Tawnee is the popular host of the long-running Endurance Planet podcast, accomplished amateur triathlete, and respected coach. She is one of the queens of the endurance scene, and her programming extends from endurance training principles to healthy eating and mindful living. We interview each other for this show that syndicated on Endurance Planet – Enjoy!
She walks her talk with great devotion to not just racing fast, but doing it in a healthy manner. Our visit at her beautiful home overlooking the Pacific in Laguna Beach, CA was quite significant and impactful, for Tawnee has only recently returned to the public eye after a long period of mourning the loss of her baby Whitney after a full-term pregnancy and childbirth.
Tawnee has been incredibly vulnerable and open about the entire experience, processing the extreme grief, and soul searching how to move forward and continue living life. Visit her Instagram @tawneegibson and her blog, Life After Whitney for some powerful reflections about grief and healing. It was a pleasure to reconnect with this smiling, vibrant, very pregnant woman in January of 2019 and we recorded a pretty great show. It turned out to be a hybrid broadcast of our original intent to record two separate shows: Tawnee interviewing me for the Endurance Planet audience about matters of interest like hormones, diet, and evolved training methods and competitive mindset; and me interviewing Tawnee for the Get Over Yourself show to discuss her journey of healing and returning to the groove of daily life and returning to Endurance Planet broadcasts. So we smoothly interchanged the roles of host and guest, and talked long enough to support two full episodes.
You will be inspired by Tawnee’s strength and courage to not only tell her story in a raw and unfiltered manner, but also her commitment to healing and pursuing all manner of self-improvement, including a meditation retreat. On my side, I deliver choice plugs for my morning chest freezer cold therapy, maintaining my competitive intensity with Speedgolf competition, and my (soon to be) viral blog article about how I doubled my testosterone level in seven months going from what would be clinically a hypo diagnosis (below the bottom of the normal range) to the 95th percentile for males even in the younger age groups. We talk about a more sensible approach to diet than the warring factions and dogma of the various fad diets like keto and vegan. Yes, it’s a blending of different themes, in the spirit of the evolved medium of podcasting. Enjoy this hopefully interesting and thought-provoking conversation!
Brad talks about the life lessons that come from competitive outlets like Speedgolf [10:30].
Don’t let your quest for physical fitness overshadow the importance of mental wellness and personal relationships in your life [15:25].
The experience of putting yourself out there and getting out of your comfort zone is more important than the actual end result [20:00].
There is a price to pay when you use positivity as a coping mechanism and ignore your true feelings and needs [23:00].
Tawnee shares how meditation and doing inner work was key to her survival after experiencing tragic loss [28:25].
Be mindful to not think in black and white terms when it comes to peak performance goals, as this causes most people to challenge themselves too hard, too frequently [36:15].
Tawnee and Brad talk about why minimally stressful exercise, like walking, is so key [45:00].
How to minimize the general decline that comes with aging [51:40].
Do you approach exercise strategically, or are you just burning off excess energy with ill-advised workouts? [54:50].
Brad shares details about the effectiveness of cold exposure and sauna use [57:20].
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:00:00 welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author, an 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 balance that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 00:02:59 hi listeners, it’s Brad to introduce a very special show with my friend Tawnee Prazak. It’s kind of a hybrid show because we were gonna do a recording for her endurance planet podcast, talking about all the important wonderful matters of endurance training. And then I was going to sit with her and interview her for the Get Over Yourself podcast. And what we ended up doing was just talking for quite a long time and throwing in uh, bits and pieces of each of our ambitions for the type of show we wanted to talk about. Uh, but the special part for me was, I haven’t seen Tawnee in a couple of years and the last time I was down there at her beautiful home in Laguna beach overlooking the Pacific ocean, we did some breezy video interviews for the Primal Endurance Course and got all her expertise about training and special considerations for female athletes, all that great stuff and the important matters of the day.
Brad: 00:03:59 And since I last saw her, Tawnee has been through a great personal ordeal, family tragedy, a journey of healing and recovering and coming back to the public eye and sitting back down to record podcasts, which is her wonderful career that she’s been doing for so long with Endurance Planet has built such a wonderful following. So Tawnee and her husband, John lost their newborn daughter Whitney after a full term pregnancy and childbirth, understandably had a very difficult time processing the pain and the grief. And Tawnee was very open and vulnerable, sharing her feelings with her following on social media. She took a leave of absence from her role as the host of the endurance planet podcast. The couple did a lot of traveling. They lived the van life for awhile, exploring the United States, hitting the road. Tawnee plunged into a deep immersion into healing and practices of meditation and Buddhism and personal growth and working on herself and trying hard to pick up the pieces and move on with life.
Brad: 00:05:12 So I was overjoyed to walk in and see these guys after a couple of years and she’s well pregnant right now. They have big plans ahead. They’re going to get back in that van, explore more of the United States, going to head to another state to have the baby for several months and then who knows what the future holds. But she’s back on the airwaves with their awesome Endurance Planet show. Go over there if you have an interest in dance training and especially listen to her welcome back show with our mutual friend Brock Armstrong. Wonderful discussion and, boy, she is really sharing, uh, important and evolved, and thoughtful perspective for such a young lady. She’s only in early to mid thirties. Interestingly, the endurance community that Tawnee and I have both been a part of for a long time might be accused of having a high intensity, high strung type A approach to pursuing peak performance goals, getting a little bit caught up rather than getting over themselves and needing to work through some of these challenges of having that greatest strengths of your devotion and discipline and focus and intensity.
Brad: 00:06:21 Also coming back to bite you and becoming your worst enemy when you have a flawed approach to peak performance goals. So here’s Tawnee overlaying this incredible personal journey and tragedy and healing and pain and suffering and coming back to the coming back to the plate and trying to get motivated and refocused on the nuances of heart rate training. So something for all of us to reflect upon is that critical balance, that delicate balance between pursuing your goals with a passion and living a purposeful life and also not sweating the ups and downs and realizing that pain and suffering and tragedy are inevitable in life and you have to deal with it and move on and try to work on yourself and be the best you can be. So enjoy this hybrid discussion between Tawnee hitting me up with the talking points for the endurance audience.
Brad: 00:07:16 And I think for the broader audience too, I’m talking about trying to preserve testosterone levels as you age and still pursue peak performance goals but not overdoing it and not getting into these ruts and over-training patterns. We hit the diet aspect, uh, toward the end of the show where we’re talking about the various factions and all the controversy and trying to take a sensible, reasonable approach to healthy eating. I think you’ll like that part. I also get in some plugs for my speed golf passion and my cold plunge and it’s back and forth between this heavy stuff of what Tawnee’s been through in her life. And her reflections and then some practical discussion. So it’s hard to pigeonhole and define this conversation distinctly, but in the spirit of the evolved medium that is podcasting, I hope you will get an interesting and thought-provoking conversation between two people trying to lead a healthy, balanced life, pursue peak performance goals and be happy. Tawnee Prazak in Laguna beach, getting ready for her road trip.
Tawnee: 00:08:20 Welcome back to Endurance Planet. This is your host Tawnee Prazak Gibson and it’s always a pleasure when I get to do shows in person with my guest of the day. And that is the case right now. This man has been on the show before. It’s actually been just over two years, a little over two years since we sat down the last time. So with me today is Brad Kearns, who now has his own podcast called the get over yourself podcast, which sounds amazing. I think we all need to take a little dose of that. Uh, you can check them out at his website, Brad kearns.com which we’ll link to in the show. And we’re also going to hear about the speed golfing thing that he’s,
Tawnee: 00:08:59 whether you like it or not, you’re going to hear about it. Thank you for asking Tawnee.
Tawnee: 00:09:04 He uses Maff for absolutely amazing. Brad. Thanks. Thanks for coming down.
Tawnee: 00:09:09 I’m so glad to be back. It’s fun in person as they will. Only way to go. We’re trying hard. So I’ve, I, I brave the rainy roads of Orange County to make it here.
