This article is an adaptation of  a monthly issue of Health Confidential, by Dr Al Sears. May 2011, Issue No. 62

Today I want to share with you about this concept of “cardiovascular endurance” and “aerobics”

The truth is, “cardiovascular endurance” and “aerobics” are meaningless terms.

The first mistake people who believe in the myth of aerobics make is to believe that aerobics is a system of exercise.

It isn’t.

It’s a way your body produces energy. Aerobic energy means your body uses oxygen to break down fat and carbs to make energy. You can also make energy anaerobically, which means without oxygen.

But you can’t exercise without oxygen. Even when your body is making energy anaerobically, you’re still making energy aerobically, too. One doesn’t replace the other.

So the term “aerobics” is nonsense.

Yet, if you read almost any exercise book or listen to fitness gurus, they all repeat this “aerobic exercise” myth endlessly. And they have for the last 40 years.

The second mistake they make is that they tell you staying within the aerobic threshold will get your heart rate up to the “fat melting zone.” So you want to keep it there as long as possible.

But have a look at this chart.

Exercise Zones Chart

As you can see, a moderate intensity workout like aerobics uses mostly fat for energy. This trains your body to store more fat to fuel itself for your next workout.

That will never transform your body and give you the lean, strong build that nature intended you to have.

Instead, you want a high-intensity workout that uses carbs for fuel. This will teach your body to store what you need in your muscles. It’s like pushing the “dump fat” button.

Third, all the focus on “cardio” ignores the most important ally you have on your side when it comes to fitness.

I’m talking about your lungs.

Studies show that the better they work, the longer you’ll live.

But your lungs do not work better when you do “cardio” and “aerobics.” They work less.

Those workouts don’t build strength. “Cardio” makes you efficient, but weak. Would you rather your heart and lungs trickle out energy a tiny bit at a time, like a tiny low-power footlight? Or would you rather have the full strength of a megawatt spotlight powering you?

To build up strength in both your heart and lungs, forget about those words weak, tired joggers and aerobics gurus throw around like “cardiovascular” and “endurance.” That’s code for hours of pounding and plodding.

Instead, think “cardiopulmonary exertion.”

And that’s what PACE stands for – Progressively Accelerated Cardiopulmonary Exertion.

It’s progressively intense exertion, while staying out of the fat-melting zone. And that’s what will transform your body.

With that in mind, let me give you two core-building exercises you can do PACE-style right in your own home, no equipment necessary. They will help you trigger AMPk, and all its benefits.

The first is called a Dive Bomber.

Dive Bomber

1. Begin the “dive-bomber” by first starting with your body looking like a “V” from the side. It looks like a pushup, but with your butt up into the air, and your head between your arms.
2. Next, swoop your head, followed by your body, downward as if you were a bird or plane diving toward the ground.
3. Then drive your torso straight up, so that you’re looking directly ahead. Keep the hips low to the ground and your hands directly below your shoulders. It will be as if you were trying to dive under a large ball hanging over your back.
4. The photo to the right shows a modified dive bomber. To make it even harder, you can do it the way they do in the military and not let your thighs touch the floor.
5. Also, a true dive-bomber pushup means you repeat the above steps in reverse order until you’re back to your original starting position, staying as fluid and smooth as possible.

If you’ve never done one before, start with just a few. Your core strength will increase quickly. Vary how fast you do them and how many you can do for a true PACE workout.

The second exercise is called a Jack Knife.

Jack Knife

The trick to getting the most out of the Jack Knife is to keep your legs and arms completely straight through the entire period of exertion.

1. First, lay with your back on the ground or floor. Lay your arms and your legs flat so that your body forms a straight line.
2. Lift your arms, with your palms facing the ceiling, and your legs off the ground 12 inches.
3. Inhale as your lift your straight arms and straight legs up so that your hands touch your shins, and your body looks like a closed folding knife.
4. Exhale as you lower your limbs back down quickly – but don’t let your arms and legs touch the floor. This is very important to work your muscles enough to deplete their glycogen and enter the supra-aerobic zone.
5. Lift again, keeping your arms and legs straight. Do this for as many repetitions as you can, for three sets. Remember to recover fully between each set.

Max Power vs. Max Output

A PACE-style Dive Bomber or Jack Knife workout would have three to four sets of these exercises, and each set should last about 2 minutes, with rest periods in between. During your last set, try to give your maximum output for the final minute to give yourself the biggest challenge, trigger afterburn and start your PACE body transformation.

Remember, PACE should be fun. You don’t have to do a regimented number of movements, and you don’t have to strictly time yourself. You can change it up. Do as much or as little as you want, and don’t worry about the rest. But do give your max output during your last set.

Keep in mind not to let your total workout time go past 20 minutes, and your exertion time should stay at 12 minutes. This will teach your body to store energy in your muscles. Going beyond that will teach your body to store fat for future workouts.

Also, there is a difference between maximum power and maximum output.

Maximum power is a short all-out sprint, like a 100 metre. dash. Doing sprints like these increases your power if you do them occasionally. But they don’t tap the power of AMPk and change how your body uses food in favor of muscle energy rather than fat energy.

Max output is the point where you’re challenging your metabolism. This happens between a minute and two minutes of exertion. This is why sets of exertion with PACE are short, but not too short. This one-to-two-minute range is where you burn up the most glycogen and trigger AMPk’s effects.

1 Schünemann, Holger J., MD, PhD et al, “Pulmonary Function Is a Long-term Predictor of Mortality in the General Population,” Chest Sept. 2000; 118( 3): 656-664

Live Free!



Chew Mark is the Author of Discover Your Leadership Style, a Business Developer, and Leadership Coach. You may contact him via


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