Weightlifting IS cardio.

Breaking down the myth that there’s cardio and that there’s weightlifting.

Matthew Boutte

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on how I transformed my body over the course of a year. It focused on what I did in the kitchen, what I did at the gym, and my mindset during the process. The piece has received a fair amount of attention: at the time of this writing, it has 274,000 views, 75,000 reads, 16,400 claps, and 87 comments.

Those comments have covered the full range of possible responses. Most were positive, some were negative. Some thanked me for providing inspiration or useful information. Some shared their view or insights they have gained from their own health and fitness journeys. Some asked questions. The most common question, by far, was

What about cardio? What did you do for cardio?

No one expressly stated why they were asking this question or articulated their view on the role that cardio plays in fitness. I have tried to interpret and respond to each of these comment charitably and have assumed that each comment came from a place of sincerity.

Some probably simply wondered what cardio, if any, I did during the year. Some probably came from a sincerely held belief that that kind of bodily transformation can only be done with cardio. Some may have been gently hinting at their belief that cardio is essential for health.

All of these are valid questions and points and worthy of engagement. But first, I want to address something that I find troubling. The questions seem to be premised on an assumption that all exercise falls into one of two camps — either cardio or resistance training— and that any given form of exercise self-evidently falls into exactly one of these two categories. It’s probably worth investigating this assumption.

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