Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast,
where we discuss science
and science-based tools for everyday life.
I’m Andrew Huberman,
and I’m a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology
at Stanford School of Medicine.
Today, my guest is Jeff Cavalier.
Jeff Cavalier holds a master of science in physical therapy
and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
He did his training at the University of Connecticut STORS,
one of the top five programs in the world
in physical therapy and sports medicine.
I discovered Jeff Cavalier over 10 years ago
from his online content.
His online content includes information
about how to train for strength,
how to train for hypertrophy, which is muscle growth,
how to train for endurance,
as well as how to rehabilitate injuries
to avoid muscular imbalances, nutrition,
I’ve always found his content
to be incredibly science-based, incredibly clear,
sometimes surprising, and always incredibly actionable.
It is therefore not surprising
that he has one of the largest online platforms
for fitness, nutrition, supplementation,
and injury rehabilitation.
Jeff has also worked with an enormous number
of professional athletes
and has served as head physical therapist
and assistant strength coach for the New York Mets.
Again, the content that Jeff Cavalier has posted online
has been so immensely useful to me over the years
that I was absolutely thrilled
to get the chance to sit down with him
and ask him about everything from how to train
in terms of how to split up the body parts
that you train across the week,
how to integrate strength training and endurance training,
when to stretch, how to stretch.
Indeed, we talked about nutrition.
We talk a bit about supplementation.
We talk about how to really avoid creating imbalances
in muscle and in neural control over muscle.
This is one thing that’s really wonderful about Jeff
is he really has an understanding
of not just how muscles and bones
and tendons and ligaments work together,
but how the nervous system interfaces with those.
We talked about the mental side of training,
including when to bring specific concentration
to the muscles that you’re training
and when to think more about how to move weights
through space and think more about the movements overall.
I’m certain that you’ll find the conversation
that we held to be immensely useful and informative
for your fitness practices
and also for how you mentally approach fitness in general
and how to set up a lifelong fitness practice,
one that will give you the strength that you desire,
one that will give you the aesthetic results
that you desire, one that will set you up
for endurance and cardiovascular health,
basically an overall fitness program.
I really feel this is where Jeff Cavalier shines
above and beyond so many of the other PTs
and fitness so-called influencers that are out there.
Again, everything is grounded in science.
Everything is clear and everything is actionable.
And while we do cover an enormous amount of information
during today’s episode,
if you want to dive even deeper into that information,
you can go to athleanx.com
where you’ll find some of Jeff’s programs.
You can also find him at AthleanX on YouTube.
There you will find videos, for instance,
like the how to repair or heal from lower back pain,
something that I actually followed directly
long before I ever met Jeff, has over 32 million views.
And that is not by accident,
is because the protocols there, again,
are surprising and actionable.
They relieved my back pain very quickly without surgery.
So I’m immensely grateful for that content.
And it extends into everything from, again,
hypertrophy, endurance, and strength training, and so on.
Again, it’s athleanx.com as the website,
athleanx on YouTube, and also athleanx on Instagram.
The Huberman Lab Podcast is proud to announce
that we’ve partnered with Momentus Supplements.
We’ve done that for several reasons.
First of all,
the quality of their supplements is exceedingly high.
Second of all, we wanted to have a location
where you could find all of the supplements
discussed on the Huberman Lab Podcast
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You can now find that place at livemomentus.com
In addition, Momentus Supplements ship internationally,
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So that’s terrific whether or not you live in the US
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Right now, not all of the supplements
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Again, you can find them at livemomentus.com slash Huberman.
Before we begin,
I’d like to emphasize that this podcast is separate
from my teaching and research roles at Stanford.
It is, however, part of my desire and effort
to bring zero cost to consumer information
about science and science related tools
to the general public.
In keeping with that theme,
I’d like to thank the sponsors of today’s podcast.
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Athletic Greens is an all-in-one
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I’ve been taking Athletic Greens since 2012,
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I’ve done a couple of episodes now
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Now, to be honest, I am not a fan of the term nootropics.
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I’m pleased to announce that the Huberman Lab Podcast
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And now for my discussion with Jeff Cavalier.
Jeff, such a pleasure for me to have you here.
I’m glad to be here, it’s amazing.
I’m a longtime consumer of your content.
I’ve learned a tremendous amount about fitness,
both in the weight room, cardio, nutrition,
things that I’ve applied for over a decade.
So for me, this is particularly meaningful.
And my goal here is really to ask a bunch of questions
to which I’m interested in the answers,
but also for which I know the audience
is really curious about.
So one of your mantras is,
if you wanna look like an athlete, train like an athlete.
And I think that’s something really special
that sets aside what you do
from what a lot of other very well-qualified people do.
And in terms of the use of weights and resistance,
whether or not it’s body weight or weights in the gym
or pulleys versus cardio,
in terms of overall health, aesthetics, and athleticism,
is there a way that you could point to
the idea that maybe people should be doing
50% resistance training and 50% cardio?
Maybe it’s 70-30, maybe it’s 30-70.
And here I’m talking about the typical person
who would like to maintain or maybe even add
some muscle mass, probably in particular areas
for most people, as opposed to just overall mass,
although we’ll talk about that later.
And people who wanna maintain
a relatively low body fat percentage
and being good cardiovascular health.
What’s the sort of contour of a basic program
that anybody could think about as a starting place?
I think it’s like a 60-40 split,
which would be leaning towards weight training,
strength and then either the conditioning aspect
be about 40%.
So if you look at it over the course of a training week,
I mean, five days in a gym would be a great task.
And obviously not in the gym, it could be done at home,
but three days strength training,
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, conditioning,
Tuesday, Thursday, two days.
It’s a pretty easy roundabout way to split that up,
of course, depending upon training goals.
And as you said, the aesthetic goals,
like that will shift dramatically.
But if you wanna see the benefits of both,
that’s probably the effective dose for strength training
and the effective dose for conditioning
at the bare minimum level.
Again, being a much better performer conditioning wise,
you’re gonna wanna do more than that.
And in terms of the duration of those workouts,
what’s your suggestion?
I’ve been weight training for about 30 years,
running for about 30 years and mainly for health
and have found that if I work hard in the gym
or at resistance training for more than 60 minutes or so,
it’s very hard for me to recover.
I start getting colds,
I start getting weaker from workout to workout.
But amazingly, at least to me,
if I keep those workouts to about 10 minutes of warmup
and 50, five, zero minutes or so of really hard work
for resistance training,
and I keep the cardiovascular work
to about 30 to 45 minutes, I feel great.
And I seem to make some progress at least someplace
in the workout from workout to workout.
Yeah, I mean, those are good numbers
because those are kind of numbers that we usually preach.
We try to keep our workouts to an hour or less if possible.
Now, depending upon the split that you’re following,
if you’re on a total body split,
there’s just gonna be more that has to be done
in a given amount of time.
That, and again, if you’re training primarily for strength,
that could prolong the workout
because the longer rest times in between sets.
But in general, when you’re not focused on that one aspect,
but the overall health picture,
then you can get the job done in under an hour.
And again, I always say,
on top of if you wanna look like an athlete,
train like an athlete,
is you can either train long or you can train hard,
but you can’t do both.
And I really believe that the focus for me,
I have a busy life,
I have a lot of other things that I do, believe it or not.
And it’s like, I wanna go hard and I wanna go get out.
And I find that my body also responds to that.
I think a lot of guys’ bodies respond to that.
And particularly, as you start to get older,
I think it’s the length of the workout
that actually causes more problems
than the intensity of what you’re doing,
particularly if you’re warmed up properly, like you said.
I’ve found personally that my warmup
has had to become more of an integral part of my workout
than it ever has before.
I never, I could get in the gym when I was 20
and I’m going right over, I’m doing the one set, two sets,
I’m in and I’m ready to go.
And I never do another workout warmup set
for any of the other exercises I do the rest of the day.
That’s not true anymore.
And I found that as long as I’m willing
to sort of give myself a little bit of a warmup,
the intensity is not what bothers me.
I’m very much in control of the weights that I use
and it doesn’t bother me.
But if I start to go pretty long,
I start to feel achy or I start to have problems.
So again, depending upon age,
that also plays a factor in the length.
But again, I think everybody can achieve
on a standard program,
can achieve the results that they want within an hour.
In terms of splits, you mentioned splits.
And so for those who aren’t familiar with this term splits,
it’s really which body parts are you training on which days?
Seems like almost everybody follows a weekly workout schedule
although the body of course doesn’t care about the week.
Right, there’s no reason to think that once every seven days
or twice every seven days makes sense physiologically,
it’s just the body doesn’t work that.
But that’s the way life is structured.
I’ve seen you discuss three days a week whole body workouts.
I’ve heard of splits like a pushing one day,
pulling another day, legs another day, a day off, repeat.
I mean, there’s so many variations on this.
What are some general themes that we can throw out there?
And in order to avoid the huge matrix of possibilities,
you have some wonderful content that points to those.
And in our caption show notes,
we will link out to some of those
that are different ways to design splits.
But in terms of giving people a logic
of how to think about splitting up body parts,
what’s governing the split?
What are the rules and the logic that dictate a split?
For me, the first rule is will you stick to it, right?
Like if you, because there are split,
I don’t particularly like full body splits.
I was actually talking to Jesse about that the other day.
Like I don’t necessarily like to have to train everything.
Now, of course, the volumes will come down per muscle group.
But if you don’t like to do that
and you actually don’t look forward to your workout
because you’re dreading having to do everything
and feeling maybe too fatigued
by the time your workout’s over,
or the fact that those generally do take a little bit longer
and don’t fit into your schedule,
I don’t care how effective the split is.
A split not done is not effective.
So you need to find one that fits.
So maybe you go into an alternative option
like a push-pull legs, like you mentioned.
And that could be done either one cycle through the week,
on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday split,
or it could be twice in a week.
So you’re actually training six times where you repeat it,
pull-push legs, pull-push legs,
or however you wanna do it
with either a day off in between the three days
or at the end of the six days.
And again, that actually impacts your schedule.
I’ve broken that down before where it’s,
if you put it in between the three days,
it’s good because you’re giving yourself
an extra rest day in between,
but it starts to shift that day off every week
as we wrap around.
So for those guys that were choosing
that seven-day schedule out of convenience in our heads,
it starts to mess with that off day.
So others like to just keep it predictably,
let’s say on a Sunday, and train six days in a row.
But that’s a better way
to maybe group similar muscle actions together,
which I think I definitely prefer that
because if I’m going to be training, pulling movements,
at least there’s a synergy between them.
And I feel like I’m looking to achieve one goal that day.
And then, I mean, quite honestly,
you can go back to the bro split days,
and those still work effectively.
There’s a reason why they worked in the past.
I think that science shows that there’s smarter ways
to do them these days.
Like you can come back and hit a related muscle,
so you could do, let’s say, biceps on one day,
and then come back two days later and do back,
realizing, again, synergy between the exercises there.
Your biceps are gonna get re-stimulated again.
So you could figure out ways to make that work.
But the thing that I think is effective there
is that tends to be one of the ones
that people like the most,
because they can go in, they get their pump,
they feel good, it’s pretty solely focused
on one muscle group.
Is that the definition of a bro split?
One muscle group a day.
I see, so it’s very much geared
towards strength and aesthetics,
really maximizing chest one day.
Probably more aesthetics than strength, yeah.
Yeah, you’re just the bro name.
Yeah, but again, in here, I am a science guy,
and I can appreciate the benefits of a bro split,
especially, because again, to what end?
Whose goal are we trying to achieve here?
Theirs or ours?
I mean, if I’m applying my standards and my goals,
or even athletic ideals, but they just wanna get in shape,
then it’s perfectly fine to do a bro split in that instance
if you’re sticking to it again,
and you’re seeing the results that you wanna see from it.
But they’re able to really keep their focus on one muscle.
They get to focus on,
like look, a lot of times people struggle
with the way an exercise feels
until their second or third set.
Like they don’t have that proprioceptive ability
to kinda lock in on an exercise.
So spending a few, not only sets in the same exercise,
but then doing another exercise with the same muscle group
helps them to dial in a little bit better
and get more out of their training.
Yeah, that raises a really interesting,
I think important question.
Early on when I started resistance training,
which was when I was 16 in high school,
I got in touch with, and I was learning from Mike Menser.
Me too, me too, that’s crazy.
And Mike was very helpful, very, very helpful.
We got to be friendly.
So I just read his book,
I didn’t get a chance to meet him, so I’m jealous.
Back then, no internet, I paid by Western Union type thing
to send him some money.
For the back of the magazine.
And then he got on the phone with me,
and my mother at the time was like,
why is this grown man calling the house?
And he gave me a very straightforward split,
which was shoulders and arms.
One day he had me taking two days off
and then training legs, and then two days off,
and then chest and back, et cetera.
And that’s a variation of a bro split too,
where you’re sort of breaking them down that way,
chest and back, or chest and bi’s, you know?
Yeah, and it worked very well for me.
I probably would have, because of my age, I think,
and because I was untrained, I think it, largely untrained,
I think it would have grown on many different programs,
but it worked very well for me.
I eventually just made that an every other day thing.
So shoulders and arms day off, legs day or two off,
because if you hit legs right, at least for me,
I’m not training the next day.
