Would you like to improve your work capacity in your training? Joining me on the show today are two of the fellow Rebel Crew, Keiran Halton and Ryan L’Ecuyer. This episode is all about how we can improve our ability to ENDURE. And while this is a very broad topic, the three of us unpack all things work capacity, aerobic endurance, and programming strategies to help develop the best outcomes for your training goals.
We first dive into the episode discussing whole body exercise versus local muscular “limiters” and the difference between how it feels to fail on a machine in comparison to failing during conditioning work. Improving your work capacity comes down to the process of getting oxygen down to the muscle mitochondria and how well you are actually supplying and utilizing the oxygen. It’s important to understand what’s going on from a cardiovascular standpoint versus a muscular standpoint in order to effectively improve your training abilities.
We then steer the conversation to how to differentiate between low training days and high training days and the importance of incorporating both in your programming. We also hit on how you can begin blending conditioning work with hypertrophy work to get the most out of your training. Listen in to discover the tools you need to improve your work capacity and build yourself a 600 HP and 100 MPG engine.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- [07:21] Whole body exercise versus local muscular “limiters”
- [13:14] Difference between failing on a machine and failing during conditioning work
- [15:13] Systemic signal versus local signal
- [16:20] Respiratory steal concept
- [29:10] Benefits to having a good aerobic system
- [30:39] Capacity to supply and utilize oxygen
- [31:55] What’s going on from a cardiovascular standpoint versus a muscular standpoint
- [34:25] Why a mixture of low days and high days in training is so important
- [39:20] Glycolytic work
- [46:59] Blending conditioning work with hypertrophy
James Cerbie: Let’s jump into the episode today with Ryan and Kieran. Has that been sitting in your car for a while?
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, well, just since 6:30 this morning. Nice.
James Cerbie: How hot is it?
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I mean, it’s hot, it’s not burning my tongue, but it’s fucking hot.
James Cerbie: I think, like, warm, like, not hot water, but, like, warm water is so gross.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, it’s really close to urine.
James Cerbie: It’s pretty much the same thing minus the flavor.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, at least urine has flavor to it.
James Cerbie: I’m drinking back the vitamins my body doesn’t think it needs.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s right. Don’t waste that. That’s mine.
James Cerbie: I wonder if that’s been a thing at any point in time. I feel like somebody somewhere has had to have tried to sell some type of gimmick where it’s like, you know, where you’re really losing your gains bro? You’re not drinking your own urine. Think of everything leaving your body that could be going to your muscle. #Science.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: When I was like eight years old, one of my friends told me that he convinced his brother to drink his pee through like a Sunny Delight bottle. He put it in like a Sunny Delight bottle, and his brother drank it. And I was like, there’s no way that he wouldn’t know that he’s drinking pee immediately. Or would he? So, I feel like I need to try it out. And I’ll tell you what, it does not taste anything like Sunny, not his pee. I’ve tried my own. It tastes nothing like Sunny Delight. I don’t know. I was like, there’s no way you wouldn’t know. And so, I feel like maybe he made the whole thing up and that’s what he was going after. And it works.
James Cerbie: Sunny D. There’s a throwback. I haven’t had a Sunny D in decades.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I actually don’t know if I’ve ever had Sunny D, so maybe Sunny Delight tastes like it. I don’t know.
James Cerbie: It’s more Orange juicy. It’s a sugary, processed version of orange juice is how I remember it. Yeah. The last time I had Sunny D was probably when I was visiting my grandma and she still lived in Austin, Texas. I have a vivid memory of drinking Sunny D there when it was hotter than all get out.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. It’s probably pretty refreshing. More than your own urine. Better than what I had. Yeah, I don’t assume so. Yeah, I’m refreshing it all that’s.
James Cerbie: That’s where we’re going. The podcast today is going to be the alternate supplements. It’s organic.
Keiran Halton: Sterile and I like the taste.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, right.
James Cerbie: We can transition from drinking your own urine. And I think it would be fun if we rift today on more endurance, aerobic development, work capacity, repeatability, this whole realm, obviously. Like, there are so many specific subtopics within these own subtopics, that subtopic that you could spend a lot of time on. But I think there’s a really good general conversation on this that would be really helpful. You guys are both in the Deacon course. So you probably think about it in a fairly similar way that I do. I just wanted to talk about this from a bird’s eye view and hit on some big things.
Okay, when we’re talking about energy system development, the ability to regenerate ATP so that I can have muscular contractions and perform work, we’re going to be talking primarily in this aerobic creatine phosphate realm. Not really going to be talking glycolytic very much because it’s its own weird thing. It just doesn’t fit. Like the aerobic system and the creatine phosphate system are married together very nicely. And then we have this glycolytic system that’s just very weird. It doesn’t play nice with anybody, and it’s only applicable, I think, for such a small percentage of the population, very specific sports and athletes that really need a lot of glycolytic work.
But Yeah. So I just wanted to get into this topic a little bit today and hit it from a few different angles. And I think a cool place to start would potentially be when we’re thinking about, like, whole body exercise. And one thing I would really like to get into here is the difference between when you start talking about limiters air quotes. Limiters. Right. Because it’s a really popular word right now, but that’s really, really, really, really freaking hard to actually nail down and determine. Even if you’re in a lab with super fancy equipment, very expensive equipment, you have an anesthesiologist who can place lines and have catheters all over the place, and I’m pulling blood, and I can give drugs.
Whole Body Exercise Versus Local Muscular Limiters
Even in that setting, it’s hard to determine. Air quote. Limiters. Right. But if we think whole body exercise versus more local muscular limiters. Right. Because that’s like a really interesting conversation to think about the contributors in those two worlds that do think that they’re probably a little bit different. If I’m on an assault bike or I’m out running, I’m doing something that’s big, whole body. I’m playing a sport. Or, for example, yesterday at the gym, I’m doing more local muscular work and taking those things to failure on a machine. We have some interesting, I think, ways in which we could talk about that limitation or the failure arising.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. I’m kind of curious to hear Ryan’s take because I think he does a great job with forcing people who want to get big and jacked to, like, deal with, like, the central kind of conditioning piece before even worrying about the peripheral breakdown. Right. You think you’re working really hard, but you’re not even able to tap into your true, like, work capacity because it’s such dog shit coming in usually.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, I don’t know. Have either of you read Endure?
Keiran Halton: I started actually, I have not.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Okay, so I’m sure there’s various other books that kind of delve into the same topic, but I think that to me, is the primary benefit. And we’ll get into some of the mechanistic stuff that’s a little bit more hypothetical. And James will be able to break it down pretty well, and you as well, Keiran, like, what’s actually happening there. But it’s still like James saying it’s kind of mechanical. We don’t really know for sure what’s actually happening, but I think one thing we do know for sure is that you always have one more rotation on that Echo bike.
