On the AST Sports Science website, you will find sound advice on how to maximize your results with cutting-edge training, nutrition, supplementation and cardio techniques. What we prescribe may not always be the most convenient way, but you can be assured it is the most effective way.