High Intensity Weight Training: Get Fit With NO CARDIO
See the full video here- High Intensity Weight Training: Get Fit With NO CARDIO
Here is the transcription: So, in this video we’re talking about how is it possible to not do any cardio whatsoever, and still have tremendous cardiovascular fitness levels? So, for someone like myself who only does high intensity weight training the question usually arises, how do you keep your heart healthy and how do you maintain cardiovascular fitness if you’re only doing weight training?
Now, because we tend to put things like weight training and aerobic training into different boxes, it tends to run contrary to the reality of the fact that it is possible to achieve a very high level of cardiovascular fitness if you’re only doing high intensity weight training.
In this video, I’m going to talk a little bit about what I was able to do personally as someone who’s only done this form of training with no cardio whatsoever for the past 30 plus years and also the experience of my clients. You might find it interesting, so stay tuned.
So, in this video I’m talking about cardiovascular fitness. Is it possible to have a high level of cardiovascular fitness only doing high intensity training and no cardio whatsoever?
I’m going to go straight into it, the answer is yes.
Before I go any further I’d like to take the time to thank everyone for tuning in especially those who say this should be a one stop place for anyone interested in training naturally. I thank you so much for the support and do be sure to like, subscribe and hit that bell so you’re first in line to get the new content as it comes out.
So on to our topic for today, which is, is it possible to achieve a really high degree of cardiovascular fitness only doing weight training?
The Relationship Between High Intensity Weight Training and Cardiovascular Fitness
And like I said before, the answer is yes and the science of it is alarmingly simple. So much so that I’m actually a little bit surprised that more people aren’t aware of this reality of biology in general, which is very simply put, that the cardiovascular system supports the muscular system, not the other way around.
We tend to have this idea like I was saying before, that they’re two different things. Doesn’t really work that way. If you work your muscles, you are working your cardiovascular system and the only way to work your cardiovascular system is to work your muscles.
Therefore, if you train at a really high intensity, you will experience a very significant cardiovascular effect. Anyone who’s ever done anything like high repetition squats can attest to the fact that you will literally achieve maximum heart rate very, very quickly if you start getting into the 20 plus repetition range, even with moderate weights.
The problem is that most people who weight train do so at a very relaxed pace.
Most people tend to do one set of an exercise, rest a bit, talk, check their phone, check social media, then go back to the other set. And in so doing, there isn’t that much of an aerobic effect, even though they are still using their cardiovascular system whenever they’re actually lifting but not enough where it’s going to exhibit much of a degree improving their overall cardiovascular fitness.
Now, contrast that to someone like me who is training all out and their final sets are always at a point where they’re literally at the physical limit of what they’re able to do, at which point in time because your muscles are at their physical limit, your cardiovascular system as well is also going to be significantly taxed.
And in so doing over time, you get fitter and fitter, and you become more and more cardiovascularly efficient. (See also my article How To Burn More Far Lifting Weights- High Intensity Training Tips)
Examples of High Intensity Weight Training Improving Endurance
Now for me, the first time I ever saw that high intensity training could really make a difference with someone in terms of endurance was one of my first endurance athletes I ever trained.
He was a distance cyclist, and for his off season, he kind of wanted take a break from cycling and he had this idea to train with me because he never really did that much in the way of weight training.
And so for his entire off season, he didn’t do any bike riding whatsoever. All he did was train with me with my high intensity training for 10 minutes, three times a week nothing more, nothing less, no cardio, no roadwork.
And very interestingly enough, when he went back to his riding, he had better times than he had before.
Now this makes perfect sense because the weight training that you’re doing at high intensity is going to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Yes. However, it will also improve your muscular strength and your muscular endurance.
So if I have two people who have more or less the same cardiovascular abilities, but one person has stronger muscles, that person with stronger muscles is going to have a little bit more in terms of overall power output and going to see some differences in terms of their overall performance.
High intensity training could be a game changer if endurance is important to you, which is not something that tends to be spoken about that much. But over the course of the 31 years, I’ve been training so many people, I can honestly say that does have a significant cardiovascular effect.
So much so that I’ve been able to train and work really well with triathletes and marathon runners. And I can give you an example of my own life.
Kevin’s Cardio Stories
I lived in Brooklyn for many years across from Prospect Park where people would go jogging on a regular basis. And I had some friends who would always kind of pick at me saying that “You know Kevin, you don’t do any cardio whatsoever, so you can’t be that fit. Yes, you’re big, yes, you got muscles, but you can’t be that fit because you probably couldn’t even run around the park once.”
I took it to heart, and I thought to myself that the three mile course in Prospect Park was definitely something I could do without even thinking about it.
And so, I bet them that not only could I run the entire three miles but I could faster than them even though they ran almost every day.
Now, that was a bit of a brave bet because I didn’t really know if I could do it. But when the day came and we started the race,
I was able to stay with them very comfortably.
And I was actually a bit surprised at how comfortable I was a staying with them. And then when we were halfway through having cleared the hilly section of the park run, I went all out.
And when I went all out, I completely left them behind.
And I was a little worried that I was going to run out of gas, but I didn’t.
I was able to complete the entire three mile run in a pretty respectable 18 minutes and 44 seconds, not world class, but good enough to beat them and win my bets.
And they couldn’t believe that someone who only did weight training was able to have such a high degree of cardiovascular fitness.
And that’s something I kept on hearing over and over. I’ve had stress tests over the years and on the two occasions that I’ve had one, each time those administering the test would ask me how much cardio I did because they were very impressed with my degree of cardiovascular fitness.
It’s not just me.
All of my clients training with me consistently for over six months, have had similar experiences where they would be asked how much cardio they did because they did really well in their stress tests.
