I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
He doesn’t say much at press conferences, but Marshawn Lynch’s game speaks for itself. He’s a workhorse as a running back, eating up defenses and handfuls of Skittles every Sunday. If you’ve seen him run, you know he’s earned one of my favorite NFL nicknames: “Beast Mode.”
But you don’t have to be Lynch to have your own “beast mode” moments. And the secret to your best beast mode is aerobic base training.
I don’t care what position you play or what sport you’re in, there’s always a chance to make the play that breaks the game open. The longer your beast mode lasts, the more you’ll dominate your sport. And the better you build your aerobic base, the longer your beast mode will last.
Aerobic base training is a lost art. For years, the strength and conditioning world has been bombarded with opinions, anecdotes and articles that tout the benefits of high-intensity interval training. Don’t get me wrong, HIIT is great. But it isn’t the magical, be-all and end-all of strength and conditioning many people make it out to be. The reason? It neglects the athlete’s aerobic base.
Without a good aerobic base, an athlete will struggle to recover during high-intensity exercise. Our body’s “low-intensity” aerobic energy systems help our “high-intensity” systems (ATP-PC and Anaerobic Glycolysis) recover and prepare for our next bout of activity.
If you go beast mode without the aerobic base that allows you to recover before the next play, fatigue will stop you in your tracks. But if you go beast mode with an aerobic base that allows you to recover before the next play, nothing can stop you.
How to Build Your Aerobic Base
Building your aerobic base is simple. That’s the best part. Working some low-intensity, steady-state cardio into your program will usually do the trick—like going for a jog or even a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes. Just don’t get lazy. Low intensity work is easy to do without pushing yourself. Try to push yourself a bit harder. Jog a bit longer, faster, or even tackle that big hill you normally avoid.
The correct dose is key. Start by adding one or two days of steady-state cardio to your program and pay attention to how you feel. If you’re totally gassed after walking a mile or two, consider adding a third day. On the other hand, if you’re prancing through your jogs like they’re nothing, you may want to drop down to one day instead of two. But when you’re building your aerobic base, have at least one day of steady-state work in your program.
It’s time to unleash a better beast.