You always have one more stride in a run. And that, to me, is really interesting because it really does. And this is the premise of this book, Endure, which I would highly recommend. It’s very much written more in lay terms. It’s not super scientific, but it’s in there, and you could certainly reference it and go down those roads if you wanted to. But I think it’s just really cool in this idea that endurance training or aerobic training really gives you the opportunity to just see what the fuck you’re made of, which is kind of counter to at least how I came up, because I think I used to spend a lot of time…
I mean, I didn’t spend a lot of time doing it, but when I thought about endurance runners, I would pick on them more than anything else. Like, really cool man, you just did something really easy for a really fucking long time, but it actually is pretty bad ass. I would come to appreciate it a lot more because the reason you stop is because you want to. And on the other side of that, the reason you keep going is because you want to, and you have to be, like, a little bit messed up in your head to be able to push to those places that are just ugly.
They’re just absolutely awful. So I really like to start there. Not to the point. It’s not like I put my hypertrophy clients on marathon programs, but I want to see that they’re able to push things from an aerobic standpoint because just for one, there’s so much potential for adaptation. And it really just sets the tone for how they’re going to present in the rest of the programming from here on out. Are you someone who’s going to actually go to those awful places or are you just going to kind of bitch out?
And I think that it’s really nice to learn that about yourself and to learn that about the client, because I know that if they can make it through some of these God awful circuits, or some of these prescriptions on the Echo bike, or whatever the case may be, they’re not going to have a problem on the leg press when it comes to hypertrophy work. And I think, like I said, there’s some mechanistic rationale for why above that, aerobic conditioning is really important at the local level.
And like you said, ATP and being able to keep much of their contractions going at an efficient rate. But I think that’s really the primary benefit. That’s why I like throwing it in there. And I’m also a Dick. I like to see these people suffer.
James Cerbie: The truth comes out because.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: You know, a lot of people honestly, like, I think a lot of people who strength train, I don’t think that they’re that tough. I really don’t. I think a lot of them, especially when you get into the true strength stuff. Like a strong man heard me say this, they could literally just break my skull with their hands. So it’s like, I don’t think that you’re not, like a badass.
You’re just going to rip my face off. But I don’t think that they go to these places because you can’t really go there with just traditional strength training. You just stop. I mean, if you’re taking 95% of your one rep max, you can only do so many reps there. It’s not like you willed yourself to do more. It’s just like, there’s a hard stop there. But when it comes to some of this endurance training, aerobics training, you don’t really know where that line is until you go there, and I think that that’s really cool.
Difference Between Failing On A Machine and Failing During Conditioning Work
James Cerbie: Yeah. I think, like, a really interesting point there, because I’ve recently had a big shift in my training. I’m doing way more, way more machine work than I’ve ever done. I’m not really on barbells right now. I’m not even on safety bars. Trap bar. It’s like I pretty much like living in machines where I can get a really great muscular feel. And it’s working well, right? Like, my muscles are getting bigger. I’m moving overweight, I’m getting stronger. But to your point, it’s really interesting to me. Like, I’ll push it to a 10.
Like, I’m literally hitting partials for failure and dying. But that experience still feels nothing like when I get murdered by a metcon, or if I’m on the track, if I’m on a field, like, a lot of the shit that I’ve done over time in my life of these just horrendous conditioning things, right. And then I reflect on how it feels failing on a machine. Like, my muscle hurts, but it’s nowhere near this alarm signal that you get in the elements that you’re talking about.
What I’m doing on machines is not easy by any means. You’re working hard and you’re pushing, but I’ll finish, and I’m like, I’m not dead. I’m totally fine. My perception is, like, this feels easier compared to a lot of this other stuff that I’ve done previously, and I love it right now. It’s great, super fun.
Keiran Halton: It’s interesting when you talk about, like, a strength athlete versus, like, the endurance athlete, and they’re both kind of, like, sick in their own way. Right. But to your point, if I can get somebody who comes from an endurance background, like, I’ve had finance guys now who were, like, collegiate rowers, those guys. I mean, you have to save them from themselves sometimes. They just have that extra switch of, like, they’ll go. And to your point, right? Like, the strength stuff, it’s almost, like, is really intense suffering, but it might not last as long, or it’s kind of self-limiting.
You can only take 95% for so many reps. But having an appreciation, even if somebody has that strength goal or hypertrophy goal, like, having an appreciation for, like, how terrible you could really push yourself to your point, right. That’s a good seller for the rest of the block or whatever you’re doing.
James Cerbie: I think there’s something here where there is a certain alarm signal that comes from depleting oxygen levels systemically. If I’m on an assault bike and I’m hauling ass, I’m depleting oxygen everywhere. My arms, my legs, pretty much everywhere in my body is going to be getting desaturated. I’m depleting oxygen levels because I’m utilizing it. And there’s something to this just systemic lack of oxygen. And the signal that sends that is so much different then a lot of what we experience when we train with just weights.
Systemic Signal Versus Local Signal
And I think that’s one of the primary differences here is this very large systemic signal versus a more local signal and the degree to which that is telling the brain and the body, hey, you’re in deep shit. I’m going to scream at you to stop. Right.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: So, this to me brings up the concept of the respiratory steal, because what I think about is actually these. I remember just watching videos of bodybuilders just doing sets of leg press and getting up and vomiting, and I’m just like, dude, I guess I just don’t push myself that hard, but I think that they’re just really out of shape. So, I think in a lot of ways, I mean, these guys are also professional bodybuilders, they’re just so massive, right.
James Cerbie: I have a thought on that. Remind me to chime on that once you’re done.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Okay, cool. Because what I’m getting out here is I’m thinking that you almost do get this. You could be doing something very local. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m thinking you could be doing something very local, but it becomes very systemic because of this respiratory steal concept. Tell me if I’m totally off on that or only halfway there. But if you want to just review a little bit of what the respiratory steal is and how that applies here.
James Cerbie: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll start with the respiratory steal, and then I’ll tell you what I think is potentially going on there, because I don’t know if it’s the respiratory steal. So the respiratory steal is when your muscles of respiration will literally steal blood flow from getting to your local motor muscles. Right. So, if I’m on a bike, for example, and I’m hauling ass, like, if you go on an assault bike and you go all out for eight minutes and you reach that state where you are huffing and puffing really hard, you have diaphragm, I’ve got intercostals.
I got a bleak because all these muscles are contributing to my ability to inhale and exhale. They require blood flow and oxygen, like all my other muscles. And so the brain will preferentially actually vasoconstrict to locomotor muscles, to my quads, my hamstrings, my legs, my arms, and then preferentially dilate to my muscle of respiration, because last time I checked, me having to drop my pace on an assault bike isn’t nearly as bad as I can’t get oxygen to my muscles of respiration, and therefore I cannot breathe.
