Featured Cardio Training Equipment: heart rate monitor, kettlebell, exercise bike, weighted vest

Our approach emphasizes cardio variety – the spice of life – and is aimed at fulfilling the old adage that “time flies when you are having cardio fun.” We tightly adhere to Occam’s razor: when results are equal, sparse and plain (and time efficient) trumps complex, gaudy and excessive, every single time. When all things are equal, less gets the nod over more as long as less is more intense. Don’t become dazzled by complexity of tools or modes. Here is how you might log a cardio session…assuming you were sophisticated enough to wear a heart rate monitor and log results…

Date: 4-14-17
Mode: racquetball
Session length: 44 minutes
Average heart rate per min: 145 beats per min
Max heart rate: 176 beats per min
Number of calories burned: 676 calories
Calorie per min burn rate: 15.3 calories per min

The heart rate monitor allows use to periodize our cardio efforts; this degree of precision allows us to cross-compare various cardio modes: how does 30 minutes of kettlebell swings (using 54 pounds) compare to 30 minutes of jumping rope? How does three sets of tennis compare to twenty laps swam at the pool? How does forty minutes of exercise bike compare to forty minutes of racquetball? How does forty minutes of power-walking wearing a weighted vest compare to jogging? The heart rate monitor enables us to access cardio intensity to a far greater degree, we can now access cardio intensity.

The Heart Rate Monitor: Our lone technological concession

Our lone cardio concession to modern technology is the heart rate monitor. I consider the heart rate monitor an indispensable piece of exercise gear and believe there should be a heart rate monitor in every gym bag. The heart rate monitor apparatus is a watch or console and a chest strap that contains a microprocessor. Each time the heart beats the transponder records and accumulates data.

Heart rate monitor with chest strap for resistance training, exercise and fitness

Press a button on the wristwatch at the beginning of a cardio session and push it again at the conclusion of the session. A summation of data is at your fingertips: a veritable goldmine of data. Buy a unit with a calorie counter and the ability to provide “blended session heart rate average.” Avoid overly complex road-racer heart rate monitors with split times and computer hookups. A little bit of technology goes a long way.

Metabolic Rocket Ride

Sergio Oliva elite athlete and bodybuilder in RAW with Marty Gallagher

We found these old Cockeyed photos of Sergio “The Myth” Oliva circa 1966. They show him in photos 45 days apart. These two shots provide a perfect visual example of what happens when an elite athlete hits the mythical ‘synergy zone.’ Gains occur at an astoundingly accelerated rate. .These “metabolic bursts” are well known to elite iron men. If a man does enough things right for a protracted period, amazing physical changes occur. Preconditions are critical and must be met.

New strength begets additional muscle size, additional muscle size begets new strength…round and round it goes in a metabolic hurricane. Monastery-like monk discipline and iron will for a protracted period are required to elicit this type of dramatic result.

About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of numerous books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.