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Fuel Your Strength 424 - Practical Cardio Training Tips w Jamie Scott Part 2

Practical Cardio Training Tips w/ Jamie Scott Part 2

Are you confused about cardiovascular training? I don’t blame you; there is a lot of information out there that can work counterintuitively, especially if you are just starting to incorporate cardiovascular training into your routine.

While it is easy to just focus on the numbers, finding the balance between high-intensity and low-intensity is more nuanced than that. Luckily, I have my colleague Jamie Scott, an accomplished sports nutritionist and endurance coach, with me today.

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Key Takeaways

If You Want to Incorporate More Low-Intensity Cardio Into Your Life:

  1. Slowly build up your Zone 2 endurance over time
  2. Don’t get too hung up on the numbers and data
  3. Take a holistic approach and find a balance that works for you

Finding Balance with Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott is a New Zealand Registered Nutritionist. He holds postgraduate qualifications in Nutrition Medicine and Sport and Exercise Medicine, undergraduate degrees in Nutrition Science and Physical Education, and is a Level-1 Mountain Bike Skills coach (PMBIA).

Over the past 25 years, Jamie’s career has spanned several roles in the health and fitness industry. He is passionate about helping others learn how to fuel their bodies in a way that supports performance and total body health.

Give Precedence to the Feeling

I’m willing to bet there is a pretty good chance you have heard some rumors about cardiovascular health over 40 and the difference between lower-intensity and higher-intensity cardio. Many people struggle with lower-intensity cardio, or Zone 2 because they feel it is too boring, hard, or lazy.

But when you can remain grounded in your ‘why’,’ you can stay focused on the practical things you can take away. You don’t have to feel stressed or anxious about what your fitness technology is telling you. Remember to focus on the feeling an exercise gives you, not just the numbers on the screen.

Back to Basics

Often, we as a society are in a rush to look for what is new and shiny, so we need to remember the reliable basics. But they are there for a reason! Working both higher- and lower-intensity cardio into your weekly routine benefits your training and your lifestyle. 

The practical application of lower-intensity cardio, combined with the higher intensity and strength training you are already doing, is a crucial part of the puzzle regarding your overall health and longevity.

Are you ready to implement lower-intensity cardio into your training regime? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Breaking down the rumors around high-intensity training for women in peri and post-menopause (7:06)
  • How to change the way you think about Zone 2 if you feel bored with it or are focused on only your heartrate (14:23)
  • Why having a problem with slowing down may be related to your fitness ego (30:35)
  • Tips for improving or getting started on your cardiovascular stamina in the pursuit of life (38:19)
  • Understanding why, although this topic may not be click-bait worthy, it is crucial (53:38)

Quotes

“Overall, for those who are just after kind of the health and longevity and want to do it in a sustainable way that is not massively hard on the joints or is not a high skill requirement… that low-intensity mix seems to be better for those individuals.” (12:21)

“The endorphins, the huffy-puffy-ness, the sweatiness, the burn, all of those things we have been conditioned over years and years and years in the fitness industry as markers of some sort of ‘success.’ And we need to unlearn a lot of those things when it comes to doing this low-intensity, high-intensity split.” (31:57)

“It’s getting people into that mindset of: you don’t just go from 0, drop into almost a 50/50 split of low intensity and high intensity, and just slowly kind of stack things up over a long period of time. But you are not doing it in a 7-day cycle where you are just trying to shoe-horn everything in.” (47:21)

“There can be different forms of movement that people are involved with, which does add up over time.” (47:00)

“It requires people to do a little bit of reflection and thinking about where they are at, what they are doing, and what the context is.” (53:52)

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Related Episodes

FYS 423: Practical Cardio Training Tips with Jamie Scott Part 1

FYS 353: Fueling Best Practices for Active People with Jamie Scott

FYS 352: Energy Flux and Fueling for Athletes with Jamie Scott

FYS 392: Understanding Total Daily Energy Expenditure 

FYS 381: 6 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

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Practical Cardio Training Tips w/ Jamie Scott Part 2

Steph Gaudreau
You’re an athletic woman over 40, you’re lifting the weights. And, you know, it’s time to start incorporating more cardiovascular training into your life, not just for fitness’s sake, but also for health and well-being. But you’re seeing a lot on social media that’s confusing you about cardiovascular training. Maybe you’ve heard that cardiovascular training, specifically, high intensity is way too stressful for your body when you’re over 40. Or maybe you’ve heard that we don’t need more lower-intensity efforts. And you should only do high-intensity efforts or you should be married to an exact heart rate for your cardio training. How do you make sense of all of this? Well, today, my special guest is going to be walking us through some practical tips for implementation for cardiovascular training, specifically lower-intensity cardio, but also weaving things together, so you get the best of all worlds.

Steph Gaudreau
If you’re an athletic 40, something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hard shit, the Fuel Your Strength podcast is for you. You’ll learn how to eat, train and recover smarter, so you build strength and muscle, have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach, Steph Gaudreau. The Fuel Your Strength podcast dives into evidence-based strategies for nutrition training and recovery. And why once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s go.

Steph Gaudreau
Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so very much for joining me today. This is part two of a two-part series with my very special guest, Coach Jamie Scott. And if you haven’t yet heard part one, which is the previous episode, definitely go back and listen to that first, because we’re going to be laying a lot of the groundwork that’s going to make this episode actually make sense. So go ahead and check out part one, and then you can hop back over to this episode. Now my special guest, as I mentioned is Jamie Scott. He is an extremely accomplished sports nutritionist, as well as strength and endurance coach hailing originally from New Zealand, but now living in Europe.

Steph Gaudreau
And Jamie is a very good friend of mine, as well as a very respected colleague. He is incredible. He’s been talking about the topics that you’re hearing now popping up on social media for literal years, talking about things like why muscle mass is so underrated. Why we need to eat more carbohydrates. I mean, he’s talked about it all. And I feel like the world is just catching up on this episode we’re going to be talking about doing intense cardio is too stressful for you when you’re over 40. What do we know about that? What do you do if you’re struggling a bit with lower-intensity cardio because it feels too boring, it feels too hard or you feel too lazy to do it? We’re also going to be talking about some practical tips that you can use for monitoring your effort or intensity levels when you’re going out, especially your lower-intensity efforts, but really all of your cardio efforts so that you don’t have to get too hung up on any one specific measurement.