Right. So the respiratory steals when you literally are preferentially shunting blood from going to the periphery, and you’re sending it to muscles that drive respiration. So that will then decrease performance because of the fact that you’re decreasing supply to, say, a quad, for example, on a bike. So that could be at play there. But one of the things that I think could be happening there, I’m assuming we’re talking in this high level bodybuilding population, we’re probably talking to the drug population, right? Like, very, very, very large humans.
So if you have just an enormous muscle mass in your quads hamstrings and glutes as an example, because we’re talking about the leg press and you start really pushing that, and you get a massive vasodilation down into your legs because there’s going to be a major mismatch between supply and demand, the blood that can be supplied versus the demand at the mid-level of the muscle. Plus, every time you actually are on a contraction in your under tension, you’re probably not moving any blood flow. So it’s an absolute shit show, right?
With that as it is, you’re going to get this major vasodilation in your legs. It’s this massive sink for blood to flow to. And I can use the example of this. So in the lab, when we were studying essentially young versus old, how good were they at vasodilating, vasoconstricting the reactivity of their vessels. Right. We can put a Doppler ultrasound on there for more arteries, and we have a catheter in, so we can use different drugs. And then we can literally watch the Doppler ultrasound and see what happens to the artery.
And then you can do a technique called a passive leg movement, and you can see how much blood flow is changing and the younger, healthy populations, if you infuse a vasodilator through the catheter, like directly into that or artery, a lot of them pass out because so much blood rushes down into the leg that they can’t get enough blood back to the heart, and then they pass out. So we actually had a specially built chair that would allow us really quickly switch some levers and flip them back so we can get the blood back to their heart.
But in young, healthy people that have really reactive vessels, high level bodybuilders should have super reactive vessels with how much they train. You put them on a big leg press, and you have a huge muscle mass down there. And then it’s like you come off tension, and all of a sudden you’re going to get this reactive, like hyperemia, essentially, with tons of blood flow rushing in, all your blood goes down into your legs. Like, I could see you either vomiting or passing out just because of the reaction to the exercise. That’s one way that I would potentially think about that. If that makes sense.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That makes sense to me. I also think of just heat in general, especially with the vomiting response, and that could be partially from being out of shape and then also just from being so large.
James Cerbie: You get a handful of things going on there, potentially. But I think in this conversation, one thing that is really interesting here, when we talk about the systemic versus more local type of situation and we’re beginning to think about things that are stopping you limiters. It’s important to consider that fatigue is a different category in terms of conversation. So you have fatigue. I think that would essentially be generated because of the fact I can’t supply enough ATP, right. But then fatigue itself is this massively complex cascade of events where we have to consider the input setting being sent back to the brain from those group three and four afar in the periphery.
We know that those play a huge role. We know that if you give a fentanyl injection, like an inter equal fentanyl injection to somebody on a bike, which blocks feedback coming from the periphery, it can change their power output on the bike. They lose the capacity to regulate pace. The central governor is not forcing them to slow their pace because it’s not receiving the information from the periphery to be able to do that.
And the brain works really hard to make sure that you don’t go past that fatigue wall. It will preferentially decrease central motor drive being sent out to muscles. So it’s telling muscles that you think of it just on a dimmer switch where 100 is you going all out in zero is you doing nothing. If you start decreasing central motor drive, the dimmer switch is getting turned down. The brain is not allowing your muscles to fire as fast or hard as often, because it’s preventing you from going past this, like a fatigue wall, which makes sense evolutionarily.
The brain is trying to protect you, but if you remove the input from the periphery, if I remove their feedback, that’s the only thing we found so far that allows people to go past that wall and they totally bunk. They crash and burn. It’s actually pretty fascinating to watch, but I think that’s one of the other things we have to consider here is that we’re in a very complex realm where you have a respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and the muscular system.
And then I also have the central nervous system in the brain that’s taking input and feedback from all these places. And you get this really intricate dance taking place. We’re thinking about your capacity to perform and have endurance and work capacity and repeatability. I don’t know if you guys have any further thoughts in that realm. We can obviously dive into more specific examples and things like that. Yeah.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I would just say, like, that stuff is super cool to understand. It doesn’t change the prescription that much, though.
James Cerbie: Nope.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Which is cool. I like to understand that as much as possible, but I think we can no matter what the explanation is, I think we still can find some merit in using these for just about everybody.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I would agree.
Kerian Halton: I think that’s where some of the external stuff. Right. Either like the group environment or, like figuring out how you can gamify, like some of the metcons or stuff like that. It kind of, like said, forget all that. It doesn’t really matter. Right. Like, you have to show up today to get a high score, any of that stuff. So, I really like how we try to sprinkle a bunch of that stuff in to kind of help people push past those limiters, whatever they are. Right.
James Cerbie: Because those are all black box elements. Right. We don’t really fully understand them yet. We know they’re there. It’s really cool. It’s really fascinating. And you go talk to people that research that, and we don’t really know exactly what’s happening there in terms of if I improve your performance per se, it could be coming from changes probably not at the respiratory level, but it’s going to be cardiovascular, muscular changes with enzyme function, enzyme concentration, the ability to substrate through pathways. But maybe it also is just the fact that the sensitivity in the periphery is decreasing.
So I’m not getting as much signal sent to the brain. Or maybe the brain is just changing essentially how it’s assessing that’s coming in, and we don’t know any of that. Right. But what we do know, as we mentioned so far, is that when we can tie this back into that endure conversation, when we’re doing the things to build this aerobic energy system development, the repeatability to work capacity, we see improvements everywhere else. Right. It pretty much goes everywhere from our experience.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. And I think it’s also important to note with all of that that you’re never isolating this stuff completely, at least in the way that we’re doing it. I don’t think so. I think we always have a component of everything. When we talk about doing work capacity blocks or aerobic types of cycles, it doesn’t mean that we’re no longer lifting weights or something. So there’s still this overlap. And I think there kind of has to be given what you’re talking about with the peripheral and the central feedback, they do relate to one another.
It’s just kind of like dimmer switches in terms of the programming. Like, what are we focusing on? We know that we’re still there’s still going to be a component of everything in there to a degree. It’s just we’re putting our energy into one thing more than the other at a time.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. I kind of like how you guys were talking about, like, it’s so hard to separate and isolate out. Right. You always hear, like, take the supplement, and it’s just like, a really clean linear. And then here’s the performance increase versus like, I forget what the example was, James, but in the oxygen course, I think it was like one of the last lectures when you’re like, everybody likes to say X plus Y, and then you’re going to get this outcome. It’s like, here’s what X is doing.
And it’s like a whole white board full of stuff. And you’re like, oh, by the way, here’s what Y could potentially be doing to negate X. And it’s like, so you just happen to be kind of coming up with the Z right. So kind of, like, bringing it back to, like, the work capacity kind of like at the end of day, who cares why, but the work capacity in general kind of, like, improves everything across the board. Right?
James Cerbie: Yeah. I think the example in that realm is the one that you’ll see in research. Everybody likes the figures. Someone’s always snatching. I don’t know why someone’s always, like, catching a snatch.
