C'mon, it's across everyone's social media platforms now, every second 'Lifestyle' article on news.com.au (don't even ask me why I still use that site) is about the amazing transformations of someone who changed their training to a weights dominant focus.
In an effort to combat the idea that lifting weights makes you bulky, it seems to me like the industry has done a complete 180! Now rather than women (and men, but predominately women) avoiding the weight room, it's not uncommon to see articles or instagram comparisons where the general jist of the message is that "doing cardio makes you fat". Cardio is being demonised because you don't get the 'looks' from it.
Case in point: just one of the many posts you'll see online comparing cardio and weight lifting. Sure, one has more muscle tone, but they're both damn healthy (I can't speak for their mental health obviously) body shapes!
Performance wise, I do understand where people are coming from. Prioritising cardio over weight training will mean a loss in strength. You see, I've been doing bootcamp three times a week in addition to a couple of CrossFit classes. The bootcamp is quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever put myself through. It is, quite frankly, an hour of non stop cardio. But at high intensity. Like YOU MIGHT JUST DIE intensity. For some sadistic reason, I enjoy these sessions and continue to turn up.
But what I've begun to notice is the loss of strength and stamina when it comes to my CrossFit workouts. I no longer do RX'd because I am often not confident enough to lift that weight anymore with appropriate form. Give me an assault bike and I'll make it my bitch. Give me a heavy snatch and I'll just stare at the bar and take a few plates off. I've mentioned this to a couple of the coaches and they've all exclaimed "It's all that bootcamp!". And on the one hand, they're correct. And it does suck when I can't squat or deadlift as much as I used to. But in the same token, my mental toughness and stamina has been drastically improved and I never fear the cardio based workouts like my peers who stick to the weights rooms.
Additionally, cardio still remains an important, if not an integral part of human health, especially heart health. Plus, in my personal experience, you get a tonne more endorphins from cardio based workouts than weight lifting based ones.
But alas, just as weights were forgotten in an era where 'stick thin' and 'thigh gaps' were the ideal, it seems like in the age of 'Beyonce booties' and 'being thiccccc', cardio has been tossed to the side. While I've definitely noticed this aspect of prioritising cardio as well, (I may be much fitter, but I definitely don't look as fit or as toned as some of my colleagues who stick to 20 minute HIIT sets mixed in with their weights.) it's awesome knowing that I can sign up to trail runs or other cardio based events without having to worry about whether I'll finish.
And I'm not arguing that people should have to ditch the weights completely and go back into ultra marathon mode. Far from it. But what does seem to missing from the industry, less so in the CrossFit sphere, is the concept of training phases and a balanced training regime. CrossFit avoids the need for training phases by incorporating strength and cardio into almost all of it's sessions on a daily basis. CrossFit (for the regular athlete, not a Games individual) is ALL ABOUT BALANCE. When you do your CrossFit Level 1, you learn how the programming is designed to incorporate every modal domain, movement phase, intensity etc possible over the course of the programming lifecycle.
Programming for balance is an art.
At the end of the day: Choosing to prioritise cardio or weights for performance specific goals is great. BUT it should also be about doing what you enjoy!
Do what makes you happy and healthy - not just what you think will make you look good!