I’m very happy to say that I completed my first 5K this past weekend which was on my list of 2016 fitness goals! I was never a good runner in high school and only broke a 10-minute mile once, so having completed a 5K is quite the feat for me. I finished the entire thing in 27:25, averaging around an 8:45 mile. I also participated in a 1-mile sprint with work this past week and ran my best mile yet at 7:18.6. So many new PRs set this past week and I’m pretty proud of myself!
Now that I’ve hit a few goals and been doing cardio for my cut the past few months, I’m kind of done with running for a little bit. It’s not my favorite, but I like to keep up with it when my routine allows for it. As someone who mostly enjoys weight lifting and training heavy, I feel that I’ve continued to keep cardio in my fitness routine more so than a lot of weight lifters out there. For some reason, cardio is absolutely dreaded among most lifters and most dare not utter the word. Cardio is generally reserved for cuts and those that want to lose weight. Those doing squats and dead lifts aren’t usually at the gym consecutively training for 5Ks.
I, however, have kept cardio in my fitness routine and find it to be valuable in continuing to grow and meet fitness goals. I think more weight lifters should work cardio into their regular fitness routines, not just reserve it for cutting season. I like to do cardio at least once a week to keep from a plateau and do something a little different. I started running a few years back when it was on my list of New Year’s Resolutions. Up until this past fall, I didn’t comfortable enough with running to go outside for fear that I’d get stuck and not be able to get back home. Now I enjoy getting out for an early morning run every now and then instead of always going straight to the gym for a workout.
I also think it’s important to keep in my mind that cardio doesn’t have to be running. I personally don’t love running, but I like challenging myself to do it and train to become better at it over time. When I’m not training for running, I personally like the elliptical as my cardio of choice. It’s easier on my knees and adds a little resistance training to my legs depending on the settings I choose for that workout. There’s also swimming, which is a full body engagement workout and is also good if you’re don’t like sweating during your cardio workouts. If you’re into bodybuilding at all, you already know about the stair stepper which is basically torture after a weight training session, but that’s OK because we like the pain 🙂
While I think having cardio in a balanced fitness routine is important, I don’t think it should be the only exercise you’re doing. Sometimes I see other women at the gym on the treadmills or ellipticals, and I have an idea of their fitness goals which makes me so badly want to tell them that doing pure cardio isn’t necessarily the best way to reach those goals. Adding in some resistance or body weight training is a must if your goals include loosing weight, being lean, or looking “tone.” And let me tell you, lifting weights is a lot more fun than getting on the treadmill everyday. Also, it doesn’t make ladies bulky, but it will make the arms and legs look real “toned” which I know we all want.
What I’m getting at here, is that cardio shouldn’t be something that we weightlifters dread. I also don’t think it should be something that is frowned upon if that’s what people chose to do it. I’m happy that I’m able to run a good mile and be able to complete a 5K without feeling like I’m going to die or that it’s misery. Since I don’t consider myself the best runner, I want to keep it in my fitness routine to continue challenging myself and overall improving myself on my fitness journey.