Muscle Talk - By International Protein

Low Impact Cardio

February 24, 2021 International Protein Season 3 Episode 7
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Low Impact Cardio
Chapters
Muscle Talk - By International Protein
Low Impact Cardio
Feb 24, 2021 Season 3 Episode 7
International Protein

In this episode, we answer a question from one of our listeners. 
Which is the best form of low-impact cardio exercises?


  • Injury prevention 
  • Importance of mixing up different cardio
  • What heart rate you shouldn't exceed 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas, https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we answer a question from one of our listeners. 
Which is the best form of low-impact cardio exercises?


  • Injury prevention 
  • Importance of mixing up different cardio
  • What heart rate you shouldn't exceed 


If you want your own questions answered on our podcast, then join our private Facebook group and share your ideas, https://www.facebook.com/groups/muscletalk

If you'd like to learn more about International Protein, visit https://www.international-protein.com/






------------------------------------------------------
A Thinkroom production - www.thinkroom.com

Ash Horton:
Welcome to Muscle Talk where you'll get world champion advice about nutrition and stacking on muscle. Our host, Christina Envall, she's a three-time world champion bodybuilder and IFBB professional, a food scientist, and a founding co-owner of our podcast sponsor, International Protein. In this episode, we discuss which types of cardio are best to cut up before a show, how much is too much so you don't lose muscle, mass types of cardio that are effective, and we even discussed how doing the stairs can be detrimental. So, Christine, how does cardio work into the bodybuilding routine especially sort of coming up for a show?

Christine Envall:
Okay. For most people, it's an essential part of cutting up for a show. So, you're always going to find that person with an incredibly quick metabolism who says, "Oh, I cut up for this, and I didn't do not one bit of cardio." So, they're those people that are genetically blessed, probably very young, and have incredible metabolisms, but for the majority-

Ash Horton:
And everybody hates, right?

Christine Envall:
Yeah.

Ash Horton:
Yeah.

Christine Envall:
But I mean, the thing with cardio is I actually love cardio and a lot of bodybuilders don't like cardio. But to me, it's a component of fitness and it's a component of being healthy and having heart health. So, to me, it's not just about cutting up for a show. It's about being overall healthy. And it's also being fitter for my weight training because that's the aspect that the more cardiovascular fitness that you have, whilst you're not using that energy system while you're weight training, you do actually get better recovery by being able to have that cardio fitness because between sets even because you're not using that oxygen, you kind of starve your body of it and you need to recover that between your sets.

Christine Envall:
So, if you're not cardiovascularly fit, you can see people actually gassing out in between their weight training sets, which obviously affects how effectively you can train and how well you can train and so that's a whole other thing. But if we're talking specifically about cutting up for a show, a lot of people won't do cardio in the off-season. And again, I always did because of that reason of wanting to stay fit, and I felt that I had much better weights workouts because of that fitness, but I obviously dropped it back to a maintenance level, which is about 30 minutes a day of just walking outside. The whole time that I competed and cut up for shows, I actually never did electronic equipment. And by that, I mean, stairs, treadmills-

Ash Horton:
Treadmills, yeah.

Christine Envall:
... cross trainers or anything like that. I actually walked physically outside for 99% of all of my cardio sessions when I was getting ready for comps. Now, some of that I believe was because I was younger.

Ash Horton:
Even back in Melbourne?

Christine Envall:
Even back in Melbourne.

Ash Horton:
Four seasons in one day.

Christine Envall:
Four seasons, I lived in Richmond. They have a lot of verandas. Most of the shops had verandas and I had a Japara and big waterproof boots. And on it would go and my Japara come down to my knees, and I would just walk undercover. You don't have to walk across the road and get that little bit wet. And if it was really, really bad, they had some great shopping centers, like Chadstone. You can just do laps around every level of Chadstone. And I did used to do that, seriously, for some comps.

Ash Horton:
Did you buy anything or just use them?

Christine Envall:
Maybe a black coffee or something.

Ash Horton:
Good on you.

Christine Envall:
Yeah. I was walking that fast, no time to stop and look in the shops.

