We like to look at things in black or white terms, food is either good or bad, you lift heavy things or you do cardio. The reality, though, is rarely so black and white, but many more shades of grey.
This month’s mindset flip is to look for the grey areas. This will give you more flexibility in your approach to training, nutrition, performance, and more.
From a nutritional perspective, food is neither good nor bad. It has no moral value except what we place on it. Doughnuts may be devilishly good, but they are no more evil than sprouts. Instead of looking at food as being good or bad, we could start thinking of it as situationally appropriate or not. A doughnut for breakfast? Probably not appropriate in most cases. A doughnut with a good cup of coffee while out catching up with friends? More situationally appropriate.
A tupperware box of chicken and broccoli at a dinner party? Not situationally appropriate, unless it’s a BYOT (Bring Your Own Tupperware) party. But the same tupperware of food at wark where nutritional options are scarce and you are trying to get stage ready is more situationally appropriate.
The point is, is that for your goals, you need to consider the situations you are going to find yourself in and plan and prep accordingly. You need to consider the food selections that are going to get your closer to your goals, and fit within your lifestyle, and match your goals and food choices to each other.
From a training perspective, only lifting heavy, or only doing cardio, is leaving a huge gap in your training. Which leaves you lacking in your ability to maximise your potential, and possibly leaves you open to higher injury risk.
If you lift heavy, then a little more low level cardio to build a better aerobic base means better recovery between sets and sessions, allowing for greater training volumes. And if your focus is on a better 10K time, getting stronger will improve your strength, power into the ground and shock proof your joints.
In a good training plan, there should be room for both proportional to the overall goal.
In your training and nutrition, allow a little more flexibility into your approaches. And for many areas, the 80-20 (or 90-10) rule works wonderfully.
If you are trying to get leaner, 80-90% of your calories should be from whole foods, focussing on protein and veggies. The other 20% can be made up of other, less nutritionally dense foods, like douhgnuts.
If you are trying to get stronger, 80-90% of your training is going to be lifting heavy things, the rest should be some kind of conditioning to aid with CV fitness and recovery.
For endurance goals, flip that around and 80-90% of your training is going to be cardio, with the remainder going to strength work to build power and resiliency.
Learning to work within these spectrums will do more for your ability to achieve your health, fitness and body composition goals than rigidly sticking to one extreme or the other ever could.