08 The Cardio Conundrum

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Can a strength training workout really take the place of a typical cardiovascular conditioning
Adam Zickerman, the founder of Inform Fitness and the author of the New York Times best-selling
book: Power of 10, explains the difference between steady-state cardio workouts and the slow
motion, high-intensity strength training workouts offered at Inform Fitness locations across the

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Intro:               You’re listening to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with New York Times, best-selling author, Adam Zickerman and friends. Brought to you by InForm Fitness, life changing personal training with several locations across the US. Reboot your metabolism and experience the revolutionary Power of 10, the high intensity, slow motion, strength training system that’s so effective, you’d get a week’s worth of exercise in just one 20-minute session, which by no coincidence is about the length of this podcast. So, get ready InForm Nation, your 20 minutes of high intensity strength training information begins in 3, 2, 1.

Tim:                 InForm Nation, welcome in. Thanks again for joining us here on the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with Adam Zickerman and friends. I’m Tim Edwards with the Inbound Podcasting Network and the gang’s all here once again. We have Sheila Melody with InForm Fitness from the Los Angeles area. Mike Rogers from New York City. And the founder of InForm Fitness, New York Times best-selling author of Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution, Mr. Adam Zickerman. So, Adam, we introduced you as the New York Times best-selling author. Are you always introduced that way when you’re at parties hanging out with your friends? [laughs]

Adam:             Actually, no.

Tim:                 [laughs] You know, much like an Oscars’ winner is always Academy Award Winning, Tom Hanks or Baseball Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle, New York Times best-selling author, Adam Zickerman, has a nice ring to it.

Adam:             You know, it’s been on the — it was only on the best seller list for one week by the way.

Tim:                 Don’t diminish it. You don’t need to throw that out there. [laughs]

Sheila:             Hey, [crosstalk 01:41].

Adam:             And by the way it was the publisher’s list. So, in other words, the published — what’s published in the New York Times paper itself are the first ten. Fiction or nonfiction, ten of each.

Tim:                 Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             I was number 15 which is the publisher’s top 15 list which still makes me a New York Times best seller but I wasn’t actually in the paper itself.

Mike:               You know what we need is like a top 15 list of how many ways Adam can de-emphasize his achievements.

Tim:                 [laughter] Yeah. He’s so humble. [laughs] I would have that on my business cards.

Mike:               I’ve known Adam a long time and he is a people person but for some reason he likes to — he doesn’t want to be announced about anything.

Adam:             [Inaudible 02:26].

Tim:                 [laughs] Well, he is a New York Times bestseller and it’s a fantastic book. It’s the Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution and we recommend you go out and pick it up.

Adam:             If you want.

Tim:                 If you want. [laughter]. You must pick up the Power of 10 at amazon.com.

Adam:             [Crosstalk 02:41]. You can get it at the library. You don’t have to buy it.

Tim:                 [laughs] You’re a horrible businessman, Adam. I’m surprised — [laughter]

Sheila:             Yeah.

Mike:               [Inaudible 02:50] library [inaudible 02:51].

Adam:             No, it’s true [inaudible 02:53].

Tim:                 People still go to the library? Okay.

Adam:             The library’s actually [crosstalk 02:55].

Mike:               I don’t even know what the library is anymore. Amazon’s my library.

Tim:                 That’s true.

Mike:               Starbucks or something. I don’t know what’s my library but it’s not the library.

Tim:                 It’s not the physical location.

Adam:             Do you remember the Dewey Decimal System?

Tim:                 Yes. Those cards that you’d have to pull out —

Sheila:             I do.

Tim:                 And go — well, you’re not supposed to pull them out. You’re supposed to write them down but I always cheated and snagged it [laughter] and walked around.

Sheila:             Did you put them back?

Tim:                 I’m not admitting that here on our podcast.

Adam:             There’s so many people that don’t even know that.