Ash Horton:
Funny. [crosstalk 00:03:26]

Christine Envall:
But yeah. So, cutting up for a comp, obviously, the goal is to burn calories. That's why you're doing cardio when you're getting ready for a comp. So, always when I would start out prepping, there'd be a combination of cutting back calories and introducing more cardio. So, I would never change the two at once. For example, if I got to a sticking point, I wouldn't cut my calories and increase my cardio. I would kind of do one thing or the other, and that would always allow me to keep it moving. So, that obviously meant that some comps, I would get up to doing maybe two 40-minute cardio sessions, one in the night, one in the morning. And the most I ever did would be like another 30 minutes during the day because I had the luxury of being able to do that.

Christine Envall:
So, all in all, what was that, about... What, we're looking 40, 80, 110, not quite two hours of cardio, which is when you think about it, two-hour weight session and then two hours of cardio is a big chunk of your day, but that is comp prep. So, with cardio though, there's not many people, I don't think, that are just doing that kind of outdoor walking because as you say, it's either too hot, it's too cold, it's too something, and a lot of people do like to go on the treadmill.

Christine Envall:
Now, I guess the cool thing about the treadmill is that you can gauge your speed. So, the thing with outdoor walking, anyone who knows me and has ever walked with me knows that I walk very fast and people who saw me would say, "You look like you're on a mission," but not everybody does that. So, the thing is with the treadmill, I guess, is that it sets your pace and you know what you're working towards.

Christine Envall:
So, again, if you're having a tired day, if you know you're supposed to be doing six kilometers an hour, you set it, and you make sure that you do that because I think the thing obviously with cardio is it either has to be distance-based or time-based. Distance for me, if you're doing it outdoors, if you do it for a time and you're tired, you're going to cover less distance. So, you have to always sort of set a benchmark and if it takes you a little longer, I would always rationalize it. Even though it's taken me longer, I still covered the same distance so, ultimately, I'm going to burn the same amount of calories. So, that was how I would kind of fix that. So, obviously, on something like a treadmill, same deal. You can either set it by distance or a speed. And if you always do that speed for time or whatever, then you're always going to be burning that same amount of calories.

Ash Horton:
You haven't taken into account that it might be windy.

Christine Envall:
No. No.

Ash Horton:
I'm just trying to get you to compare, but yeah.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, no.

Ash Horton:
When you are walking around outside, what kind of heart rate are you looking for?

Christine Envall:
Okay. There's two different ways of looking at cardio as well. So, when I'm doing outdoor walking, I'm looking at the talk test. So, what that means is you should still be able to carry on a conversation if you're with somebody. So, you're actually working at only probably about a 60% of your max. So, if you obviously remember the 220 minus your age and whatever percentage that is to get your heart rate, that's where you should be working. So, that's kind of like your optimal direct fat burning. So, with cardio and when you're at rest, particularly when you're at rest, you are actually burning fat as an energy source. The more intense the workout that you do, the less percentage of fat you burn, and the more percentage of carbohydrate that you start to burn until you're working up in your anaerobic zone where you're not burning any fat because you need oxygen to burn fat, and you're purely working off your glycolytic systems and carbohydrates as an energy source.

Christine Envall:
So, when you're directly wanting to burn your fat stores, I guess the theory always was that the actual lower intensity cardio was a good way to just directly burn fat. And that was also a good way to feel like you were preserving muscle as well because we all feared that walking was going to burn all the muscle out of our legs. And that was kind of like a I guess a myth of bodybuilding back in the days. So, what I actually found was that doing that walking actually brought texture into my legs. So, obviously, the cardio side of it also increases your vascularity, the capillarization of your body because you're obviously trying to get more oxygen around your whole body to fuel everything.

Christine Envall:
So, with the changes that I found and the results that I got was that I actually got a really good thin-skinned vascular lean look through my legs from doing all of that walking all of those years at that low intensity and didn't risk losing any size. So, with cardio, what I see a lot of places is that people love to do the stairs as a source of cardio because they believe that it's burning calories at a very high rate. They also think that it cuts their glutes up which, I mean, I was probably known for having striated glutes and I never did a stair. I'd actually only ever did the stairs once I retired. Never did it for a comp. And I guess my experience of the stairs is that to me it's more like a sprint. Doing it for a very short period of time, I could understand where that would fit in.

