(Breather) In this episode, I will explain what led to my decision to quit jogging, and share how you can maximize your cardiovascular health benefits by making a very modest commitment to cardio.  

This means that simply putting in a couple of hours a week (at a comfortable pace) is ideal. And what a relief! Yes, it turns out that making a modest commitment to cardio, meaning merely going on a brisk walk, a comfortably paced jog, or just riding your bike around for a bit, is actually the best way to go, and it’s time to rethink the way you approach cardio and evolve it into a more creative and challenging routine that also offers much broader fitness benefits.

The inspiration for my transition away from jogging first came from a Mark’s Daily Apple titled The Case Against Cardio that really shook things up for endurance athletes who were used to doing hour-long runs and hours of biking every week (me!). Reading the article opened my eyes to so much, particularly a few warning signs about my health and body that I had been ignoring. One of them was a spontaneous meniscus tear that I got from simply taking my dog on a walk, which prompted my physical therapist friend who took a look at it to ask me, “What happened?” I couldn’t think of anything, so I researched online, and quickly found an article about how athletic males around 40 years old often experience a spontaneous tear to the meniscus, with no known attribution! Clearly, the accumulation from impact trauma causes cartilage to stiffen, so you’re more susceptible to tears, even when you’re just walking around the street.

Fast forward a couple of years after this incident. I’m leaning over the kitchen counter to quickly eat some eggs before heading out on a road trip, and then, my back goes out. Now, everyone’s heard someone in their life talk about their back “going out” but I had never actually experienced it, and it was quite shocking to suddenly find myself flat on the floor, gasping for air, and in a lot of pain. This led to 3 days of severe pain on bed rest, and then 5-6 days of barely being able to walk (we’re talking wincing with pain with each tiny step I took). Two weeks would pass before I was even able to do any kind of exercise.

But you can escape from the life-long ordeal of constant back pain that most males seem to suffer from, and this episode will highlight the key things that made all the difference for me:

  • Engaging in strenuous core exercises
  • The more you do, the more risk you have
  • “Run for your life, but not too far, and at a slow pace”
  • Humans are genetically adapted to perform magnificent endurance feats, but the thing is, these are best done once in a while only, with a lot of rest, gentle walking, and other forms of support present
  • Meet Brad show

TIMESTAMPS:

Is there something better than jogging? [02:02]

Mark’s article about cardio led Brad to question, what does fitness really mean? [05:16]

A torn meniscus and a bad back gave Brad a chance to reevaluate how he had been misusing his body. [07:28]

The adverse impact of extreme endurance training has become extremely clear. [11:46]

Humans are genetically adapted to perform magnificent endurance feats. But the key qualifier here is that these are best done once in a while with a lot of rest and gentle walking and other forms of exercise. [13:55]

Leaky gut is when the gut lining is damaged. [18:39]

STEADY STATE cardio will damage your heart. Slow down and follow MAF rate. [19:21]

It is a challenge to keep the heart rate down in the comfort zones.  [24:53]

You can max out your cardiovascular health and disease risk protection factors with a very moderate dedication to cardiovascular exercise. [27:06]

If you are going for a total overall fitness competency, anti-aging, being able to have a fun and varied active life, then rethink your steady-state cardio. [30:27]

Brad talks about the importance of his varied exercise routines as opposed to jogging. [31:55]

One good thing to add to the fun is to jump into the air engaging in gravity. It’s good for fat burning and strengthening the bones.  [41:34]

