Jonathan Bailor & Nell Stephenson: Cardio vs. Resistance Training


[Jonathan Bailor] Hey guys, Jonathan Bailor, back with Nell Stephenson of Paleoista, Nell, we are in our workout garb, and you will notice that Nell is equipped to run, it seems, and I am equipped to weight train. So let us talk a little bit about those different approaches, shall we? So what motivates you to run?

[Nell Stephenson] Gosh, I cannot even begin to start, for me, running is my panacea, it is mind in motion, it is meditation in motion, it is therapeutic, it is such an easy thing to do, any of us can do it anywhere, we don’t need any gear. Shoes are nice, but it is just the most natural thing we can do as humans, running and walking I think, and it is a great form of exercise for our cardiovascular health, it is good for our bones, so I think it is actually a good approach to have cardiovascular and strength training and what type — when a client asks what is the best type of exercise, the answer is the one you will do. So, if you love the gym, hit the gym, if you love TRX, if you love high-intensity training, if you love body weight only exercise, the more variety, the better because ultimately, your mind has to be engaged first and then your body will do whatever it tells it to do.

[Jonathan Bailor] I think the key thing, if you can hear whatever I am saying over that motorcycle in the background, the key thing, that, Nell, you hit on which I think is so important, is you said, the most effective form of exercise is one that you will actually do, that I think is sometimes my message, my message is one of, if you do not like exercise and you are literally not going to exercise except for — like I will exercise if it is for this finite amount of time because it is almost like a medicine.

[Nell Stephenson] It is totally medicine! Yeah!

[Jonathan Bailor] But the key thing you have to keep in mind is like if you are someone like Nell who loves running or loves — if you love it and it brings you joy, then of course do it! However, if you are someone who doesn’t like it, do not feel you have to do that because that is either what everyone else does or that is —

[Nell Stephenson] You have to choose the thing that you like, this is the perfect example that I give, we all seen people at the gym that have the miserable look on their face, they hate the treadmill or they hate the elliptical trainer or they hate being inside, yet they force themselves to do it, it becomes a punitive measure because their doctors said, you are overweight, you need to lose weight or you are going to start taking medication of some sort. Ok, fine, so they join the gym, they force it, it is punitive, they hate it, hate it, hate it; that is not how it is supposed to be. Put it this way: nobody has a load of free time right now, so, in that precious amount of free time you have, why wouldn’t you want to do something fun? Look at children on a playground, they are screaming, they are running, they are having fun, that is how exercise should be, it should be play, so if you are trying to force yourself to do something that does not feel that way, you need to find something else. Ask yourself what you want and that is what you should be doing for fun.

[Jonathan Bailor] And the key thing to keep in mind is also to maximize cost/benefit, like if you enjoy running, than you are doing that not only because it is good for you, but because at the end of the day, it looks like for you, even if it was not good for you, you would probably still do it because it is just so enjoyable for you!

[Nell Stephenson] I love it! I mean it is the best way to clear your head, and you start your day off with a run, you might be mulling over some things about a problem at work or a relationship problem or anything and being in a run and just really, not zoning out, but zoning in to what is going on — I have never gone for a run and not felt better after I have come back. You know people make that joke about, “There is no such thing as a bad piece of pizza,” well, I actually am not a fan of pizza, but with running, you are always going to feel better. The problem is still going to be there, so I am not saying it is just, you zone out and try distance yourself.

[Jonathan Bailor] It is like a meditation for you.

[Nell Stephenson] It is totally meditative.

[Jonathan Bailor] And the reason I wanted to celebrate this is because, I love track. The reason I wanted to celebrate this was because anyone who is familiar with my work knows that I personally disdain running, I do not disdain people who like running.

[Nell Stephenson] That is fine.

