(Breather) Inflammation is the root cause of all disease..

It’s normal and healthy when you have a good workout or twist your ankle, or even when you get stung by a bee, and your body puts up its defenses to heal – inflammation helps with recovery. Chronic inflammation, however, is the body’s reaction to copious stress that leads to a breakdown over the long term which can affect all different parts of your system over time. What starts as inflammation in your gut can lead to depression, anxiety, lethargy, or weight gain, just as an example.   

When Tommy speaks of being careful of liquidating all your assets, he’s referring to the notion that causing absolute burnout to your mind and body will lead to chronic inflammation and a host of other problems over time. As an athlete, I used to be hard into the game in believing in just “listening to my body” and paying attention to my rising levels of cortisol as I was taken hard into fight or flight mode. Push harder your mind and body will figure it out! That’s what instinct is for! The problem is that once your brain is finally listening with cortisol heavily pumping into your system, your training has probably already gone too far, and this leaves your body fighting much harder than it needs to. This had been a puzzle that has repeatedly fooled me – “listening to your body” doesn’t work because what happens when you’re jacked with a wallet full of cash? You go buy a boat and don’t realize the actual cost until the bill arrives a month later. How do you prevent liquidating all your assets? By using instinct PLUS a higher level of reasoning. Be mindful and follow your desire to train with subjective guidelines as Kelly S. points out.  

The Stress of modern life also has us prematurely liquidating our assets if we’re the type of person that gets highly stressed out during a traffic jam. Stress inevitably creates an unbalance, and if it isn’t managed correctly, you’re on the road to a case of unwarranted inflammation. There are those that lead a hectic and high stimulating lifestyle but always approach their day in a relaxed, unhurried pace.  This is the way to keep things balanced even in high-stress situations and a behavior we should try to model. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll react. Dis-ease leads to disease.  

Modern athletic training consists of six times more training than what the busiest hunter-gatherer conducted. I read a triathlete book/article (Ironwar?) which posed the theory that a modern-day elite Ironman triathlete is working harder than any human in the history of humanity! This increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (inflammation and scarring) and CV disease (James O’keefe Ted Talk). These guys training so hard believe they’re getting back to their roots, but they’re far exceeding it, in a harmful way, which makes us question the credibility of the paleo and keto diet premise that promises low carb intake of delivering fasting like benefits.  

TIMESTAMPS: 

Chronic inflammation is the body’s reaction to undesirable stressors. [04:28] 

When we talk about stimulating the fight or flight response, we are “liquidating our assets.” [06:36] 

All forms of stress go on the same side of the balance scale, [10:17] 

There are genetics involved and some people are more adaptable to higher activity. [12:49] 

Today, our ambitious athletic goals are straight up compromising our health.. [15:11] 

For the most part, we want to align our diet with ancestral pattern BUT there was no dark chocolate 10,000 years ago [16:46] 

Longtime endurance athletes are developing atrial fibrillation. [21:18] 

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

Brad: 00:33 The harder you train, the more energy you have to devote to recovery. Ooh, I’m sorry. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. Other words, you can go, go, go with inactive forms. Bootstrap like heavy duty workplace activities, deadline, project. Things that strength you cognitively and then go out there and blast a crossfit workout. The modern athlete is disconnected from their ancestral roots. Therefore, when we’re talking about Keto and how well it worked for our ancestors and they were very likely and Keto for a long period of time. Yeah, they weren’t training, uh, an hour and a half crossfit crazy workout four days a week. They weren’t putting in 50 miles a week on the road and then you head off into the work day and you have more energy and alertness and you feel great and you attributed to your wonderful workout. That’s all true because you have stimulated the fight or flight reponse and you’re riding on a hormonal high that requires some downtime and some balance at some point.

Brad: 00:33

Brad: 02:27 Hey, I want to do a recap of my wonderful two shows with Dr Tommy Wood of Nourish, Balance Thrive where we covered that broad spectrum of diet, exercise, lifestyle, health attributes, the social aspects, what a wonderful and wide ranging education on how to do things right and don’t you love how he blends the advanced science and his studies of the research, all that high tech stuff with those simple insights about nurturing your social circles and how that translates directly into better health and longevity.

Brad: 04:28 So just going through the points, we hit on Show One and then in to Show Two. I thought this breather show would be a nice way to get your tight, crisp takeaways and go live the life that you deserve in the future. Yeah, I mean especially what about my comments about the white boxer, the magnificent animal that greeted me at Tommy’s door and how they don’t even recognize white boxers with the AKC, the American Kennel Club. What a disgrace. Those guys should be ashamed of themselves. Anyone who meets a white boxer will know this is the top level animal. Anyway, we got talking about inflammation. You hear this word inflammation all the time from health experts and commentary. Uh, we often hear that inflammation is the root cause of all disease. Seriously, wow. Trip out. So when you hear that stuff, we must distinguish that we’re talking about undesirable chronic inflammation or systemic system wide inflammation.

Brad: 05:31 Uh, in contrast, we have normal, healthy, desirable inflammation such as the inflammation of your muscles. When you’re lifting a heavy weight or sprinting, or if you get stung by a bee or you turn your ankle and your ankle swells up, or your skin swells up where the bee sting was, that’s an inflammation that will contain the damage to a small area, a speed, the healing by more blood flow to the area, swelling it up, and then eventually healing. The chronic inflammation is when you constantly stress your body with a stressor like gluten or sugar or chronic exercise or insufficient sleep. And then you get into this inflammatory state, which sets the stage particularly for heart disease. So we have the oxidation and inflammation pattern that is the true cause of heart disease. So chronic inflammation is the body’s reaction to undesirable stressors that lead to break down over the longterm.

Brad: 06:36 And Tommy had this epic quote where he said, liquidating your assets. And I called that out as an epic quote. So I get credit for that because it was such a brilliant insight. Uh, when we talk about stimulating the fight or flight response, what we’re doing, which is liquidating our assets. In other words, we’re responding to a short term life or death stressor. What are genes perceived to be a life or death stressor, whether it’s a traffic jam, your turn to speak in the conference room or a high intensity workout. Uh, we get this spike of adaptive hormones, stress hormones into the bloodstream so you can function at your peak with elevated heart rate, respiration, cognitive function, everything’s primed and ready to go for battle. Uh, and of course during that time, digestive function, immune function is suppressed or compromised because all of your assets are going toward immediate peak performance.

Brad: 07:38 That’s great when you’re running away from the tiger. The classic example of the primal stressors, the fight or flight stressors that, uh, how we evolve the fight or flight response. But today we tap into the fight or flight response throughout the day when we have these busy, stressful, hectic days where hyperconnected. And so what we’re doing is we’re liquidating our assets, our potential for longevity, our potential for optimal immune function, and we’re getting broken down and burnt out. Uh, I made some comparisons to buying a boat because I had just come from, uh, the beautiful Lake Washington area in Seattle during the visit and saw these cool boats. And I was thinking, man, wouldn’t that be cool to have a boat to go on a lake and have an awesome boat to hang out on? And then I’m like, Gee, I guess I could buy one of those tomorrow if I just banged all my credit cards, maxed them out and didn’t worry about the future or the upcoming bills.

Brad: 08:35 So that’s exactly what we’re doing. When we overstimulate the fight or flight response. Listen to your body does not work because you’re jacked up on these stress hormones and you feel fantastic. This was everything to me as an endurance athlete. I tried to listen to my body and be a smart training athlete, but what would happen would be when I was locked into these overstress patterns of training, I would overproduce the fight or flight hormones. I’d wake up in the morning and I’d feel fantastic. I’d be pumped up, my leg would be tapping at the breakfast table and I’d be thinking, bring it on. Let’s go ride another 84 miles again today. And that was because bathed in these stress hormones, this cocktail of adaptive hormones, I felt fine, but any reasonable person would sit back and think, wow, dude, you’re burning the candle at both ends.

Brad: 09:27 And what you probably need right now is rest rather than more stress. But we can’t extricate ourselves. We have to use our higher level of thinking and reasoning instead of just going by animal instincts. The comparison in the uh, example of the boat is that if you have a wallet full of cash, Oh look, I got a grand man. I’m packing some bills. I went from dollar bills. Now I’m popping rubber bands like Cardi B. Uh, you’re not really as visceral with your credit card balances at high interest rates. So you maybe make a bad purchasing decision because your wallet is bursting with cash. That’s exactly what’s going on when you overstimulate the stress response. Got It. That’s a huge concept. I need to impress that point dramatically because this was make or break throughout my entire athletic career.

Brad: 10:17 Next, we were talking about the stress of modern life and the concept that your exercise, your vigorous workouts are seen erroneously as a stress balancer to the other forms of stress in your life, such as your hectic workday, sitting at your desk, not moving, not doing any physical activity, but all forms of stress go on the same side of the balance scale, the scales of justice.

Brad: 10:53 I know that doing that evening tempo run is a great release from the pent up frustrations of a stressful work day. But nevertheless, it calls upon those fight or flight hormones just as your argument in the conference room did. And so they’re all weighing down one side of this envisioned scales of justice, right? You know, the blind lady holding the little balancer, okay? So when you try to think of this from a different perspective, it can be very helpful to realize, go back and listen to my show with Joel Jamison. How if you have stressful lifestyle circumstances, that means you have less energy to devote to training. Secondly, related insight, the harder you train, the more energy you have to devote to recovery. Whew! I’m sorry, we cannot have our cake and eat it too. In other words, you can’t go, go, go with uh, inactive forms of stress, like heavy duty workplace activities, uh, deadline projects, thing. That’s things that stress you cognitively and then go out there and blast a crossfit workout.

Brad: 12:00 Similarly, I know you feel fantastic and you get a gold star when you set your alarm for five 30 and make your way over to the freezing cold gym and do the warmup and then start climbing ropes and jumping on boxes and you get out of there with a big smile and a bounce in your step and that endorphin high that you get from a vigorous workout and then you head off into the workday and you have more energy and alertness and you feel great and you attributed to your wonderful workout. That’s all true because you have stimulated the fight or flight response and you’re riding on a hormonal high that requires some downtime and some balance at some point. And if you refuse to listen and refuse to accept these insights, the downtime will be taken for you in the form of breakdown, burnout, illness, and injury.

Brad: 12:49 Then Tommy added a brilliant insight cause I asked him, man, how come some people can do it? They can really seem like they’re burning the candle at both ends and other people are more fragile, namely me. Right? I was always the guy. Uh, when I was training on the pro circuit and mixing with my peers, I was always the most fragile athlete of anyone in the group. I had to train less volume, less intensity, more rest. I was able to, uh, try to battle it out on the race course, but I needed an entirely different training plan, uh, than some of these workhorses that could go, go, go every day without question. Uh, what he said was, yeah, there’s some genetics involved in, some people are more adaptable to a, you know, high, high activity, high stimulation lives, but also stress is reliant upon the perception of the observer, right? So Mia Moore, uh, featured on the Mia Moore show has this chill way of going through life where she can work extremely long hours, balance a side job, doing other things and have these jam packed days full of stimulation, but always moving at a smooth and comfortable pace. Never looking harried or stressed or flustered as so many people react to when they’re stuck in the traffic jam or have a minor interpersonal altercation that will throw them for a loop. And they’ll respond and react and be triggered and go through life, a hot wired, temperamental manner that increases the stress impact of all the things that for another person, traffic jam might be a good opportunity to do breathing exercises and listened to yet another podcast. Okay. So stress is in the eye of the observer. You can kick into so many wonderful strategies that we hear about.

Brad: 14:47 Listen to my show with Dr Elisha Goldstein. Catch yourself when you feel you’re going into reactive mode, uh, slow down, become more aware of your propensity for hyperconnectivity. Take some deep breaths, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and then start the process over of being more aware and mindful rather than just reacting all throughout the day. Uh, then Tommy was, uh, offering another brilliant insight that the modern hard training athlete, say a iron man triathlete or a crossfit games aspirant or someone in an intense team sport activity is training at a level likely six times harder than the busiest hunter gatherer throughout evolution. So today, our ambitious athletic goals are straight up compromising our health. They are in conflict with our genetic expectations. For health. Remember that insight that we dropped into the primal blueprint and other books that the hunter gatherer did the absolute bare minimum of effort necessary to survive and never anymore.

Brad: 15:58 They did not train for the marathon run or go out and practice, uh, lifting rocks over and over to get stronger. They did what they needed to do to get their food, clothing, shelter, and then they kick back and relax and had all this leisure time and a much lower stressful existence than today’s person who, like I’ve just mentioned, is juggling a busy, stimulating workplace with athletic goals. So what does that mean? That means that maybe some of these ancestral insights where you’re all in and you’re in life is defined by Paleo and you proudly proclaimed to your friends, well, here’s how I eat. Did it exist 10,000 years ago? Yes or no? If it did, then I can eat it. If not, then I can’t eat it.

Brad: 16:46 That’s flawed on a few levels. One of them is dark chocolate, man. I gotta get a dark chocolate sponsor for the show. Huh? Ah, what a delicious food full of nutritional benefits, a little or no objections to health. And of course it didn’t exist 10,000 years ago. So that’s our first, uh, argument that I’m going to offer back. If you have a modern food that happens to be healthy, of course it’s allowable to eat. So for the most part, we want to align our diet with ancestral pattern, but we’re making modern allowances all the way through anyway. So you just want to honor the spirit of the ancestral message rather than disavow your worldly possessions. Walk everywhere. Uh, live in a tepee. Although it worked for my friends, the Curly boys, they lived in a teepee all winter, uh, through a record snow level in Lake Tahoe and they came, came out of it. Well, so, uh, the modern athlete is disconnected from their ancestral roots. Therefore, when we’re talking about Keto and how well it worked for our ancestors, they were very likely in Keto for long periods of time.

Brad: 17:53 Yeah. They weren’t trained in, uh, an hour and a half crossfit crazy workout four days a week. They weren’t putting in 50 miles a week on the road. And so if you’re one of those people that is pushing the very limit of human performance today, unlike any other time in history, you might have a different parameters and different decision making processes, uh, for your dietary choices. And my story in particular, Tommy got to me a September 1st, 2017 and looked at my blood profiles and my consultation with nourish balance thrive and said, dude, you need to eat more food because you’re an old guy and you’re still trying to perform these magnificent athletic feats and recover well. And I know Keto’s working great and your appetite is moderated, but you need to loosen up the purse strings and just slam down more food a by definition, more carbohydrates, right? But it wasn’t anything a distinct where I was worried about the macros, I was just worried about getting more nutrition into my body, being that my blood work was fine, my body fat level was fine.

Brad: 18:58 And it worked extremely well for me where I suddenly had an increased level of daily energy, faster recovery from my ambitious workouts. Just by increasing my caloric intake. And I know you can live a long life when you minimize insulin production and get calorically efficient, but that discounts the impact of my athletic goals where I’m also striving for longevity by way of maintaining muscle mass, maintaining, maintaining explosive sprint performance and all that stuff. So it’s a puzzle. There’s no cookie cutter, uh, Tommy and his sidekick, Chris Kelly and Megan Roberts and the folks at Nourish Balance Thrive are very good at emphasizing that point. That’s why they do personal consultations at their website. And really interesting food for thought when we’re trying to, uh, make a oversimplified approach to uh, this dietary issue and think that, uh, one diet is great for everybody. Okay?

Brad: 19:58 Uh, yeah. And speaking of that man, I mean, think about these athletes today, like the, the, the modern leader of the pack, uh, and professional, uh, iron man competition. So you take a leading iron man person or a Tour de France athlete or a professional ultra runner or the uh, the, the top level guys who are making it through the national qualifiers to the crossfit games and they are training working harder than any human in the history of humanity. If you define work as mass times forced, like a good scientist, and you imagine peddling the bicycle for four to five hours a day or the triathlete running for an hour, swimming for an hour, peddling for a few hours day after day after day, they are performing more work than a human ever. Even the most hardiest rugged Neanderthal crossbred. Now hunter gatherers fighting it through the stormy winter, uh, on the great plains of North Dakota or the frozen Tundra of Siberia. No comparison to the modern Lycra clad specimen pedaling through a country road near you. Problem. Again, we’re in genetic conflict for health.

Brad: 21:18 So this brings a high risk of atrial fibrillation. The longtime endurance athletes are developing this condition in droves today. It’s scary and it’s disturbing. Atrial fibrillation is when you compromise the electrical signaling of the heart. Due to chronic inflammation because you’re inflaming your heart when you peg it at 160 beats a minute for a five hour bike ride. So you get this inflammatory response and you do it over and over day after day. The heart is a muscle, just like the bicep, just like an overtrained bodybuilder who’s done too many bicep curls and his bicep is sore and feels like heck, that’s the same thing you’re doing to your heart when you fail to observe healthy stress and rest balance. So over time the chronic inflammation leads to scarring and thickening of the ventricle of your heart, which is, is it the right ventricle, the right ventricle? Maybe it’s the left, sorry, a cardiologist and listening. Uh, but you get this inflammation and scarring that compromises the electric signaling. And then you get also known as a fluttery heart. I was just talking to Dave Scott on my podcast with him on the Primal Endurance channel that he just got diagnosed with fluttery heart. Here he is. I think he’s pushing 60. Now we’re over 60. He’s had this wonderful lifetime of healthy eating, fabulous training, maintaining a high state of fitness throughout his life. And it’s a tough one because we’re just not evolved to do this kind of hard work. A watch James O’Keeffe’s Tedtalk: “Run for Your Life, But Not Too Far and at a Slow Pace” talking about this high risk of cardiovascular disease from doing what you think is super healthy lifestyle patterns. So that is getting into the centerpiece of the first show where we’re setting the tone for the modern athlete being an overly stressful pattern, talking about liquidating your assets, the true definition of inflammation and how modern athletes need to, uh, take a different perspective and realize what they’re doing is inherently in conflict with their health.

Brad: 23:34 Nice breather show. Let’s package it with a second breather show to get through all the insights that Tommy offered on his two shows.

After getting our gut check at the end of the first show, Tommy keeps the momentum going with some memorable sound bites and takeaway action items for a long, happy, healthy life.

Referencing the gut dysfunction that ended the first show, Tommy explains that the body can find other ways to replenish necessary carbs through internal mechanism and reducing your need by becoming fat and keto adapted. 

We talk about my successful experiment, inspired by Tommy and Chris Kelly in September of 2017, to start consuming additional nutritious calories to fuel athletic performance and speed recovery. In evaluating my comprehensive test results generated by the Nourish, Balance, Thrive program, along with my complaint of crash and burn patterns (feel great, performance magnificent athletic feats, then drag ass for a couple-few days or longer). Yes, Tommy said you can even eat ice cream now and then! I transitioned from a sustained pattern of fasting until noon or later to starting my day with my Brad Kearns super-nutritious green smoothie every morning (check my someday-viral YouTube video of that name). Tommy inspires athletic types to understand that more nutrient-dense food can support peak performance, general health, and longevity. He theorizes that if you under-consume calories while striving for athletic excellence, you may slow down your thyroid and experience a decline in general everyday energy levels and metabolic function. Granted, if you are carrying excess body fat that you want to remove, are trying to recover from metabolic damage from carb dependency and/or yo-yo dieting, or have blood risk factors like high triglycerides, you may have a greater benefit from carbohydrate restriction to achieve rapid fat loss.  

We’ve heard in the low carb community how fasting improves autophagy (the natural cellular detoxification process) and that having an efficient metabolism is a longevity booster, but Tommy reminds us that athletes get similar autophagy benefits from endurance exercise depleting cellular energy, and that studies show those with a faster metabolism might live longer. Tommy keeps it pretty simple with the suggestion of eating as much nutritious food as you want without gaining fat.  

We also learn how the real culprit for body fat accumulation is consuming fat and carbs in combination. Food manufacturers know this can have addictive allure, and have carefully designed most of our go-to shit products to contain both refined carbohydrates and usually unhealthy processed fats.  

The show ends with Tommy offering color commentary on his delightfully simple and memorable five tips for living healthy:  

  1. Sleep enough: Make sure you have a quiet, dark environment and avoid excess screen time in the evening.  
  1. Move more: Lift. Walk. Sprint. Jump. Climb. How cool that Tommy combines all forms of exercise, training, and movement together. It’s not about logging your miles or hitting spin class every day, it’s about an overall movement strategy.  
  1. Reduce stress: Meditate. Do yoga. Nap. Spend time outdoors. We often neglect this stuff on the other side of the balance scale. Tommy reminds us that stress is subjective (read the book, The Myth of Stress). Is a traffic jam stressful, or is it just another great opportunity to catch up on podcasts? 
  1. Socialize: Put down the iPhone. Have fun with friends and family. Have sex. Remember, Tommy is deep into the scientific research that validates how this breezy stuff can optimize hormone and immune function. He mentions the dangers of lingering in the “cognitive middle gear” that really trips me out because he realizes he is messing up this one big time.  
  1. Eat real food. Simple as that, let’s all tone down the hair-splitting and controversy surrounding the nuances of healthy eating. Both vegans and hardcore keto folks have lots of common ground and that’s what we should focus on.  

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Get Over Yourself Podcast

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(Breather) Fitness and biofeedback apps are all the rage at the moment. They can help engage our workout decisions, workout performance and help track consumption of calories and macronutrients.

Sounds good right? While they certainly can have their benefits, this show contemplates how being connected this way to your body’s nutrition and fitness needs actually spreads the gap further between your mind/body connection and produces an overly regimented life dependent on various gadgets. While such devices are lovely pieces of technology, on one hand, they also lead to not correctly exercising your most important muscle – your brain!   

I discuss how some of this technology isn’t even viable for the average user because it’s so sophisticated in understanding your heart rate variability; therefore, such tools are rendered nearly useless to the average user.  

While apps like the Primal Beat HRV are beneficial for heart rate tracking, this show lets you in on what Mark Sisson thought after using one of the sleep trackers available on the market, and I reveal which gadget, according to The Guardian, is the only tool that actually can improve your health over time. Surprisingly, this device has nothing to do with fitness gains or body fat losses. Any guesses? 

