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Fuel Your Strength 423 - Practical Cardio Training Tips w Jamie Scott Part 1

Practical Cardio Training Tips w/ Jamie Scott Part 1

Both strength training and cardiovascular fitness play an important role in your health and well-being. However, learning how to integrate both into your weekly training regime can be challenging. That’s why I have brought my friend Jamie Scott on the show to give you some practical tips on implementing lower-intensity cardio into your routine.

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Key Takeaways

If You Are Interested in Practical Tips for Zone 2 Training, You Should:

  1. Focus on the training-to-train approach, which will allow you to learn about your needs
  2. Find a balance between high-intensity and low-intensity training 
  3. Take your time and be patient knowing that you are providing your body with what it needs

Your Overall Fitness Plan 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.

Polar Extremes

When you think about your training, do you ever think of it in terms of polarization? The truth is it takes many different types and intensities of training to achieve the results you are looking for. While it can be challenging to weave together all the training you should be doing, when you can distribute your training loads between the polar extremes, you can unlock different variations of metabolic reactions and build a more holistic training practice.

Improving Your Low Intensity Cardio

Jamie is a big believer in training within the ‘training to train’ category. This means taking the time to learn the art and science of training as it applies to you and only you. Great things take time, and by focusing on learning more about your body and what it needs, you can perfect the overlap between high-intensity and low-intensity.

If you want to improve your endurance, strength, and ultimately the totality of your health picture, the key is learning how to balance the low-intensity and high-intensity. The benefits might surprise you.

What are you excited to hear about in Part 2? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Why ‘Zone 2’ is having a moment in the spotlight despite not being a new topic (12:50)
  • Learn what exactly ‘Zone 2’ training is and the alias terms it can also go by (19:57)
  • The importance of going through the training-to-train phase (35:03)
  • Specific and unique benefits of ‘Zone 2’ training and why, if you are endurance training, it is a necessary piece of the puzzle (39:47)
  • Breaking down the reasons as to why the overlap between high intensity and low intensity gets lost (45:56)

Quotes

“There is a real art to it. And that art is kind of a bit fuzzy. We deal with broad ranges rather than absolutes.” (28:57)

“The trends that I am seeing… and some of the top minds in the field… have come out and said the feeling of a particular intensity is actually probably more important than the number.” (30:40)

“There is a learning phase you have to go through. There are phases of training, and for as long as I can remember now, I have tried to teach people that you have to go through the training to train phase.” (35:25)

“You are learning the art and science of training as it pertains to you, your body, your life, your context, your sport.” (35:35)

“It’s not one or the other, it’s both.”  (46:02)

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Practical Cardio Training Tips w/ Jamie Scott Part 1

Steph Gaudreau
Wondering how to make sense of low-intensity or zone-to-cardio in your overall fitness plan, you are definitely not alone. So many women over 40 are realizing that both strength training and cardiovascular fitness play an important role in their health. And while being and learning how to integrate both can be a bit of a challenge.

Steph Gaudreau
This is part one of a two-part podcast with a very special guest of mine, looking at practical tips for implementing lower-intensity cardio in your routine. If you’re an athletic 40-something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hardship, 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.

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. I am very excited to bring you part one of a two-part podcast that’s looking into practical tips and implementation. We’re looking more at lower intensity or zone to cardio in this two-part podcast. I’m joined by my very special guest and good friend, Jamie Scott, who is not only a registered nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition, and he’s also a very experienced coach when it comes to cycling and endurance sports. Jamie is always really ahead of the curve when it comes to topics that are very important. I mean, he was banging on about the importance of muscle mass over a decade ago when I was listening to him speak at a conference.

Steph Gaudreau
And now we know that the whole world is talking about why muscle is so incredibly important. So not only is he always a little bit ahead of the curve in terms of training and nutrition, but he’s also a very accomplished and experienced coach who really focuses on practical implementation. So when we were talking about cardio and zone two and what people get confused about zone two and why it’s so confusing. Jamie was the first person that I thought of to bring on the show and have a conversation to help make this very practical for you because not everybody who’s out in the world doing cardio is an Ironman triathlete or an ultra-endurance runner, maybe you haven’t done any cardio in a while.

Steph Gaudreau
And you’re trying to make sense of all of this information that you’re seeing out in the world. And it’s really not customized to you or it’s customized to people who are at a higher level than where you’re at, and you’re finding it really overwhelming. So today I’m gonna show we’re talking about why there are so many different ways to slice and dice. What are low, moderate, and high-intensity cardio?

Steph Gaudreau
We’re talking about training to train some of the benefits of zone to training, and how to think about your training in terms of polarization. And what are some of the challenges and practical implementation tips that he has for weaving together all of the training you have to do between strength training, cardio, mobility, and so much more? He’s going to be giving you some practical tips to think about fleshing out your schedule on this episode.

Steph Gaudreau
Before we dive in, make sure you hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. If you’re watching over on YouTube, Hello, please hit subscribe there and ring the bell for more notifications as well. Alright, we’re gonna get into it on this part one episode with Jamie Scott all about low-intensity cardio.

Steph Gaudreau
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. And go ahead and check out Strength Nutrition Unlocked. This is my group program. We’re gonna 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.

Steph Gaudreau
Then go ahead and get on board. You can start your process by submitting an application at StephGaudreau.com/apply. We would love to hear from you and see you inside the program. Jamie Scott, welcome back to the podcast. So I think you may be in a very top tier level of people, not only because of who you are as a human and your broad, yet deep base of knowledge on the topics that we’re going to be talking about today but also because you are in, I think, a very unique club, people who’ve been over on the podcast over three times.

