The Exercise Debate That Needs To End NOW

The Exercise Debate That Needs To End NOW

The joke is, there's no right answer.
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There is a war going on in the fitness industry currently and that is the debate of cardio versus weight lifting. People are so dead-set on one being better than the other, which is confusing a lot of people who are newer to or don't fully understand how exercises work. This debate needs to end now. Not only is it annoying, but it's pointless. There is no right answer!

Both cardio and weight lifting are beneficial to our health in different ways. To keep it simple, aerobic exercise (aka cardio) improves the strength and function of your cardiovascular system when done consistently. As your heart gets stronger, your risks for heart diseases decrease tremendously. Cardio is also a component in weight loss and maintenance. Weight lifting, on the other hand, is also beneficial. Regular resistance training helps improve overall strength, keeps your muscle toned, and is a key component to keeping your bones strong!

What irritates me most about this debate is when people post pictures of a "cardio body" versus a "lifting body." It's true that a cross country runner is going to have a different body type than a football player, but these comparison images send the wrong message. It's easy for a girl to look at one of these side by sides and set unrealistic goals for herself. It's easy for her to be fooled into thinking that if she stops cardio altogether and only lifts, she will get a round booty and flat abs. It's also easy for a guy to do the same thing, thinking that cutting cardio and only lifting will make him look like the Hulk.

Everyone has a different body type. It's irrational to look at a picture of a fitness model and think that, by changing your routine and eating/working out how that person does, it will make you look just like them. The truth is, you probably never will, and that is 100% okay! You should be confident in who you are. Comparison is never the answer. You're goal should never be to look like someone else - it should always be to become the best version of yourself!

Sticking to the subject of different body types, people also have different muscle fiber types. Some people have more Type I fibers and are better suited for endurance activities while others have more Type 2b fibers and perform anaerobic activities best. The type of muscle fibers most dominant in your body is determined by genetics, so you can't change it. This means that some people are simply born to be better at cardio and others are born to be better lifters.

So, instead of listening to people debate over which exercise method is best and let it influence your choice, listen to your body. Do more of what you enjoy. Do what feels best for you. However, whether you are a cardio person or lifter, don't completely neglect the other method. There should be some balance between the two, as they both have different but equally important health benefits. That being said, you don't have to push it to extremes. If you are good at running and love the sport, then run!

Don't feel obligated to squat 4x your body weight or that your have to hit the racks every day. Performing resistance exercises with lighter weights 3-4 days per week will still improve your muscular and bone strength. If you bench 210lbs and enjoy testing your limits in the weight room (bless your heart), then do it! Don't feel pressured into spending hours on the stationary bike everyday. Maybe opt for a 30 minute ride three days a week. Trying to over-do something you're just not built to do is dangerous and can lead to injury. Play it safe, take cues from your body, and find a balance that works for you!

I'm a firm believer in doing your own thing. You should always do what you love and what makes you happy! Don't let the fitness industry's pointless cardio versus lifting argument inhibit that. Exercise is meant to be enjoyed. It should never feel like something you have to do in order to look a certain way. Be confident in who you are, do more of what feels right for you, and be the best you can be!

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Famous_Health_Studio_(2898505043).jpg

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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