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Get Over Yourself Podcast

Brad (2m 2s): Welcome listeners to the compelling and tantalizing titled show of why I quit jogging. Oh, horrors. Oh my gosh. I might be ostracized by the endurance community that I’ve grown to know and love since I was a young lad running high school track and field and cross country, and then onto the college scene and then into the triathlon world and a coach and an author and a announcer and a race promoter for years decades. Oh my gosh. Jogging has been part of my daily life for now about 40 years. I started on the high school team at about age 15. 55 now. It seems like an afterthought that Brad Kearns is going to lace up his shoes and head out the door for a jog, especially because it’s been a wonderful bonding experience with my dog every single day. Brad (2m 53s): The dog has to get out in the morning. I can not look at dog in the eye and say, sorry, dude, I’m too busy today. I got too many messages in my email inbox and we’re going to have to skip our outing. I just can’t do it. I don’t have the heart. And I know it’s not the right thing to do. If you own a dog, you owe it to that dog to get out there and have at least twice a day, a nature experience with the dog. So it’s been a great centerpiece of my training, even when I was a professional triathlete. My first thing I would do for better or for worse, I probably should have gone out to the swimming pool. First thing when I was fresh and energized, cause that was my weakest event, but I’d always head out the door, get a nice jog in. Brad (3m 34s): Sometimes it would be a long training run, but if I had a big bike ride plan for that day, I’d still go out there and shake the legs out and get out into nature for 20 or 30 minutes in the morning. So, huh, what happened here in 2020? I don’t know, man. My brain blew up and I got this epiphany that it was time to transition my go-to fitness experience of my entire lifetime almost. And it seems to me that jogging or moving out on the roads and trails of America in the world seems to be the template fitness activity for the population at large. Or if you add in the cardio that you see in the gym, it’s kind of the, the go-to fitness experience, whether it’s stair climbing elliptical peddling on a stationary bike or walking, jogging and treadmilling huh. Brad (4m 28s): Now is there something better? I think so. I think we can mix up that simple of moving straightforward and pegging the heart at a specific heart rate for the duration of the exercise into a fitness experience that is more varied, more creative, more challenging and delivers broader fitness benefits than the seven points or 12 points that you get for lighting up the heart for a certain duration of time and putting in some cardio. And of course, using the muscles too whether it’s the jogging or the 30 minutes you spent on the staircase or the stationary bike. Brad (5m 16s): Boy, the inspiration for this transition started a long time ago when Mark Sisson wrote the landmark post on Mark’s dailyapple.com called a Case Against Cardio. And it caused many of us in the endurance training scene to rethink these generally flawed assumptions. That extreme endurance training was actually healthy. And at the time I was a long since retired professional triathlete. So this was what is this 11 years into my retirement. I retired from the pro circuit at the end of 1994, early 95. And so I was still keeping in shape, right? Brad (5m 59s): I didn’t want to just sit on the couch after my professional career was over. So I had a good habit of heading out the door and doing an hour long run a few mornings a week on the weekends. I get on my mountain bike and ride for a couple of few hours. So I still had tremendous cardiovascular fitness. I didn’t race or anything, but I was in pretty decent shape. But all I did was cardio because that’s all I knew for the many years before that. In fact, a strength training session, no lie, to me I considered a, a strength workout to be 12 pull-ups. That was the duration of the workout. It was a pretty, pretty hard effort for me. And then I’d go to my busy day, go about my busy day thinking that I did put in some high intensity strength training. Brad (6m 43s): So the article and my subsequent consultations with Mark forced me to open my eyes to a bigger perspective about what fitness really meant. And as you can hear in greater detail on the show titled Meet Brad after 200 Shows. When I talk about my transition from different athletic goals, moving out of the triathlon scene and then becoming a participatory sports coach for my young kids, starting at a really young age and coaching them all the way up to the high school level. So I was a soccer player, a basketball player, a track runner, and trying to pursue a broader aspects of fitness so I didn’t get rip a knee up when I was going around kicking the soccer ball with eight year olds. Brad (7m 28s): And that’s no joke because I started to get these warning signs over the years that I wasn’t the fitness specimen that I thought. One of them was a spontaneous tear to my meniscus at the age of 39 when I was walking my dog down the street. My poor old dog has gone from running many miles to just walking down to the stop sign and back. And as I was taking the walk, it’s about a quarter mile total at the end of this dog’s life, Daniel spaniel, my knee started to get stiffer and stiffer to the point where I couldn’t bend it. And I limped home, called up my physical therapist friend. And I said, dude, I got a problem. Can you come over? And he came and examined me and he goes, you tore your meniscus. Brad (8m 9s): What happened? And I, I couldn’t think of anything that happened. So