It has probably been made clear that I prefer weightlifting over cardio, despite my history with triathlon training. But actually, I am rather fond of cardio because of the sole difference between that and weightlifting. Cardio is pushing yourself in a different way, and sometimes can be kind of crazy. It is a mental battle with yourself.
I mean, I used to bike thirty miles, park my bike, then run for ten miles. Then I would bike the thirty miles back home. It is weird that people do that when you think about it. Yet it’s also form of body art. The body is a complex live machine that is capable of so many skills. And people choose to test their cardiovascular endurance for several reasons. The benefits of cardio are improved mood, better sleep, physique changes, and numerous other health benefits. What is spectacular is that even the minimal amount of cardio can have a tremendous impact on health. The standard for the recommended amount of 150 minutes of cardio per week, which can include merely walking. If a person incorporates vigorous cardio, then the time is decreased to 75 minutes a week. It’s unrealistic for a person to always be motivated to go on a bike ride or run, but once a person starts doing cardio, they get in the zone. My advice is to find something you love doing for cardio, and stick to it. Fun options are kickboxing, racquetball, tennis, and dancing. All the bonuses will follow naturally.
When I do cardio nowadays, it is to achieve another form of fitness. Despite my utter passion for weightlifting, cardio is necessary for overall health. Normally I set personal goals such as “bike ‘x’ amount of miles every week” and then “bike 250 total miles in six months.” My goals are very different now that I am not a triathlete, a bit laid-back so to say. When I do cardio I am not paying too much attention to the calories burned because I’m more interested in noticing if my speed and distance/time has improved. Normally if I have progressed, the amount of calories increases too, so the burned calories is kind of like a nice side-effect. Of course, people have different goals too. My best advice, however, will always be to focus on health and non-aesthetic goals first. Then the results will come.
Overall, my physique had the biggest changes once I eased up on the cardio and started weightlifting. My body-fat percentage really went down, while I began building a curvier physique. I was the extremely dreaded skinny-fat girl when I was a cardio bunny, while weightlifting gave me a solid, firm physique. The image below (not me/ give credit to this person on Pinterest) shows some evidence.
As the summary, I do like cardio and use it as a measure of health. People should always incorporate some kind of cardio in their routines for baseline fitness, as well as having a consistent weightlifting routine. Motivation isn’t a constant feeling, but often once the cardio is started a person enjoys it. Having a routine that is maintainable is what will help in the long run.