Steph Gaudreau
Is it three or two, I thought…

Steph Gaudreau
No, this is technically your fourth episode with me, I think.

Jaime Scott
Oh, wow. Okay. I will take your word for it.

Steph Gaudreau
It might even be the fifth, I have to go back and check but yeah.

Jaime Scott
I figured this out tonight. Oh, no, we’ve definitely done the last time we recorded a big one we split it into two

Steph Gaudreau
We did split it in two. So I consider that two episodes because we went on a journey on that podcast. And it’s really funny because now I’m starting to see more people talking about energy flux. And that’s ironic because we talked about that, I think, a year and a half ago, almost two years ago.

Jaime Scott
A lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Steph Gaudreau
Pretty much. But today, we are going to, we’re gonna we’re gonna wait into it, to talk about the thing. That’s one of the things that in 2023 has been on so many people’s lips, a topic of conversation, it’s not cold plunging, which also somehow had this surge in 2023. But it is everyone’s favorite thing to talk about now. And we’re going to be discussing this in more detail. Because, as you know, when things get popular, or more, more people start talking about it. We see all sorts of wacky things happen. Just not understanding what these are, totally exaggerating stuff, and missing the big point. You name it. So what are we going to talk about today?

Jaime Scott
Zone 2 training?

Steph Gaudreau
No, zone two cardio? Oh, my goodness, yes, we are going to talk about zone two cardio. So I would love if you would for the listener sort of talk about, you know, you’ve been on the podcast before. We’ve talked about strength training, we’ve talked about nutrition. But I would love for you to share with the listener your experiences, sort of working with people in terms of cardio or endurance training, just so we have a bit of a basis to go forward from and then I’m sure we will jump off into several sub-topics. And probably this will need to be to two episodes, but we’ll see.

Jaime Scott
See where we end up. My experience training people. I think through virtue of my kind of background, I like I have worked with a lot more endurance-based individuals, rather than the strength side of Adreno, you kind of tend to sit on much more than what I have historically. Predominantly, I think just because of my interest, it’s it’s been mostly cyclists, but not exclusively. And so over the years, I’ve worked with road cyclists, track cyclists in particular. More recently, kind of gravity-based cycling some mountain bikers, enduro downhill cross country.

Jaime Scott
So in that, in that sort of space, and a few runners from half to full marathons, right, all the way out to kind of ultra distance runners who are doing the kind of 100-mile type events. So that they can, that’s kind of the main kind of scope of the people that I work with. And they kind of run the full gamut, I’ve worked with those who have gone on to kind of do national representation, and I’ve worked with those who are just kind of starting out, really, so I’ve kind of seen the full range of, of people who are just doing things as a hobby, and as a passion versus those who are, it’s their job to survive and perform and get results. So I kind of that’s the that’s the scope of the people that that I work with.

Jaime Scott
And across that scope, obviously, across those different disciplines. So like you can talk about the cyclists and go okay, they’ll ride bikes, but some ride bikes for two minutes and ride bikes for 24 hours sometimes, but depending on what the event is. And then you’ve got individuals within that. So like you taking kind of endurance training, which we can we can run into the problem of referring to as this single entity but it’s not Like, there’s many different things like it comes down to the timecode of what you’re you’re dealing with someone’s I mean, technically, I think from a technical standpoint or elicit a physiological standpoint, endurance becomes anything over 45 seconds.

Jaime Scott
So when you’re working with track cyclists who are sprinters, the moment they’re doing an event that’s 60 plus seconds, they’re automatically an endurance endurance athlete. So that’s kind of the background and people that I teamed up with, but again, not exclusively, I’ve got some random folk in there. I’ve got like roller derby athletes. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that makes it people have kind of come in from the field every now and then. And you have to kind of stretch the brain and go, Okay, well, how do I make this work for those individuals?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I can really relate to sort of the breadth of cyclists that you’ve worked with, because although I’ve never raced track, I have learned to ride on the track, which is its own thing. But you know, from a perspective of my past with mountain biking, and using road riding as a supplement to that, and then doing some shoulder season stuff with cyclocross and whatnot, I mean, I’ve done everything from racing downhill mountain bikes, like you were talking about those sorts of shorter ones.

Steph Gaudreau
The downhill tracks can vary in length, but those sort of shorter duration races, versus the 12-hour solos, the 24-hour solos are on teams. And those really long pursuits when I was first mountain biking, and really got into it in about 2004, was when I first got my first real mountain bike, my Gary Fisher, from Bicycles Unlimited, and I just, you know, kind of got bit by the bug and entered my first local competition. I didn’t know anything about that kind of training. And yet, at the same time, as I got more into the sport, I realized I had to train if I wanted to be good or get better.

Steph Gaudreau
The idea of building a cardiovascular base or building an aerobic base was something that was very much talked about. And so I’m curious, from your perspective, you know, if we go we’re going back basically 20 years at this point, why do you think zone two has? And we’ll kind of talk about what it is here in a second. But why do you think it has become this is having this moment of resurgence, it’s having this moment in the spotlight when truly it’s not a new concept.

Jaime Scott
This is like this. That’s the laughable thing. And we’re all kind of recently kind of jumping on this zone to bandwagon as if it’s the latest thing to come out of Sports Science. I’m like, Oh, my God. I did my Sport and Exercise Science degree in the ’90s and that was old news. At that point, it was just framed differently. I mean, it is thank you refer to there. It was like it was based training, aerobic base training. And I can’t say exactly when this could have come to the forefront.

