Is Cardio a Good Workout?

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This post originally appeared on Hannah & Fitness as Dear Cardio . . .

Dear Cardio,

I know there’s been a lot of negativity surrounding you recently, especially from the strength training industry, but despite the opinion of others, I’d like to state the fact that I’m still in love with you.

I know, I know, I’m going against the latest “fitspo” trend, but quite frankly I just love the energy you give me. I love the adrenaline, I love the sweat, I love the intensity, and I love the postworkout endorphins you provide. Thanks for those, by the way.

You may already know this, but did you know people’s favorite saying about you? “Cardio-no.” I mean, I get it, not everybody loves you. But, what I don’t get is the pressure to promote their hatred of you.

I think it first came from the strength training industry. Physical therapy clients and fitness enthusiasts who were training for strength gain acknowledged the fact that they could tone you down a little (or a lot) in order to gain more muscle. After all, they had a goal in mind — to get stronger — and you were no longer their subject. Rightly so. Then suddenly, the fitness industry was drifting away from the desire to use you every day.

Long gone are the days where women would only be found pounding along on a treadmill in the gym. Instead, they slowly became interested in the weight zone and were no longer afraid to pick up a dumbbell. And you know what, that’s frickin’ amazing. Really, it is. But what’s not so great? That weights are in and you’re out. Cardio bunnies are deemed as the devil, cardio just under an hour is illogical, and having a love for cardio? Well, that’s to be kept quiet.

But you know what? I say we stop with the hate. If they don’t like you then fine. But let’s not spread the hate online and try to list off 101 reasons why other people should dislike you, too. Let’s just pursue what we love individually and if that means sticking with you, then count me in.

Why do we suddenly need to promote a hatred of you so that strength training can overrule the fitness industry? And why do we need to feel obliged to join in with the hate? Whatever happened to just loving what was good for you? If strength training burns an energy inside of others, then so be it too. If pizza brings happiness to others, then they should eat it. If spinach makes them feel like a health goddess, then they should consume it. Understand? Life doesn’t have to be so wrong and right, but sadly some people think it is.

Fitness doesn’t come in one shape and size — people need to remember that. They need to find something that gives them passion and allows them to stick to it — that’s when it becomes a lifestyle.

Over the past few years I’ve come across a lot of different areas in the fitness industry. There have been times when I’ve fallen out of love with you and in love with something else. There have been times when I took you to the extreme, although, I soon decided it wasn’t quite right for me. When I decided to embark on my strength training journey, I still always kept you beside me. There was a time however, when I got rid of you completely and hey, I missed you, a lot. But that’s what fitness is — it’s about trial and error and finding out what works for you and what doesn’t.

At the end of the day, I think I will always keep you by my side. Not only for my physical health, but for my mental health too. Sure, I lift weights five days a week, but I also work up a sweat most days too. The best way for me to enjoy you? HIIT and boxing. High intensity interval training is crucial to me. I love the sweat, the breathless rounds, and the energy it creates.

The most important thing though? That I’m doing what I love and ignoring the rules of social media.

Hannah