I got on the internet, started to do some research. I found one article that said athletic males around the age of 40 often experience, a spontaneous tear to the meniscus with no known attribution. And I’m like, what the heck, man, I’m only 39. What’s going on. And I guess the accumulation of impact trauma or what have you causes, you know, a stiffening of the cartilage. And then you’re susceptible. Even when you’re just walking down the street, I would also attribute, you know, poor or adverse dietary practices, inflammatory diet, because I was still eating that grain based high carbohydrate diet and shoving down a lot of energy bars and other stuff that I was selling on my nutrition website at the time. Brad (8m 56s): And of course doing nothing but peddling the bicycle and running and then trying to go and coach little soccer players was possibly too much for my knee at some point. So I had to do an aggressive rehabilitation program or refuse to get surgery. I thought I could beat this thing myself. And so I went into the realm of some really challenging, lower extremity workouts that lasted for many months. And my, I healed my meniscus slowly without surgery. I know people get that thing snipped up and trimmed out and then four weeks later they start jogging again. But this took me six months of no jogging and nine months to feel totally healed doing it the natural way. Brad (9m 38s): But Hey, guess what? I got more padding in my knee now for the experience. And then I think a couple of years later on this timeline, I referenced this experience one day where I was shoveling down some eggs, kind of leaning over the kitchen counter to wolf down some eggs before we were headed out on a road trip. And my back went out as people say, and I never knew what people meant when they say my back went out. But now I know, you know, to the full extent, all of a sudden I was on the ground gasping for air in severe pain. My back just grabbed on me and dropped me to the floor. Brad (10m 19s): And again, spontaneous because I wouldn’t attribute reaching down for some eggs to be that traumatizing for the back. But obviously it was something that led up to it. I remember doing my, my 12 pull-ups and probably, you know, swinging a little bit on the last two and doing something to my very, very fragile back and very weak core muscles. And boy, I was probably in bed in severe pain for about three days. And then for another five or six days, I could barely walk with tiny little steps, wincing in pain each time. And maybe two weeks by the time I could do any sort of basic exercise again, after this back incident. Brad (11m 3s): And I vowed from that point forward that I would never again, have to endure such a ridiculous ordeal. And so I started to engage in these very, very strenuous core exercises. Knowing if that core gets strong and you take the pressure off your back and learn some good posture attributes. So you’re not walking around in a slump like the typical modern male is. You can escape from that lifelong or deal of constant back pain. And then these spontaneous occasions where all of a sudden you’re a debilitated out of nowhere. So starting to put the pieces together and have a, a broader experience of fitness, but of course, aerobic exercise still being the centerpiece. Brad (11m 46s): Now, as I’ve been so prominently promoting for so many years, I was pretty darn careful to always monitor my training heart rate, to ensure that I was exercising in the aerobic zone, knowing that their disastrous consequences of chronic cardio as the title of Mark’s article indicated. And in the year, since the article was published, the science is mounting. The adverse impact of extreme endurance training has become extremely clear. It’s been tragic to note the high incidents of cardiovascular disease and even sudden death events in the population of extremely high performing endurance athletes, Mark and I have a registry of many of my peers and our peers that raced for years and achieved the highest level endurance performance world champion level people that were forced to retire in their prime due to heart problems or came to demise years after their professional career was over just from atrial fibrillation and an assortment of conditions relating to the repeated inflammation and scarring of the heart by extreme training protocols with insufficient rest. Brad (13m 7s): And so this is a huge deal. Now, anyone who’s even remotely serious about endurance training and goals like running a marathon, or running an ultra, performing a half Ironman, or an Ironman distance triathlon deserves to wake up to this, the reality that this is high risk stuff. When you cross over that line from moderate into serious, or even semi-serious. There’s a great Ted talk from Dr. James O’Keeffe, and it’s called Run for Your Life, but not too far and at a slow pace. And he references a lot of research that you can maximize your cardiovascular health benefits with a very modest commitment to cardiovascular exercise, like a couple of hours a week at a comfortable pace. Brad (13m 55s): And you will get essentially an a plus score in your cardiovascular function. If you just go do a few basic workouts, jogs, brisk walks, riding the bicycle a little bit. And anything beyond that, you start to approach this descent on the bell curve, where the more you do, the more risk you have of the demise from cardiovascular problems or hormonal immune function problems, and essentially accelerated aging. This research, these insights are now being collected into a category. Yeah. Known as the extreme exercise hypothesis. Brad (14m 39s): ,It’s been increasingly scientifically validated and studying with increased urgency. There’s so many to pegging