Steph Gaudreau
And what we’re really referring to there is your heart rate. So join us for this episode because we’re going to be talking about all of these topics and really how to put a bow on this practical implementation for cardio specifically lower intensity efforts to episode if you’re appreciating the podcast and finding value from it, please hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. And if you’re watching over on YouTube, hi there, make sure you subscribe and please ring the bell for more notifications. All right, we are going to jump into part two of these practical tips for cardio implementation, specifically lower-intensity efforts with my very special guest, Jamie Scott.

Steph Gaudreau
Before we dive in, if you listen to this episode, and you’re like, Okay, I am ready to get to work. I want to take my strength, muscle energy, and performance and take it up a notch. I want to take it to that next level. I want to feel like a badass but at the same time do it in a way that works with my physiology as an athletic woman over 40 with coaching and community support, go ahead and check out Strength Nutrition Unlocked. This is my group program. We’re going to lay out the framework for you and guide you as you implement and really customize it to all the things that you’re doing your preferences, your likes, and the places you want to go with it. Then go ahead and get on board, you can start your process by submitting an application at StephGaudreau.com/apply, we’d love to hear from you and see you inside the program.

Steph Gaudreau
One of the things I hear a lot in terms of chatter is I don’t necessarily think this is I don’t know if this is something maybe some people are still experiencing. But it’s the idea of, well, high intensity, I heard high-intensity training is going to, I don’t know, ruin my cortisol, blah, blah, blah, right? We hear all of these things that turn people off from doing this kind of training. And I think on the flip side, right, a long, slow distance training isn’t great for you, or it isn’t beneficial, or, you know, to your to kind of the point we talked about earlier, oh, it’s just going to increase wear and tear on your joints.

Steph Gaudreau
And I think that there is other stuff here that gets missed over, for example, you mentioned the idea of how we, how we cycled in and out of these intensities throughout our week, you know, how do we pair them together versus just doing five days of high intensity in a row, and then we end up completely wrecked. And then also the nutritional element of that. So we’ve talked before about the importance of making sure you have adequate fuel, and the recovery, or sorry, the building blocks to recovery, protein, and so on and so forth, just making sure eating adequate calories.

Steph Gaudreau
So we’ve talked and touched on those other things. I think when we get out onto social media, we hear these sound bites, and we hear those aspects of well, you know, high-intensity training is bad for women in Peri and post-menopause because it increases cortisol, and then we’re missing that, that element of Oh, but that transient increase in cortisol should be fine. And in the context of these other things, right, making sure you’re managing your stress outside of that making sure you have adequate nutrition. We’re missing the context around the bits of information. And I think that’s kind of what I hear you saying, as we’re thinking about the practical application.

Jaime Scott
Yeah, I agree. And you know, things like cortisol. Again, this is where like, I get frustrated with the lack of nuance with some of these discussions, like, yeah, probably being chronically based and high levels of cortisol is not great. But the acute cortisol response that you get to various different types of exercise is part of their adaptation process, it’s like, unfortunately, for people, that is part of the hormonal milieu that is required for your body to adapt to the training to get the results that people ultimately want. So that gets kind of missed in some of the discussions there, we touch on the nutrition side of it.

Jaime Scott
And this is where, again, I think some of the nuances get lost or the contents get lost with a lot of people’s like, you get you have these individuals who are either promoting or doing a lot of high-intensity training, which by definition, the high-intensity training is glycolytic means it requires glucose to perform those high intensities, that has to be your primary fuel. Unless you’re some freaky, freaky genetic freak, who has spent years and years and years and years, being able to use some degree of fat as a fuel at high intensities, which is almost next to nobody, you’re going to use as a prerequisite that you’re burning glucose to do your 32-second intervals or four-minute intervals or whatever they happen to be.

Jaime Scott
Those intervals for some people, many people, the sessions also tend to stimulate appetite. Now I know some people go, Oh, my appetite is suppressed. Immediately after doing those, it’s like, yeah, some people get an n degree of appetite suppression in the minutes to hours immediately afterward. But at some point down the line, that appetite comes back with a vengeance. And so now you’re burning a weak carbohydrate off, and repending creating a requirement for higher levels of carbohydrate, you’re creating a stimulus for your appetite either approximately to the session that you’ve done or distantly at some point in the hours after the session.

Jaime Scott
But you also want to fast and or do some form of low carbohydrate training as a low carbohydrate nutrition. Those things just don’t go together. And if you’re going to do the fasting and low carb in conjunction with a lot of that high-intensity training, and you’re freaking out about your cortisol, we’ve just created a nice recipe for boosting your cortisol levels anyway because that glucose has to come from somewhere, it’s going to come from your lean muscle mass in the absence of you putting the glucose in through the hole in your face.

Jaime Scott
And that requires cortisol to stimulate that gluconeogenesis process. So. So again, like all of that kind of gets mixed up and messed up in some of the discussions that are around there for the populations that I know you work within, and I occasionally worked with too, you would be far better off, once you kind of understand that mix of going, maybe if we shift more of your volume down to the low-intensity end, and that’s zone two. One of the hallmarks of zone two is that it is an activity that occurs at the like, I’m simplifying it probably potentially as the point of passing a few exercise physiologists off, but it’s the intensity at which you can maximize your fat-burning the amount of fat that you can push through flux through the system before we start to trip more over into glycolytic type exercise.

Jaime Scott
So you can do low-intensity volume, be more reliant on the fuel source that many people are trying to burn off their body anyway, and not necessarily get such a massive appetite stimulation from that type of exercise, because you can body can buffer it a little bit better and doesn’t creep in kind of normal terms, unless you’re going after hours and hours. Now, it’s a different ballgame altogether. But it doesn’t tend to have the same sort of energy requirements in terms of carbohydrate calories, that doing big, long high-intensity sessions, or multiple high-intensity sessions across a week would do so like, overall, for those who are just after kind of the health and longevity and want to do it in a sustainable way.