And then I’m not doing much of anything athletic
the next day, and chest and back, and repeat, and so on.
And the reason I found that helpful
is I almost always recovered between workouts.
The six day a week program of push, pull, legs,
push, pull, legs, to me, seems excruciating
from two standpoints.
One is, at least with my recovery abilities,
or lack of recovery abilities,
I can’t imagine coming back feeling fresh.
And the other one is,
if I’m in the gym more than four days a week,
I really start to fatigue it
about the whole psychological experience of it.
Whereas if I’m in there three or four days a week,
in other words, if I put a day off in between each workout,
I really want to be there,
and I get in there with a lot of fire.
And I’m also doing other things on the off days.
So I think that, I love that you mentioned
the split that you’ll stick to,
and that you can bring the intensity to,
because I think that that’s really important.
I sometimes hear about two a day training.
I’ve done two a day training twice in my lifetime,
both times I got sick two days later.
That’s correlation, not causation, you know?
But is there ever an instance
where two a day weight training makes sense
for the non-drug assisted,
typical recovery ability person?
I actually, I think it makes sense in some scenarios,
but it doesn’t make sense practically
for a lot of people’s schedules.
So like, if you could break down,
let’s say you were going to do even a,
you know, some version of a total body session,
or maybe like you’re gonna do an upper lower split, right?
You could do an upper workout
and do the anterior chain or the pushing portion of that
in one session, and then come back
and do the pulling session later on at night
if you had the opportunity to.
The thing that you benefit from there
is the freshness of focus.
Again, like something in my head is sacrificed
by the time you get towards the latter half
of whatever workout you’re in.
It’s the same point you made before.
Like when you start to approach that 50 minutes,
an hour mark, you are either losing focus,
you’re losing energy, you’re losing contractile ability,
you’re losing something.
And if you’re relegating whatever it is,
the pulling portion of that to the end of that workout,
So that, okay, and that, if they realize that’s happening,
then maybe you switch them up
the next time you do the workout
where the pulling portion of the upper workout goes first,
and then the pushing goes later.
So you’re at least not just continuing that cycle.
But at the same time,
if you were able to kind of split them up,
you get a chance to kind of take a break,
you could have that freshness of focus again,
and you could actually get a better effort in.
Because again, I think effort drives the results.
So if the effort is not compromised,
then you should be able to do that.
But systemically, is that a problem?
And I think that it is a problem for a lot of people.
It’s just hard to rev the engine up
a lot of times in the day.
You warm that thing up once,
it’s like that car in the winter,
you get it going once, you’re lucky.
Okay, now you gotta drive it the rest of the day.
But you put it in the garage
and try to start it the next day, it’s a problem.
So young people can get away with a lot more
than older people could.
I’ve never had a strong recovery quotient,
but if I stick to this one day off in between,
every once in a while, two days in a row of training,
maybe because I have to travel
and I wanna make sure I get all the workouts in
kind of thing, I seem to be okay.
I like your example of warming up the car,
spoken like a true East Coaster.
Those of us from the West Coast took a moment there,
but folks from the East Coast and the Midwest get it,
and certainly from Europe.
In terms of the mixing up of cardiovascular training
and resistance training, same day, different day,
which one should come first, which one should come second?
If one’s main goals, again,
everyone listening has different goals,
are most people would like to either maintain
or gain some muscle.
I don’t know many people that wanna lose muscle.
Maintain or gain some muscle,
usually in specific locations on their body.
Most people would like to be a bit leaner or a lot leaner.
There are a few people out there
that are either naturally lean
or actually just wanna gain weight,
but assuming that people wanna get leaner,
put on some muscle or maintain muscle,
and wanna have a healthy heart and a healthy brain,
which basically requires a healthy cardiovascular system,
how would you incorporate cardiovascular work
into the overall weekly regimen?
So again, I think that the bare minimum
is probably twice a week in terms of cardiovascular
if you wanna have some semblance
of cardiovascular conditioning.
But I think most people who actually need it more
or wanna pursue it more than that
are gonna need more time to do that.
So at some point, it can’t just be relegated to a day off
or a day off from the weight training workouts.
So at some point, it has to occur on the same day.
And in that case, I just like to put it,
if that is not your primary goal,
but you’re looking more for just the overall picture,
the aesthetics you mentioned,
putting muscle on in certain areas,
then I would put it at the end of the workout
because you don’t wanna in any way
compromise the weight training workout.
And as we’ve sort of referenced a couple of times already,
the intensity of those workouts is important.
And we know there’s a strength component to those workouts
also that is going to be a helpful stimulus for growth.
So the conditioning, the cardio,
that stuff done prior to any strength training workout
is likely going to impair your ability
to perform at your best.
So unless it’s just done for a quick little warmup
in the beginning, but then it’s not sustained long enough
really to be of benefit for cardiovascular conditioning.
So I just like to put that at the end,
realizing that even if my effort level is lower,
my output is lower,
if it’s still placing a demand on my cardiac output
to get that conditioning effect,
because I’m fatigued,
it still has a demand on my cardiac output.
So it’s still achieving its goal,
but it didn’t interfere with my main goal
of being able to increase my performance in the gym.
And in terms of the form of cardiovascular training,
I’ve seen you do a number of,
I have to say, very impressive
high intensity interval type work.
So burpee type work or pushups
with crunches mixed into them.
Anyway, people can see your videos to,
I didn’t describe those in the best way,
but rather than on the treadmill
or out jogging for 30, 45 minutes,
is that because you prefer higher intensity,
higher heart rate type training,
or is it because you live in cold Connecticut
and you don’t want to be out jogging on the roads
in the middle of winter?
I think all of the above.
I mean, those are factors from a personal level,
but I think that if you are,
if we could blend function across these realms
and not have such a delineation between
this is my weight training and this is my conditioning,
but figure out a way to blend them together,
I always think that you’ve got a better opportunity
to get that more well-rounded result.
And I like to kind of mix up
that straight conditioning work.
And also some of the footwork drills,
like we have some high expectations
for guys that come into our programs
like to just do some footwork drills.
Like ladders or line drills or something.
And you know what happens?
People become intrigued and interested.
Like I never, I haven’t tried this since high school,
And they become interested in just the challenge of it.
And then as we become almost distracted by the challenge,
we’re now like finding ourselves conditioning, you know?
And I always think that’s an important part
that sometimes you got to draw people in
to show them what they might be interested in.
And from the output or the effect of it,
I just think that when you’re able to blend some of some,
you know, still maintain some of that strength training
into the exercise.
So as you mentioned,
let’s say I’m doing some kind of a pushup or a burpee.
I mean, there is an anaerobic component to that
that is going to be helpful,
rather than just walking or just jogging.
Not to say that that isn’t an effective means
for strict cardiac conditioning.
It’s one of the ways that we’ve had for centuries,
you know, to do it.
But I just think that if we can blend it,
then it becomes maybe a little bit more interesting
and you get some of those crossover benefits
and it doesn’t become so segmented
in terms of what we’re trying to do.
I love the idea of bringing some mental challenge
and some desire to improve a skill while conditioning.
That’s not something that I’ve thought of before
and it’s simply because I’ve overlooked it,
but it makes sense because my sister,
who’s reasonably fit,
although I’m always trying to get her to do a bit more,
she always asks me, you know, what should I take?
And I’m a believer in supplements for certain people
in certain instances, but I keep telling her, you know,
behaviors are going to,
and nutrition are going to have
the greatest outsized positive effect.
And she loves things like dance classes and things
or kickboxing, these kinds of things.
So it makes sense that if you can hook somebody
on the conditioning aspect or the skill aspect
and kind of trick them into doing more cardio,
so to speak, that’s terrific.
Also, the neuroscientist in me just has to say, forgive me,
that anytime you’re engaging the two sets of motor neurons,
the ones in your brain, the upper motor neurons
and the ones in your spinal cord,
anytime you’re engaging those upper motor neurons,
which are for deliberate, well-controlled action,
you’re doing a great thing for your brain
in terms of brain longevity.
So I’m, now I need to incorporate
some actual skills into my training.
Going back to weight training a bit,
one of the most important things I learned from you,
so over the years,
was that when training to increase muscle size,
to really think not so much about moving weights,
but more about challenging muscles.
I also heard this from my friend, Ben Pakulski,
who’s very well accomplished.
He was a bodybuilder,
now he’s into other aspects of fitness, teaches fitness,
but don’t move weights, challenge muscles,
unless you’re trying to power lift
or something of that sort, which I’m not.
But the other thing that I learned from you
that I combined with that was this idea
that certain muscles will grow better
and get stronger much more easily.
Maybe even will recover better
because of our ability to contract them really hard.
And this, what I call the Cavalier Test,
which is, at least if I could paraphrase the,
so for instance, if I can,
it’s always the bicep, isn’t it?
Let’s use the calf or the bicep.
If you can flex your bicep to the point
where it hurts a little bit,
like it almost feels like a cramp or a cramp,
or you can flex your calf to the point
where it really cramps up a little bit,
almost feels like it’s nodding up.
That’s a pretty good indication
that you’re going to be able to stimulate that muscle
well under load if you’re doing the movement properly.
And that’s the feeling to actually aim for each repetition,
maybe even throughout the repetition.
For me, this completely transformed my results.
And this was, I think maybe five, six years ago
that I first heard this from you.
Body parts that for me lagged behind
that I thought maybe genetically
weren’t gonna work for me,
immediately just started growing, right?
And I was getting stronger and stronger.
I thought this is really something,
so much so that I’ve dedicated a portion of my research
along in collaboration with another group
to try and understand what’s happening
in these upper motor neurons in the brain
that can engage the muscles even more.
And that it’s not just about progressive overload
or putting a pump into the muscle,
that it’s really this mind-muscle connection
is a real thing when it comes to predicting results
and that you can get better at it.
So forgive me for paraphrasing
your incredible content around this.
It made a tremendous difference for me
and a number of other people that I’ve passed that along to.
But what can you, first of all, how did you arrive at that?
Because we hear about the mind-muscle connection,
but I really heard it first from you.
How did you arrive at this kind of cramp test,
the cavalier test, as I’ll call it?
It’s always weird when people name things
after themselves in science,
but other scientists can name things.
So there is now officially the cavalier test
is whether or not you can cramp the muscle
in the absence of load, just flexing it
to the point where it hurts a little bit.
That would be a good indication
that you could grow that muscle well.
So how did you come up with this?
I mean, it just, honestly,
it’s something that made sense to me
because during my workouts,
even as a young kid just starting out,
I always wanted to know what is it working?
A lot of people ask that question
more so than you think.
What is this supposed to work?
And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed,
but when people ask that question
if they’re being trained by a trainer
and the trainer’s saying,
well, just do this, do this exercise,
and they’ll show you how to do it.
But then they’ll say, but what is it supposed to work?
Where am I supposed to feel this?
People, they just inherently ask that question.
A lot of people will.
I was one of those that did that
and I asked that question,
not because I knew what I was doing,
but just because I don’t know.
I wanted to know what was supposed to be doing the work.
Once you do that and you start to seek that out
and say, okay, well, if the bicep
is what’s supposed to be doing the work,
then I wanna make sure the bicep’s doing the work.
So then I would just sort of really tweak the movement
to make it do more work or feel more uncomfortable
or get a stronger contraction
knowing if that’s supposed to do the job.
It wasn’t until PT school that I’m learning,
oh, well, flexion of the elbow is the brachialis
and the bicep and the bicep’s responsible for supination.
I learned other components of it,
but all I wanted to know was to bring my arm up in a curl,
what is supposed to do the job?
So I would seek out ways to make that happen better.
And when I was able to do that,
I could feel the stronger contraction.
And I just, I don’t know what, I just, I was no visionary.
I just felt like I knew that that was gonna be better for me
if the muscle I was trying to grow
was being stressed more effectively.
So when I was attempting to do this
across different exercises,
I would notice that what I could do potentially
on a curl where my arm is up,
where you asked me to flex my bicep, that position,
I couldn’t do if I was doing a concentration curl
or I couldn’t carry over to a cable curl.
And that shouldn’t really change, right?
Because the function is still largely the same.
There’s still elbow flexion.
There’s still supination.
Why am I not able to do it there?
And that’s where it sort of clued into me
that your mind-muscle connection
on not just your mind with one muscle,
but on every exercise matters.
And it varies from exercise to exercise.
And even if you don’t gain muscle size from doing that,
although I think it’s very hard not to,
especially if you’re not used to doing that,
there’s a term I like to call muscularity,
which is a difference, right?
It’s the level of sort of resting tone in the muscle.
That improves dramatically.
If you can learn how to just start
to engage that muscle better,
the muscularity, the resting tone of that muscle is harder.
It’s more at attention.
It’s just more alive, you know?
And that’s all driven from being able
to connect better neurologically
with the muscle that you’re trying to train.
I’ve talked about a lot.
Inefficiency is really what you’re trying to seek
in movements when you’re trying to create hypertrophy.
When strength is your goal,
efficiency of the movement is what you’re looking for.
You’re looking to have muscles tie together
and work well efficiently,
the chest, the shoulders, the triceps,
to get a bar off of your chest during a bench press.
You’re not looking to make it a very inefficient,
you know, leverages for your chest
to try to grow your chest in a bench press.
You’re trying to let the whole package come together
for a greater output.
