ASK A SWOLE WOMAN
This is the paid Sunday Ask A Swole Woman edition of She’s a Beast, a newsletter about being strong mentally/emotionally/physically.
I have a lot of powerlifters I’ve been following for years at this point, and I’ve been disappointed to see some of them seemingly… stop lifting. Obviously I don’t want people to be fake or pretending to lift when they don’t, but they don’t seem to have the enthusiasm for lifting they once did, and it’s making me feel like I’m doing the wrong thing. I’m worried that they actually only care about getting skinny now and that’s why they are doing more cardio, but they aren’t admitting it? —Julia
Generally speaking, I’ve lived true to my principles over the past nine years, which include not doing cardio if I can possibly help it. But if I’m being honest, I think I came into lifting with a lot of cardio fitness. Not long before I stopped running in 2014, I ran a 10K at a 7:18 pace. I could run a half-marathon in under two hours. Over the past nine years, that cardio fitness has slowly dwindled away. But it’s not all gone. I’ve run periodically here and there, mostly to get in cardio during times I was cutting weight. But that would be maybe a couple months at a time, once a year. This past June, I did a 10K trail run in 72 minutes (1,200 feet elevation) and can still reliably run a 5K under 30 minutes. I attempted, at least, to do Run Fast Squat Heavy, and the part I didn’t like was the squatting.
Therefore: I feel like I am pretty decent living proof that focusing on lifting for a few months, or a few years, or several years, or almost a decade, is not going to be the total death of one’s cardio fitness. If you avoid dedicating yourself to lifting because you’re anxious about irreparable damage to your ability to do cardio—I hate that for you, honestly. Do not fear these fluctuations!
But yes, I realized that on long, 10+-rep sets, I’m more limited by my ability to breathe than my muscles’ ability to do work. So I’ve trickled in more cardio. Eeeee!, you say. Eeeee! like you have seen a mouse, a mouse running on its little wheel, entrapped to the mind-glossing witchery of logging miles. I know.