Tim:                 [laughs] Yeah. Dewey Decimal System, right along with eight-tracks. Alright, we have a lot of info to cram into our 20 minutes together. So, let’s get to it. This show will assist you in super charging your metabolism, increase your cardiovascular endurance and will make you leaner and stronger. Just ask James a proud member of InForm Nation.

James:              After doing this workout for the past two, two and a half years I’ve gone down from a 36-inch waist to a 32 and I’ve gained a lot of muscle, lost a lot of fat. I have a lot of energy. I’m able to keep up with my guys on job sites and basically have been able to increase my efficiency at work.

Tim:                 And you’ll notice he mentioned he went down in waist size with no cardio all through the Power of 10 workout at the Toluca Lake location. So, that’s our topic today, is the cardio conundrum. I love that alliteration, the cardio conundrum. I had to look up conundrum, I got to be honest with you. I didn’t know what a conundrum was but [laughs] I found that it means a confusing and difficult problem or a question. So, Adam, what is it about cardio that makes it so confusing?

Adam:             We think that the activity itself of a steady state cardio activity is actually going to either help us burn calories and lose weight which it doesn’t and there’s conundrum because people get frustrated when they do it and it doesn’t really work all that well. Another conundrum with cardio is that we feel that that activity is the only way to actually affect and improve the heart and that gets confusing as well because everyone’s told, well, if you want to improve your endurance and your oxygen uptake, you need to do cardio. And we have to make sure when we talk about cardio that we get all of our definitions straight.

Tim:                 So, you know, Adam, one of the first things I noticed when I was first exposed to InForm Fitness and the high intensity strength training workout with Sheila at the Toluca Lake location was when I toured the facility I didn’t see any treadmills and I was a little taken aback when I realized that there is not a mainstream typical cardio portion of the workout. And honestly, I’ve been doing this for now about six months. I’ve loved the results and I love telling people about my results and my workout but I get asked 100% of the time, well how can that work if you’re not doing any cardio?

Adam:             Well, my answer, and I have to admit it’s a little snarky when I say this, but I say, well, this is cardio but just not in the conventional sense and I say, you see the way the heart gets stronger is by responding to demands. The higher the demand on the heart the better it’s going to respond and it’s going to improve for that demand. So, if the demand is low, the heart’s not really going to adjust very much or it’s not going to become more efficient. It has no need to. But when the demand is really high via high intensity exercise, doing a leg press for example to muscle failure where the demands are huge the body is going to react to that and the heart’s going to get stronger.

Now, the heart doesn’t differentiate between where the demand is coming from. It just knows demand. So, the demand is coming from a leg press or from a treadmill it doesn’t differentiate. It has no idea what you’re doing. So, when we look at studies, especially recent studies, that are actually able to show that there are improvements to the heart via high intense — brief high intensity exercise versus a long steady route. Now we’re faced with a choice. There’s no need now to spend five hours to improve the heart and the markers that show that the heart’s been improved or endurance has been improved. When you can actually improve those same markers with much briefer but more intense exercise.

And I’d rather choose that not only because it saves me time but it also saves me from injury because when you’re doing a lot of so called conventional cardio, we’re talking hours a week versus minutes a week and when you’re spending hours doing a repetitive motion that is where we start getting into problems of injury, of energy depletion, lethargy, lowered immune system, cortisol levels going up. So, we started getting into some messy territory when we start extending our workouts too long. It’s a very fine balance. So, I’d much rather do a very brief, intense, make the demand high, have the heart respond equally.

Mike:               The conditioning happens when you actually work the muscles and, you know, our workout is the one that will prepare you to do any task that you need whether it’s a sport, whether it’s a simple task, everything seems to be better if you’re building your muscles and our — the Power of 10 is the way to do it safe and efficient.

Sheila:             Yeah. And I also think there’s something to be said for, you know, the quality of the stimulus. You know, you’re stimulating — it’s an intense demand and then you end your exercise at InForm Fitness — the way we do it, when you end your exercise your heart may be beating a little bit like you just did a sprint but then what happens is when you walk out of there your heart has to continue working to go repair, you know, the muscles and what you just did. It stimulates that to continue on in a productive way.