But when you’re trying to go and create muscle hypertrophy,
or even this muscularity that I talk about,
you need to seek ways to make it feel more uncomfortable.
If you don’t feel the discomfort,
then you’re doing something wrong.
And I struggle to this day on certain muscle groups
to still do that, even knowing what I’m trying to work
and knowing what the goal of everything I’m preaching here.
It’s very difficult for some muscles
and for certain people to do this on certain muscles.
But as you mentioned, practice does help.
And the more you become, you know,
consistent and deliberate with what you’re trying to do,
the more of a result you actually get.
It’s a couple of really important points
I’d like to delve into further.
First of all, my hunch was always that the muscle groups
that grew most easily and that I could contract hardest
without any, the first time I did the Cavalier test,
got 10 out of 10, if we give it a 10 out of 10 scale.
You know, it could just like cinch, isolate those muscles,
cinch them, grow them easily.
I mean, there’s certain body parts,
I don’t want to say which ones
because it doesn’t really matter,
that I always felt like if I just did pushups,
they would grow and these muscles are far away
from any of the muscles
that are supposed to be involved in pushups.
Even though I like to think I’m doing pushups correctly.
You’ll tell me if I’m not.
But some of that I think is genetic
and some of that has to do with the sports
that I played when I was younger.
So I swam, I played soccer, I skateboarded.
And then later I boxed.
And so the muscles involved in those sports
were always very easy to engage later
when I went into the gym.
So I guess perhaps a call to parents,
having kids do a lot of dynamic activity
seems like it might be a good idea.
The other thing is this issue of muscularity.
I am so glad you brought that up.
There are, I have to imagine,
a large number of listeners who don’t want to get bigger.
They don’t want to take up a larger clothing size.
They don’t want to take up more space.
In fact, some of them would like to take up less space,
but they want that quality that you’re describing,
which is that oftentimes you hear it more in the,
here I’m stereotyping a bit,
but with kindness, you hear from women
who are in weight training,
they say, I don’t want to get big.
Often, sometimes they do,
but most women that I’ve helped weight train
or talked to about weight training say,
I don’t want to get bigger, I want to get tone.
And I think what they’re referring to
is this quality of muscularity,
this idea that at resting or at close to rest
or anytime someone reaches out and grabs a glass,
that the muscles almost look like
they’re kind of twitching underneath the skin,
and yet it’s not saran wrap skin, anatomy chart type skin.
So this thing of muscularity or resting tone
has a physiological basis.
I think it’s how readily the nerves
are communicating with the muscles.
And you’re saying that by learning
to engage the muscles more actively,
the resting tone or muscularity can improve.
Have you seen that both in men and women?
Yeah, oh yeah.
And do you think this is something
that takes upkeep, maintenance,
or that once you develop that in a muscle,
you can just kind of let it coast?
So I think like everything, it requires upkeep,
use it or lose it, I do believe firmly.
But I think that it’s the development of the connection
is going to be harder than the maintenance of the connection
and as I said, I still struggle to this day myself
with unnamed muscle groups also.
But there’s just certain areas that are harder
for your brain for whatever reason
to just develop that connection at that type of level
to create that extra strong contraction.
But I think that with proper dedication and focus,
and I’ll go right out and say,
calves is one of the areas that I don’t necessarily
have a great connection with.
And I also obviously must not care so much
because I don’t put in the time and effort
to create that connection as I could.
So I think what might happen is,
yeah, there could be a struggle there,
but then with struggle comes disinterest.
You’re like, well, screw it, I’m a calf not,
I’m not gonna do anything about it.
So I think if you put the required effort in
and the time and repetitions that you will develop that
and once you do develop it,
it’s gonna stick around a lot longer than it would
had you not invested any time into it at all,
not requiring as much of that.
But I mean, I don’t know, you mentioned now when you train,
it’s like, this is just part of how you train now.
Like you’re going hard,
you’re trying to really forcefully contract.
You’re not just moving the weight,
I say from point A to point B,
but you’re like trying to contract the weight
through that range.
That is a mindset that I try to put into
what everything I’m doing,
unless of course I’m focused on a strength exercise
where I’m just trying to lift a greater amount
and use all the muscles together.
But when the goal is inefficiency for hypertrophy,
I am really trying to create that contraction
and it’s just part of my training.
So I guess that for consistency sake,
as long as I’m training, it’s happening.
If I get away from training, then it’s not happening at all.
But even there, I probably, another embarrassing admission,
I probably will mindfully do it throughout the day,
even with no weight in my hand, in certain muscle groups,
whether it be my abs or my arm or my shoulders or something,
I’m doing something just to sort of engage the muscles.
And I do think that some of that sort of inane practice
actually helps by the time you go back into the gym.
You just kind of keep that connection going.
Well, it certainly obeys all the rules of neuroplasticity.
The fire together, wire together mantra,
which is the words of my colleague, Carla Schatz,
hold true for all aspects of neural function,
including nerve to muscle.
So these flexing throughout the day
or the deliberate isolation of contracting a muscle
throughout the day is without question
And if you were to do fewer of those repetitions,
you’re gonna get less engagement
of the nerve to muscle connection.
I can say this with a smile and with confidence
because one of the first things
all neuroscience students learn
is about the neuromuscular junction
because it’s a really simple example
of where the more times the nerve fires
and gets the muscle to contract,
the stronger that connection gets.
Receptors are brought there, et cetera, et cetera.
There’s a whole bunch of mechanisms
for the topic of another podcast.
But basically that practice throughout the day
is makes total sense and works.
Yeah, and there’s no, believe me,
there’s no science behind that
in terms of the application of it.
You do it when you catch yourself doing it
from time to time.
But it is definitely something that’s easily done
discreetly and you wind up doing it.
I think in a recent video when I did talk about
growing your arms by just improving the connection,
not that that connection itself is applying any load
or resistance that’s significant
to create overload for growth,
but it’s the development of that connection
that I then take back with me into the gym
at a more effective level
that takes every exercise I do there
and makes it more effective.
That’s like sharpening the blade, so to speak.
Yeah, certainly obeys the laws
of nerve to muscle physiology.
Wanted to just touch on a couple of things.
If the goal is to challenge muscles
and one is dividing their body into, let’s say,
three or four day a week split or so,
or maybe up to six,
how do you know when a muscle
is ready to be challenged again?
I’ve heard, okay, every 48 hours
is protein synthesis increases,
and then we’ll get into this, and then it drops off.
But frankly, if I train my legs hard,
I can get stronger from workout to workout,
or at least better in some way,
workout to workout, leg workout to leg workout,
training them once every five to eight days.
If I train them more often, I get worse.
So whatever that 48-hour to 72-hour thing is,
somehow my legs don’t obey that,
or maybe something else is wrong with me,
but I’m sure there are many things else wrong with me,
but how do you assess recovery at the local level,
meaning at the level of the muscles?
So we’ll talk about soreness and getting better,
stronger, more repetitions, et cetera,
and then at the systemic level,
the level of the nervous system.
And I’d love for you to tell us about the tool
that, again, I learned from you,
which is actually using a physical scale,
because it turns out,
this is that will let you tell what the tool is,
but that tool is also actively being used
for assessing cognitive decline
and cognitive maintenance and cognitive function
in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Makes total sense, makes total sense.
All right, so regarding the first part of the question,
like how would you kind of dictate
when a muscle’s recovered?
So I do think that what you’re experiencing
is totally real,
that different muscles recover at different rates.
And I’ve always been so fascinated by this concept.
I’ve talked about internally with my team,
but I feel like what we really need,
the holy grail to training is going to be
when we’re able to crack the code on an individual basis
when a muscle is recovered,
and that is going to dictate its training schedule.
And the fact that you might have a bicep
that could be trained via a pulling workout,
a regular bicep-dedicated workout,
forget the split at the moment,
you might have a bicep that’s able to be trained
that can be trained again the next day,
and then the next day,
and then maybe you need a day off after that.
But in that, that can vary from person to person for sure,
and it can vary from muscle to muscle in that person
over the course of time, as you mentioned,
because the systemic recovery
is going to impact all those muscles anyway.
But let’s say you’re systemically recovering,
every muscle itself is going to have a recovery rate.
And I think what’s fascinating is that
when you talked about before,
we like to train this week,
or we have like the way our mind looks at training,
well, if that was the case with the biceps,
that bicep is a slave to the rest of your training split,
you know, where it’s like,
well, why does it have to be also at the end
of every eighth day or whatever
when it might respond better
to something much more frequently?
And your legs are also being thrown into that mix.
There’s a Mike Mencer concept where he’s like,
train it one set and be done for 14 days.
I mean, you know, there’s such variability
between muscle groups and you’re linking them all together.
I think that coming back and using muscle soreness
as a guideline for that is one of the only tools we have
in terms of the local level.
You know, we don’t really have, you know,
being able to measure, let’s say,
CPK levels inside of a muscle would be amazing,
at a local level to see how recovered that muscle is,
but that becomes fairly invasive,
at least to my knowledge, it becomes fairly invasive.
So what are our tools?
I mean, I think that at the basic level,
that’s the one that most people can relate to
and easily identify and then use that as a guideline.
And if you’re training when you’re really sore,
it’s probably not a great idea.
And it’s probably a good indication
that that muscle is not recovered,
but at least hearing what you and I are saying here
might be a comfort to the person to say,
yeah, it is possible that it’s not recovered,
just because 48 hours is the recommendation
and just because research points to muscle protein synthesis
needing a restimulation, well, maybe not,
maybe you’re not necessarily there yet,
for that muscle, you’re not there yet.
So it’s all really interesting stuff,
but as far as the systemic recovery,
I think there’s a lot of ways,
people talk about resting heart rate
measured in the morning,
all different kinds of core temperature
and things like that that might become altered
in a state of non-recovery,
but grip strength is very, very much tied
to performance and recovery.
And when I was at the Mets,
we used to actually take grip strength measurements
as a baseline in spring training all the time.
Now, obviously, as a baseball player,
you’re gripping a bat, you’re a pitcher,
you’re gripping a ball,
having good grip strength is important.
So if we’ve noticed somebody had a very weak grip,
it’s just a good focal point
of a specialized training component for the program.
Would you do this every day with those guys?
No, we would do, in spring training,
we’d do sort of a baseline entry-level measurement,
and then we would measure it throughout the season,
maybe once every two weeks or three weeks.
And the idea there was to manage their recovery,
measure their recovery.
But I just gave it away.
To determine overall recovery,
your grip strength is pretty highly correlated.
So we have found that with one of those scales,
those old-fashioned bathroom scales
at Bed Bath & Beyond or wherever you can get,
which, by the way, almost impossible.
I believe Jesse and I were searching for the last scale
to put in that video, and we almost couldn’t find one,
because everything is digital and everything.
I’m looking at the old-fashioned dial controls.
It’s like old Macintosh computers.
There’s a huge market for them, and old phones.
Kids, keep your phones now.
In 30 years, the lame phone now
will be worth a lot of money.
It’ll be worth a lot.
So I wound up finding one,
and it’s a great tool for just squeezing
the scale with your hands
and seeing what type of output you could get.
And I think we all can relate to this
when you just visualize.
Imagine the last time you were sick,
or just try this the next time you wake up in the morning.
When you first wake up in the morning,
you’re still groggy.
Try to squeeze your hand.
Try to make a fist as hard as you can.
You’re gonna sit there angry at your fist
because it won’t contract as hard as you know it can.
You don’t have the ability to just create the output,
and that is because in that state,
you’re still sleepy.
You’re still fatigued.
You’re not even awake at the whole level at this point.
Well, that is still an actual phenomenon
that happens that a lack of recovery
or a lack of wakefulness or whatever you wanna say
is gonna lead to a decreased output there.
So when you start to measure that on a daily basis,
you can get a pretty good sense of where you’re at.
And I think when people start to see a drop-off
of 10% or so or even greater of their grip output,
you really should skip the gym that day
because I don’t think there’s much you’re gonna do there
that’s going to be that beneficial,
even if it is the day to train legs or whatever day it is.
I love this tool.
It’s low-cost if you can find such a scale.
I guess you could also find one of those grippers that,
and you can do this in a very non-quantitative way,
but better would be a scale
where you could actually measure
how hard you can squeeze this thing at a given time of day.
It draws to mind just a little neuroscience factoid.
In the world of circadian neurobiology,
one of the consistent findings
is that in the middle of your nighttime,
they’ll wake people up and they’ll say, do this test.
In the laboratory, they use a different apparatus,
but it’s essentially the same thing.
And in the middle of the night,
grip strength is very, very low.
And mid-morning, grip strength is high.
And as the body temperature goes up into the afternoon,
grip strength goes higher and higher and higher,
and then it drops off.
There’s a circadian rhythm in grip temperature.
So you probably wanna do this
at more or less the same time each day if you’re gonna use it
but I think it’s brilliant in its simplicity
and its directness to these upper motor neurons
because that’s really what it’s assessing.
Your ability, again, it’s about the ability
to contract the muscles hard.
If you can’t do that,
you’re not gonna get an effective workout.
Yeah, and they also, I mean,
there certainly are more sophisticated tools too as a PT.
We have hand-grip dynamometers
and we can measure one side at a time too.
I’m getting a little bit blinded by the fact
that both hands are squeezing into that scale
and I don’t get really a left-right comparison.
