Thank you for checking out The Community Conversation, brought to you by Prototype Training Systems, home of CrossFit Prototype! This episode of The Community Conversation is a NUTRITION EDITION! Typically, The Community Conversation highlights a different member of the Prototype Community each week and allows them to tell their story, share their life experience, and communicate their perspective on all things fitness. For this episode, we have two of our Prototype Nutrition Coaches dropping some Nutrition knowledge bombs!

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For this nutrition edition of the Community Conversation, Prototype Nutrition Coach Jon Collette and Prototype Nutrition’s Registered Dietitian, Sam Hally will be comparing Cardio and Strength Training. If you’re looking to learn more about nutrition for yourself or pick up some good eating habit tips, you will want to check this out!

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Jon Collette 0:04
All right, thank you for tuning in to the Community Conversation brought to you by Prototype Training Systems, home of CrossFit Prototype-Sam and I are back with another nutrition episode to help provide you with some education and strategies to better your nutrition while still enjoying your social life. There’s a lot of misinformation on nutrition and exercise and we aim to provide you with some clarity. So today what we’re talking about, not quite 100% nutrition, but we’re going to be talking about strength training versus cardio and different forms of exercise and the benefits of them and also how some are using those forms of exercise for their goals. So, um, we have strength training, and cardio. And when we say cardio, typically we’re just talking about getting the heart rate up. So, Sam, what are some of the benefits of doing cardio vascular exercise?

Sam Hally 1:04
Generally, like you said, like the heart rate increases. And the good news is, is like when you do that over and over and over again, you actually like increase the capacity of your heart. So it can like pump blood better, it can, like recover better. Generally, like cardio is something that builds on if you’re someone who’s ever like trained for a marathon, you’ve experienced that where like, maybe the first time you go out and run a mile, you get super winded and you can like barely make it through the mile. But then as you do it, it’s like very easy to see that you’re able to like, breathe better, it affects your lungs, but also like your heart pumps at like a slower rate but with more power. So you’re able to do longer distances and longer times and naturally see the progression there. Kind of totally different than strength training in the form of just like weightlifting, where it’s like, really what we’re seeing is like muscle growth, as opposed to like the heart growth, unless we’re doing specific sets of weightlifting, that tend to track more on the cardio side, like tempo squats, or something where it’s like a very specific, like, bracing pattern. Jon, is that how you’d explain it to? Or would you explain it in a different way?

Jon Collette 2:17
No, yeah, no. Cardio is for your heart and strength training is for your body and to preserve it. Um, now I think it’s very common to use one or the other, depending on certain goals. But also, I think we could all agree that sometimes we rely on one too much over the other instead of having both those things implemented into our exercise routine. So let’s talk a little bit about cardio, and how that can help with strength training, as well as how strength training can help with your cardiovascular. Um, so Sam, cardio is oftentimes used as a tool to be able to burn calories. Why is that not the best way to look at cardio or even doing just conditioning in general?

Sam Hally 3:15
Yeah, so I think like, we’re probably not trying to get super technical here today. Um, but when you’re doing cardio, like your body’s burning calories while you’re doing that exercise. So if you run for an hour, like your body is burning a greater number of calories for the hour that you workout, versus strength training, where like you’re breaking down and then repairing your muscles. So in the process of doing that, like you might lift for 15 minutes, but your body doesn’t stop, like that extra calorie burn at the 15 minute mark. Right. So like, because you’re doing that process of like breaking down and rebuilding, your body’s actually going to burn more calories right then and there. But also then in general at rest. So while like in the moment, it seems like cardio is great for burning calories. It’s not necessarily long term, like the best way to go about it.

Jon Collette 4:11
Right. So what I’m hearing is that you’re gonna burn more calories when you do cardio than you are weightlifting. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s going to benefit you in the long run. It’s kind of looking at things a little bit more acutely, when you’re using it as a means to burn energy than it is. If you’re to strength train, you’re not burning as many calories in that moment. But by building muscle, It’ll help you build up your which I don’t think you mentioned about build up your metabolism which will help you burn more calories over over time as well as keep you strong.

Sam Hally 4:47
Yeah, exactly.

Jon Collette 4:49
So doing cardio, if you’re doing let’s say you’re doing weightlifting, and you’re doing a high rep range. Let’s say you’re someone that’s trying to build muscle. If your cardiovascular system is primed, is that allowing you to be able to potentially grow more muscle, because you’re able to keep your, I guess your technique is long period of time to help you vld engage muscles properly?