Tim:                 Would that fall under the third pillar with rest and recovery where your heart is still working as your body is recovering from that high intensity strength training?

Sheila:             I feel so. I feel that it’s — that’s what we’re doing is stimulating that. So, that then when you let your body fully recover and you let your heart get to work and deliver the nutrients all over the body and help to replace the energy that was just used and help to heal, then you come back and it’s a way more efficient and productive way to build your muscle and to simulate those systems in your body.

Mike:               Cardiovascular conditioning as we understand it, as the people outside the world of science, who are trying to exercise and become healthier, as I understand it they do cardio because they, A, think it’s the way to lose fat and, B, it’s the way because their doctor said, oh, I have to make sure my heart is healthy. Those methods have always been, oh, I should run you know, jog on a treadmill, three times a week for 20 minutes and/or bike for half an hour or do the elliptical if my knees are bad because I have to make sure all those things are going on. And I’m just following my doctor’s orders because he says I need to have a very healthy heart. And —

Adam:             And that would work if you had the time and your body didn’t give out for that amount of time every single week for the rest of your life. That could work. And how do we know it works? Scientists look at certain markers of improvement and some of these markers for example are oxygen consumption. If your oxygen consumption has improved, the cardio is working. And aerobic enzymes are improved, that is scientific evidence that your endurance is improving.

Now, this is the interesting part about it. Compliance is a big problem. You have doctors telling people to do cardio all the time. You have people being told to go walking and then the walking programs all the time. Compliance is a big issue. People don’t have the time. They don’t want to do it. They get frustrated. They get hurt. Well, the good news is with these markers of health and endurance can improve with much less time if the intensity is improved and increased.

Several studies coming out of McMaster University in Canada that have actually had two groups, one doing steady state exercise and then one group doing high intense exercise similar to what we do except on bikes but they’re like interval training. Much less time spent on the bike compared to how much time the other group spent doing steady state cardio on a bike. And they measured the O2 max which is the oxygen consumption. They measured some of these enzymes. After the study was completed, the amount of exercise that the high intensity group did was tenfold less time. Eight minutes a week of exercise versus like six hours a week for the cardio group.

Then they measured the improvements in these markers. This is the fascinating thing. The markers improved equally for both and to me and to a lot of people, what does that say. That says that it’s not how often you work out or it’s not the tool in which you work out on that creates these changes, it’s the demand. It’s the intensity of these changes. What that means is the real winner, the real thing we should be going for in exercise is not how long or how often or how high we get our heart rate but how intense is the exercise and how safe it is. We’ve talked about that.

This intensity turns out to improve these markers that the cardio, the aerobics camp has always been hanging their hat on for saying hey the reason you should do this cardio is because it improves oxygen consumption this much. And if you do cardio it’s going to improve these enzymes which proves that you’re building endurance. That’s why you should do all this cardio. Hey, guess what guys, we improve those markers equally by doing like six minutes a week of exercise. So, now what’s your reason for doing all that cardio? If you could improve all those markers by just doing six minutes a week versus your whatever, what six hours a week. Is it really the treadmill that’s doing this? Is it really the heartrate that’s been up for an hour a day every single day that’s really improving these things? No.

What’s happening when you see those improvements from doing cardio is that eventually there’s a lot of demand doing six hours of exercise a day. Of course your body’s going to eventually respond to that but that’s the scenic route. Who has time for the scenic route most times? Right? I want to improve those markers. I don’t have time for that. I’m going to do one really brief, intense workout and then live my life. And those markers, my heart, my endurance will improve just as much and these studies are starting to be repeated by other places. So, there’s not just one one-off study that McMaster did. Other places are starting to do similar studies like this and very similar findings are presenting themselves.

Mike:               And some people they enjoy taking the scenic route but I think they need to also understand that there are costs taking the scenic route a lot more that they need to be concerned about. And there’s an alternative. And what the Power of 10 does is present that alternative.