But even at that level,
that could give you a little bit more detail
but that comes with a cost.
Those are pretty expensive devices.
But if it’s, listen, if you were an athlete,
the 200, 300 bucks it costs to have one of those
would be well worth the added investment.
And I’m sure some of our listeners will want one too
because there are a lot of tech geeks out there.
Not tech industry geeks but people who like tech gear.
What’s it called again?
It’s a hand-grip dynamometer.
Said by Jeff with the great East Coast accident
and by me in a terrible botched West Coast version.
We’ll put that in the show notes also.
No, I think recovery is key.
We always hear about sleep.
You grow when you sleep.
And incidentally, your brain,
you stimulate learning when you’re awake obviously
but the reordering of neural connections happens in sleep.
This is why sleep is the way to get smarter
provided you’re also doing the learning part.
This leaves a way to get stronger
provided you’re also doing the training part.
You’ve had some really,
you’ve put out interesting content over the years
in terms of even sleep position.
One of the major changes that I made to my sleep behavior
is to not have the sheets tucked in at the end of the bed.
And I’ll tell you,
this had a profound impact on several things.
First of all, my feet have always been
the bane of my existence.
Broke them a bunch skateboarding.
And I noticed when I’d run, I’d get shin splints.
And then I started to notice that my feet
you’re the PT, they were kind of floppy.
And as if I was pointing my toes slightly all the time
at rest, if I was.
And I realized that based on listening to you previously
that my sheets were wrapped tight, not hotel tight.
I don’t know what they’re thinking in the hotels.
Didn’t get your feet in.
And I started releasing the sheets at the end of the bed.
And I also started doing some tibialis work,
front of shins work essentially.
My back pain from running, my shin splints disappeared,
my posture improved.
Although my audience will tell me
that it still needs improvement.
There are always five or 10 people that want.
Sit up straight.
I’ve actually had chairs sent to our mailing address.
Very nice chairs.
So I’m trying there.
But this is fascinating, right?
The position that one sleeps in.
I fortunately have never had any shoulder issues,
knock on wood.
But maybe you could just talk to us a little bit
about sleep and sleep position
for sake of waking position and movement.
Because this I think is a very unique
and very powerful way to think about sleep.
This podcast has done a lot of episodes
about keeping the room cool,
getting sunlight in your eyes, et cetera.
How to get into sleep.
But you’ve talked about physically
what positions might be better to sleep in.
So please, please enrich us.
Yeah, I mean, well first of all,
some people’s opinions of that type of content
is that you sleep in the position that’s most comfortable
so you ensure that you’re sleeping.
I understand that.
We all want to sleep.
That’s the goal when we put our head on the pillow
is to actually fall asleep and wake up in the morning
and not know what the hell happened
unless you had a dream.
But beyond that,
there are certainly physical components to sleep
that that is why a lot of times people wake up
and say like that you can incur
pretty serious injuries in sleep.
People will wake up and have like a shoulder
that did not bother them at all
be humming the next day or even for weeks after
because of the one sleep position they put themselves in
in a prolonged way.
And they happen to have a deep sleep
even through the discomfort
that can do actually some damage.
So it’s understandable that the body can incur
some strain and stress if you’re sleeping in the wrong way.
One of the things I say right off the bat
is sleeping on your stomach
doesn’t really have many benefits.
You’re putting yourself into a position
that is depending upon the orientation of your mattress
or how many pillows you’re using,
but you’re basically putting yourselves
into excessive extension of the lumbar spine,
which for most people isn’t very good.
If you’re a disc patient,
I guess that might be helpful for relocating the disc.
But I mean, for the most part,
your hands are then usually not at your sides,
but they’re up under your arms.
So you’ve got them into sort of internal rotation
up over elevation in your head.
It’s just not a great position.
You also have to crank your neck
for one side or the other in order to breathe
or you’re gonna be your face down straight into the pillow.
So I would skip that one.
There’s some people that are total belly sleepers.
And I would just say, listen,
I don’t think that is the most healthful
long-term way for you to sleep.
Try to adopt a different position.
Sleeping on your side oftentimes
is also brought along with that.
The legs, knees coming up towards the chest,
prolonged hip flexion.
Listen, we’re doing enough of that during the day.
We don’t need to do it.
We’re doing right now.
We don’t need to do another 10 hours or eight hours
or something at night like that.
And it just is reinforcing.
And as we said too, let’s say you trained that day.
You’re just reinforcing muscle shortening overnight
where the body is healing
and trying to create some changes in your body.
One of the reasons why I recommend stretching
or static stretching prior to going to bed.
A lot of people don’t really wanna do it at that point
because it could take 10 minutes, five, 10 minutes,
depending upon how many muscles you have to stretch.
But it’s good to sort of try to establish
this longer length temporarily prior to going into a state
where you’re gonna be non-moving and recovering
and creating new changes in the muscles.
So that kind of, I don’t say it doesn’t rule out
the side sleeper.
The side sleeper could be very, very helpful
for somebody that has apnea or other conditions.
So again, it’s not an all or nothing approach,
but it’s something that you need to pay attention to.
When you are on your back, like you were talking about,
your feet are wedged underneath a tight sheets
at the end of the bed.
And most of us, unless we consciously are pulling them up,
don’t prefer our beds to have really loose sheets
at the end of the bed.
It’s harder to make the bed in the morning.
Right, so it’s like you’re gonna wanna have them tight.
Well, I’m saying as you experienced,
you’re gonna have this prolonged plantar flexion
that’s going to likely lead to shorter calves over time
because you’re lacking all that length
for that long period of time that you could have
if you just loosened up the sheets
and allowed your feet to just hang out where they are.
Now, the resting position of the ankle
is not in dorsiflexion.
It’s gonna be still in some plantar flexion,
but not being driven down and pulled down
into that position.
And I think what happens actually is people
who get uncomfortable that way, even in their sleep,
will shift away from that by turning either onto
their side or their stomach.
So there’s definitely an impact of the body position
in sleep and figuring out the best way
that you can still sleep, of course, and get your rest,
but have a mindful eye towards what it’s doing
to your body and choose the one that’s least abrasive
to your body is the way you should go.
And again, it’s really helped me.
And I’m a big believer based on good science
out of Stanford and elsewhere that as much
as we can be nasal breathers in sleep,
we probably should be.
I don’t know if you’ve done any content yet
about taping the mouth shut with some medical tape,
but the benefits of nasal breathing in sleep
are pretty tremendous, but it takes a little bit
of training for people to do.
And the training is very simple.
It’s a little piece of medical tape.
So again, a topic for another time.
I’m glad you mentioned stretching.
I was gonna ask about stretching a little bit later,
but let’s talk about stretching.
When’s the best time to stretch for particular
types of results?
And maybe you could define some of the different
types of stretching.
So you just mentioned a little bit of,
would you call it light stretching or,
okay, I’m completely naive here on stretching.
So let me just say, I can think of stretching
where I hold the stretch and really try
and lengthen in air quotes, folks.
I don’t want the PTs jumping all over it.
I don’t know what it is, but nutrition
and the PTs online are really,
they’ve got pitchforks in both hands.
That’s a recent evolution, I think, for sure.
And not the nutrition as much,
but the PTs have become a little bit angry these days.
Well, I always say with feelings of powerlessness
Remember that, folks.
So in any case, there’s stretching where I’m
trying to consciously lengthen, again,
in air quotes, the muscle.
I’m not yanking on the limb or bobbing up and down.
Maybe you could define the different types
of stretching for people.
Maybe give us some rough guidelines
about whether or not to do it cold or warm
before training, after training, et cetera.
So yeah, there’s obviously, there’s a lot
of different types of stretching there.
It could get even to PNF stretching
and things that are a little bit more niche.
But in general, the two basic forms of stretching
are active stretching and passive stretching.
Or your dynamic work.
And your passive stretching is done
with the goal of trying to create an increase
in the flexibility of the muscle.
So whether you’re actually increasing
the length of that muscle,
more so what you’re doing is increasing the resist,
or decreasing the resistance of that muscle
to wanna stay at a certain level of flexibility.
So when we can sort of take the brakes off
and allow that muscle to allow us more range of motion,
we’re inherently increasing flexibility
without necessarily having to increase
the length of that muscle.
That is usually done at a time far away
from your workout because they have shown
where this type of stretching done prior to an activity.
And it could be like a structured activity
like lifting, or it could be a little bit less structured
like competing in a sport in a spontaneous type way.
That there is a period of recalibration
that is needed after doing this
because you’re disrupting the length tension relationship
of the muscle that causes you to not necessarily
be able to rely on these,
I’ve talked about before, stored motor engrams in your mind
in terms of this is the pattern
for how I swing a golf club, say.
Now introducing a little bit of flexibility
or added flexibility or range
because of the stretching I did before,
it takes maybe a hole or two or three to match up again.
Oh, this is what he’s trying to do,
that golf swing thing that I remembered again.
Like it’s not remembering that every component,
like I have to bend my right wrist back 10 degrees
and then I have to bend my elbow and I have to break.
Like your body stores these patterns for motor efficiency.
So, and when I have to start matching up
that stored pattern with what’s feeling new
because of the increased range, I can impair performance.
And again, it could happen even in a gym workout
where you’re talking about your first, second set,
third set, where maybe the repercussions aren’t as big
because I’ll just do a few extra sets.
But in performance, if you screw up your first three rounds,
you’re playing on a PGA tour and you shoot,
you’re six over after three, you’re done.
So, I think it matters there.
As far as the dynamic, so we relegate that,
as I mentioned, sort of towards the end of the day
when it’s not going to impact performance,
but even maybe have the additional benefit
of creating the feeling of length or the increase
or decrease in resistance to this length
at a time when I know my body is going to try to tend
to heal and heal shorter, never longer, but heal shorter.
So, if I can introduce a little bit of that extra length
or decreased resistance to that length,
it’s a better time to do it.
So, I think it promotes a better recovery.
If I want to-
Sorry to interrupt, stretching later in the day
because I’m intrigued by this concept of heal shorter.
So, part of the healing and recovery process
means a shortening of the muscles.
This is the tensing up in sleep.
Could you elaborate just a bit on that?
And then, sorry to break your flow, but then to continue.
Basically, what’s been shown is that
when the repair process, muscular repair from,
let’s say strength training during the day,
the repair process usually results in a muscle
that is slightly shorter rather than increased in length.
It’s muscles prefer to sort of ratchet their way down
into that contraction and then maintain
that more comfortable length tension relationship.
So, when you’re sleeping, it tends to err on the side
of shorter rather than longer,
when ideally we don’t really want that.
We want to maintain as much of that length
because with more length,
we actually have more leverage, right?
That muscle has more leverage to contract.
If it was all the way contracted, you really can’t.
Obviously, we don’t generate much force
in a muscle that’s already maximally contracted.
So, I think we want to do something, whatever we can,
whatever little weapons we have in our arsenal
that could allow us to do this prior to sleep.
And again, it’s just making a conscious choice
to do it at a time of the day
that makes a little bit more sense.
Dynamic stretching is really not done for that purpose
of trying to create any type of feeling
of increasing the potential length,
as you said, of the muscle,
but more so the readiness of the muscle to perform.
And increasing, exploring the ends of that range of motion
in a more dynamic way so you’re not hanging out there
and disrupting that length tension relationship,
but just sort of touching the ends of those barriers
so that when you feel movement again, it feels looser,
it feels more ready.
And obviously, at the same time, warming up, blood flow,
all the benefits we get from just warming up in general.
So, that’s a series you’ve probably seen a bunch of times,
but leg swings and butt kicks and walking lunges
and all types of drills.
Toe touches, all those kind of drills,
those active stretching drills,
or lunging with rotations of the upper body
to try to get some of the thoracic spine involved too.
Those are the drills that people will do prior to training
that are both excitatory in terms of just the nervous system
but also helpful for just the general warm up the body
because of the blood flow,
but from a muscle readiness standpoint,
not impairing the performance while at the same time,
exploring the increased ranges.
Because as you know, the first toe touch you do
is not as high as the last toe touch you do.
For me, it doesn’t even include the toe.
Right, the shin touch.
Toe touch attempt.
So, those are going to improve with each subsequent rep.
And I think that’s what people actually,
when you can see those actual changes
from rep one to rep seven,
you just feel ready.
You feel more alert and ready to go in your workout.
So, the dynamic type of stretching,
and I mentioned earlier on what I’ve had to do
to sort of increase my warm up focus.
I think that’s more of what I try to do these days.
I try to be a little bit more alert to the fact
that my body’s not ready.
When I was working with Antonio Brown,
I remember he would spend 20 minutes,
30 minutes on all dynamic work.
And I’ve never seen anybody spend that long
on their dynamic work,
but he said he just didn’t feel right and ready to go
unless he did a lot of that.
And I mean, his dynamic stretching routine
would be a workout for most everybody.
It’s crazy how much he did.
These pro athletes are amazing.
And you’ve had the great fortune of working with
and improving their abilities.
But I can only imagine,
because I also imagine he’s pretty strong in the gym also.
I mean, it always amazes me,
the guys that make it to that level,
no matter what sport they do,
they’re so gifted in everything.
David Wright used to make me laugh all the time
with the Mets because no matter what I,
ping pong, like anything,
because of his hand-eye coordination,
like anything, great at.