Sam Hally 5:24
What a good question. The obvious answer is, yes, it was set in such a nice way, if all teachers could write their their essay questions like that, that’d be great. Yeah, so like, if you don’t have a strong cardiovascular system, I’m sure like, people have experienced this before, right? Like you go to do like 12 squats in a row, like, you’re gonna get winded by the end of it, especially like under higher loads, like, so the more weight you have on the bar, the harder it is to maintain that and safely do the squat. And if you don’t have a strong cardiovascular system, it’s gonna be much, much harder to lift those higher weights. I’m sure you see it quite a bit, john, right.

Jon Collette 6:04
Oh, yeah. And I’m sure that if you’re doing strength training, you’re also going to adapt to that and your cardiovascular is going to improve through that I’m sure many of us have experienced doing, you know, under heavy, heavy weight, finishing the set and your heart rates up. So that’s like, the weightlifting is also going to challenge the cardiovascular and having an improved cardiovascular system can also help with the weightlifting component of that as well. So there was a question I wanted to ask, I’m trying to think just for a sec.

Sam Hally 6:42
Well I have a question for you. What do you think that we only weight lift, like, if you weight lift, that’s totally fine. If that’s all you do?

Jon Collette 6:51
I think that if you’re only going to weightlift that it’s very important that you at least try to move through walking, because that can also doesn’t have to be the most intensive way. But that’s also very good for your cardiovascular health is to get more movement through the day. But if we’re doing weightlifting, and then we’re just kind of sedentary throughout the day, we could probably have more health benefits from our, you know, by having more daily movement than just having that one hour or hour and a half of the day where we’re, you know, lifting weights, because you kind of think about like weightlifting is you’re gonna lift, you’re gonna lift weights, but then you’re also going to rest for a period of time, having like continuous movement is going to be how you’re going to challenge your your heart health. Um, but that doesn’t mean that doing primarily strength training isn’t really important. I mean, I would almost argue that that might be more important than doing the conditioning. But avoiding it at all costs is probably not the best thing that you could do, either. They’re both pretty good idea, I would say that what you enjoy doing most is most valuable, because you’re going to be doing some form of movement. But we think about if we’re doing let’s take cardio, for example, or someone that really enjoys running, but we never do any strain training, we’re probably overtime, going to start to have some issues where we might run into lower back pain or knee pain or anything like that, because we also need to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints that we’re putting tons and tons of miles on. But if we’re only using cardio to go ahead and be able to burn calories, you’re also not prioritizing, maintaining muscle mass. And I know a lot of times when we do a certain type of exercise program. Most people whether whether it’s set out loud or not, they are doing it because they also want to be able to look a certain way, like if you’re doing tons and tons of cardio. And usually it’s because you want to try to go ahead and maintain a healthy weight. But if you don’t ever lift weights, because you’re maybe afraid of them or you don’t like doing it, you’re over time, you’re going to have to do more and more and more cardio to go ahead and offset the muscle loss that you’re having. And as you get older, we’re going to lose muscle. So it’s a really good idea to continue to lift weights. But on the other hand, we also need to move our body as well with you know, so think of them as like the two different purposes. One is like for your heart health, and one is for preserving your body so you’re strong enough to be able to put stress on your body.

Sam Hally 9:41
What about for the people who say, Well, I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky. What do you think that?

Jon Collette 9:48
I say look at me. I’ve been working on this for years. It’s not that simple. Um, so the way to grow, the way to grow muscle is that you have to over time, you have to go ahead and slowly add more, more reps, more sets more weight, you have to go ahead and do that. But we’re not magically going to go ahead and just put on like, you know, 50 pounds of muscle unintentionally, like, there also is a lot to go with how many calories you’re consuming, what you’re going to aid and like how much muscle that is going to, you’re going to be able to grow. Because if you’re in a calorie deficit, and you’re trying to build muscle, I mean, you can build muscle and a calorie deficit. But it’s not the most like ideal way to like truly build like lots of muscle, like, if you’re looking to go ahead and put on a ton of muscle, you should be eating in a calorie surplus, you should actually be trying to gain weight, not trying to lose weight. So you’re giving your body extra calories to use towards the goal of gaining muscle right gaining muscle is going to go along with gaining weight. So if you’re in a calorie deficit, and you’re, you know, lifting weights and you’re worried or if even if you’re just eating at maintenance, you’re worried that you’re going to get bulky, it’s, it’s your, it’s like, most of the people that you see that are bulky from lifting weights are on steroids, let’s be real, most of them are taking performance enhancing drugs in order to go ahead and be huge. So if you’re looking at someone on the internet, like that’s not a normal person, then they’re probably there’s probably a lot but they’re doing that you don’t know. Um, so I wouldn’t fear to getting bulky. And, um, I would probably fear more is when you’re 60 years old. And all you’ve done is done cardio, and just have done running, and you’re running into all these joint issues, and you’re having a hard time getting up and down off the floor, I’d be more worried about that. And that’s the stuff that we want to not have to ever worry about. That’s why it’s important to continue to do this stuff as we age, versus having to look back and be like, I need to start doing this because I’m running into all these issues. Think of it, I think you talked about this on your community conversation, Sam, we should look at things as like a preventative versus a, like a almost like a like a medication. Like we should try to avoid having to be on you know, a we should we shouldn’t have to be like okay, now I’m going to start physical therapy because, um, because I have never worked on, you know, avoiding the injuries that I’m now running into. Right. So if we continue to do stuff continue to get like, like weightlifting continue to preserve our body and joint. And we’re also doing things that are going to aid in our heart health. Now we’re going to have like well rounded like health and fitness versus, you know, just thinking of exercises or means to lose weight or be skinny. Those are things that we don’t really want to think about when you think about exercise, you want to think about the importance that what you can get out of that session. Think of it as training instead of exercise.