your heart at a certain rate and going out there day after day, year after I know where he’d been socialized to think that humans are born to run. There was a best-selling book glorifying, our wonderful genetic adaptations that have made us the great endurance athletes of the planet. We can outlast other animals, right? And we have the capability of sweating of rising up onto two legs. And this was a key evolutionary adaptation. You can go on YouTube and see this incredible video, a documentary called h And it’s believed to be the first film to count of a hunter gatherer persistence hunt. Brad (15m 30s): And it’s these sawn bushmen in the Kalahari desert modern day, hunter gatherers, they found, Hey, they got ahold of a kudu antelope and chased it across the desert in a hundred degree plus temperatures for about four hours. And the lead hunter finally outlasted the antelope caught up to it as it collapsed in front of his eyes from exhaustion. So he spirited, it brought it back. The hunter gatherer clan ate like Kings for a while, and it was a great triumph for the human capability of endurance and same with the book Born to Run glorifying the ultra running scene. But I think some of these insights have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. Brad (16m 14s): So humans are indeed genetically adapted to perform magnificent endurance feats. But the key qualifier here is that these are best done once in a while with a lot of rest and gentle walking and other forms of exercise in support of these endurance efforts. And if we instead insist on the modern day training approach of trying to keep our weekly mileage consistently high, as we train and train and train in preparation for the upcoming marathon or triathlon, that’s when we plunge into these chronic patterns, we have repeated inflammation and scarring of the heart with insufficient recovery afterward. Brad (16m 60s): And that’s when we mess up with the electrical circuitry and develop conditions like atrial fibrillation, and then our hormones go to heck our testosterone is suppressed because cortisol, antagonizes, testosterone. And when you train in that chronic pattern, you are going to be constantly stimulating the fight or flight response every single day, suppressing immune function, suppressing the sex hormones and causing all manner of cellular destruction and repair processes rather than just maintenance processes. So you’re constantly trying to catch up because you’re overdoing it. That’s basically the extreme exercise hypothesis. Dr. Brad (17m 39s): Peter Attia has some interesting quotes in our book, Primal Endurance, where he talks about the mitochondrial damage that also can occur from chronic exercise. And this is a scary story of accelerated aging and health destruction. A quick quote. I don’t want to get too much into the science here, but Attia says when mitochondria are heated up too frequently for too long proteins become denatured. That’s the destruction of the tertiary elements of the molecule that causing causing dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA leaks out of the cells. And this is a bad deal because mitochondrial DNA is perceived as a foreign agent to your body when it gets into your bloodstream, they’re different from cellular DNA, but they’re strikingly similar to bacteria cells. Brad (18m 28s): So with this mitochondrial DNA in your bloodstream, your immune system is confused and triggers an assortment of inflammatory and auto immune reactions. This is kind of the same thing that happens with leaky gut syndrome. So if you’re a little bit familiar with people talking about this extremely prominent health condition, that’s now being validated by traditional medicine and scientific discovery, but it wasn’t really known very much about it until I don’t know, five years ago or something leaky gut is a huge deal. This is where your gut becomes inflamed. The gut lining is damaged, and this allows foreign particles from the food that you eat to enter the bloodstream and an auto-immune and inflammatory response is launched as well. Brad (19m 21s): Interestingly, when you do a lot of endurance exercise, especially in the heat where your body temperature is elevated, and that pretty much happens at every workout. Even if you’re running in the snow, you’re going to have a elevated body temperature, but when you do those super hot workouts in the hot steamy Midwestern summer day, your gut becomes inflamed and permeable. As a matter of course, to respond to the workout stimulus, right? You’re trying to shunt heat out of the the core of the body onto the skin to sweat it out. And so what you’re basically doing is inflaming and allowing your gut to become leaky during the workout, of course, and then demanding that it adjust back to this wonderful tightly regulated non-permeable intestinal tract, as soon as you’re done. Brad (20m 14s): So if you’re out there day after day, working out in the heat for long duration, right, a 20 minute workout on the heat, or a 45 minute workout on the, heat’s not going to be the same as a three hour one. Whew. This is where you’re getting some health strikes against you. And we can go on and on talking about the dangers, there’s some great articles, chronicling the adverse effects of people who have been in this game for a long time. There’s a 2015 Outside Magazine article titled Running on Empty. There was a Wall Street Journal article several years ago called One Running Shoe in the Grave detailing how older athletes have higher risk of health disturbances. Brad (20m 59s): Another Velo News article in 2015 called Cycling To Extremes talking about how cyclists in particular have a high risk of aFib, because unlike runners, they can sit down and peddle and