Jump rope, I remember he hadn’t done a lot of jump rope.
And I think jump rope’s one of the best things you could do
from a conditioning standpoint.
It’s actually, it’s fairly interesting.
It’s not just, it’s not too harsh on the joints,
depending on, even though it’s a ballistic move.
And he wasn’t, I have to admit,
if you listen to this, he’s gonna wanna kill me,
but I was better at him than at jump roping,
one of the only things I could do.
And then I gave him about five days
and he completely blew me out of the water
to the point where I could never keep up with him anymore.
He made it look effortless.
It’s like, that’s where the athlete in someone comes out.
No matter what they pick up, they’re good at it.
And I think that when you see guys like this in the gym,
their strength levels tend to be pretty damn good
and their abilities, their coordination,
their everything just tends to sort of be good
at that level, and it sort of amazes me.
Why those guys can go pick up a golf club
and go shoot 72 and having never really played,
they’re just naturally good at whatever they do.
Yeah, I have a couple, I’m smiling
because I have a couple of really close friends
who did a number of years,
some several decades in the SEAL teams.
And I don’t know that their skill level at everything
is so high as you’re describing for athletes,
but their level of competitiveness is beyond.
I ocean swim with one.
There’s no chance that I’m gonna outswim Pat ever, ever.
He actually goes back and forth sometimes
just to check up on me, which I appreciate.
Thank you, Pat.
I haven’t drowned yet.
But in addition to that, we could play horseshoes
and it’s like this switch that just flips on
and like, he’s gonna murder me at horseshoes.
And a very nice guy, right?
In general, they tend to be very nice,
but the level of competitiveness is kind of unreal.
They’re selected for it.
They’re trying to beat themselves.
They’re not even trying to beat you.
I’m not even in the competition.
You’re not even in the competition.
You’re not even there.
Now I won’t feel so bad or worse.
It’s a remarkable thing.
I’m glad you mentioned jump roping.
I used to skip rope for warmup for boxing.
It was typically like three minute rounds
or something like that.
But I’m glad you brought it up
because skipping rope is something
that obviously has a cardiovascular component.
There’s the conditioning component, there’s timing.
And it is kind of interesting, right?
It’s frustrating when you don’t get it,
especially when it whips you on the ear
if you’re using a proper rope.
I’m just curious if you could just give us
a quick skipping rope one-on-one.
Do you like to see people jumping with both feet and toes?
We’ll link to a video if there was one and I missed it.
Do you like to see people doing high knees?
Do you like people basically like shuffling?
You want to see people doing double dutch?
What do you want to see people doing over time?
All of the above, maybe not the double dutch,
but all of the above.
I mean, I think that that’s the cool thing about it, right?
Like once we sort of master the skill,
because for all of us, that first jump
with the two feet going together is a challenge
because you just got to time that rope,
you got to time your jump.
And then we get bored as we often do as humans,
we get bored with what we can do
and want to take on new challenges.
So then it becomes one leg at a time
or then it becomes side to side hops, right?
All of those things are beneficial, I believe neurologically
to enhancing the ability to do the skill as a whole,
but also just because I’m such a believer
in training in all three planes.
So like just doing straight up and down
versus now I can do frontal plane, side to side motion,
and then I can even do small little twists
or corkscrews, we call them.
It requires a different,
you would know more about it better than I do.
It requires different neurological patterns
to be able to coordinate that
because you’re changing the orientation
of your body in space.
So it’s not just that I’m changing the exercise,
but I’m changing how my body interprets that exercise
because what’s happening to my body in space.
So I love whatever people wind up doing,
but I am amazed.
There are people,
I just started following this young woman on Instagram
who is like, I’ll give her a plug.
I think it’s like Anna Skips or something.
And she is ridiculous.
Like I watch her and I’m like mesmerized
at what she can do with the rope.
You know, it’s like, it’s an extremely athletic endeavor
when it gets to be at that level
and the speed and the precision and the, you know,
I think one of the goals that you want to be able to have
is to where you’re feeling
as if you’re almost effortlessly dancing without a rope,
like where you’re just bouncing off of the ball of your foot.
And it’s an important skill to learn too,
whether you go back to run or, you know,
or even jog, right?
Just like, you know, more casual running.
Learning how to land is so important.
One of the drills that people should try
is like try to jump on your heels.
So just stand up, pull your toes off the ground, right?
And just jump from your heels and land on your heels.
You’ll feel it in your jaw.
You’ll literally feel your jaw rattle
when you land on your heels.
There is no shock absorption capabilities through your heels.
Meantime, a lot of people land on their heels a lot
when they run and you’re just,
your body’s not built to absorb the forces
like the ball of your foot could.
It’s really built as a spring.
And the foot is, to me, as a physical therapist,
the foot has always been one of the most amazing,
you know, you talk about having bad feet.
I have flat feet.
It looks like I got flippers if I took my shoes off,
like I’m wearing scuba fins.
There is no adaptability of that foot to the surface.
You know, when it’s completely caved and flattened like that
the job of the foot is to be adaptable.
Well, maybe there is some adaptability
because it’s so floppy,
but at the same time, at some point,
that critical junction when you’re gonna then step through
and you need to be able to push off,
the foot has to actually change this in the midfoot.
It has to change itself to become a rigid lever,
is what they call it.
You’re going from a mobile adapter to a rigid lever.
That rigid lever literally locks up the mid-tarsal joint
to become solid so that you can push off of it with leverage.
If you lack that capability,
all those stresses that are supposed to be borne by the foot
go up into the ankle, into the knee,
into the hip, into the low back.
So learning how to land and start to train your body
to experience ground reaction forces the right way
is so critical to all other function
and all other disability up the kinetic chain.
And jumping rope is like one of the best ways
to learn how to do that.
I own a jump rope.
I love doing it in the morning
while I get sunlight in my eyes.
It’s actually a protocol I picked up from Tim Ferriss,
who mentioned it,
because listeners of my podcast know
I’m like a broken record with get sunlight in your eyes,
even through cloud cover.
It’s just sets your sleep rhythms
and your waking rhythms, yada, yada, yada, on and on.
But sometimes it’d be kind of boring for people
and I want to get them off their phone.
So jumping rope is also just a great way to wake up.
So jumping rope can be the cardio workout,
the 15 or 30 minutes.
And there’s sort of that hybrid
that we were talking about before of like,
no, you’re not necessarily dropping down to the ground
and doing burpees,
but I just look at it as a more athletic endeavor
because of the coordination involved
than just simply walking or jogging.
Yeah, and it’s not much of a equipment requirement,
very minimal cost.
You could even use a rope or something if you,
We even instruct people that you use no rope
and just pretend, you know,
and just move the arms, right?
Truly zero cost.
You’re never going to hit the rope, which is good,
but you know, at the same,
so you’re never going to know if you’re doing it wrong,
but at least you can move through the,
and get the same benefits through the feet.
I love it, I love it.
I told myself before sitting down with you today
that I wasn’t going to focus on specific exercises
because there’s such a wealth of incredible content
that you put out there
that people could just put into YouTube or elsewhere
and arrive at the proper way to do a chin or a dip
or for whatever purpose.
But there’s one exercise in one particular motion
that I’d like to discuss for a moment
because I believe that learning about this
cautionary note from you is one of the reasons
that I’ve maintained steady training for 30 years
with no major injury, knock on wood.
And that’s the upright row.
You know, one thing that,
whether or not people weight train or not.
I censor this podcast.
Are you censoring, do we beep this out or no?
Oh, are you, do you get beef about this?
You know what?
We always get beef in any social media platform
we ever put out, but like, no, I get some,
I get some from it,
but I’m fully prepared to defend myself.
So the, but here’s the reason for asking about this.
I never really cared much for upright rows.
It’s not an exercise I tend to do,
but one thing that’s apparent in all my colleagues
and every child I see and every adult I see
is that almost everybody is in inward rotation now.
So folks think if you stay,
I think I learned this from you all.
So if you stand up straight
and then you just point your thumbs out like a thumbs up,
but you’re just pointing, your hands are down,
you’re pointing your thumbs straight out.
Ideally they would go straight out.
Most people, the thumbs are gonna be pointing
toward one another because most people are starting
to look somewhere between a non-human primate
and a melted candle, you know,
bent at the hips, et cetera, from too much sitting.
We’re all sitting, we’re in inward rotation,
but I learned from you that the upright row
compromises some important aspects
of our shoulder mechanics
and can be actually sort of a dangerous movement
in some ways.
I’m sure there’s a safe way for people to do it,
but so I’ve always made it a point now
on the basis of this advice to A, not do upright rows,
but I wasn’t doing them before,
but to really strive for external rotation
on things like bench dips,
on a number of different things.
Whenever I can, I try and go into external rotation
and provide, you know, without looking like an idiot,
walking around with my palms facing outward.
Please tell us about internal external rotation.
The upright row is one aspect of that,
but why this is so important,
not just for weight training,
but as in terms of posture and mechanics
and not looking like a melted candle
or partially melted candle.
I actually love it.
I am happy to talk about it
because I love the shoulder as a joint.
I think PTs tend to fall in love with certain areas
and the shoulder is one of the cool areas for me.
It’s like the foot is,
but like the shoulder has the most mobility in the body
of any joint,
but it’s also got the least stability, right?
There’s always that trade-off of mobility and stability.
So your stability comes from, you know,
certain muscle groups.
And one of the ones that the only muscle group
that actually externally rotates the shoulder
is gonna be the rotator cuff, okay?
And unless you are devoted to training
through external rotation and exercises
that are going to externally rotate the shoulder,
you’re not training that function.
And it’s so easy for us in everyday life,
especially those that aren’t training
to not ever really undergo any of those stresses
that could be beneficial to counteracting
what happens freely and naturally,
which is internal rotation.
So when you think about the imbalance created just by nature
and how we live our lives,
internal rotation far, far, far outweighs external rotation.
So you need to address it.
And the reason why you need to address it
is because you need to normalize
those biomechanics of the shoulder
if you want their long-term health.
And one of the functions of the shoulder
is to raise our arm up over our head.
And if we do that from an internally rotated position,
we’re going to have a higher likelihood
of creating stress inside that joint.
Funny thing is, I talked about before,
my PT brethren can be somewhat angry these days.
I don’t know what happened, but fairly angry.
They wanna discredit the existence
of something like shoulder impingement,
which I don’t know how, I mean, certain studies,
look at, we all read studies
and studies will say one thing one day
and potentially conflict entirely in a different direction.
Some studies will point to the non-existence
of a shoulder impingement.
Meanwhile, we have thankfully digital motion x-rays
that will literally show the impingement occur
in real time, in real function.
And that’s one of the limitations,
I’m off on a tangent here,
but like those types of x-rays
or that type of fluoroscopy that we have nowadays,
like gives us such insight that we never had before
because we’re taking static x-rays
of someone laying down on a table.
You know, when I wanna see what happens
when you actually raise my arm up over my head in function,
and the tools now exist to do that.
We see the problems occurring
because in order to get normal mechanics
and free up the joint maximally inside,
you need to externally rotate as you raise the arm up.
So if your muscles aren’t firing
and they’re not necessarily as strong
as the internal rotation bias that pulls them in,
you’re asking for trouble every time you do that.
Well, this exercise is literally putting you in elevation
and internal rotation.
And if you were to walk into a PT office
and someone said, I think he’s got impingement,
will you diagnose him?
There’s a test called the Hawkins-Kennedy test.
And I would put you in the position,
I know we’re not visible at this point through the podcast,
but I’ll put you in this position here
where I have your arm elevated
and your hand pretty much under your chin,
pushing downward on that
to create that internal shoulder rotation.
Pretty much the exact position that we’re in
when we’re holding a bar in an upright row.
Some will say, well, just don’t go so high,
go only up to the level of the chest,
but you’re still in this internally rotated position.
The thing that I think frustrates me the most
about the exercise is that I have an alternative.
And the alternative does the same thing
in terms of helping the muscles grow
by simply fixing the biomechanics of the exercise,
but just allowing the hands to go higher than the elbows.
So instead of the elbows being higher than the hand,
which drives you into internal rotation,
if the elbow is lower than the hand,
the hand being higher here, I’m in external rotation.
And I could do something called a high pull
and still get the same abduction of the arm
and still get the same benefits of the shoulders,
the delts and the traps,
without having to undergo any of the stresses
that would come from the somewhat awkward movement
of an upright row.
And for those listening,
we’ll put a link to a short clip of what this looks like,
but basically what Jeff is doing,
and tell me if I’m describing this incorrectly or correctly,
Jeff is taking your two thumbs and pointing behind you,
and so elbows up kind of near the chin
and pointing behind you, like, oh, headed that way.
Like somebody directing the airplane,
like come back, come back, come back.
I forget what they call that.
I think it’s called semaphore,
is the action of like where they direct the planes
or something, the flags or whatever.
Someone will of course tell me I’m wrong about that too,
which is why I say these things,
because I like being told what the correct answer is.
In any case, so this replaces the upright row
and probably does a number of other important things
Again, listen, without naming names or programs
or anything like that, when I got involved,
when I got involved in ATHLEANX
when I first started my online presence,
there was a very, very, very popular program
that was out there that I just for fun,
I wanted to, as a PT, this is the nerdy things we do,
but I wanted to evaluate the workout structure.
