(Breather) Like most people who grew up in Southern California, I understand that when you’re blessed with constant sunny skies, it’s way too easy to get used to that kind of climate and start to take it for granted. But what happens when you don’t have 365 sunny days every year?

You have to get creative. You have to figure out how to live and enjoy the outdoors in relation to your current climate. I reflect on this while sharing some highlights from my trip to the Pacific Northwest – I visited Seattle, where I had enjoyed some delicious “Salty Caramel Ash” flavored ice cream aka activated charcoal vegan ice cream, as well as Eugene and Portland.

One of the most important things I took away from my trip was how the Pacific Northwesterners really know how to make the most of their time. They use the summer months as an opportunity to cram in a ton of activities into their day, and I know people who take trips to warmer climates during colder weather to make sure they’re getting their recreational time in.   

I was so happy to be able to meet up with some cool people, like Debbie Potts, host of The Whole Athlete Podcast, to discuss her career and journey into holistic medicine, and High Intensity Health founder Mike Mutzel, who shared some amazing insights about recovery: “The harder you train, the more energy you need to devote to recovery.” We think in terms of ‘go go go’ and then collapse on the couch or into bed – but this doesn’t even qualify as recovery time. Mike’s concepts for recovery are way more sophisticated than that and he is a big proponent of Rebound Training. Another important piece of advice from Mike: When your HRV number is extra high you may think you’re recovering well, but it can mean the opposite – that your body is still fighting to recover fully, so you need to rest.

It was great to finally meet Dr. Tommy Wood (of Nourish Balance Thrive) face to face after having recorded (remotely) so many podcasts with him. Tommy is great company and super stimulating to speak with because he offers such interesting views on a wide variety of subjects. While he’s super academic and into studying scientific research, he’s also always making a sincere effort to brings things back to the simple, practical stuff – like emphasizing the importance of having a dog to literally boost your health because it forces you outside and makes you engage play. Another gem from Tommy: “You’re liquidating your assets when you overstimulate the flight or fight response with your hectic, busy life or extreme training regimen that’s too much for you.” This is so important to consider. 

After seeing Tommyhopped on the train to head on over to the beautiful town of Eugene, Oregon. I met up with my Speedgolf mentor Christopher Smith at the Eugene Country Club, and we ran all over town, checking out the updated University of Oregon campus and the Prefontaine Memorial, and just enjoying some great conversation. We talked about his incredible training concept “Train to Trust” and the importance of context specificity when practicing golf or any other performance endeavor. This means simulating your competitive experience in practice so it actually transfers into effective brain learning when it’s time to perform. 

I also had the chance to catch up (over Skype) with author Scott Carney, author of What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength. As an investigative journalist, Carney was originally assigned to cover the famous ‘Ice Man,’ Wim Hof, meeting up with him at his training center in Poland, but soon enough he was participating in training, and performing amazing feats like climbing a snowy mountain in running shorts in the middle of a freezing winter in Poland.  

My last stop was Portland, and I had a great time with Brian McAndrew, who masters all the audio and video content for Primal Blueprint’s YouTube channel. We had a great time discussing how he went from veganism and chronic cardio to finding strength training and the Keto diet. Brian has had such an interesting life at only 31 years old, and has great insights and stories to share about his career journey and pursuing your passions. I had such a fun time having incredible, stimulating conversations with so many great people, and I left the trip feeling so inspired. 

QUOTES: 
  • “You’re liquidating your assets when you overstimulate the flight or fight response with your hectic, busy life or extreme training regimen that’s too much for you.” (Dr. Tommy Wood) 

LISTEN: 

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Get Over Yourself Podcast

Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show.

Brad: 01:28 We have the stimulation from the outside world. We have things that we perceive to be difficult and stressful and then we activate the stress response because we choose to get stressed by the circumstances and happening, but we don’t necessarily have to, I could probably liquidate my assets, whatever it is, my retirement account, pay that 10% that whole t max out your credit card and go get yourself a nice big ass boat. And then as the bills pile up at home, you might experience some extraordinary pain and suffering for being a dumb math than buying a boat that you can’t really afford. The harder you train, the more energy you need to devote to recovery. We just don’t think in those parameters very well. We think in terms of go, go, go and then collapse on the couch or collapsed into bed and that qualifies as recovery.