Jaime Scott
That’s not like massively hard on their joints, or there’s not like a high skill requirement in terms of, you know, their ability to run up VO two or bike and VO two or whatever it happens to be like that kind of low-intensity mix seems to be better than the lower intensity balance seems to be better for those individuals in that field that we’re working with, and that kind of health and vitality side of things that we tend to work with.

Steph Gaudreau
Hmm, yes. I appreciate that. I will link up the show notes that we’ve done on our podcast together on energy flux on the multiple blog posts that we have about nutritional considerations. So if folks want more information on that they can go in those in the show notes and find those episodes and those articles. I think one thing that I hear a ton about zone-to-cardio is that it’s boring. And it’s just, it’s hard insofar as it requires one to go fairly slow. And just for anyone listening to this. You know, I talked on the podcast earlier this year about returning to running after really a 12-year hiatus. And I’ve done half marathons I did marathon, obviously, with triathlon, you have to run as well. So I’m no stranger to running training.

Steph Gaudreau
And I definitely am somebody who in the past would feel in the past when I didn’t know any better, especially about training and nutrition would feel like if I didn’t go out and kind of smash myself that it was a useless training session, right? You had to go hard, or else it’s not giving you a benefit. And I think we’ve talked about the myriad reasons why that is a bit of a faulty assumption. Nevertheless, I hear a lot of things are going out, and doing Zone Two is boring. It feels like it’s a waste of time. It’s not hard enough. And I’m wondering if you can share your thoughts and advice on that for anybody who feels like they’re just bored out of their skull going out for their you know, sort of zone two type of training in their week or in their training block how do you how do you talk people through that?

Jaime Scott
I always laugh when people say it’s not hard enough because I know from from our members this season of my own site when when I said I like okay, I’m gonna do basically a summer of profit zone to load into training. It was like the hardest training of my life mentally. Because it’s you having to monitor yourself all the time and not get that creep going and you go out in the bike and someone will come zooming past you and they kind of like bait you a little bit look behind and see if you’re going to chase them and you can’t do it. You have to stay really disciplined. So from a mental discipline side of things, essentially, I find it way, way harder to do than some of the other forms of training.

Jaime Scott
I think one of the traps that people fall into in terms of it not being hard enough, and this goes back to some of the points that we made right at the start of the podcast is where people feel that they need to stick to a certain heart rate. And so they go, okay, my zone too, is, I have to stay under 125 beats a minute, and they suddenly start trying to run at less than 145. And they can’t do that. And so they go from a run, oh, I’m still over.

Jaime Scott
Now slow right down, I slow it down almost so slow down to the point that the running biomechanics is now way up compared to what it used to the down to a slow shuffle, and it’s still over the heart rate, and then the down to a walk, you know, like, oh, I can’t even run anymore, I’m walking. The need to keep in mind that when you first start that zone to training, and particularly and this is a good indication that your aerobic engine is really not as well developed, as some might think it is, is that you will get a mismatch between your heart rate and the perceived exertion of it.

Jaime Scott
And so you’ll go Oh, I feel like I’m going easy. Oh, my heart rate, is 145 beats still, I’m supposed to stay under 125. So they try to keep making it easier and easier, nice. It’s like, No, you don’t need to do that you need to ignore the heart rate initially and go with the feeling. Now if you’re legitimately at a three to four out of 10 for your RPE, then stick with the feeling and go with the feeling. And then over time, you’ll see that heart rate from 145 to 140 to 135, it’ll precipitously come down. As you get a like a, I think the term is like a recoupling of kind of Europe, your main aerobic machinery with the actual feel of it. And I think if people do that, then it takes away some of their elements of art, this is like this is quite boring.

Jaime Scott
Because they’re no longer trying to force a certain heart rate, they can just go with the go with the feel. And I’ve experienced that with many of my clients, clients, particularly the runners more so than the cyclists, I think it’s things are a little bit easier to regulate on the bike than running it those who have just gone out said, Oh, I thought my run felt easy, I thought I was in the right zone. But my heart rate said something completely different. And I can’t get my heart rate to match it. And when I try, it’s really boring. And I hate it to like, go with the feeling.

Jaime Scott
Learn what the feeling is learn what those three years learn where your breathing should be, the torque tests, and everything else that goes with that kind of rough zone to guide, getting that feeling right, and then watch your heart rate slowly match that over time. And then as they match, as the heart rate kind of comes down, you’ll often feel that your pace will go up slightly as well. So you kind of get your pace going up like you’re getting faster, as your heart rate comes down for the same feeling, which is that kind of nice sweet spot triangulation of, hey, guess what you’re getting further and you’re getting more efficient and you can do this for kind of sustainment for longer.

Jaime Scott
So let’s say that’s that sort of thing. I think part of the boredom comes from people not understanding the relationship between the precedence that you give to the feeling over the heart rate. But then outside of that, I think, no, you can use people always struggling to find time to do certain things. So you know, at Zone Two, you can then listen to your podcasts, you can do this, you can do that like you can utilize that time. relatively well. I know some, this is something that you’re very good at doing is different than you probably took your blog, you’re kind of catch-ups and everything else. I know, you’ve seen quite a few voice messages while you’re out doing your zone too, because you can. So like you can use it to utilize that time really well.

Jaime Scott
The last point I’ll make on that too, is to get out of the mindset that zone two happens has to also be a long, slow distance. So it’s like you have to go out for 45 minutes and we were sort of saying before we hit record that you know these people have this idea that zone two has to be done for 90 minutes and a session like no get out of the mindset of Zone Two occurring within the session your zone to training occurs as a total volume and you might measure over a month or something along those lines and go okay, over this month on average I could afford three hours a week and so that ends up being 12 hours a month. And give or take, let’s make it 10 hours a month because it’s easy.

Jaime Scott
So how do you like you can then go and accumulate your volume up to that total for the month for whatever period that happens to work for you now could be snippets of 40 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever it happens to be? I know like, there are people out there who say, Well, you need to get up to a minimum of 45 minutes, well, per session, if you can great. If you can’t really give me a deal breaker in the grand scheme of things given that we’re measuring the adaptations and the outcomes over really long here.