Sam Hally 13:10
Good point. Now john, what would you say to someone who’s either training for a marathon or triathlon or has found peloton or bar classes or orange theory or like any of those things that are not necessarily like weightlifting base, but are really cardio based? Like, would you recommend this still continue weightlifting? Like what’s your advice for people who are like really into that cardio based exercise?

Jon Collette 13:34
I would say that, that’s awesome that they found something that that they enjoy, because some people don’t enjoy working out and they, they forced themselves to do it. And that’s where you run into a lot of inconsistency. So you need to find something that you enjoy doing. So if you really enjoyed doing the peloton, I mean, it’s great, because it’s super convenient, you can do it at home. Um, that being said, you should probably at least be doing some form of strain training at least two times a week at minimum, like two to three times a week and then do the bike, you know, three to four times a week like maybe do that on your off days from from weightlifting. Because it’s very, like it’s very simple. Um, but I would, I wouldn’t say that you should only do that one. That one thing. And I’m not what is like what’s like orange theory? Is that just treadmill or is that um…

Sam Hally 14:30
I’ve been to one of those classes once and it was like 30 minutes of treadmill, another like 15 or so on the rower and then like 15 minutes of like free weights. They didn’t have anything over 25 pound dumbbells.

Jon Collette 14:43
Yeah, um, it should be pretty like specific to what you’re what you’re doing. If you’re a runner, like you should probably prioritize your core and you should probably prioritize like making sure that your mobility is well through your hips and your knees. and strengthening your glutes. But like if you’re doing like, if you’re a runner, you probably don’t necessarily need to do like, your main focus doesn’t need to be like an overhead press, like, it’s probably still a good idea to have that functional strength. But maybe that’s not what you need to do specifically, if that’s not what you’re what you enjoy doing, you know what I mean? Like a bicep curl, for example, like, it’s a, it’s a good exercise if you’re looking to grow your arms. But if you’re like someone that really enjoys running, get the most bang out of your buck in your training sessions with your strength training by doing probably more core and lower body exercises, that’d be probably how I would like think about you want to strength train, and your lower body is your lower body and your core is way more important than your arms, let’s be real. Like if you if you don’t have a strong core, and you’re not balanced enough to keep yourself on two feet, then there’s more likelihood that when you get older, with having those having a weak lower body, we’re gonna have a hard time getting up and down the stairs, we’re gonna have a hard time getting up out of a chair, we’re not going to have the best balance so we could potentially fall over. And if we’re also never doing any string training, we’re never doing anything that’s going to strengthen our bones and our joints, too. So this is like, you think like one thing after another you fall down, break, you’re happy can’t get up and now you’re shortening your lifespan because of that incident, when preventative would be keep your lower body strong enough and your core strong enough that you can go ahead and easily get up and down off the ground. So yeah, I would say that if you’re if you’ve loved the cardio stuff, then supplement with the with the strain training, if you’ve loved the strength train and supplement with the cardio stuff.

Sam Hally 16:54
Yeah, that’s a good point. Use them as like complements to each other. Whatever your preferred exercise is, do the other thing to make you better at your preferred exercise, don’t neglect one entirely.

Jon Collette 17:08
Yeah, and probably do it so it doesn’t interfere with what your what your goal is. So if you’re, if you’re like a weightlifter, your cardio doesn’t need to be like overly stressful, like you don’t need to do 150 wall ball shots for time to get your heart rate up, you can go ahead and probably do rowing and sit ups and do like, you know, some like walking lunges, and like just do like bodyweight stuff and just do it for like a longer period of time. You don’t have to, you don’t even have to run if you hate running so much. Like there’s other ways to be able to get your heart rate up, you don’t necessarily need to do anything that’s going to be because I feel like that’s part of people’s fear too, as well. I don’t want to be like, I don’t want it to interfere with my, with my best with my like hike that I’m gonna do this weekend, or, you know, I’m I’m running a 5k over the weekend, it’s like, you should be able to tolerate both of those things within the same period within the same like weekly span. But you know, if you’re going to be running a lot, then don’t like abuse your legs, but you should probably still go ahead and move your body. You know what I mean?