There needs to remain an elegant balance between the relationship between you and your high tech versus the connection you grow or maintain with your intuition. Let your mind and body be your guide and keep the apps as a learning tool, not as a tool that directs your entire strategy toward improved health. 

Hope you dig the show! 

 

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Brad: Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns. I cover health, fitness, peak performance, personal growth, relationships, happiness and longevity, so slow down. Take a deep breath, take a cold plunge and pursue your competitive goals in all areas of life with great intensity and passion, but release your attachment to the outcome and learn to have fun along the way. That’s the theme of this show. Here we go. Do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the relative macro nutrient contribution of the assorted suits that we eat throughout the day so it can be a valuable exercise and help you connect further to your intuition and your strategic decision making process. If you carry around a notepad or use these advanced applications where you can type in or even take a picture of what you’re eating and get things calculated.

Brad: Welcome to the Breathers show, so I have extensive notes and ideas on scratch paper on my little beautiful evernote app for breather shows. So we’re going to dig into these occasionally and cover interesting topics based on or inspired by. articles I’ve read are people I’ve talked to. Maybe the shows will inspire you to dig deeper, further, investigate an interesting topic or subject. So that’s the setup, man. So one of the things I wrote down to discuss was this booming industry of fitness and biofeedback apps. Uh, I’m shaking my head on the sideline because I’m an old guy in the 50 plus category and I started my athletic career when there was virtually nothing besides a wristwatch. Oh, it was cool when the Casio wristwatches came out where you had a digital timer on your risk because before that we didn’t even have digital timing to time our workouts.

Brad: Uh, I remember the greatest milestone probably ever and still to this day was the invention of the wireless heart rate monitor Bipolar, a Finnish company. And those things first came out in 1987. And of course, uh, I grabbed one immediately with my training partners, Andrew Mcnaughton, Johnny G, and got all deep into the fascinating ability to monitor your heart rate, engage your workout decisions and your workout performance according to what your heart said was how hard you were working. So that was a great progress and still heart rate training is the fundamental, the centerpiece of effective endurance training, especially when you distinguish between a predominantly aerobic fat burning, nourishing, building, sustaining workout, and then transitioning over to what you will call a high intensity or an anaerobic or a high stress, high risk, of course high rate of return as well, but we cannot exist and traffic in that middle ground, we call it the black hole where you’re doing workouts that are slightly too difficult to be considered aerobotic and fat burning predominantly and instead stressing the body a little bit too much for a little bit too long, too often with insufficient recovery and nourishing, restoring workouts in between.

Brad: And then you dig yourself a hole of chronic exercise patterns, uh, whether it be in the endurance scene or the strength training and high intensity stuff, crossfit, exercise classes, things like that. So the heart rate monitor has been the greatest innovation in the history of athletics. And now we have things Gosh. I shouldn’t even comment. I don’t even know what these things do. But you hear words like fitbit and you have your sleep monitors and you have your heart rate variability trackers. I also think this is a beautiful innovation, uh, but most people don’t fully understand or appreciate how to use heart rate variability, uh, the, the monitoring technology, and so it kind of sits on the sidelines waiting for perhaps it’s day to make a real breakthrough because when you monitor your heart rate variability, it gives you a window into the functioning of your autonomic nervous system, specifically the balance between sympathetic that’s the fight or flight operation and the parasympathetic, which is the rest and digest operations.

Brad: And you want these in elegant balance every single day. A lot of times as we know, we get out of balance with sympathetic and you can get these sort of insights revealed by careful tracking and monitoring of your daily heart rate variability score. So we have the heart rate monitor, we have the HRV, which entails putting on a wireless strap like you use when you’re monitoring your heart rate. And then, uh, using an APP on your mobile phone, we have one that was custom designed for the Primal Endurance community called Primal Beat HRV. You can find that on the, uh, the apple iPhone store, uh, so these sleep monitors talk to Mark Sisson about one of these recently because he tried it and he woke up after a good night’s sleep and it said that he had zero minutes of deep sleep overnight. So that was enough for him to scoff at the thing and probably never use it again.

Brad: I also like the trackers of how many steps per day you’re taking. Seems like a cool thing to keep you honest and focused. But I feel like we have a great danger of transitioning away from an intuitive mind body connected approach to life and plunging into the perils of the overly technological, overly regimented approach to life due to this constant reliance upon gadgets that pull you possibly away from your intuition. I guess a quick example, your 10,000 steps a day counter is maybe some days you’re destined to rest and relax and reflect and sit in the park. And look at the birds and not worry about how many steps you’re taking a, but again, it can be used to your advantage if you use it right. Same with the GPS technology on our portable devices. What a wonderful innovation to help you get where you’re going with less brain power and less unnecessary struggling and suffering. Trying to navigate in the old days when we had our paper maps and had to pull over and couldn’t figure out where we were. And I think this is a great step forward for mankind. Probably makes driving safer as well as hiking and other outdoor activities. Uh, but I do notice a distinct decline in my natural ability to navigate my surroundings and rely on my senses to tell me where I am, where I’ve been before, how to get out of there because I’m not paying enough attention anymore because I don’t need to because I have my trusty GPS. But how about when your phone dies? You’re out of batteries and you have to go back to those long lost navigation skills. Man, I feel sorry for today’s youth that grew up with these things. And never really had that a beautiful experience of trying to get your way out of trouble, whether you’re in nature or on the roadways of the, a great nation of Kazakhstan or America, what have you, uh, so anyway, might be fun once in a while to try to navigate by smell and sight and memory and deemphasize the phone just to keep things honest.

Brad: Uh, another comment I’ll have on fitness apps is the calorie counters and the macronutrient trackers. We’ve written about these in many of the primal books, Keto, recent book, and making the suggestion when you’re trying to a track and regulate your carbohydrate intake in the interest of reducing excess body fat or getting into nutritional ketosis. These tools are very valuable to give you a sense of where you’re at. Most of us do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the relative macro nutrient contribution of the assorted foods that we eat throughout the day. So it can be a valuable exercise and help you connect further to, uh, your intuition and your strategic decision making process. If you carry around a notepad or use these advanced applications where you can type in or even take a picture of what you’re eating and get things calculated right away and getting a pie chart form to reveal that you consumed 120 grams of protein, 57 grams of carbohydrate and 312 grams of fat on this particular day with these assorted foods that you ate.

Brad: And then you can kind of make an action plan for the future, uh, to align your eating habits with your macronutrient goals. But we also see a pattern of an overuse, over reliance, and overstress due to the ability to count calories and track macro nutrients. And I think we do have to put to the forefront our natural appetite and satiety signals. And I think this best happens when you don’t have any apps with you and you sit down to a meal and enjoy and appreciate it in a quiet, calm, relaxed setting. Chew every bite carefully and fully. Ask Yourself, am I hungry for another bite or am I satisfied? And carry on with your day. So a little plug for the, uh, the calorie and the macro nutrient apps, but again, back to that same theme with the GPS map, using them in an advantageous way and regulating your use of that so it doesn’t take over from your enjoyment of life and your intuitive skills.

Brad: Uh, there was an interesting article in the Australian publication, The Guardian where they did a study, the Swedish government did a study a and realize that many fitness apps make almost no difference to users’ health. Only one app out of the many, many that they studied, it was called Get Happy, uh, delivered a positive effective result. And this APP costs 60 bucks, I guess you pay for what you get and it helped users actually increase their happiness and wellbeing by getting them to complete a six lesson Cognitive Behavior therapy program. Pretty cool. All the other stuff was found to have minimal impact. I think people’s habits and moods and things like that will override the best intentions of any APP. I am fascinated and interested to learn about these apps that put a warning sign on your computer screen, telling you to go take an exercise break or you have these forced downtime periods where your Internet connection is shut off or how about have you heard of those apps or those social networks where you can, uh, in announce your stated goals and put up like 50 bucks a when you tell people that you’re going to go 10,000 steps a day and if you don’t do it, you lose your money.

Brad: So it’s sort of this incentivized program where you’re working with the community, getting mutual support and also suffering a true penalty in the pocket book in this example, if you don’t follow through interesting. I kind of feel like, um, what’s the world come to in the next breath that we have to do it this way rather than cultivate a natural and powerful desire to prioritize the things that are most important to us. Make us the most happy, give us the most health. But I know life can spin out of control. And I guess one way to recalibrate and come back is to install this app that’s telling you to get your butt out of your chair and go take a walk around the office every 37 minutes or whatever you program it for. Okay. So just be wary with your technology. Remember to program in downtime every day where you pushed the power button off and enjoy a technology free existence hopefully for several hours a day or for some wonderful, beautiful bedtime habits where you’re doing things like playing cards, reading, socializing, walking the dog, and don’t have access to technology.

Brad: I know it’s so difficult these days that we sort of have to physically turn off the button or close the window so that we’re not tempted with the constant stimulation. I will say that I’m nowhere close to ideal and optimal when it comes to these matters. Uh, but it feels really good when I take those steps and turn off my technology and prioritize things like taking a nap or going to sleep on time. So that’s your payoff, uh, in return for what you miss out on, which is all the dinging of the text messages that wake you up from your nap. Okay. So I hate to sneak this in there, but Get Over Yourself a little bit. The world will still exist without you. Whenever I am feeling the stress of disengaging and unplugging, I always compare myself to my sister who is many times I think once a month on call for the weekend as a family physician.

Brad: She’s on call for the labor and delivery weekend at the hospital. So she has to have her phone right by her because if someone’s going to deliver a baby, she gets in her car and drives three minutes to the hospital to help out. Okay? So the rest of us probably don’t need to. That hyperconnectivity that we think we do, the world will still march on without us, unless we’re on call that particular weekend to bring a new person into the high tech world. Thanks for listening. And the show’s over. So maybe it’s time to power down.

I am joined by Rick Mouw, the owner of Almost Heaven saunas, manufacturer of beautiful quality, hand-crafted home-use sauna kits.

Rick talks about his background in the sauna world, including experience living in Finland, where sauna has been a cultural centerpiece for the past 800 years! He describes how the Finns practice going from 200 degrees Fahrenheit saunas to jumping into an ice-cold lake, which he partook in while in Finland. Fun stuff! I enjoy the same in my backyard when I pair sauna with a chest freezer cold plunge. 

Hot and cold go very well together as shown with contrast therapy, whether the cold comes from snow, cold water, or even the air outside, which all provide a large, beneficial cool off after sitting in a sauna. It’s a great routine to get into for all body types, desires and conditions—it’s not just for athletes. The end result of a contrast therapy session is deep relaxation, that is for sure! However, I usually do a stand-alone sauna session, and stand-alone chest freezer sessions followed by jogging to rewarm. The sauna experience is centered upon relaxation as well as hormonal benefits so it doesn’t have to be an elaborate pairing with cold.  

I’ll further detail the hormonal and metabolic benefits in future shows. The idea is to get in there, relax, and remain inside until you start sweating profusely. This is when the heat shock proteins are generated. Note: infrared sauna use is a different modality, whereby you are baking from the inside with a lower ambient temperature. Both types of sauna have supporting science, but I think there is something special about the ultra hot, dry sauna and the chance to sweat out the stresses of the day. I always start my session with a bunch of pushups and squats inside the barrel to speed up the process of sweating profusely, then lay down and relax for another 15-20 minutes or so. Indeed you want to stay inside until you are pretty uncomfortable, as this is when you get the burst of hormonal benefits. Rick is a great resource for all kinds of sauna insights, and he may just inspire you to take a look at his products and get yourself convenient home access to sauna any time. Visit AlmostHeaven.com and tell them Brad sent you for a special discount on your home use sauna!! 

TIMESTAMPS:

How does sauna differ from the spa experience? [00:08:23]
What are the aerobic conditioning benefits from sauna? [00:11:57]
Should one get uncomfortable in the sauna to benefit? [00:14:16]
The flight or fight response is being triggered here. [00:17:25]
How does sauna help athletes? Before or after workout? [00:21:12]
What are the temperature ranges and how do they benefit? [00:24:51]
What is kicking in when we get profound exposure to heat? [00:28:24]
What are the benefits of intense sweating? [00:30:56]
Everyone can determine on their own how hot, when to use, or what oils individually.
[00:31:53]
What is the difference with infrared, which is not as warm, compared to the sauna?
[00:35:01]
People are often uncomfortable getting in the sauna at the gym.When it is at home, it is
more convenient.  [00:38:02]
How often does Rick use his sauna? How does he use it? [00:40:34]
What are the social and psychological benefits of sauna? [00:46:38]

LINKS:
Dr. Rhonda Patrick

LISTEN:

Download Episode MP3

Get Over Yourself Podcast

Brad: Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns. I cover health, fitness, peak performance, personal growth, relationships, happiness and longevity. So slow down, take a deep breath, take a cold plunge and pursue your competitive goals in all areas of life with great intensity and passion, but release your attachment to the outcome and learn to have fun along the way. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.

Brad: I connect with Rick Mouw of Almost Heaven Sauna. These guys are a podcast sponsor, full disclosure, and this guy is the owner of a sauna company. So I don’t want it to sound like a commercial or push one over on you that we’re trying to sell something. But you know what? He’s a passionate enthusiast of this health practice has been for many years. I am now an extremely passionate, enthusiast of this health practice. Having my almost heaven unit in my backyard paired with the wonderful cold tub chest freezer, so I can do hot and cold therapy at a moment’s notice. So I think you’re gonna like the show and Rick gets into some really interesting topics relating to the best practices. We talk a little bit about the benefits not to get too sciencey. There’s so many good articles and content on the Internet.

Brad: Dr Rhonda Patrick, with her wonderful videos, discussing the benefits of sauna and the heat shock proteins that are stimulated when you expose yourself to hot temperatures. I’m particularly fascinated about the athletic, the fitness benefits, the cardiovascular benefits of sitting in a sauna. I can actually make you a fitter athlete and this is new stuff that we never even considered back in the day. We used to laugh at guys who would take their exercise bikes into the sauna and do a workout preparing for the Hawaiian Ironman, the extreme temperatures of an upcoming competition and it seemed like something that would just make you tired and sweat seven pounds of fluid out, but it actually does have an effect at the red blood cell plasma volume level. So the athletic benefits of a heat regimen are proven and very strong and very compelling. And the idea of getting your body temperature up and getting sweaty even to the point of being uncomfortable is a wonderful hormetic stressor that’s a stressor that delivers an overall positive adaptation.

Brad: So we get this fight or flight spike when we go in the sauna and then we recalibrate, we go back to homeostasis or we do a contrast therapy with hot and cold. And we’re going to get into a lot of these topics during the show. But I just wanted to tee you up cleanly for what Rick and I are gonna. Talk about, uh, alert you that it might sound commercially since we’re talking about a product from a business owner. But Hey, if you don’t want to visit almost heaven.com, that’s fine, but miss out at your own risk because the sauna experience is really a wonderful part and a wonderful balance to hectic high tech, modern life where we run out of time every single day to do things that are health boosting and relaxing, stimulating the parasympathetic response. Of course, after you get out and get over that fight or flight spike, that’s the whole point of what sauna, uh, and cold exposure is doing is an immediate stress response and then a recalibration where you feel those endorphins and that relaxation effect, and we got into this at the very end of the show just for a little bit, but I wanted to elaborate on the psychological and the social benefits of having a practice such as sauna or cold exposure.

Brad: And since I put my chest freezer and sauna in the backyard, this backyard has come alive to be a social centerpiece for young people like my girlfriend’s kids and my own kid and his friends who will drive out of their way to come out and hang out and try the cold tub. It’s a fascination. Oh my gosh. It’s so cold. You gotta try it and then going in back and forth and also going into the hot spa and it’s such a beautiful thing to see people convene over something other than a busy, crowded, noisy restaurant or going to a movie where you sit and watch another screen, a bigger screen, and now we can talk and have fun and laugh and sit in the box and relax and that’s where the conversation really starts to flow. There’s a podcast now defunct between Gabby Reece and Neil Strauss called the Truth Barrel and their gimmick was that they recorded the shows in their hot sauna so that people could relax and unwind and let it flow and it really does work and just like my ritual I’ve had with my son our entire life in the Jacuzzi.

Brad: He’s been going in there with me every night since he was zero years old. I have pictures of me holding onto this little body above the bubbly water and going in through the teenage years where oftentimes you don’t get a chance to have quality time and quality talk, but things sort of flow and let loose when you’re sitting in hot water and especially sitting in the hot barrel where you’re just relaxed and smiling and feeling good, and so don’t discount those social and psychological benefits of having a devoted health practice like sauna like cold exposure, like pairing them together. It’s wonderful and a super necessary element to inject into our busy, hectic, fast paced, modern lives. So please enjoy this show with Rick Mouw of Almost Heaven Saunas.

Brad: Rick Mouw from Almost Heaven saunas here to talk about heat therapy and the wonderful world of sauna, thank you so much for joining us.

Rick: My pleasure, Brad. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Brad: Well, I’m so glad to get hooked up and find out about your operation there from, uh, the amazing David Lapp health enthusiast who, uh, we exchange emails all the time and he says, yeah, I also got my own sauna, put it together really easily and it’s in my basement and I’m rocking and rolling. And I’m like, whoa. Because I love going to the health club and sitting in the sauna or doing it after the workout, but to have that opportunity right in your home environment, to me, especially because I’m a creature of habit and visual stimulation of whatever is around me. Boy, this is a wonderful new world and I know they’ve been doing it a long time in Europe, but it seems like you’re on the, uh, the forefront of something awesome here in the North American market to have a home sauna use become reasonable and affordable.

Rick: Yeah. We’ve become the largest manufacturer of do-it-yourself assemble in the home sauna kits in North America. So we’re very proud of that, but it’s got a lot to do with awareness and people like you learning about the benefits and the ease of owning your own sauna. So it’s an exciting time for us.

Brad: So it’s interesting, Rick, told me when we weren’t recording how you got started in the family business and, and transitioned all into all these, uh, uh, luxury therapeutic type of, uh, opportunities. Tell me, tell me about your career path to get to this point.

Rick: Well, the, a simple story, a short story is I grew up in the swimming pool business and a family business that evolved into a hot tub business and later that evolved into a sauna of business when we purchased a company called Almost Heaven Saunas as over 20 years ago. Since that time and got out of the hot tub business and the sauna of businesses just rocketed. And, and um, it’s an exciting time to, uh, to be in this industry, that’s for sure.

Brad: So I’d been a hot tub user my entire life. Absolutely love the relaxing regimen. I told you it’s a place where I’ve bonded with my son over the years since he was one years old and I’d take them out there and now he’s 20 and when we go and talk about life and just have that, uh, that nice setting in that nice ritual. Uh, but in terms of the physical experience, when you’re going and a heating your body temperature up, sweating inside the hot room, how does that differ from the spa experience?

Rick: Different in that I guess I look at the hot tub is being more relaxation, whereas the sauna is relaxing but adds the element of a wellness into the equation. In addition to being very low maintenance, very low operational cost. It’s more of a practical product for many people. Many a spa hot tub people are now purchasing saunas either in addition to their hot tub or replacing it, and the many health benefits of the sauna include aerobic conditioning, detox, respiratory relief, joint and muscle relief, arthritis relief, improve skin tone, just all these many benefits, many of which are medically documented I have created a wonderful opportunity for is an awareness that just wasn’t there 10 years ago.

Brad: Yes. Let’s talk about that aerobic conditioning aspect because it is kind of a bizarre concept to get hit with that literally sitting in a sauna can help make you a fitter athlete. But like you said, it’s been validated by science. Dr Rhonda Patrick has done a great job with her youtube videos describing the benefits of sauna to the cardiovascular system. Mark Sisson just did a great article on Mark’s Daily Apple.com detailing and sending links to all the studies. So it’s the real deal. I believe it’s a apparently it’s not new. It’s been going on in Scandinavia for what, 800 years or something, but now we’re finally awakening to the power of the sauna of, for, for physical benefit.

Rick: Well, you know, in addition to Finland in northern Europe for 800 or more years, you’ve got the Russian Banya. You’ve got North American sweat lodge in different places of the world. There are various versions and variations of the traditional sauna experience that. But they’re all basically the same concept where you, um, are sitting in a hot room, a pouring water on rocks to generate steam as desired. And then generally experiencing those, those benefits of both relaxation and wellness. To your comment about the aerobics is it is interesting for those who have been in a sauna that true sauna, they know that when you sit in that sauna in that heat, it does not take long for your heart to start beating faster. And I’d been in saunas where, especially in Finland, in Germany, where they get them so hot that, uh, your heart just starts beating like crazy. And, and, and, uh, you’re, you’re, you’re literally huffing and puffing in the experience. Now, of course, you control that by how hot you on it, but it isn’t an aeurobic experience, which then generates circulation, circulation improvement and uh, uh, expanded capillaries and so forth. And your body is your body heats. And then that generates all kinds of additional health benefits, many of which are medically documented.

Brad: So Dr Kelly Starrett, leading health authority, sauna, enthusiastic, uh, was describing to me the importance of getting a quite uncomfortable in there to where you feel quite hot and are sweating profusely to trigger these heat shock proteins and maximize the, the, the physical, hormonal and health benefits. Can you talk about the, the various temperatures that we’re going to experience, say in the health club or in the home setting, what, what options you have with your units and how all these things fall place, including, I’m setting you up for like a five part question here, but including the lower temperature infrared saunas. Compare and contrast.

Rick: Well boy, those are a lot of questions. Let’s start with that. Infrared for a minute. Infrared is low temperature generally getting to between 125 to 140 degrees. There is no water involved so there’s no steam and, and it may sauna hot to people, but 140 degrees is not hot to sit in that high is when you get to 185 or more. And uh, I’ve been in shows in Europe where there are upwards of 200 degrees and, and um, of course you don’t want to get so hot that it’s unhealthy. But, uh, most, most studies say that 200 degrees or less is perfectly fine. And uh, yes you do. You do have a quite an endorphin release when you’re in there. And then you go from the extreme heat into extreme cold and so you people hear about sauna is where they go from the hot sauna and then jump into the cold lake and back and forth.