Tim:                 And that alternative is an express route to get it done quickly, safely, with the same if not better results.

Adam:             The scenic route is not just the scenic route. I know people like to take the scenic route but the scenic route is also fraught with potholes and dirt roads and things that can get you kind of stuck. So, as much as we like to romanticize about the scenic route, you know, unless you have a four-wheel drive you might not make it. My point is really that there are costs taking the scenic route. It’s not all you know fun and games. Alright, when you’re working out that much it’s inevitable that you eventually get hurt.

So, yes, like Mike said, people like taking the scenic route and we don’t like discouraging people from doing what they like and if you like doing cardio because it’s a stress reliever or it’s just in your DNA to just be active and do that, okay, so be it. Just understand the risks involved with that and that they’re not necessary for health improvement. Period.

Tim:                 Alright guys, we’re getting close to that 20-minute mark and we still have a few more elements to cover here in this episode. So, Adam, like I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, the cardio conundrum, it’s going to bleed over into other episodes because there is so much content to cover. What can we look forward to in the next episode as we continue?

Adam:             Well, the other confusing aspect of cardio, besides the fact that we all think it is the only way to strengthen our hearts is that cardio is the only way to lose weight or if you want to lose body fat, you have to do cardio and that’s what we’re going to talk about next. Do you need to do cardio to lose weight?

Tim:                 Alright. So, that’s coming up in our next episode but on the way here still in this episode we’re going to hear from another InForm Nation member who works out at InForm Fitness in the Los Angeles area with Sheila. She’s a retired pediatrician and actually one of the stars of the Hallmark Channel. Plus, we received our first question via voice memo for Fitness Fact or Fiction. It’s from Linda with a question that has to do with alcohol and exercise. Interesting combo. That’s coming up in a mere 60 seconds. Right here on the InForm Fitness podcast.

Well, this certainly is an episode of firsts as this podcast continues to grow in popularity. We welcome in our first sponsor to the InForm Fitness podcast. It’s Thrive Market. Now, I want to remind you that one of the three pillars necessary to maximize your results with the Power of 10 is nutrition. Especially if you’re looking to super charge your metabolism, burn fat and build muscle which is the point of this podcast. At the time of this recording I’ve been working out at the Toluca Lake InForm Fitness location for about five months and in that time I’ve already lost a couple of inches off my waistline and I’m getting stronger every single week.

But I’ve done more than just my once a week workout. I’ve been pretty mindful of what I’ve been eating and where I’ve been buying my food. Of course you can get everything on that list at your grocery store but I found everything I need to maximize my results at thrivemarket.com. At Thrive Market you’ll find wholesome products that are InForm Fitness friendly at wholesale prices. If you’re into the paleo diet or perhaps you’re leaning towards being gluten free or even exploring a vegan lifestyle, you’ll find everything you’re looking for at thrivemarket.com. In addition to simplifying the buying process it’s much more affordable than the grocery store and they deliver your items right to your door. And with all orders over $49 you get shipping absolutely free.

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Alright. Jumping back into the program let’s hear from InForm Fitness member, JJ Levinstein who also happens to be the medical expert on the show, Home and Family on the Hallmark Channel.

JJ:                    Hi, I’m JJ Levinstein. I’m a retired pediatrician and I took care of kids for 30 years so I probably lifted several tons of children every single week. As a result of that I didn’t really take good care of myself. I took great care of them but my average diet was a Diet Coke and red licorice for lunch and zero exercise. So, when I retired a few years ago I had an epiphany. I literally said to myself, “If I want to live and enjoy my retirement in a good way, I’ve got to start taking care of myself.” So, I found this place.