And I went and I looked at every rep
over the course of a week,
and there was something like 890 repetitions
or something done,
and zero of them were dedicated
to external rotation of the shoulder.
So if you think about it, I mean, yeah,
it was a very popular program
that was done by a lot of people.
There was no focus at all,
no dedicated focus towards creating a balance
to an action that is so predominant.
And remember, it’s not just because we sit with that posture
but the fact that our chest can internally rotate,
our lats can internally rotate.
There’s like muscle, other big muscles
that participate in things that we do every day
that will further internally rotate the shoulder.
The only weapons we have for external rotation
are those little rotator cuff muscles,
and three of them actually, three of the four.
And the job is to sort of actively
and consciously train them
through really the boring exercises, right?
Like you’ve seen them with the band,
you anchor a band to a pole,
you stand with the band in the opposite hand.
So if it’s anchored to the pole on my left side,
I’ve got the band on my right side,
and you see people where they kind of rotate their hand
towards the back.
Again, kind of what you were saying,
but at a lower elevation,
taking the back of my hand
and trying to point it to somebody behind me.
Well, that is one of the ways to train the muscle.
It’s just a one function of the shoulder,
external rotation of the shoulder,
and you need to do it.
And again, it’s not that,
if somebody was doing more external rotation work,
could they absorb the upright row better?
Probably, because as they elevated the arm,
they probably have a little bit more
of a contribution from the rotator cuff
to one of the functions is to centralize
the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid,
you know, the capsule.
So as it rises up,
it stays central as opposed to migrating up
because the deltoid likes to pull up.
So if the rotator cuff has some ability
to counteract the upward pull of the delt,
then it can maintain a more healthy relationship
with overhead movement.
So just realizing that that function
is only gained through doing these exercises,
you know, we would probably dedicate more time there,
but the upright row might be better absorbed by that person
because they have a little bit more strength.
But again, why?
Because if you have an exercise that does the same thing
for what you’re trying to do muscularly
to build the muscles that it affects,
why wouldn’t you just do it
where you can still see,
actually pick up more repetitions of external rotation?
You know, so you’re getting none of the harm,
all of the benefits.
I see zero reason to ever do the upright row.
And people will argue, this is the way they argue that,
I’ve done this for 30 years and I’ve never hurt myself.
And I always say, yeah, yeah.
Like, listen, the goal is to not hurt yourself ever.
So even if you, it’s sort of like, you know,
the championship game, you know,
you might play the game of your life,
but if you lose, you lost.
And when you get into the end of the record books,
you’re still lost.
So even if you had the game of your life, you lost,
I don’t care if you do it for 30 years, no pain,
you’re still doing it and there’s no pain.
I’m giving you an option
that’s gonna give you the same results
in the exercise that you’re seeking.
That’s why you’re doing the exercise
without the possibility of having the bad outcome
come from it.
So, you know, I get a little bit defensive of the move,
but I feel like it’s like, why would you do that?
It makes sense.
Being able to train for a long period of time and feel good,
you know, I’m proud to say, you know,
and I don’t have the kind of genetics
where like we don’t have a lot of impressive athletes
in our family tree or anything.
There are some fit individuals, some less fit individuals,
but I really believe it’s about putting in the work
consistently over time.
And the more often you can wake up not in pain, the better.
And so, you know, I think that being in external rotation
as often as possible is good.
This is actually a good friend who’s a yoga teacher
told me this is also a problem with the yogis,
you know, all the downward dog stuff.
For those listening, you can think of inward rotation
as like thumbs down, just like thumbs down.
Inward rotation isn’t bad, but less thumbs down,
more thumbs up is external rotation.
So for those just listening, maybe that gives a visual.
The more exercise you can do in external rotation,
the better it seems on average.
I’d love to chat with you just a little bit more
And this is a personal thing that, again,
your content really helped solve for me.
One is I thought I had lower back pain,
but I had sciatica so badly that on a few trips,
I worked trips years ago when I was doing
a lot more international travel.
I mean, it was hard to stand up sometimes.
I mean, like excruciating pain.
I didn’t want to take medication.
I didn’t want to do back surgery.
In the end, turns out it wasn’t a back injury at all.
And one of the things that helped fix it
was just learning about this thing called the medial glute.
And you had a video that said fixed back pain,
and then you quite accurately say that some back pain
isn’t really about the back at all.
And had me do an exercise or allowed me to try an exercise
where I lay on my side and essentially pointing my toe down,
the top toe down, almost like pointing a toe down,
and then would slowly lift the leg up
while pointing the toe down.
Maybe I got it correct here.
And then holding that, and there’s a muscle
that sort of sits at the top of the glute.
It kind of peaks out every once in a while.
You can feel it there with your thumb,
which is I think you had pushed back on it a bit,
creating that mind muscle link again.
And there with proprioception,
the actual feeling of a muscle literally with a limb,
we know based on the neural circuits for movement
that that enhances the contractile ability of a muscle.
So like if you touch your bicep,
you literally can contract it more strongly.
And this makes total sense
based on neuromuscular physiology.
So had me do that repeatedly.
I started doing that in my hotel room
and the pain started to disappear.
And then it came back again in the afternoon.
So I did it again in the afternoon.
So this is something I did for three or four days.
And lo and behold, my back pain’s gone.
I handed this off to my father
because he like me has a slightly lower right shoulder.
I think our gait is probably thrown off by this.
It’s probably a genetic thing.
He handed off to somebody.
It turns out that we don’t suffer from back pain.
And in fact, now I don’t suffer from any pain
because I was doing this exercise,
which I think is helping my medial glute.
Two reasons why I raised this.
One, I know a lot of guys who have right side sciatica
because we want to keep the wallet there is one idea
or left side sciatica.
There are a lot of people, male and female,
who think they have back pain
when they don’t actually have back pain.
And the other thing is that is about a general question
about biomechanics or statement about biomechanics.
I had a feeling that a lot of what people think
is back pain or knee pain or neck pain
or headache or shoulder pain
is actually the consequence of something
that’s happening above or below that site of pain.
And this is a whole landscape of stuff related to PT
and recovery and pain management.
But maybe you just educate us a bit on this
and why this works.
What is the medial glute?
Why did it make my so-called back pain disappear?
And how should people think about pain?
And I’d like to use this as a segue
to get into a little bit deeper discussion
about pain and recovery.
Sure, so this is definitely like a big cornucopia
PT stuff here, but like, and this is what I love.
So first of all, that video,
it’s my proudest video that I have.
And the reason being is that it’s helped so many people.
Like we get comments on that video every day.
I don’t even know how many of you
have got now 30 some odd million or it’s,
there’s a lot.
We will link to it.
Yeah, there’s a lot of views.
And quite honestly, it was a little bit
of an afterthought video in terms of its origin.
I think that that day, maybe Jesse was having some problems
or something like that, a little bit of low back pain
and I showed him and it helped right away.
I was like, well, you know, we can make a video on it.
Cause this will help people.
You know, not everybody, you know,
if you have a real disc problem, it’s not gonna help,
you know, because you’re not changing
the structural problem that’s there.
But as you said, a lot of people don’t, you know,
and even disc issues, you know,
a lot of them are non-operative.
So you’d want to try these things first.
As far as what you sort of experienced,
sometimes as that glute medius really tightens down
and that’s again from poor biomechanics
up and down the kinetic chain,
it can actually press on the sciatic nerve
and give you what they call a pseudo sciatica,
you know, where it’s not like you’re making it up.
It’s not like you’re not feeling that pain
over that same sciatic distribution,
but it’s not caused from a disc.
It’s not caused from something mechanical there.
It’s caused by the fact that this glute medius
has posturally become a problem for you or weak,
you know, because you don’t train it
and you need to address it.
So like, unlike, not unlike any other muscle in the body,
there are common trigger points and common areas
where the muscle will become tightened
or painful or spasmed.
And you can basically apply pressure to these areas
to and then sort of thread that muscle through the pressure
by pushing down through there
and then contracting the muscle,
which is why you go through that action of,
you know, I think we call it a toe stabber,
but like stabbing down and lifting up
and stabbing down and lifting up,
taking that glute medius through its function.
So it’s basically kind of working
underneath the downward pressure of the finger.
And that tends to help you to almost, you know,
need out what might be that trigger point.
And that’s why people can see immediate relief there
because once the trigger point lets go,
it feels like, and that’s what the comments are
in that video, like, my God, I literally, I couldn’t walk.
I’ve been on my hotel floor.
I did this and I’m fixed.
And meanwhile, then, you know,
it could come back because your body is like,
well, I like being more like this.
This is how I’ve been, you know, ingrained to be.
So it might come back,
but then when you do another round of it
and another round of it,
and then finally it starts to say, all right,
I’m not gonna do that anymore.
It kind of eases up and you can relieve yourself
of those trigger points.
You could do that up and down the back.
There’s other people that get that
and that sort of inside their shoulder blade, you know,
that same type of cramping in another area.
But once that takes place,
well, then the job that I think people have
is like become educated that, you know,
the glute medius is different than the glute maximus.
You know, like their functions are different.
You know, you have to work on not just extending the hip,
but also abduction of the hip, external rotation of the hip.
Same thing as in the shoulder.
And this actually segues nicely
into the whole concept you were talking about.
Like the body is like a mirror image.
The hip is like the shoulder, right?
The ankle is the wrist.
The foot is the hand.
Like the knee is the elbow.
They’re two hinge joints.
They function that way.
Well, with the shoulder,
you’ve got that mobility that comes
from having all that freedom of motion,
but the stability is lacking.
Well, the same thing with the hip,
like you’ve got mobility,
but if you don’t fully stabilize it
by training all of the muscles of the hip,
and if you don’t strengthen the external rotation
of the hip, then, you know, you’re gonna have issues.
Like it’s not biomechanically gonna work the same way.
If you think of the body as a series of, you know, bands,
you know, pulling in different directions
at different levels of tension, you know,
you’re being pulled into one direction or the other
just by the balance of tension from one weak area
to one dominantly tight area.
And you need to make sure
that you can sort of balance this out
in order to eliminate some of the adaptations
and compensations that happen.
So what I say when we look at sort of the body as a whole,
most often, wherever you’re feeling the pain
is absolutely not to blame.
There’s not blame.
It is somewhere above or below, as you hinted at.
You know, you’re talking about the knee
is my favorite example of it.
Whenever you have knee pain, patellar tendonitis,
which I have forever.
I’ve had, you know, bad, bad cases of patellar tendonitis
where squatting is very difficult for me.
It’s not the knee.
The knee is literally a hinge joint that, you know,
there’s minor rotation capabilities in the knee,
but it’s a hinge joint.
And it’s being impacted by the hip and the ankle
and in the foot.
As I said before, how critical the foot is.
If you thought of the knee
being like the middle of a train track
where the femur down your thigh
and your shin down below your knee were the train track,
well, what would happen if the foot collapses at the bottom?
All of a sudden, that train track on the bottom
gets torqued just a little bit.
Well, who’s gonna feel that the most?
The area where it’s torquing, which is at the knee.
So the stresses are gonna be felt there.
Meanwhile, the problem is the foot
or the problem is the ankle.
People that are chronic ankle sprainers
are almost always gonna wind up having back pain
because the ankle sprain causes weakness
and maladaptations in the ankle
that then gets connected through the chain.
Because now once I distort the ankle and the shin,
now the knee is trying to maintain
its ability to hinge smoothly.
So it torques on the femur to do that.
Well, the femur is now inside the hip joint
pulling on the pelvis and the pelvis is at a whack.
So it really is fascinating.
It’s one of my favorite things about how the body works
is how interconnected it is
and how one little thing somewhere
causes repercussions somewhere else.
And the easiest way to find out what your problem is
is to say, okay, I know where my symptom is,
but I gotta find someone who can help me
find the source somewhere else
because it is gonna be usually either above or below.
Mostly usually below
because it usually translates up the kinetic chain.
But usually it’s gonna be below where the real source is.
So people with low back pain
usually have hip issues.
Weaknesses, tightnesses, flexibility issues,
it’s almost always below.
When you get into really high performance athletics though,
it almost works the other way.
Like where we have pitchers who can’t,
I mean, I’m always fascinated by guys
that have Tommy John issues in their elbow, right?
Pitchers, like if you can’t externally rotate the shoulder
that we talked about again,
the ability to get your shoulder back
into external rotation,
well, your arm has to get to a certain position
for release of the baseball.
And if it can’t get there
because you can’t externally rotate the shoulder
to get there,
then the elbow has to sort of torque more
in order to allow the arm to get back further.
And it will try to take some of that motion
from a joint that’s not really,
again, another hinge joint,
really capable of doing that.
So it starts to stress that medial elbow ligament
to get a little bit further back
because the shoulder is not working.
And that just ultimately places a strain on the elbow.
So when you see a guy that has pain that floats around,
a pitcher that floats around their arm,
all that is is sort of this balance of compensation.
Once his shoulder elbow starts hurting,
then he can’t get the range from the elbow.
So he tries to dig a little bit further back
into external rotation
and then the rotator cuff gets inflamed.
And then he feels that’s inflamed.
So by the way, during that time period,
it takes some of the strain off the elbow
so the elbow feels better.