peg that heart rate for more and more hours without the pounding and the impact trauma that limits runners to an upper limit of say, running a hundred miles a week and a hundred miles a week might take, Oh, what 12, 13, 14, 15 hours. I don’t know. But the extreme cyclists, the racing cyclists in the masters category, you know, can go for years and decades exercising for 20 or 30 hours a week. Brad (21m 42s): So all of these risk factors are in place just from doing your innocent, steady state cardio. Now, if you can keep that heart rate in the, the MAF zone or below 180, minus your age in beats per minute or below, you’re going to mitigate a lot of those risk factors. And you’re going to get an assortment of fantastic health benefits. I kind of make the comparison, the compare and contrast to a serious hard training amateur athlete, juggling a busy family and work life with the need to do all these workouts to prepare for the upcoming half iron man race, pegging that heart rate up at the medium to difficult intensity levels for hours and hours a week. Brad (22m 27s): Versus let’s say someone who takes six weeks during the summer to hike the 220 some mile John Muir trail across the beautiful Sierra Nevada. And so they’re backpacking and walking 10 to 12 miles a day at a leisurely pace, enjoying nature, fresh air, companionship with their hiking friends, what a fantastic way to spend the summer. And definitely you’re going to emerge out of that trail at a higher level of health, wellbeing, and even physical fitness, right? Because you’re not out there getting into the high risk zone. Here’s the problem. Even for recreational enthusiasts, it’s really difficult to keep that heart rate under the aerobic maximum with extreme discipline and regularity. Brad (23m 15s): Every time you’re out there. I know this stuff better than anybody inside and out. I’ve written about it and talked about it for years, but I have discovered, especially when I’m doing something super duper fun and cool, like playing speed golf, that it’s really easy for that heart rate to drift above a aerobic maximum because the intensity level is so comfortable and we have most of us endurance athletes raise your hand. If you fit the personality profile of a highly motivated, disciplined, focused goal oriented out there who wants to accomplish something when you’re setting out for a workout. And so boy, the, the risk that’s always ever present when you’re doing a steady state cardiovascular workout has caused me to think, pause now, after decades of doing it. Brad (24m 5s): So after reading case against cardio and talking to Sisson years ago, I became thoroughly convinced that I was absolutely obligated to add other forms of fitness to my repertoire. You know, so I wouldn’t blow out my knee or throw my back out and also to, you know, be even more disciplined about slowing down and minimizing the overall training mode, knowing that my cardiovascular health was taken care of after only a few hours, but boy, Oh boy, with speed golf I found myself often returning home with that unpleasant sensation of feeling trashed and depleted slightly to moderately, nothing, nothing terrible. Brad (24m 45s): But feeling a little bit cooked from what was supposed to be a routine health building, cardiovascular activity. Yes, the golf got in the way and my competitive ambitions got in the way, but I had the heart rate monitor on and I had the beeper alarm on. And when I go out and jog in the forest and especially at high altitude here in Lake Tahoe, it doesn’t take much to get that beeper going, Hey, what’s the big deal, right? You know, about 30% of the questions that came in on the Primal Endurance podcast, which all the episodes are still there, a hundred plus, but we’re not publishing under that name anymore. Everything’s under a Primal Blueprint podcast, but many, many people would write in asking for a little bit of a hall pass to bump up their aerobic heart rate five beats for whatever reason, because it’s too frustrating to go that slow. Brad (25m 39s): And it’s just something to acknowledge that it’s a challenge to keep the heart rate down there in the comfortable zones. Oh, horrors, why would you go for a walk if you’re a serious endurance athlete or a long time, endurance athlete, knowing what you can do, what your fitness capabilities are? Why would you go walk like an ordinary person anyway? But then I was listening to a podcast one day with the great Dr. Art DeVany, one of the forefathers of the paleo movement. Author of The New Evolution Diet. He was an early blogger, a great inspiration to Mark Sisson and has been promoting this ancestral lifestyle for a long time. Brad (26m 20s): And he was doing a great interview with Tim Ferriss. You got to go listen to that show in the Tim Ferriss, archives, him talking about all manner of life and philosophy toward exercise toward diet. And he gave this, this quip. He said, I wouldn’t recommend jogging. It’s too dangerous. And then, you know, he elaborated a little bit that this steady state stuff has an assortment of risk factors associated with it as I have detailed already in the show. And so the comment gave me pause because even at a slower pace, some risk factors are coming into play. Brad (27m 8s): And furthermore, the aggregate benefits are kind of questionable, right? What’s more, you can contribute to these objectives when you’re doing high intensity strength training and explosive sprinting. Right? When I go do a sprint workout, maybe I’m at the track. You know, from the time I hit the parking lot to the time I drive over to the Lake to jump in and have a nice cold plunge to cool off after the workout. Guess what? I’m there for? You know, 35 minutes, let’s say, but that entire