First of all, I left so many dollars at so many gyms and so many paid training hours that I never took advantage of because I didn’t like the environment of gyms. Gyms are for younger people and folks who didn’t really look like me or want the same things in life that I did. So, I found that it just was a really noxious experience for me. I live four blocks away. So, the fact that I can just literally get up, walk over here in whatever I’m wearing during the day, have my little workout in a half an hour, not really sweat. I swear but I don’t sweat. [laughs] I can actually move on with my day and it’s not a big intrusion. There’s not a whole big social scene. It’s not expensive for what you get and the amount of bang for your buck it has really been worth it for me.

And for me as someone who’s hitting 60 next year, I think myself and all my peers we live in fear of stepping off a curb and breaking our hip. Did my homework, found out about this particular mode of exercise, was intrigued with it and here I landed 18 months ago. What’s really great about this is that it’s real people training other real people. There’s just no bravado. It’s a lot of fun. It’s sincere. It’s empathic and it’s effective.

Tim:                 That’s JJ Levinstein. I like how she said she doesn’t sweat but she swears from time to time. [laughs] And I’m a little guilty of that as well.

Mike:               I was raised on George Carlin so I can connect with that.

Adam:             She also said a lot of funny things about lifting several tons of children over the years.

Tim:                 Yeah.

Adam:             And she ended with something that always rings with me and we’ve pointed this out before. Once again, when she’s talking about the broken hip stuff and how she can do this workout and not break a hip and not hurt herself. Again, it came down to the safety aspect of this. The intuition that doing it this way is going to allow her to have her cake and eat it too. That she can finally get stronger the right way and not get hurt in the process. Once again, what I feel is the mission of exercise is to make yourself as strong as possible and reap all the benefits of that while at the same time not undermining your health.

Tim:                 Well, again, that comment that we heard just a few moments ago, from JJ Levinstein is from a series of videos that my company has produced for InForm Fitness which you can see for yourself at informfitness.com. Sheila, I noticed that as we were filming I had a chance to meet some of the clients there in Toluca Lake and a good share of them seem to have their own, IMDb page.

Sheila:             Well, yeah. We have a lot of people who are in “the industry.”

Tim:                 Mhm [affirmative].

Sheila:             But overall I would say that all of our clients are basically just very smart people. They are very busy people. They are very successful people. They find us and they get it and they don’t have time to waste their time doing things that aren’t working and those are the people that we — and the same in New York and I’m sure the same in all of our other locations.

Tim:                 Yeah. I’m sure there’s no shortage of —

Sheila:             Same thing. Smart people.

Tim:                 Of smart people and celebrities over there in your location in Manhattan, right guys?

Adam:             Yeah. Well, you know, over the years we’ve had our share of those A-listers coming in here, you know. We don’t really like talking about it. One celeb who I know wouldn’t mind because she’s talked about our workout and her workout in the past is Gretchen Ruben, the author of The Happiness Project and also of the podcast of — what’s the — Happier.

Tim:                 Happier. Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Happier podcast. She wasn’t a celebrity when she started working out here but she sure is now. [Crosstalk 22:17]

Tim:                 Absolutely. Well, we’d love to have Gretchen on the program. So, we’ll have to see.

Sheila:             And I train her sister Liz and who just completed her 100th workout last week.

Tim:                 Oh, congratulations.

Adam:             Mike trains Gretchen actually and the whole family as a matter of fact.

Mike:               I train Gretchen, her husband, their daughter, their — her in-laws. They’re whole family.

Sheila:             Her daughter has her own podcast too.

Tim:                 Well, we’ll put the links to their podcasts in our show notes as well too. So, our audience can go ahead and check out their podcast. And plant that seed in Gretchen’s mind. See if she’d like to join us sometime on the InForm Fitness podcast. Alright. Now, time now for Fitness Fact or Fiction. If you have a question for Adam or a member of the crew here regarding fitness, you can type out an email to podcast@informfitness.com or better yet use your phone to record a voice memo and email it to the same address. That way you can hear yourself right here on the InForm Fitness podcast just like Linda will.

Linda:              Hi, Adam. This is Linda calling. I work out at the InForm Fitness studio in Toluca Lake and I have a question for you. My husband brought me a newspaper article that says having a glass of wine is just as good as working out for an hour in the gym and we’re winos. We love our wine but I’m really trying to get my husband to come in and work out. What do I tell him? Help! Help! Help!