Jaime Scott
It’s not like we’re measuring like this, and months and years of accumulation, not just like, what’s going to happen for the next couple of couple of weeks. So no, I think across those three factors of go by the feelings, so that you’re not kind of being driven down for snail’s pace by some sort of artificial heart rate target, use the time to do other things, because you can, but also don’t get trapped into thinking that you need to spend hours upon hours per session doing that. I think it relieves some of that, like, boring training mentality that people can fall into.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely. I’m so glad that you brought all that up. And I think the sister rebuttal to all of that is it feels like I’m not going hard enough. And that is, that’s definitely I think that ego-driven, sort of, if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not giving me a benefit type of mentality that comes along with many types of training. I mean, we see that also in the strength training worlds, where if we think I’m not experiencing the burn in our muscles, that this type of training, it was useless for us. And I think that this is, this is a piece where people have to really investigate their own ego, and what’s driving this idea.

Steph Gaudreau
And if, if there’s someone that trades heavily off paces, that that has to I mean if you have to, I know it’s gonna be hard for some people, and they would think this is sacrilegious. But leave your watch at home, I mean, you could theoretically do your zone to training without your trading lodge without any kind of actual feedback from the watch itself in terms of your heart rate. And it will keep the pace or set your screen to a screen that has no pace being displayed. Because if you’re only concerned with pacing, and all of a sudden, maybe you are having to slow down to some degree, you’re seeing people passing you, I mean, I’ve been on zone two runs where there are literally people almost walking faster than me and it is what it is right.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m paying attention to also other things. And I think you mentioned the talk test, can you give the good listeners a simple definition, or how they might use the talk test, I think I’ve seen, you’ve seen, and many of my clients have seen this as one of the most useful things, but we just, kind of, poopoo it as it’s the talk test, it doesn’t really mean anything.

Jaime Scott
So I think that the reason I like the talk test, and this comes back to where my personal preferences are, I mentioned the start that I use the three-zone model and the demarcation between zone one, zone two, and zone three is a ventilatory threshold, which is a very kind of a hard physiological threshold. Because, again, we weren’t unpacking here, but the ventilation change where you go from being able to breathe relatively normally to suddenly cross that threshold, we do the first. Like, it’s like, oh shit, you know, like this shit just got real.

Jaime Scott
Like that marks a metabolic shift. That’s going on as opposed to a heart rate, which doesn’t necessarily there’s always a heart rate lag but lags behind quite a bit of what’s going on internally. So the torque test kind of relates to those feet dilatory thresholds. So at the, if you’re under what we call the first vehicle Natori threshold, so VT one, you should in theory with your running, biking, climbing trees, whatever it happens to be, you should be able to talk in good for long sentences, right?

Jaime Scott
You should be able to read the paragraph of a book. If you’re kind of sub feet. One, stop that first inflammatory threshold that would kind of be at the end of end range of that like ability to talk in paragraphs, you’re probably somewhere in that in that zone to mean obviously, if you’re just bumbling along and being able to talk freely, you’re probably not even in zone two. You’re in Zone One so you’re not creating enough of a stimulus for change. So it’s kind of right at the very edge of what you can do in that kind of paragraph test.

Jaime Scott
When you cross that first inflammatory threshold and start to go into what I would call zone two, but what everyone else would probably start zone three, then you can no longer talk in paragraphs, effectively long sentences, you’re down to kind of, say, one or two sentences at a time, where you go, I’m going to talk like this. And then I’m going to carry on. And then you know, so you kind of you’re, you’re doing these kind of catch-up breaths in between your sentences. And then when you really start to push up into the high intensity.

Jaime Scott
So what I would call my zone three, but others would start to kind of like four or five and six, then you’re down to words. So you go from being able to talk in paragraphs, to being able to talk, and sentences to being able to talk in words. And then what I would say is that the normal swear words at that point, like leave me alone. Yeah, it’s rough and really rough and really good. Is it exact? No, is it perfect? No. Is it gonna get you pretty close? Yes.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I definitely see that as well. So I am very much like you and trying to this is for me, personally trying to triangulate. And you mentioned this earlier, the talk test, and sort of that ventilatory quality with the overall feeling of RPE. And if anybody is unfamiliar with RPE, I will link an RPE chart. I mean, there are millions of them. But specifically, in these episodes, you can check out what that would be, what the quality of that would be described as, but I think most people have a pretty good sense of what a three out of four, three or four out of 10 effort would feel like. And if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know when you started to slide.

Steph Gaudreau
And then we also have that idea of you know, you can look at heart rate, although it’s probably less useful at the beginning, especially when you’re untrained, you’re completely untrained. And like you said, if you’re gonna go out for a run, you’re like, I can’t actually stay in zone two, I’m over no matter what I do, which is the point at which most people tend to give up, I will say for me, and this year, really coming back into running. And knowing that even though I have had some degree of cardiovascular exercise in my life, in the past people are like, Oh, that’s great.

Steph Gaudreau
You started doing cardio again, and I’m like, please, fuck off. No, I’ve been doing cardio for the whole time. It’s just, you know, I’m not been doing more of that true steady state. And bringing that running back in pretty early on, I was like, I need to build more of that more of my zone to back in. And to see even with paces, and I’m not going to mention them, because I think they’re all relative, but to see how my my pace, relatively speaking, has declined over time.

Steph Gaudreau
And how that’s mirrored in what my heart rate is at those paces. And I was saying earlier, you know, I don’t think pace is great for people who are really stuck on pace, but to see how pace has gotten faster at that zone to range. And probably about two and a half minutes faster over the course of this year is pretty cool. Your point points to the fact that even though I have been doing cardiovascular-type exercise, I probably wasn’t as aerobically fit as I could have been. So I think that bringing up these different ways that people can learn to pay attention to their body, as they are doing that training is really, really huge.