Rick: Well, I will attest to that. I’ve been to Finland, uh, alone many times and I’ve literally gone from that hot style and after, you know, 10 or 15 minutes where it feels like I gotta get outta here and then jumping in the cold February water, have a hole in the ice. And of course having to get out of there instantly and you can’t wait to get back into the sauna and whether it’s an icy lake or a cold shower or a dunk tank or jumping into a swimming pool or a lake and back and forth is what becomes the true experience. And you know, over here when you go to a hotel or something, you say, “Let’s go in the sauna of that and you go in there for 15 or 20 minutes and you’re done. But over there, a sauna is not an event. It’s an experience and it can take hours where you’re just spending the better part of an evening going back and forth, grabbing some lunch in between and going back and forth again, and by the time you finished it is absolutely exhilarating and you are totally spent. Um, I’ve never run a marathon like you, but I’m guessing that when you’re all done with a true sauna experience, you feel as is wiped and relaxed as the hours following your completion of the marathon. It’s, it’s an amazing experience. It really is.

Brad: So I understand what’s happening here is the hormetic stress or the fight or flight response is being activated due to the exposure to hot temperatures and that causes the flood of stress. Hormones we’re familiar with the cortisol spike in the bloodstream and all these things that sometimes we talk about them in a negative connotation when you’re in the traffic jam, then you’re arguing with your boss and then you’re stressed about your bills and the prolonged stimulation of the fight or flight response is what’s destroying the health of the modern human. But in this case, we’re getting this short term hormetic stressor. And then when you exit and recalibrate and return back to homeostasis, you are strengthening your body’s reserves and your circulatory system, your oxygen delivery and all those things. So I appreciate how you described the sauna of experience, which is A going in there and getting hot and then B coming out and either going into cold, which is another hormetic stressor and turning into this contrast therapy, or I suppose if you just did the sauna Ah, and then returned to a, a moderate temperature shower and went about your day. You’re, you’re in this wonderful post post exercise or post sauna state where you’re getting a fitness and an adaptation response.

Rick: Certainly. And you know, I gave the extreme of my finished experiences going from 200 degrees to ice water. But of course that, that is the extreme hot and extreme cold when I, I’ve been through many sauna, but a recent one where I had one of our barrels sitting out in our back yard. And um, our, our office is in Michigan here. My home is in MIchigan, our factory is in West Virginia. But I would go in that sauna and when I to cool off, I just had a chair standing outside sauna in the snow and I would just go sit in the snow. It wasn’t a dark day, but my body was steaming. I’m sitting in this chair and after four or five minutes to that, I’m starting to cool off and I’m ready to get back into the sauna. And then I would take an arm full of snow.

Rick: I bring it in the sauna and I would dump it right on top of the heater. Those heaters are designed to, to take the water and that, that snow, which is gradually melted on that hot coals and just generate a perpetual esteem in the sauna. And um, so that experience was not as cold as this is an ice lake, at least at least the shock of it. Um, but it was a different way to experience the, you know, the transition from hot to cold. You could do it with a cold shower, you can do it with ice or a dunk tank. You could do it with simply stepping out of the sauna if it’s in your basement and just sitting in a chair for a little bit because going from, you know, 170 or 180 degree temperature to 70 or 80 degree temperature is still cooling off.

Brad: Right. And for the, the athlete, uh, this study, which is so interesting to me, it’s been passed around a lot. We’ll put a note in the, uh, we’ll put a link in the show notes. They’re talking about athletes going in there after workouts for half an hour and experiencing increased plasma cell volume, increased red blood cells, and then going and doing a performance test before and after this sauna experiment and increasing their time to exhaustion. So it’s sort of strengthening the fitness adaptation to the workout you just did by pairing it with sauna.

Rick: We spoke before this interview offline and I were an athlete and I told you I am not, so I can’t speak from experience to that, but I do know I’ve heard many stories, like you’re saying, where people following an intense workout like to get in the sauna. I’ve heard as many stories were, some athletes prior to a workout like to get into sauna and maybe it’s because they have stiff joints, maybe want to loosen muscles. Um, whatever. I think it underscores though that a sauna experience can be different for everybody. There are those that liked to work out in a sauna. This is why, uh, the advent of hot yoga is becoming a thing. It’s not hot hot, but it’s a warm room and lifting weights or exercising in a sauna in the warmth is becoming more popular. So some are finding the benefit before workout, some during the workout and some after it work out, which, uh, just shows the diversity of, of, of what a sauna I can do for different people and different lifestyles, different body types and different, um, uh, desires.

Brad: That’s so funny, Rick, because I mean, back in the eighties, 30 years ago when I was first preparing for the dreaded Hawaii Ironman out on the lava fields of the big island of Hawaii and the intense heat and how difficult it is to prepare on the mainland continent for that, that type of heat conditions. And guys would go in the sauna with their exercise bikes and do a workout and everybody thought they were crazy and they’d sweat a seven pounds of fluid out, but they were actually the, the, uh, the trendsetters, the early adapters because those sessions indeed help condition the body for performing in the heat, but not only that, they also improve the fitness adaptation. And now I’m, I’m, you know, when I’m in the, uh, the sauna at the health club, this guy came in there with full, full dressed for spinning class and he just sat and sat on the bench and they’re with me.

Brad: I’m in my bathing suit, finishing my workout, relaxing. And I’m like, what are you doing dude? He’s like, oh, I just, I come in here and sit down for a few minutes before spinning class. And it was, it’s an absolutely brilliant idea that I’d never thought of until I saw this guy come in fully clothed. And I’m thinking, you’re gonna, you know, you’re going to sweat through all your clothes.? No, he, he went in there for an appropriate length of time. And then when he sets foot in the gym or in the weight room, uh, their, their body is, is warmed up literally, and it’s, it’s injury prevention and just priming the body for peak performance because that’s what we’re doing in the first 10 minutes of the session. Anyway. That’s why the yoga class feels so good and you can hold the stretches deeper, uh, due to the elevated temperature in the room.

Rick: Well, in gyms, in hotels, in my experience, they, they’re not hot enough. They don’t let you use water. Um, it’s a typical American experience where they just don’t know what they’re doing. Our health club doesn’t even have sauna is not even hot. It’s, you don’t have best warm, but the true, true saunas but you go in there and you can be sitting in there for five or 10 minutes and actually because your heart rate starts picking up, you’re actually getting started on your warm up before you even get into spin class or whatever. Exercise Class. So it’s a little bit of a, I don’t know, it’s a little bit of a heads up on, on others were in some cases that feels good. You’re already getting your heart pumping by not doing anything except sitting there and then you’re ready to tear into it when you get into the class.

Brad: So tell me about the temperature ranges such as the lame hotel one that’s not hot enough. Can you give me some guesses about what we’re, what we’re seeing there, what is the Almost Heaven units, what’s their range and what’s the recommended a experience for the consumer? Are we going to work up to a higher temp and then you mentioned in Europe going over 200 plus and that sounds like that’s a rare but a valuable occasion to, to really get hot.

Rick: Well, there’s no rules and everybody has a different preference. So I’ll preface it with that. Um, and there is, there is the safety issue. Um, again, I’m not speaking from a medical point of view, but generally, you know, they’ll say that anything above 198 degrees is probably getting too hot for the acceptance of most people. I am saying, though, that in Europe and many of the experiences I’ve had, they’ve intentionally get them above 200, um, because that’s what they want. And some people can’t tolerate the heat, you know, your tolerance maybe at a 165. Mine might be at 185. Interestingly, in some of the fitness clubs in Finland that I’ve been to in Helsinki and the Avascular, they will have a, they call it a spa over there, so we call a spa hot tub. But power there as a, as a place you go and it will have many types of experiences including a big swimming pool and steam rooms and hot tubs, Saunas and, and over there.

Rick: And Finland. It’s men separate from women. And so when you go into the men’s section, they had literally forced sauna. I was lined up in a row. sauna is that would hold 10 to 12 people in them. And each one was set at a different temperature and so converting to Fahrenheit, maybe one at 160 degrees, one was at 170, one at 180 and one at 195 and they kept them at those temperatures and people would either select the sauna of temperature that they already knew that was best for them. Or sometimes people would graduate up, they’d started this one and then they cool off. And then they go into this one, once again, it’s not a 20 minute one and done experience over there. It’s a, it’s an event, it’s, it’s, um, you know, a multi hour thing where then you get cleaned up and shower and go to the swimming pool and go back in the sauna and it just goes back and forth. To your question, our saunas will get as hot as really you want them to up to the 200. But uh, the, the fair, typical range, I mean preferred is generally, I would say 180, to 195 that most people find that range to be an exhilarating sauna experience. But there are those that prefer to have their room at 150 and 160 degrees and keep it there. And the rare person that wants it hotter, if you can get them to do that as well.

Brad: Right? I’m going with Starrett, my man when he says get as hot as you can and sweat like crazy until you can’t hardly take it. And then exit. And I think he’s, uh, going with the concept that the generation of heat shock proteins is where you get these phenomenal health benefits. And if the listener wants to Google that to term or look for Rhonda Patrick’s video on it, uh, these are this, this wonderful adaptive response that has wide ranging benefits. Can you talk some about that or what’s kicking in when we get a profound exposure to heat?

Rick: Sure. There’s many benefits I’ve experienced personally is regularly would attest to this. And of course it’s promoted both on the web but also in many medical studies. Um, first of all, you know when your, when your heart starts beating faster in that heart high temperature, you’re pushing more blood through your, through your body. And by doing that, your blood vessels are expanding, you’re getting improved circulation and that can lead to improvements and just how you feel, of course, but also in a muscle relief and just feeling better about and more relaxed and so forth. It leads to a improve skin tone. Everything from just having, you know, darker complexion on a rate if you’re using on a regular basis, but also the sweating that many studies indicate that it helps with a acne. It helps was psoriasis and improved a skin tone. Uh, all of these things are side benefits. Of course they vary from individual to individual, but they’re pretty common across the board. A joint and muscle relief, you know, people with a sore back or sore muscles or it’s different than an infrared. Infrared, as I said, doesn’t get hot hot, but it also directs the heat just at, in one direction, one place, whereas a sauna of the entire room gets hot and the higher you get into the sauna, the hotter it is. And then there’s the respiratory aspect. When you sprinkle water on those hot rocks, you get this just as incredible burst of steam and if you mix a little of eucalyptus or one of the other essential oils in the water, you sprinkle that and you get the breathe that in. It’s like a, you know, in a, in a room with a delightfully smelling vaporizer and it dissipates quickly because all that moisture gets absorbed in that hot air. And that’s the sauna experience. It’s, it’s continually sprinkling water on the rocks as desired. And then that, that makes it a wet sauna. And once that burns off, it’s a dry sauna and it’s just back and forth. And in addition to them stepping out of the sauna and cooling off and in, back in, it’s just a, it’s always a back and forth. And you and I already talked about some of the health benefits of the sweating, the intense sweating that grows out in, in those temperatures. Um, as an athlete, you know, you are body sweats for really two reasons. You sweat to cool off and, uh, that obviously is very, very important. Uh, but you’re also sweat when you’re not feeling well when you’re, when you have a fever and what your body’s doing is trying to, to detox, it’s trying to bleed out, all those are sweat out all those impurities that are, that are making you ill or making you feel that discomfort and so it’s a very real experience and by artificially elevating the temperature in your body, by being in this hot room, you, you force your body to sweat and it, it. You’ve experienced this, this phenomenon you would get when you work out intensely or when you’re ill and you sweat, but the benefits of sweating, it’s a purification

Brad: Rick. You’re getting me excited, man. I mean, sounds too good to be true. It sounds like Almost Heaven just to go in there and have this be part of your daily routine and I didn’t know that was allowed. That’s, that’s great that you can put the essential oils in there and, and throw those on the rocks with the water and you get a, you can make a, a, a, you can lift us environment relaxed the heck out of you.

Rick: Oh yeah. There’s, there’s many different aromas that you can use. We offer a variety of different ones and it only takes a couple of drops, but of course people ask often, you know, when I buy my sauna and what should I do, how high should I have, what oils should I have? And the is no pat answer because it is personal preference as we talked about you, you will determine in short order, when do you like to use the sauna? Some people like to use it before bed, some hate using it before bed, uh, they prefer at first thing in the morning. Other thing, people, as we discussed before, workout or after, you’ll figure that stuff out. You’ll figure out the temperature, you like it, you’ll figure out how much time you want to spend in it. Well, how you want to cool off, you’ll, you’ll figure out what if any essential oils you like. You’ll figure out whether you like to do it with people. As you said, you know, and experiences sitting could conversation with your son or your spouse or maybe it’s just alone time. There’s no rules and and, and everybody will experience differently, but in all cases it’s a good outcome.

Brad: We don’t have any disgruntled customers saying their life’s been ruined by getting in the sauna frequently.

Rick: Not at all. Not at all. No. You and I, again, we talked a beforehand, but we’ve really seen in the last 10 years, I think a real increase ,of course, in the volume of sauna of sales, but also in the interest and, and the knowledge, the education. You know, 10 years ago people didn’t even notice and then the infrareds came, they started to think that’s a sauna, but then they started to get people that would buy them and read about and figure out what, you don’t really get hot and you can’t use water and that doesn’t mean they’re a bad thing. It’s just, it’s not a sauna. And I’m. So awareness is becoming a much more prevalent in sauna sales, ever generating, sauna sales and also our, what we’ve become very, very good at is building a sauna. I had a decent price that people can put it together themselves. So, you know, a couple could, could purchase this and it’ll be delivered to their home, at curb side, and they can get it in their garage and, and in a matter of hours they can get that set up outdoors and the basement and the gym, whatever, wherever they want to put it. But it’s not complicated a call, an electrician to do the wiring. Very simple. And I, you’re off and running enjoying a sauna experience and entering the world,

Brad: Right Rick, I, I’ve done a lot of research when I was deciding to take the plunge and get into this scene and get something at home so I would actually do it rather than look at my punch card and the gym and realize I haven’t been there in 17 days. And I looked into the infrared, talk to people in that game that had them and love them. And then of course got in deeper with um, the, the idea of seeing the best benefits when you’re, when you’re really hot and sweaty and I know you’re the owner of a, a, a, a dry sauna operation. And so you’re not the most independent observer here. But when you talk about that infrared, I know there’s health benefits to it, but you just describe it as a different experience. It’s not, it’s not really a sauna of because the temperature is not that high, but can you compare and contrast a little bit like what are the benefits that you’re getting from the infrared and we kind of have a sense of what we’re not getting, which is that that sweating, that detoxification, the heat shock proteins being generated from the extreme stress of going up to 200 degrees?

Rick: Right. And you’re, you’re, you’re right. I can’t be totally objective on the infrared experience and there will be those that disagree with me. I think many of the supposed medical benefits of the infrared to me are a bit dubious because they all have the benefits. They list list are the same benefits that a sauna at generates. But since it’s not high temperature, it really can’t be generated. I’ll leave that legal approval for that to an expert, not me. But you know, when it doesn’t get hot and it just, it doesn’t accomplish the same thing. But on the other hand, if someone cannot tolerate hot temperatures but likes it warm and also has very limited space or wants to do a plug in to 110 volt outlet rather than a wire to 220, well then an infrared might be their only alternative and that’s, you know, that’s a step in the right direction. I guess I can say that about them. Uh, we offer a few. But, um, again, it’s a very, very tiny part of what we do. You know. Can I say one more thing about the whole gym experience? This is a bit of an irony I think. But um, when you, you know, how people and they end up, if you get going to a gym, it becomes a bit of a habit. You, you’d go and you’d like to go. There’s many types of equipment. You can take classes. Most people I know who decided that they wanted to take a, do their workout at home and purchase their own exercise gym or do their own whatever. It’s a flash in the pan. They, they, they buy the weight set, they buy the exercise bike. They do whatever, but the discipline just isn’t there because, um, you don’t have the motivation of everybody else doing the same thing and I’ve seen many people do.

Rick: They invest in this stuff and then a, they don’t use it, but they got involved in a routine with a gym or something and they stick with it the opposite where the people are often uncomfortable getting into sauna at the gym or they, it’s not hot enough or whatever, but when you have your own sauna, you have privacy. It’s there whenever you want to use it. It’s a passive experience. You don’t need to get mentally prepared to work out and do all that or do you don’t have the right equipment. It’s, it’s likely better than the experience you’d have at the gym anyway in a sauna and they have all that at your own home, very affordably. It making it affordable is a, is a quite a different, uh, different experience, I guess, or a different outcome than investing in workout equipment for your home where you can never compete with the gym.

Brad: Oh, that’s a brilliant insight, man. I love that. And it’s so relevant to me because the, the idea of creating the optimal environment and you have all the fitness toys at your disposal at home, but that motivational factor of getting in the car and driving somewhere and now you’re committed, you’re not going to drive to the gym parking lot and go, eh, I don’t feel like it. I’ll turn around. Very unlikely. But when you’re walking past your weight bench in the garage, because you’re going to get some more a light bulbs, you very likely will look at it and go and not now. So the physical location and the act of placing yourself in a surround supportive environment with other people working out at solid gold. That’s why the gym’s exist. But then it’s sorta like the opposite. The sauna requires no discipline, but it does require that convenience factor where you can, you can look at it in your backyard and your garage and go, Oh, if I flip a switch a in 20 minutes, I’m going to be in heaven. And I think that’s, um, that’s super relevant to consider for everyone is that environment. In fact, uh, you know, I’ve mentioned Kelly Starrett on the show and we spent the large majority of our podcast together talking about setting yourself up for success and battling against all the untoward, unhealthy influences of modern life and we’re talking about technology and how you can put your phone plugged in outside your bedroom and that’s where the cord is so that you automatically will charge it up there and won’t have that temptation in your bedroom. And then all the way down the line to getting yourself committed to a class or a trainer and then having the accoutrements at home. And of course he’s got the chest freezer and the sauna as I do. And boy, you can’t beat that to have it right there. Snap your fingers and you’re going to town. So in your case, Rick, what’s the frequency of your use and what’s your recommendation to someone who’s just getting started? Do you do this as a daily practice a few times a week? How long do you spend in there, etc. ?

New Speaker:

Rick: I knew you were gonna. Ask me that and I have to make a true confession right now. At this moment I’m between saunas. We moved into a small condo here and since our last home and we’re building a home, so I’m at the moment I don’t have a sauna in my house, However, after many, many years and I will shortly again. And um, you know, we’ve had um, indoor saunas and outdoors saunas. I like them a outdoor better. We manufacture both actually. We sell about 50 slash 50, uh, indoor and outdoor. But I liked the outdoor experience myself. And as far as frequently or frequency, I would use mine when it’s, when my had one set up and ready for use, probably four or fIve times a week. Um, I generally do. It’s about a 30 to 40 minute routine. I don’t do the finished program generally, but I like to do it to relax. And so I don’t do it before work out. I will do it a generally not. I go to the gym to workout. So it really has nothing to do with my workout routine. It has more to do with my after work routine or on a Saturday, late morning after I run my errands and had my breakfast and so forth. I’d love to just get in there and relax for awhile. Um, so that’s my routine. And, and temperature wise, I like about one that I generally like to start at about 180 sit in the sauna and it’s a dry sauna now. I’ve not used water yet. If it’s in the wintertime I’ll go then sit outside for five minutes and then I’ll go back in the sauna and now it’s a little hotter. Do that a few times. And by the time it’s up to about 190, I start sprinkling water on a rock to generate the steam and the wet sauna. And that’s how that ended up. So I did say after 30, 35, 40 minutes, that’s my typical routine and I’ll get cleaned up and uh, continue my day. I don’t generally do it before bed. It just, I don’t know. I’m a, I’m a veg out in front of my ipad and tv before bed. That’s good. The sauna it comes earlier in the evening or, or late in the day.

Brad: Well, we want the body temperature to drop naturally in tandem with the melatonin release and the other hormonal factors that are preparing us for a good night’s sleep. So I can’t imagine that would be too effective to get anywhere near the bed time. And I know I’ve been, uh, in that sauna, uh, in the gym after my speed golf session and then it got dark and then I’m over in the gym and then I’m in the sauna and it’s getting 8:30, 8:45 PM. I’m trying to go to bed at 10 and I had to solve that puzzle with a dunk into my chest freezer cold tub. Of course you can do the same with a cold shower. So I suppose if you use sauna in the evening, you could always pair it with a cold experience and have that be a wonderful, uh, evening ritual. In fact, the contrast therapy of going from a cold swimming pool to warm spa in the wintertime has been a part of my lifestyle for a very long time. But you, you’re not feeling a super hot after a session like that, especially because it entails water, not dry sauna, but um, that saunas like fun. And so, uh, you were saying you’re going in and out, uh, in the door and out, especially in the early part of your experience just for waiting for the temperature to heat up.

Rick: Well, yeah, when you will reach its maximum temperature depending on the ambient temperature, but a 45 minutes to an hour tops and you know, I’ll generally step into the sauna after I’ve turned it on 40 minutes or so and start, it’s not quite as hot as it’s going to get yet. And that’s when I go back and forth. You know, I mentioned the winter , Brad. We have snow here in Michigan in the summer. What I’ll do is I’ve got an outdoor shower , had an outdoor shower and put directly up to a garden hose and I couldn’t use in the winter because they’d all freeze and that’s when I’d use just the snow. But in the summer or early spring, late fall, that water coming out of the garden hose was in that outdoor showers. Just ac and um, that was just exhilarating. I love that. And then I go back in the sauna and I had the shower right outside the sauna sauna door, I mean, right there. So I stepped out of that shower, you know, and you’re sitting in that sauna or for 10 or 15 minutes and it’s 180 degrees of tell you what, that ice water feels just delightful. And then after a minute of that, you’re ready to get back in that sauna. I was just back and forth.