Adam:             I wish it was that easy. And I wish I can rely on these studies that they’re talking about. He can’t. Most of —

Mike:               Are you sure about that, Adam? [laughter]

Adam:             Yeah, I’m sure.

Mike:               I saw you looking at to dispute that.

Tim:                 Well, I looked up —

Adam:             I don’t know. I don’t know if — I don’t know red wine. I don’t know good wine

Mike:               Yeah. [laughs] Obviously.

Sheila:             It’s a scam. [laughs]

Tim:                 Yeah. [laughs] Well —

Sheila:             It’s like, you know, really, a glass of wine.

Mike:               Adam, are you really going to continue talking about it?

Tim:                 [laughs] So, remember, it’s Fitness Fact or Fiction. I think this lands under the fiction umbrella.

Sheila:             I’m calling fiction on that one.

Tim:                 [laughs] Well, you know, I looked it up on —

Adam:             I’m looking at Adam and I see friction right now.

Tim:                 Yes. [laughs] Look at — his face is turning as red as the wine. Yeah.

Mike:               And I see affliction. [laughs]

Sheila:             Have some wine.

Mike:               And very little diction.

Sheila:             Adam could use a glass of wine today.

Adam:             [Crosstalk 24:22].

Tim:                 Well, I found the article on Brightside. Brightside’s a website and the article that I think she might be alluding to after a search from receiving her voice memo says, “A new study says a glass of red wine is the equivalent to an hour in the gym.” However, in the article they don’t list where the research has come from. Just conducted, possibly, somewhere in Canada. So, no —

Sheila:             [Inaudible 24:48] talking about this all over the news and all over — like it was on a recent John Oliver show and in his piece he was talking about all these “studies” and if you just start an article with a new study, a new study, a new study says and nobody really looks into the science of this study. They just go by that headline and then it goes viral over the internet. Hey, I can just drink a glass of red wine and I’m just doing the same thing as you’re doing, you know. So, I’m calling fitness fiction on that one. [laughs]

Tim:                 Fiction. I think it’s across the board, fiction, fiction, fiction, unanimous. Sorry Linda but I don’t think that’s going to work. You got to find other ways to get your husband into the gym and pull that glass of wine out of his hand.

Mike:               Get him a gift certificate. We got gift certificates here. Just buy it, say, “I spent the money. Get in there.”

Tim:                 [laughs] So, you’re committed now. Alright. So, again, if you’d like to ask Adam a question on fitness fact or fiction, you can send a voice memo or just type out an email to podcast@informfitness.com. Or you can do it the old fashioned way and give us a call at 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 888-983-5020, Ext. 3 and you can leave your comment question or even a suggestion. And while you’re on your phone, why don’t you scroll over to the podcast icon, find our show in the search and subscribe. It’s very easy. It takes just a few swipes and clicks and of course it is absolutely free. This is vital to the success of this show and we would greatly appreciate your feedback with a review right here in iTunes.

Alright. We have surpassed the 20-minute mark which means that if you started your high intensity workout when we began this podcast you would be wrapping it up right about now just like we are. We are going to continue our conversation regarding cardio and fat loss in next week’s episode. Then in a couple of weeks we have a very special treat for you. We will be speaking with an amazing woman who in the past two years has lost, get this, 118 pounds by participating in the Power of 10 workout. She also plays a mean bass and has one hell of a voice. We’ll introduce you to her and sample some of her music right here on the InForm Fitness podcast.

To learn more about slow motion high intensity weight training and to join InForm Nation by trying it for yourself, visit informfitness.com for locations nearest you. If you don’t have a location nearby, pick up Adam’s book, Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution and we’ll have a link for it right here in the show notes. For Adam, Mike and Sheila, I’m Tim Edwards with the Inbound Podcasting Network. Thanks for listening.