Brad: 02:21 Welcome to another breather show. Yes, catching my breath after a whirl wind trip to the beautiful Pacific northwest Seattle, Eugene, Portland podcast, binge slash vacation offering great times up there in the summer. These folks and the Pacific northwest know how to live and enjoy the outdoors. And I think it’s because they cram a lot of it into the available summer months with the pleasant weather. It’s kind of like that stored up pent up energy where they have a greater appreciation for the recreational opportunities come summer time on the water with the boats, the paddles, whatever they’re doing, playing golf in the long hours of the evening. Uh, Kinda like Scandinavia where they’re having their parties and their festivals and all kinds of stuff crammed into those long days of summer and they can survive another winter. Also, my friends, uh, that, uh, located up there do a great job getting out during the winter months, uh, to warmer climates and kind of balancing those long, rainy months with excursions coming back, feeling refreshed and energized.

Brad: 04:55 None more so than my cousin Hilary in Portland who went to Guatemala for four months for a Spanish immersion experience. Christopher Smith, my golf guru from Eugene commonly goes down to Florida or over to France or Costa Rica to teach golf in the winter time, making it work. And guess what, with the continued science around climate change, some people think or read an article saying that the Pacific northwest could be the go to place to live because everything south of there would become too hot and inhospitable. Wow. What a terrible, scary thought that is. But a clever little joke for my breather show about my time up there. But I do notice that distinct difference, uh, when in comparison to where I grew up in southern California where generally speaking we take the weather and the various entertainment options for granted. We can play golf 355 out of 365 days a year.

Brad: 05:55 So that opportunity to go out and play 36 holes and crazy adventures like that, it’s easy to pass on it. Same with going to an athletic contest because there’s so many other things going on in LA unlike in Sacramento where the Kings, even though they’ve sucked for many, many years, still sell out the arena because it’s the only game in town. So great things to appreciate. I also appreciate about the Pacific northwest, the incredible interest in healthy eating and healthy living. Uh, I saw some bragging by Seattle is the most eco conscious, uh, settlement in America probably substantiated in some way. Portland, of course, we know from the satirical show Portlandia how big deep in to the healthy living, progressive living aspect people in Portland are fun stuff. Oh, the farmer’s markets in the summer. Fantastic. How can you eat better than that? Grabbing all those fresh berries.

Brad: 06:54 You go down to the world famous Pike’s market in downtown Seattle on the waterfront and get the fresh fish or crab. Oh yeah, that’s good. Summer living. Even the ice cream. Oh my gosh. I kind of swore off ice cream cause I tend to consume a lot of it over the past years of my life. Uh, but walking around the streets of Seattle and Portland, these gourmet, healthy natural organic ice cream is in vogue. I found a place called Frankie and Joe’s in Seattle that serves Vegan ice cream. Absolutely delicious. You can look on my Instagram. I consumed a flavor called Salty Carmel Ash, and it was black colored ice cream because they had activated charcoal in there, which is good for your digestive track. Uh, my girlfriend had a flavor that was made with Kale, actual Kale inside the ice cream, delicious green looking treat.

Brad: 07:46 And so we handled accordingly. Also had a great sequence of podcasts and meetings and learned all kinds of fun, exciting stuff. You’re going to love these shows, but I thought I’d do a breather show with some brief highlights from each of these wonderful conversations. Uh, starting with Debbie Potts because things got so busy and crazy and I had to reschedule my trip at the last minute because I got sick coming back from a vacation in Mexico for the fourth time in a row. Oh, I’m so heartbroken that I can’t go back to those places I love and a rural Mexico experience. Very scary. Now. I dunno what’s up with that, but I’m talking to a lot of experts about gut health. We’re going to have him on the show, figure out why Bradley Kearns gets knocked down every time he goes to Mexico. Anyway, new schedule didn’t connect with Debbie live for a podcast. She had to fly off for a weekend. But we met briefly and I love her holistic method that she has devised a targeting, of course, the endurance athlete population, which is where she comes from. She’s a high performing Ironman triathlete who, uh, had a extreme health consequence of years and years of going crazy and now has been on a wonderful journey into the fields of functional medicine, functional nutrition, alternative approach, trying to keep things healthy and balanced instead of constantly go, go, go, which works for a while and then you fall apart. So she’s got a great show, uh, the Holistic Athlete and we have a podcast in the future that we, uh, recorded over Skype because we’re so tight and friendly and we didn’t necessarily need to sit down, but I’m always striving to have as many sit down interviews as possible because I’m going for maximum quality, maximum insights, extracting, strengthening that connection, seeing where the conversation goes.

