We get a lot of questions about mixing aerobics (tennis, running, cycling, jogging, walking, etc.) with high intensity Static Contraction training. Most of the questions ask about recovery time.
That’s a good thing. It shows that people are paying attention to their training frequency so they don’t overtraining and do useless, unproductive workouts.
Aerobic training and strength training are the yin and yang of the exercise world. They are two fundamentally different concepts that meet in a “harmony of opposites.”
To be clear, when talking about “aerobics” I am referring to low intensity, long duration exercise that is intended to expend calories and burn fat. I’m not referring to the term “cardio” which, properly used, should refer to strengthening the heart muscle. Many people use “cardio” and “aerobics” interchangeably but they really shouldn’t.
Aerobic training is low intensity. Strength training is high intensity. Combining the two into an effective, efficient training regimen can be greatly simplified by using rational training principles.
The Biggest Mistake
The biggest mistake people make when trying to combine aerobic training with strength training is that they employ a progressive overload methodology to their aerobic training. For example, they start out walking a few days per week, then they increase the intensity to jogging, then they mix intervals of jogging with running. Then they run hills, and so on.
That method increases intensity to the point where the body needs extended recovery time. Which means more days off without training…which means fewer calories burned and less fat loss. The key to effective aerobic training that burns of maximum fat is long term consistency.
Which requires more calories?:
Running 1 mile?
Jogging 1 mile?
Walking 1 mile?
It’s a trick question. In physics they all require exactly the same number of calories. And in that little fact lays some truly great news! If you go for a walk seven days a week you will burn more calories than going for a run six days a week. (Technically a runner will get an extra benefit because his metabolism will continue to operate faster after running…but there is another piece of information that trumps that!)
Build Muscle and Burn Fat 24/7!
Muscle is called “active tissue” because it requires a lot of energy to maintain itself. In fact, every pound of new muscle you add to your body will burn about 30 to 60 calories per day. That can really add up.
By adding just 10 pounds of muscle to your body, it will burn off 31 to 62 pounds of fat over the next year. And it will keep burning those extra calories year after year! Than means when you’ve lost the fat you can eat more (a lot more) and not gain back the fat. Also, with less fat and more muscle your body will have the lean, toned, fit look that everyone wants!
By combining aerobics with strength training you can transform your body in the shortest possible time then keep it lean and muscular year round without starving yourself on a low calorie diet.
The important characteristics of a sustainable aerobic training program are:
Low intensity muscular output
No progression of intensity from workout to workout
The important characteristics of a sustainable strength training program are:
High intensity muscular output
Progressive intensity from workout to workout
Variable frequency (to allow for full recovery as intensity increases)
So combining a high intensity strength training system such as Static Contraction Training (SCT) with a regular aerobic program might look like this for the first two months: (Please pardon the long layout but it helps make a point visually . . . it becomes a long time between SCT workouts.)
DAY / ACTION
1 SCT WORKOUT
4 SCT WORKOUT
7 SCT WORKOUT
11 SCT WORKOUT
15 SCT WORKOUT
20 SCT WORKOUT
25 SCT WORKOUT
32 SCT WORKOUT
39 SCT WORKOUT
48 SCT WORKOUT
59 SCT WORKOUT
Notice how the days off between the SCT workouts increase? That’s because each workout (if properly engineered) involves lifting heavier weights and creates extra demands on your body’s recovery system. If you did SCT every 3 days you would not be able to lift a heavier weight each time. Remember that.
Yet you can fill in every other day with low intensity, longer duration aerobic training. So every day you are doing something to burn fat and keep it off long term!
This is a sustainable program because your body gets the time it needs to fully recover between workouts. Sustainability is the key to sticking with a fitness program month after month until you reach your goals.