Brad: Yeah. It’s hard to describe how awesome that feels. That contrast of going hot, cold, hot, cold. And I find when I’m done with the experience, you’re just so incredibly relaxed. I wouldn’t do it right before you have to give a Ted Talk or run a triathlon because your body is just, you’re, you’re, you’ve never felt more relaxed. And so I wouldn’t say I’m highly energized after a contrast session, but boy, doing somethIng like that at the end of the day, I mean that’s when, you know, we talked so much these days about, you know, trying to come down off this fight or flight hectic pace of modern life where your brain’s going and ruminating all day long and you’re working through your to do lIst and you have constant stimulation from tech addiction and to unplug and stimulate that parasympathetic nervous system response is critical to general health as well as getting a good night’s sleep and all those important benefits. And I can’t think of a better way. There’s just no other way to get that relaxed. Maybe a, a, a full body massage for an hour and a half. But um, those are, those are few and far between for most people.

Rick: You know, when I’m in northern Europe and in Finland. But I get there several times a year over there. This, this, this multi hour experience that you’re not in the sauna of the whole time. you’ll often have snacks and food out there. And over there, I wouldn’t recommend it here, but they’ll have a couple of beers before the sauna and then afterwards, but they conduct a lot of conversation in business meetings in the sauna and so I’ve been there where, you know, I was picked up at the airport so let’s get to the sauna and that’s where you, you conduct business?

Brad: Yeah. And then they’ll see if this american guys that they’ll see if this american guy can hang, if any, if he begs out after 18 minutes and they’re like, oh, we’ll do business with somebody else there to see if you’re the real deal. And then, oh, here Rick have a third beer while you’re in a 180 degree temperature environment.

Rick: We have a wall here in our office. We have glass walls and we have a lot of us finish a sauna quotes and fables and so forth. And uh, odd talks about, I can’t say one verbatim right now, but some to talk about, you know, some of the business is conducted in the sauna. And a house is only a house. It’s a home with a sauna. And was just all kinds of Finnish proverbs that are out there that, uh, we start posting on our wall here and it’s kind of interesting how they look at the sauna over there. It’s a part of life, whereas it’s not that here and now as a manufacturer, I hope it gets to that point and it’s certainly heading in the right direction. But again, it’s uh, it’s about, uh, education awareness, actually having the experience. So, uh, we just need to spread the love of this.

Brad: Right? And we talked before the recording about kinda the, the psychological benefits, the social benefits of having such a ritual in play. And I told you that, you know, with my spa, my jacuzzi use my whole life. It’s been like a great bonding experience for my son starting when he was zero years old. I have pictures of me holding this little body in the, in the spa and we’d go out there every single night and over the years it would be a place where we, we’d get to talking, which is not, uh, an easy opportunity with a teenager, what have you. And now he’s a college student and we’re working through challenges of life and talking about the political environment and anything that’s on our mind, but you don’t usually get to this stuff when you’re at a busy restaurant having a meal or a driving in a car or even it’s just sort of a relaxed environment where you, um, you kind of unplug and let it flow. And I think the, the social and the psychological benefits are profound. The fact that you are taking the time to do something beneficial and relaxing for yourself, set you up for a happy balanced, fulfilled life. And I think, uh, if you don’t have time to go for a ritual of 30 minutes length everyday, then we got to take a close examination of your priorities because I’m betting that you have an impressive mowing down through your Netflix queue. But that’s not quite in the same category as this complete physical, psychological experience of, of being exposed to heat or doing the contrast therapies like the Finns have done. It’s, it’s a very important priority.

Rick: We, um, when we were kids, my kids were all grown now, but when they were younger we lived on a lake and we had an outdoor sauna there and my boys and I in particular we did and we do exactly as you described with your son. You did a conversation and then we went off the dock and jump in a lake and then we’d come back into sauna. And so that was that, that ritual. But um, I know again, back to Finland, my wife has joined me there several times and one of our more recent trips, we went in a couple different occasions in different saunas this family of, of our hosts join us and their young children or teenage children. And you just sit in the sauna and as you say, you talk and, and what’s interesting about the sauna of this, everybody’s level of heat tolerance or, or length of time. They want to be in the sauna of various. And so there maybe start with us to start six in the sauna, but after, I don’t know, some period of time two would leave and then they go in the showers or, or, or cool off in a lake and then two more would peel off and then another one would come back and pretty soon it’s just this, this hour long or multi hour experience. We’re just coming and going and sharing conversation as we go. Um, and it was real delIghtful. That was the first time my wife had experienced that and sheets. She just come in and how cool that was and how relaxed everybody was and that these young teenagers over there and just enjoyed hanging out with us, having conversation in the sauna. I’m much like you described in your hot tub with your son. So yeah, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an awesome opportunity to connect without the music or about the technology sitting around you and just talk.

Brad: Yeah, don’t bring your iPhone in there because you’re going to get the overheated warning anyway, man, just. Oh, I love it. Rick, would a beautiful summation of the, the whole sauna experience. And we do have to give a plug for your business because it’s within reach. It’s a, it’s an affordable experience now. And these units that you guys have are just absolutely beautiful. This barrel sauna made out of real wood. Everything’s over at. Almost Heaven.com. Get started on the get started on the decision right now. Hi Rick.

Rick: Yeah. Highly encouraged. Absolutely.

Brad: And you have these specials going and this is direct to consumer that allows you to, to make things really affordable. Like you said at the outset, the installation is so easy. So I don’t mind giving a big plug for you here. it’s, it’s gonna. It’s going to improve people’s lives. So I appreciate you spending the time to detail the benefits in your whole, your whole journey to the, to the Almost Heaven scene.

Rick: Well, I appreciate the opportunity to talk about not only our business but also a passion that we, you and I clearly share. So, uh, thank you for the opportunity and to all your listeners out there, Almost Heaven.com information and any questions. Got a full staff that can, help you anytime.

Brad: Well, not anytime because they take their breaks throughout the workday. Right? For that 30 minute stint, you’ll, you’ll get a recording and there’ll be back soon. Love it. Rick Mouw from Almost Heaven Saunas. Thank you.

SaveSave

I visit the beautiful waterfront of Kirkland, Washington to get some breakthrough insights on athletic training and recovery from Joel Jamieson of 8WeeksOut.com

Months prior to our meeting in summer 2018, my mind was blown by an article Joel wrote on his website called “All Pain, No Gain: Why The High Intensity Training Obsession Has Failed Us All.” In it, Joel reframes our basic notion of recovery from a static activity to something that actually requires energy to achieve. If you envision your weekly energy expenditure in a pie chart, you devote slices to workouts, your career, coaching soccer, whatever, but we must also acknowledge that refreshing brain neurons and restocking muscle glycogen require energy to perform!  

The harder your train, the more energy you need to devote to recovery. Unfortunately, athletes usually think in the narrow dimension of training hard and then crashing on the couch to “recover,” or worse, training hard and heading to their high-stress desk job to “recover.” What happens when you disrespect the energy requirement of recovery is you get into what Joel refers to as “recovery debt.” Listen to Joel’s show on the Primal Endurance podcast where he details these concepts. 

Joel brings some more mind-blowing insights to this show when he discusses his interesting concept of Rebound Training. Here again, fitness enthusiasts are compelled to reframe our notion of recovery from inactivity to something perhaps more effective—distinct physical exercise that is designed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and tone down the usually predominant sympathetic nervous system activity. Some more interesting food for thought: Unlike primal humans, exercise and food are no longer inextricably linked. This royally screws up our genetically hardwired dopamine reward system. In short, when we are inactive and eat in modern life, we short circuit our motivation to work out.   

Joel is a longtime enthusiast of Heart Rate Variability and his new app Morpheus App (find in App store and start using it!) allows you to aggregate assorted training and lifestyle factors, including HRV, to auto-generate a Recovery score. Knowing your state of recovery, you can make more informed training decisions and stay away from the dreaded recovery debt.  

Here are some examples of Rebound Training: Extensive breathing, stretching, and mobility exercises to get blood flowing without stressing the body; Doing only the concentric portion of a deadlift, then dropping the weight to prevent muscle soreness. Here you get the nervous system activation without the muscle damage; Doing very short intervals (say 10-12 seconds) and then allowing long recovery period (like 60 seconds) where you make a devoted effort to lower your heart rate quickly (Yes, amazingly, you can get better and better a this skill! Work on it in the gym and then you can use the same tips to control your stress response in the traffic jam or workplace). Joel coaches world champion MMA fighters, but every fitness enthusiast can learn to make recovery an absolute top priority and do it the right way. Since recording this show with Joel, I have altered my approach to recovery workouts to integrate some of the rebound training techniques instead of just sit around and wait for my muscles and body to feel better and then hit it hard again. It freakin’ works man! Get outside and move and you will recover faster.  

Joel is a big-time helicopter pilot so you may get a fun outtake where he is talking about the importance of relaxing and going with the flow in whatever you do, including landing a freaking helicopter on a random mountaintop in the Pacific Northwest, which is one of Joel’s hobbies. After the show, Joel was headed out into the beautiful Pacific Northwest sunset for a quick helicopter trip to Vashon Island. Four hours by car, 30 minutes by helicopter. More time to recover! 

TIMESTAMPS: 

Helicopter flying calls for relaxing. [00:08:31]  

Recovery actually takes much energy. [00:14:09]  

Where does heart rate variability stand in your method? [00:17:58]  

Do you think smartphone technology is accurate? [00:19:27]  

What are you putting into Morpheus besides the HRV number? [00:20:27]  

When you HRV is high, it means your body is trying to recover. [00:25:12]  

Under mental stress, the inflammatory markers are elevated. [00:29:26]  

A hardcore endurance athlete would want to see an upper trend in the baseline. [00:31:43]  

Aerobic fitness is more important than strength training.  [00:34:45]  

What is worth expending energy for? [00:37:28]  

Portion size is a big problem when eating out. [00:42:51]  

What is rebound training? [00:44:18]  

What is your reason for working out in the gym and are you using that time well? [00:50:50]  

What kind of training does Jamieson do? [00:52:38]  

So the idea that recovery is just resting is not correct. You can develop the ability to turn off stress. [00:55:55]  

Recovery is where things actually happen. [01:01:09]  

LINKS: 

Morpheus App:  

Joel Jamieson 

8WeeksOut 

LISTEN:

Download Episode MP3

Get Over Yourself Podcast

Brad: Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns. I cover health, fitness, peak performance, personal growth, relationships, happiness and longevity, so slow down, take a deep breath, take a cold plunge and pursue your competitive goals in all areas of life with great intensity and passion, but release your attachment to the outcome and learned to have fun along the way. That’s the theme of this show. Here we go,

Brad: Hi listeners, my guest Joel Jamison is going to blow your mind. He’s gonna alter your perspective and get you to rethink some of the basic notions of athletic training and recovery. This is the first time I met him, but we did a great show a months ago on my primal endurance podcast channel, so go check that out where he talks about these amazing concepts of the constrained model of energy expenditure and recovery based training. The idea that recovery takes energy in and of itself. A my thick head just didn’t really grasp this with the profound appreciation that I did after reading his article called All Pain and No Gain, so you have to check him out over at eightweeksout.com. That’s the number eight weeks out.com. He’s been deep into the MMA fighting scene for many years. I believe that’s how he first got his major impact because he called these guys out. This is many years ago now where he basically addressed the MMA community and he said, hey, all y’all are trained in too hard. You’re sparring too much in practice, you’re getting broken down, burnt out, and I have a better way, and I think he was initially criticized and then wow. Made his major impact. He’s training the top top fighters. He has a world champion in his camp. You can see his pictures and the stories on eight weeks out.com, but the concept that the harder we train, the more energy we have to devote to recovery will slap you in the face if you sit back and reflect upon it and again, as we covered that topic briefly, but then got into another profound insight that he calls “rebound training” where instead of just laying around after hard workouts to recover, which is what my mentality has been my entire athletic career. You know what I’m saying? Like, yeah, we wrote 100 miles yesterday, so today I’m going to eat chips and watch movies on the couch because that is the smartest athlete to recover.

Brad: He actually has this concept of rebound training where you can get into the gym or wherever and do specific purposeful exercises that trigger the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest recovery functions as opposed to the over domination of the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight that occurs in general everyday hectic life and also when we train in a devoted manner. So wow, this was just a profound insight for me to think that you go in the gym, you do some breathing and stretching and mobility exercises. You do some purposeful things such as, let’s say doing a ten second all out interval and then recovering for the next 60 seconds and during that time, making a concerted effort to lower your heart rate and by becoming skilled at this parasympathetic activation, right to lower your heart rate. You can get good at this during the busy work day or when you’re in a traffic jam and you become skilled at activating parasympathetic function and speeding up your recovery time.

Brad: A quote from Joel’s article about rebound training, “the most important thing you can do is to shift your body into what I call the recovery state. Within 24 to 48 hours following a high intensity session.” He also got me improving my understanding about heart rate variability because ah, I didn’t realize this concept before, but a high HRV, which is widely acknowledged to be the chance to go out there and train hard because you’re fully recovered, might mean that your parasympathetic nervous system is working really hard because you still haven’t fully recovered. Trip out on that. We know that if your HRV is low, that you’re not supposed to train because you’re tired, but if your HRV is abnormally high, it also might be an appropriate time for recovery. Ha, I’m telling you, this is cutting edge right here. Listen to the show. This is a cool dude.

Brad: He’s a big time helicopter pilot. That’s his hobby. His passion. He showed me some videos on his desktop where he’s flying around in the mountains of Washington and notices a mountaintop that’s bald, you know, no trees on it, and he just laid that puppy down in the middle of the forest just for a quick landing, having a little fun, blowing some dirt around and just after we recorded the show, nearing sunset and the beautiful summers of the Pacific northwest, he was about to take off on his helicopter and pop over to a nearby island where his boat was parked for a weekend of chilling; a helicopter flight time, 30 minutes if you want to do the same. Driving through the crazy Seattle traffic and writing the ferries. It was a four hour journey. So what a way to travel in the helicopter and he gives some interesting insights about the importance of relaxing and going with the flow. When he was talking about his helicopter piloting. So per my mission on the show, I pushed the record button. It was before we started in with the formal show about fitness and peak performance, and you’ll get some interesting little tidbits about the importance of relaxing and going with the flow even when you’re doing a life or death maneuver like landing a helicopter. Let’s listen to Joel Jamison in Beautiful Kirkland, Washington.

Joel and Brad: We learned to fly a helicopter or an airplane for that amount of your attention. You’re very tight. Oh, should control the hell out of the thing, right? Really feel tense and tight. I’d make these large, abrupt, controlling and the helicopters all over because it’s so important, and so the closer you get to the ground, the more afraid you get it. Right, so your natural instinct to try to hold on tighter and tighter, you hold onto the cycle is what controls the. The main, the cyclic control left to right, forward, backward. The tighter your whole onto that, or even the pedals as well. The more you over control the whole helicopter, you ended up just getting into the whirlpool of death and the more you actually relax, the smaller your inputs become, the better you actually fly. So it’s a. it’s a, it’s a really clear picture of how important it is to be able to just relax and go with the moment or the moment rather than trying to force things to happen because you literally can feel the helicopter very enough or he’s got to get over yourself and the helicopter flying and that’s one thing that teaches you is that you’ve got to relax.

Joel and Brad: Especially. We do a lot of emergency training, so engine basically, and we practice gliding and spots. You don’t have to turn it off. He disconnected from the main rotor blades and you practice basically gliding into spots and of course people’s natural. Anything is to tense up because the helicopters dropping in 2000 feet a minute. I mean it’s serious. You drop in a helicopter training session, 2,500 feet a minute. Let’s see how you do here, man. Then you’ll get your license, but it’s just all part of practicing for that to happen. So if there was an emergency, you could. You could handle it, but a lot of that stuff is just learning how to just relax and deal with the situation versus trying to panic enforcement cleaner.

Brad: Well, I could see an athlete to relax, relax. It’s just a matter of life or death. That’s a little tough.

Joel: It teaches a valuable lesson because you relaxed, you fly better, much better actually.

Brad: \Now, do you have people that aren’t gonna make it past that where um, you know, they’re not cut out for flying and you have to say, Hey man, I noticed you’d never relaxed.

Joel: So flight instructor. Honestly, because I don’t want, I don’t want to have get paid to have people to kill me or try to kill me. At least that’s my instruction is right. It’s getting paid to help someone killed themselves. They learn how to fly mostly to now. I mean have definitely flown with a range of pilots and some people are much, much better at relaxing. Just letting, letting themselves go and just folks on the control and being loose and flexible and some people just never really quite get it. They overcontrolled they overthink and they can’t process the information as quickly because that’s the other thing is it’s a lot of information being processed. A lot of times you, you’re not just flying but you’re navigating your community and you’re doing all these things, pay attention to the instruments and the engine, um, and be able to process that and fly and make decisions is a skill that gets developed over time. And I considered having a conversation and helicopter listened to two different ATC conversations going on at once while I’m navigating. It’s a lot of things to process, but your brain can do it. It just takes practice, right? It’s like training.

Brad: Do you think the, like the simulators and the video games really would help these days?

Joel: You know, maybe to some extent they’ll never simulate the actual control factor or feelings that you get from being in the air. But you know, as far as some of the information processing, there’s probably some carryover. And there’s actually some, you know, at the top level of, of aviation. It’s all simulator training. So my, my cousin plays Lear jets and now jet called Challenger. These are three to five, 10, $20,000,000 jets and the first time you fly them is literally a real aircraft. After you’ve done all the training in the simulator, then you just go fly it and you’re ready to go. If there’s no actual training of the flying in the aircraft and training is all done, the stimulator, then you go fly the aircraft here, get your type rating and you’re done because it’s $5,000 an hour and no one’s gonna spend an hour to train you. So you simulator for $2,000 an hour, whatever. The stimulator. So expensive. Very expensive. Yeah. All the. All the training for the high level aircraft, all the commercial jets, that’s all simulator, all 100 percent simulator training, but those simulators are real

Brad: serious million dollar simulator or something.

Joel: They are three D either complete dimensional and they rotate and shift and rock and roll and panoramic views. I mean they simulate everything and that’s what all the actual pilots are trained on and kept carrying on. So no doubt and stimulation plays a role. That’s just a question of like, is your xbox really know? Maybe, maybe not.

Brad: I suppose if you, um, if you could keep cool under the pressure that you faced in the simulator rather than freaked because it’s real life. There’s no reason why not, unless you get your central nervous system.

Joel: Interference scenario base training is what a lot of the similar stuff. For example, uh, you know, when slowly went down in the Hudson and that was a miracle. The reality is they trained for that kind of stuff all the time. Like he made the right decision because he trained and stimulators and had engine failures that may be one in $100 million. They never happened. But he trained him to and then they actually did happen, right? I mean double bird strike is so rare to lose two engines like that, but he paid for it simulator and put it down as a result. So that’s what we do. And see what there’s a train feeds ridiculous scenarios that are highly unlikely, but when you’re talking to millions of flights, highly unlikely it’s going to happen sooner or later.

Joel: Yeah. Or you better do it. Exactly.

Brad: So did they train them with like getting their blood alcohol at two point two, three, like those guys from the US Air and see if they can still fly?

Joel: No, no, I don’t think so. No. The simulator. Yeah.

Brad: Uh, so I pushed the record button, Joel, because uh, if you know about the, the, the theme of the get over yourself podcast. We’re trying to, we’re trying to get real and cut through their performance aspect and have some fun. So I figured, you know, this, this flying thing, I forgot about that element when we talked about before. But you know, I, I got you on the um, the, the primal blueprint show because this article that you wrote, it just blew my mind this eight weeks out website and then the article was All Pain, No Gain and just opening up an entirely different point of view on recovery. And the main insight that for some reason never hit my thick head prior to that was that recovery actually takes energy. And in the, in the triathlon realm, I remember we’d just train our brains out until we were exhausted. Then we get on the couch and we say, I’m done with my training now I’m recovering and I’ll get back up again and whatever day and do it again, but never applying that concept of like the pie slice and the wedge of pie that you have to allocate to recovery. And so I went back and read it again just for fun to just get excited about our personal meeting here in beautiful Kirkland, Washington. And again, like this quote popped out at me where you said, the harder you train, the more energy you have to devote to recovery. And I, I’d never really thought about that either. That’s like this, this, this beast that keeps growing the more you train. So that’s our starting point, man.

Joel: I think it’s one of those things that just kind of hit me over the years and uh, you know, I hate to say old, but the older I get, the more you see it firsthand, the more athletes you work with or that are aging and it put the years in, the more you just see over and over again the same story. It’s the story of I trained really hard and I was young and I was able to perform at a high level and then I kept trying to do it and I kept trying to push my body harder and harder and harder. Sooner or later I started to break down and you just see this again. You see the story over and over again. So I’d been measuring heart rate variability for since about 2002, I would say 2003. I was one of the earliest coaches I would say in North America to use it.

Brad: So does that mean you had to do the giant machine?

Joel: Six electrodes, six electrodes. Now we got our smartphones. Yeah. Two on the ankles to, on the risks. And the actually had seventh and you had to have the chest and one on the forehead. So yeah, it was a lot of work, but it was very instrumental in the scene. Like Holy Shit, you know, like people’s recovery is so much worse than I expected it to be a. because my inherent thought, most people inherent thought is like, Oh, the gym itself is my biggest stressor. Right? They think like if I go out for workout for an hour or two, that’s the most stressful thing I do to myself, but the reality is it’s the other 21, 22, 23, 24 hours a day where you’re working or you’re dealing with family stress or you’re dealing with just life. Those things have a huge impact on recovery because they are also energy intensive and your body can only produce so much energy a day, so if you’re redirecting and all your energy towards just dealing with life and working in there and mentally doing stressful things, it sabotages your recovery. And so I started to see just the impact of people working at Microsoft and the deadline would coming up or college students studying for finals or know people going through divorce or relationship problems or dealing with, you know, family deaths or just things that would come up in everyday life. You would just see how much of an impact that has on people’s recovery and you’d see that as someone gets older, their ability to tolerate those things got worse and worse and worse and worse. So as their energy was going towards those things and that recovery, they couldn’t compensate the way they could when they were in the 19 twenties or know even sometimes already 30 days. You’d just see this diminishing effect of their body to handle all the things that you throw at it. And so just, you know, seeing that happen over and over again and then seeing that happen in my own training, my own life, you know, that’s the. When I was stressed out from business or I had my mom went through a stroke and I can see all these things happened to me and just seeing, you know, again, the impact of, of life and training and stress and all these things. It just shows you that your, your, you know, it needs to devote energy towards recovery. And if you don’t give it that time and you don’t give it that energy, you pay the price. Sooner or later, it’s just, it’s a, it’s a ticking time bomb. Really.