Christine Envall:
And that's where I'll kind of segue a little later into talking about HIT training and HIT cardio and where retrospectively, I probably would have introduced some of that if I had of, I guess, kind of being aware of it. I mean, I kind of roughly knew about it, but I didn't really understand where it fit or how I would do it or how I would introduce it into my routine, and it didn't really fit into my routine. But just coming back to the stairs, traditionally, a lot of people will just grind out like an hour on the stairs, and they think because they sweat a lot and they burn a lot of calories on the little dial on the thing that they're actually doing a lot for their system. But I found when I was doing the stairs, that once I got up to about the 9 to 10-minute mark that is when I felt like I was noticing a drop in the muscle mass in my legs.

Christine Envall:
So, I was conscious that if you're going to be doing that for an hour, you are probably running the risk of overworking that particular muscle group. And as I say with bodybuilding, it's all about retaining muscle and burning fat. So, when you're looking at anything that you do and particularly on electronic equipment, I like to do a little bit of everything. So, a 10 minutes on this. Maybe you might do 20 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on a cross trainer, and then switch up your style so that you're not overworking that particular muscle group because you can use it a lot more intensive than if you're doing like an outdoor walk because obviously that's purely weight unless you're add those weights that you've been talking about, Ash.

Ash Horton:
Yeah.

Christine Envall:
The arm weights and everything.

Ash Horton:
Yes. [crosstalk 00:09:52]

Christine Envall:
Yeah. Essentially, walking is probably one of the gentlest form. I mean, obviously, you still can get shin splints, particularly when you're training very heavily and all of those things, but as far as an impact, it's relatively low. But as I say, the stairs, I don't believe that they are the most effective or the most efficient way for doing long amounts of cardio. If you need to do that much in terms of work for an hour on the stairs, you're either doing it at too lower an intensity, in which case you might as well just do the treadmill, or you're doing it so long that you're actually kind of risking burning out muscle mass. And if you're having to do that, you need to look at why your diet... Maybe you're actually just wanting to eat more calories than what you should be.

Christine Envall:
So, that's just talking about that side of it. But as I said, looking back now and having been introduced to HIT type cardio, I think that if I had've been able to do that twice a week, I would have probably never gone over about two half hour sessions of cardio on the other days because the difference, and this is where the other way of how you burn fat when you do cardio, is if you're working at such a high intensity that you're burning the carbohydrate more so than what you're burning body fat, when you do eat the carbohydrate, your body will replace what you've burnt out of, replace the glycogen that you've burnt first. So, if you're still in a calorie deficit, those carbs will get put back into the glycogen stores. You don't have calories available to utilize for energy for immediate energy burning because once the glycogen gets stored in your body, until you exercise again, you actually don't use it. It's not like you're sitting at rest.

Christine Envall:
Remember at rest, you're burning body fat. So, you're got back to a state where you're now got no... Your blood sugar has at a point where you don't have excess blood sugar... Sorry, sugar floating around in your blood because it's all been stored as glycogen. So, essentially, now you're in a calorie deficit because it's like you're backfilling what you burnt from the higher intensity exercise. So, that's kind of that difference between what people would think was direct fat burning and why they would do lower intensity. But obviously, the thing with the HIT type training is the potential to burn far more calories in that same timeframe.

Christine Envall:
So, if time is an issue, which it often is when you're getting ready for a show and you only have so much time to dedicate to a particular activity, the HIT is a great combination of not just burning your body out because obviously, you could do a style of HIT on the stairs potentially, but to just grind out continuous steady state on the stairs versus doing a variety of different exercises so you're not taxing the one body part continually, and you're using a whole bunch of different muscles to me, that'd be a way more effective. A 45 minute of HIT would be your cardio for the day, done and dusted, no two half-hour sessions.