Brad: 09:40 And oftentimes the magic happens when you’re in person and you go in different directions than you thought when you’re sitting in front of your notes talking through the computer. We have enough of that today, don’t we? Anyway, it was a great pleasure to hang out with Mike Mutzel, the Internet sensation@highintensityhealth.com this guy is a total bad ass who a few years ago he was in the health and functional medicine peak performance space and noticed that there was a unfulfilled niche, which was with all this great audio from the early leaders in the space. No one was doing high definition, high quality video, so he taught himself how to use sophisticated camera equipment, packed his bags, and traveled all over the place to sit down with a great many leading authors, researchers, scientists, athletes, coaches, and build this high intensity health library of fabulous videos. So go check out his youtube site.

Brad: 10:40 It’s second to none. One great insight I pulled out was nose breathing at night is extremely important and critical to your health. So many people falter here. We know about the common occurrences of sleep apnea and the serious conditions, but even on a routine level where you might not notice any adverse effects, you’re getting less oxygen to the brain when your nose gets stuffed up and you start breathing through your mouth, uh, activating that sympathetic response rather than nurturing the parasympathetic response when you’re sleeping. So He’s been big into this practice called mouth taping to ensure that you breathe through your nose. He also set us straight about Keto and the concept, the important concept that’s not about stuffing your face with fat to engender ketone production entirely different. We talk about that a lot on the Keto podcast on primal blueprint, but doing it in a healthy, sensible way where you build your metabolic flexibility and get good at burning internal sources of energy, namely fat, and then producing ketones as needed.

Brad: 11:48 I also like the functional medicine space where they’re always talking about swimming upstream and identifying the causes of adverse health consequences rather than just treating the symptoms with medication tape and stuff up and sending you back out there into the game of life. So great insights from him. And then in this hotbed Seattle area of talent and health experts, I drove a short distance to catch up with the recovery based fitness guru. Joel Jamieson had a great remote podcasts with him a while back and what a great chance to connect. And this guy again blew my mind with these amazing insights where as you reflect further on his concept of recovery based training where recovery is the emphasis, the one that we most often overlook and him offering some profound one liners such as the harder you train, the more energy you need to devote to recovery.

Brad: 12:50 We just don’t think in those parameters very well. We think in terms of Go go, Go go and then collapse on the couch or collapse into bed and that qualifies as recovery. Uh, his concepts are way more sophisticated than that, especially. Uh, the concept that was newly exposed to me during the podcast called rebound training. And here he has a specific protocol, a specific sequence of exercises and movements that you can do in the gym to stimulate a parasympathetic nervous system response. That is the calming, relaxing state. The rest and digest. We know this is activated through things like Yoga classes, foam rolling, receiving a massage, all that kind of stuff. So he has a protocol where you get into the gym, even if you’re tired and fried and stiff and sore from a high intensity workout previously, and you go in and you do some gentle movement sequences, you focus on your breathing, you do even some crazy stuff like short intervals, let’s say a ten second sprint on an exercise bike or what have you.

Brad: 13:55 And then focus intently on lowering your heart rate over the next 60 seconds. A very long duration recovery period. And when you can get good at lowering your heart rate, let’s say you’re looking at the screen and concentrating intently on calming down and lowering that heart rate from the, uh, the spike of the sprint effort. When you get good at that practice, you can do it throughout the day. So when you get stressed at work and you have a choice interaction in the hallway with someone that you’re in conflict with, you can go sit at your desk, close your eyes, take some deep breaths and manage the stress response. He also further clarified some insights about the very popular practice of heart rate variability. A another amazing insight that when your HRV number is extra high, usually we’re congratulating ourselves and celebrating just how well recovered we are.

Brad: 14:45 That oftentimes can mean the opposite, that you’re still fighting hard to fully recover and you need more rest. Yes, incredible insights and listen to the show and then on to another neighbor of these folks and they north Seattle area. Dr Tommy Wood of Nourish, Balance, Thrive again, so great to meet and connect in person after numerous remote podcasts on the primal blueprint channel and also our consultations with me participating in his fabulous nourish balance, thrive testing and evaluation and consultation program for health and peak performance. So hanging out with Tommy, the greatest surprise of all was the magnificent beasts that he had at his home, especially this fabulous white boxer named Bruce Bowen. The Great San Antonio Spurs player and I didn’t even know white boxers existed. And I do believe it’s one of the finest breeds on earth. Unfortunately the American Kennel company does not believe so, and they don’t recognize the white boxer as an official breed.