Brad: So where does heart rate variability stand in, in your, a respect of how well that indicates your state of recovery?

Joel: Well, you know, I think as a single metric, it’s, it’s the best single metric we have. Um, now the, the new system have got morpheus, looks at sleep, it looks at training, looks at activity in some other markers. I think help fine tune that.

Brad: That’s your APP. Morpheus. Morpheus,

Joel: yeah. It’s designed to essentially take all those data points and give you a recovery score versus HRV was just kind of gives you a number and expects you have to kind of figure out what that number means, which is the trickier part of HRV but I think as a single number it’s a, it’s a very powerful marker of recovery because, um, it’s given you an indication of the parasympathetic nervous system, which if your listeners are too familiar with that, it’s, you know, if the branch autonomic nervous system that drives energy into a tissue repair and tissue regeneration and digestion. I mean, it basically is the recovery branch and a lot of senses and so it’s given you a marker of where that system is functioning, so that tells us, hey, if that system is a certain state, we know the body is trying to devote energy back into recovery. If we noticed a different state, we know the body’s devoting energy more towards dealing with whatever stress and in front of it right now. So, you know, as a single gate, I think it’s an incredibly powerful a marker and there’s, there’s been research on for 50 years. I mean this isn’t something that’s some new thing they just invented. This has been around since the fifties and sixties. It’s been very, very well researched and documented. So I think as again, as a single number, it is the most valuable thing we have at this point.

Brad: And do you think the smartphone technology were. All we need is a chest strap and a $10 App, uh, is going to give you accurate readouts and accurate tracking?

Joel: No. I think accuracy, if you’re using one of the better gesture, perhaps like the polar and a few other ones that are really good at actually giving you the r interval data and you’re using, you know, a good app. My old original in his bio forest HRV, which certainly was documented, validated then yeah, you can get accurate readings. Again, I think the tricky part isn’t the reading. It’s understanding what that information means, right? It took me quite awhile to use HRV and see what the numbers meant because you know it’s going to be constantly changing the body’s dynamic, right? I could measure my blood pressure, I can measure my heart rate or conversion rate via conceal, it seems every day, but if I didn’t really know what to look for or what the trends meant, then it wouldn’t really be able to do much with it. So I think, yeah, great. A good heart rate, you know, chest strap on iphone APP, you can get the HRV number accurately, you know, but again, it’s, it’s what does that number actually mean and that’s where the, the trickier part comes into play.

Brad: And so to optimize this, you’re going to establish a baseline I imagine is the most important so that you’re not comparing yourself to your training partner who’s always 10 beats higher than you are 10 points higher. And then where do you go from, uh, you know, let’s, let’s say I’ve been doing this every day. I’d actually did it everyday for three years when I first got excited about HRV and I kind of got lazy about it in, in, in recent times. And bring me to another question is, um, how do you kind of stack that up with just the general desire to train as Kelly Starrett says?

Joel: Sure. So, you know, a couple of things. Uh, really what that information means depends on how you interpreted, right? There’s, there’s lots of agreement was also some disagreement in terms of how you actually interpret that data. So when I built bio force back in 2011, 12, it was, that’s essentially what we did is we looked at your seven day average lift their head, what’s your personal baseline? And we looked at what your own kind of variability and when you would see changes outside of your normal, you know, whether that was a change in increase or change in a decrease that Jeremy mentioned, decreased amount of recovery that your body was starting to become a bit more fatigued. And over the years we refined that algorithm and got a little bit better and better with it. Um, and then the new one morpheus takes, it just gives you a recovery score and it’s an easier thing for people to interpret as a recovery score. The actual, uh, you know, just HRV number. So

Brad: What else are you putting into morpheus besides the HRV numbers? Okay. So

Joel: let’s look at by things basically looking at HRV, it’s looking at your sleep. Does that self reported sleep? It’s either self reported or if you have a fitbit or an APP or any other wearable, it’ll pull data in from other wearables or the kid or iphone, whatever. You’re man. Um, it tracks your activity and the same thing. So activity, it can be sleep, it could be your phone, it could be an know fitbit, it could be just whatever you’re using for your activity or you know, if you’re not using anything to track your phone’s movement, um, and that’s looking at training. So if you’re wearing a heart rate monitor in your workouts or your workout activity and then self reported markers of soreness and, and the nutrition quality and those sorts of markets as well. So it’s five different categories and then it takes all that and it gives you a recovery score and then it takes that.

Joel: And getting back to your question about what do you, how do you rectify that with a desire to train, right? So it’ll give you three heart rate zones for the day. And that’s the biggest thing I wanted to help people understand is just because your recovery is on the lower side, doesn’t mean you can’t train and just means you need to take that into consideration. And so it gives you three heart rate zones, basic fee. It gives you a blue zone, which is a heart rate zone or level of intensity that will promote recovery, you know, provided you don’t go do two hours of it, it’ll give you a green zone that’s intended more for development of conditioning in aerobic fitness. And then we’ll give you a red zone, which is really your top end intensity zone where, you know, if you spend too much time in that zone, especially when you’re already low, you will start to fatigue and over train.

Joel: So, um, you know, again, I wanted to help people bridge that gap. So there’s, there’s rarely a time when I tell someone, hey, you don’t train. It’s more about what’s an appropriate level of training. So it’s, it’s more about just figuring out what’s the right amount of intensity or what’s the right volume for today based on where my body’s at. And something that I always try to help people understand is people have this misconception that recovery equals performance, right? So they think, oh my recovery is low today so I shouldn’t be able to perform well. So they go into the gym, they performed fine. Like, oh, well this thing’s not accurate because my recovery, so that was lower by still performed. Okay. That’s not really what recovery is measuring. Again, recovery is measuring. Where’s your body trying to put energy into, right? It’s, it’s measuring essentially where’s your bank account in terms of energy.

Joel: If your bank accounts on the lower side of recovery, then you have less energy to vote to recovery, which just means it’s going to take you a longer amount of time to recover from a given workout. It doesn’t mean you can’t perform. Your body can overcompensate and perform with a gun to your head. Anytime your body can get into a sympathetically driven state and you can perform. It’s just a question of how long is it gonna take you to recover from that. Your recovery is in the low side and you go do a high intensity workout. It might take, you know, two, three, four days to get back to normal versus if you did that same workout in a high recovery state, you might be able to cover in 48 hours and get back into it. So recovery doesn’t necessarily equal performance. Now if your recovery is low for a week straight, yeah, you’re probably gonna feel the effects of it, but if your recovery as low on a given day doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym and train hard.

Joel: It’s just a question of is that the right choice or are you better off, you know, dial it back a bit so you can come back the next day or the following day then and then do higher intensity workout when you can recover faster from it because to me the more you can train and recover, the better results you’re going to see. But if you have to train and take three days to recover because you didn’t train when you were ready for it, then you’re ultimately decrease in how much you can train and get out of it. So, you know, I think it’s about making sure that you train when your body is going to recover the fastest from that training versus just try and train as hard as I can every single day or versus trying to guess basically.

Brad: So the green light to really hit it hard will only come when you have this super high.

Joel: Yeah. When your body companies score super high HRV basically when your body is not always high HRV, it could be within your body’s normal ranges is probably the better way to look at it. So that’s another misconception is people always think how HRV is always good. Low HRV is always bad. That’s not necessarily the case because a very high HRV indicates hey, the body’s really trying to recover. It’s the building and everything it has into recovery. So that’s doing that for a reason, right? It’s trying to get you back to your normal kind of baseline range. If it’s really too high, it’s telling you there’s a reason it’s related to high. It’s sympathetic, parasympathetic dominant because because you’re, you’re a mass or whatever, so you’ll see actually in periods where your body’s trying to recover and vice versa. We’ll see very low HRV scores where your body is deal with the stressor right now where it’s devoting energy into dealing with something.

Joel: The HRV is more of the high interviews, like I’m still in the process of recovering from that something that you did to me, so in either case really high or really low is where we see decreased recovery. It’s not always the case that higher is better, lower is worse. It’s more about in your kind of normal baseline range, tells you your body’s probably ready to go do it again because it’s not dealing with something or still recovering from something.

Brad: So we better get a baseline arrange over time duration to make sure that my range is 74 to 78 as 10 day moving average.

Joel: Now of course use the seven days, so it’s looking at your kind of your seven to 10 day moving average and what is your normal range? Seventy four to 77 and we also look at your standard deviation, so some people just have a naturally bigger variation from one day the neck. So we look at your own standard deviation. What’s your normal variance? And when you exceed that normal variants, again, either high or low. That’s essentially where we derive that your recovery is not what it could be on the lower side,

Brad: so that, that elevated HRV score indicating that maybe I’m parasympathetic dominant and uh, if you’re not following this too well, it’s like the rest and digest is the parasympathetic and the fight or flight as the sympathetic. We want those to work in harmony in the autonomic nervous system. But, and we’re, we’re usually, we’re striving to get a little more parasympathetic balance because we’re usually in this fight or flight state and hectic modern life. Um, so if I’m, if I’m parasympathetic dominant, it’s the body’s reaction to let’s say a, a major bout of overstress or something. And then I’m spiking my number of high proud of myself. Go out there and slam myself again.

Joel: Yeah. You’re still in the process of recovering, right? You’re right. It’s not that you’ve, uh, you know, you haven’t fully recovered. That’s why they was so much more elevated than usual because it’s trying to get back to normal. It just hasn’t been able to yet.

Brad: Okay. Why don’t you tell me that, man. Three years ago I didn’t realize that because, um, you know, that’ll, that’ll trick the willing athlete to go out there. I mean, and, and I remember reading a article with one guy who invented one of the HRV technology things and he’s like, the great thing is even if you’re feeling lousy and you have a high score, you know, you can go out there and hammer. I’m like, Whoa, Whoa, whoa.

Joel: Yeah. That’s one of the most frustrating things to me is you know, as you’ve seen HRV proliferate, proliferate and be more common, you’ve seen people create. APPS are becoming so called experts that really don’t know what they’re talking about. I hate to say it, but you have some of these popular out city of preaching. This idea of the high HRV is great, low attribute is bad. It’s never really that simple in the body, right? Your normal is good, abnormal is using not so good news. There’s usually an amount that’s appropriate and then when you go above that threshold, there’s probably a reason for that. The other really interesting thing is they’re looking more and more the connection between the immune system with HRV, uh, and basically what you find is, is that the sympathetic system is inherently inflammatory. So when the sympathetic system, the fight or flight system is on your immune system is also turned on in heightened. And if you think about that from a biological perspective, fight or flight was for an emergency scenario. And where are you more likely to be exposed to pathogens, to damage the muscle tissue in that fight or flight scenario, right? So you want that nervous system in a heightened state when you’re in a fight or flight scenario. So we are inherently sympathetically dominant or inherently in that stage, we’re also inherently inflammatory in that state. Now the interesting thing is they’ve done plenty of research now where they can put you into a mental, a mental challenge, or doing some sort of math problem. That’s

Brad: video game in the next room.

Joel: Yeah, exactly. So, and they’ll measure it and what are called cytokines or your inflammatory, and they will show you that your mental stress during this task will rise. There’s levels of inflammatory markers which entering those I’ve got some of them, they’ll show a continual rise or the level of increased markers reps two, three hours even after the stressor has passed, so you can sit there and be very mentally stressed out over something. Even after that’s gone away. It can take two, three hours for some of those inflammatory markers to return back to baseline level.

Brad: Well, you see people coming back from a traffic altercation, fender bender, and they’re shaking, telling the story. It might be okay, yeah, I’m fine. Well, why? Why are you shaking? Because you’re still. You still drugged by the massive fight or flight dose. Powerful thing though, is that right?

Joel: Parasympathetic system essentially blocks the increase in these sympathetically driven inflammatory markers, so inherently the parasympathetic rest and digest is anti inflammatory in nature and they think largely that’s a big part of why higher HRV scores and lower resting heart rates are protective against cardiovascular disease, protective against stroke, protective against diabetes, so inherently people with higher vo, two Max Aerobic fitness, higher HRV. These people tend to have far less strokes and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all these things for a reason, and probably a big part of that reason is because they are better at shutting off stress. They’re better at being anti inflammatory. They don’t let their bodies get into this chronic inflammatory state. That happens when you can’t shut that off every day. So that’s why another reason why you shouldn’t use a powerful markers because if you do look at your average baseline over time, you know someone with an average baseline of 60 and we must more likely to have problems down the road than somebody just got a baseline of 80 or 90. The same thing as someone who’s VO2 Max is on the higher end, has a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease in somebody who’s Vo two Max on the lower end. So aerobic fitness is inherently protective because it’s inherently drives that parasympathetic nervous system, which inherently gives you a better ability to cope with stress because you can shut off inflammation. That’s what it comes down to. So it’s fascinating stuff.

Brad: So I guess if you’re a hardcore crossfitter, endurance athlete, triathlete, ultra runner in this, immersed in this world, and you a track HRV for five years, you probably, if you’re doing it correctly, would want to see a general upward trend in that baseline. Yup.

Joel: And if, I mean there’s just. Again, there’s. There’s always too much of it, but yes, you want to see a higher average HRV then

Brad: and if, if it’s, if it’s. If you dropping three or four beats or three or four points every, every year, you’re probably showing an overly stressful lifestyle pattern.

Joel: Yup. We have. That’s why we have about a million and a half data points every from every age group imaginable. And so we ran a whole bunch of math on it and looked at kind of the average change over lifespan or over a period of time for men and women. And we sent. You saw, I don’t want to bastardize the numbers, I could give you the actual numbers, but somewhere like a two and four percent decrease a year. Once you start hitting the middle, you’re like late thirties, early forties. You’d see this very linear trend and the change in HRV or and against as we age, we just inherently less effective at dealing with stress. We get inherently less effective at repairing ourselves. Recovery is one of the biggest reasons we age because our cells don’t turn over as effectively. Right? They take much longer for cell turnover and a half and it takes a lot longer for us to recover from a given level of stress.

Joel: We get much more damage from oxidation and inflammation and that’s ultimately why we all die at something a cancer or cardiovascular disease or some combination thereof. It’s just because our tissues get worse and worse and recovery and it’s interesting that you can actually see this. We look at recovery, you can look at the HRV decrease as we age. It’s a. it’s a clear correlation there for a reason.

Brad: So what’s a strategy to guard against that in terms of our commitment to fitness?

Joel: I mean there’s lots of them, right? And then number one is just being mindful of of what’s appropriate for yourself on a given day. And you can actually, again, like I said, you can develop higher HRV by developing the aerobic side of the equation, but obviously if you do way too much high intensity and way too much training, you’re not really going to increase that. You’re going to make it fundamentally worse. So I think the goal for most people should be develop a level of aerobic fitness that’s cardiovascular protective and you can see that in HRV, so in, in every system out there uses a different numbers. You really can’t compare the activity score to another because we’re all doing math and given you some interpretation of that. But with bio for us, we would always say try to hit like an 80 and the 80 score and bio for us was generally speaking in that range of cardioprotective a levels and you know, when he endurance athletes in the eighties, nineties and even sometimes above. So it’s, it’s, you know, training intelligently to develop your aerobic fitness and strength training and all that plays a role but aerobic fitness is always going to be the most important. It’s just a matter of managing the volume and intensity in your nutrition and sleep and all those things appropriately to see that, to see that increase in the see that a baseline maintained over time as you age, so you don’t get that chronic decrease and decrease and worse results over time. So it’s, it always starts with managing volume intensity. That’s the most important thing you can do.

Brad: Ah, so the aerobic fitness you’re saying is, is more important in this context then developing your strength, power resistance training

Joel: For this purpose? Yes. So there’s actually a ton of athletes

Brad: because we’re measuring our, our cardiovascular function,

Joel: cardiovascular function is tied to HRV and it’s tied to the parasympathetic system. So for example, I’ve got a paper, uh, they looked at, I think it was 11 or 12 different studies in life expectancy and athletes and they looked at power lifters, weightlifters a during as athletes. Wow. Interesting. And out of that, the only group of athletes that showed an increase in life expectancy were endurance athletes

Brad: increase over the general population? The rest of them had, some of them had worse. Some of them actually,

Joel: some populations actually had lower life expectancies in the average population, so basically what you find with the study found was that the average person who’s active, so just being active and there was some number of steps per day or some self quantified measure activity being active can increase your life expectancy by about two to four years just over the average population who is sedentary, right? Just being active and just living a normal lifestyle, two to four years and during the athletes that have anywhere from four to eight years longer than the average person, which is significant, significant amount of years when you’re talking about the average person in their seventies, you’re averaging four to eight years longer than that can be up 10 percent longer lifespan, but some of the athletic populations were actually lower than the average person and lower than the average person who is active.

Brad: So what speed golfers in there say, hey,

Joel: I don’t know about that. I hope it was entering review though. It was, you know, it was a med analysis, so it was a review of several different papers, but I think strength training, I don’t want to downplay. It’s important. It’s important for, for um, you know, maintain muscle mass, maintaining body composition and all those things play a role as well. There’s some stuff out there. Looking at A. I think there was a big study published not too long ago. It looked at the bone density and muscle mass did play a role in life expectancy but the reality was it was most likely in my reading of the paper and other ones because if you had muscle mass and bone density, you could be more active, right? If you didn’t have the bone density of the bone mass, muscle mass to move around, you are going to be more sedentary. So you weren’t going to actually get the activity. You weren’t going to get the movement which you need to stay alive. So, uh, you know, I think strength training is certainly important. It’s, it’s, I don’t want to downplay that, but it’s largely needs to be there because we need to keep moving and we need to have cardiovascular fitness. That’s why we uh, you know, that’s why we stay alive. We move and we see a lot of people become more sedentary as they retire. They don’t last long. It’s the people to keep working and have hobbies and get out and move around the, you know, they tend to stick around a lot longer because we’re designed to move as a human being and we have to have the capacity to do that. And at the end of the day, your cardiovascular systems, which rides all that

Brad: well, it seems like it’s all tied together. I mean if you’re eating a bad diet and becoming insulin resistant, then you literally do not have the energy in your bloodstream to get off the couch and you’re exhausted or if you walk around the block because you can’t burn fat. And so yeah, I mean just like, you know, maintaining muscle mass, bone density so you can, you can move. So you can see can last longer than a four minute walk or whatever. Y

Joel: Yeah, interesting. I was looking through some stuff looking at how the dopamine signaling changes in people that are obese in for some reason there. There’s the think that the dopamine rewards us to move or to do anything really. It’s kind of how the brain decides what work is worth moving for, right? Because work takes energy and the brain has to be intelligent about how do I expand my energy? I’ve got limited supply so they’ve actually looked at like animals and how they decide like if I can’t find food, do I go spend the work to go 20 miles to go look for more food? Because if I can’t find food there that I’m screwed, I’m going to run out of energy. I’m gonna die basically. So there’s all this. A foraging optimization where animals doping systems are basically designed to allow them to analyze like where should I go? How far should I go to look for food, profitable survival. And we’re kind of wired like that too. We decide like what’s worth expanding energy for and I think this is a lot of reasons why you see people train for two months in January, February and then stop working out because as soon as they step on the scale and it didn’t change, their brain goes, wait a minute, why am I going to gym again? That’s not worth it. I just worked my ass off for four weeks and the scale. Then budget outs, I’m not doing this anymore. The couch and watch TV. That’s way more fun. Right? So I think your average person as soon as they start to see diminishing returns a fitness, because fitness isn’t linear. You know every time you step on the scale, you’re not going to see incremental decrease in weight.

Joel: If that’s your only goal, you’re not gonna. See the bar way go up every single time you go to the gym. So as soon as our brains start to see, wait a minute, putting all this work and I’m expending all this energy and not seeing any benefit, why am I gonna keep doing this? And they they, they lose motivation to do it. It’s a very fascinating thing, but going back to the the obese population, they think that a lot of it has to do with doping stops, were boarding activity the way that it should and it starts rewarding and eating in a much more persistent manner because doping rewards both, right? It rewards eating food and rewards, do an exercise because we have to eat to replenish, we have to move traditionally to go get food nowadays. We sit there in the order of more phones, but you know, traditionally you had to move to go get something to eat or to go kill your food and they had to actually be motivated to eat it. So there’s this whole dopamine interaction of rewarding both activities and movement and eating and they think there’s some disorder there and essentially telling the brain to be rewarded for movement. Instead. It’s just rewarding the eating over and over again and people completely lose the motivation to be active. Right? And they just sit there and they rewarded to eat over and over again. So it’s a fascinating thing of how our biology was originally designed to help us go out and find food and then be hungry enough to eat it.

Brad: I came on the same. It’s all the same road down to the road to go get food and be physically active for tied inextricably. And now they’re not.

Joel: Exactly. And so now you see the, you know, you see people sitting there and ordering food in their phone and be less and less active and it’s, it’s a weird juxtaposition where the same chemical can essentially reward two totally opposite behaviors. And you can see that when there’s an imbalance there for whatever reason, you know, people become much less rewarded to, to move and they sit there and eat all day long.