Christine Envall:
And then the on-burning effect of that because you've raised your metabolism a lot more from doing a high-intensity work than what you have done from doing a lower intensity type of cardio session so the on-flow effect of that would be a lot greater. So, if anyone isn't doing it, I suggest that they actually do try to do a couple of HIT sessions a week out of their cardio. Judge their fitness because once you are getting close to a show, you might find that it's kind of too much to do 45 minutes and you might want to only do it a certain time length. You might want to shorten that back a bit. So, again, it's because I never actually did it under extreme diet conditions, I don't actually know how I would have fared in that. And I think trying to do it every day would probably push you into a state of overtraining. But again, everybody is different depending on what their weight sessions were like.

Christine Envall:
But another, I guess, advantage of that type of training was the way that it does use your upper body. And I think that one thing I used to always say when I was competing was, "Damn, I wish I could walk on my arms," because of the effect that I got through my legs of the continual high repetitions, I guess, of walking. I know some of the cross trainers have the moving upper body parts, but it just isn't quite the same thing. I think things like the rowers, I know there's now some skiers and those kinds of pieces of equipment, which do incorporate upper body, and I think the climber ones, if your gym happens to have one of those. So, those are all really, really cool pieces of equipment to bring in and utilize different body parts so that you're not doing a long session on the one thing.

Christine Envall:
But as I said, the HIT as a day on its own to do a HIT type of session would be a great addition. But then if you are doing your other cardio sessions, try to make it up of like five to 10 minutes of a lot of different things to bring in that half-hour session if that's the timeframe that you're working on. But you can still also incorporate some of those HIT type of scenarios in there, like on the spin bike, for example, you can do like 30 seconds full pelt and then back it off for 30 seconds. And then do that type of a cycle for 10 minutes and try those type of moves. Some of the other really cool things with cardio is doing some type of plyo movements. And again, it's all about conditioning because at the end of the day-

Ash Horton:
What's a plyo movement?

Christine Envall:
A plyo movement is like a... It's dynamic. So, you might be lunging. So, you're actually kind of jumping but lunging.

Ash Horton:
Right. Yeah.

Christine Envall:
So, like a plyo lunge is instead of just stepping back with your foot, you're actually using the explosiveness to jump back up again. And again, those type of movements, I think in the end, the explosiveness links back into your weight training and it helps improve your strength because you've got that explosiveness out of the bottom, even though weight training itself isn't explosive. But having that power at the start of the movement definitely helps to contribute to the strength that you have throughout the movement when you're actually weight training.

Christine Envall:
Some of the other really good things is it tends to work a lot of the stabilizer muscles because weight training is very linear in terms of you work in a certain line of motion so your muscles get strong in that particular line of motion, but a lot of the other muscles around aren't necessarily primed for work outside of that. And again, having all the muscles strong and that's through that the explosiveness and the strength that you get because you get more of an explosive strength out of the HIT type of work, and that all adds together to give you a better weights workout.

Christine Envall:
So, for me, weights is always the golden thing because that was what kept your muscle mass and everything else was auxiliary to that. And I think that, as I said, if I would go back now, I would definitely try to do some of the other type of cardio just to sort of limit the amount of time that I had to spend actually prepping because that's probably the biggest detracting factor is how much time getting ready for comp can take away, particularly if people have kids and jobs and everything like that, you are very limited. There's still only 24 hours in the day no matter how much we want it to be different. So, the more efficient that you can be to get that good result, then that's what I would be looking at with that type of thing.

Christine Envall:
So again, there's so much more equipment around, and when I started there literally was only treadmills. So, your options were walking or treadmill at the gym. And then now there's such core pieces of equipment. There's all kinds of different slat treadmills where you're actually creating the, I guess, the movement. It's like what they put the dogs onto. I think it's not electronic. It's electronic, but your step speed is driving the thing. You're the motor, basically. I don't know if you've seen those at all?

Ash Horton:
No.

Christine Envall:
Okay. So, yeah, that's some of the newer equipment that's coming out. So, the faster you go, the faster it goes, and you can sometimes get a little bit tangled up. But there's just so much more variety, I think, than what there used to be. And that's why I'm always a big believer in really mixing it up so that you're not taxing one part of your body because the way that I look at, again, cardio, whilst you are going to be using your muscle to a degree, you don't want to use it with a lot of resistance, but you can use it just with a small amount of resistance. And again, like the hand weights or things like battle ropes or stuff like that where you're doing a minute or 40 seconds, or just a short burst of time, not enough to really degrade the muscle or overtrain it, but enough to sort of give it some work, but at a lower intensity.

