I don’t care if you use a treadmill or the woods. I don’t care if it’s 20 minutes or a marathon. It can come in all shapes and sizes, but I can’t overstate it enough: get up off your ass and go for a run.
It gets you cut, and doesn’t disrupt muscle gain enough to matter.
For whatever reason, bodybuilders are prone to avoid cardio—especially running—like the plague, convinced that a quick jog will eat away at their muscles and destroy their hard-earned gains. The reality, though, is that running has a definite place in a balanced workout plan. Running will burn off excess fat, and if you eat and lift right, it’ll leave more muscle and less fat. I was able to spend 6 weeks of this summer gaining 15 pounds, almost exclusively muscle, running 7 days a week and doing body-weight exercises like pull-ups and push-ups. (For a little bit of context here, I’ve always been skinny or skinny-fat because of a fast metabolism) I just kept my calorie intake way up, probably about 3000-3500 a day, which balanced out the calories burned on runs.
It increases your joint strength and cardiovascular endurance
When it comes to making your body tougher and more durable, running is tough to beat. You’re building up strong bones and joints, which will enhance everything from your deadlifts tomorrow to your health 30, 40, and 50 years down the line. Your cardiovascular endurance, another important factor in the workouts that get you ripped, is also going to go way up with running (important side note- run for at least 20 minutes if you can, that releases a protein that develops cardiovascular muscle tissue and strengthens your heart).
- It builds pain tolerance, clears your mind, and has an instant dopamine rush
Running is as much of a mind game as it is a physical challenge, and its psychological rewards are just as great. I’ll be the first to admit that running sucks. Even the fittest people and the best runners out there are feeling the hurt- that’s the point. Running will help you develop mental toughness, an invaluable skill in every part of your life from business to bitches- and, you guessed it, back in our beloved Church of Iron. The time you take to run each day also gives some focus and clarity- the exertion and difficulty help you gain some much-needed focus. Some of my best ideas have come to me while I’m sucking wind on my way up a hill. Afterwards, you get hit with a perfect “runner’s high,” which allows you to make the next few hours positive and productive.
It bears repeating.
Just fucking run.