Tawnee: 00:09:19 I mean, it’s a real thing in Southern California when people don’t know how to drive in the rain.
Brad: 00:09:24 Yeah. If this were Seattle it would be like we’d be recording outdoors. Oh, it’s nice on the porch. It’s just a drizzle. Yeah. Let’s put our hats on. So that’s what I so much to talk about.
Tawnee: 00:09:34 So much to talk about. Um, yeah. Since the last time that you were here. So you don’t want to hear a little bit about the inspiration for your Get Over Yourself podcast. Cause seriously, like it’s such a central theme. I think we all need a little bit more of in our lives. It’s just get over ourselves. Don’t worry so much.
Brad: 00:09:48 We deserve to.
Tawnee: 00:09:49 Yeah. Not worry so much about what other people think of us and all that.
Brad: 00:09:51 Right? I mean, this dates back to my racing career as a triathlete, nine years on the pro circuit and it was so intense and just the lessons of success and failure learned in such a dramatic manner. And we talked about that in a long time in our previous show. You can go back and listen to that about how I won this race and lost that race. But that was kind of the biggest lesson I learned was when I had this misdirected, competitive intensity and was too driven and too focused and too hard on myself and wanting so badly to succeed that I wanted it too badly and I attach my self esteem to the outcome of the events. That’s when I struggled and suffered and got away from my ideal peak performance disposition and just got gotten knocked down by the high competitive circumstances of, of racing as a pro where, you know, no one’s you’re not making, you can make excuses but you don’t get paid unless you come for a second, third, fourth and everything’s so graphic that you really had to process a lot of failure and finally learn that, you know, a pure motivation is better than, uh, an impure one.
Brad: 00:10:54 And if I was able to get over myself and then just go out the door, because I love the challenge, win or lose, but you know, keeping that competitive intensity when it’s time to race and preserving that throughout life. And that’s, we’ll talk about that with the speed golf and into present day. You’ve got to have something that gets you up in the morning and gets you pumped up and get you psyched up, but you have to apply the proper competitive mindset. Otherwise you’re going to struggle and suffer and it’s going to be a much more difficult road than if you get over yourself. And you realize that, you know, you’re not the center of the universe, especially when you’re doing something trivial like a recreational participant in endurance sports, which most of our listeners are. And those of you going for the Olympics for your country, you still deserve to get over yourself.
Tawnee: 00:11:34 Yeah. It’s such a good lesson where sometimes I know even, you know, with my deal of health issues I’ve been through, I feel like the universe kind of forced me into that mindset where I wanted to be, you know, the person qualifying for Kona, winning, whatever, and just, you know, that was not in my cards and it was a humbling thing. But I think it’s, in a way, it was a blessing in disguise to sort of learn those lessons, especially early on and how they carry, I carry them into my approach now.
Brad: 00:12:03 Oh dang. I’m thinking back to our, our pal Maffetone and after, I think we recorded for like six or seven hours one day of course I went out there in person out in the middle of the desert in Oracle, Arizona where he used to live and I remember we were going down this thread for a long time and finally I was kind of getting, you know, I was getting exasperated because the answer wasn’t clear and I’m like, well then if you don’t need to train that much anaerobic muscle fiber and you don’t really need to train the brain to suffer, the brain can suffer at any moment and you shouldn’t do that much volume of, of aerobic training. Then how do you distinguish between the the winner and the guy in the middle of the pack and the guy at the end of the pack and he goes, genetics mainly.
Brad: 00:12:39 I’m like, Holy F, you’re kidding. But it was such a beautiful answer because you’re, you’re dreaming of Kona and you’re training so hard and you got all the gadgets and the right coaching and you’re heading out there and you’re doing what you’re supposed to do and someone got first and you got seventh or you got second by a nose that outlined at the tape or you got 87th. Dr. Lindsay Taylor talks about this a lot on primal endurance podcast. This is maybe what’s meant to be, and that’s a fabulous, wonderful victory for you to improve your time from the previous performance in that thing. Or to be able to say, Hey, I got off my ass cause two years ago I was smoking, overweight, had health risks and now I’m a finisher of the race. So when I used to put on that triathlon Auburn triathlon, I’m the last person would come in and sometimes he’d come in 30 minutes after the previous last person cause they’d refused our cutoff times and stuff and they got, uh, they got the warmest welcome and everyone cheering and giving them a leftover age group award because it’s like they won something themselves too. But we’re just so conditioned to judging and measuring ourselves. Yeah,
Tawnee: 00:13:43 absolutely. So how, um, so let’s talk about the speed golf thing and especially kind of what you’re, we’re already talking about like getting over yourself. I’m kinda curious. I know you said you’ve been dabbling in it for sounds like a couple of decades, but you’re taking it a bit more seriously, like professional level.
Brad: 00:13:59 Good question. Oh yes. I’m in the professional, uh, speed golf ranks, which is to say that there’s not that many competitors out there in the world, but it’s this wonderful grassroots sport. Very strange where you go out and have a golf tournament. Right. But they’re also timing you. So endurance listeners, it’s pretty fascinating. It’s one, it’s the greatest sport in the world because you go out to the course, they start the time, it’s a time trial format, like, like 200 fronts where you start about five to seven minutes apart. Otherwise we’d be hitting each other in the head, like trying to race through the course. Now it’s not that silliness, but you have your own, you know, tee time and you go off and you try to complete the course as fast as you can so they count your strokes. So you’re not doing like this hockey puck thing, like, uh, you know, just blah, blah, blah, hitting the ball.
Brad: 00:14:42 You’re trying to score a good score and complete the course and a good time. And so at the finish they added together. So if it took you an hour to play the course, 60 minutes and you shot 80, your speed golf score is 140. Um, so if you were to say get careless and miss a short putt, that just costs you a minute of running. And I can run an entire par for 350 yards in a minute. Right? So I don’t want to rewind the clock. I want to make these good putts, shoot a good score, but also keep that, uh, you know, it’s basically anaerobic threshold pace for me. So it changes the sport entirely from, it’s exactly like biathlon cause if the by athlete, I mean, you know biathlon on the winter Olympics where they’re skiing cross country, they stop and shoot at targets. They ski again.
Brad: 00:15:25 If they miss one of the targets, they ski a 200 meter penalty lap every time they miss. So it’s like you better be a good shot and not that you want to go ski, just go ski in the ski race. Same with golf. You want to go on the tour and shoot 64. That’s great. So this is like a blend between fitness and golf, but also you’re out of that, uh, that over analytical mindset. That’s so it ruins golfers experiences and they’re just in their head all the time and they have all these clubs and they’re not very good anyway. It doesn’t even matter what club you pull. Cause we carry only a handful of clubs. And so we have to hit all these creative shots with the only clubs that we’ve brought. We don’t want to be lugging a huge bag along cause the time factor.
Brad: 00:16:01 So I’ve been playing it for many, many years and now it’s kind of had a resurgence in the last five years. They’ve held a world championships annually and people come from all over the world. And so I’ve, I’ve placed um, 20th, 20th, 19th and 17th in the last four world championships. So I’m, I’m up there, but the guides at the very top, they will shoot par on a championship course and complete it in 45 to 50 minutes. My best score is a 128. I shot a 78 in 47 minutes. That’s 125 in the California championships, uh, two years ago. And I got third and that was a great 78 a good round for me. I mean if I took all day I could shoot 78, but I was moving really quickly and just kinda in that, um, that, that Zen peak performance mindset I was in the flow because no matter what, you got to move on and hit the next shot. So if you hit a bad shot, you can’t be crying about it or adjusting your grip or talking to like, what do you think happened there? I came over the top again. You know, golfers do that for four hours while they’re waiting and it’s boring and it’s just, it’s so different to be out there in the, in the flow state and trying to hit good shots.
