Big Rocks First – Cardio Training (Exercise Program #2)

Essential reading:  Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  The principles in this book are foundational for successful living.  One of the ideas from this book has to do with today’s topic: cardio workouts.

The principle is this:  organize your schedule inserting the big rocks first.  The idea is that when you’re looking at a schedule, agenda, priority list, etc. it’s important to put the most important elements (big rocks) in first.  Then the little rocks (less important or even unimportant) fit it around the big rocks.  
You can see the application.  In my world of exercise, health and fitness the Big Rock is cardio.  I don’t care how flexible you are.  I don’t care how big your muscles are or how much you can bench press.  And I certainly don’t care if you can do 125 sit-ups without stopping as you display your washboard six-pack abs.
What I care about is the health of your heart.  The cardio component is the Big Rock in your exercise program.  It’s the most important aspect of your training that can never be neglected.   Why?  Because nothing compares to the health of your heart.  Your heart makes everything else work.  It pumps oxygen rich blood to muscles and living tissues of the body.  Your heart is the workhorse – why would you neglect it?

So what does a cardio workout look like?  First, a cardio workout should happen three days per week.  This may seem like a lot – it’s almost every other day.  But that brings us to our second component – duration.  A cardio workout needs to be 20 minutes long to have any cardiovascular benefits.  Walking?  20 minutes.  On the bike? 20 minutes.  Running or jogging?  20 minutes.  Combination of theses?  20 minutes.

It’s important to remember that every aspect of your exercise program should be seen as a progression towards something more challenging.  I’m not suggesting that you’ll be running 90 minutes for seven days per week.  But I am insisting that you push yourself a little bit each month.  That’s right, each month.  More later.

In review, a cardio workout is:

  • the Big Rock in your exercise program
  • should start at 20 minutes of activity
  • should happen three days per week

Simple, right?  Start with these guidelines or leave me a message in the comments section and we can discuss your fitness training.

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In our next post, we’ll discuss strength training.

Happy Training!

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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