Steph Gaudreau
And what we’re talking about, you are you in Zone Two, it’s more of what are these different signs and signals that you’re kind of where you need to be, and not pushing it too hard? Because you said earlier, somebody rides by you and you’re like, Huh, I’m gonna catch them that little rabbit, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go reel them in, or I was out running a couple of weeks ago and so two women ran by me. Now the ego part of my brain would have said, Alright, stuff, you have to go chase them down, and you have to speed up and I just thought, nope, I’m in my happy little bubble.

Steph Gaudreau
I’m noticing how nice the sunlight looks this morning. I’m paying attention to the unevenness of the ground so I don’t roll an ankle and fall down because I was running on the grass. And that’s cool spot where zone two really affords you to be in being able to notice those things. Versus when I did that. I did my mile time trial in early October. And I literally get into that sort of tunnel where you’re like I can’t pay attention to anything except the fact that I feel like I’m gonna die right now.

Steph Gaudreau
That’s that quality. So, you know, I think people do come in wanting to know an exact number, what’s my exact range, what’s my exact number, but to tie a bow on what we talked about earlier, it really is in learning to, it’s in learning to learn to train, is where you’re gonna get the most benefit. And if you think you’re going too fast, you probably are, you probably need to, you probably need to go a bit slower. And I think that’s the people that part that people have a tough time with.

Jaime Scott
Oh, absolutely. And you, you kind of hit the nail on the head earlier, saying it’s, it’s ego, and we get a lot, we’ve got a lot of the tech that’s available to us now reinforces that ego, in some way, shape, or form, whether it’s, you know, some sort of acknowledgment on your Garmin or whatever other device that you’re, you’re at kind of some sort of PB pace, whether you’re on Strava. And then Strava, kind of tells you you’ve got a K or M or Q OEM. I know, I’ve worked with the people who use the calories burned as a marker as well. And so you know, they’ll go into 30 minutes in zone two and then goes 30 minutes and zone three, and I’ve seen like, I’ve heard, like, X number of more calories, it’s on three, I should be doing this. And I’m and apart from the inaccuracy of all of that, you know, it just kind of fuels that desire to go harder.

Jaime Scott
You know, the the endorphins, the happy puffiness, the sweetness, the burn, all of those things that we’ve been kind of conditioned over years and years and years within the fitness industry as markers of some sort of success, or doing better. And we need to kind of unlearn a lot of those things when it comes to doing this, like low intensity, high-intensity split, I mean that the other thing that kind of comes into that is, is if you fall into that creep of going from zone to up into the zone three, for the sake of ego, or whatever it happens to be that’s driving you there, you very, very quickly end up in no man’s land with your training overall.

Jaime Scott
Because those easy sessions no longer become easy. So you kind of go, oh, like, I’m doing zone two, but I feel like I feel good today. So I might just push the pace, or I’m feeling a bit fat today. So I might just push the pace or whatever it happens to be. So you start doing more and more zone three, still designed to that build a level of fatigue, which can be fairly innocuous at the start, like you might not necessarily notice that much of a difference. But you know, it stacks fatigue on top of fatigue. So that when it comes time to do your high-intensity work, whether within that week or a month down the track or whatever, there’s now so much fatigue in the system, that you can’t either get up into those high intense, high intensities, where you can’t stay up there and sustain them. And so you end up kind of dropping back slightly.

Jaime Scott
So if we use the zone model, your zone two becomes a zone three, and zone five, you might kind of peak up into five but you very quickly kind of drop back into the low zone for tight efforts overall. And so your your easy days become too hard and your hard days don’t become hard enough. And then you just start you end up getting nowhere your pace, stagnates, your performance stagnates your body composition stagnates. So I think it’s like it’s a really good skill for people to learn to check their ego and find other ways of making that kind of easy work easier. I mean, I know with my clients and you said this earlier on that tape can lead us astray.

Jaime Scott
Like I’ve, I’ve put my foot down with a couple of my clients who kept on getting wrapped up in their pace. And my pace was, I went out and did my easy work, but my pace was so much slower than what it should be for 20 kilometers or whatever it is they do. And I’d like just put my foot down and go take watch off. Like the your sessions are now like no tech sessions. I don’t want any watches just drive by for you.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, and it’s interesting. So mentioning just sort of how I’ve seen my pace has increased at that sort of same zone too but it’s still not something I’m driving toward. It’s kind of that after-effect, you know, I’m sort of saying okay, after several months of doing this, I am noticing that I am improving my efficiency in this heart rate zone. But it’s it’s a it’s a byproduct. And so, when I’m going out I’m also paying huge attention to how I feel my ventilatory rate for sure.

Steph Gaudreau
I know if I’m honest with myself, I know when I’m, you know, creeping up, and it’s no longer kind of an easy session. It’s so funny. One of my clients, when I was back in Massachusetts visiting my family, I posted a video of me out running in the woods. And she said something like, You always seem so happy when you’re running. And I said, Yeah, it’s because a lot of the times I’m running, I’m running slow, it’s relaxed, it’s fun. And I think sometimes we forget that training can be & cardio can be fun, it can be somewhat relaxed, it doesn’t have to be a suffer fest every time we go out.

Steph Gaudreau
And I think that that’s that inclination over time for some people. And it was definitely me when I was a cyclist, if I wasn’t out suffering, I felt like I wasn’t doing myself any good, which is very naive, looking back, but I think for people that are looking for a fast result or people who are tying a bit of their worth to their performance, in that way, can become a bit of a slippery slope.

Jaime Scott
Yeah, I mean, we have to acknowledge that there are definitely going to be those personality types who are motivated by the competition, you know, whether it’s competing against others, or competing against themselves in some way, shape, or form, which you can do like I’m, I’m well on behind the idea of people going out and doing benchmark runs or rides over again, whatever it happens to be. So like, find a course of unknown distance, and go and test yourself on it early. And then retest yourself on it every four weeks, or six weeks, or something along those lines.