Tawnee: 00:17:06 So how do you, coming from the triathlon background and you know, the mistakes, if you wanna call it that, that you’ve made in your earlier years life lessons. Yeah, that’s a better, more appropriate way. Um, how do you keep yourself from going to that mindset where it becomes so outcome oriented or like you know the numbers, you know those scores that you’re talking about, the rankings. Like you get a taste of you know, podium and all of a sudden you get a little greedy with it. How do you keep yourself from like keeping it chill, keeping it Zen?
Brad: 00:17:33 That’s, that’s what it is. Man. That’s a good question. We should have video cause when your eyebrows raised up and I, my eyebrows raise up, I’m like that’s right. You get that taste and then you start effing with your head. Cause it’s like if I’m this good just goofing around, Oh boy could I do better? And on the last show I talked about when I was a rookie on the circuit and I was having so much fun, I was so glad to be quitting my lame ass accounting job and riding my bike all day and going to these races and I’d get like 18th and it was so awesome cause I was only seven minutes behind Scott Molina, you know. And then I progressed and progressed naturally. Like without even worrying or thinking about it or without even wearing any sponsor’s clothes. I was just running around in a bare skin doing these races. And then I had these great victories at the end of my rookie year on the professional circuit. And then I said, Oh well now if this goofy approach has got me this much success, now it’s time to go out there and get serious and get my program down and write all the things in my charts and monitor my heart rate and my speed on the loops and all that stuff. And then I went down that path where I had to extricate from over and over where it was getting too intense and a misdirected competitive intensity on the bike trail in Southern California. When some Dupas passes, you were in sneakers and you’re riding, you’re brand new. Back then it was like $3,000 bike would be really impressive if I said my brand new $3,000 racing bike and now it’s like 10 K plus had no idea.
Brad: 00:18:52 Incredible. Anyway. Um, so it’s pretty easy now cause I’m an old dude and I’m not like going to these events and there’s ESPN, they’re wanting some interview time with me, what my sponsors are looking and doing. You know, now it’s just for fun. Uh, but I, I want to make this important point that it’s, it’s really healthy and I think really valuable in life to maintain this competitive intensity throughout life with whatever you’re doing. So I’ve found this goofy sport of speed golf to make that my competitive outlet instead of, um, you know, reminiscing and sitting back and telling stories about how I used to race triathlons and now I have a giant gut and I like to watch the NFL all weekend and drink beer. That’s to me not to judge that, although that does sound judgmental to me, that’s not healthy. So I want to do whatever I can do right now to be the best I can be and have some competitive competitive challenge that literally, if I’m doing it right, it means as much to me as it did when I was at the national championships on professional circuit.
Brad: 00:19:57 But, uh, it’s different, uh, different parameters. But that’s interesting cause it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter to me. It means everything. So when I finished, I broke the world record in the single hole of speed golf league and talking about that as like the offshoot of this tournament I just described. And you know, when I finished that hole, I think it was like the best athletic performance I’ve had in my life just based on how I prepared and had this one day that I was going to do a peak performance effort. And it was, it felt like winning, uh, the Coke grand Prix when I was on the professional circuit. It was the same level of satisfaction. I didn’t get the $44,750, but that’s okay. I got the smiles from my family and um, you know, good times on YouTube and go look at the video.
Tawnee: 00:20:38 Awesome. Yeah. You know, cause I feel like even with the age component in endurance sports, it doesn’t seem that a lot of people like, Oh well I’m old so it doesn’t matter what I do. I think people get just as wrapped up in their times is, you know it’s cause it’s such a type a kind of sport where I don’t know if it’s nature nurture kind of thing. Like is it the type of that are geared toward an endurance sports and so even at ages 40, 50, 60, 70 plus it seems like people have that potential to get just as unhealthfully obsessed with their performances and numbers and data were letting go of it a little bit. Might serve them better.
Brad: 00:21:18 Right. I mean there’s this category you just described. People are going for the podium and competitive. They got no problem with missing competitive intensity. As I described the people on the couch drinking beer and watching NFL for nine hours straight, we might have a conversation with them to say, Hey man, why don’t you try to make something out, you know, use your body and try to be physical and delay the inevitable demise of aging doing something. But then we have this other group that’s more likely to be in listening to the show where they are jacked up. Man, they are fired up and they got this goal and this goal and this goal and 17 of them relate to their career where they’re jamming. And the other nine relayed to um, you know, uh, their, their multi-sport, uh, endurance goals and then hopefully two or three with the relationship kind of keep that going. And that’s why I open it up on my podcast to talk about a lot of health and fitness and peak performance. And I have Peter Attia and Ben Greenfield and you know, the, the leading, uh, physical performance and bio hacking people. But I also have relationship experts and talking about a bigger picture than just being your physical best and eating this and not eating that. Cause I think we’ve gone, we’ve, we’ve talked that to death. I mean if you want to ask me what the healthy foods are and my frigerator I’m going to gag myself while I’m, while I’m talking because it’s just gone so overboard. And then we’re forgetting these big picture items. So back to that, I mean this is like the ultimate question that we should be, you know, hashing on the show here. It’s like, okay, you have your competitive intensity, you’re doing good.
Brad: 00:22:42 But how do you kind of keep that in balance and in perspective. Um, and I’m gonna venture to say, come speaking from former, you know, elite athlete competing at the very highest level when I settled myself down and realized that you can turn on that competitive switch and then turn it right back off after the race is over and smile and have fun. And the Australians were the best example of that to make a broad generalization, these people and their culture down there, sport is in intertwined in the culture. They’re outdoors, they’re active, they’re healthy. What? Like, like 90% of them live within two miles of the beach or something. And look up that stat. If I’m wrong, they do everything. It’s all part of life and they’re so competitive and they would pop off all the time and brag and do these cocky statements that an American wouldn’t be caught saying, cause it doesn’t sound modest enough, you know, but it was all out on the table like, Oh man, I’m going to blow your mind today in the swim.
Brad: 00:23:39 I’m swimming so strongly and workout, I reckon I’ll get 30 to 60 seconds on you tomorrow under the water. You know, and we’re not talking like that. We’re saying like, yeah, I feel okay but my left shoulder hurts a little bit, you know, like kind of diffusing this overt competitiveness, that kind of crap fo real. So if you were kind of transition out of that and imagine for a second that it was okay to compete, like I’m going to give you a Roger Banister quote too. Like he said, the essence of sport is while you’re doing it, nothing else matters. But when it’s done, you generally filed away in a place. Not very important. That’s not the exact quote, but I put the file candidate in there cause right now, like I finished racing 24 years ago and all my race results are in this brown folder in the very back of my file candidate.
Brad: 00:24:28 I could pull it out, I can look and see what I got in bud light USTs Phoenix in 1991 right now. Now it’s like done. There’s an archive. Oh my God. Yeah. But it’s like dirt when that, when that day came and I was in Phoenix racing, it meant everything to me and I’d worked so hard and tried so hard to get to that point. Um, but I also, uh, one, let’s see, four races where I was disqualified after sometimes two, three, four hours after the race, I received a phone call when I won world’s toughest. And Lake Tahoe was an eight and a half hour ultra distance run over three mountain passes and 20 mile trail run the hardest race in the world. And I won. Then I went home to take a nap. And then someone called, I thought it was a crank call. I kept asking, which one of my friends was doing this to me. And so the victory was taken away from me with a phone call. Um, the, the road was open to traffic cause they couldn’t close down a road for hundreds of miles in a resort town. Right? And so the rule was obey all traffic laws. That means you have to take unclipped and put your foot down every stop sign. Sure, sure. I understand pro athlete meaning I got ya. Got ya. So I was escorted the entire route by a CHP officer. So we’d come up to an intersection and he blow his siren and I’d blow through at 20 miles an hour. So I got a huge advantage from, you know, the guys who had to put their foot down and stop sign. But I argued like I should’ve got the lawyer.
Tawnee: 00:25:48 John, could you come in for a second?