Christine Envall:
So, any kind of weights that you use with a cardio type session, you don't try to emulate your weight session because you're doing it in a totally different breathing, totally different speed, cadence, rep speed, and all that. You're doing a lot faster so you want to a weight that's very, very controllable, but it's all adding to that calorie burn because you're putting extra load on. So, cardio is something where it's opportunity to explore.

Ash Horton:
Yeah. So, you'd keep your cardio and your weights, of course, totally separate.

Christine Envall:
Yes, yeah.

Ash Horton:
So, you wouldn't mix them together at all.

Christine Envall:
Well, no. As close as they would come would be for time reasons, obviously straight after a weight session, often cardio needed to be done. Like I would say train and then drive home and then do my cardio. So, that would give me like a half-hour break to kind of rest, have a recovery meal, and then go in and do the cardio. But as far as trying to make my weights my cardio, not for weight training. If you're trying to do some other general type of fitness, and again, this is kind of the F45 concept is that they have the cardio days, which are the HIT cardio, and then they have the weights days where they actually try to, I guess, get people to lift heavier. The sets are more of a length which is compatible with weight training.

Christine Envall:
But the biggest thing that why it can never be weight training is that the rest period between each set is far too short, 10 seconds. So, you're loading up maybe three or four sets with only a 10-second break for weight training. It's not how it's going to be the most effective because you need that at least a minute to minute and a half between each set to recover the ATP and go back in and lift your ultimate. So, that way you're never going to be... You're stressing your muscle in a different way. You're giving it a different type of fitness, but it's not necessarily going to be the type that's going to grow. It's going to grow some muscle if that's all that you do, and you've never done anything, but if you're trying to bodybuild and you're specifically trying to grow the most amount of muscle that you possibly can, that's not going to give you what you want.

Christine Envall:
So, that's why I say with those kinds of days to me, I just drop the weight and still keep form, but go more for speed. I need to do a little bit more reading, but it's actually coming to the fore as a new and separate style of training. So, we have cardio, we have weights, and now there is this kind of weighted cardio.

Ash Horton:
Yeah, then the lighter you go the better. So, with those wearable weights that I was talking about, they load the forearms and the forearms only, but they only go up to 750 grams because what that does is that starts targeting your core. The minute you start going above that weight, it starts using different muscles in different ways and defeats the purpose. But that's what they are designed for. They don't put any wearable weights on the legs because that leads to a lot of injuries. So, just putting them on the forearms as you're swinging your arms to now walking down the river, whatever it is, that does a huge amount of core work.

Christine Envall:
Yeah. So, that adds enough. Yeah, enough to make you have to create stability through your core to balance that out. It potentially would bring a little bit into your delt as well-

Ash Horton:
You know more than me.

Christine Envall:
... just from the sheer positioning of it. Anything that you have on your arm is obviously going to impact the weight that you're moving and the resistance across your delt so it's inevitable that it will. Yeah. Cardio is one of those things where we've come through the era of aerobics, step, LES MILLS. There's all different things where people, I think, are always trying to make it more interesting. And it's one of those things where even bike riding, like I would never use a recumbent bike which is the seated bike because to me it's like that's just a nothing exercise.

Ash Horton:
It's a lazy way of riding, isn't it?

Christine Envall:
It's good if people, I guess, don't have mobility.

Ash Horton:
It's good if you're going for six hours, perhaps.

Christine Envall:
But for as a cardio-

Ash Horton:
No.

Christine Envall:
To be an effective cardio for a fit, healthy person without any joint issues then yeah, it's the lazy man's cardio on something like that. And again, I would choose a spin bike over a regular electronic bike, mostly because electronic bike doesn't feel natural. It doesn't feel like the natural movement.

Ash Horton:
That's just like a treadmill doesn't feel that natural, does it?