[Jonathan Bailor] That is the key though, not only do I not like running, but I cannot run due to injuries I’ve incurred in the past, and what I find so encouraging about exercise, there is such a diversity of options out there like, strength training for me has not only been profoundly stress relieving, but also, this is going to sound funny given my job but, I do not like exercise, like, I like sitting at my desk and doing work, and I like reading, so anything that takes me away from those things, I am not a huge fan of, so I love doing what I call e-centric or really high intensity strength training or really high intensity low impact cardiovascular exercise such as sprinting for intervals and on bicycle with really high resistance because: one, that helps me to achieve my goals, it works within my lifestyle and works within my physical constraints, so it sounds like what we are saying here is that the human body is intended to move, so you should move, and that to me also, now I am curious what you think about this, there is what you do, triathlons, like that is exceptional and it is exercise and when I do my e-centric training or I do high intensity interval training, that is definitely exercise. That is good, we all need to do that, we also just need to move, we need to walk, we need to play with our families, so when I say exercise less, I do not mean sit on the couch all day, I mean do high-quality exercise and then move because you are a person.

[Nell Stephenson] And tune into your body too and that is something that gets a lot of times confused with people that, like me, that do endurance training is going for the long run, it is all about balance. Tuning into your body and knowing, training progressively, keeping everything in mind, making sleep, and rest and recovery a huge priority, you cannot just run yourself into the ground, that is not what I am trying to tell people, but building up your ability to train longer if that is what one of your goals are, and tuning into your body and knowing when to back down, knowing that you have got, your throat is starting to feel scratchy or you have really been feeling under the weather a little bit, that is when it is time to take a break. So the message is not go hard all the time at all, not by a long shot, it is just, again, balance, it is that same word that I use all the time whether I am talking about exercise or nutrition.

[Jonathan Bailor] And just like we say for nutrition, if it makes you feel good and feel empowered, you are on the right track. If it doesn’t you should do something else, so, if you try to strength train and you just do not like it, there is going to be some level of discomfort anytime you try something new, so work through that. But then, like Nell said, if all I thought I could do was run and Nell thought she could do was strength train both of us would not be as fit nor as happy as we are today.

[Nell Stephenson] Right, to be enjoying what we do.

[Jonathan Bailor] So find that thing that works for you and make sure it safe too because there are lot of these things out there today which if not approached properly could cause more harm than good.

[Nell Stephenson] Yeah, exactly, if you are interested in any kind of group activity, I mean a perfect example is cross-fit. I have been to some really good cross-fit gyms and given lectures, and the instructors are so experienced and so educated and they know what their clients are capable of and they push them within safe limits, and then I have been other locations which I could barely watch because it was just a bad accident waiting to happen where the instructor was not really qualified to be an instructor and people were being way too competitive and swinging the kettle bells, they were too heavy for them to be doing, poor form, anytime you are swinging and involving twisting and tweaking your spine… so the message is, if you love cross-fit, find a good cross-fit gym. If you love TRX, whatever it is you like doing, or if you want to try something new just make sure you have a good person to instruct you.

[Jonathan Bailor] Yeah, and just like everything with food, there is high quality and there is low quality, there is no such thing as a form of movement that you cannot get injured doing, you can hurt yourself walking! Plenty of people do, so the key thing is not to say, “Well I cannot do this because I could get hurt,” or “I cannot do this”. Do whatever you are going to do that is going to make you happy, that is going to get you results and do it in a safe, controlled, high-quality fashion.

[Nell Stephenson] Yeah, and make sure again that balance of getting enough sleep — I mean there are going to be days, maybe you have a project due at work and you are working until midnight and you were initially going to get up at six to run, if you have gone to bed at one, that day might be a better day to sleep in, I mean once in a while ok, but if you are chronically on the road to being sleep deprived all the time, that is really bad news and that is going to sabotage your attempts to be healthy even if you have the most perfect diet.

[Jonathan Bailor] It sounds like what you have found, Nell, and what I have found is a way to exercise that serves us, and what I mean by that is a lot of times, I think people who look outside themselves for, what is the right way to exercise and they are not enjoying it and they are like, “I have to go exercise?” I have found that when you have found the right exercise program for you, exercise enables you, it enables you to do more, not less, it is enjoyable, it is serving you, not you serving it.

[Nell Stephenson] It is energizing, exactly, and again, there is no one right time to exercise, everybody is different, however, statistically if you have a tight schedule, you will probably will be better off being consistent if you do it first thing in the morning and that is the best way to start your day, I mean you have done something good for your body, then you have your healthy breakfast, hopefully you have your day of meals planned, so you are going to have that power eating all day long, it is just [indiscernible – 9:00].

[Jonathan Bailor] I love it, I love it!