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Reply To: Cardio…had a little bit of a surprise

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That’s a really profound experience. This highlights a common issue with how people train their physicality. There is often a massive difference between how we train and how we expect our bodies to perform.

In the combat arms section of the military there is a constant debate on how to exercise. For example, in combat you often dash from cover to cover while maintaining a constant state of “work” (kneeling, standing, lifting a 10lb+ weapon hundreds of times, throwing, etc), all while under immense stress. This equates to prolonged levels of moderate “work”, with many spurts of intense “work”. Yet, exercise is planned and conducted generally by people who have zero training in exercise theory trying to pass tests that don’t mimic the physical requirements (the new acft is an attempt at a better job). What you end up with is people doing “what has always been done” or “what they were taught (by people who didn’t know)”, which is almost always long distance running and arbitrary calisthenics. Which from your short experience you know just doesn’t quite add up.

I like that you switched to intervals. I don’t think it would technically qualify as TABATA (that’s not really important), but doing general versions of HIIT even where your cardio is concerned helps you reach those spurts of high intensity while maintaining prolonged levels of moderate work.

When I performed my best at the infantry mission I would run no longer than a half mile sustained (pushing that half mile as hard as possible), and usually did significantly more spurts (light pole sprints or death by 10 meters are great) for a distance of a few miles. Or, I would do 20min on the bike with longer intervals (4min moderate to 1min intense) then jump in the pool for 20min of varied swim intervals. Aside from a half mile “hard” running warm up to the gym, I would do a “running workout” once every 10ish days. Normally I did HIIT weightlifting combined with the bike and/or the swim daily (depending on time). When my routine was really good it boiled down to 20-30min HIIT lifting, 15-20min interval bike, 15-20min swim sprints/intervals; for an hour workout (plus transition time etc).

With that routine I never got smoked in field training, my body felt like a million bucks, and I was strong as an ox. The interesting bit is that my PT score never really changed, but my general performance results were insanely better.