time I’m getting a fantastic cardiovascular training session. Brad (27m 54s): It’s not at all steady state. What I’m doing is going on a warmup, right? So I’m going really slow for awhile jogging, you know, a part of a lap. And then I’m launching into my various technique drills. And warm-up drills that I demonstrate on my YouTube videos. And some of those can be pretty strenuous. So I might do a 10 or 15 seconds of kick outs and then I’ll walk or jog really slowly for a little bit and then launch into the next drill. And the time is accumulating for the total workout duration, but then I’m walking over to the grass to do my jumping sequences. So I’ll doing these short sequences of about 10 seconds duration, where I’m hopping on one foot for 20 yards, and then I’m walking it off and resting for a minute. Brad (28m 39s): And then I’m going into my main sprint sessions. Usually it’s eight times 70 meters, or maybe I’m doing a few, 200 meter efforts, but I’m doing a lot of recovery walking and taking it easy in between these explosive efforts. Same with when I’m over practicing jumping at the high jump area, you know, I’ll do some three-step approaches. I’ll do some five-step approaches some scissor drills, some full length approaches where I’m filming them and reviewing the film. And so I’m there. But the point I’m trying to make is the whole time my heart rate is well above resting heart rate, probably double even at the time of my greatest a rest period, let’s say in between a big jump where I want to study the video for a minute or two, before I go back and do anything. Brad (29m 26s): And so the aggregate, the sum, if you look on a, a graph like a, a Richter scale, measuring the earthquake, my heart rates all over the place, but it’s never dipping below what a, you know, 80 or something beats per minute. And it’s going up to maximum. Same with in the gym. If you’re going to do your nine fitness stations, or you’re going to do five sets of dead lifts and some super sets where you’re doing pull or pulling the TRX bands in between, from the time you walk in the gym to the time you leave, you’re doing all kinds of different stuff, including resting, but you’re getting a fantastic cardiovascular workout. And I would say arguably, but it’s sort of certifiably superior to a steady state session, which has all those risk factors like the mitochondrial DNA leaking into the bloodstream, the leaky gut being stimulated, because there’s no rest it’s steady state and your body temperature and your sweat rate is consistent throughout a long period of time. Brad (30m 29s): So there’s no loss in cardiovascular fitness from, in my case, evolving my jogging workouts into something more interesting and creative. So I will talk about that now, but I want to note that all the workouts that I do, including all the explosive stuff, a wonderful contribution to my cardiovascular fitness. Can I excel in a marathon, race and bus three hours because I’m good at doing a 200 meter sprints and box jumps and pulling the X three bar during my strength training sessionsS absolutely not. There is no escaping the, the major law of nature and the specificity of sport training. Brad (31m 13s): Yes, you get a cross training effect when you’re doing three different cardiovascular workouts like swimming, biking, and running, and yes, you get some benefits toward your, even your extreme endurance performance when you’re getting competent at doing vertical jumps onto the box, or anything else explosive like a short duration sprint workouts. But without that sports specific training, Oh my gosh, you won’t even make it halfway through a prolonged endurance event unless you practice over and over again with workouts that simulate the competitive experience. But if you’re going for a total overall fitness competency, anti-aging being able to live a fun and varied active life. Brad (31m 57s): This is where we can have a great argument to rethink your steady state cardio and evolve it into something more creative, challenging with broader fitness benefit. So the first thing that I’ve become super fond of doing that’s kind of led to this gradual transition to, to, to get to the title of the, of the show is the increasing fascination with my morning, flexibility, mobility, dynamic stretching, core strengthening routine. You can see this on YouTube, have two different videos. One called Brad Kearns a morning routine, one called Brad Kearns dynamic stretching routine to start your day. But this has been going on now with a daily streak that I’m so proud of for almost four years. Brad (32m 40s): I have not missed a single day of waking up and immediately hitting the deck and proceeding through a increasingly prolonged and high degree of difficulty morning routine. And I do the exact same sequence every single day. Of course, I change it and modify it over time, adding a movement, subtracting a movement, whatever. But the key here is that in a mindful experience where I don’t have to think or get creative or try to make up a new thing to add this particular day or that. So it’s very methodical. It gives my brain a chance to wake up, get the blood flowing, get the oxygen circulating. Brad (33m 24s): And it’s really calming and meditative in that regard because all my attention is going to the count. I have to achieve a certain count of each movement before I moved to the next one. And I’ve tried before to multitask and like listen to a podcast or even carry on a phone conversation while I’m doing my morning routine. And it simply doesn’t work because what happens is I forget my account and the penalty for that is you’ve got to start over. So I go through these drills and sequences that I custom designed specifically to prepare me and help