Training around Training? 7 Top Tips to Improve your cardio

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improve your cardioIt’s pretty normal to think your cardio is absolutely fine, grading day comes and you realise your cardio is pants. You’re a sweaty mess that can hardly stand up while having instructions and orders barked at you and you barely scraped through, with the feeling you only just made it. So next time you vow to be fitter, improve your cardio, so you can not let it get in the way of your next belt.

Let’s not take anything away from your class, most fighting styles like kickboxing, boxing, thai boxing etc have excellent cardio parts to their class. If that’s the case it’s not really necessary to do training outside of your style. Only for fun. What I am talking about is the majority of traditional martial arts where cardio is not really the main focus and it’s more about technique. Where the only time your heart rate really goes up is in a grading or the odd bit of pressure testing now and again.

So what can you do to improve your cardio?

I think just two days a week will do and find something you like rather than exercise for the sake of exercise. Here are my 7 top tips to finding something you like and will keep up with to improve your cardio.
– No time restrictions – Try and find an activity that you can do at anytime. If it’s a set time every week it’s just adding more commitment sin your life and yo have enough of these with your current martial art. Make it easy to do anytime and you’ll fit it in around your already busy day.
– Doesn’t cost you anything on-going – there is always some sort of up front investment however small, but an constant on-goign fee is another cost in your life you can easily do without. Forget the gym, find a way of training without paying out for once
– Isn’t weather dependant – even if it’s pouring down with rain you’re still gonna go out and exercise, make sure you accept or plan for rainy days and don;t let then get in the way. Weather it’s buying wet weather gear or finding an indoor space, hopefully that’s free, plan for the weather
– Find an activity you enjoy to do, i you hate running, don’t pick running. Yes it’ll improve your cardio but you’ll hate it so you’ll easily find an excuse not to do it long term. It’s all about having fun at the end of the day
– Try and find friends that enjoy the same thing – if you have friend pushing you to go out, you’ll always have someone that is up for it and someone who isn’t. Then you’ll all take it in tern to have the motivation when everyone is lacking. More people less excuses.
– Mix up the training a bit – don’t just go out and run 5 miles, same route, same day, yawn yawn!! Either mix up the activity or change what you do within the same activity. Try hill sprints, or one super long distance. If your with mates, create some competitions or race against a clock. There are so many app’s out there nowadays where you can race against other people. Starve for bikers is a greta one. Run keeper, etc
– Keep it up – improving your cardio actually comes quite quickly. We naturally should be quite fit, so it won’t take long to build it. However you’ll loose it just as quickly, so you need to keep it up. Don’t slack off once you’re fit. it does’t work like that. Keep going, stay fit, rinse everyone else at your martial arts class and don;t let poor fitness get in the way of learning the next technique of passing that grading.

So what is my advice for things you can do to improve your cardio

Here’s just a few but remember the world is your oyster. If you can’t find something that ticks all the boxes able, no worries, as long as you love it you’ll keep it up. Simple

– Running is super cheap, easy, you can do it anywhere. Even Nelson Mandela ran everyday, in his cell for 27 years. 40 minutes on the spot every morning. Enjoy your freedom and get out there and enjoy your surroundings.
– Cycling – Bit of a investment to get your started but you can go out on some old rust piece of junk to start with to make sure you’re into it. Stay off Strava for a bit though, it’s totally demoralising seeing other peoples times.
– Walking – get a dog, walk for miles at a fast pace, super healthy one of the best exercises you can do. Get a sweat on and keep going.
– Racket sports, you will need to find a friend to play with, but forget paying a fortune for a court, just go to a local park and smack it around. Get a sweat on and have fun.
– Circuits – I used to make up all kinds of circuits in all kinds of places. Use your surrounding to build a circuit for you, set yourself a goal and try to achieve it. You can be as creative as you like

Good luck and enjoy it.