Then he decides, okay, now I got the external rotation,
but I’m getting too much of that.
So now I start straining the elbow again
and it keeps going through this cycle.
So your body is very smart
and it’s gonna compensate every single time.
It’s gonna find the compensation,
but there’s no guarantee that that compensation
doesn’t leave you with a whole host of other issues.
Yeah, it’s fascinating.
In another lifetime, I would have gone and been a PT,
although it sounds like the community among PTs online.
I don’t know what, listen, we’re good people,
but it’s like.
Yeah, scientists and neuroscientists
can get into pretty intense battles.
Coming from the academic community,
the etiquette is so different online
because I would say, I think in person,
people would probably behave a bit differently.
They’d shake your hand and say hello.
Yeah, they’d shake your hand and say hello.
And there’s also, look, I’ll just be very direct about this.
There are a lot of people online
for whom their only content is pointing out
the misunderstandings or alleged flaws of other people.
It’s like the bulk of their identity,
which to me is sort of a sad existence.
But there’s always more to gain
by thinking about what’s possible
and what’s new and what’s good,
but to each their own demise or win.
I mean, questioning what’s out there,
it’s healthy, it’s normal, it’s great.
It actually sparks conversation.
But as you said, some people’s existence
is solely to find things to nag about
and not actually with the goal being to advance anything,
but rather just to, you know.
Yeah, in the world of science,
being skeptical but not cynical is encouraged.
But I always say that the longer
that somebody’s in a career path,
it’s certainly in science or medicine,
and they realize how hard it is to do various studies.
Once they publish a few studies,
generally they sort of get a better understanding
of how the various things are done.
In any case, along the lines of pain and pain relief
and misunderstandings about the origins of pain in the body,
one of the great tools that I picked up from your content,
which has benefited, I know, a huge number of people,
is I think I used to hold weights
sometimes in the tips of my fingers
as opposed to in the meat of the palm of my hands,
and I had elbow pain.
And I always thought that I felt it most
on tricep exercises and pushing exercises,
and I thought I was doing those exercises wrong.
Turns out, toward the end of my pull-ups or my bicep work,
I was letting the weight or the bar
drift into my fingertips.
And the mere shift to making sure
that my knuckles were well over the bar
or that the weight was really in the meat of my palms
has completely ameliorated that
for reasons that you point out,
and maybe you could just share with us why that is.
You have this kind of finger pull exercise.
Usually when someone says, pull my finger,
it’s like a bad middle school or elementary school joke,
Well, this one will say, push your finger.
You know, yeah, this is fascinating.
This is because it just shows, again,
how intricate the body is and how responsive
or over-responsive it can be to something so little.
And, you know, what you’re talking about
is that when you grip a bar,
whether it be through a curl or whether it be,
and this is mostly pulling exercises
because the tendency for the bar
is gonna be to fall out of your hand,
not like with a pushing exercise
where it’s kind of, you’re pushing your hand into the bar,
so on a bench press, say.
That bar can drift just by gravity,
doing its thing, or fatigue of the hand grip strength
can start to drift further away
towards the distal digits, right,
through those last couple knuckles
that we have on our hands.
And though our hand can still hold it there,
the muscles are not equipped to handle those types of loads.
And that can start at a very,
I’m not gonna say light, but like, you know,
it can start at, you know, dumbbell weight,
you know, 40 pounds, 30 pounds, you know,
even 25 pounds for some,
depending upon their overall strength levels.
But then when you start to apply it to something
like your body weight with a chin-up, right,
because that’s natural for the bar
to somewhat kind of float down towards your fingertips.
And it actually is a little bit easier
to perform the exercise with that sort of,
like, false grip, little hook grip at the end,
because you’re not gonna engage the forearms
into the exercise,
you’re not gonna start pulling down.
But at the same time,
while it could help you to perform them better
by getting the back more activated,
if you have weakness in these muscles,
because it’s not a thing that happens to every,
it’s not one of those upright row type things
where I think this is happening to everybody.
This is happening to people
that have these inherent weaknesses in these muscles.
You, or haven’t done enough of the gripping
in the meat of the hand, you know, for long enough.
But it starts to put that stress on these muscles
that are ill-equipped to do this,
and to handle this, and it starts to,
it’s particularly on that fourth finger, you know,
which is part of the muscle we call the FDS,
the flexor digitorum,
that it’s just too much for it to handle.
And that comes all the way down
and meets right at the medial elbow,
right on that spot that you can say
feels like someone’s knifing you
right in the middle, in that medial elbow.
And medial epicondylitis,
or they call it golfer’s elbow,
is something that a lot of us deal with in the gym.
It’s one of the most common inflammatory conditions
people get from the gym,
and it all comes from this positioning
of the dumbbell, or barbell,
or hand on a pull-up bar over time.
So the easiest thing to do is just grip deeper
so that what you’re doing
is you’re using more leverage from the palm
to encapsulate the bar, or the dumbbell, or whatever,
and you’re not putting that pressure
really distally right on that last digit,
because that’s where that FDS muscle is most strained.
So you’re just almost eliminating that from the equation.
And it’s one of those exercises
that the load can exceed its capacity pretty quickly,
so that like, you know,
maybe it’s only capable of handling 30 pounds,
and then when you’re doing a chin-up,
and it goes and it drifts so far that it’s,
now let’s say you’re a 200-pound guy,
you’ve got, let’s say, 100 pounds through one arm,
and 100 pounds, this is simplified math
that obviously is offset by other muscles,
but 100 pounds through one arm, 100 pounds to the other arm,
or 100 pounds off of a muscle that can handle 30,
it’s not gonna take many repetitions to strain it,
and you’re gonna feel that maybe by the time that sets over,
or certainly by the time that workout’s over,
or the next day you wake up
and you’ve got that notable stabbing pain.
Whenever someone feels that,
the best thing would be to determine,
okay, what exercises was I doing that were pulling,
and where the bar could have drifted deeper,
further from the meat of my palm into my fingers,
and figure out a way to deepen that grip.
When that happens, though, the best thing to do
with most of these inflammatory conditions
is not do any of that stuff for a little while.
Not ever, just for a little while.
There’s always things that you can do around it.
I’m not saying ever do I say, like,
don’t go to the gym, or don’t find something you can do,
but I’m saying that particular exercise
that you feel the pain on while you’re doing it,
never a smart idea to do that exercise when it’s inflamed.
If you are doing exercise and it hurts,
you probably shouldn’t do the exercise,
because another reason for the variability of exercises,
there’s so many other options that you can do
that will train similar muscles,
or even the same motion, and not cause that stress.
I mean, a cable curl would be much easier to do that on
than, let’s say, a chin-up,
where you don’t have the control over the weight,
like you do by moving a pin on a stack.
I think that that is a common thing that people find,
and the best thing to do is just figure out
how deep are you gripping that bar,
and you’re gonna find that, oh my God,
I didn’t realize that, because it was just,
even though you might start a set in a good position,
and then it drifts away as you go.
Yeah, I think that’s what was happening to me,
and I’m very conscious of this now.
Again, for me, I haven’t had this elbow pain at all,
so very fortunate.
So again, a debt of gratitude to you.
I thought there was something wrong with my elbow,
basically, and I thought maybe it was tennis elbow.
I don’t even play tennis, so there you go.
Other aspects of recovery and variables for recovery.
I think you and I both put out content
about the use of cold, and I think we can summarize it
by saying, yeah, it does seem like cold water immersion
immediately after hypertrophy restraints workouts
might be a problem, but a cold shower
is probably not a problem.
What about heat?
Do you personally use heat and cold,
saunas, hot baths, hot compresses?
By you, I mean you personally and athletes that you coach
or people that you coach.
What are your thoughts on the use of heat and or cold?
Well, I think it might just be an inherited practice
from the days of trainers since Babe Ruth,
but we, in baseball, we used a lot of cold
following performance, just because the idea would be
there is some, especially pitchers,
there is some inflammation that is abnormal.
The arm is not really designed to do what they do,
especially at the speed that they move it
and everything else, so we would use ice
as a pretty standard practice after that.
But not a lot of heat, we don’t usually use a lot of heat,
and of course, from the recovery or the healing aspect,
that actually becomes rather personal preference
they’ve found now after, let’s say, the first 12 to 24 hours
where you’re really trying to control inflammation
of what you know might be an injury,
but then it can kind of shift to personal preference
because the heat can bring blood to the area also,
and then the cold has its sort of anti-inflammatory effects,
so there’s a balance between
which one’s working better for you.
So there’s really no standard anymore
for heat or cold in that way,
but from a standpoint of post-workout healthy status,
I haven’t used much heat or cold in terms of what we do.
We cover the topic of the cold showers
and to try to dispel the myth of the,
even people saying that there’s giant testosterone releases
and all kinds of stuff that,
listen, we hear all kinds of things,
because people want, I think the idea
of just turning the water cold and being in it for 30 seconds
and then all of a sudden magically growing
three times your size is intriguing for a lot of people,
and that’s why they ask these questions,
because they’re like, that would be a hell of a lot easier
than going to the gym and training hard,
but I’m always fascinated by some of the stuff
that you talked about.
In fact, we started to talk about some of the stuff
in terms of cooling and what it can do on performance,
and that was, there’s some untapped territory there
that I think you’re finding out about.
Yeah, what would be fun would be
to bring the CoolMitt technology from Stanford.
My colleague, Craig Heller’s lab at Stanford
has done really important and amazing work in this area,
but then it moved on to some other things.
He’s also working on Down syndrome,
and he works on a number of other really important topics
as scientists often do,
but I have access to this CoolMitt technology.
No relationship to the company, by the way.
We’d love to come out to your facility
and we can do the blind type studies.
Like the blue blocker test.
Yeah, exactly, exactly, and see how that goes
with somebody as advanced trained as you.
That’s probably the best thing to do.
So content for the future.
Yeah, I think heat and cold are kind of staples
in the PT world, and it does seem like people use them
slightly differently, but they are kind of
the macronutrients of recovery there, along with sleep.
I do have a question about precision of record keeping.
Do you keep a training journal?
Do you recommend people keep training journals?
Are you neurotically fixed to cadence of movement,
and are you looking at the,
do you have a buzzer going off when it’s 90 seconds rest?
Is it 90 seconds rest?
I confess I have my slow workouts and my faster workouts,
and they scale with whether or not I’m training heavier
with longer rest, or whether or not
maybe midway through a workout,
I’ll shift over to doing higher repetition, lower rest.
This is kind of my crude way of keeping time,
but I’m not, will be just to kind of watch the clock,
but I’m not neurotically fixed to the buzzer,
nor am I on social media during my workouts,
which is actually a way to really improve workouts
is to just not be on social media.
Yeah, I can’t claim that I’m not guilty of that.
Sometimes I am on social media,
but sometimes I’m trying to post something.
Well, that’s different.
It’s your profession.
But I mean, I’m not necessarily
chained to some sort of protocol in terms of how I do.
I think by this point, I’ve been doing this a long time,
and not only is it something that I’ve done for a long time,
but it’s a passion of mine, something I really enjoy.
So I probably inherently have the ability
to stick to these guidelines in terms of rest time,
to know what I lifted even six months ago on a lift
and how it felt without journaling it,
but I recognize the value it has to a lot of people.
It goes back to that whole my muscle connection idea
that we talked about in the beginning.
There’s a lack of awareness for all aspects of training,
especially maybe it isn’t your interest level.
We’re talking, you and I, from a position of interest.
This is what we do.
We enjoy just how our bodies work
and understanding how they work.
Some people don’t care.
They just want the end result.
But journaling and keeping track of that
raises awareness to where you’re like,
oh my God, I have been on Instagram
for the last seven minutes
and I was supposed to be back at my next set in 90 seconds.
There is a training effect of that.
If you’re training for a metabolic overload,
you’ve blown that opportunity because you haven’t,
your rest time was very important
to that protocol working as it should.
If you were training for strength,
maybe the extra few minutes doesn’t matter so much.
When you get back under the bar, you might find,
I mean, you might find that it’s a better response
for your body to rest even longer
than you’ve been told three, four minutes, five minutes.
And so that way, maybe it helps.
But I think that anything you can do
to increase your awareness of your performance
and also give yourself some objective goal,
whenever we have an objective goal,
it’s a lot easier to actually obtain it.
When you’re just there to get a pump
and you’re just there to lift how you feel that day,
you have to be incredibly disciplined
in all other aspects of your workout
in order to make that effective.
And I’ve done that too.
I’ve actually been able to do that too.
But again, the level of repetitions
I’ve accumulated over the course of my life
and the amount that I read about this stuff.
And I think I’m able to get away with that.
But I think more often than not,
what I’m doing is not journaling,
but journaling in my head
exactly what I think people should be doing.
And that is getting a specific effect
from what you’re trying to do.
It’s not so haphazard.
You wanna get a specific effect,
just like any other experiment that you’re doing.
You’re doing an experiment on your own body
with your own weights,
which to me is one of the most empowering things
someone can ever do.
When they get bitten by the bug
for exercising and training.
And I like to use the word training
rather than exercise
because there’s a purpose behind it.
But when they get bitten by that training bug
and they start to see actual changes in results,
you know how empowering that is?
Because we can’t really control
that many things in our life, unfortunately.
And there’s some things that happen to us
that we really wish never happened.