Brad: It’s probably a slippery slope downward when you first start going down the route of eating without exercising. And it’s Kinda like when you add a belly fat, as the males go into the advancing decades, you add a little bit of belly fat. It’s actually secretes inflammatory cytokines which causes you to add more belly fat. And I’m also, it’s

Joel: a cycle, was another interesting study is so they took people to a gym and they said, okay, we want you to work out. And then they said, okay, we want you to estimate essentially your calorie burning me read this one. I think I mentioned this somewhere to study, write on the paper. And then they took you to a buffet and they said, we want you to eat the same galleries that you felt like you just burned. Ambiguous showed us people ate four times more than they actually burn, even though they thought they were right. They were trying to have a level amount. They’ll say they thought they burned one amount and they thought that a the same amount, but they actually ate four times more than they burned. So we’re probably inherently hardwired a bit to, you know, to overeat, especially when we’re overstressed we’re, we’re protective against, you know, losing, losing muscle mass. And we’re more protective against dying from starvation than we are being fat. So our brains are probably inherently hardwired to want to.

Brad: Sure. Right. The compensation theory of exercise where the more depleting the exercise event is, the more you’re triggered, your appetite hormones are spiked and you go and overeat, uh, you know, on the idea that you might try to do it again the next day. That kind of goes hand in hand with that, um, additive model and the constrained model of energy expenditure that’s referenced in your article,

Joel: the more you burden them where you want to put it back in, right? Yeah. It’s one of those things, again, that’s why that’s against why you have to balance your intensity and your recovery. Anything else? Because if you’re, if your recovery is low, what’s it gonna do? It’s gonna mean inherently make you wanna eat more, right? Because you’re in recovery debt, you, your body wants more energy to devote back towards recovery. It’s going to try to get you to intake as much as you can. So

Brad: I guess that’s maybe okay in a certain context, right?

Joel: Either the question of how much you know, maybe you overdo it, you know, are we good at judging the right amount? It’s. Well, I think part of our problem too is portion sizes have gotten so ridiculous, right? If you go, I’ve done a lot of traveling. If you go to a lot of places like Japan or even Europe, like their portions are much more., at least they used to be much more restrained compared to ours. My Japanese food now maybe they’ve changed now. Friends with fighters would always come over here. Then because America is such big Porsche and driving, they just couldn’t believe. Some of the dinners sizes, you know, you go out to a normal chain restaurant here and there. You’d be getting these meals are three times the size of what they will do is would be. So

Brad: Also when you eat quality food, like you go get a grass fed steak or a pasture raised chicken at the farmer’s market. I remember buying my first one and the guy’s like, yeah, it’s $14. I’m like, what? Because the chickens five bucks at the store. We all know how much a chicken costs. We don’t know how big it is. We’re envisioning and in our mind, and the guy hands me this thing that fits in my palm, but you go home and cook that thing and it was so rich and delicious that the much smaller animal that was naturally raised is just as satisfying as the more bulky, that kind of blander tasting a regular conventional chicken with hormones, pesticides, antibiotics in there.

Joel: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s the food quality is going down. Food portion sizes have up and we’re more stressed than ever. Right? So is there any wonder why we have the problem in our health and wellness that we do?

Brad: Same with, same with exercise quality, man. We’re just throwing stuff up against the throwing spaghetti on the fridge and seeing if it’ll stick without, without respecting that. Uh, and that recovery aspect. One thing I wanted to talk to you about was the, um, uh, the” rebound training” uh, because since, since we last talked, I made a concerted effort to test some new theories in my general exercise pattern. And that is to have more time periods, whether you can call it a day or let’s say a 36 hour time block where I wasn’t doing a whole heck of a lot rather than getting up every single morning for my life and doing that easy 20 minute jog, no big deal. And then maybe some, some form of strength training here and there are doing three workouts a week and then taking it down to two and making them a more difficult, more ambitious, maybe taking some days off from the patterned aerobic exercise. And I feel like I certainly haven’t lost anything from reducing the overall volume out there. Um, but I feel like when I do a hard workout, I consider recovery to be lazing around. And then I’m reading this article going, Oh crap, this guy’s got us in the gym doing these elaborate setups to do things like prime, the central nervous system for recovery. So tell me what rebound training is all about.

Joel: Essentially what I started doing, they use HRV for so long was I started looking at what are things that we see that caused people’s HRV to kind of go up as her indication of, you know, putting more energy towards recovery, essentially turning on the recovery system we’ve talked about and then seeing them recover. Well the following day, and then I started trying out different things and the gym and essentially found a combination of breathing exercises that turned on the parasympathetic system. Getting blood flow going through the system. Just movement and activity in different patterns, but doing it in a lower impact type of way. So things that minimize the ecentric pounding, so medicine ball throws and low impact stuff like the bike or versa climber or things like that. And then, uh, you know, strength training but only for limited number of sets and then going through a really comprehensive cool-downs of bring everything back down.

Joel: I just kind of started playing around with different workout structures and patterns to see could we get the body to shift into that recovery state quicker. And essentially that’s kind of where this idea of of rebound train was born. It was just can we use exercise as a tool to speed the recovery process up? And the funny thing was you’d always kind of see when you’re tapering, right, like you see your recovery surge, but you start tapering and usually that says decreasing volume. The question is, are you, is your recovery going up because you’re suddenly kind of volume back or because you were just doing these shorter know more intensely focused but less volume based workouts. And part of it I think is that. So essentially the, the whole thing is just like, can we use exercise by introducing just enough of it to promote blood circulation and blood flow and some get some hormones going and get our autonomic nervous system shift into that parasympathetic state without going so much over that.

Joel: We burn so much energy that again, now we’re actually taking away from recovery. So again, that’s kind of where this whole idea of rebound dream was born. It was just this light bulb went off as I started to look at some of HRV data. And I started looking at some of the, uh, the military had done some testing this area and we basically just saw that there was actually some patterns to, to what we could do to get the body to shift more into that state quicker. And that’s where the, the, the template or the pattern I put together to get a rebound training, think anything is, it’s flexible, you know, it’s not like you have to do X, Y, and Z exercise, like you have to have 10 different specialized pieces of equipment. I mean, you really don’t. It’s more about just choosing the intensity that’s appropriate, going through some of the breathing and mobility drills that uh, uh, I worked with Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman to, to go through and practice and implement and then, you know, doing some strength training that’s primarily concentric base.

Joel: So I Olympic lift or deadlift or something primarily. Well, you have less of an essential glow to it because it’s where more of the damage goes. Uh, ended up comes into play. So it’s just been a journey of figuring out how do we use exercise as a positive reinforcement of recovery rather than something that takes away from it and so far it’s been really effective for a ton of people I use all the time and we’ve got a couple of thousand more pc users that were experimenting more and more with and with Morpheus gives you your active recovery zone, right? So you just go in the recovery zone for 20, 30 minutes and go through these exercises and you see recovery score to go up and you see the benefits of it. So it’s, it’s been really cool to start implementing and something I think more and more people should, should do.

Joel: And I think you’ll, you’ll could be fine. Hey, I come out of the gym feeling way better. You know, it’s also more motivating to come out of the gym. Like wow, I feel good right now because I think that’s part of our problem too is someone was hardcore and exercise. They don’t care if they feel like they’re still going to do it because that’s, that’s what they do, you know. But most people out there, but they go in the gym everyday and they kill themselves. It’s not going to last forever. That’s why, you know, I don’t want to bag on crossfit, but I think you saw so much turnover and clientele in the crossfit scenario because

Brad: That’s the nicest way I’ve ever heard you say. It’s like when I talk about the team and training, you know, the marathon training group at the purple shirts, turnover in clientele rather than the whole shit overly stressful training program that ruins people and spits them out the back.

Joel: Because you think because you go into this thinking like, Oh, if I work my ass off, I’m going to see the results. I’m gonna feel great, but that never happens. Right? You work your ass off, you see some results for awhile, you get excited and then you’re like, wait a minute, my shoulder hurts and my back hurts. I don’t really want you to do that anymore. And so we’ve, again, if your only thought of the gym is this place to go, get my ass kicked and feel tired and walk out the door, most people are gonna. Stop doing that sooner or later, you know, if you’re not getting paid for it or you’re not driven by performance goals, you’re venturing like, this sucks. I don’t want to do this for sure.

Brad: And it’s not even, it’s not even conscious. This is a disaster that we see playing out in modern life. I mean, you know, well meaning people going and get slammed and it’s like, hey, why? Why are you so lazy? Why aren’t you exercising? Well, there was a gosh darn good reason because it’s too painful.

Joel: Yeah. So the whole idea of rebound train is, hey, we can go in the gym, come out feeling better, too friendly place. There’s like balloons and Joe. Joe Puts up the loons on rebound training day. It doesn’t have a place you go in and get killed. It can be a place you’d go in and I come out like, oh my joints feel better. I feel loose. I feel more energetic. And that’s really kind of what the defined important have a read on session should be. Should we be 30 to 40 minutes? You should be more mobile. You’d feel more energized and you should feel good when you’re finished with it, and if you did the protocol properly, then you’ll find that that’s the case. So you know, I think most people, your average population versian twice, twice a week of what we call high intensity and twice a week you rebound training four days a week is what most people who have normal jobs and live normal lives, they’re going to benefit tremendously more from that than trying to go into a gym for 45 minutes, an hour and kill themselves every day.

Brad: Just, I mean what practically happens is they go four times a week and do for mediocre work. Absolutely. You know, they’re smart enough not to try to kill themselves. They don’t have that extreme type A category of those people, but they’re going in, they’re well meaning going to crossfit and they get a little bit of a, you know, the stress hormone buzz, the endorphins, but they’re never showing their true potential. Nor are they recovering.

Joel: Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of goes back to the whole high level. I mean, it’s push your body to to enough level for it to stimulate improvement or fitness and then let it recover and then do that over and over again versus like you said, these four mediocre workouts where you never really go hard enough to push yourself to get better, but you never really recovered from it either, so you kind of stuck in this middle ground, so like I liked the idea of a red line workout, which I call it your higher intensity workout and a rebound workout which helps you buy your car from mean. I like the sequence that sequence it that way, so do your heart and tie intentionally hard training session one day, followed up with the rebel workout. Maybe take a day off and repeat that for your average person, you know, to to those high intensity redline workouts and to rebuild workouts is going to be tremendously beneficial.

Joel: They’re going to actually enjoy going to the gym because I really only push themselves and feeling fatigue twice. They’re gonna, they’re gonna feel better after the rebound workouts and they’re going to feel like they can sustain that over time, which is the other thing is that as people’s schedules or you know, they are, they are the, most people aren’t going to be in the gym six days a week at work, 40, 50, 60 hours of kids, you know, four days a week. I feel like it’s a reasonable goal that most of them can hit. And particularly if the rebound transitions are a little bit of shorter end and uh, you know, I think for your, for your average person in the street, that sort of schedule is as reasonable and it’s maintainable and it’s gonna. It’s gonna deliver benefits,

Brad: What about the other three days?

Joel: A reactive move around, move around, you know, if you have some spores from hobby you enjoy doing and then go do that and nothing, just just, you know, relax and enjoy your life.

Brad: That sounds like way to revolutionize a lot of the problems in the fitness industry. And then due to the nature of this rebound training, it’s kind of sophisticated. It’s specific and you have some protocols. So maybe the personal trainer could become an expert in that and then justify their existence. You need help when you’re going on the high intensity stuff, but generally we kind of go in and think, oh, I’m just going to spin on the bike for half hour today. I don’t need to pay my trainer to sit next to me, but maybe we’re going to the next level here.

Joel: No, I agree a hundred percent. And that’s something I’ve thought a lot about

Brad: You’re training people to do this, right?

Joel: Coach who had been through my own condition certifications, that is one of the next things we’re working on is is a gym trainer coaching version of Morpheus were a personal trainer or yoga instructor. Anybody could see all this data from anyone, their clientele so they could see their sleep, they can see their training from before. They could see their activity and then they could take them to rebound workout again based on their own heart rate zones, their own recovery levels. So personalizing. Again, I think not just personalizing high intensity, but personalize and recovery is really a key component of this and figuring out what your heart rate for recovery might be totally different than mine. Maybe you’re older and in better shape or who knows you’re more predominant strength Athlete, we’re going to have different recovery zones. Not all going to be the exact same, so I think teaching trainers, teaching coaches, group fitness instructors how to build these programs into their jams, into their classes is hugely important to. I’m actually working with a lifetime fitness right now to to look at doing that. A large scale and they’ve got 100,000 plus people that go through their PT program a year, so I think you’re seeing the gyms and trainers are starting to realize, wait a minute, like beating people up every day. It’s not the best longterm client retention a idea in the world. So do we really want our people just going to float tank and not spending time in our gym? No. We want people in our gym so I think you’re seeing these gyms and trainers trying to figure it out.

Brad: Wait a minute. Oh, we better get some float tanks in here. He asked Debbie Potts gym down down the road in Bellevue. She’s getting a infrared saunas in there. She has an infrared saunas and the, the, the bouncy trampoline. Is that called, I mean, don’t they call that rebound workout or maybe that’s part of, part of your rebound recovery for them to be supposed to be for the lymphatic system, you know,

Joel: I’ve tried it, but I think all those tools and modalities and there’s nothing wrong with float tanks and those are the good things that use as well. Um, but I think your average trainer doesn’t have access to that. You have two persons, not gonna spend $300 a month doing float tank stuff, but they can get in the gym and they can use equipment that’s already there. So I think those sorts of Saunas and, and float tanks and meditation, those are all great things. But again, on a practical level, you’re not going to do that once a week or twice a week. Most people just can’t afford it or it’s already spent the time doing it. And I think there’s just as much or sometimes more benefit in using training as a tool because we can accomplish a lot in terms of the respiratory function, blood flow and strength development and all these sorts of things and uh, in that format. So, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a powerful thing. I think we need to get more, more coaching traders out there, excited about it and doing it. And the funny thing is as soon as they try themselves are like, wait a minute, I feel feel better. And when they feel that that change and that improvement in how they feel because they’re starting to focus on recovery, then it’s much easier to get your clients do the same thing.

Brad: I’m, I’m intrigued because, man, to date here in my life, recovery has mainly for me been about laying around and a lot of it’s due to feeling, uh, you know, abnormal level of fatigue at rest. I’m not at my best today. I feel like crap at my desk and then I’m sore because I did a lot of loading with a sprint workout or something. And so I make the decision that maybe the best thing for me is a walk around the block or a bike ride that lasts 15 minutes, just putzing around and um, I’m trying to make an informed decision here. But is there a way that maybe I could explore doing like, like you mentioned the article, doing the deadlift only the race and then dropping the weight so you’re not, you’re not inviting any more additional soreness?

Joel: Yeah, there’s, there’s absolutely way it’s template put together. It’s just, it’s literally just being strategic about how you approach training recovery. So again, our rebound training sessions, should it be 30 to 40 minutes, they’re breathing exercises, some kind of cardiovascular work in the lower intensity. And then strength training along with the cool down. I mean it’s, it’s get the sweat going and you get some, get the mobility increase, get the breathing function working.

Brad: And so you’re saying, hey, parasympathetic, come, come talk to me because I’m not stressing myself, but I am moving my body and doing all these genetically optimal behaviors.

Joel: Is exactly also some some intelligence behind how we do some of the interval training workouts because one of the things I’ve discovered over the years is that being able to control your heart rate is a skill, right? Being able to go up the heartrate on the 1:50, and then bring it back to 1:30 as quickly as possible. Some of that, the fitness level thing, because the more robots fit you are the fastest come down. Some of it’s also just a skill learned skill of being able to turn off that stress response and relaxed quickly. So part of how we’ve built rebound train intervals in there called recovery intervals or temporary roles, wherever you want to call them, is driving your heart rate up to a certain zone and then allow it to come back down as quickly as possible. And if you can learn that technique of bringing your heart rate down quickly, you’re essentially teaching your body how to shut off that stress response that’s sitting there at work. I’m saying

Brad: challenge you’re doing during the workout and you’re looking at your watch and we’re making yourself relaxed like a competition. Love it. Yeah, there’s,

Joel: there’s, there’s, there’s a distinct skill in learning how to shut off that stress response and recover. So you’ll find people initially suck at it and they’ll kind of sit there and sit there and sit there. Eventually, once you get much better at it, you’ll see your heart dropping extremely quickly. So we’ll teach people essentially over time to be able to change your heart rate dynamically. I call it dynamic energy control, for lack of a better term. It’s being able to control that heart rate and control your energy expenditure. So if you can do that in the gym, you can start to learn how to do that outside of the gym. So maybe I’m frustrated at work. Maybe I’m pissed off about traffic. If I can learn how to shut off that stress and learn how to recover from that, I’m going to be able to bring my heart rate back down significantly better, keep it from going up and avoid those, you know, inflammatory markers being produced and be able to be better lingering.

Joel: Yeah. Just be able to cope with life better. Right? So I think those really value and rebound training, not just from the workout standpoint but from developing that skillset of, Hey, I can control my stress, better, control my heart rate, I control my response. You know, if you look at a lot of athletes that perform at the highest levels, they’re very, very good at it, right? They’re very good at being able to handle the stress of competition because they’ve developed that skill, that ability to not let the moment overtake them and to be able to just relax. I be talked about at the beginning here and just handle the situation. So I think there’s value in using training for that specific purpose or your average, your average person. They can develop the ability to turn off the stress and bring them back down and cope with situations better. That’s going to have a profound impact on not just, you know, the gym workout, but everything happens outside of it as well.

Brad: So in the rebound workout, this component of doing a little interval, but it’s not really going to stress you too much, but you’re just trying to spike that heart rate and then work really hard to get it down. Yep.

Joel: Yeah, we do like tend to call them with tempos, like 10 to 12 seconds game for using morpheus. We have a blue zones. We take it up to the blue zone and 10, 12 seconds and then we have usually about 60 seconds, kind of slower active rest. And if someone’s really inexperienced so they’re out of shape, just have them slowly breathe, relax, stop completely. Once they get in better shape, they can actually walk and they can get better at recovering through movement and being able to continue to exercise that muscle. Low intensity is, but uh, you know, it’s breathing, it’s posture, just all these things. They can learn how to control their heart rate. So usually we start with that again, it’s 10, 12 seconds of a, of a moderate intensity, and then bring them back down as quickly as possible and repeat that. And once you can do that, then you can start doing much more complicated version of it. But the whole key is can I drive a hurried up and then you kind of drive it back down. Can you right back up? I backed down and you can get better and better at over time. It’s not just a a fitness level, it’s a skill thing. It’s an actual thing you can practice and get much better at.

Brad: So you’re going to guarantee that I walk into that gym feeling better than when I started on a rebound session. Even if I’m trashed from the previous workouts,

Joel: the more stressed you are, you would actually feel better because you’ve got the blood flow completion.

Brad: I’m going to try it. And then I guess the, the caveat is also if I’m in that kind of state after that hard workout, did I overdo it? Especially as an old guy, I’m, I’m feeling too sore, too tired because I rethink that session, right? I mean,

Joel: again, if you’re tracking recovery with something you will have, but you should have a pretty good gauge of that. But it’s, it’s, you know, it’s more about how, how frequently is that happening, you know, doing it once, you know, maybe once a week, not a huge deal. If you were able to recover from that, but doing it consistently, then absolutely you’ve done too much as it got. I think most, most people in my years of looking at data and talking to people can handle two, what I would call really true, high intensity workouts. People at the peak of their fitness levels and their twenties, the genetic marbles. The world can often get away with three, but your average person who’s not a world champion and there’s something, there’s not in their twenties, it was not on drugs. The average person, you know, twice a week is what most people can really push their body to, uh, you know, to limit up and be able to recover from.

Joel: If you start doing this three, four days a week of trying to get there, you end up, like you talked about with, for mediocre workout. So, you know, I think most people can handle twice a week of trying to really get outside their comfort zone and push themselves where they’ve got to get themselves to three days in between sessions to truly recover from it. And you know, it’s, it’s, it’s funny on a no heartburn, the drugs thing at all. But the reason people take drugs as wide because it allowed them to recover, that’s charger for, that’s what drugs do. So it just shows you the benefits of a bill in your training and building your lifestyle around. And don’t want to just break my body down. I need to get my body to recover as well as they could. And I don’t want to use growth hormone, testosterone, always performance enhancing drugs.

Joel: But I want to do things that I can use naturally. I can use rebound training, I can use nutrition that can use no sleep and meditation. I can use all these things that aren’t performance enhancing drugs. They’re just a natural part of training and being intelligent about it. So, uh, you know, I think we just have to recognize the importance of recovery is where things actually happened this way we already improved. That’s where our strength gets built. That’s where our cardiovascular system gets remodeled. It doesn’t happen in the gym. It happens in between the sessions. I mean, nothing in the gym except for that stimulation. It’s telling the body, hey, do something about this. It’s only when we’re recovering that the body actually is making ourselves more fit or stronger or whatever the case may be. So that is where the actual gains come. It’s not in the gym, it’s outside of the gym. When those things happen,

Brad: and now let’s take energy. They take. Yeah, that’s the, that’s the breakthrough man. I, you come with the magic every time. I’m so glad to meet with you again and I want listeners to go back and listen to our other show on primal blueprint channel. I believe, but Joel Jamison doing great stuff. Eight weeks out.com eight, the number eight weeks out.com article, how to train you recover faster on there and there’s a free route on training template to those of you who want to try it. You can just. We got to try. It just created a whole download. You can

Joel: go through a sample workout. I show you the exercises. We have some videos on there so it had to do it so I can try it for yourself and I guarantee you the more you start to walk out the gym back. Wow. I feel I feel good. I feel better. The more you’ll start to be like, this is something that you started doing anything. It doesn’t even have to be in the gym and sometimes I will go on a 20 minute bike ride, but I’ll do my breathing exercises before we bike ride. I’ll ride it from the gym to end the trail and back and they’ll do a few sets of dead lifts and cool down and then call it. Good. There’s lots of ways to incorporate the sort of stuff.

Brad: You pick it up the dead lifts and then dropping it. Yeah, I do like. Yeah, exactly. And so I quickly that’s because the raising phase is that called concentric. Concentric phase is not tearing up. Muscle fibers essentially will load.