Jaime Scott
But I mean, I certainly know it was as a training technique, it was probably the 60s or 70s. If not, before then that there was this kind of notion that you had to build a big base. And that’s what your offseason was, if you go out and do base training or long slow distance, or however it was, it was framed, jump forward to where we are now. And I know that in recent years, there’s been a much greater focus on polarized training again, we’ll probably kind of unpack that as we get into the, into the podcast.

Jaime Scott
An aspect of that kind of polarized training is breaking your training down into zones, and they could be anything from three zones, five zones, six zones, or seven zones, they’re all overcharged. But the central premise is you do training at low intensity, whatever that intensity happens to be when you do training at high intensity. And you can distribute your training loads across those two kinds of polar extremes. And cut some of the volume from the from the middle out.

Jaime Scott
Just so happens that I think in recent times for, whatever reason, unbeknownst to me, is there in the last year, two years, how long this has been resurfacing, is that zone two as part of that kind of polarization and really kind of gained popularity amongst kind of everyday folk wanting to do their, their own kind of health and fitness, health and fitness journey. It’s by no means a new topic by any stretch of the imagination. It’s been around for decades.

Steph Gaudreau
No, I wonder to what degree social media, we always seem to talk about social media and touch on it on some level on pretty much every podcast I do with a guest, whether it’s how we came to know each other, or, that’s, you know, truly the case here. But it’s concepts, it’s sort of the things that we’re struggling with to apply whatever it is, I think the social media aspect has. And now I’m thinking about it has helped to sort of help these lodges in, in terms of what’s popular, and create a lot of chatter, for lack of a better term. I mean, they used to just have cycling coaches, if we’re talking about cycling here, right?

Steph Gaudreau
Cycling coaches talk about this stuff, and then obviously give that to their clients. But maybe you would have researchers publishing their work, maybe, you know, things would show up here and there on early forums or blogs, perhaps, but it wasn’t you didn’t, you just didn’t have the sheer volume of discussion about these things. And I think that that creates that groundswell that can tip something into sort of that was the early majority, where we’re sort of like seeing more and more and more people are talking about this. And so we think, Oh, this is the new, big popular thing.

Steph Gaudreau
And it was the same way with hit trading 10 years ago, right? And so now we just have more people publishing content, more people talking about it. And so we almost have this perception of something’s important, or it’s this new thing. And in reality, it’s, it’s maybe just more more content being shared around these topics, which ironically, we’re doing here, right now on this podcast.

Jaime Scott
Wow, two, very popular talking here. So we’ve got a really strong platform to kind of drop this concept. And it was spread like wildfire from there. And I think that’s kind of what’s happened, not just reserved, to training but yourself that, you know, in recent times, there’s been more and more discussions around creating, and I know, like, that’s a discussion that you’ve kind of, played with, and women’s training and so on. Like, again, it only takes one or two key influencers, to mention it, and boom, it’s off.

Jaime Scott
But these are concepts that have been, as I said, they’ve been around for decades. And they come and go in cycles. And I think you and I have been around the block enough times now in our kind of individual careers, to see some of these things resurface for not just the second time around, but the third time around, and the fourth time around, like, oh, here we go again, on this roundabout.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, we were doing ice baths and stuff in you know, we’d have some pretty brutal squatting sessions. And so we’d go home and do ice baths, or contrast showers, you know, and again, those concepts are nothing new. That was 10-12 years ago. And now again, seeing it come back as sort of like an every decade sort of thing, it seems.

Jaime Scott
On that, on that topic. I mean, I was I had some brief involvement with the New Zealand track cycling squad for a while and the squad of sprinters that I was assisting to help coach general dog’s body with now we’d go away to big track meats, and in between, say, a morning session or an evening session or an overnight session, we would be doing hot coals, you know, we’d be in a hotel room somewhere, we’d go down to some sort of local quickie mart and buy a kid’s rubber plastic paddling ball, set that up in the middle of the hotel/motel, go and raid the local service station for every bag of ice that they possibly had. fill that up, and we will be running the athletes between the ice bath and a hot shower during contrast training. This was 2004! So you know, nothing is new.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, nothing’s new. Alright, so let’s, let’s kind of back up a second and define or discuss if we, if we will, what is zone two training. And what are some other names that people might hear associated with this or other terms? I feel like this can get a little bit muddy for folks because they’re hearing different words, and different terms used to describe this general concept of training and thinking they’re different things but really, they’re flavors of the same.

Jaime Scott
This is this tricky one, actually, because, as I said earlier on, there are multiple different zones. And I guess, let’s back it up a little bit, the broad theory is, is that we have different metabolic responses happening at different levels of intensity of exercise. Each one of these zones, which invariably, hot right base zones, broadly represents the switch from one state or stage of metabolism up to the next as we go up the line starting from very low aerobic, lipid-based, or fat-burning-based metabolism, through to aerobic glycolytic type metabolism, or glucose burning metabolism, through to now starting to progress into very high end, aerobic slash a little bit anaerobic all the way up to anaerobic form, I’m about to die type metabolism.

Jaime Scott
And we’ve sliced that into nice and neat heart rate zones. So from this heart rate zone to that heart rate zone, new transition. And like they’re a bit fuzzy, really as to what these zones actually are. And they’re just a proxy for different physiological transition points going on, or thresholds, as we often call them. So, you know, under your lactate threshold, you’re considered more aerobic, and then over a lactate threshold, you’re considered to be starting to go more anaerobic. We can talk about things like dilatory thresholds. And sometimes, you know, we talked about lactate threshold, and the first before the tour threshold being the same thing.