Completing A Marathon Doing Only High Intensity Weight Training
And then I have one story, because I think stories are important, of a client who was getting ready for the New York City Marathon.
And I remember saying to myself, “Okay, well I’ll make some changes to his diet,” because I had worked with a good number of marathon runners and a good number who had completed the New York City marathon, and he had about five months to get ready for the race.
And when I checked in with him four months in to see how things were going he said he hadn’t changed his diet because he hadn’t started running yet.
And I said it might be a good idea to start getting ready for it because a marathon is not an easy undertaking by any means. And he had never had any experience running whatsoever but I figured he’d pull it together.
Three months in, he didn’t start training, two months in, he hadn’t started training, a month before, he still hadn’t started training.
And so, I thought to myself that he wasn’t going to do the race but I was really shocked when the weekend of the race he contacted me to ask me what should he have the night before he ran.
And I said to him, “How are you going to run the New York City marathon without any experience whatsoever?”
And he was a pretty tough guy. He was really one of those people who would go all out training with me. And he said, I think I have the mindset and I think the training I’m doing is good enough for me to get through.
So, I gave him some tips as to what he should probably eat right before the race and the Monday after the race
I was actually surprised to see him come to the gym to work out like nothing happened.
And so, I asked him, “How did it go?” Did he actually do the race? And he said he did. And what was even more surprising he finished in a little bit over five hours.
He didn’t stop running. He actually kept running the entire time. Remarkable with no experience whatsoever. All he was doing was training with me three times a week with 10 minute workouts. Now, I would never tell anyone that you can train with high intensity training and be good enough just to do a marathon.
I think he is an exceptional human being. But it does make you think about the fact that if you’re working the muscular system at a high degree, you’re also working your cardiovascular system.
And there’s something to that. Now, in my own experience I’ve had situations where I’ve had to perform above and beyond what I thought was possible and I credit my training for being able to do it.
A Real Life Test of Kevin’s Cardiovascular Fitness
It was August 14th, 2003, and that was the blackout here in New York City. I remember that day because that’s also my birthday as my mom would say, strange things always happen on Kevin’s birthday.
But I was at my desk and the lights went out. And coming from Trinidad, lights go out all the time. But here in New York when lights go out, it’s a pretty big deal.
Now, at that time, I was a director of recreation at a residence for the formerly homeless and it was a pretty big building. It was 23 stories tall and the elevators went down.
Big problem because we had elderly and also individuals with serious health problems.
And one of the things about modern skyscrapers is that they rely on air conditioning. And this happened in the middle of summer when the temperature was in the nineties.
And so, inside the building without air conditioning the temperatures easily got as high as 120 in the stairwells and in the apartments, well over a hundred degrees.
And so, we had to start taking people out of their apartments and bringing them downstairs into the lobby.
Now, that wasn’t my job. That was a job of the security staff, and they were the ones who were going up and helping people come down. And I heard some distress calls over the radio because security staff were having difficulty. Some of them were having serious cramps and some were also feeling really nauseous.
Now in a stairwell with 120 degrees and you’re going up and down 20 plus flights of stairs, it’s not that easy. And no one had thought anything to keep bottles of water with them. And so, what I did, I got as many bottles of water as I could. I went up to every single security staff member who was on the stairwells, brought them water. There were three of them who were down and I helped them downstairs.
Then I went up and I started helping getting the clients downstairs one by one. That wasn’t that hard because they could walk and they could go down the stairs on their own. I just had to guide them down and make sure everybody went down safely.
But then we got a call about somebody who was on the 20th floor who said he was suffering from chest pain. Big problem. You hear chest pains, you act.
And so, I went up to the 20th floor, I got him and we needed to get him to the hospital ASAP Now he weighed about 250 pounds or so, and I thought initially that I could just walk with him and hold him on the side and guide him down the stairs.
And that wasn’t happening because as we got to the stairwell, he was about to pass out.
And so, I fireman carried him put him across my shoulder and carried him down
20 flights of stairs.
Wasn’t easy at all and I was very surprised that I was able to do it.
But again, adrenaline is pumping. And as I got to the lobby, thankfully we had a wheelchair there and someone had to carry him to the hospital because without electricity it was impossible to travel on the streets because the traffic lights were down.
And then there a call, saying somebody else was having difficulty breathing on the 16th floor. And so, I went up there and I got her down and again, had to fireman carry her down.
That was two people.
And I spent the next two hours helping people go down the stairs. And then I realized that the sun was about to set, and my wife and my son were by themselves, and I want to make sure they were okay.
Now, I was in Manhattan. They were in Brooklyn six miles away. So, what I did is I ran nonstop six miles from midtown Manhattan all the way to Brooklyn, never stopping because I wanted to get there before the sun went down.
I got there, everything was fine, they were okay.
But then I realized that my grandmother who was in her eighties was by herself, I didn’t know how she was doing. I had to go check on her. So, I grabbed my bike, and I rode over to her. She wasn’t that far away, just about four and a half miles or so.
Made sure she was all right. She was all right. I rode back, and it was only when I rode back and parked the bike, did I realize what I had just done over the course of the day.
Now, the next day, I was so sore, but I was able to do it. And while it’s not something I’d want to do on a regular basis, it does show just how much you can do only by doing weight training at high intensities.
This whole idea of functional fitness that you happen to be doing these particular exercises and all this cardio to be really fit and functional is not exactly accurate.
So next time you’re training, up that intensity a little bit, it’ll help increase your cardiovascular fitness as well as make your biceps look better and bigger.
Thanks for tuning in, and Excelsior.
🇺🇸 Celebrity Trainer/Nutritionist 🇹🇹
🏆Natural Bodybuilding Champ
🏋🏿 High Intensity Training ⬇️
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Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the best online personal trainers in New York City.
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