Brad: 15:49 And if you tell this little champ that was so excited to see me when I first entered the home that he’s not recognized as an official breed. It might be heartbreaking news, but I doubt it because he’s so happy to be alive and lick things and jump in my face. Uh, no problem there for Bowen. What a guy waiting patiently while we recorded through two fantastic shows. And the best part about Tommy is this guy is big, big, big into the science and the research. He recently got his Phd on Pediatric Brain Disease from University of Oslo. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge top shelf scientific guy. But he’s always making a sincere effort to bring things back to the simple in the practical, the importance of having a dog to actually boost your health in a measurable way because all of a sudden you have the motivation to get outdoors frequently, twice a day, uh, and also learn how to play at all times because a dog is playful and it gets you into that playful mindset is other fabulous one liner was that you’re liquidating your assets when you overstimulate the fight or flight response with your hectic busy life or your extreme training regimen, that’s too much for you WHEW! Love that.

Brad: 17:03 And we were just talking about, uh, boats because I saw a bunch of cool boats on the harbor, uh, during my vacation time and thinking, man, wouldn’t that be fun to have a huge ass boat that you can take your friends out there and sleep a bunch of people out there and oh my gosh, looking at this thing, go by wondering how much it costs and realizing that for many of us we can look at that boat and say, yeah, I could probably liquidate my assets, whatever it is, my retirement account. Pay that 10% penalty, Max out your credit cards and go get yourself a nice big ass boat. And then, uh, as the bills pile up at home, you might experience some extraordinary pain and suffering for being a dumb ass and buying a boat that you can’t really afford. Unfortunately, we do that all the time with our decisions about fitness, exercise, uh, even our work place behavior and are taking on too much, having trouble saying no, not wanting to let people down and driving ourselves to exhaustion over and over, liquidating our assets to get through the busy day or the busiest semester or the busy a march to the IPO in our startup company or the buildup to the big magnificent, uh, peak competitive event at the end of the season.

Brad: 18:22 So don’t liquidate your assets, man. It’s bad deal. You’re going to pay for it later. Another tip Tommy gave was or reminder that the stress response is entirely under our control. Yes. A traffic jam by and large by wide agreement is a crappy thing, especially when you’re trying to get to the airport on time. Uh, it also sucks when you take your car into Firestone auto care in Sacramento, California and wait patiently for two hours for them to say, Oh, uh, we don’t have a tech that can work on this type of air conditioning system. And I say, Oh, why the eff didn’t you tell me when I pulled up here two hours ago and sit here waiting patiently for you to fix my broken air conditioning when the temperature is 99 degrees and I’m driving around sweating inside the car. So we have the stimulation from the outside world.

Brad: 19:18 We have things that we perceive to be difficult and stressful, and then we activate the stress response because we choose to get stressed by these circumstances and happenings. But we don’t necessarily have to. I could have enjoyed that time in the Firestone waiting room, uh, getting precious work done, uh, interacting on an important project and then gracefully saying, oh, okay, thank you. I’ll go somewhere else then with a big smile and none worse for the wear. But we have to constantly recalibrate and reassess what’s important to us. Is it really important to get angry and emotional over this interaction or can we choose a different response and keep the fight or flight at bay for when we really need it, which is basically for life and death matters, which hardly ever exist today or for those peak performance athletic efforts where we’re well rested, recovered, and ready to harness a peak competitive effort with the fight or flight response in full bloom at those times when we really want too much more from Tommy.

Brad: 20:23 And then I was on the train and bus to the beautiful city of Eugene, Oregon, home of the Oregon ducks and new home of speed golf guru and top golf professional teacher, Christopher Smith, Eugene Country Club. Oh my gosh. What a beautiful town and we hit it hard on my short visit there. We packed it all in. We did a very long run for us two old guys all over town checking out the constantly updated University of Oregon campus. Most particularly, they tore down the historic Hayward stadium site of many great track meets including Olympic trials, national championships, NCAA championships, and they’re building a big ole brand new one. Probably thanks to uncle Phil and other great benefactors. That’s Phil Knight, the founder of Nike who has donated many, many millions of dollars to improve that campus. Uh, but they’re going to host the world track and Field Championships in 2021 the first time, this great event as good as the Olympics, probably better in terms of the quality of track competition.

Speaker 4: 21:27 First Time in the USA. So be there in Eugene, I think it’s 2021. Anyway, we had some great conversation in between are uh, slow jaunt throughout town. We saw the Prefontaine memorial on that run as well, picked some wild blackberries and then sat down and talked to Christopher about his fabulous training concept, known as ‘Train to Trust and the idea of “context specificity” when you are practicing golf or any other peak performance endeavor. And what that means is that you want to simulate your competitive experience in practice so that it actually counts and transfers into effective brain learning when it’s time to perform. The common example, the simple example of not doing this is going to the putting green at the golf course and teaching yourself to make ten three footers in a row on the practice green under no pressure, repeating the same putt over and over and then oh my goodness, you get into the tournament and you’re on the 18th hole and have a three foot putt just like you practiced on the putting green over and over and this one’s for all the marbles and you totally choke is because you never simulated that pressure and that competitive intensity during your casual practicing on the golf putting green, whatever sport it is.