And then it has an arrow to muscles getting bigger. And then it has a picture of someone running. And then I’ll have an arrow to AMPK. And then it has, like, they’ll give you a picture of more mitochondria and greater capillary density. I understand what you guys are trying to do, but there’s not a human on planet Earth that understands mTOR or AMPK. Just Google those pathways. You can pull up a very rudimentary schema of those pathways, and it’s a disaster.
Like, there’s so much going on there. We know they’re involved, but no one has any idea with those interactions, because there’s so many ways, so many redundancies. And out of these pathways, so many things talk to everything else. We’re so far off from being able to put together that.
Keiran Halton: I had a headache the first two minutes of you, like, detailing all the counter cross interaction stuff. I was like, yeah, I’ll take your word for it doesn’t. But if you think about it, everybody you see, like, the guy who is, like, casual in the gym, he’s like, oh, yeah. I don’t do cardio with the weights. I don’t want to block out my muscle growth. Like, you are going to be absolutely fine, but you’ll probably get bigger from doing the cardio.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s the funny thing, too, though. I think your whole workout ends up being cardio when you’re out of shape. That is the reason you’re stopping because you can’t keep up with the area that you need to expel. That’s the issue. I think you can kind of see that with a lot of people, or just like that should not take you that long to do. I gave you 20 sets. Why is that taking you 2 hours to get through it? I know you’re a lot stronger than that.
How come you can only get that many reps and there could be other things, fiber, typing or whatever. I don’t even know if that’s fucking real at this point, but who knows what could be contributing to that? It’s probably a lot of things, but I think just generally. Yeah, I think we know at this point that if you do a little aerobic work at 130 beats per minute, you’re not gonna lose all your gains. You’re going to be okay.
James Cerbie: You’re going to recover faster, both in between sessions and within sessions.
Benefits to Having a Good Aerobic System
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I mean, life just isn’t as big of a deal when you have a good aerobic system. I really believe that that’s something that I feel. And I’ve seen so many times when you’re just in shitty shape. Everything, like standing up is is a task. Like walking up the stairs is a task, and it all pulls away from your ability to recover from training at the end of the day. Like and not to mention like, what is it actually doing during your training, acutely? So I think that’s good to know that’s where it is.
It’s nice to know that we got to the point with some of this, like in current literature and stuff that we’re realizing that it’s not really as black and white as it seems.
James Cerbie: Yeah. A lot of the concurrent literature, the older stuff is so garbage because it’s you look at how its programmed, and then I’m sitting there, and I’m just saying to myself, are you guys really surprised that you saw no significant outcome? You’re having them do sets to failure on machines, and then they’re gonna go run a three mile time trial, and there’s no battle.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. I’m like, I can’t do either one of these programs.
James Cerbie: Yeah. We’re gonna do super high developmental strength work and super high developmental hypertrophy work and super high developmental endurance work, and then no one got better. Concurrent training is bullshit. So stupid.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, it’s ridiculous.
James Cerbie: But if we were to back out here, zoom out, and we can come back in if we’re going to think. Okay. I don’t know if there’s anything more fundamental like you just mentioned, Ryan, than the capacity to supply and utilize oxygen at its core. I don’t know if there’s many things more important in our physiology than your ability to do that thing. And so if we think about this as a really integrated system, I have a respiratory system, a cardiovascular system and a muscular system that’s responsible for this oxygen cascade.
Capacity to Supply and Utilize Oxygen
So, if we wanted to break down a little bit in terms of building up someone’s endurance, their work capacity, the repeatability, because we talked about how important it is, we’ve hit it from a few different angles here. I think we can actually flush this out a little bit more. Right. So if we think about the respiratory system, the respiratory system as a whole, it’s really difficult for it to be a big limiter. If you want to call it that to your ability to move oxygen, it can come up in a few different situations.
We already mentioned the respiratory steal. That’s a major one. Fortunately, you can solve the respiratory steel problem just by doing really hard stuff that sucks, because if you’re breathing really hard, then guess what? Your respiratory muscles are getting worked and they will adapt. But the lung itself is a non plastic organ. By training, I can’t just have more surface area for oxygen exchange. Right. So we’re not really going to change much in terms of the lung, which then pushes us to start thinking about what’s going on from a cardiovascular standpoint and what’s going on from a muscular standpoint.
What’s Going On From a Cardiovascular Standpoint and a Muscular Standpoint
And those are really our two best places to intervene. And I don’t want to go super in the weeds on this because I don’t think we need to. It’s not really necessary for people listening to this, but from a cardiovascular standpoint, we can really simply think of this in terms of supply. How good are you at pumping blood and supplying it and getting it to muscle? Right. So I have cardiac output, which is the big supply function. It’s my heart rate, times my stroke volume. Can that be changed?
Probably. Does it stop changing at some point? Maybe there’s potentially some evidence that you’re not going to change the structure of the heart once you’re whatever it is. 18, 19, 20, 21. Something like that. I’m not super familiar with that literature, though. Right. But conceptually, I can try to create change at the level of the heart to increase my cardiac output. So I have more pumping capacity. Your other option then in the cardiovascular system is to grow more capillaries. It’s called angiogenesis. If you can grow more capillaries, you think about this, you have a muscle, and then you have capillaries that are all wrapped around this muscle tissue.
If I put more capillaries around that muscle tissue, if I have more capillary per unit muscle, I have a greater surface area for oxygen to be able to exchange and move from the blood into the muscle. So those are kind of the big ones in the cardiovascular world. And then if we think from a muscular state point, what can we do? Well, once you’re inside the muscle, we’re playing a significant enzyme game. I’m trying to up regulate the number of enzymes I have so I can flex more stuff through these pathways faster.
So that would then improve my ability to utilize oxygen. If I can have more mitochondria and I can have more enzymes. Sorry, I didn’t say mitochondria the first time around. Right. I need a lot of them. So if I can have more mitochondria and I can have more enzymes that play in this aerobic pathway, then I can flux more things through those pathways, and I can utilize oxygen faster and generate ATP at a faster rate. That’s like a very rudimentary overview, essentially what we’re trying to build when we talk about improving your endurance, your work capacity, and your repeatability. We’re trying to hit those elements that I just mentioned.
Right. And so I think we’re all on the same page in terms of how we go about this. We like to break things into these higher days, and then we have these lower days. Most people only do high days. Stop it. Low dates are really important. Like Ryan just mentioned, we have this work being done at 110, 120, 130 beats per minute. Exactly what’s happening. Physiologically, I don’t think anybody knows per se, but I can tell you something is happening because people do that work.
Why a Mixture of Low Days and High Days is Important
I’m watching the resting heart rate go down. I’m getting the feedback that I’m digesting my food better. I’m sleeping better. I’m recovering better. Not to mention the fact that they can work at a pace that is significantly greater at the same heart rate where they were two months ago. So I’d love to dive into this now. More like the actual tips and advice in terms of thinking about these low days and these high days, because that’s what we want to do. You want a combination of both.