Sam Hally 18:16
Good point, so don’t rest an entire week leading up to whatever event you have coming up.

Jon Collette 18:22
Yeah, yeah, taking taking too much rest. Especially if you’re gonna do like, if you’re gonna do a race or an event. Um, I feel like that’s a like another misconception is like, over resting. It’s like, even if you like normally work out like Monday through Friday. And you’re like, Okay, to open workouts on Fridays, I’m now going to rest on Thursday. And all you do is just basically stay sanitary, you’re probably going to feel less mobile because you’re used to moving around. So think like, you know, active recovery over like complete rests, like walking can be a huge benefit to your how you feel in your strength training session. And also just like how you feel day to day with I mean, we talk about stress all the time, like we can use exercise as a means to relieve stress. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be overly stressful on your body to still move your body, if that makes sense.

Sam Hally 19:23
Yeah, no, that’s perfect. Walking is I feel like one of the most underrated forms of exercise. It’s so good for you.

Jon Collette 19:31
I would argue it’s one of the best things you can do because just getting outside and going for a walk can be it can check a number of things off it can help with you’re going to help reduce your blood pressure, it can help like go ahead and reduce your stress. It can just help you burn more calories and sitting all day which you know, instead of having to do a hard intensive 30 minute cardio on the bike, you know, just get out of your chair more often. Like maybe take like some Take some of the some intake on how, how many hours do you sit a day, you know, if we just add in just a little bit of like movement, it doesn’t have to be movement that like, gets your heart rate up super high for it to have benefits on your cardiovascular health just like moving around more. Very important.

Sam Hally 20:19
Yeah, moving in general is good. Now, I have one more question. It’s nutrition related, because I feel like at some point, I was gonna tie it back into this anyway. But do you feel like people should eat differently if they’re doing primarily strength training versus, like cardiovascular training?

Jon Collette 20:34
I feel like if you’re doing more, that’s interesting, because we know how complicated nutrition is that, um, we know that what you can adhere to would probably be the most important thing and what you enjoy eating is probably the most important thing. But if we’re thinking about like, performance standpoint, if you’re doing a lot of cardio, then if you’re a runner, then you should have more carbohydrates in your diet. If you’re, if you’re someone that’s weightlifting, you still prioritize carbohydrates, but you may not need as much as someone that’s running a lot, right? So we need carbs when we leave weightlifting, because we want to be able to have stored carbohydrates in our muscles in order to help us produce what we’re looking for in the gym. So your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen. So your body basically is think of it as like a savings account, right? Your body will use those carbohydrates during your training session. So you want to have carbohydrate, you want to restore your glycogen. But sometimes we are for weightlifting or not like we’re not moving a ton. Like we’re more sedentary, we do weightlifting, maybe we go for like, you know, a 20 minute walk. But most of the day, we’re kind of sedentary, we don’t need necessarily 400 grams of carbohydrates. But you should still prioritize your protein for sure. And you should also make sure that you have carbs with every one of your meals to have like a good balance of your macronutrients. But carb she probably shouldn’t be higher for someone that’s doing this having more activity. Depends what you do for a living, if you don’t, so let’s take like a mailman for example. And let’s say he doesn’t even exercise his carbohydrate intake should be naturally higher for the simple fact that he’s moving all day long. Hmm, good point, right. Um, but yeah, I think that it should be a little bit different. But the most important thing is like if someone just they they like eggs, and they like, you know, salad with avocado, and that and they’re just like, they’re fat sources are more their preferred what they eat. Getting enough calories is more important than where your calories come from.

Sam Hally 22:53
Perfectly said. Um, anything else you can think of that you’d like to touch on before we close this thing out today?

Jon Collette 23:02
Um, no, I don’t think so. You asked a lot of really good questions.

Sam Hally 23:07
Well, you’ve had great answers, Jon. It’s nice to have a little conversation about something that’s maybe not as nutrition focused, but just like general stuff that I’m sure people in the gym are wondering. So with that like if you do have more questions about nutrition things or like nutrition adjacent things, please let us know. We’re happy to answer all your questions. We definitely want ideas for future podcasts so reach out if you have any. We are very happy that you listen this far into the Community Conversation. So if you want to book a free nutrition consult with Jon or myself, you can absolutely do that. And we look forward to talking to you guys soon. Have a wonderful day. Bye.

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