Brad: 22:51 If it’s a basketball player shooting free throws, don’t just sit there and try to make 50 free throws before you were allowed to go home and leave the gym instead. How about do a couple sprints up and down the court and then breathing hard, stop suddenly walk over to the free throw line and try to knock two of them down and then continue on with another drill just like you might experience in a game where you’re playing, playing, playing, you’re working hard and all of a sudden you’re called to the free throw line and you’re hot and sweaty rather than sitting there and we’re listening to a podcast while you’re practicing free throws or distracting your brain from total competitive focus. So Christopher taught us a lot about effective practice for whatever you’re trying to do and also about mindset and evolve mindset for the athlete. Doing things like having compassion for your mistakes. That’s a quote he offers up frequently, especially too frustrated golfers who get angry and a temper tantrum or offer self limiting beliefs and discouraging thoughts as they’re making their way through the golf course rather than enjoying a beautiful walk in nature and just taking each shot as a new opportunity to execute a peak performance endeavor without worrying or stressing about your score or what happened on your last shot. Great stuff.

New Speaker: 24:05 Also, during this trip I caught up over Skype with a, an author by the name of Scott Carney, who wrote a very interesting book called what doesn’t kill us with a very descriptive subtitle, how freezing water, extreme altitude and environmental conditioning will renew our lost evolutionary strength. And we had a very interesting conversation where he started out on this project as an investigative journalist who specializes in debunking gurus and slickster is promoting things that aren’t really legit. And he was assigned to go cover the now famous ice man, Wim Hoff of Holland, who does extraordinary feats of superhuman resistance to cold water ice. And he packs himself and uh, the himself in ice for an hour and 45 minutes to break a new world record. Uh, most people would be dead in much less time than that. He climbed Mount Everest in a pair of shorts and no other garment. And so Scott went over there to, uh, Wim Hoff training camp in Poland. This is long before he was famous and now a pretty prominent figure in the progressive health scene. Uh, and he couldn’t wait in licking his chops, couldn’t wait to expose this guy’s a fraud. And what happened was he participated in the training like any good journalist should and amazingly performed amazing feats of resistance to cold in a very short time. I think a week after he got there, he climbed a snowy mountain in the middle of winter in Poland, just wearing running shorts and reporting that he was boiling hot the whole time. Great show there

Brad: 25:51 And then wrapping everything up back in Portland, hanging out with my main man, Brian McAndrew who masters all the audios on this podcast and also all the video content, the fabulous video content that you see on my youtube as well as Primal Blueprint and we sat down and talked the reluctant guests on the podcast as the second time I’ve been able to rope him in and we had some great insights for the listeners. I think you’re going to love this show. He’s a young guy. He’s only 31 years old, but just had an amazing life journey so far including battling some serious health setbacks and detours and consequent recalibrations on a constant quest for health and peak performance. He’s been deep into the Keto thing for two and a half years now. Constantly evaluating and tweaking and putting his fabulous meals and recipes up there on his Instagram page.,Whole Doods, D-O-O-D-S. He’s also very accomplished in the gym in the strength training and high intensity workouts scene, always tweaking and offering insights. We talked so much off camera and off recording when we’re traveling together and filming. So it was really great to sit down with him. Some fun stuff. How he went down to LA after college was working in a soul sucking job and trying to keep fit and got into the vegan thing and the uh, chronic cardio thing running on the beach, eating crappy food or not enough nutrition, got really sick and lost a bunch of weight. Then he goes back and gets into this strength training mode where he got blown up with big muscles and extra size during his quest to just get a little bit stronger. Hs wife called him a fat chicken face, so he had to recalibrate, get into the Keto thing. So some really interesting, uh, life exploration, life journey, commentary from buying McAndrew always teeing us up for a practical health tips and reflection when we’re doing things like Keto or pursuing peak performance goals in the gym and in other sports. And that was my trip to the Pacific northwest and my many guests and fun insights. I hope this will entice you to go and listen to all the full length shows that I mentioned.

Brad: 28:10 Thanks for listening to this one. Dah, Dah, Dah. No, no, no. Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback. It getoveryourselfpodcast@gmail.com and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop, iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.

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