Brad: 00:25:49 That’s Tawnee’s husband. Here he is our legal representative on the show. I’m like, wait a second, I had a police escort. Are you telling me Barack Obama is breaking traffic laws when he’s running the reds on, on Pennsylvania? No, I broke no laws. Asked the cop who’s, who kept me company for five hours. I went crazy, you know. But the reason I brought it up is like the victory was taken away from me, but wasn’t really, I mean, I did it. I participated, I had the best race, I had a great run. I was really strong. It was a wonderful day. My family and friends were there. Uh, but the fact that I was an official disqualification person, um, you have to, you have to learn to process that and realize that the, the value and the richness of the experience was what happened. Whether or not someone decided to DQ me. Yeah. Yeah. The best victory speech of all time and triathlon Andreas Bozell I give you credit from, uh, Vail or Aspen, Colorado. He was awarded the win at the award ceremony the next day. He was 15 minutes behind me. It was an ultra, so, you know, um, he was, he was respectful of my performance and he said, sorry Brad, that was so, it was a speech. I love it. Yeah.
Tawnee: 00:26:57 Sorry Brad. I mean, but yeah, you’re right. That can’t take away the experience that you had and the still, the fact that you were the fastest on the day, cause even with had you stopped, I’m sure that was not 15 minutes worth of.
Brad: 00:27:09 That was also in my legal argument. Like, uh, item number four was like, can you penalize me 12 minutes for that horrible transgression. Yeah.
Tawnee: 00:27:18 But I hear you. I mean, the, the DNF, I had an Ironman Tahoe um, gosh, like a cold or something. That was six years ago. No, it’s a long story. We don’t need to go into the story.
Brad: 00:27:28 So on episode number 14,
Tawnee: 00:27:29 it’s somewhere in the archives. It literally is. Um, but the swim that morning was still like one of the most memorable moments of my triathlon career because it was snowing outside and there was talk for days that the race was gonna be canceled or shortened or something. And for anybody who woke up and went swimming in Lake Tahoe that morning, I mean, that in itself was a victory. So even though the day didn’t work out, you know how I imagined it, I really, honestly, now, like years later, I’m like, that’s one still stands out to me as a really important, you know, event in my life, even though it was kind of that tag of like DNF next to it. But Hey, that’s part of it, right?
Brad: 00:28:08 Yeah.
Tawnee: 00:28:08 You know, and sometimes there’s probably races that I did better at that we’re not even that as memorable. It’s just those certain experiences. So putting yourself out there,
Brad: 00:28:18 Putting yourself out there as big. And I think we were talking about before we started recording, like, you know, it’s, it’s tough to strike that balance cause if I’m coming off like, Oh, Brad said you should be in loosey goosey at the races and not, and get over yourself and have fun and all that, you know, you can run yourself into trouble that way. too. And I’m, I’m guilty of like having an overly positive approach and disposition to life. And so I always look on the bright side, whether I have, there’s a family crisis or whether I, I got fired from a job or I, I, you know, um, didn’t, didn’t achieve the goals that I set for and tried really hard. And I’m like, Oh, that’s all right. And these time, uh, alive and I can see the ocean from your beautiful view here. And that’s a in itself for me.
Brad: 00:28:59 I identify it as like a coping strategy to not really face, um, reality and face the shit that I’m, that I’m, I need to dig myself out of including let’s say getting my ass kicked from uh, uh, in an event where I wasn’t really training appropriately. I wasn’t doing enough swimming or whatever it was, or dealing with a personal family crisis. You know, you’ve got to face, I, I give you a lot of credit for getting out there and communicating with the, with the world, um, pain and suffering, instead of saying, Hey everybody, it’s sunny again today in Laguna beach. So all is well in life. And maybe, maybe that’s not, um, you know, that, that that’s uh, that’s a tough, it’s tough to try to put that smiley face. Deepak Chopra said that, um, being effusively positive, uh, is a form of stress in itself. One of his books I totally identify with that, like being overly positive as a form of stress and yeah.
Tawnee: 00:29:52 Did you put a lot of pressure on yourself? And I think at the cost of ignoring what is actually there, and that’s something that I’ve become intimately familiar with in the past year is recognizing, honoring, and touching, you know, so to speak. Everything that’s there, whether good or bad, because if you don’t, it’s still going to be there and then you’re not dealing with it. And then it could come out in other ways that are not necessarily appropriate, effective, you know, for your wellbeing.
Brad: 00:30:19 Uh, you, you carry shit on a backpack. You said touching on the Brock show too, like that meditation.
Tawnee: 00:30:24 Yeah. It’s, you know, cause I went to that meditation retreat and it’s one of the things that I visually, you know, even though you’re not literally touching anything, but to me it’s such like a good visual, like mem or idea of how this all works when you’re looking at your mind and making sure that you’re not seeing yourself as your thoughts or feelings, but rather that’s just, you know, they’re there and you can touch them and then you can let go of them kind of vibe. And it’s that mental image that you can create for yourself that helps you realize like you don’t have to be trapped by your thoughts, but you also at the same time, can’t ignore whatever’s there. So it’s an interesting and that, that idea of being too positive. I think it’s more of the rare side of things. If anything, people are probably a little bit more too on like the negative side about things like, you know, Oh my life sucks. This is what I don’t have. I’m not as fast as this person. Rather than
Brad: 00:31:17 if you’re a type a and you’re, you know, yeah, that’s right. You’re most most likely in that other category.
Tawnee: 00:31:22 You would think that being the more positive guy would actually be the goal. But really it sounds like you’re still kind of missing the bigger picture of what’s there. Yes?.
Brad: 00:31:32 Yeah. I would say it’s a stepping stone the way you just, you’re describing my life now cause I was that super bad ass competitor who ran himself so hard in college that he got sick and injured four or five seasons in a row. Pneumonia, Mono, stress fracture, chin splints, You know, I just ran myself into the ground cause I was willing to kill any of these guys any day so I could be a great champion runner and realize my dreams and have my self esteem continue to, you know, climb from all that bullshit. And then I had to become like the um, I had to pull out the, the class clown part of my personality and have uh, as much fun as anybody and be the lighthearted guy on the circuit who would be laughing and joking as we walked down to the water’s edge.
Brad: 00:32:14 And Mark Allen had the stare on his face that like, you know, he was not present in the, in the world but the rest of us, cause he was so focused. But for me something else worked and I was able to cope with the stress in that manner. But then if you kind of tip toe too far over that, that direction and you’re always positive and upbeat and cheerful all the time no matter what, then you’re not really in close touch with your emotions. I think. And you’re not touching anything except for, uh, the pretty blue sky and puffy clouds. Yeah. Dan Millman. You know him Way of the Peaceful Warrior listeners go, go, uh, order on Amazon. Way of the Peaceful Warrior. It’s the best book I’ve ever read in my life. I’ve read it probably 15 times. I used to read it once a year, uh, through my twenties and thirties.
Brad: 00:32:54 I probably haven’t read in a while. He’s got many other books after that. But he said, um, uh, live your life as if you were watching a great movie where you, uh, cry the tears of, uh, of joy and the tears of sadness and you feel all this range of emotions. And then you get up and walk out of the, get out of your seat and walk out of the theater and the movie’s over. So the day’s over. The race is over. The fricking year of 2017, which sucked, or 2018 or 2009 and you’re forgotten about and you’re, you lost your, uh, a fortune in the, the real estate crash. It’s over. And it’s time to, you know, feel the full intensity of it and then, and then move on and carry those lessons with you so that hopefully you don’t repeat the same mistakes or the same negative, um, thought and behavior patterns.
Tawnee: 00:33:39 So, I had an interesting conversation with a friend who’s a Buddhist on this whole idea of like letting go and moving on because I know it’s like, why would I know there are definitely listen to you while you’re so freaking happy man. Cause I was struggling with that component with my own story. You know, everybody knows, um, about our loss at this point. But you know, in my mind I’m like, why should I have to let go and move on from that person? That was our first child. Like that sounds ridiculous to me to have to say like, well 2018 is over, so time to move on and this is something I’ve been dealing with like kind of at the end of the year into this new year. And he explained it to me in a way that, um, made a lot more sense where his first question back to me was, well, why do you need to let go?
