Almost eight years ago, I lost something that had been with me from my early 20s and had defined me. Like many other people, I was addicted and couldn’t go a day without it. It felt strange to give it up and trade it in for something new. However, I gained something more valuable as I let go of what I had held on to for far too long. Here is how it all went down.
On a fairly typical day, I placed my water bottle and towel on my favorite piece of cardio equipment. I was determined to spend another mundane hour of healthy indoor living while staring at multiple TV monitors. After spacing in and out for an hour, I tuned back to reality when the treadmill stopped. Time for me to move on. I grabbed my water bottle, wiped the sweat off my face, and walked onto the gym floor. I was warmed-up and ready to move from one exercise machine to another.
I spied someone new from across the gym floor. She caught my eye as she began her exercise routine. Innocently, I found myself staring at her chest. As awkward as it was, I simply wanted to get a closer look at the words on her t-shirt. After a few innocuous glances, I saw that it read, “I Don’t Do Cardio!”
I wondered how she was able to maintain such a phenomenal physique? Was it purely genetics, or did she know something I did not? Her body was toned, defined, and muscular. The question on my mind was, “How is it possible to have a ripped physique without doing any cardio?” As I was leaving, I spotted her chatting with the counter staff. I waited for the right moment to swoop in and ask, with a subtle undertone of resentment, “How are you so lean when you advertise that you don’t do any cardio? What is your secret?” She leaned in and whispered the words that changed the way I’ve exercised ever since.
There would no longer be two-hour routines consisting of cardio and strength training on machines. I streamlined my workouts to less than an hour. She introduced me to a form of strength and conditioning exercise that built the cardio aspect into the workout. I found it to be challenging and enjoyable in equal measure. For the first time, I exercised without the use of fitness machines and loved it! Functional strength training is one of the most efficient forms of exercise, bridging the best of both worlds into one incredible workout.