Jaime Scott
So you know, so there’s just kind of different ways of slicing our overall metabolism up. And I think that kind of this schema of representing our intensities into these nice, neat tidy zones, I think the tide is going out on that, from what I’ve seen, we’re not kind of in these nice, neat little boxes, we have this ability to operate across a very broad range of intensities. And the balance of how we are supplying fuel and oxygen and everything else that we need to kind of maintain whatever it our output it is that we’re doing. The balance will kind of subtly shift as it needs to there’s not a kind of a hard and fast this is your aerobic fat-burning zone. This is your glycolytic zone, this is your anaerobic zone, there’s just one massive zone and the body’s just doing what the hell it needs to to try and catch up and supply, whatever it needs to apply it to supply into the system.

Jaime Scott
That’s kind of when we talk about zone two training that is generally I think, referred to as part of a Five Zone System, or like five to six zone system. But there are other systems out there where they kind of go up to this kind of zone seven, which is kind of a lactic neurological type, short burst, right density type stuff, but the zone two training, lower the zones that I myself tend to use. With my clients, I’d like to use it. Just to confuse the situation even more, I use a three-zone system. My influence from the physiological side of it has been through Professor Steven Sieler, who I think is from Texas, originally, but now he’s based out of Norway. And he’s kind of I don’t think he likes this, this reference, but he’s seen as the godfather of polarized training.

Jaime Scott
And I think, my guess would be, that some of the work that he has, he and his team have done recently is not exclusive to him, but some of the work that he’s done around low-intensity training and polarized training has brought this kind of whole zone to stuff back to the fore. And, you know, it’s come under various guises. I mean, we’ve already said that, as you can refer to it as czar until you can refer to it as base training, you can refer to it as low-intensity training, you can refer to it as long slow distance training, even though it’s not, that’s not technically true. That kind of leads people up a garden path. You can refer to it as your first big LaTorre threshold training is a myriad of things out there. But I think Zone Two is kind of the most popular named stuff, for sure.

Steph Gaudreau
And I think that that’s in our zest as humans to want to understand things and put them into nice, neat, tidy boxes is Great because we’re trying to define things and understand the parameters. And then of course, people like you and I are trying to help the people, the good people out there listening to this podcast, who maybe want to improve their cardiovascular fitness, or you’re training your athletes in cycling, or whatever it happens to be where you and I are really functioning in that sort of space of trying to help people apply things. And to coach actual humans, which we know is very complex.

Steph Gaudreau
And it’s not as simple as you just need to give somebody a clear number. Because depending on the person, there could be a lot of factors that influence for example, where their zone two is. But I think that a great analogy might be something like the spectrum of how we train our muscles. Right, and especially when we look at things like hypertrophy training, right, we used to think that hypertrophy training had a very distinct sort of reps, sets, etc. And it was sort of in this nice, neat, from this number of reps to this number of reps. And then anything lower than that is, of course, your strength/ power, and then anything higher than that is your muscular endurance.

Steph Gaudreau
But I think what we’ve seen through the more recent research and sort of put syntheses of all this information is that it’s a spectrum. You know, maybe some people have a bit more propensity to also be able to put on muscle in more strength ranges. And so we have this idea that things are a little bit more fluid than we previously thought or expected them to be and I think I hear something very similar. And what you’re just saying, which is, we have all of these ways that we want to put numbers and quantify and put parameters on the spectrum of cardiovascular fitness and expression, and how the different really complex ways our metabolism changes, to meet the stimulus.

Steph Gaudreau
But then when we try to give that to humans and help them apply it, it’s it’s, it can get kind of messy. And I think that that’s where people like you and me see, our clients, our athletes, the people we talk to get confused, and want to focus super hard on the exact numbers, and then they see conflicting numbers, and then they’re off on a spiral somewhere.

Jaime Scott
It’s been a very interesting journey for me because I mean, I, I came very much from a sports science background. So, I did my training in an exercise physiology lab. And that was kind of why exercise physiology was my favorite subject because that was the one I was I was good at. And so I exited University, I think with that, that very kind of scientific mindset of like, let’s just grab a human being, and we will kind of measure them backward, forwards, inside out and upside down and get all the numbers, we’ll test the lactate threshold, we’ll get this we’ll get the video to blah, blah, blah, and it’s just a paint by numbers, all you need to do is go here’s the numbers train at this heart rate, Bob’s your auntie and call it good.

Jaime Scott
Then you realize in the real world, humans are messy. So you in that kind of going, okay, it’s somewhere between coaching in coaching humans in the real world in a nice applied way, is part science and part art. And I think as I’ve gotten older, not to kind of diminish the science behind it, because both you and I really try and keep up with that, and the evidence-based/evidence and formed, but you realize like there’s a real art to it, and that art is kind of a bit fuzzy. We deal with kind of broad ranges rather than absolutes. It’s like, well, you’d like to use your example, your rep range might be somewhere between here and here.

Jaime Scott
And that’s like a really broad parameter you’ve just given someone and people struggle with that. That kind of broadness and fuzziness of the application and the whole world context matters what it depends because I think we’ve kind of developed this mindset, partly through the democratization of the whole sport science thing that magic happens that a set heart rate or like some sort of set number, and that magic and a set number has been reinforced by the fact that we’ve all got kind of real-time heart rate monitoring. Now, you know, we’re all kind of wearing some sort of thing that you know, back in the day where yet yeah, I’ve got one of those, you know, back in the day where and you’ll remember this too, it’s like if you wanted to monitor your heart rate, Monday strap on and you know, half the time you didn’t go out the door and down the road.