Tawnee: 00:34:25 You know? So this whole idea of letting go is an overly simplified way to explain something that is much more complicated. And it’s not so much about trying to erase a memory or erase, a bad year or erase, a certain occurrence of any kind in your mind. Because whether you like it or not, that memory is always going to be there. Whatever happened to you in 2009, you lost your fortune. We’re on the streets. That’s always going to be a memory in your head. You can’t forget that you lose a loved one. You’re always going to remember that loved one. And then whatever the circumstances of their death were and how you feel afterwards, and it’s not something you should move on and let go from. But with the idea of meditation and mindfulness, the idea of desensitizing ourselves to the reactions that we have when we think about that is the key.
Tawnee: 00:35:13 And that’s kind of where in lies the idea of letting go is just allowing yourself, again to this like touching your thoughts and feelings process. Doing that repetitively enough where we start to not have such a strong emotional reaction to whatever that particular event or thing is in our life that causes us pain and suffering. And I’ve seen that directly in our own my own circumstances. If I hadn’t have done the work I’ve done in the last year, I think I was still be somewhat of a wreck. But I’ve put, I knew that this work was the key to my survival. And so that’s, that’s the idea of your, your reaction and attachment to the thing is what is meant by this whole idea of letting go.
Brad: 00:36:02 That’s heavy girl. I love that. I mean it’s sort of, you have to live in acceptance instead of denial. Um, and that doesn’t mean smiley ass face like, like Brad Kearns mistakenly thought for here and there. Yeah.
Tawnee: 00:36:17 It’s kind of, you know, it’s, it’s a very like, raw way to deal with life.
Brad: 00:36:22 Um, and there therefore, um, you know, the most meaningful and rich life possible is to, is to be present and, um, live in acceptance rather than denial. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, but then, you know, do we want to get triggered every time we see a tall guy with a beard? Cause you got dumped when you were 23 by a tall guy with a beard. Uh, no.
Tawnee: 00:36:44 That’s the thing. Like I think if you continue to think about the tall guy with the beard yeah.
Brad: 00:36:48 With the Maserati and the seven bedroom home overlooking the Bay in Hawaii,
Tawnee: 00:36:55 the more you allow yourself to think about that when it comes up, the less reactive you’ll will be to it over time, you know? And hopefully then maybe instead of having that intense blow up reaction every single time, maybe it’s only, you know, 25% of the time that you have that
Brad: 00:37:12 right. You allow, you allow it. It’s okay. Yeah. I suppose that that would be like what a therapist is working on, you know? Oh I got dumped so many times, two times, and although all those emotional traumas,
Tawnee: 00:37:26 I know. Um, so yeah, they’re really mean to go down that path. Cause I wa there’s actually,
Brad: 00:37:30 I know we have all these practical questions to talk about, but this is um, this is, this is how we roll. Sometimes it’s going to be a syndicated show by the way. Cause I mean this is, this is why we like to sit down and get together rather than talk about my testosterone levels on Skype, which are also great interest to endurance athletes. But uh, just so we can transition smoothly, this stuff is so incredibly relevant to let’s say your peak performance goals and your mechanical approach to training. That it’s that, that’s one of the most important message I have to share to. Yeah, just the stuff in your life. Um, Mike Pigg, you heard him? Top, top, top guy. I remember one time like getting up the courage, we’re in the hotel room together and he was writing in his training journal, which was 99 cents spiral notebook from the thing. I’m like, Hey man, can I see what like how you chart your workouts and stuff? Sure, no problem. And I grabbed this thing and it was like, you know how you buy the workout logs with the squares for like mileage 6.3, time. How many weights, how many sets did you do this workout workout with all the blanks. His is like one line for these epic insane all day workouts that we were doing when I went up and trained visit with him. It would say like Bridgeville Neeland, uh, seven hours left knee feels better. That was his extent of his commentary on this all day long, right where you go 50 miles on pavement and 50 miles climbing these dirt roads in the Backwoods of the Trinity Alps and finally making it back in the thick fog. I would’ve written a, uh, you know, a poem about the ride. It was incredible, but his is like one line on spiral notebook and the rest of it’s like, man, these deals are still stressing me out and I don’t know if I should switch agencies.
Brad: 00:39:12 I want to, I kind of want to touch my sponsors more and talk to them more. But then I also liked the fact that they’re taking care of all the shit for me and I don’t know about this knee. It’s been, you know, personal emotional things that he’s sharing in a, in a journal, like a diary. I’m not trying to be a, you know, impersonal, whatever, but I was like, Oh my gosh, the level of importance from, he did his job today. Right? What more are you going to say? Oh, you were four minutes faster this week. Who cares?
Tawnee: 00:39:36 The carrier was,
Brad: 00:39:38 I saw all the drama and like the fluffiness and the things that sometimes we we traffic in when we’re on the recreational level and where yeah, we’re writing down our wattage meter and how fun it was. This was like, we talk for about 10 minutes riding out of town and then I got on this wheel and time trial on his wheel trying to stay there for 50 miles. We stopped at a convenience market and I’m shopping for stuff. He’s like, just grab anything and consume it and we got to go. I was like a five minute stop for a hundred and a hundred mile, seven hour ride. But it was like, I’m telling these stories cause like the awakening that I had again was like getting over myself and my little journal with all the things about, Oh, the trail was flooded so I went one mile shorter today than my usual loop. Therefore my time was a little faster, but it wasn’t really that much.
Tawnee: 00:40:23 That would would’ve been me and like, Oh my gosh, I hit so many of stoplights today so I couldn’t keep a good momentum going so I would just have to slow down and it’d take me a while to get back up to speed. Oh yeah. Yeah. You look for those excuses. It’s actually one reason I give a very in depth questionnaire when I start with an athlete or do a consult with an athlete and it’s not so much about what, I’m not looking for numbers always. Although you know that is kind of the summer thing, but it’s more about what they want to share with me. You know, what kind of, what sticks out in their mind as, and like what you’re saying, like what Mike Pigg wrote in his training plan. Its really an important piece. Those are the kind of things that matter. I love when people want to share, you know, some more like intimate details about what’s going on in their mind rather than just what their average wattage was.
Brad: 00:41:14 Three girlfriends. Right now I’m really busy and stressed so I’d like to get out on the bike and just clear my mind after a Saturday night when I’m getting texts from one and the other. Uh, and I like to use that stuff against them like five months later. So when they write like goals want to be a role model for my young children by finishing the iron man and showing that I can achieve goals and I’ll come back and go, you know what, a 10 year old, a 13 year old girl stuck to her phone and a 12 year old boy, they don’t care about standing around for 10, 12 hours in Kona. They want to go and you know, go to the beach and they don’t care. They don’t care if you finish or drop out. They just know and they love their dad. Uh, and then secondly, if you want to be a role model, why were you doing that neighborhood 10 K when you had a 101 fever. Is that a role model for what? For pushing your body when you’re ill to go and do something stupid. So let’s go back to your answers from five months ago.
Tawnee: 00:42:04 That very much gets into like the Maffetone kind of stuff of like, we live in a society of no pain, no gain. And we’re willing to, you know, push ourselves over the edge when we should just be taking a rest day instead. And I think you and I both, you know, even though we’re 20 years apart, I think we’re very much on the same page of like, we’ll take that rest day at this point.
Brad: 00:42:24 Yeah. I seem, uh, as goofy as a 30 something and you’re like as mature as a 53 year old woman. But you know, we both look like, you know,
Tawnee: 00:42:34 25. So I do want to talk about your Maff training experience. And you said was the speed golf, you said, did you say anaerobic or Roebuck threshold that you’re,
Brad: 00:42:45 Oh, this is um, you know, 175, 180 tough.