Jaime Scott
And now, but in between times, you know, those are the testing times, but in between times, do the bulk of your training, unplugged without the tech or at least describe the tech and you can chicken the chicken on the numbers later. And get the competition that way, or find other elements within what it is that you’re doing to be competitive about other than just the pace, or just the intensity of which you can push yourself.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, for sure. So I think it makes sense to start wrapping this one up, two hours later. But, you know, again, if somebody is more on the recreational side of things, they’re generally looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness or stamina, you know, they want to be able to use that fitness in life, not just for the pursuit of a particular sport. And, you know, we’ve got tons of resources for sports-specific stuff out there. But if somebody is more in that camp, where they’re maybe not doing a lot of cardio, if any, what are some broad brushstrokes, you would recommend for that person to just kind of break the seal, and make things less daunting?

Steph Gaudreau
Because again, I think sometimes in these populations of folks that we’re talking to if we’re talking to those high-level competitors or those people who really love training, they’re like, I need to go train. But we also have the other pool of folks who are thinking, you know, yeah, I’m in my 40s. Now, I know, it’s important for me to have a strong cardiovascular system, I know that this is going to help me be better at life and the things that I want to do. How do we make this concept more approachable for that pool of people?

Jaime Scott
I think the first thing I probably do that pool, is, again, probably trying to get them out of that seven-day cycle mindset of that they need to kind of cram a whole lot of stuff into a seven-day repeating cycle. Because there’s, again, there’s so much that they often need to work on, like their aerobic capacity might be relatively low. And yes, they need to do the work to build that. But then also their strength might be low, and they’ve got to spend some time on their mobility and they’ve got to spend some time on the nutrition so there are so many moving parts that they need to work on so elongates the training cycle as it were.

Jaime Scott
So I would with those individuals, I can kind of push them out maybe to a two-week block and go okay, you’re going to fit all of the different parts in over a two-week repeating cycle. And the first two weeks could be doing kind of exclusively low-intensity work or the first four weeks or first six weeks, exclusively doing whatever modality of low-intensity work that they happen to gravitate towards. But then after that, you could start to slowly drip feed in one low-intensity session within that block. And that session itself happens to be low volume.

Jaime Scott
And over time, you might make that single session that they’re doing, sit down, and do three high-intensity intervals of whatever duration, so three by four minutes, just to pick an easy example. Then the next time, they might go four by four minutes, and five by five minutes. So like make that session, extend the session. So make it more extensive, than they want to get out to a point where I don’t know that they’re now doing 30 minutes of high-intensity intervals in the session, and they’re handling it well. And in between times, they’re still doing all of the other lower-intensity work, then you might be able to add an additional session somewhere within whatever their cycle is.

Jaime Scott
So then, like over time, you’re slowly building this up and elongating it out. And they might do that for three months, six months a year of just increasing the number of intervals that you’re doing within a session, increasing the number of sessions that they do within their block, but still not like trying to add more and more and more to assembly cycle, then after time, they might go, they’re starting to build a relatively good base now, then they can take the mindset of doing more either, say accumulation blocks, so it could be now we’re going to try and increase the volume if they’ve got the time of their easy training. And then they might do an intensification block. So it’s like, we’re going to do a short, sharp two weeks of actually, relatively high frequency, high-intensity work.

Jaime Scott
But then once you come out of that intensification block, then you just go back down to low intensity for a period of time. And again, you can slice and dice it in many ways. But as getting people into that mindset of you don’t just go from zero, drop into almost say a 5050, split of low intensity or high intensity or whatever else, it isn’t just slowly kind of step things up over a long period of time. But you’re not doing it in a seven-day cycle. We’re just trying to shoehorn everything in and then people kind of run out of time and run out of energy to make it all fit. But that’s for me, that’s the biggest barrier I come across for people as they, they know that they need to do the street, and they lower intensity and their mobility, and this and this and this and this, and they just life gets in the way as it would do because they’re not, that isn’t their life, they’re not professional athletes.

Jaime Scott
So now we’ll just Let’s just eat elongate that timeframe, and they don’t make it I think that elongation of the timeframe lowers the entry barrier for a lot of people, because they just don’t feel that they have to wrap everything up in such a short period of time.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I think that’s a huge takeaway. And then also one of the challenges in reconceptualizing. How we think of time because you do think everything has to be done on the weekly. And, you know, to your point, we’re not just, we don’t just make improvements in terms of a week, right, we’re talking about these long-term adaptations. One of the biggest things that I like to recommend if people already walk is to put on a weight vest or a rock and do what you’re already doing, just sprinkling in a little bit more of that intensity through adding load, knowing that’s not the same as strength training. So don’t even don’t even try.

Steph Gaudreau
Don’t even try to tell me that your strength training because now you’re rocking a couple of times a week. And I’ve talked about that on a recent podcast too. But it is a nice way to like habit stack. So I think sometimes too, we think if we already have something that we like to do we have to do something completely different. And you know, it could be as simple as taking something you’re already doing. And you know, maybe you could walk up some hills.

Steph Gaudreau
I don’t know if you live in Florida and you have no hills around you, maybe you put on a rock or something like that. But it’s also that idea, I think for folks to not necessarily introduce new things but find a way to repurpose something that they already like you know if you are somebody who likes dancing, I don’t know you like to dance and go dancing class and that’s pretty relaxed is can you get in there and really throw on some high pat some hot some fast-paced music and you know, you really go to town. I think there’s a lot of different ways that you can do it.

Steph Gaudreau
But the strict definitions I think that’s a theme of this episode is those strict definitions are strict. You’re just telling me where I need to be how I need to stay there and how I achieve it can end up doing more disservice than then they do good.

Jaime Scott
I know for the cycling population, and again, this is just as much to the recreational cyclists as it is to the athletes. So those who, because in New Zealand, we no longer live the weather is relatively temperate most of the year. So it does allow a little bit more of this type of behavior, but like using the bike for your commute to and from work. So like, if you’re on your way to work, you don’t want to arrive at work or hot and sweaty, so you’d like just dial back in intensity to zone two, then you find so that actually is one of my women who I’m working with at the moment, she’s simulator ish, cross country, mountain biking, we’ve spent the last few months building her zone to base just with her riding to and from work, she rides 45 minutes each way.