Jaime Scott
I take my heart rate monitor to bed. But you know, now it’s all there. And we can slice and dice to slice and dice the data. And people want to know the exact the exact number. However, the trends that I’m seeing, and I’m kind of pleased that some of the, you know, the top minds in these fields again, like, you know, my kind of key influences some of these top professors who have come out and said, the feeling of a particular intensity is actually probably more important than the number. And, and, you know, you and I have both kind of with our individual clients, we use a lot of kind of, you know, feeling in terms of perceived exertion, what is your RPE? Like? How many, how hard does this feel to you?

Jaime Scott
How many reps do you think you’ve got left in the tank, and that’s all like, you know, it’s a warm, fuzzy feeling, I think I’ve got three reps left, but I think this is a six out of 10, or I think I’m at a three out of 10, and intensity. And that like, it just ends up being a real mindfuck for a lot of people because they don’t like that they just like, tell me what heartbreak I need to be, there isn’t a heart rate, it’s, it’s brutal, some days, your heart rate is going to be higher, some days, it’s going to be lower, like, just go out and get the feeling.

Jaime Scott
And yes, there’s some things that you can wrap around that and go like, it’s going to be somewhere between this feeling and this type of breathing. And this range of heart rate and triangulate those and whatever your pace or power or happen happens to be on the day, like, it’s somewhere in the middle of that, go out and learn what you’ve got on any given day. It’s messy for people.

Steph Gaudreau
It says, it says that we have a train, it’s, it’s tough, it walks that line between, especially when people are newer, you know, helping them understand how to train by something like an RPE, or how to use autoregulation is difficult. And even though we have a good evidence-based backup, to say, hey, training with RPE, in terms of endurance and cardio pursuits, is a great validated way to train and also for strength training. And I don’t think people realize that RPE has been validated in scientific studies force it first, specifically strength training. And that’s great.

Steph Gaudreau
But for a newer trainee, it’s, it’s you’re throwing a lot at them, right? It’s sort of saying, okay, hey, we’re going to, if we’re, if we’re taking the strike training element here, you know, we’re talking about the actual mechanics of the movement itself and trying to have good mechanics, and we’re maybe tossing in some tempo there, and you’ve got rest periods, and you’ve got reps and sets. And now, how to figure all that out. And that’s why I tell people quite upfront in strongest stuff, hey, if you’re going to use RPE, and you’re new to it, expect that the first two, maybe three months even, it’s all a learning process. And if you stick with it, and you don’t give up out of frustration, because you just want a percentage, or you want somebody to give you, Hey, today, you’re going to do 20 pounds, no matter how you feel.

Steph Gaudreau
On this, shoulder press, you’re going to do 20 pounds, that might not work for that person on that day, but really trying to understand and I think this is where you and I are very similar, trying to understand how to bring together Yes, quantitative data, there’s value in that, but also bring in that autoregulation piece and marry them together and find where the overlap is and find out how to leverage both gives people the best long term runway for their training. And I don’t think that that’s super popular, or it just thinks people again, quite understandably, just tell me the number that I’m going to see on my Garmin or I’m going to see on my Fitbit or whatever they’re using as that we have that democratization of fitness technology and those sorts of things.

Steph Gaudreau
I think we remember a day when you couldn’t really measure your HRV very easily. You’d have to, there’s just really no way to do that in an easy way. Now pretty much every device has the ability to measure HRV and display it whether it’s real-time or it’s being used in an algorithm. But that’s the tough part. And I think that’s one of the key points of this episode is and we’ll probably get into this a bit deeper. But when I talk to people, I’m sure when you talk with people, they’re like, I just don’t just give me the heart rate zone and we’re both there kind of going Yeah, and you know…

Jaime Scott
You touched on it there briefly is that there’s, there’s a learning phase you have to go through, you know, there’s like, there’s phases of training. And she’s for, as long as I can remember, now, I have tried to teach people that you have to go through the training to train phase. And that is where you are learning the art and science of training as it pertains to you, your body, your life, your context, your sport, whatever else. But people want to go, Well, I want to skip that step.

Jaime Scott
And I just want to get to the train to achieve the result where the result can be some performance-based or body composition type result, I just want that right now. I don’t want to have to go through three months, six months, two years, or however long it takes to acquire the knowledge and skills of how my body works. That’s your job. Just give me the number. And I’ll do that, and we’ll call it good. And it’s like, no, you can’t skip that step like, you know, even as even with us as coaches we can, because we see so many people and you get kind of that pattern recognition that goes with that, you can take an educated guess as to roughly what someone needs to be doing or what direction they need to point in.

Jaime Scott
But we still don’t really fully know until we start to work with them. So there’s that kind of early stage where as we hold their hands like the individual is learning what works for them. And we’re also learning what works for them. And it’s said, it’s not a stage that you can shortcut. And it’s not a paint-by-numbers job where you just go, Okay, you’re a woman of this age, therefore, your magic number that you train it is this one go to it doesn’t work that way. Sorry. disappointment that lots of people, but just doesn’t work that way.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. In terms of learning, trading to train, or learning the key skills, you need to be able to leverage that into long-term success, whatever your goal is. And it’s not a quick process. And I think the unfortunate part is that the way fitness is sold to people is, here’s this four-week boot camp, and you’re gonna get in the best shape of your life, and just, you know, short, hard fast, you’re gonna get the result. And also the implication is you’re going to be able to maintain that result, which is not the case, right?

Steph Gaudreau
We see we’re just going to D train or, or whatever gains, gains, we got whatever improvements we had, well, we will adapt to the lack of stimulus, right? And so we’ll have that atrophy, we’ll see the deconditioning. Right. So we have to continue the training. But I think that that is a huge skill set. And if we can lean into that a bit more. Anyone listening to this is saying like, Hey, don’t expect these miraculous huge results, especially whether it’s with conditioning, or it’s with muscle development, or strength gain. These things take time. And then you kind of have to settle into that. And as you said, be a great learner. Shane Farmer, who’s another friend of mine, who’s a rowing coach was recently, we recorded another episode of the podcast, and he was echoing that exact same thing.

