When it comes down to what rules and guidelines to follow in fitness and food it really boils down to one thing: what you want your body to look like.
For the length of my fitness journey I’ve generally avoided straight cardio due to my persistent stress fracture in my left foot. Most cardio requires moderate to high impact and it speeds up the time I have before my fracture lands me in another cast. I generally work my cardio in with my strength workouts using HIIT style workouts. But let’s face it- if I want to look like my fitness heroes I need to acknowledge that they ALL do a form of straight cardio aside from their strength training. If I want to look like I stepped off a IFBB Bikini stage then there is no more avoiding it.
In the past I’ve used running, elliptical and jump rope skipping. Running is enjoyable to me– but it has it’s time constraints. If you live in a rough neighborhood (and don’t they all feel like that nowadays) you can’t really go running at night and feel safe about it. Even if it’s not night you have to worry about secluded areas where you can get snatched. I tend to workout at night so running is generally out of the question for me. The elliptical is great and low-impact but it requires a) the money to buy a machine for home or b) a gym membership. I’m not a huge fan of gyms. They are expensive and I don’t really like the idea of driving anywhere to workout. That leaves skipping which is my absolute favorite of the three. It’s cheap, compact, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Skipping is what I do the most of when I do straight cardio.
I’ve got a 5k coming up in December (my first actually!). Which means I’ve got to work on my cardiovascular endurance. If I can’t run; I’m going to skip. Due to my injuries I have to take it easy so for now my goal is to do at least 2 straight cardio sessions per week. Wish me luck!