Jaime Scott
So it’s like, there’s no point and she’s already doing that it’s a thing that she is already doing. And in many for her at least, it was a case of dialing back the intensity and not dragging herself to work without going too hard on on the way to work. So using what she is doing already to build that that kind of zone to volume. And you kind of mentioned dancing, and it can be many other different forms of movement, a bit kind of interesting here, what your experiences doing the BJJ. But I would say, a good portion of that kind of continuous skill work that you might do, would get relatively close if you kind of looked at the totality of the session to be relatively close to being in that kind of zone two type area.

Jaime Scott
Again, I guess like it depends on exactly what you’re working on. So there can be different forms of movement that people might be involved with, which does add up over time.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, with BJJ, that’s a tough one, because there is so variable. And there are also some interesting factors. So obviously, if you are sparring with another person, you can’t always control the pace, harder to learn to control the pace when you’re newer, as somebody who’s more experienced. So if people don’t know, I’m a brown belt, in BJJ, which means I’ve been there for six and a half years. And that’s one level below a black belt. So I would say although I am not under the illusion that I know everything, I know enough of the basics to tell all my own stuff, I am rolling with someone newer, I can generally control the pace, because I know how to do that.

Steph Gaudreau
If I’m a newer person, I might not necessarily know how to control the pace. If someone’s really pushing that pace. There’s also a movement economy. So when you’re newer, you’re just running around, you’re just wandering around, you have no idea what to do, how to pass the guard. And so you tend to be a lot less efficient in your movement, versus now being more efficient in moving economy means sometimes I’m moving less but accomplishing more and controlling the strategy of the game.

Steph Gaudreau
That being said, you know, sometimes things are moving really, really fast. And those tend to be in intervals because we train for six minutes at a time. So I just find because of the variability, and over the years I’ve seen, yes, I have become more efficient at the game. But it’s a different type of stimulus. And let’s be real, a lot of jujitsu is done while you’re lying on the ground.

Jaime Scott
The same thing kind of came to my mind was a brief involvement with Kung Fu, which, you know, you’re doing a lot of line drills and you’re up and down, and you’re doing your patents and everything else. So you kind of on your feet effectively, like dancing in pajamas. And that’s when you’re kind of doing that for 20 minutes at a time, you know, you probably up into a relatively low zone zone to type thing. It’s probably less spiky than what BJJ is in that regard.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I would say it’s gonna depend right the first half of class if we’re doing more drill-focused instruction. For the most part, that’s pretty relaxed. In, you know, you’re doing the technique you’re practicing back and forth with your partner or you regroup as the group you’re watching the instruction are breaking up again into partners and repeat for 40 3040 minutes. And then we were sparring four rounds, that depends on Saturday, we might do eight rounds. And so at the beginning, could I even fathom doing eight straight rounds?

Steph Gaudreau
No way. And so I would see that, of course, and I came from several years off of any kind of endurance training, weightlifting, almost exclusively for a while Olympic weight weightlifting and then kind of adding jujitsu in 2017. So at the beginning of that point, I was pretty determined pretty deconditioned, even from when I had left CrossFit into them, so that was about a four-year gap. And there’s no way I could have done a six-month around. No way, I could have done that. And so I would sit, you know, roll a couple, set a couple, roll a couple, set a couple, now I can do straight rounds.

Steph Gaudreau
And generally speaking, unless I’m going with a black belt, it really, really turned the screws on me, I can walk away from that eight, six-minute round day feeling relatively okay, and not completely decimated. So, there, I think there’s that adaptation over time, I do think that BJJ athletes would benefit greatly from again, polarized polarized training because we do a fair amount of really hard out-of-breath type of stuff. But we also do a lot of lying down on the ground in our pajamas. And it can look to the casual observer like there’s not a lot going on.

Steph Gaudreau
Sometimes when I film myself, I’ll film different rounds to kind of see what I’m doing. And in some cases, for some of the lower belts to see if there are any pointers for them, I see how much slower I’m moving on film, as opposed to what it seems like in my mind. So I have tons of data on my whoop, to sort of sort of show me roughly where I might be in any given round. But again, it’s your point, it feels relaxed. And so there are a lot of sessions where I’m not even getting into zone two, period anymore. So it part of it is, can I increase the intensity, if I needed to, probably, I could push the pace. But also, just by the nature of the variety of what we do in class.

Steph Gaudreau
Sometimes we’re not really pushing. So I do think at the end of the day, it does come down to that, you know, we could probably stand to do both higher and lower intensity to, like, imagine that higher and lower intensity has benefit. work them into your week in a way that’s smart, or your 14-day period. That’s smart and benefits, you know, not just what you’re doing and trading but your lifestyle and doesn’t become a burden to recover from. Pear it was some solid nutrition, lift your weights, and there you go.

Jaime Scott
There’s too much common sense, no one will buy it.

Steph Gaudreau
It’s too measured and balanced. You know, it’s not extreme enough. But, you know, I think that’s where social media does come back around. And for, you know, lack of a better term polarizing things are popular, you know, big bold claims, things that seem really absolute are easier to share, because there’s not a well it does depend. And here’s some nuance behind it. And you need the context, that kind of content, which you and I share a lot of isn’t as it doesn’t, it doesn’t get the clicks, it doesn’t get the clickbait it’s not inflammatory. It’s kind of the opposite of that. And it’s just the metered perspective and the discussion that isn’t going to catch someone’s attention in two and a half seconds.

Jaime Scott
No, and it requires people to do a little bit of reflection and thinking about where they’re at what they’re doing, and what their context is and I think people’s attention spans and lives and busyness often don’t allow that. The simple one-liner of “just do this” at this intensity because you’re this flavor person or that flavor person is way easier message to sell.

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely. Any last thoughts or anything we didn’t touch on that you want to make sure we get in?

Jaime Scott
And I think just based on some of the recent commentary that we’ve seen and comments and confusion that has gone with there is an I would just encourage people to remember that they’re human beings first, male and female second. And that a lot of what we do know and understand around the kind of physiology of our training and what seems to work holds true for both men and women. And then you might just kind of nudge the dial one way or the other. But again, based on other contexts before you get to kind of to wrap up on the seat differences overall.