Steph Gaudreau
You know, we need to be lifelong learners, if we want this idea of some component of fitness, because we really enjoy it, or we have a specific goal for the long term. So I appreciate that. I think that it would be helpful now, now that we have given our sort of preamble here and this is important stuff, because so often I think people are looking for only the, the information or their say, you know, tell me the physiology, or why does this matter to me. And that is an important part of the conversation. But I think that as we bring in our coaching experience and working with people, we can give a fuller picture of the implementation as well.

Steph Gaudreau
But let’s maybe back it up a bit and talk about what are some of the specific benefits of something like zone two training, if we were going to call it that in this episode, that are unique to that type of physiological response. And why if somebody is endurance training, or they want to improve their conditioning, that’s a necessary piece of the puzzle.

Jaime Scott
I mean, it’s a great question. Again, I don’t think people necessarily like the answer to it, but if rather than kind of frame things designed like that, I think it might be a little bit easier. for people to understand that we’re effectively talking about doing some type of low-intensity training, some sort of high-intensity training low, those are the polarized options that seem to be gaining more popularity and more recognition in the general population. And so the debate that rages is do you do your training is lower Tetsu do you do training is high intensity, and that’s flipped on its head over the years.

Jaime Scott
The reality is, is that the Venn diagram of the benefits of doing each overlap really, really heavily. So if we were starting to talk about mitochondrial function, cardiovascular function, capillary density, muscle enzymes, like the whole lot by the high intensity achieves a good portion of that the law Institute’s a good portion of that. And so there’s a massive massive of overlap there. I don’t think it’s necessarily helpful for most people to try and decide which of those two camps they need to be in, based on the mechanistic side of it, well, the physiology of going well, I find, if I do this, this gives me that and so on because they both overlap, but they’re both complementary, you need both to achieve the totality of the picture to say, Okay, so the, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts like you need both there, it’s useful to think of the low-intensity training has as having the total effect of raising kind of the floor of your fitness.

Jaime Scott
Whereas the high-intensity work tends to kind of lift the ceiling of your fitness. And so you can get fitter by creating a higher ceiling or building more capacity in that direction. But you could also bring your baseline up from during the, during the low-intensity training, as well, ultimately trying to balance which one of those camps or like, like, how much volume to deal with one or the other? And I think that’s where people will get lost, and where some of the debates rage, because people are like, Oh, no, no, you need to do like mostly high-intensity training. Oh, no, no, no, no, you need to do most of the low-intensity training. And then you get into the arguments of, well, why would one person do this? And why would one person do that?

Jaime Scott
And kind of more recently, we’ve kind of heard some of the arguments around six differences around you know, which direction you go in, and that’s become very, very confusing, or, for people. So, you know, probably Dutch, the Dutch the initial question, there is a little bit but, you know, in terms of the, the overall benefits, I think, again, reading the tea leaves a little bit on some of the more recent discussions that I’ve seen, there’s been a big, big focus on mitochondrial function. And mitochondria, being kind of the the powerhouses of ourselves, effectively, kind of under the battery of ourselves, that generate the energy that allows us to do the thing that we want to do run up hills ride bikes, do whatever it happens to be.

Jaime Scott
So there’s a big, big focus on either low-intensity or high-intensity training, developing our mitochondrial capacity, in one way, shape, or form. And then like, you know, you’d need to get a completely different guest on for that, because I now sit more on the applied side of things, rather than the physiological side of things like to start to unwrap what mitochondrial function is, and what happens in the mitochondria. When you are creating these stimuli from a different training, you can get lost in the weeds on that really quickly.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, it’s, it’s complicated. It’s sort of like when we see out in the world, you know, so-called hormone-balancing coaches. And we kind of think, in order to actually fully understand these different hormonal cascades, or different metabolic connections in the body, are incredibly complicated, incredibly complex, and the biochemistry is not something I even pretend to have a full grasp on.

Steph Gaudreau
And at the same time, it seems like sometimes when we’re pointing out, okay, this perhaps this transporter is upregulated, or, you know, these enzymes or are upregulated, or whatever it happens to be is that people will hone in on that and not necessarily pull back and think about things again, in terms of the practical application. So I think that that’s sort of where some of the disconnect comes in, which is like it’s great to have the It’s great to talk about those mechanisms.

Steph Gaudreau
But again, at the end of the day, how do we then take that information and apply it to humans in a training capacity, such that we’re helping the right people do the right things that they need for themselves? And we’re not missing the message somehow, and saying, you know, for example, zone two isn’t really necessary for this type of person, or, you know, you should only be doing zone five, or zone three is completely useless, we get these sorts of very broad brushstroke messages that then end up to certain groups of people seeming like well, I don’t need to do this, or this is harming me in some way. And I think that’s where things get a little bit lost.

Jaime Scott
Yeah, totally. There’s a million, Okay, we’re coming back to the point that it’s not one or the other. It’s both like, whether we call it zone two and zone five or low intensity and high intensity, you need both? Ideally, how are you going to balance that out? Well, that depends. I think people fall into the trap of what I call the tyranny of the seven-day cycle where they kind of go, okay, like, every week, how do I balance out my low intensity with my high intensity, like, do I have the time, whatever else.

