Lifting, cardio, and eating nutrient-dense foods are all healthful behaviors.
Lifting provides many benefits (we'll talk about these next week actually) for overall health and longevity. Cardio offers heart health amongst many other benefits. Eating nutrient-dense foods helps you feel good and receive essential nutrients.
These are all great things.
But all things that are deemed as healthy, can also be unhealthy in extremes.
Lifting is helpful when properly programmed, paired with a tailored cardiovascular plan, and fueled by foods that make you feel good. It's even more helpful if you take programmed de-load weeks, learn how to listen to your body, and know how to recover.
Lifting can be unhelpful when it's done every day and without de-load sessions. Lifting is a great tool, but can quickly become unhealthy when over-done or under-done.
Cardiovascular exercise is helpful when programmed alongside a lifting or strength training program and assisted by proper fueling. Following a cardio program that is geared toward your goals and meeting you where you are is even better.
Cardio can be unhelpful when it's done every day, consistently done at only one intensity, on its own (not alongside a strength training program), and without proper recovery. Cardio is essential for heart health, but can quickly become unhealthy when it is the only focus or not a focus at all.
Eating nutrient-dense foods is helpful when it doesn't get in the way of your lifestyle. It's even more helpful when you allow yourself to eat foods that are less nutrient-dense on occasion because you enjoy those foods, too.
Only eating nutrient-dense foods and allowing it to affect other areas of your life (work, family, social) can be unhelpful. Nutrient-dense foods are delicious and nutritious, but can be harmful when overemphasized or not emphasized at all.
Of course, we are talking in extreme cases. There are certainly spectrums of healthy and unhealthy (that's why I don't love using those two words) because health is going to look different on every human. But, these are things to consider when learning about where you move about the health spectrum and where you'd like to see yourself on it in the future.
Maybe you've been prioritizing cardio and food, but have put strength training on the back burner and want to bring it back. Maybe you've been strength training consistently, but haven't increased your heart rate for cardio in months. Maybe you've been consistent with strength and cardio, but would like to see your foods nutrition profile improve a bit. Maybe you've been going all out in all areas of health and need to take a step back for a little bit.
There's no wrong place on the health spectrum, but there is a way to push forward without putting yourself in the extremes.
If you or someone you know is experiencing disordered eating, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline 800-931-2237 or if you are in crisis text NEDA to 741741.