Joel: The eccentric lowering tends lower end because more of the muscle soreness in the muscle damage. If anyone’s ever done a true essentially workout, you know how sore that tends to make you. It just tends to be more of where the muscles resisting stretching and that tends to be where more damage to the muscles actually done. So we’re trying to get the benefits of stimulate the nervous system with less fatigue or soreness. It’s going to go along with it. You know, this concentric only type exercises tend to be really beneficial for that.

Brad: I thought those guys were just showing off when they drop the weight, you know, and then they drop and make a big noise and everyone has to look over

Joel: that. You can do more of them, right? Because if you’re, if you’re not, spend as much energy in the deceleration event, then you can tend to do more reps to the concentric so they have their purpose.

Brad: Joel Jamieson, great time. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work. Go visit the website and read those, those landmark articles like uh, uh, what was it? All pain, no gain. And then the, uh, the rebound stuff that you can download. And then we’ll just dig further into this. I’m all over that. I’m going to go try it man. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thanks for listening. Everybody thought on.

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Let’s take a breather and talk diet and exercise tips.

Are you tired of hearing the terms “hacks” and “shortcuts” when it comes to healthy living? So am I! Leading a healthy, balanced life is inherently enjoyable. Sometimes the best things in life take extra time. For example, preparing a fresh, home cooked meal. These Longcuts are related to diet and exercise. These tips are simple, common sense and easy to implement into daily life. Eat only clean, colorful, nutritious foods. Ditch toxic modern foods like sugars, grains and refined vegetable oils. Make mealtimes calm, relaxed, and unhurried. Eat in a maximum window of 12 hours (e.g. 8am to 8pm). Strive to ditch carb dependency and trend toward becoming fat- and keto-adapted.

With exercise, it seems like increasing general everyday movement is becoming the number one priority, arguably more important that actual workouts! Honor the Primal Blueprint philosophy of moving frequently at a slow pace, lifting heavy things, and sprinting once in a while. Brief, intense workouts optimize hormones and stimulate fitness improvement. It’s critical to avoid anything resembling a chronic exercise pattern. This is a huge and common mistake for everyone from elite athletes and novices. Also realize that the harder you train, the harder you have to recover. Stay tuned for an important Part 2 of Longcuts, relating to sleep, stress management and relationships.

TIMES STAMPS: 

What are some real ways to optimize your life? [00:00:53]

Eat only clean, colorful, nutritious foods. [00:01:36]

Ditch grains, sugars and refined vegetable oils.  [00:03:44]

Don’t get so stressed about it. [00:04:44]

Make sure mealtimes are calm and relaxed.  [00:05:15]

Strive for metabolic flexibility. [00:07:46]

Number one most important exercise factor is turning out to be increased everyday movement. [00:09:29]

LINKS:

Fast Food Nation

Orthoexia: and unnatural and unhealthy fixation around food

Active Couch Potato Syndrome

LISTEN:

Download Episode MP3

Speaker: Brad Kearns

Brad Kearns:Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns. 

“We want to strive for that metabolic flexibility. That means the ability to burn a variety of fuel sources, most particularly stored body fat for energy. So, that means a grand, fabulous transition away from the disastrous state of carbohydrate dependency that pretty much represents the standard American diet.”

Welcome to another breather show. This one is about long cuts. Get it, instead of shortcuts. I’m so sick of hearing the word “shortcuts” and “hacks”, especially when it comes to healthy living. So, it’s going to be a short breather show, fast moving. But we’re going to talk about some real ways to optimize your life in the areas of diet, exercise, sleeping habits, lifestyle, relationships, stress management. Okay? Putting it all together; simple insights, no shortcuts.

You know what? This show is going to simulcast on the Primal Blueprint Podcast Keto show that I do once a week. So, if you’re into the ketogenic diet, the keto movement, go over and listen to that show, and we’ll get deep into the powerful health benefits of following a ketogenic diet, living a keto-friendly lifestyle.

For now, first, let’s talk about diet, so much controversy, so much detail, so much confusion, splitting hairs, people that are so far into the diet thing, that they’re obsessed with the different choices they face every day, and the macronutrient profiles and analyzing and charting everything on computer. We got to take a few steps backward and just talk about eating clean, colorful, nutritious foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.

The great thought leaders like Michael Poland, writing his books that just talk about healthy, clean eating. And if it happens to be meat, yes, go source some delicious, nutritious, grass-fed beef. That stat is sticking in my mind from Wild Idea Buffalo and the visions on their website – wildideabuffalo.com, where you see these beautiful animals roaming free on the prairie and digging deeper. And noticed, how they’re harvested in a humane manner as compared to the unbelievable operation. That is America’s feedlot concentrating animal, feedlot operations. Oh, my goodness. The filth, the disgust, the unhealthy environment and circumstances in which our mainstream animals are raised and slaughtered in these slaughterhouses.

Read Fast Food Nation, a fantastic book by Eric Schlosser – also, made into a documentary movie. And you can see, oh my goodness, the health risks and concerns when we talk about the packing houses and the conglomerates that oversee this mass production of beef for our enjoyment. Stat from Wild Idea Buffalo – 40 million cattle are slaughtered each year as opposed to only 60,000 buffalo. So, considering switching over to buffalo meat, it tastes better. Why not? Wildideabuffalo.com is your start. How about that for a commercial threaded into the content?

Yeah, but eating clean, colorful, nutritious foods. Dr. Peter Attia, in my great show with him, episode number two, he says, “Yeah, how about just eating stuff your great grandmother could have eaten?” Here’s a guy in the very forefront of the science, deep into the ketogenic world for many years and he spouts off that simple common-sense insight. Instead of going deep into the particulars, just eat stuff that was around 100 years ago. Mainly or most importantly for your health, is to ditch grains, sugars, and refined vegetable oils. Especially the vegetable oil component, I want you to have zero tolerance for that from this day forward, for the rest of your life. There’s absolutely no reason to consume any of this.

However, it’s pervasive, it’s everywhere. So, you have to be very careful. In restaurants, ask for your meals to be cooked in butter instead of vegetable oil. Throw away any bottles that you see in your house or any of your friends’ and family’s house. Don’t even tell them, you don’t want to get into an argument. Just toss the stuff, replace it with a bottle of avocado oil from primalblueprint.com.

Also, with diet, don’t get so stressed about it. This condition of Orthorexia is becoming more common among health enthusiasts, and that is an unnatural and unhealthy fixation with being perfect or being the highest best dietary choice at all times. Sometimes, you’re going to do the best you can and that’s going to be okay as long as you have a heightened awareness for everything that you’re putting into your mouth, and the consequences of your choices.

Next, make sure that your mealtimes are calm, relaxed, unhurried, a restaurant-type experience. Every time you sit down and enjoy food, one of the great pleasures of life, this makes a huge difference in your digestion. The quality of the food that you eat is going to be compromised if you’re grabbing it and throwing it into your mouth on the run or while you’re driving in traffic.

So, make mealtimes a special celebratory education. Chew each bite carefully and completely. I believe the recommendation is to chew each bite 30 times. Count yourself sometime. You’ll find you might be falling a little short, like three to four or seven if you’re lucky. Yeah, chew and chew and chew. That’s the initiation of the digestive process with the salivary enzymes contributing to breaking down your food and getting it ready to be absorbed and assimilated as good nutrition by the body.

Also, strive to adhere to this digestive circadian rhythm. This is from the exciting new research from Dr. Satchin Panda at UC San Diego. He’s all over the internet, has done some great podcasts with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. And his research has shown that it’s an extreme health benefit to eat inside a maximum time frame of 12 hours a day. So, you don’t want to be eating in a larger time window than 12 hours. If you wake up and eat something at 8:00 AM, finish eating by 8:00 PM.

At the most, of course, the people in the primal paleo keto community are talking about compressed eating windows and intermittent fasting and extending the time from which you’re not eating, because this is when the immune function and cellular repair is optimized, when you’re in a fasted state. So, people are striving to eat in eight-hour time windows, very popular practice, or even smaller time windows.

Todd White – Dry Farm Wines, eats one meal every day. He eats dinner and that’s it. He doesn’t eat. So, he’s basically fasting for 24 hours every single day. 23, let’s say if the dinner takes a long time, which it does, because those guys go out and celebrate many nights a week. If you work for Dry Farm Wines, good stuff. My podcast with him coming soon.

So, 12-hour maximum, digestive circadian window. We want to strive for that metabolic flexibility. That means the ability to burn a variety of fuel sources, most particularly stored body fat for energy. So, that means a grand fabulous transition away from the disastrous state of carbohydrate dependency that pretty much represents the standard American diet, the modern dietary habits in the developed world. And if you are a carb-dependent person, that means you can’t function very well if you so much as skip a single meal, you are most likely doomed to a lifetime of fatigue, illness, suffering, disease, early death from type two diabetes, heart disease, cancer.

No offense, but these are the leading killers of humans in the developed world, on the planet today. And they are strongly associated with a carbohydrate dependency, dietary pattern of constant excess caloric consumption, lifelong insidious weight gain, increased oxidative stress and inflammation due to the nature of the food and the excess insulin production – t’s called hyperinsulinemia. And these are the leading disease patterns of modern life.

This is undisputed by medical science and people on all sides of the fence realize that Metabolic Syndrome, strongly driven by excess insulin production represents the number one health concern in modern life. How do you escape from this trap? You become metabolically flexible by developing the ability to burn stored energy, skip meals, subsist on healthy nutritious fats as your prominent fuel source and the diet and tone down the consumption of refined grains and sugars, which drive you into carbohydrate dependency.

Okay, moving onto exercise. And it’s coming about that the number one most important exercise factor is turning out to be increased general everyday movement. Thank you, Katy Bowman; visionary, promoter of Nutritious Movement. Not a fitness freak or any of that, but just talking about the importance of everyday movement and those types of ideas are rising into prominence as very likely more important than doing actual workouts. More important than your gym membership, your weekly mileage, your commitment to these fitness protocols that are very narrow in nature, narrow in focus.

Even if you’re a CrossFit person, the broad base fitness protocol in CrossFit is still just a workout. It’s still only an hour of your day, or if you go four times a week, which is probably too much. We’re only talking about a small sliver of your overall lifestyle experience. So, finding ways to move more in all manner of everyday life. That is your number one objective for exercise, especially getting rid of periods of prolonged stillness by getting up and taking physical breaks. It could be just doing 20 deep squats in your cubicle and sitting back down if you can’t get up and walk for seven minutes around the office courtyard.

But we have so much opportunity to do this and we’re getting super lazy. A lot of it’s what Katy Bowman calls The Lazy Athlete’s Mentality. Where because we did our hour-workout, we did wake up and get on the spinner bike at 6:30 for the high energy class, so we’re allowed to be a slug the rest of the day. And this mentality is both conscious and subconscious.

So, the exercise population is at particular risk for something called the Active Couch Potato Syndrome. This is where people who have a devoted commitment to fitness, never the less reveal the same disease patterns and risk factors as sedentary population. And it’s because that one-hour workout in the gym or on the road, does not counteract a long commute, a desk job and consuming your digital entertainment during your leisure time such that you’re inactive for 20, 21, 22, 23 hours a day. Okay, so increasing general everyday movement, number one priority, more important than workouts.

In tandem with that goal of just moving more every day, is to be absolutely certain that you avoid anything resembling a chronic exercise pattern. This is so common in the fitness community where people get into it, they’re having fun, they’re getting that endorphin buzz. After these high intensity spin classes or boot camps or CrossFit workouts or joining the running club and preparing for the upcoming half marathon or marathon, it’s go, go, go. It feels great for a while, but what you’re doing is you’re overstimulating the stress response. So, you are buzzed on stress hormones. You feel great, you have more energy, life is good. It might even being losing some excess body fat, making all this progress and fitness, but if it becomes a chronic pattern, then that overstimulation of stress hormones will eventually trash your immune system, trash your endocrine function, and you will suffer from breakdown burnout, illness, and injury.

This is the dirty little best kept secret in the fitness industry. Vinnie Tortorich talks about this on his show, Fitness Confidential. That people are exercising too hard, too strenuously. The trainers are guilty, the class teachers, the purveyors of exercise programs are all going for that low hanging fruit of giving you that endorphin buzz and of course, a nice balance to an inactive lifestyle. You get to the gym, you blow off some steam, you sweat, it feels good. But we have to step back and take a big picture look and realize that when you conduct high intensity workouts, they have a high stress factor, so that you require a lot of rest and recovery and general everyday movement in between. You don’t need to do it four times a week.

So, toning down those high-intensity or those strenuous workouts in favor of gentle, everyday movement. As the Primal Blueprint principles communicate, your objectives for exercise. So, the genetically optimal exercise patterns consist of moving frequently at a slow pace, lifting heavy things, and sprinting once in a while. That’s the optimal fitness protocol based on the historical experience of our ancestors. So, this moving frequently at a slow pace entails yeah, walking around more, taking breaks, doing your squats, doing your flexibility drills, but also conducting structured cardiovascular workouts at comfortable aerobic heart rate – 180 minus your age or less. Okay?

Pairing that with regular strength training sessions. They need not be long in duration. You can get a lot done in 15, 20, or 30 minutes, and you never need to exercise longer than 30 minutes during a strength workout. Because if you do, you’ll overstimulate stress hormones. Sprinting, brief duration, all out sprints that give you that spike of adaptive hormones. Hormones that help you get better and stronger in the future and delay the aging process. So, pretty simple fitness protocol. Not so time consuming, but making a big difference.

That is going to be a part one finish line for long cuts to a longer life. We will cover the sleep relationships, stress management techniques in a different show. Thank you for listening to this one. Get that diet and exercise dialed.

Yeah, this is a cool newsletter; how to produce a successful pod … Are you recording yet? No, don’t push record yet, I want to read through this. Let me know what you think. It says, “If you’re going to read an advertisement, make sure it’s authentic. Otherwise, you’ll harm your credibility.” Yeah, that makes sense. And oh, it says, “If you’re asking your audience for a call to action, be sincere. Thank them from the bottom of your heart and make it short.” So, let’s try that. Okay, yeah, hit that red button, record. Yeah, right there. Okay.

Hey, this is Brad Kearns. Thank you for listening to the show. You know this show is fairly new, so it would be a huge, massive help if you could visit iTunes for a second or wherever you consume podcast, and leave a positive review for the show. This is how shows attract more attention and get new listeners, so I can brainwash them to subscribe for life with this wonderful compelling content.

Thank you so much for doing that. I know it’s a big hassle, but if you do it, and then you go over and email me; getoveryourselfpodcast@gmail.com, I will mail you a dollar. No, I won’t do that man. That would be a huge hassle. Talk about a hassle. But you know what I’ll do? I’ll thank you from the bottom of my heart and I’ll enter you into a draw and put your address on there too. And I’ll do like 10 grand prizes, something cool like primal kitchen, extra virgin avocado oil to drizzle on your salads, something. I promise you. Thank you so much for leaving a review.

It’s time to spread the word about the Get Over Yourself Podcast. And speaking of advertising, I promise you at all times, I will be talking about only stuff that’s super cool, awesome. That I use and appreciate in daily life and would recommend to you or think that might help you. I know you can always push that 32nd forward button and skip the ads, but I want to do some cool stuff. I appreciate you listening, if it’s value to you.

Please, participate in the show. Send me your constructive feedback or otherwise, suggestions, comments to that wonderful lengthy email, but unforgettable; getoveryourselfpodcast@gmail.com. Thanks for listening. This is Brad Kearns.

Okay, hit stop right there and then it’ll stop. Yeah.

Here is a message I wrote to a client after we got talking about that frustrating challenge of losing the last 10 pounds of excess body fat. Often, people make great initial progress with fat reduction and then stall while still a bit above their ultimate goal.

Homeostasis: First, understand that the body likes to achieve homeostasis, so losing fat over a period of time might require a plateau period as your body’s way of maintaining status quo. Do you feel better, sleep better, eat better, perform better than before? This would be great news and now you can make a plan to progress further.

The more fat-adapted you are, the easier it is for you to make some concerted efforts to Intermittent Fast and eat meals off your fat stores rather than your plate. If you are still slightly carb dependent, then fasting won’t work and you’ll just slow down metabolic rate. If you can have some days where you eat less food and fewer carbs than normal you can make spurts of progress.
Wakesurfing – a super high intensity workout great
for weight loss….NOT. But it’s incredibly fun!

Set Point: Very importantly, when your body reaches a genetically comfortable set point, you have to shock your body with high intensity sprint efforts to achieve further fat loss. If your genetic influences have you at x% body fat right now (dang! that’s higher than your neighbor who’s genetic influences have her looking more like Gwyneth Paltrow than you! Unfair!) ……and you want to drop 10 more lbs, you can consider conducting a sequence of brief duration, very high intensity sprint sessions. Running/weight bearing is obviously the best choice, but if you are not adapted to run sprints now, you can do bicycle sprints or uphill sprints (low or no impact options).

Intensity and Fasting: I like pairing these intense efforts with Intermittent Fasting to turbocharge fat burning in the body. So you do your sprints in the am, after ~10hrs of fasting, then fast as long as possible after the workout until you really get hungry and want to eat. Weight-bearing sprints send a strong signal to the body to reduce excess fat. High intensity, short duration strength workouts will also deliver results in this area. Longer duration (30, 45, 60 min) strength workouts, boot camp classes, personal trainer sessions and so forth cause prolonged stress hormones in the bloodstream and elevated hunger. You crank out that awesome morning workout, burn a ton of calories (hoping to help with weight loss) and then find yourself pounding a pint of ice cream and evening due to the depleting effect of the workout. Hard to believe but its better to get in and get out quickly with the intensity sessions. 
Natural Appetite: Finally, the other error we see often is people having this primal ‘license to kill ‘ where they eat high quantities of food because the food is Primal approved so its ‘okay’ to pig out. Man, you should see the group at our PrimalCon retreats!! they inhale TONS of delicious food, 5-foot tall women with plates piled high enough to make the football team proud. As the book suggests, macadamia nuts are a ‘great primal snack’ so are sardines and so forth. But you can also eat these snacks off your butt as Mark likes to say. 
**
If you have made great progress but wanna drop 10 more pounds you can do it in about 3 months time. So you will send me another email in a few months saying, ‘hey Brad i did it, check out my 6 pack, photo attached’, but this result will require some pretty sincere effort to really really really align your appetite with your intake. You eat only when hungry and finish when you are satisfied. Not ‘full’ but simply satisfied. Modern humans rarely behave this way. We eat for social reasons and we pig out on good food.
Remember though, Primal aligned eating with low insulin producing dietary habits will enable you to easily maintain a desired body composition for the rest of your life. However, getting down into your desired summer bathing suit zone is going to take some extra effort for 8 weeks.
All this commentary should be taken in the context that a physician consultation is important for any eating or exercise program, especially when some foo on email tells you to sprint like crazy! Must be in optimal physical condition to enact this strategy.

Testosterone is the ultimate male hormone, responsible for not only physical power and endurance but also optimum cognitive function and emotional stability. Maintaining healthy testosterone production is how your preserve your male essence, and it’s become increasingly difficult in hectic modern life to do so. The combination of unhealthy diet, insufficient daily movement, insufficient explosive, high intensity exercise, patterns of too much exercise that are increasingly common in the hard-core CrossFit and endurance communities, emotional stressors such as toxic relationship dynamics, and also estrogenic influences in our environment (plastics, food, water supply) conspire to trash male testosterone levels today. While testosterone and other androgenic factors are known to decline gradually with age, the problem is accelerated decline driven by adverse lifestyle circumstances. It’s become so common to slow down and soften up from six-pack youth to spare tire middle age that we have come to view it as normal. As society becomes accustomed to using pharmaceuticals to address every complaint, millions have turned to testosterone replacement therapy. This is a band-aid approach that can work, but also can have detrimental long term consequences.

This article will reveal the profound effect that lifestyle modification can have on your testosterone levels in a short time, as I relate how I went from a testosterone reading below the normal&healthy range (equating with a clinical diagnosis of hypo) to a 99th percentile reading for my age group in only six months. This was largely due to eliminating overly stressful endurance exercise patterns by exercising at lower heart rates (and also extensive down time caused by appendectomy.) Enjoy this story and become inspired to minimize life stress factors and do everything else possible to optimize lifestyle practices in support of healthy male hormone function. Big changes can happen in a short time!

I returned to actual endurance training in early 2015 to prepare for professional Speedgolf competition, after ~20 years of doing minimal endurance training in favor of dominating young soccer, basketball and track athletes as a participatory coach. As I became more enthused about Speedgolf, I tried to limit my heart rate to 145 bpm or below for my training runs, knowing the importance of maintaining aerobic intensity and minimizing anaerobic stimulation doing routine workouts. However, the 145 bpm number I chose was much to high for a 50-year-old; it was based on what I now believe is a flawed calculation of aerobic maximum heart rate based on estimated maximum heart rate. Instead, I recommend that endurance enthusiasts of all levels train according to Dr. Phil Maffetone’s “180 minus age” formula, where you calculate your aerobic maximum heart rate to be 180 minus age in beats per minute.  Maffetone is the author of the Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing and legendary endurance coach. His time-tested formula ensures that a workout is minimally stressful and emphasizes fat burning, with minimal stimulation of glucose burning and stress hormone production.

I learned the hard way after six months of greatly increased training volume that even a little too high of a heart rate can be highly destructive. By going out for golf rounds and training runs with heart rate in 140s, I was stimulating a bit too much stress hormone production day after day. I was ill prepared for both the huge increase in training volume along with a heart rate that was too elevated. This was revealed by a testosterone test in April, 2015, in the midst of my chronic training patterns. My reading was 686 serum testosterone and 6.8 free testosterone. Free T is the bioavailable form that is circulating and acting upon target organs to deliver the desired beneficial effects. In some cases, a subject can deliver a high reading for serum testosterone, but have inferior free testosterone due to elevated levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG.) This agent binds with most of your serum testosterone, leaving only a small fraction of free T to go to work and activate cell receptors in target organs (For example, women have twice the level of SHBG as men, ensuring they are not over-exposed to testosterone.) This was what was happening with me, likely because of chronic overproduction of stress hormones messing up healthy hormonal signaling. 686 is very good for a 50-year-old, but the 6.8 drew a low red flag as clinically hypotestosteronemia! Not cool man!