Jaime Scott
Nothing needs to be balanced, and on a weekly basis, very little, if anything at all about human physiology, which runs on a seven-day cycle, that’s a social construct more than anything else, you could balance your high-intensity and low-intensity work over a month, over a much, much larger block, it could be a season, you could do your low intensity over winter, and your high intensity of summer, or vice versa, depending on your environment, and what’s what suits you could do it over years, if necessary.

Jaime Scott
And, certainly, there are different types of athletes who do that where they might go through, you know, say on a low pack cycle, they might go, Okay, I’m going to spend the next year doing predominantly low-intensity work, and the keyword is there, predominantly. But in this phase of my Olympic build-up, I’m going to switch over and I might do a big block of more kind of high-intensity type work. It just depends on the way you can slice and dice these, these intensity distributions come down to the individual of what the goals are, and, and what their capacity is, and everything else. And again, it’s like it’s just not neat and tidy.

Jaime Scott
But people and I think those who come out one way or another and make feely kind of absolute statement or blanket ball and go, everyone should be doing all of this. And none of that, or whatever it happens to be, do most people a bit of a disservice. It would be, in my mind, at least it would be far better if people kind of slowed down and took the time to talk about more of the nuances around how these things can be done, how they can be distributed, who needs to be doing slightly more of one and slightly less of a less of another.

Jaime Scott
If you’re someone who has just been spending the last 10 years of your life doing predominantly low-intensity aerobic work, and you’ve got a massive, massive aerobic base, do you need to do more of it? Probably not. So you can start to shift the balance more towards maybe doing something else, maybe doing more kind of high-intensity intervals and more kind of power-based training. But if you’re someone who is just kind of coming into physical activity, or coming back to physical activity, which I think for a lot of the women in particular that you and I would work with, in their late 30s, 40s and beyond like, they’re just coming back to physical activity after 10-20-30 years since they’ve probably done it.

Jaime Scott
So they might need to do a lot of rebuilding of their aerobic engine and machinery and everything else before they can then get into the high-intensity work. So then that might be their focus. It’s like do more of the do more of the low end. And then how do you accumulate that volume? Well, it depends.

Steph Gaudreau
I appreciate that. And I think that was kind of where I wanted to go next in understanding some of the ways that we might recommend people think about this again in the application, and I appreciate that example of sort of, I love when you talk about the seven-day cycle and how we’ve kind of used that construct to keep ourselves organized. But at the same time, the word tyranny, like you said, comes to mind.

Steph Gaudreau
Like, if it doesn’t fit in this seven-day cycle, then oh, my gosh, I’ve messed it up, or it’s, it’s stressing me out. And at the same time, how do people have the sense of how to apply some of this stuff to themselves? So bringing up the idea of a more elite athlete, and if somebody is doing sort of the training that I was doing, at the end of my endurance, mountain biking 8-10 years, at that point, I was doing a significant amount of long, lower intensity riding, to be able to ride for 12 hours, you, you know, you need that. And that’s fine.

Steph Gaudreau
Did I need more of that training? Not necessarily, which is why for me, when I added more interval-based training, I saw that when I had that race that I repeated, so I did a race in Orange County. 50-something miles off-road. And in the two-year gap, I think it was between when I did the race, the first time I went, I did the race the second time, the only thing I really did differently was I started lifting weights. So strength training, and I started doing more interval-based training. And I cut an hour off my time.

Steph Gaudreau
Now there are so many factors that go into race results. So it’s impossible to say exactly how much of that was down to the training, and other things like nutrition mechanicals, I mean, you can just go down the road there. But I think that’s kind of to your point. And this is where the messaging gets a little bit lost, is if you have that elite-level, endurance athlete, you have the ultra-endurance athlete, you have that Ironman athlete.

Steph Gaudreau
And then you have the the folks who are trying to get back to some amount of training and realizing that walking, while wonderful is not the same and is not going to help them necessarily build an aerobic base. How do they start working on this so that they will see improvements? And do they need it? And I think that that’s what’s getting lost in some of the messaging is, well, we don’t need this. And it’s like, hold on a second, who is this really? Who is this messaging really being designed for?

Jaime Scott
What does that mean, it’s interesting that you kind of say that you achieved a performance boost by switching through to strength training and high-intensity interval training. And in many ways, I don’t want to confuse too many people here. But doing strength training is a form of high-intensity interval training in a way because when you’re doing squats of 30 seconds or so in length, it’s like respectively 30-second intervals.

Jaime Scott
The speed might not be as fast as what you are when you’re sprinting or something along those lines. But it’s, it’s still a form of high-intensity training in and of itself. However, you could sort of say, Okay, you made that improvement by switching modes as it were. But it was your years of low-intensity training that actually allowed you to do the high-intensity work. Now I know, you know, for myself personally, and but also for people that I’ve worked with, does that in order to be able to get up into good high-intensity territory, and hold that output, whether it’s a power or pace for a certain amount of time. And so you’re doing vo to MAX type intervals, whether they’re short intervals or long intervals.

Jaime Scott
To create the stimulus, you have to stay up at that intensity. Well, I don’t have a massive aerobic base, currently. And so I would blow to smithereens really early on that I might get like two or three intervals, and then I’m done and shut down. And I could try and force myself to do more and more and more. And yeah, you might gain you know, 234 additional additional intervals. But really, it’s the time at low intensity and building that aerobic base that allows you to get up to the high intensity without blowing all your fuses just getting there.

Jaime Scott
And then lay the sit at that high intensity and hold it for a long period of time so that you’re creating sufficient stimulus for your four-minute interval or whatever six-minute interval or whatever it happens to be. So that you then give the downstream adaptations from that. And so again, you got to think of like you need to do one to relay it to do the other and then you can’t do the other being paying attention to you can’t do that. theory for the day because it just ends up fatiguing you or drags you down.

