Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rise & Shine! It's Cardio Time!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm NOT a morning person. Oh, I try to be! Believe me, I try. Morning is my favorite time of day, and if I sleep in late, I feel unproductive, like I've wasted the whole day. But getting out of bed is a challenge for me.

I have three alarms set every day. THREE. And every day, I turn each of them off, roll over, and go back to sleep. Then, 20-60 minutes later, I'm woken up either by the dog whining or by J telling me how late it is. I then do the morning scramble/rush to do cardio, get ready, and get to work somewhat on time.

Speaking of morning cardio ... I do it. Every. Single. Day.

Yes, I do morning cardio. NO, I'm never that cheerful in the morning!
There are debates about the merits of fasted vs. non-fasted cardio, the optimal time of day to do cardio, and how much is too much. There are supporting studies for all options. But I'm going out on a limb and saying that fasted morning cardio works for me (in a Hooked on Phonics ad voice).

Every morning (after a few sips of Endorush), I stumble and hang onto the treadmill for the first minute until I get my bearings. Then I increase the intensity and commence the morning cardio ritual. I even have "helpers" in the room with me!

Ginger and Ed "hunting" while I do cardio
How Nikko and Bruno do cardio with me
I get quite a few questions about why I do morning cardio - like I said, there are proponents for both fasted and non-fasted cardio. My reasons are as follows:

  • Because J tells me to. And he's the boss for my training/nutrition (I'm the boss in all other aspects of our relationship. JUST KIDDING, JERRY!)
  • Fasted morning cardio helps me get lean. The reason J tells me to do morning cardio is that my body responds to it. I noticed that in the past when I didn't do morning cardio year-round, my body responded much slower to prep and the weight just didn't want to come off as easily.
  • Two sessions of shorter cardio is easier for me than one long session. I'd MUCH rather do two 30 min sessions than one 60 min session.
  • I feel more awake when I start my day off with cardio. Even during the off-season, I do cardio most mornings, whether I walk on the treadmill or outside around the neighborhood. On the days I skip cardio (this only happens off-season), I feel groggy, cloudy, and tired. Cardio actually helps me feel alert and ready to meet the day.
  • Morning cardio is my "Kari Time" where I check my email, Twitter, Facebook, and catch up on text messages. I also get the opportunity to read, and since I'm a bookworm, it's nice to have built-in time during the day where I get to indulge in a good book.
I know there are quite a few people who proudly claim they don't do ANY cardio. Ever. And honestly? I feel bad for them. Our bodies are made to MOVE, not to sit like slugs at a desk for 8 hours a day. Even people who have active jobs should be doing some other type of cardio. Just being on your feet all day isn't the same as jogging, walking on an incline, or doing plyos.

Plus? It's my belief that those people who claim they don't do any cardio are a bit misguided. Just because you're not on the treadmill doesn't mean you're not doing cardio. Those plyos in your workout? That's cardio. Your metabolic/high intensity workout? That's cardio. So yes, you ARE doing cardio; it's just integrated into your workout.

As far as WHEN is the best time to do cardio? For me, it's morning and immediately after my workout. For others, it may be different. Bottom line: SOME cardio at any point during the day is better than NO cardio at all. I appreciate my relationship with Mr. Treadmill, and know he'll help me achieve my goals.

Do you do fasted morning cardio? What are your reasons for doing or not doing cardio?


  1. I agree, Kari. I love my morning cardio. Last fall, I dropped my morning 5 mile run and decided to try lifting heavy and building muscle. I also did this at a time when I was going through health problems with my dog that ultimately resulted in losing her, needless to say my mental health suffered! Running several times a week and then going to Title Boxing several times a week keeps my mind just as healthy as my body! I NEED those endorphins! ha!

  2. I don't do morning cardio for the simple fact that I just cannot get up to do it. I am so not a morning person. Plus, driving to the gym at 5:30 in the morning is a bit creepy (at least I tried).

    One day, I know I will get around to it and when that time comes, it will definitely be a fasted cardio, because my boot camp instructor swears by it and she knows what she's talking about.

  3. I always find my morning cardio goes by way faster than my pm cardio!!! i love it! im awake and ready to rock it!

  4. Sometimes I love morning cardio and other times I hate I do enjoy being able to see the physical changes that take place as a result of the cardio :)


  5. I only do one 'proper' cardio session a week, but I'm on my feet all day and I also walk 60-90 minutes every day. It works for me when I'm not yet in contest prep. A few months ago I was doing daily cardio, but I actually looked forward to it because I worked a desk job and did not enjoy sitting on my butt all day!

  6. I do morning cardio as well, and it sure is tough to get up and do it. To make the getting up and going part easier I sleep in a sports bra. Just pop on a bottom and my shoes, stumble to the machine and away you go!

  7. Yes, I love my cardio time too....even though I complain about it some (ok many) days. :) Reading, tweeting, emails, and getting my sweat on. It is the best multitasking ever!

  8. So you dont eat at all before the cardio? You dont feel you lose muscle? I love morning cardio and this prep i have been doing it in the afternoon and I feel I am not dropping like i did last time. Do you keep your HR at a certain point?