Besides feeling tired and delivering a low T blood test, I blame this chronic exercise period as a key contributor to an alarming health setback that occurred in June of 2015. On the heels of two high intensity sprint workouts over a span of five days, in 100-degree summer heat, I had to have emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. Complications followed, with an ensuring 3 months of gross hematuria (peeing blood) that required three exploratory surgeries on my kidneys. Conventional thinking is that appendicitis is a random occurrence, but I blame these exhausting and dehydrating workouts on landing me in the hospital.

Life gives you rest periods if you refuse to take them yourself. It took me weeks of buildup from short walks, to longer walks, to jog/walks and finally to resumption of light jogging. This time around, I decided to adhere to the 180-age MAF formula, and never exceed 130 beats per minute during my sessions (180 minus age 50 is 130 bpm). This meant doing a lot of walking during Speedgolf rounds, because stopping to swing the club raises your heart rate from jogging level!

For a lifelong competitive athlete, it’s a huge adjustment in mindset to maintain such a frustratingly slow pace – walking up hills and so forth. After months of devoted effort and limiting heart rate however, my energy and general health improved greatly, as did my fitness. I filmed this video because I was particularly pleased to notice running along at a decent pace with a heart rate of only 123!

While focused, goal-oriented, hard driving athletes have trouble slowing down the pace of their workouts, especially to the extremely low intensity that 180-age dictates, it’s been proven to pay off with continued improvement and less risk of burnout and breakdown. In my case, the benefits of my aerobic base building were validated not only by steady improvement on the trails, but in my blood values.

In October, I delivered testosterone blood test values of 1,013 serum and 14.7 free testosterone. Delivering a ~1,000 serum level is at the top end of the range even for a young man, and the 14.7 free reading–more than double my April reading of 6.8–was at the top of the normal range. For reference, during my professional triathlon career I ranged from 200-300 on serum testosterone tests. Even during my supposed peak hormonal years of my 20s, the extreme training and transcontinental travel suppressed my testosterone and in turn elevated stress hormones like cortisol that antagonize testosterone.

This chart showing means and percentiles for serum testosterone by age group:

Bottom line: SLOWING DOWN will help you improve as an endurance athlete, protect against overtraining and burnout, and optimize your hormones so you experience an anti-aging effect instead of accelerated aging that comes from chronic cardio training. When you integrate brief, high-intensity resistance training and sprinting, you can experience the opposite effect of chronic exercise: a spike in testosterone and human growth hormone in response to the appropriate–hormetic–stress of properly conducted high intensity workouts. These topics are some of the central elements of the Primal Endurance training philosophy.

Note: Just discovered this in my archives – it’s ~15 years old. I worked on it for a long time, super hard with back n forth edits – I was trying to get it into Men’s Fitness where you earn a few grand for a short article, but it never made it in. So it makes the blog instead!

How To Retire At 30
By Brad Kearns
My first real job after college graduation was as a lowly staff auditor for the world’s largest accounting firm. Ten years later, I was retired. Not as a big shot CPA, but as a professional triathlete. What was it like to trade security, salary, and a business suit for a bathing suit? Well, when I went fast, it was great. I got to travel around the world and stay in beautiful resorts for free. There was substantial prize money and notoriety for winning races. Companies actually paid me to use their cool stuff. I could scoff at my miserable peers, slaving away for corporate America, making less money in a month than I made in 1 hour and 50 minutes of doing something I loved while people cheered.
Of course that was when I went fast. Sometimes I went slow. Or got disqualified from a eight hour race (that I won by 15 minutes) for running a stop sign. Or broke a pedal while leading another race. Or got sick, tired, or injured and had to watch someone else win. After nine years of piling up memories like those I realized it was time to hang it up. Of course it wasn’t that easy. I had to have the concept of the “R” word beaten into my head from all sides for me to take notice and do something about it.
Looking back, it’s hard to blame myself. Winning is intoxicating; the confidence and sense of well-being I got from reaching the top of my profession clouded my view of reality. But gazing into the mirror and accepting my own athletic mortality was perhaps a more valuable lesson than anything I learned when I was victorious. When I was finally able to embrace the end of my career, I felt as ready for the real world as anyone who had slaved in it for the entire ten years I was avoiding it.
The second level of sell that kept me swimming, pedaling and running for ten years was my brief exposure to the real world after college graduation. Call me strange, but as a kid I dreamt of becoming a professional quarterback, not a Certified Public Accountant. The quarterback dream lasted until I was 12, when I got my first crack at tackle football. My 77-pound frame got crushed repeatedly in practice and rarely saw game time. My NFL dreams were soon replaced by delusions of running in the Olympics.
However deluded, I still hadn’t found anything to replace the power and allure of the career goal I’d had in some form since age seven. I decided to get my CPA, then go to law school, bribing the dream out of my consciousness with big bucks. What was I thinking? By the time I got my college diploma I had no idea. I decided to shun the CPA scene, especially after not impressing the on-campus recruiters enough to get a single job offer. I think it was those darn first impressions. I didn’t see the need to wear the strongly recommended business suit just for an interview; I’ll buy a suit after you hire me buddy!
So I sold frozen yogurt machines. More accurately, I drove for three months in heat, smog and traffic all over the Los Angeles basin trying to sell a frozen soft serve non-dairy dessert called Yodolo and the accompanying machine. Even though this was the ‘80’s – the heyday of frozen yogurt – I didn’t sell a single unit. Motivation flagging, my boss set up a meeting with a star associate of his who was averaging 2.3 Yodolo sales a week. After a brilliant and inspiring pep talk, he then explained that his 2.3 sales per week at a thousand bucks a pop were barely enough to live on, due to the high cost of “babes and blow, man; the money’s gone before you know it.”
Soon after the pep talk, I bought a suit, crawled back to the accounting firms with my tail between my legs and secured the auditor position in downtown Los Angeles. I knew I was in trouble on the first day. Orientation was so boring that I could barely keep my eyes open; my fellow recruits were taking copious notes on riveting subjects like the firm’s retirement plan. Retirement plan….No, don’t go gently into that good night! I raged by getting serious with my triathlon training, waking at 5 AM to run before work and then swimming after work. As I pondered my future in gridlock traffic for two hours every day, my fantasy of a professional triathlon career appeared less and less ludicrous.
Intoxicated by 8 AM from freeway carbon monoxide, I spent workdays performing legendary tasks like photo copying for eight straight hours, double-checking a computer printout of bank account balances for 20 hours (somebody’s got to do it, he’s an auditor), and running errands for my superiors. I think the only reason that I had to wear a suit instead of a cap and overalls was that they were billing my time out at $65 per hour.
The last straw came on a Friday evening of Valentines Day. My two female superiors and I were working like crazy to finish a two-week audit job at a bank. My girlfriend arranged for a delivery of balloons to the bank, an event that distressed my bosses on seemingly too many levels. Highly motivated by sympathy, I brought them a small Valentine’s gift after lunch. One of them said, “Thanks, but bear in mind that this will have no affect whatsoever on your P-66 (employee evaluation).” The two Chips-On-Their-Shoulders and I finally finished around 9 PM. Dinner plans with my girlfriend were shot when the Chips ordered me to drop off a dozen file boxes at the firm’s downtown offices. The Chips rushed out and I was left , in the pouring rain, to stuff every inch of my car with these boxes.
The six-mile trip took 45 minutes. Our firm’s temporary parking garage was a quarter-mile away from our new offices. Each trip along the outdoor walkway to the office building left me and the cardboard boxes drenched. On my final trip, the dolly hit a bump and the boxes and contents went flying all over the puddle-filled sidewalk. Cramming everything into what was left of the rain-soaked, tattered boxes, I headed straight for the office of one of the Chips, dumped the soaking boxes and headed back out into the rain.
Monday I called my boss to give him two-weeks notice. He couldn’t schedule me for a week and a half, so when the meeting came I announced: “I’m quitting Friday.” “Friday the uh, fourth of April?” “No, Friday.”

Eight months later, as a struggling, unknown rookie pro, I upset #1-ranked duathlete (Kenny Souza) and #1 ranked triathlete in the world (Scott Molina) in the same race for my first pro victory. That and other highlights surpassed anything I had ever imagined. So did the financial, physical and emotional hardships I endured over the course of my career. Dreams may not always end up as you want them to, but that isn’t the point. What’s important is to chase them with all your might.November 1986 Desert Princess World Championship Duathlon Series race #1: No clothes, no sponsors, no competition on this particular day…

Following are details of my personal diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits that honor the principles of evolutionary health. In 2008, I started working on The Primal Blueprint book and movement with Mark Sisson. I immediately transitioned away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) high in complex carbs to a primal eating pattern that is comparatively very low carb and high in healthy fats. Concurrently, I ditched my lifelong emphasis on endurance training (especially the destructive chronic cardio patterns I followed as a pro triathlete) to pursue a more primal-style all-around fitness program, featuring more intense, explosive workouts that optimize hormones and delay aging.

Overview of primal lifestyle tips (details follow):

  1. Eat Primally: The most critical immediate act to reclaim your health is to ditch toxic, nutrient-deficient modern foods–the Big-3 of sugars, grains, and refined industrial seed oils. Embark upon a 21-day transformation and commit to zero tolerance for these agents, which have addictive properties and cause an immediate disturbance to your health. Emphasize nutrient-dense ancestral-style foods, striving for the highest quality sustainably raised animal products to avoid concerns about conventionally raised feedlot animals. Essentially, this means you are choosing your favorites from the list of: Meat, fish, fowl, eggs; vegetables; fruits; nuts, seeds and their derivative butters; and certain healthy modern foods such as high cacao percentage dark chocolate and organic, high-fat dairy products.
  2. Go Keto, or even Carnivore: Once you build metabolic flexibility (fat burning efficiency) from a primal-style eating pattern, you can increase your sophistication with recently popular ketogenic diet or the carnivore diet. Keto entails extreme carb restriction (under 50 grams/day) to prompt your liver to make ketones (burning in place of glucose). Carnivore entails limiting or omitting all plant foods in favor of animal-sourced foods. Many users report excellent success with dropping excess body fat quickly. This happens because you are minimizing the wildly excessive insulin production caused by the mainstream high carbohydrate diet, and also from restricting your food choices. The carnivore diet may also alleviate inflammatory or autoimmune conditions in people who are sensitive to the natural plant toxins in vegetables, seeds, and grains.
  3. Move Frequently: Walk around more (especially taking breaks from prolonged sitting), try a standup desk, engage in brief calisthenics, strength (e.g., one set of pullups or deep squats during the workday), or mobility exercises during the day, and do structured cardio workouts at a very comfortable pace of 180-minus-age in heart beats per minute (e.g. 180-50 year old = 130 maximum heart rate for an aerobic session.) The FitnessVolt website has a sophisticated tool to calculate your calories burned each day.
  4. Go Hard: Conduct regular brief, high-intensity strength and sprint workouts. Explosive, high intensity efforts help preserve muscle mass, optimize hormone function, reduce body fat, and delay aging.
  5. Sleep/Relax: Minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark as this compromises healthy sleep and messes up hormone balance. Prioritize adequate sleep and awaken full of energy. Nap whenever you need to. Discipline yourself to take downtime from constant digital stimulation and hyper-connectivity to just chill.

Diet

  1. Ditch sugars, grains, and vegetable oils: The “Big-3” most offensive foods in the modern diet promote systemic inflammation, oxidative damage, fat storage, accelerated aging, heart disease, and cancer. Yes, these foods are cultural mainstays but science validates that this stuff will slowly kill ya.
  2. Emphasize primal foods: Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and their derivative butters, and healthy modern foods like high fat dairy and high cacao percentage dark chocolate. An “ancestral” eating pattern (primal/paleo/keto) is, by comparison to the Standard American Diet (SAD), is very low carb (no sugars or grains) and high in healthy fats.
  3. Flexible: When you become good at fat burning instead of dependent upon regular high carb meals as your main source of energy, your meal habits can become more sporadic. Intermittent Fasting optimizes fat metabolism, enhances cellular repair, and delays aging.

The Primal Blueprint philosophy counters the “diet” concept of prescribed meals, calorie counting, and a regimented schedule. Caloric intake and meal choices can vary wildly each day, and you become expert at burning stored body fat. Your food choices are driven primarily by personal preference, within the broad guidelines of primal eating. When you cut out processed carbs, you soon lose your habituation to them and it feels liberating and energizing. Meals are predominantly fat and stimulate minimal insulin response, keeping energy, blood sugar, and appetite stable all day, even when meals are skipped/missed.

My eating routine: I typically fast until 12 noon before preparing a big meal that typically features eggs, fish, or meat. I emphasize wild caught salmon, pasture raised eggs, and grassfed meat such as Wild Idea Buffalo or Lone Mountain Wagyu beef. I have around 12 years of near-total elimination of all grains (wheat, rice, pasta, corn, and all derivatives), sugars/sweets and sweetened beverages. I do allow a little leaking here and there with some of my old favorites: popcorn, blue corn chips, or corn tortilla for tacos. I have done deep experimentation with both keto and carnivore but today I don’t have any regimentation or measuring happening. I would describe my meals as carnivore-ish since I don’t go looking for huge piles of vegetables any more. I don’t strenuously restrict carbs, and in fact might make occasional efforts to increase carb intake in the aftermath of strenuous workouts. Again, this is all intuitive instead of highly structured. My sources of additional carbs include the aforementioned dark chocolate, nut butter, and popcorn, as well as sweet potatoes and winter squash. My beverage of choice is water and tons of homemade kombucha, now that I am an expert kombucha maker. Read about how I choose only the highest quality bean-to-bar dark chocolate.

My estimated macronutrient profile:
~66% fat: Naturally raised meat/fish/fowl/eggs, coconut products, avocados, nuts, seeds and their derivative butters, oils of avocado, olive, and coconut, and high cacao percentage dark chocolate
~20% protein: 0.7g/lb of lean body mass is an often recommended target. This is easily accomplished from eating primal style with animal foods, and nuts/nut butter. I probably exceed this target and this percentage when I have days that are more carnivore-ish and not heavy with carb intake.
~14% carb: Under 150 grams/600 calories per day is the critical Primal goal, while under 50 grams per day is the critical keto goal. The 150g standard is easily accomplished when all grains and sugars are eliminated. Keto entails getting your carbs from veggies and putting aside fruit, sweet potatoes, and the like during those focused periods. I estimate my daily carb intake ranges from 20 grams to 150 grams with no specific pattern except for naturally increased carb intake in and around strenuous workouts. This is what Mark Sisson refers to as eating in the “keto zone,” where you effortlessly drift into and out of ketosis without worrying about it or noticing.

If you wonder if you are eating too many carbs, chart what you eat on a notepad for a day or two, trying to measure or estimate quantities as best you can, then visit myfitnesspal.com and input your data. It will generate a nice report with macronutrient and caloric breakdowns.

Re – the Keto Reset: There are outstanding health, disease protection, and fat reduction benefits to be had from becoming highly fat adapted through frequent fasting and adherence to a very low carb intake standard with meals. It’s an excellent idea for lifelong metabolic health to prepare for and complete an initial focused period of ketogenic eating lasting for six weeks, then recalibrate any time with shorter forays into keto. This journey is presented in detail in The Keto Reset Diet, which reached #4 ranking on the New York Times bestseller list upon its 2017 release. We also offer a comprehensive online course to learn how to go keto the right way. Our new book, Keto For Life, leverages the metabolic flexibility benefits you build with keto into the comprehensive life goal of longevity–living long and living awesome.

Exercise

My routine features comfortable aerobic workouts (i.e., slow jogging in the morning or evening on golf course), regular brief, high intensity strength training sessions at home with bodyweight, heavy weight, or resistance cords, a high intensity sprint workout around once every 7 days, and a general daily effort to move more with walking, bike cruising, flexibility/mobility drills, and mini-strength efforts.

My routine:

  1. Morning Flexibility/Mobility Routine: Done in bedroom every single morning, no matter what. It’s only 12 minutes but it’s pretty challenging and a great way to get energized upon awakening. My competitive fitness goals launch from this higher baseline, which has really helped with injury prevention at my intense workouts.
  2. Morning Cold Plunge: Immediately following my morning mobility exercises, I plunge into a chest freezer filled with water cooled to 36F-38F (1C-3C). I spending 4-6 minutes in the tub, completing 20 deep, diaphragmatic breath cycles. This is a fabulous experience that puts me into a meditative state and helps strength my focus and resilience for a productive day. Cold therapy delivers an assortment of hormonal, cognitive, and cardiovascular benefits and definitely energizes you when you exit! The movement routine-plus-cold plunge have become habit to the extent that I don’t need to apply psychic energy nor will power to make them happen. Developing winning habits begets more winning habits, such as being able to prioritize your work objectives or stick to healthy eating goals. I might also plunge in conjunction with contrast therapy–going back and forth between the tub and my Almost Heaven barrell sauna heated to 210F! This is typically a social event. I’ll occasionally plunge for a few minutes before bed to lower body temperature and facilitate a good night’s sleep. Read about the comprehensive benefits of cold therapy.
  3. Movement: Many experts believe that this is the next fitness breakthrough: increasing all forms of general everyday movement to counter the many sedentary forces of modern life. This includes morning or evening neighborhood strolls, taking the stairs instead of elevators, hitting a single set of pullups or deadlifts when you pass by the apparatus in your yard, doing air squats while watching TV, or implementing something like my morning routine as a consistent element of your daily routine. Increasing your general daily movement patterns could in many ways be more important than conducting formal workouts, especially if the workouts are too stressful.
  4. Jogging: Either a short morning jog of 20 min (often rewarming after my cold plunge ala the amazing Unfrozen Caveman Runner strategy) or evening golf course jog for Speedgolf practice. The critical component of my running is keeping heart rate at or below 130 beats per minute (per the MAF “180-age” formula). This means a very slow (over 9 min/mile pace), very comfortable exercise session that doesn’t stress me. I can easily run faster with minimal strain, but getting into a pattern of medium-to-difficult paced runs, instead of truly easy runs, can lead to fatigue, burnout and hormonal imbalances. Read how I doubled my testosterone from clinically low (after months of too much running at slightly excessive heart rates), to the 99th percentile for males 50+ and 95th percentile for males in their 20s.
  5. Strength Training: These brief, high intensity sessions last 10-20 minutes and happen two days per week. At my advanced age, I’ve drifted away from formal workouts that last too long and make me too tired in the days afterward. Instead, almost every day I do a bit of strength efforts, whether its 100 decline Spiderman pushups and a set of deep squats and deadlifts (maybe 10 min total time requirement). A couple days a week I’ll do a more ambitious workout, such 200 Spidermans along with a few sets of deadlifts, squats, Stretch Cordz, pullups, or ankle band work. Everything is at home within easy reach so it’s no trouble to get a little work in. I go to the gym too, and I appreciate the natural motivation that happens when you show up and walk through the door. But I can definitely get the job done at home. The longest I’ll be in an actual workout mode is only 30 minutes. Go hard and get it done before you overstimulate stress hormones. In contrast, being in the gym doing machine circuits for an hour can easily become too stressful, making you tired and craving sugar in the aftermath.
  6. Sprinting: Sprinting is my primary athletic goal these days, as it supports my Speedgolf tournament goals and especially my effort to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest single hole of golf ever played (minimum length, 500 yards). My weekly sprint sessions consist of easy warmup jog/bike ride to the running track, 10 minutes of quite challenging technique drills that elevate heart rate and prepare the legs for explosive effort. My main session is typically 4 x 200m, 8 x 70m. Listen to how I recently modified my sprint workouts to help minimize cellular breakdown, improve performance, and speed recovery. Here is some rare sprinting footage.

Lifestyle

Sleep and sufficient rest, recovery and downtime from the hectic pace of modern life could be the number one priority for health and longevity. Research shows that if you are sleep deprived it compromises your ability to burn fat, essentially negating your diligent dietary transformation efforts and fitness accomplishments.

The number-one priority in this area is to avoid excess artificial light and digital stimulation after dark. Get your screen work and entertainment done early in the evening, and reserve the last hours before bed for winding down in a dark, quiet, mellow setting – socialize, take an evening stroll, read a book, take a cold plunge! Download f.lux or Iris Tech blue light diffusing software if you insist on working on computer after dark. Wear blue light blocking sunglasses such as the stylish and high quality pairs from RAOptics. Minimizing light exposure will trigger Dim Light Melatonin Onset, a genetically programmed response where we become sleepy soon after dark in alignment with our circadian rhythms and prep ourselves for a good night’s sleep.

Introducing excess artificial light and digital stimulation after dark suppresses melatonin, elevates stress hormones, increases sugar cravings, and compromises optimal cycling through all phases of sleep. This in turn compromises immune function (healthy intestinal flora flourishes at night, while you sleep; as does cell repair and recovery from stress of daily life). Lights Out – Sleep, Sugar, and Survival, a fantastic book on the subject, recommends we all sleep 9.5 hours per night in the winter, and can get away with 8 hours per night in the summer. If you like catching up on email or Netflix at night, remind yourself that excess evening light and digital stimulation = stress hormone spike = sugar cravings = fat storage. The orange lenses make a huge difference at night, so get on it! No excuses. Start out with a cheap pair if you want like Uvex but make this a new habit!

I’ll also occasionally take an afternoon nap of around 20 minutes any time I feel my energy and cognitive performance flagging. I wake up feeling refreshed and focused for resuming work. I guarantee any heavy hitter out there that my down time is more than made up for with improved productivity for the rest of the work day.

My goal in sharing this information is to garner awe from my fan base and national media outlets, as well as inspire and hopefully assist you with achieving personal health and fitness goals. Please contact me if you have any questions or further interest!

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