me prevent injury when I’m doing my sprinting and high workouts. So it’s kind of getting those hip flexors, mobilized hamstrings, and always a core stimulation because everything I do is off the ground with my legs and activating the core the whole time. Brad (34m 16s): So I’m doing the scissors, the kick outs, the frog legs, the leg swings. Then I’m mixing in some key yoga movements like the, the wheel, one of the hardest yoga poses, maybe the hardest yoga pose I’ve ever seen, which is where you do a, a back arching in the air where only your feet and your hands are touching. So you’re kind of making the gateway arch welcome to St. Louis and holding that for a long period of time so that all my muscles are really engaged. And it’s a huge challenge that comes in the middle of the sequence. And then I’m doing some more gentle things like the, the, the plow and the downward dog poses. And so mixing in there with some important stretches and ending with a really challenging 40 reps on each leg of the elevated leg, Bulgarian, split squats. Brad (35m 6s): So I have one leg resting on a chair, and then I lower down over the single leg and have all that squat intensity loading onto one leg. And what’s happened over time is when I started with my initial template. It took 12 minutes. I thought it took five until we filmed it on YouTube and realized it was 12. And I’m like, wow, that’s pretty a time flies. And I’m really enjoying it. It’s no problem. And it fits conveniently no matter what I’m doing that day. And then I would very often head out for a jog after my perfunctory morning routine, but as I got more and more enthused and more and more committed and more and more habitual about it, what would happen is I’d add cool new stuff to the template. Brad (35m 52s): So today the morning routine takes a minimum of 35 minutes. Sometimes up to 45 when I add on certain optional exercises. And by the time I’m working hard for 35 minutes, again, this stuff is not easy. Some of the poses, I didn’t know, it wasn’t easy until I threw down with a couple of friends of mine and said, Hey, you want to do my morning routine. And they were struggling to make it through. They had to rest the core and I’m like, dang, maybe this stuff is legit. I’m getting good at it. Anyway, my specific routine, I can make it through. It might be tough for a first-timer even a fit person like Rouse. He was struggling when I took it to him and he’s a champion tennis player in the 55 plus age division. Brad (36m 33s): So I was like, okay, if you say this is hard, I believe you. Anyway, a lot of times I will add on optional strength training exercises, because I’m so warmed up and ready that I can move right over into my super-duper fitness living room and do some sets on the X three bar, which are also extremely challenging. So on certain days, my morning routine will morph right into a proper and a formal strength training session. Guess what happened to my jogging time? That’s right. It’s getting compromised because it’s time to get to it. I can’t be spending all morning working out and doing this and that. Brad (37m 12s): So I’ve basically traded a very ho-hum low fitness stimulating activity of cardiovascular moving one leg in front of the other for half an hour to something that really is pretty badass and delivers a tremendous fitness benefit for core exercise balance. If you watch some of the sequences on YouTube, you’ll see that I’m challenging all muscle groups in my body and really building up a higher platform from which to launch my high intensity jumping and sprinting workouts. Now, if I do head out the door, of course, I’m going to get the dog out. So that’s just going to be a shorter outing for the dog on those days, when I’m really engaged doing the, the strength training stuff. Brad (37m 56s): But when it’s time to head out for a prolonged cardiovascular session, what I do is instead of a steady-state jog, I will mix in some creative challenges, again, honoring my obsession with high jump, but you can do whatever you choose to do honoring this template. And the template is that you start out jogging to warm up, right, or brisk walking, whatever fitness level you’re at. When you head out the door for a cardio session, you’re going to do what you’re going to do. And then I will engage with an interesting challenge in nature, a lot of times utilizing nature. So for example, I will see the granite rock that’s, you know, several minutes from my house out into the forest, and I’ll jump up and down the rock 10 times. Brad (38m 44s): And this is a challenging, short duration, explosive effort. So in the aftermath of that, I will walk to recover. And that might take a couple, few minutes until I feel better. Maybe I’ll start jogging again. And then I’ll get into doing one of my preparatory drills, my running technique drills that you can see on YouTube that I do when I’m at the track preparing to sprint, today’s not going to be a sprint workout, but when I’m out there on the trails or on the streets, wherever I am, I’m going to do some hopping drills, bounding drills, things like that, maybe a 10 or 22nd sequence of something that’s kind of difficult. And then again, I’ll walk it off, relax, enjoy my time in nature, catch my breath. Brad (39m 29s): And the important aspect of this is that we don’t want this to be a big, challenging high intensity session. Like I described when I’m at the track, doing a bunch of tough stuff and having that be the centerpiece of my weekly workout. No, this is just another one of those easy used to be jogging outings. But now because I’m walking so much and because my little challenges are so short in duration, one of the things I do is I just hold the takeoff position of the high jumper, a