Tawnee: 00:42:50 But your are training Maff for that.
Brad: 00:42:50 Yeah, because you can’t go and do that. I mean I play speed golf a lot fortunately.
Tawnee: 00:42:56 Kill yourself. .
Tawnee: 00:42:57 Yeah. I wiped myself out way too much cause it’s, it’s really hard to keep it Maff when you’re going and playing speed golf. Funny. Um, I’m running at Maff pace, I stop, get my club swing and hit the shot. No practice swings of course. And I hear the beeper. So like the act of physical act of swinging and hitting a golf ball will bump your heart rate up and then you’ve got to slow down even more beeper on your watch. Oh sure. Yeah. And it’s, it’s a lot of walking and um, then then I’m kind of not simulating my tournament experience. So a lot of times I go out there and just blast around and then it takes a long time to recover for me.
Brad: 00:43:33 And uh, those, those, those episodes of high stress training, um, you know, when we talk in context and then people send me questions to primal endurance email, like they, they think in black and white terms all the time. Like, you know, always train below your maximum aerobic heart rate no matter what or you’re a loser. No, that’s not what we’re saying. It’s just that, um, you got to push and challenge yourself to peak performance goals and simulate the competitive experience. But we just do it too frequently. So the baseline of having a, a base of training where you’re training in a comfortable, non stressful, minimally stressful manner, that’s what helps you build to become a great athlete.
Tawnee: 00:44:11 I think that’s what Maffetone talks about a lot is also then using the races as your higher intensity workouts. Right? So you’re keeping that balance.
Brad: 00:44:20 How about that for an idea? Just go race for your speed workouts.
Tawnee: 00:44:24 But you know, for some athletes, maybe more of the, on like the novice end of things, how do you feel about that need to practice? Like how often or how necessary is practicing those race intensities and training rather than just leaving it to chance, if you will, on race day to genetics?
Brad: 00:44:46 So far stuck in my mind, it’s like the pat answer for everything and I think there’s a whole lot of truth to it. I mean the people on the podium or or whatever, uh, especially if you look at the professional level, um, don’t ask any of those people what they’re doing and don’t try to model any of that. I mean, the Browns are known for eating junk food. Apparently they hate their pastry cakes and their puff creams and they’ve been dominating the sport for whatever close to a decade. Um, they’re just a different, different organism. Same with Lance Armstrong. I spent some time around him and he never got tired. He did these crazy corporate events all day long and you know, on the bike the next day back shaking hands and signing autographs and most people will be fried. But it’s just, it is what it is. So I forgot the question, but yeah,
Tawnee: 00:45:32 no, about, um, you know,
Brad: 00:45:37 you gotta push yourself once in awhile. Um, there’s no like, formulaic answer here, but I would venture to say it’s less than we think it is. And when you can turn in a really high quality session, uh, that you recover from, well then you can theoretically progress with your fitness over months and years. And I know Phil talks about that long, that long timeline also where you know, you have to be patient and if your maximum aerobic, uh, test right now is a 14 minute mile, we’re going to help you. Do you sign up for Tawnee’s coaching? She’ll get you down to 12 minute mile in, in one year, maybe six months. Well, I mean, if you’re running, if you’re, if you’re 14 minute mile as an aerobic athlete right now, that’s not highly conditioned, you’re going to get that thing down to 12 and then you’re going to open yourself up to this world of amazing possibilities.
Brad: 00:46:28 But we get emails from people and say, um, yeah, my my best half marathons, 137 and I just started this Maff thing and my, my thing is 14 minute mile. Whoa. Because 130 sevens move in Maff. That’s like eight something, right? Don’t feel bad if you’re one of these people who are extremely deficient aerobically, you just haven’t trained that energy system well and you need to deserve and it’s the highest level of your potential and protecting your health and having longevity will all be accessed with a sensible approach that’s been proven for 60 years since Peter Snow. Uh, that the aerobic foundation is essential and that hacking it with a whole shit ton of intensity cause you only have four hours a week to train is going to be highly problematic. It’s going to get you to a certain performance level and then you’re going to suffer from breakdown, burnout, illness and injury if you try to keep going down that path.
Tawnee: 00:47:20 Right. I agree so much. Um, so when you started Maff, I don’t know what you, you know, I was reading one of your blogs on your website, how you started off when you’re doing the speed golf thing at a heart rate of one 45 and quickly found that that was at your age, you know, 50 plus at this point over training territory. It didn’t take long for you to start to see the signs of that and you’ve learned enough by now to back off. So then you bumped it down to 130, which is more of your true Maff. Yeah. How was that for you, the transition into that true Maff zone? Um, as far as your body and performing and moving, it was a frustrating transition or, um?
Brad: 00:47:59 well, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve dealt with this frustration since 1987 when I switched over to heart rate training. Yeah. And so, you know, we were previously just blasting workouts. There was no heart rate. The heart rate was invented. I, I got my first polar in 1987 it was a rectangle the size of an iPhone. So the frustration is a lot easier to process when you understand and realize this is the path. And then when I was a young person, um, my, my Maff, uh, heart rate was six minute miles. I could run a 30 minute, my best test for five miles was 30 minutes at Maff. So like that was not too frustrating to run six minute miles. Now I’m 53 years old. I’m not in shape. I don’t do endurance heavy competition except for speed golf. I’m nine minute mile, maybe, probably a little slower.
Brad: 00:48:43 Now it’s a little frustrating to think back to the 25 year old guy that could fly up the hills without the heart rate beeping and you just have to recalibrate. Just like all your goals in life. You want to recalibrate in a healthy manner so that I’m not driven to catch up to the guy that passes me on the trail who’s flying along. Um, but in regard to the specific question, since I know I’m not good at answering specific questions, but in, in about like three or four months, I was running the same speed. I took it down from 142 was my beeper alarm to 130, because I suffered health problems and breakdown cause I hadn’t been really training in 20 years and I started putting in a lot of miles on the golf course mainly. Cause you don’t notice the miles on the golf course.
Brad: 00:49:26 18 holes is five miles. It’s not like I ran five miles. I just had a fun time playing golf. Oh yeah. So it added up, added up and I fell apart. And then I realized that um, this ventilatory threshold calculation that’s popular with the exercise scientists where they think that’s Maff. Um, for me it’s higher than Maff. Yeah. And so why, what’s Phil’s scientific rationale for that? Ask him. He made it up in the shower one day. He did, he, it just popped into his head. Yeah. The 180 he was thinking of, um, like 220 minus age and then, uh, was looking at the power source and the plug is 220. You know how he goes off, but he, he just, um, he put this 180 up there and then started seeing people’s gait change right when he was doing the evaluations of his clients and when they kicked it up to the heart rate above 180 minus age, their gait would change, implying an increased stress, like a nonlinear, uh, increase in the stress impact of the workout.
Brad: 00:50:22 Right. And that’s what ventilatory threshold does, is identifies when the, the type two oxidative fast Twitch are suddenly recruited. You get change in brain function, change in MRI, you get change in respiration rate. And so it’s like a, uh, what do you call it? A spike on the curve. Yeah. Yeah. So something’s happening at ventilatory threshold where it’s starting to get, um, measurably harder in a nonlinear manner implying that maybe you should go up to that point and not over. Um, but for me, uh, the Maff calculation is way lower, 12 beats lower. And that’s why you want to go on the conservative side. If you’ve got two different numbers and you’re showing proof from your expensive lab test that you’re, you can train at this level. I know from practical experience that a lot of development happens at much lower heart rates than than maximum aerobic heart rate.
Brad: 00:51:10 Even so back when I was racing and I’m running six minute miles at Maff, I’m not doing that every single day cause that’s physically stressful to have. That’s 300 pounds of impact trauma on each stroke cause I’m running a six minute mile. Um, so I would do many of my runs at 115 to 120 heart rate with my Maff being 155 and my racing heart rate being 180 for Olympic distance tris. So I’m 60 beats below racing heart rate on the bike. We’d spin around at a hundred hundred and 510 for many of the miles of that week. And then of course hit up that at Maff on certain workouts and then hit a time trial or race also. So for the average listener, most of your exercise should be minimally stressful and it can be way below Maff, which means a walk. And so if you go out and take a hike or a walk, you are getting a robotically fit. It’s a proven scientific fact that that directly translates into improve race performance.
