📝Why metabolic conditioning is superior to cardio!
❗Conditioning work prepares you for battle - cardio makes you really good at slowly running away from it. -Chris Shugart❗
I want to dig deeper today and present you the difference between cardio and conditioning as well as when's the best time to do conditioning work.
⏩ A Cardio vs. Conditioning
The traditional definition of cardio is any physical activity that brings the heart rate up above 110 beats/minute. Cardio mainly works the aerobic energy system, which is mostly relevant for endurance activities. If your goal is running a half marathon or finishing triathlon you should work on that system. However if you're looking for increasing lean muscle mass and getting rid of some body fat cardio will be somewhere between being a big waste of your time to even counterproductive.
Building muscle (which is also the best method to reduce your body fat in combination with proper nutrition) heavily relies on the glycolytic and phosphagen-based energy systems. Those energy systems will be improved most effectively via conditioning exercises (I am talking about prowler/sled work, medicine ball stomps, battle ropes and all this badass stuff that looks fun and actually is fun - contrary to running for hours...).
⏩ B Adaption
But why is conditioning so superior when it comes to supporting the buildup of a strong and athletic body (something most of us wish for, don't we?). The keyword is "adaption". Something you should be familiar with when it comes to strength or hypertrophy training. The body adapts to training which is why we have to constantly and regularly change the parameters (weight, reps, sets, tempo, exercises selection) in order to become bigger and/or stronger. Progressive overload therefore is the key to keep gaining. Metabolic conditioning highly helps us to progressively overload as we are able to squeeze more reps and tolerate a higher volume as well as time under tension (=tempo) because we can rely on improved glycolytic and ATP-based energy systems that are most relevant to those activities.