Christine Envall:
Yeah, which is why the slat treadmills are actually pretty good, but no. Something that I might do on a treadmill because I have a totally different routine obviously now compared to when I was competing. And when I traveled to LA because of the timing, I have a totally different morning cardio routine. And one of the things that I like to do with the treadmill is I will do I think it's... I have to remember what I actually do. I think I do like two minutes where I will have an extreme elevation and a slightly slower speed so I'm forcing my body to walk in that manner. And then I will drop the elevation but increase the speed and go really, really fast for a minute. And then I'll keep doing those little sets where I'll in two minutes very elevated and slower, and then really fast on a flatter incline, and I'll kind of do like 12 minutes like that. So, I'll do like four of these three minutes sets.

Ash Horton:
Yeah, okay.

Christine Envall:
So, I'll do something like that and then I'll mix it up with a yeah, the spin bike, or I might do 30 seconds really, really fast, and then 30 seconds back it off, and then do some walking lunges or plyo lunges, just to do like 10 of those, and then that creates a set like that. They have a really cool almost like a ski movement. So, it's kind of working your inner thigh and you can do like wide, medium, and narrow stance, and kind of just do some steady state like that or five minutes of rowing. I think things with the upper body, five minutes of steady state is probably pretty good going. So, if you're using a skier or a rower, five minutes full-on. But any of those things, you can mix it up and try and do a higher intensity and a lower intensity and do different sequences, whether it be like 40 seconds and 20 seconds at lower intensity, or 30 and 30, and just try different things and kind of just see how your body feels.

Christine Envall:
It also stops the monotony and again, that's another thing why I still like walking outside is because there's always something to see. And I'm not really much for sort of standing on a treadmill and watching TV or not really going anywhere. So, being out in the environment and taking in all the different stimuli that's coming was always... It's also kind of relaxing and non-stressful as well as doing your cardio, whereas the electronics always kind of feels like a little bit more stressful because you're not kind of not really going anywhere, but the-

Ash Horton:
Well, you're in a chair though, right? If you're not going anywhere, it's going to drive you nuts.

Christine Envall:
That's what it is.

Ash Horton:
Yeah.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, I'm not thinking, "Oh, this is burning fat." Yeah. The cardio, the variety of what's out there now is see what works, see what's most efficient, see what suits you if you've got certain areas that you really need to target. And again, for a lot of people that might be glutes, or like I say, for me, it was actually always upper body where I wanted that same texture through my upper body as what I got through my legs. And the ability to do more upper body type cardio and bring in back, shoulders, arms is really, really very beneficial.

Christine Envall:
But yeah, cutting up for a show, you've got to think about what you're trying to achieve. Do you need to burn more calories now? And that's really why you're doing it at that point in time because like I say, you'll hit those plateaus and you can't just keep on doing the same thing. You got to figure out ways either to do more and if time is an issue, then maybe more intensity within that period of time or do what you need to do. Then in the off-season, it becomes more about keeping that fitness because you don't want to stay in a state of doing as much cardio as what you were doing for your on-season because then when your next on-season comes, you're going to have to do more because your body definitely adapts. You get fitter and your body gets more efficient at burning its calories and conserving its calories because the idea is that's part of the adaption. Your body is always trying to conserve.

Christine Envall:
So, yeah, you don't want to get to that state and say, "Oh, I'm so fit now. I want to stay here." Remember the goal for a show is that you got to give yourself somewhere to go for the next time. So, you do have to kind of back off a little bit, bring that body fat back on a little bit, and back off the fitness because yeah, otherwise you'll end up in-

Ash Horton:
It's always a cycle, isn't it?

Christine Envall:
Always a cycle.

Ash Horton:
Yeah.

Christine Envall:
Yeah.

Ash Horton:
Do you think that's one of the biggest mistakes people make?

Christine Envall:
With bodybuilding trying to stay in a...