You want to have low days. I like to think of low days as more efficiency, miles per gallon, and then I have high days, which is all about horsepower. High days is where I’m chasing more of my enzymatic mitochondria change. Low days. Again, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. Am I getting angiogenesis? Maybe. Am I changing things at the heart? Maybe. But the balance of using both days, I’m getting both for sure. So, I’d love to hear your thoughts in terms of how we actually utilizing this in training and programming with our athletes.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I’ll let you take that first, Keiran.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, I think it’s kind of funny timing, because we’re just wrapping up our summer programming with our hockey group, and we got one guy who ‘s a stud. He’s going to actually go play next year once his junior contract is up. Great on the ice. Technically. Right. But like, off ice stuff, jumps through the roof, really strong. But it’s funny. We haven’t done a ton of conditioning just with our schedule the way it’s set up in the summer. But I wanted to start, like, really showing them what a low day could look like as they kind of go off.
And we start talking about, like, getting the preseason stuff together. And we had the heart monitors on. We were actually experimenting with some of the tempos a little bit today on the true form in the air-dyne. And it was funny. We had a couple of guys and everybody had, like, a nice little, like, mountain on the output, kind of, like tapped under. You know, most guys were 140, something like that. Then you see, like, a pretty good Valley on the recovery, right? You want to see, like, that kind of, like shift.
You don’t want to necessarily say stuck. He was one of the guys staying stuck. And it’s interesting because he’s one of the guys who has been dealing with some injuries, like outside of training from, like, skating and stuff like that. They’re not saying they’re directly correlated or whatever, but just interesting to be like, hey, listen, you’re crushing the other stuff. There’s a lot of value in this low intensity work, right? For becoming more efficient, working on, like, the engine size or whatever you want to call it.
Right. Like, he’s pushing himself outside of workouts, already doing, like, 40 on 20 off air quotes, like sprints. And it’s like, I’m not sure if that’s helping you. That’s just, like, crushing you more on top of all the skates, all the workouts, potentially putting you in a higher risk for injury. Right. Versus this is not going to beat you up. You’re probably going to feel physically better from this. You can almost treat it as, like, an active rest type day, and you’re going to be more efficient.
You’ll recover on the bench quicker before or in between shifts. Right. So I just think one big thing, if I could, like, really hammer and we try to hammer for most people, is there’s a lot of value in those low days, whether it’s like the cardiac output stuff, if you’re resting, heart rate isn’t where we want it to be, or if you are there. Right. We might start playing around with some of the different kind of tempo splits, either a long or short kind of tempo split, but there’s a ton of value in that, especially if you’re already so busy on the other end, you only have so much that you could push, and this is just going to help you expand that.
James Cerbie: You said he was doing the 40/20.
Keiran Halton: Yeah.
James Cerbie: 40 on 20 off.
Keiran Halton: Where did you get that from? I don’t know. I just kind of picked two numbers, okay. For ten minutes.
James Cerbie: He probably went balls out.
Keiran Halton: He’s not a kid. You got to tell me to work harder. So I’m sure he was hurting a little bit.
James Cerbie: So, he is essentially, this is the thing people have to keep in mind with Glycolytics. I had someone message me the other day about this, saying it was actually on our training team and TrainHeroic. One of my people did me like, hey, I’ve actually been subbing the low day for 30 30s on the assault bike, and I almost fell over my desk. I was like, stop doing that. Stop it. They’re like, yeah, but the other stuff just felt so easy. I’m like, it’s supposed to. That’s the point.
Trust in the process, because what people don’t realize is that when you’re in these ranges, when we’re doing 30 30s and you can make a 30 30 an aerobic tempo if you just dial back your intensity. I know this person was not doing that. If you’re the hockey player going all out 40 20s, this is glycolytic work, and you have to think about this. The body is incredibly adaptive. It’s very smart, doesn’t want to waste resources. If you are doing a lot of work in a non-oxidative environment, the body will then learn and tell itself, oh, I need to learn to optimize in an environment that has little to no oxygen.
James Cerbie: I’m going to down regulate all of these oxygen related things if I don’t need them. So you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. You’re making it worse.
Keiran Halton: And then I’m sure we’ll talk about some of the analytic stuff in a little bit, but correct me if I’m wrong, don’t you kind of, like, kind of maximize the adaptation potential after, like, what is it, four or five, six weeks or something like that? So, yeah. So this season is not starting for another, you know, eight weeks, maybe for the preseason skate. It’s like just going to be spinning your wheels and you don’t need to yet.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: So you almost want to look at it as like you want to build up your aerobic system as high as possible. So you only have to shift into glycolytics when you really have to. Should that be enough when you need it? I think if you look at, like, makes you think of fighters and stuff and being a really crappy wrestler, I relate to this? And the best wrestlers, they were just like, super chill dude. And part of that was just because they’re wrestling guys like me and they could just be totally relaxed because we weren’t very good.
And even, like, fighters, when you watch really good fighters, often they’re not the fucking maniacs that come out in 20 seconds and just try to, like, go for the KO. They’re just utilizing as little as possible. It was like something I started to figure out towards the last year of of training because of wrestling, because for one, it’s like, it is kind of bad ass to like, if you get off the mat and you pin somebody, you’re just like, nasal breathing.
You go through a whole match and you’re just like, chill. That’s really cool. But it also teaches you to just become more efficient, I think. And there ends up being a lot less wasted. And then when it’s time to go there, you’re probably going to be able to go there. I almost think of, like, Glycolytic is just like, you just need to know that you can still do that. And I think if you’re one of those psychopaths, you’re always going to be able to do that.
And then if you’re not, then maybe it’s almost like psychology is going to drive that type of training more than anything else. Do I even need to include that with that hockey player? No. Because he drives on that shit like, he knows he’s gonna go there. Well, it’s time to go there. He’s gonna go there, and he’s not gonna go there even when it’s not time to go there. So now we’re gonna get a whole lot more bang for a buck by just making sure that at least on the physiological level, that he doesn’t need to be there all the time.
Keiran Halton: That’s a great point, too. Like the mentality, right? Like, just, like, just know you have it and then keep it moving. Right. But I love the concept of, like, being as efficient as you can, right? Because you have so much time on the ice or field or whatever, like be low, be chill, be athletic, be able to observe and scan the field. Don’t be like, everything’s, like locking in because you’re like heart rates jacked through the roof, and the play is not even near you.
James Cerbie: Your aerobic system is the most adaptable system we have physiologically by a landslide. It’s not even close. There’s very little reason for you to not try to bump that up and develop it. I’m not going to say as much as you can, because that’s really going to depend more on the goals and what you’re trying to do. There’s essentially a floor. Everyone should be above this floor, and then the ceiling is going to be dictated by you and your goals and what we’re trying to accomplish.
