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Podcast 8

What about Cardio? – Part 3: Training For Sports Performance vs Training For Cardiovascular Health

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Is strength training enough for longevity and quality of life? That’s the question Brian and Dr. James Fisher explore in the final episode of the What About Cardio? series. Learn about the difference between how athletes and the average person train and why achieving high levels of sports performance and everyday fitness are not accomplished the same way.

  • Can strength training and whole food nutrition be enough to transform someone’s fitness results? Where does cardio fit into fitness and sports performance?
  • Fitness is about our body’s ability to perform a physical task, whether that’s moving a weight or speed or flexibility. Cardiovascular fitness is our body’s ability to move oxygen around the body efficiently, and one of the major benefits of cardio is an increased rate of recovery from exercise.
  • Intensity is key. If you want to perform at a higher level in a sport, long duration and low intensity will not achieve the results you desire. Even with a long duration, low intensity sport, a greater intensity is required to increase performance.
  • There was a study that was published in the late 90’s that showed that the best way to become better at a sport is to practice the sport. A lot of the exercise and training that athletes do to become better at their sport is actually superficial. Specificity of movement is vital.
  • Fisher trains athletes for the positions they are going to play, and the best way to get better at a certain sport is to do exactly that. Resistance training can be a great supplement as a way to prevent injury, but it won’t do much to directly improve someone’s sport performance.
  • The average person shouldn’t be looking to sports training to help prevent the aging process. There are a couple of things to remember: when you are looking at a high level athlete on television, they are genetically gifted. They probably achieved what they have relatively early on in life and with less training than the average person. The second thing to remember is that they are paid to do that and have a short career.
  • The best athletes have a short shelf life. The average career in the NFL is less than 7 years. Are you willing to do all the training and exercise that they put themselves through to perform at that level?
  • Brief, intense strength training can improve cardiovascular fitness. A study by a group of Spanish authors showed a 10% increase in cardiorespiratory fitness over 12 weeks with a program of strength training. If you’re already a Tour de France cyclist, adding resistance training isn’t going to do much to improve your performance. It all depends on who you are.
  • Resistance training can definitely improve our health, improve our cardiovascular fitness, and improve our longevity and quality of life.
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