Is Wednesday your normal rest day? Did you know that it is possibly one of the most
important days for you to come into the gym!! I know you just started telling yourself,
but we bike, run, row, jump rope on those days or maybe you’re telling yourself, “But
those are longer cardio workouts and just not my style because I don’t get to lift heavy
weights.” In exercise, there are three components: resistance training,
flexibility/mobility, and cardiorespiratory training. A well-designed exercise program
includes all three components and we have great programing that incorporates all of
When we do cardio, we are working on our aerobic base training. Essentially, aerobic
base training is a phase of training where the primary focus is placed on building a
strong level of aerobic “base” fitness or aka your aerobic engine.
During base training, the majority of training should focus on low and moderate
intensities. Hence why you will see coaches talk about 70-80% for pace when
describing a longer cardio based workout. The rationale behind this approach is that by
keeping the majority of training at low intensities, you are able to build a larger
foundation of aerobic fitness, reduce the risk of injuries, and improve recovery. You will
also be better conditioned for more intense training.
The more attention you place on developing aerobic base fitness, the greater your
endurance potential. This can be better understood by considering our training as a
pyramid structure, with base training forming the base of the pyramid. And, as you move
up the pyramid, we see an increase in intensity.
When viewed this way, you can appreciate how having a wider base to the pyramid
(greater level of base conditioning) allows for a higher peak, or greater performance
Aerobic base training is also considered key to improving exercise efficiency. This
occurs, through a combination of:
Recruitment of slow twitch (type I muscle fibers).
Help to prepare the body for the physiological demands of higher training
Improve blood, oxygen, and nutrient flow to working muscles and help with
recovery and flexibility.
Increase efficiency of the heart.
Improve glycogen storage, which overtime can improve the efficiency of fat
So, the next time you want to cancel or take a rest day on Wednesday, I highly
encourage you to sign up. Start slow, start with one Wednesday a month, increase it
two and maybe even three. These classes will pay you dividends when you see a
METCON that is 8 minutes or less. We all know when you see a single digit time, you
know it won’t feel good as the pace should be FAST and HARD, and something that will
have you laying on the ground at the end. Remember just like the fast ones, the longer
ones might not feel good immediately after, but the rewards for your body will pay major
Erica Erickson, Group Fitness Coach