Your time and your body are a stewardship entrusted to you. So, how can you best take care of your body while maximizing your minutes? You make those minutes count by working hard and reap the benefits of that hard work until your next training session.
I’m a big believer in shorter, intense workouts. Some people get excited about spending 45 minutes on the treadmill before breakfast. Not me. If that’s you, and you’re faithful and committed to it, do it. If you can’t swing that sort of time in your schedule, you’re in the right place.
Let’s face it: most people work out to look good (me, I have a variety of reasons, from wanting to be able to play rambunctiously with my kids to being able to eat as much as I want). Metabolic conditioning (MetCon for short) enables you to actually reap many of the fat-burning benefits of exercise long after the workout is over. Intervals of varied intensity actually enable an elevated metabolism long after your workout has ended. Plus they tend to be shorter (largely because if you’re going hard enough, you won’t last that long, no matter your fitness level).
So you won’t find me doing long boring cardio. I don’t have time for it, and I hate it. I believe in looking forward to your workouts. They may as well be interesting. Even “fun” is okay.
Tip: When in the middle of an intense workout, think, “The next ten minutes will pass whether I’m working out or not. Would I like to have something to show for it? Then GET AFTER IT!”
When it comes to actually weightlifting, I tend to stick to the olympic and power lifts: the deadlift, back squat, front squat, cleans, presses, thrusters, and all sorts of variations. These are compound lifts, engaging multiple joints and muscle groups with every repetition. They give the most bang for the buck, right?
Basically I stay away from exercises that only engage one joint or that isolate a particular muscle, like curls, calf raises, etc.
Strength training is important for actual building of muscle. The more muscle you have, the more energy you can consume. Muscle also provides a helpful padding for joints if you’re a fighter or an athlete, etc. Finally, it simply expands your functional fitness capabilities. The stronger you are, the more you can do.
I don’t want to be a cardio-hater. I just don’t like it, and I think it is not the best demonstration of stewardship. Some people can use time on a treadmill to meditate on Scripture, pray, think through the day, have some time alone with their thoughts, etc. That’s wonderful. I don’t really do that very well. When I’m exercising, I tend to think about the task at hand. I’d prefer to keep it as short as possible.
So pretty much the only time you’ll find me doing cardio is when I’m playing basketball or some other sport for fun, or when I’m going for a run with my wife for fun in a new neighborhood to see the sights. It’s never just for sake of exercise.