Tawnee: 00:52:03 I will never forget the year that I realized walking was beneficial. It was four years ago that I was like, this is the year of walking for me. I realize, okay, I get it now because for a lot of us athletes we think is just a waste of time. But there is something there, there is value there. And especially, we recently had a question on ask the coaches, um, asking about incorporating walking into running and longer runs. And that’s something Phil, when he was advising me for a marathon, um, that same year, 2015, um, had me doing, he would have me walk for up to 20 minutes pre and post long run as part of, you know, not putting so much stress on my body but still being on my feet for longer durations. And it really helped, you know, it was really interesting and um, yeah, it’s definitely clicked since then.
Tawnee: 00:52:46 It’s something I especially give to athletes, you know, in a more like injury recovery phase of their training as far as like walking incorporated with running. Um, but you know, the other thing with you, that was one of the things I wanted to talk a little bit about too. I think a lot of our listeners will find this to be an important conversation was that back in those days, your triathlon racing days, your testosterone was pretty tanked. Even with, you know, the more Maff approach and sub Maff approach, just the sheer volume and stress and then the higher intensity of racing, it seems like it was pretty tanked. And now these days, you know, even at your age, you’ve found the formula to that works for you in a very natural way, um, to keep your testosterone levels of what a 20 something year old male would have as his testosterone levels. So let’s talk a little bit about as an aging athlete, you know, 45 plus or so. I don’t really know when it starts to like tank for men. Um,
Brad: 00:53:46 nowadays, what’s the guy’s name that has the, the whole business built on this? Christopher Walker, I think he is Google him. He was tanked at Duke university. He was a zero. Yeah. And they wanted to do surgery. They thought he had a tumor on his honesty and a system and he know, toned down his triathlon training started walking around campus, you’d put away the pizza and the top ramen and, and rebuilt a system naturally. But yeah, the, the breakdown decline occurs probably, uh, in the twenties because we’re our, our screens in our face too much.
Tawnee: 00:54:19 But it doesn’t mean you’re screwed. I mean, that’s the same thing we see with women to myself being a perfect example of having zero progesterone and estrogen and no period for years. It’s a completely recoverable system, thankfully. And you have seen that now too, you know, spanning decades where your testosterone levels are from what you’ve talked about on your blog and everything. Wonderful at this point. So, so the interesting thing where you know, I want you to expand on is that you really found that the Maff training work, like again, getting back to when you were running at 145 heart rate at 50 plus, that was over-training territory. That was not good for your hormone levels. But as soon as you dropped it down to that 130 ish range, that’s where the magic started to happen. What else besides that, because I don’t feel like that alone is, you know, the secret to shooting your testosterone testosterone levels back up to a thousand when they were, I dunno, a hundred, 200. Right,
Brad: 00:55:16 right. Yeah. Okay. Going back, cause you asked about, you know, when I was racing from age 20 to age 30 and I test my blood all the time cause my brother worked in the lab, it was great. You know, my testosterone was down on the low end of the normal male range, which is 200 to 800 for uh, a serum testosterone. It’s now known to be much better to measure free testosterone. So I’d rather have all the listeners concentrate on their free testosterone, uh, as well as the serum. But the serum testosterone is what’s circulating around what’s in it can be bound to the sex hormone binding globulin SHBG so you want to test that as well. And if you have high serum or you’re doing great, your serum testosterone is 700 and then you have a high SHBG and you’re going to have a low free testosterone.
Brad: 00:56:07 That’s what’s acting upon the desired organs and tissues. So that’s trouble. So you can be in trouble even if you have a high a serum testosterone. So yeah, it was down in uh, you know, 200, between 200, 800 as a healthy 20 year old guy who looked like he was fit and healthy. But I was only fit and not very healthy cause I was constantly tan,,king myself. Interestingly, this was my career, predates the days of HIPO and the doping and endurance sports. But my hematocrit, the red blood cell count would be around 42,, 43 when I was healthy and then I would tank down to 36, 37, 38 and when you’re under 40 that’s you’re not feeling good in daily life. You’re not feeling good at the office. But I would go through this pattern over and over cause I’d come in and get tested when I felt like crap and I’d been racing and traveling too much and there would be 37 so I’d have to do is sit on my ass, eat a lot of hamburgers and just wait it out.
Brad: 00:57:02 Pretty soon I’d start to feel better. I’d get back into training. It would come up to 42 43 again, you just rinse, repeat and do the same pretty much when you’re, when you race on the circuit. I mean there’s ways to do it that are a little healthier, but it’s a really, really tough battle and that’s why I like not to segue into or to to, what do you call it when it’s an aside or a tangent. I’m not talking about doping, but like these athletes that are doing the tour de France and doping their asses off so their hermatocrit is pegged at 50. That’s arguably a healthier way to get through the cycling season than doing what I did was being mr al naturale who didn’t even want to take ibuprofen for 10 years. I didn’t want anything in my body. I didn’t want caffeine cause I didn’t want to feel like I wanted to wake up and feel the level of fatigue I was at that day.
Brad: 00:57:47 So I’d make a proper train decision rather than get jacked up on coffee and then go out and do a group ride in the pack because I felt like that trying, that was leading to trouble, you know, seven days down the line or 14 days, 21 days down the line. So I wanted to ride out everything, including headaches. I’d just go down and lay down in bed, which I highly recommend instead of a, uh, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory, just feel what’s going on and do what you can do unless you, you know, have an emergency almost. Um, but so that’s the, that’s the background for just blowing out all your hormones and your blood levels cause you’re training too hard. So now old person, um, yeah, they returned to endurance training was not kind to my blood values, especially the, um, you know, the most important arguably ones when you’re, when you’re at this age and you’re trying to hang on and you know, uh, minimize that inevitable decline into aging and people have shown they can do a great job, uh, with just, uh, lifestyle means and possibly even, um, drug regimens which are becoming more and more popular.
Brad: 00:58:51 Yeah. Yeah. And I’m, you know, I’m super open minded about that cause I want them a live a long time and perform really well for a long time. And so those are at odds, right? Yeah. Possibly for the most part or a half part. Um, so I’m open minded to all that, but I feel like it should be a last resort when you’re doing everything right. And you send your questionnaire to Tawnee and says, I sleep eight to nine hours a night. I have no stress. I’m this, I’m doing that. I’m eating all these foods, I don’t need sugar, I don’t need bad oils. Uh, and then you have some bad values. You could probably explore that. But I want to do everything I can. And the reason I wrote that blog article about doubling my testosterone in six months or whatever, it’s like, wow. I mean I was alarmed when I was, it was a hypo diagnosis. I didn’t see a doctor, I did the blood test myself, but I was under the um, healthy range below the healthy range for free testosterone, the important one. And they have different scales.
Tawnee: 00:59:42 So it’s like what, like 10 to 20 ish?
Brad: 00:59:44 Well there there’s, I’ve done different blood tests with different labs. There’s like three different scales. It’s terrible cause there’s no comparison. Oh it was a 4.6 and then another time I was 87. But you know, there’s, the context is tough except to say here’s the normal range.
Tawnee: 00:59:57 Yeah. Even if it’s in the same units, you could at least
Brad: 01:00:00 You have to figure it out.
Tawnee: 01:00:01 Yeah. If it’s in the same units. I have a list of ranges that I keep, that I’ve learned over years working with functional doctors. So when I see blood values, you know, it’s not compared to the conventional norms cause conventional norms quite frankly are diagnosing sick people and they’re measuring sick people. So those ranges are wider. We want a bit of a tighter range for optimization,
Brad: 01:00:21 right? The world war II, world war one, soldiers 19 whatever, 12 or something had triple or quadruple testosterone level to the Gulf war guys in the nineties from, you know, wide range of subjects. Right? Yeah.