Jaime Scott
You can’t do every single session of your week, month, whatever it happens to be as a high-intensity session, you blow to bits during there. So you have to come back down, unload the system, you’ve pushed the ceiling up, now you’re gonna drag the floor up. And you just go through these repeated cycles of working on one or the other. But again, how you go about doing that is going to come down to how much time you have available, what’s the outcome that you’re after? What’s the result? Are you aiming for performance? Or is it just for general health? Who knows? Like, it’s, it’s really, really difficult.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I also don’t want people to think that I stopped doing any lower-intensity writing, because I was definitely doing that I just took sort of a portion of what I had been doing as lower intensity, and incorporated some of those higher intensities. And it’s interesting, I think the other thing we didn’t necessarily touch on, you just sort of mentioned it, there is this, this, the recoverability the amount of recovery, and the sort of even like the wear and tear that you can accumulate.

Steph Gaudreau
And I think sometimes we think, Oh, it’s just the lower intensity, you know, you’re out there for long periods of time, and you’re repetitive and those sorts of things, you know, the higher intensity stuff isn’t sort of injury, Injury-free or risk-free. And maybe not so much on the bike, although you can still get her on the bike because I’m just like living proof of that. But I think the interesting thing is, is even technique and efficiency of movement, like movement economy, so how do you develop better movement economy better efficiency and movement is at the lower intensities, because you have that sort of lower risk of injury, compared to I’m gonna go super hard, maybe I’m gonna go sprinting, you know, that it as being a higher intensity thing, even though it’s shorter, we are seeing that form tends to break down pretty fast.

Steph Gaudreau
So for you know, even folks like, like runners, if you’re noticing that your form is kind of falling apart, it’s, it’s worth thinking about how our house this time in a lower intensity type of trading and benefit me as I improve things like my running economy, what are your thoughts on that?

Jaime Scott
Yeah, so I completely agree that the skill acquisition side of all of these kinds of different sports and modes that we operate in running, cycling, rowing, and weightlifting, needs to be done at a low intensity. You can’t, for example, be doing some sort of high intensity via to max interval where like, you’re just focusing on survival of the interval. And be thinking about, what is your stride length. Are you what’s your foot placement?

Jaime Scott
How does this feel, how does that feel like, it just doesn’t occur at those high intensities. And so that the totality of what a lot of people are trying to achieve, they do need to do some of that work at low intensity, because then it allows them to also enhance their, their movement quality, their, their skill, you know, for, you know, think about for mountain biking, in particular, some of the downhill guys, they need to learn how to read the trail or read the corner that’s coming up or whatever it like, you can’t do that when you’re chewing on the handlebar because you’re about to die like.

Jaime Scott
So again, like I think I think we can get a little bit disingenuous when the arguments for or against a certain intensity hinge on a metabolic pathway, like there’s just so much more to it that people need to kind of think about. And again, like I just really encourage people to go, Okay. I need to, I need to balance the high and the low in some sort of block. And if it’s got to be balanced across the course of the week, the research tends to lean more in favor of doing the bulk of your volume and the lower intensity with one to two high-intensity sessions a week. I presented years and years ago from centers.

Jaime Scott
I think it was in Atlanta at one of the conferences there on the recovery time required between high-intensity sessions, and it’s a minimum of 72 hours. So when you kind of think about okay, you’re going to do one I can see the session, you’ve rearranged your internal biochemistry, the body needs to kind of reset and adapt and get ready for the next stimulus. That time is about 72 hours for, you know, for most people, so if you apply, if you apply that to up to a week to that seven-day cycle, you’re really only going to get a couple of those sessions.

Jaime Scott
And maybe during a block for some individuals, again, elite athletes where it’s their job, you can really load them up, you can do a ton of those sessions. Once a ton of those sessions, you might decide three or four of those sessions for some athletes in some circumstances. But I think that would be pretty a rare example. And it would only be for a very short period of time, and then you’d really unload that. So that they can soak up that training and adapt is that applicable to the everyday person who is more focused on their health and longevity and well-being and some sort of body composition, goal losing losing body fat?

Jaime Scott
No, like, I think for those individuals, you play the longer game, which is like, Can I do this weekend week out and sustain it. So in that case, you might only do one, maybe two high-intensity sessions a week. And then the rest of your available time is going to be some sort of mixture of the high intent, or sorry, the low intensity, volume, but also you’ve got to maintain, maintain some time for the strength work and your mobility and this and this and this. So it’s, you got to make it all fit somehow. Yeah, it’s very, it’s very easy, I think for some of those other really important aspects of your health and movement to go out the door when like you’re so fatigued from doing a lot of high-intensity work all the time.

Steph Gaudreau
Alright, my friend, we’re gonna end it there for this very meaty two-part series on cardiovascular training, specifically practical tips for lower-intensity cardio, and this was only part one. So if you want to come back for part two, stay tuned for the next episode. We’re going to be actually kicking that episode off with a very common question that I’m getting these days, which is, is cardio too stressful for women over 40? Is it going to be racking our cortisol what’s going on there, we’re going to talk about what happens if your zone two feels either too boring, too hard, or makes you feel too lazy.

Steph Gaudreau
And finally, to some practical ways that you can measure or monitor your effort levels on your cardio days that don’t have you staring at your heart rate, and getting confused about where your zone two actually is. So that’s all coming up. In part two.

Steph Gaudreau
Make sure if you’ve loved this episode, you also hit Subscribe on your favorite podcast app that’s so important and very, very appreciated. And make sure you subscribe and ring the bell over on YouTube as well. 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. Thank you so much for joining me and I will see you in part two. 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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