Ash Horton:
Yeah.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, because now too with Instagram and Facebook, and everyone wanting to kind of show their pictures, and no one wants to have a bad picture. In the old days, everyone kind of disappeared into hibernation once the Olympia was over. They did all the photo shoots for the year pretty much after the Olympia. And they just got to go and train and focus on improvement rather than on focus on how they looked at that particular point in time because you only needed to look good on stage. You only had to look good for that moment. Obviously, fitness is another part of it and health, and you don't want to be on the extreme of being so out of shape, and unfit, and unhealthy, and eating crap food because you don't want to be on that extreme either. You got to remember why you're doing it is also to be healthy and to have longevity so you want to have that cardio for the fitness.

Christine Envall:
So, you maybe don't need to do cardio because you're abstaining all year round, but think of your heart and that in the long run, you're going to have better training sessions and it's not just about the body fat levels. It is still about your internal fitness which is your cardiovascular system, even just the recovery that comes from that. We talked about getting the nutrients around the body and that's all helping if you have a better blood supply and you have better blood flow, then that's all going to help with the weight training and the recovery after that as well.

Christine Envall:
So, with everything, it's looking at all aspects and not just kind of focusing on... So, you don't want to just focus on the image because you're going to maybe stunt your progress because you're focused on always having your abs in, but maybe you do need to relax off a little bit, allow your body that ability to grow and have a little bit more fat and a few more calories. But at the same time, you don't want to go to the other extreme where you just eating whatever and not even paying attention to health.

Ash Horton:
It's easy to unwind and spiral out of control. That's the danger, isn't it?

Christine Envall:
Yeah, but the longer that people do it, the less that that happens. Definitely, in the early shows, your focus is all about the food, and not having to do this, and not having to worry about my cardio, and being able to eat all of this really, really fun stuff. But then as you get along, you kind of realize that you feel better when you're eating the better food and you feel better when you're doing some degree of cardio all year round because you do gas out in your weight sessions if you're carrying too much weight and if you're not cardiovascularly fit. A basic bench press can really kind of take a lot out of you, particularly if you are pushing very heavy weights around or a set of squats, lunges where you're actually doing 20 reps on lunges because you're not doing 10 reps, you're doing 10 each side, and if you're not fit, you definitely come out of that gasping for air, and that's just not a good feeling.

Ash Horton:
All good. Hey, thank you very much for the advice. I'm sure many people have taken lots of value from that.

Christine Envall:
I hope so.

Ash Horton:
Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap it up?

Christine Envall:
I'm trying to think, but I don't think so.

Ash Horton:
No?

Christine Envall:
All I'm saying, I'm not anti stairs. I just do see too many people who I think are probably wasting a lot of their time when they could be doing something way more efficient and getting better results. But mix it up and don't be scared of losing muscle from doing other types of activities. You'll know straightaway whether that's having a negative impact and which things are having a positive impact.

Ash Horton:
One theme I'm hearing from you through all these podcasts is that you want to work a muscle and you want to hit it from multiple different angles.

Christine Envall:
Yeah.

Ash Horton:
And I guess with cardio, it's no different, is it? I mean, there might be different muscles that you're actually working but you're still hitting it from different angles.

Christine Envall:
Yeah, because then you get a different look from a body which is trained just from weight training and dieting to strip off fat as opposed to something which is a functional body as well because of all the, again, the different kind of texture that you get to the muscle. So, it makes sense to me that you do want to work it evenly. And it also, to me, minimizes the risk of injury if all the stabilizers are strong, you'll incorporate some type of flexibility and balance potentially into the other types of training that you might do. So, I think it's that looking at it holistically because the old, traditional thing of oh, bodybuilders, they can't do this and they can't do that. All they can do is lift weights. And it's not necessarily true because you can have a physique that looks a certain way and be really, really strong in the gym and be a bodybuilder, but you can still have the other aspects of fitness. It shouldn't be two separate things. I always look at something like it's, yeah, a more holistic approach at everything that you do.

Ash Horton:
Awesome. Thank you very much.

Christine Envall:
Thank you, Ash.

Ash Horton:
Words of wisdom. If you like what you've heard, recognize that these tips are free. So, show your support by becoming a loyal International Protein customer by jumping online, hunt our product down, and hit that Buy Now button. So, once again, like, share, and subscribe to our podcast so we can continue to bring you these episodes from our one and only Aussie muscle guru, three-times world champion, Christine Envall.