But I think another really good example in this realm, Ryan, where we’re thinking about you want to give yourself the ability to work as hard as you need to and not cross this threshold. And CrossFit is actually a really good example of this. If you look at the two most dominant men competitors and CrossFit and people listening, CrossFit is a massively aerobic sport. It’s pretty much all it is. It’s an interesting one. The two most dominant men, Rich Froning and Mat Fraser, if you watch them train and work out and compete, they are the kings of being able to operate at 85% of their capacity, and they’re at the front of the pack.
Meanwhile, you watch the other people in their field who are red lining, trying to keep up with them. I think it’s something that’s really important to keep in mind here in this conversation, for sure.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I mean, you guys know that I pay attention to sports whatsoever, but it seems like there’s always examples of those types of people in, like, every sport. I mean, you guys could probably speak that. I mean, you definitely speak that more than I. Have you seen that?
James Cerbie: I feel like you saw the good bit in the Olympics that just wrapped up also in the swimming events and a few other places. You could always see the people who I’m hanging out with at 80-90% of my capacity. I’m just hanging with the front of the field. And then when they’re on the back end, they just drop the hammer and it’s like, okay, bye, everybody. This has been fun, right?
Keiran Halton: You saw that a ton in the qualifiers for a lot of the track and field borderline. People pulling up, like, too early, but, yeah, they were just kind of, like, cruising and saving it for, like, the final heat of the day or whatever, where they’re just like, oh, man. Like, they just, like, totally cruise across there.
James Cerbie: So, one thing that’s important to bring up here, people aren’t aware of this, right? So the reason that this that the shift is so important, if you can stay in a place where you’re primarily aerobic, if you can stay in a place where you’re continuing to utilize oxygen and you’re doing so efficiently, then we’re not getting this intense metabolic by product that comes from PH change and a whole bunch of other things that end up in that metabolic milieu. We’re not going to go too far down the path again because it’s not super relevant here.
But we had to keep that in mind. The reason people are sitting here wondering, Well, why is this actually so important? Why do I need to work so hard to try to stay aerobic on some of these things? The reason is because once you’re out of that aerobic range, you just start the clock. It’s only a matter of time until you fatigue, because when you’re no longer aerobic, you get a lot of byproducts of lactate flying around, massive PH changes, a bunch of other things.
Once that stuff starts popping up, you are going to fatigue very rapidly. That just is what it is. We’ve talked about these low options. We have this more cardiac output style conditioning, and you can do that in terms of the circuit. You can do it on a bike. You can put things together where we’re just trying to hang out 110, 130 beats per minute, be there for 30 minutes to an hour. And then if your resting heart rate is under 60 beats per minute, we can start playing around more with Charlie Francis style tempos.
And you have a lot of leeway in the tempos. Then how you structure those in terms of work, like on and off. But the key here on all these is that your intensity is low. You’re at a seven or lower on all of these, you can nasal breathe. You can carry on the conversation, right? The high conditioning is a very different conversation. The high conditioning is where you’re intentionally redlining. You’re intentionally trying to push your gas pedal all the way down to the floor, and you’re trying to see how long can I hold my gas pedal down before it has to slowly start coming up?
And so that’s where we can again use traditional conditioning elements. We can put you on a bike, we can have you run, or we can use metcons for those sorts of things. Right. And that’s where we’re trying to improve that horsepower of your engine. I’m thinking of giving you more enzymes, giving you more mitochondria in that realm. And so, Ryan, be curious. I think you do a really good job blending these different elements with your hypertrophy people in terms of giving them the conditioning they need, so that I can contribute to the fact that their number one priority is the lift and get huge and put on muscle. So how do you think about blending these two things with your people?
Blending Conditioning Work With Hypertrophy
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I really like we talked about more of the psychological part of beginning a training program with some of these more capacity cycles. I really do think that there’s some mechanistic rationale for why that would be appropriate as well. And I think it really does. I like to do that in it, like, right off the bat, because I think once we build an annotation it is a lot harder than maintaining it if we can go through something right off the bat. That’s probably, like, the worst thing in itself for hypertrophy as far as the response goes.
And there are the stimulus for a response. It’s very low on the totem pole as far as hypertrophy goes. I think we can still get it, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t have a whole lot of muscle mass. I think you can still get it with these circuits, but it’s primarily going to be or however you’re doing it, it’s primarily going to be aerobic adaptations that are taking place, or central adaptations or just taking the brakes off or whatever the fuck is going on. I’d like to front load the program with that type of stuff.
And that’s kind of, for the most part, like the only time that I’ll really utilize some of those harder protocols where they really are probably getting some of those enzymatic changes in mitochondrial changes, and I think that’s enough to maintain. So what I’ll do is that the initial training cycle is going to be more work capacity, focus cycle. We know that the aerobic system adapts really quickly, so you don’t have to do that for very long. I don’t think you need to run that for twelve weeks. You can get that done in four to six weeks in most cases, maybe even less than that if you have previous exposure to it.
And then from there going into something that’s a little bit more local in nature and still hanging around with some of that higher end stuff because it will support some of these incomplete rest types of protocols and short rest and more metabolic type of stuff. And then I think once you develop that, then you could probably hang on to at least the aerobic conditioning by just having a day or two a week. That’s more in the low end, and you’re going to get some pseudo high end stuff by just doing some hard sets with bigger muscle groups.
And then you just kind of take that to the point where they start to drop off. And you can see that in just resting heart rate a lot of times that their resting heart rate starts to climb back up. Okay, well, maybe it’s time to run a quick work capacity pivot or subjectively feeling really fatigued all the time. I think a lot of times we’re looking at the training itself, and maybe we need to deload or you may need to deload from that specific stimulus for a while, and you need to bring up the thing that just helps with everything in general.
So that’s kind of how I like to look at it is I want to front load a training program or a macro cycle with some type of work capacity cycle that’s going to really build up the aerobic system and respiratory systems. Then once we have that, then we can just maintain it with the work. And then every now and then we’re just going to throw in, like a one to two week pivot where they do some of that just horrendous crap again. And it reminds them, at the very least, that they are able to push to those places.
But I also think I mean, you just feel it immediately. It’s kind of crazy if you just do these one week pivots where we’ll just do, like a 30 30 type workout, like a circuit type workout three times that week. And that first one is so fucking bad. And then by the third one, you’re actually adding weight or adding reps. It’s like, not only are you getting through it a lot of times, people don’t even make it through it the first time. And then in that week, by the third time that they do it, they’re either getting all the reps or they’re even adding weight.
At that point, it’s pretty wild, but I don’t think that it happens unless you built that up previously. And I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but it just seems to be the way that goes. I don’t know if that’s kind of like a mitochondrial memory or something, which I only get that term. Thank you very much. I don’t know. I haven’t heard that one, but it’s like, there’s probably it seems like there is kind of this whatever the hell you want to call it.
