While training to increase your physical power may be tedious and boring, working to build up your conditioning can generally be a very fun endeavor. Conditioning is a term used interchangeably with physical stamina. Unlike your muscles that need at least 48 hours of recovery time in between lifting sessions no matter your experience, your heart can adjust rather quickly to constant use. However, even if your can get your heart rate going at a higher rate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that doing that increases it’s capabilities. To truly improve your heart’s strength and even your body’s athleticism, dynamic changes in your cardio regiment are necessary.
For those that have only just began they journey into the world of fitness and exercise, running may seem like the easiest option to improve your stamina. While it is a good way to warm up your body or maintain your cardio, I feel that it pales in comparison to high intensity training, or HIT. HIT can last only a matter of minutes, yet can burn as much fat and push the heart just as hard as running for 30 minutes on the treadmill. HIT is essentially a series of movements that demands a large amount of work in a short period of time laced in between periods of rest. This consistent ebb and flow of your heart rate gives your body a more dynamic workout and therefore a tougher one. Take this concept to another level by changing the workout each day and your body must be quicker to adapt to it, which in turn allows your conditioning to skyrocket compared to the monotonous treadmill running.
Playing sports is a much funner alternative to HIT that also helps to improve social interaction and team skills. The constant change of pace during game-play mimics the ups and downs of HIT while the different games played each day increases the variations that your body has to adjust to would cause you to become a far more conditioned athlete. One of the best ways to really make yourself an unstoppable force is to cross-train. Cross-training is a concept where you take multiple fitness disciplines and do them all. An example being me, I lift for power and physique, I work to improve my athletic prowess on the field, I train Brazilian jiujitsu, I never shy away from a game of American football or ultimate Frisbee.
Conditioning can be fun, it can be brutal and you may feel like you’re dying, but it can be fun nonetheless. One of the mantras I use when training my heart is “you don’t get good, you just get better.” What that means to me is that no matter how hard you work, you still have work to do and that’s okay. I assure you that while weight training can be a good way of keeping yourself to a schedule and even staying in great shape, cardio and conditioning will always be the more dynamic component as long as you do it right.