Tawnee: 01:00:37 If I have good sleep. So okay. So that was a wake up call to you to see that as getting back to endurance sports, which, you know, it’s not a shocker that endurance training is not necessarily healthy for testosterone or any hormone levels. You know, we’ve talked to athletes like Matt Bopp, um, who went through his whole story of becoming low in testosterone and suffering from osteoporosis before he was even 30 years old because of his professional racing pursuits. Um, so yeah, we definitely know that these things exist. So, but what’s the remedy for, because obviously we still want to be endurance athletes, right? So for you, so switching in the Maff, you know, it seems to me like you talking about genetics, there’s a little bit of that genetic gift for you that running at 130 heart rate kind of worked out relatively quickly for you to still get the stimulus you needed to run well and also hormonally respond well.
Brad: 01:01:35 I think anybody will respond well to a healthier approach to training and knowing what you can take and you and only you a unique to your circumstances and then assessing whether you’re, you’re, you know, pursuing a strategic approach or you’re just, uh, kind of blowing off excess energy with ill-advised workouts. And I think we’re really guilty of that. We don’t, we don’t think, uh, intuitively and rationally about this stuff. We just want to stick to a predetermined goals or, um, you know, balance our largely sedentary lives with blowing off energy and getting outdoors and out of space. That’s where the walking and the hiking comes in, or the easy peddling or something that’s still giving you all those benefits that you’re craving, that you don’t even know about. You know, that like getting outdoors and into open space. Um, that’s a human need. It’s a genetic human need.
Brad: 01:02:24 But we kind of just breeze that off and we’re just looking at how many miles we’re going to ride or what, what Watts we’re going to put out for this thing. So you can accomplish a whole bunch of goals by going way slower than you dreamed of that and you’ll notice your performance improve. And it’s been proven by the stories of, you know, many great athletes on the pro circuit where they slowed down and train comfortably and turned in these top performances, whatever your genetics are. But then that question of like, how do we, you know, make sure we have healthy hormones and then also hit those target, um, workouts so that we can compete well. And I feel like we are heading into a revolution in the fitness world and the endurance world where the training is no longer going to be the centerpiece, is no longer going to be, um, burning calories and expending energy, but rather a more, you know, broader perspective, holistic thing where, you know, Joel Jameison this guy in, uh, Washington who trains MMA fighters.
Brad: 01:03:22 His website is eight weeks out.com with a number eight coverage, recovery based training as it’s unbelievably, it’s the concept is beautiful where you’re, you know, you’re all about what can you, you know, what can you recover from and how can you get better at rest and recovery techniques. Brian McKenzie and neighbor here in Orange County, he’s into, he’s all over the place. I think he came back and being like, whatever, but he’s big on, we did a show, go listen to it, get over yourself podcasts was a great show and he talked about, I go, what’s big with you these days? I don’t need to talk about your box jumps. We all
Tawnee: 01:03:56 true, right?
Brad: 01:03:57 We all know that he, he’s done this CrossFit endurance thing where you can jump up on boxes and do CrossFit workouts and succeed in endurance sports instead of just going slow all the time. It’s like an alternative approach that’s been proven to work. But his big thing now is like breathing awareness and cold exposure and heat exposure and you know, these things like mindfulness or coming into the athletic realm now where we’re seeing, uh, that, you know, the human can develop in a way that’s aside from how many miles you’re putting on your bike and on your shoes. Yeah. So I’m big on cold therapy. We make it, we can, you know, segue into that if we want.
Tawnee: 01:04:33 What kind of cool therapy you do because this is also something, you know, this may be very beneficial and even proven in research for males and testosterone, but for females suffering from depletion of estrogen, progesterone and amenorrhea, you actually want to avoid some of those extremes. Even with cold thermogenesis and whatnot. It’s, you want to keep the body at more of a homeostasis. So I tend to advise avoiding those things for my females when we’re dealing with a similar thing.
Brad: 01:05:03 Uh, yeah, I think, um, found my fitness.com Rhonda Patrick, she has a 26 page report on the benefits of cold exposure you can download for free and sums up one of the prominent studies that she touts a lot. A 22nd exposure to 40 degree Fahrenheit water can boost nor epinephrin 200 300% for up to two hours. So if you’re getting a cold shower for 20 seconds or just getting that hormetic, that’s super brief stressor, like running down and jumping in the ocean, swimming,
Tawnee: 01:05:38 just season to season. Everyone
Brad: 01:05:39 today in the pouring rain, you know, if you’re getting [inaudible]
Tawnee: 01:05:41 well and the rest of the country is like inundated with snow, right?
Brad: 01:05:45 Oh, I didn’t know that. I don’t pay attention to the news. Thank you. That thing is, there’s no way that’s going to be a super bad deal for anybody to do once in a while. 20 seconds. Right. My practice is a little more devoted. I don’t see any risks that I’ve thought about with, you know, the female concerns. You have like a quick exposure to cold or if you prefer because the benefits her sauna paper and her cold therapy paper and the science behind that. Yeah, very, very similar. So a lot of people for some reason have more appeal. I have this Almost Heaven sauna it’s called, it’s incredible. It’s a home use barrel sauna that’s in my backyard. Six feet wide, six feet long fits four people or two people more lounging. And so I have the chest freezer for the cold plunge and the sauna. And without exception, people are more interested in going in the sauna than the cold, the cold tub.
Tawnee: 01:06:33 I mean, even a kind of a no brainer. You know, I remember talking to Ray Cronies, I don’t know if you know who he is, but he’s a scientist. Um,
Brad: 01:06:41 lost all that weight. Just getting cold off. [inaudible]
Tawnee: 01:06:43 yeah. Yeah. So he, you know, this is [inaudible]. Even back when, speaking of that Tahoe Ironman that I was talking about and leading up to that, we knew it was going to be cold either way. And he always told me to end, like if you’re going to do the cold shower thing, leave it on cold, don’t end on hot because that kind of negates some of the effects. I don’t really know the exact actual science on that, but is that what Rhonda says in that, what you were talking about, the 20 second exposure, is that the end of it? Or can you go straight back to like hottest shit after that and like recover your body?
Brad: 01:07:12 Um, I like to rewarm naturally after my cold tub, so I go into more hot water. Um, unless you’re cold, right? If you’re shivering and what happens, you get a delayed response. So I go into this chest freezer from Home Depot, 15 cubic foot, uh, and I supposed to be filled with meat. You know, it’s an open top opening chest freezer. I fill it with cold water and I keep it at 34 to 36. Yeah. But every day I go in and I’d go in first thing in the morning, no matter what the weather is, whatever. And I’m, I do 20 deep diaphragmatic breaths. That’s my meditation cause I’m very successful meditating in that tub and I think of nothing but my breath and a couple times someone has come out and tried to chat with me, Hey, what are you doing in there?
Brad: 01:07:54 Yeah, freezing right away. Another time I was listening to a podcast, I’m like, Oh, I’m going to keep the songs. I put the phone on the side and was listening to the podcast and I started to get shivery and kind of panic in the cold water. But now I plunge in there. I hold my breath when I go in. So I’m in there maybe 15 seconds underwater in 32 degree in, Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic water. And then I emerge and I’m so to catch a breath that I don’t even care it’s cold, but I commence these 20 deep diaphragmatic breathing cycles that used to require three minutes and now I can go six or seven minutes in the summer, maybe five minutes now in the winter and I get out. You always get out before you’re freezing or truly, you know, experiencing adverse effects of cold. So it’s overcoming, it’s like mind over matter where I’m breathing through the cold, just like the Wim Hoff stuff that’s become so popular now. Um, you know, there’s no problem for me.
Brad: 01:08:42 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would also love it 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 cause they need to. Thanks for doing it!