basketballer .jumping up to make a layup. So I’ll get on one leg, I’ll drive my opposite knee into the air and raise my arms over my head. Amazing. Try it out right now, as you’re listening to the show, because it’s really difficult to hold this position. Brad (40m 12s): I do it for a count of 30. It’s probably 30 seconds, maybe a little more, and that’s a tough deal right there. And it works your balance. Your proprioception, my foot is usually wobbling a little bit on the ground. I’m trying to quiet it and get good at balancing my body on one leg. What’s so important about that. That’s one of the key anti-aging attributes is that you maintain your balance and your proprioception, your awareness of where you are and how your body works in space so that you don’t fall, which is the number one cause of injury and death in Americans over age 65. And trotting, along with your shoulders hunched over like a dutiful jogger, that’s been doing it. Brad (40m 55s): Your whole life is great. It’s better than not being able to jog five miles. But what I’m advocating here is to throw in some fun, different, and stimulating creative challenges to break up that steady state cardiovascular session. Again, when I’m holding this weird takeoff pose, I know I get weird looks on the, at the park or wherever I’m doing it. I am still getting some cardiovascular stimulation. My heart rate is still high, but it’s again, going to be brought back down into a recovery mode when I’m walking in the aftermath of these challenges so that the overall stress impact of the workout is really low. Brad (41m 37s): You get the difference between a proper session where you’re doing drill after drill and , yes, you are recovering in between them. But as the cumulative effect, it’s a pretty tough session where here I might be walking for longer periods of time doing a shorter sequence of jumping up and down on the rock for a total of 10 seconds, walking for a minute, resuming a jog and heading out to the next drill that might be a balanced drill or a flexibility mobility drill, which is not a challenging the musculature, but it’s building more skills and varied skills. You know, what’s a super fun thing to add to your, your daily outing to mix it up a little bit is to jump up into the fricking air, to engage with gravity of the earth and develop some competency in launching your body off the ground. Brad (42m 31s): It can’t get any simpler than that. You’ve heard me talk so frequently about the metabolic benefits of sprinting and how sprinting can stimulate fat reduction, vastly superior manner to a prolonged workouts at a lower intensity level that lasts for much longer. The metabolic impact of a sprint workout lasts for hours and hours afterwards, and sends a profound genetic signal to up-regulate fat burning and reduce excess body fat because you’re training your body to do something where the penalty for carrying excess body fat is severe unlike jogging or slow pedaling or doing extreme endurance activity where there’s not a huge penalty for dragging along with 10, 20, or 25 extra pounds of body fat. Brad (43m 20s): It doesn’t have that stimulation to a kickstart turbocharge fat burning. The same can be said for jumping. There’s a huge, massive penalty for trying to jump up in the air with extra weight. So if you do a simple sequence of 10 explosive jumps into the air, let’s say you get a three-step approach. You jump up as high as you can off one foot, or even jumping up off of two feet when you’re standing in position. If you’re doing it in the workplace or in an indoor environment, Dr. Michael Roizen, the co author of the best-selling book series, You, The Owner’s Manual. He wrote those with Dr. Oz, the TV show doctor. Brad (44m 1s): He States that if you simply stand in place and jump up and down off of two feet and do that 20 times every morning and 20 times every evening, you will preserve bone mass in your spine and lower extremities and greatly reduced your risk factors and your chance of accelerated aging for not putting your spine under proper load. Especially as you age here’s quote, jumping is thought to create an electrical current that stimulates the bone and thickens internal bone mass, and quote says Roizen. And of course the metabolic benefits of jumping up and down just like sprinting is you’re sending a profound signal to shed excess body fat. Brad (44m 45s): So yeah, maybe a five or 10 explosive jumps, and then plenty of walking to recover after that, and then head to the next category. And it might be some dynamic stretching and Boy oh Boy! If you’re, you know, wondering how you’re going to spend 40 minutes without getting bored, this will transform that daily jogging outing. And if it’s something that you’re doing on the treadmill or in the fitness center, yes, you can adapt this idea to stuff in the fitness center. So maybe you should walk around the parking lot, head in, do a few movements with the TRX straps or some creative fitness implement that you see in there, and then go out and do some more cardio or get on the treadmill for five minutes instead of 55, but get off frequently and go do something and get back on you. Brad (45m 35s): Get what I’m talking about. That’s why I quit jogging. Thank you so much for listening. Hopefully this will inspire you to mix things up a little bit and get some more broader fitness adaptations for the time that you devote to those regular steady state cardiovascular workouts. All right, let’s go do something. Jump for joy. Why not? Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at 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. Brad (46m 15s): 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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