“Do you even lift?” gets thrown around quite a bit on social media these days, especially in terms of practicing what you preach in physical therapy. I can’t tell you how many physical therapists I’ve come into contact with that have not touched a single weight in their lives. I used to be just like them. I began running cross country as a sophomore in high school. I played other sports growing up, but had never pursued running as a sport. I got into great shape while running cross country, and from then on I was hooked. From that time up until very recently, I was that person that thought that all I needed to do to stay in shape was endless hours of cardio (which included a lot of running).
Within the last year, I began to read and listen to content from Bret Contreras and John Rusin. I read Bret’s book Stronger Curves, which is an easy read for a female new to weight training and looking to improve the way they look. I decided to start incorporating weight training into my lifestyle and began to apply his principles to myself and my patients. I also started listening to John Rusin’s Strength Doc Podcast, learning his perspective on hypertrophy training. I now continue to read several different books and listen to podcasts that cover various topics in strength and conditioning. I am even sitting for the CSCS exam soon. Thanks to Bret, John, and several others, I have grown immensely in my perspective on strength training. I still continue to run and participate in other forms of cardio, but do so with a more defined purpose. Cardio does have its place, but it needs to be programmed in a manner that will be beneficial for your goals. Here’s a great article that further addresses this topic.
If you are the type of person that feels like they have to perform excessive cardio to stay and shape or look good, or maybe a person that wants to learn more about how lifting weights can improve your overall function, I highly recommend you seek out a personal trainer. When looking for a trainer, I would recommend finding someone who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science (or something similar) because they tend to be well versed in how the body responds and adapts to exercise. I would also highly recommend that you find a trainer that practices what they preach. After all, would you want to be trained by a person where your first instinct is to ask them “do you even lift?”