Like once you’ve had these exposures to these different things. I mean, I don’t know, James. Is there this quicker response in terms of proteins and things that are changing when we had previous exposures?
James Cerbie: It could be. So there’s evidence in some different realms. So I did a lot of reading in the Nrf2 when I was in grad school. We don’t need to talk about what Nrf2 is.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: It’s a gun.
James Cerbie: Yeah, yeah, it’s a big gun, and it shoots foam things with a rubber tip on it.
Keiran Halton: I’m going to be honest, that’s exactly where my mind is, but really happy that you were thinking that.
James Cerbie: No, Nrf2 is the primary thing responsible for maintaining cellular redox balance. So as oxidative reductive tone and the cell changes, Nrf2 is what goes in. It’s a transcription factor. It’s the DNA antioxidant response element is trying to maintain redox balance in the cell, which is hugely important because that’s going to dictate how certain things move around. The reason I mentioned that is because I could buy what you’re saying, because what you see, which is really interesting, is that with training, the actual quantity of the Nrf2 protein itself doesn’t really change that much.
What you’re changing is the mRNA that’s floating around the side. You essentially have told the cell, like, I need to be ready for this insult. I don’t need to always have my army out and ready to go. They’re not always at war, but they need to be ready for whenever the insult does come. And so what you end up seeing is that the mRNA levels increase, and then another thing called a small interfering RNA increases with it. So the small interfering RNA keeps the mRNA from becoming a full functioning protein.
But then when the insult shows up, small interfering RNAs go away. Now I have this massive pool of mRNAs that can quickly become Nrf2 proteins. And now all of a sudden, I’m able to formulate this massive response very rapidly, so I could buy what you’re saying. In terms of this memory of if we’re going to hypothetically talk about a potential mechanism. You have high levels of mRNA floating around being bound by small interfering RNAs, keeping them from being transcribed. But then once the correct insult, the correct stimulus shows up, the mRNA very rapidly becomes protein, so you can up regulate as needed. That would be how I would think about it.
Keiran Halton: Much cooler than the Nerf gun I was thinking about. So, yeah.
James Cerbie: That’s okay. I remember one of my roommates I had out here in Salt Lake is so funny. When I had the books on the bookshelf, I had the Poly vagal theory I was reading in at the time, and he walks in the Poly vagal theory.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I know about that polyvagal.
James Cerbie: Yeah, that Poly vagal theory.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah.
James Cerbie: We won’t go into the details of where he went now, but I think most people listening can probably get themselves there when you just think about Poly vagal theory. And then he was talking about the Poly Vagle theory.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Okay, that makes sense to me.
James Cerbie: Yeah.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That took me a little bit of time.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I pronounced it incorrectly the first time.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Okay. Yeah.
James Cerbie: Keiran, let’s have you jump in here. Ryan had such an awesome approach for the more hypertrophy focused people we’ve got. But then I know that you and I, we get more of the I want to be the super well rounded total package to give me all the attribute bars people. And so when we think about training them, this aerobic endurance component is so huge and so important not only from a performance standpoint, but we’ve hammered a bunch on recovery, both recovery between sessions, but also within a session.
If you go run a sprint, the thing that’s responsible for recovering you before your next sprint is your aerobic system. So I guess we’ve mentioned we have these low days, we have these high days. How do you blend those into training with people? Yeah.
Keiran Halton: I think I really can hit on and get away with a lot of the lower end aerobic methods for a long time with a lot of people, just because I do deal with a lot of, like, gen pop finance, men and women stuff like that. But I think I really like what we had talked about in the oxygen course with that kind of convergent model where like and even with the athletes, too. Right. Just, like, try to hold off on needing to hit, like, the glycolytic stuff as long as possible.
So we’ll do like, a lot of those lower end aerobic methods, right? Output, the tempo work stuff like that. And for some Gen pop people, like, the high cardio stimulus could be, like, their high resistance intervals behind intensity continuous training, where it’s now you’re dealing with more like repeat power, repeat sprint stuff, but it’s a long enough rest, and you’re very purposely capping the intensity where it stays very aerobic in nature. And I think more of the power repeatability plus the really low, slow cardiac output or the tempo interval stuff can take you a really long way until, you know, if somebody’s really concerned with performance and you could kind of finish with potentially ending with some, like, lactic power, like, capacity type stuff depending on their sport or what they’re going to do because they have you’re talking about an athlete, right.
You know, they’re going to get bagged the first week or two of trying out to see who’s mentally prepared. And actually, it’s funny, Ryan talking about, like, the mental aspect of that. And knowing that you could go there, like, it kind of does make me appreciate the coaches. Let’s just run them till they puke just to make sure they’re mentally tough enough. I think there is, like, always a valid point to that.
James Cerbie: I think there is a time in a place where what you’re doing, you don’t need to be able to really give tons of rationale. Besides the fact that it’s just going to suck and we’re going to get mentally tough. That is a thing. Sometimes people on the Internet lose their mind, and I see all the stuff about, well, just because it’s hard, it’s like, yeah, I get it. Sometimes, though, it’s worth doing something that just sucks. And you don’t need to be a reference. Yeah, you don’t even need a reference. You don’t need a good rationale.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I get super excited about this because it’s just, like, so much of my life. I just tried to do this to myself to the point where it’s, like, my own demise eventually. But I really think about, like, the way that I used to approach bodybuilding when I was 10 to 16 to 18. It was so neurotic and so unnecessary, eating, like, eight to nine meals a day, literally crying. And I’m not exaggerating. I literally cried being 20 minutes late to meals.
I mean, I remember it multiple times, so it was so unnecessary, but it created this reference that was just so terrible. Like, it can completely control my life. And now that I’m eating four meals a day, like, dude, it’s like, I’m a free man. It’s so fucking easy. I think that there’s so much to that with this type of training as well. Hey, guys, you remember when we had to just run for, like, ever and everyone’s just, like, puking everywhere. This isn’t that bad. So it’s just knowing that you have that reference there for something that was much worse, I feel like it’s so important.
Keiran Halton: That’s so true. Or having the James program. Like, because I think you can intelligently do that, right? Like, probably save that for the end of your training week. Or, like, to your point, like, right at the end of, like, a long training block, and then you’re going to deload or whatever. But James having the metcons for us in Silverback and stuff. I mean, that took me back to, like, high school basketball, where we like, I remember vividly me and my buddy take it like, I push him out of the way to puke, and then he pushed me out of the way to puke, and it just took me, like, the Glycolytic repeat sprints.
Our whole team was texting each other, and we were all in the bathroom. It was only three reps. We’re all in the bathroom for ten minutes, texting each other, just puking everything out and then we had to do another three reps. When people ask me what’s the hardest thing, like, I could vividly call that stuff up from some of those metcons, and also to give you a quick shout out you doing in Costa Rica, the front squat, the bench press, and then the 1 minute all out assault.
