I had lunch with an old friend yesterday. By old I mean a friend I’ve know since grade school, god knows we’re so far from old. We talked about work. He teaches film at Columbia and is in the process of making his first feature film. We moved onto friends, some soon to be married, some soon to be divorced and one in the middle of a very public scandal (more on that later). Toward the end of our meal, my friend said he had a nutrition question for me. I had to laugh because this was the last person I ever thought I’d be talking shop with. This was a friend for whom “green” in high school didn’t refer to kale, a friend who spent more time in the pubs one summer at Oxford than in class, you know the type.
My friend mentioned he had put on a few pounds and he and his brother have been debating something lately. He had started to run but his brother suggested he lift weights instead. He said:
You have to settle this, what’s better for weight loss cardio or weights?*
The cop out answer is they are both important and to a certain extent that’s true. However, if I have a client who wants to lost weight and start an exercise routine initially I would encourage a cardio-heavy regime. Cardio will give a faster initial result. After some weight loss and the cardio routine is established weights can be integrated. Once at a comfortable weight I would put more exercise “eggs” in the strength-training basket. If weight isn’t as much a concern I think a cardio/yoga or a cardio/barre class (the latter more so for women) compliment each other nicely. I told my friend to keep running but not too increase mileage too quickly or his appetite would go through the roof. There’s such a thing as marathon munchies too. And as long as I mentioned food, let’s be clear that exercise alone does not produce results.
I then asked my friend how his girlfriend was doing. He said she was doing well and, as a teacher, enjoying her summer off. “She would’ve come to lunch but she’s on this twice a day yoga kick, isn’t that a little much?” I told him I didn’t think so. Many of my triathlete clients do an AM and a PM workout. I don’t think everyone needs two hours a day of exercise but a “doubleheader” once a week is a good way to ratchet up results. This double header can be two yoga classes, one hour of cardio and one hour of strength or simply a longer cardio (such as a run or a bike ride).
Lunch ended and I walked back to my office. I thought about how times had changed. Instead of concerts, we were now talking cardio. I also though about my friend’s comment about our classmate involved in the scandal (that may have something to do with phone tapping). “How funny is it that this is the same person who always wanted to be an archaeologist?” Maybe it’s not that surprising, he’s just doing a different type of digging now.
Are you more of a cardio person or do you prefer strength training? Ever do a double header? Is it funny how people can suddenly have an interest in exercise or nutrition? Does that mean that person is old?
*I hold no degree in exercise physiology so this post is the equivalent of a trainer or physical therapist giving nutrition advice which I loathe. Know that I am aware my opinion means absolutely nothing.