Jaime Scott
So I think I would just, kind of, finish up by saying that in the, in relation to, some of more recent discussions around this people just need to kind of maybe slow down a little bit and not get too lost in the hype around sex-based training, no matter what type it happens to be, and just, kind of, realize that there’s just kind of some sets principles that apply to everyone first and foremost, and six differences will be way down the list of the hierarchies that you’ve kind of come to first.

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely. Similarly, with, we’ve talked about this ton nutrition, you know, what are your nutritional priorities. And you know, at the end of the day, if you’re operating in low energy availability chronically, that’s probably one of the biggest issues that you need to solve before you start thinking about how you’re going to vary your carbohydrate intake in your luteal phase versus your exactly follicular phase, you know, so I get it, it’s one of those things, right, we don’t necessarily have a balance of those sorts of sex differences in terms of the research currently. So it’s this really exciting area to investigate.

Steph Gaudreau
And at the same time, you know, with training with nutrition, we know that there are going to be those priorities that are probably going to come first and foremost before we start dissecting it up. And, you know, for the majority of the user, of use cases of users, you know, if we’re operating at the very, very, very, very highest levels, perhaps some of those more high tier kind of top of the pyramid, things become more important. But at the same, you know, we’re trying to eke out those last couple of percentage points of performance, which could be the difference between world records and Olympic medals, and those sorts of things. But the basics still apply. And I think that’s where we had to remain grounded in these discussions as well. and in the recommendations and the practical takeaways that people leave with.

Jaime Scott
The kind of hierarchy of means type pyramid, I mean, the base of that pyramid for cardiovascular endurance type training is just ensuring you’re getting enough volume overall. And, you know, you and I both come across people who are getting kind of lost in the, the, the minutiae, and the details of what’s further up that they’re permitted to go will actually are you? Are you doing enough training?

Jaime Scott
Oh, no, I can’t really, because this semester, this year, there’s the first port of call, like, you need to have to kind of create environments and habits and structures in your life, to allow you to go out and do something, no matter what the intensity is, before we, kind of, get lost too much on the detail of how you distribute that intensity based on star sign flavor of it.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I always think you kind of have to know the rules before you can break the rules. And it’s kind of that idea, right? As if we’re hitting the basics, and we’re doing the basics well, then, and only then might it be a great discussion to say how we further tweak to optimize. And I think that optimization, the rush to optimize, supersedes, in many cases, the drudgery, oftentimes and the hard stuff of putting the base into practice, and doing those foundations very well over time, such that we have now opened up opportunities to say, Okay, do we want to optimize things now, but everybody’s in such a rush to optimize these days, and bio-hack, and all of these things that were sort of blowing past the base, that would bring us, you know, those are those big rocks, those are those big gears that are going to turn that are going to give us probably more adaptation and more benefit.

Steph Gaudreau
But we’re in such a rush to look for the shiny to look for what’s the newest and best and we kind of forget, you know, the old, reliable, boring basics. And if we were able to turn our attention back to those and get support when we needed to implement that behavior change to build the systems and structures to set up the environments. And I think that’s where you and I come back to the importance of coaching and the importance of guidance and the importance of support is in redirecting back away from the shiny and the tippy, tippy top.

Steph Gaudreau
And, you know, it’s the same question of like, well, what is my supplement split? You know, what does that have to…What can I take to optimize my performance? And I’m looking at the base of what clients are doing. And I’m sure you’re doing the same and thinking, first, we had a, maybe eat, eat enough food and sleep a little bit more. And then, you know, down the road, we can talk about those higher-level things. And it’s, it’s just not what is sexy and what’s popular oftentimes,

Jaime Scott
Very well said. very well said.

Steph Gaudreau
All right. Let’s go ahead and wrap this one up. Any last thoughts? Where do you want folks to follow along with your posts and the things that you’re putting up online? And if they’re interested in coaching, where can they get a hold of you?

Jaime Scott
This is showing up as a proper amateur because it’s like ahhhhhh. The only place to follow me now is on my Instagram feed. As he reaches for his phone…what is my handle off the top of my head? What have I changed it to recently? It is JamieScott.NZ, even though I’m not an NZ.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, cool. So we’ll make sure we link that up. And also, we’ll link up the other episodes that we had in the past. So folks can take a listen to all of that. This has been a great discussion. I’m so grateful that you’re here with me to have it and to present, you know, the other side of the coin, the how do we? How do we implement this? How do we look for the practical application that goes hand in hand with all the other stuff that we’re learning, and all of the other bits of the puzzle ultimately, that’s where I think people get the most confused, the most overwhelmed, and truly need the most support. So I appreciate you being here and talking through it.

Jaime Scott
Thank you. Thanks for having me on and maybe we won’t talk for quite as long.

Steph Gaudreau
Excellent. Sounds good. Thanks.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, my friend. There you go. That’s a wrap on this two-part series on practical tips for implementing cardio, especially if you’re somebody who’s newer to this idea of, you know, I need some cardio in my life, it’s important for my overall fitness for my health and well being as well, we need to be well rounded, especially when we’re going into our 40s and beyond. Of course, it’s never totally easy to start. But remember to keep things in perspective, do a little bit more than you did the week before, and slowly build up over time. Don’t get too lost in the sauce with all of the numbers and all of the data, but really take a more holistic approach. As you’re getting started with your efforts and your intensity, try to include a little bit of different intensities throughout your week and implement some of the other tips that you learned in this episode.

Steph Gaudreau
If you found this podcast helpful, please subscribe on your favorite podcast app, hit subscribe over on YouTube as well, and ring the bell there for more notifications. You can see many of our podcast episodes in video format, and your subscription helps the channel to grow so thank you for doing that. And it’s time for you to start working with your physiology instead of against it as an athletic woman over 40, getting the strategy that you need for fueling training, recovery, and stress management all in a very supportive environment with community and weekly group coaching from yours truly, then go ahead and check out Strength Nutrition Unlocked. You can get more information and submit your application at StephGaudreau.com/apply. Thanks so much for joining me on this two-part series. And I will see you in the next episode. Until then stay strong.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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