I was floored. I don’t know how far you went, but in a minute I was like, there’s no way human should do that fresh. And you did it after the body weight, front squats and the bench press, which was outrageous to me.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, it’s awful.
James Cerbie: We posted that on Instagram the other day. The challenge workout. I wanted to see what people would put up.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Oh, what is this one? Was it 20.
James Cerbie: We modified it. We modified it slightly just because we needed to standardize it a little bit to make sure everybody was on the same time domain. But it was like you had from zero to 1 minute to do, I don’t remember which order it went in from zero to 1 minute to do? Was it squat bench, then bike, or was it bench squat, bike?
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I think it was 20 rep. Yeah. 20 reps body weight, 20 squat, and then a minute rest, front squat, 15 rep bench, and then bike.
James Cerbie: We had to set up, like, from zero to 1 minute to hit, I think, 20 body weight front squats. You had from one to two minutes to hit, 15 body weight bench press, and then at two minutes, you had to get on and go 1 minute for max calories on the bike.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Okay. So I think we had a rest in between there. Yeah, basically the same thing.
James Cerbie: So if you finish your squats and say 40 seconds, you get 20 seconds to rest for the minute. And then if you crush your bench, you can get 30 seconds to rest. So it’s like, yeah, that’s an interesting one. That will definitely be like a pillar workout for us moving forward.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: It’s one of those things where you’re just like, how do I get out of my body? So I don’t have to feel this anymore. I don’t want to be in my body anymore, and that’s when it’s over. It’s just like, and then you’re just laying there just like, there’s nothing I can do to not feel this anymore.
Keiran Halton: I also vividly remember how bad you were riding on the floor. It had to have been ten minutes. And not only that, it’s Costa Rica, where it’s just, like, so ungodly hot, where I was just like, well, I just feel completely emasculated. I’m just going to go have dinner now and not do that.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I don’t know, dude. I mean, I’m pretty sure that I peed and cried on myself.
James Cerbie: But we’re talking about something that sucks here. Keiran, I know you mentioned I always like putting metcons on Saturdays in my program. Lifting Monday, Wednesday, Friday tempo on Tuesday, cardiac output on Thursday, and then some type of high conditioning on Saturday, either metcons or really shitty running, biking, something along those lines. But what people have to keep in mind is that there’s no such thing as doing high conditioning that is not absolutely miserable. There’s no way it’s like, this is a gas pedal down exercise.
Just because it’s aerobic does not mean that it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be ten minutes of you getting absolutely buried. I want to see how hard you can push your gas pedal down. I want to see how long you can keep it down for, that’s high conditioning. It’s going to suck. It has to suck. If it doesn’t suck, you’re not doing it right. And then another thing of glycolytics, most people don’t do glycolytics correctly because, like you said, if you do Glycolytics correctly, I will bet most of my money that in three reps you’ll be off the bike vomiting because we ran that experiment in Silverback and pretty much everybody vomited after three reps. And I had to decrease the volume significantly because I got way too aggressive with it. Right.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I got a proxy for our listeners. If you’re not a little bit nauseous right now, just talking about that, you haven’t been doing it right?
James Cerbie: Yeah.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Like, I have to eat after this. I literally feel nauseous right now just thinking about that shit.
James Cerbie: It’s the most miserable experience on the planet. It’s literally no oxygen, and your body is screaming at you to the point it wants you to stop so bad it’s going to force you to vomit.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That’s the only thing that feels kind of better.
James Cerbie: And I was going to say the only reason that I would like the only time in training I like to bring in Glycolytic work is if I’m trying to get some type of a peak for a singular effort. Because we do know from repeat sprint literature that the Glycolytic system plays a significant role on sprint number one or lift number one. Whatever it’s going to be, the Glycolytic system will play a really significant role on that first big effort. It almost disappears entirely by the time I’m back to my second or third effort, though.
So, I think it’s actually a really good tool to bring in one mentally just to touch it, to go there to be like, okay, I can suffer and I can do this. But I think it also does help when we’re trying to peak people for certain types of things, like a singular sprint effort or I’m trying to hit a top single or top double. Things like that. I do think that it will play an important role there, right? An hour and six minutes. This is such a massive topic.
We could talk about this for days. We probably should have picked one thing to talk about in here, but this is fun. I like, just riffing on these things once I get both of you to move to Knoxville with us, this is what every day is going to be like. We’re just going to hang out in the barn, that’s it. We’ll have a whole wall in the barn and it’s just gonna be nothing but a white board.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah, I thought you meant we’re gonna do a lot of these intervals and stuff.
James Cerbie: Oh, fuck that, no.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: I’m like, I don’t think I can make it.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, I like talking about it. I don’t necessarily like doing it. Yeah.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: No, I already did it. I’m done.
James Cerbie: I have done it. I am in no rush to do it in the near future. It’s an addiction. A good addiction.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: True man.
James Cerbie: Can’t not suffer. Kelsey makes fun of me for that a lot, because if we go on vacation, I got about two to three days, and then I’m just. She can tell. I get, like, really uneasy. I have to start pacing. Like, do you need to go work out? I need to go to work like this.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: That doesn’t feel fun.
James Cerbie: Nice guys. Well, any closing thought or take away that you would like for the listeners to take with them here. If you’re going to take, like, one thing that we talk about from this hour and eight minutes of an excursion through talking endurance and work capacity and the ability to endure, what’s the one thing you want them to walk away with? Keiran, lead the charge.
Keiran Halton: I usually just come on these to, like, pick your guys brains more. So I’m going to go this way with it. I really like the psychological component that Ryan was talking about with knowing what the suck feels like and having the confidence to go there when you need to. Whether you’re an athlete or just looking to get big.
Ryan L’Ecuyer: Yeah. And along those same lines. I think if you’re one of those people who really likes to go there, you’re already a psychopath. You’re gonna go there when you have to. So just reserve it for when you really need to. I think that can be a really important lesson. Try to challenge yourself in a different way. Try to see how cool can I stay and how high can I work output can be without going to that place? I think that’s an interesting challenge. And I think just as a practical thing, a nasal breathing type of work can be really useful for that.
So go ahead. Take that nasal breathing out, see how far you can do that, how high you can get your heart rate, but still stay cool.
James Cerbie: Yeah, I really like both of those. All I was going to say is, don’t over complicate things. Do low days. Do high days. If you do both, you’re going to probably crush it. Obviously, we can get into more details and more specifics there. But if you’re doing days where you’re more nasal breathing, it’s a little bit
longer. It’s more like 30 minutes. 40 minutes, 50 minutes on a bike. It’s running tempos, right. And then when you need to go just balls out into your hard days like that needs to be a gas pedal down.
Too many people just place themselves in the middle. They don’t ever really go that slow. They don’t ever really go that hard. And so, you’re in this awkward middle ground. Do both. Don’t be in the middle. Either go low or go balls to the wall high, and you’ll be great
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