And those are not something
that we can do anything about.
But this is one thing that we can do our best to.
We can’t avoid disease entirely.
We can’t predict when we’re gonna die.
We can’t do those things,
but we can certainly decide to show up
into the gym that day
and get a workout in
or go for a run or do something.
And by doing that,
you’re giving yourself, I think,
a better chance at a higher quality of life.
So anything you can do
to increase your awareness of it
and keep you on track with that
is like I’m endorsing fully.
I couldn’t agree more.
I could not agree more.
There is a topic,
it’s sort of a dreaded topic,
but I think it’s an important one
and that’s the topic of nutrition.
And rather they get into specific meal programs
which would take hours
and probably wouldn’t even manage
to scratch the surface even with hours.
If we could talk about principles around nutrition.
What are sort of the themes
that you think people should keep in mind
when thinking about how to eat generally?
And pre-training and post-training
are two particularly sensitive times
for most or times that people want to know a lot about.
You know, what should they eat before training
or can they train fasted?
What should they eat afterwards?
But just in general,
what do you think are some axioms
of nutrition that really hold?
And I ask this because,
not because there’s a lot of debate about this,
but because you’ve been around this space a long time
and you’ve seen what works for you obviously,
but for other people too.
You know, what tends to work, what tends not to work?
And how should we think about nutrition?
I mean, look, you’ve touched on it a bit,
but like, you know,
nutrition can be a touchy subject for people.
And I understand where that comes from.
I’ve talked about before
that there’s a dogmatic tendency to nutrition
and there’s a reason for it
because it’s an area that people struggle with
more than anything else.
And the reason why people struggle with nutrition
is because the commitment is extremely high.
You know, you could start a workout program
and actually get to the gym three to five times a week.
That’s five hours
based on how you and I were discussing it before.
Well, what about the other 23 hours of each of those days?
There’s opportunity to eat incorrectly or unhealthily
every one of those hours.
People wake up in the middle of the night to go eat.
You know, like there are things that you can do
that can cause amazing amounts of damage to your longevity
in the 23 hours, not the one hour, the 23 hours.
So when people finally figure out a way
to make that work for them, it’s very passionate.
And I understand their passion.
I do, like I’ve put out, so my approach,
my approach is like, I’ve always been sort of a low sugar,
lower fat guy.
I made the mistake of going no fat years ago
and I paid for it.
I was like in college.
Back in the day, we were the same age.
We read all the magazines and that was what we had.
We didn’t have the internet then.
So we were reading magazines
and the recommended path was to go low fat.
It helps you to become hypocaloric very easily
because the density of the calories in a gram of fat
versus a gram of carbohydrates or protein
is nine versus four for the carbs and protein.
So if you’re cutting out grams of fat on a daily basis,
you’re quickly cutting out calories
that allows you to get leaner.
Well, of course, as everything,
I mean, if little is good, then a lot is better.
So I would cut all of them out or almost all of them.
And at the age of 22, 21,
I’m like standing at a stop up at University of Connecticut
waiting for the tram to come and bring me to campus.
And I couldn’t even open my eyes
because the light was blinding to me.
It was normal sunlight.
It was blinding to me.
The photosensitivity I had,
learning later on after a few more courses
that I took there in biology,
how necessary fat was
for the development of healthy cells,
I realized what was going on.
Then not to mention other stuff,
skin was bad, hair was falling out, all kinds of stuff.
So I think that the approach to decreasing fat
so it’s not excessive,
because again, how calorically dense it could be
and having lower sugar.
I’m a firm believer in sugar is really pretty toxic.
And something that we would all do better
getting rid of a lot of it.
That is the best approach for, I believe,
again, in my opinion,
personally for the overall big picture.
Because though the people can take exclusionary approaches
to nutrition and taking carbs out
or eating only fats and proteins,
or again, I’m not saying it doesn’t work for you.
And if it’s the first thing that actually allowed you
to gain control of your nutrition
to the point where you actually saw results
and got to a healthier weight,
then I always say, then do it, then do it.
But just make sure it’s something you can do forever
and doesn’t bring upon other repercussions.
But I think that non-exclusionary approaches to diets
are the most sustainable for the rest of your life.
And all I’m interested in from a nutrition standpoint
is something that’s sustainable.
So when I preach what I preach,
I’ve been doing this since I was 15, 14.
People say like, how does he get so ripped?
I have been doing this for how many years?
Eating clean, low sugar.
Yeah, 30 years.
And in the beginning, it was a slow shift I had to make
where I was like, I went from the worst diet
in the whole world.
I was, even when I was 14 years old,
my breakfast was, I’ve talked about this so many times,
but like enemons.
I would eat enemons, you know, donuts and crumb.
Those long road, it was like a strip, yeah.
And crumb donut.
They even took the whole out of the donut.
Why would you delete the middle of the donut?
You know, the crumb donut there.
I would eat donuts.
I can taste it in my, I don’t like sugar very much,
but over the years, I’ve lost my appetite for sugar.
But as you talk about the Entwined Stones,
I can literally smell and taste the frosting.
And to me now, it’s disgusting,
but back then it might’ve been appetizing.
You would probably have like really good information
on this, but like my ability to actually remember,
and they’ve said smell is very evoking of memories, right?
So there’s a, smell is unlike the other senses
because there’s a direct line, literally,
from our sense of smell to the memory centers of the brain.
It doesn’t have to go through any intermediate station.
Okay, so you know, my ability to actually recall
exact taste of all the stuff that I used to love
is enough to satisfy me to not engage in those things now,
as crazy as that is.
I like, I almost get my fill through remembering
because of these strong senses of memory
of what it was like.
It was, oh, that used to taste so good.
Okay, that’s good, I had it.
Well, that’s, we know the neuromodulator there,
Your ability to get the dopamine release
from the thought of something.
Most people, when they get that dopamine release,
it causes a triggering of the desire for more.
Right, people think of dopamine as pleasure.
Dopamine, there’s a book, great book
called The Molecule of More.
I didn’t write the book, unfortunately,
but someone else did.
And it’s a great book.
And it’s really about how dopamine,
we think it’s about pleasure, but it establishes craving.
So you’re able to satisfy that.
And it’s a very adaptive thing for you
because you are indeed very lean.
And that’s one of your kind of hallmark things.
And as a professional who does this in the public space,
that’s important when people are out there
talking about getting lean and you look at them
and you’re like, maybe you need to do the protocols.
It’s a huge advantage.
But yeah, I think that it sounds like
you’ve cultivated practices around avoiding certain things.
I mean, but not, you know,
avoiding certain things that I think are easily avoided
if you realize that there,
I mean, I think that we have enough science
and literature out there to prove that
the altered path is a better path.
You know what I mean?
Like, I feel like if I was just doing it
because I wanted to be lean,
I’m not quite sure it would have held for so long, you know?
And we have a guest that,
whose episode has been recorded for this podcast,
who runs an eating disorder clinic
at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School,
studies binge eating disorders, anorexia, OCD.
And he will go on record, and obesity,
and he will go on record saying that
these very highly palatable processed high sugar foods
of the sort that we’re talking about,
donuts and so forth,
that they are actually dangerous, right?
That there are elements of the way
that they engage neural circuitry.
He’s a neurosurgeon that reshaped the brain
in dangerous ways.
And those are his words.
Yeah, tank enemas, for sure.
Yeah, and it’s not just enemas.
I mean, I think, not just enemas, right?
Yeah, they’re coming after us with,
Yeah, they can’t catch us.
In any case, so in terms of what you do eat,
how do you structure that in terms of,
when you look down at a plate,
you’ve done these, described this before,
but I think it’s just a beautifully simple description
because I think a lot of people
don’t want to do calorie counting and all this.
And how should people think about what to eat?
So yeah, I have what I like, what I call a plate method.
And it’s just simple because it works for me.
And again, if you’re struggling with real eating issues,
these mechanisms become admittedly less effective
because you’re having,
maybe you have emotionally triggered eating
and you can’t stop at one plate.
I mean, you could get the plate right,
but if the portions are out of control.
Plate has a dimensionality of height.
Or multiple plates, you know,
like second and third plate, right, or plate, right?
Like then I, you know, all of these things
can be challenged.
But what I say is when you have your plate,
then you just simply look at it as like a clock, right?
And if you just make a 9.20 on the clock,
so one arm goes over to the nine
and one of the arms goes over to 20.
Well, then you’re basically,
you’re gonna take the second largest portion of that,
because you’re gonna make a line towards 12 o’clock too.
And the largest portion
is gonna be your fibrous carbohydrates.
So that’s the green vegetables, right?
So whether it be broccoli or Brussels sprouts or asparagus,
or, you know, pick your favorites, you know?
Like those are the ones
that give us a lot of the micronutrients we need.
They’re the ones that are generally, you know,
accepted as more healthy.
And they’re also gonna provide the fiber
that’s gonna be both beneficial
in terms of its impact on insulin
and also just through filling you up, right?
And then I take the next largest portion of that
and I devote that towards protein.
And I think it’s really important,
especially for anybody active.
The more active you are,
the more you embark on trying to build muscle.
You’re gonna need to have protein in every meal.
So I have that.
And again, you know,
we’re talking cleaner sources of protein,
but you’ll never find like boiled chicken on my plate.
Like I ditched those days when I was 16 or 15 or 16.
Like I realized after reading those bodybuilding magazines
that maybe the low fat thing stuck for too long,
but the, or the no fat thing stuck for too long,
but the boiled chicken and, you know,
a steamed broccoli thing that ended quickly for me.
Cause I really, I’m not gonna eat this forever.
So I’ll have some sort of fish or chicken,
but it will be cooked in a way that’s like, you know,
it’s got maybe some sauce on it,
or it’s got some, maybe it’s tomato sauce,
anything to just make it a little bit more palatable
and interesting without blowing the value of the meal.
And then that last portion
is where I put my starchy carbohydrates.
And again, that’s the part that some people will say,
exclude them entirely,
cause they’re not healthy or they don’t work for you,
or they’re not, you know, beneficial long-term.
For me, it’s been a godsend.
And I do think I’m like most people,
my body craves those carbohydrates.
I choose things like sweet potatoes, which is my favorite,
or I’ll have rice or I’ll have pasta.
I’m Italian, so I like pasta.
And like, I will have those things.
I’m not excluding them,
but I don’t put them in the portions
that you would generally find.
You know, my wife and I will go out
and we’ll go to the restaurant sometimes,
like because we travel quite a bit,
or used to at least with baseball too.
There’s a cheesecake factory everywhere you went.
And I love cheesecake factory,
but like the way they structure meals is,
it’s all rice on the bottom
and a little bit of chicken on top.
And I mean, it’s a plate full of rice.
That, you wouldn’t find me make a plate that way.
I’m gonna just devote that portion of the plate
to the starchy carbohydrate.
And so it gives me a little bit more responsibility
in terms of portion control,
because those are the foods,
again, probably, you know, dopamine driven
that are most easily overeaten.
I always ask the question,
when’s the last time you ate 10 chicken breasts at a meal?
Like you’re getting sick of it after maybe two or three,
but you could eat a whole hell of a lot of carbohydrates,
starchy carbohydrates, because they’re just so satisfying.
And I think those triggers, as you said,
that want more, like that’s what happens, right?
You just keep, even when you’re feeling full,
you want more.
And that’s the biggest danger to carbohydrates.
So if you can develop some sort of discipline around them,
then you can still enjoy them.
If you can’t develop that discipline for whatever reason,
then maybe they do become something
that you have to work yourself around
or adopt a different eating style.
And as I said, I’m never to the point
where I’m not trying to be dogmatic in my approach.
I’m always trying to say, this is how I do it.
And I’m a believer in it,
just like everyone else is a believer in their method.
But I’m open to the idea that something that works for you
and gets you to a healthier weight and a sustainability,
like that is good.
That’s good for me, you know,
provided it doesn’t introduce other issues, you know?
Yeah, something one can do consistently.
That’s something I picked up from you over the years.
You know, what can you do consistently?
And for me, that also meant when and how can I eat,
what can I eat consistently
that will also allow me to be alert after lunch
so I can actually get some work done.
Or eat, I like to train fasted in the morning,
but I don’t do any long-term fasting.
It just so happens that I’m fine doing water and caffeine
in the morning and training in the morning,
and then I eat my first meal afterwards.
But I get carbohydrates at night,
so my glycogen is restored.
I think carbohydrates are wonderful.
I just don’t eat them in excess.
So to me, I feel like when,
what you describe as a very rational,
literally balanced approach,
and obviously there will be variations
for people who are dealing with obesity or diabetes,
or, you know, I’ve got friends
that are on the pure carnivore thing.
I have friends that are vegan,
and it’s always impressive to me
when somebody can stick to anything consistently,
except when they’re sticking to just poor behavior,
because there’s nothing impressive about that.
Well, I think that that’s very helpful,
because I think there’s,
for the typical listener of this podcast,
you know, the online content that people see,
the battles are very confusing.
They’re distracting, because people really think,
oh, there’s a right way and a wrong way,
and it sounds like the way that one can eat consistently
over time that’s healthy.
Certainly fewer processed and sugary foods.
I think almost everybody agrees there.
Yeah, almost everyone agrees on that, right?
So I think it’s calorie manipulation
through some other method, right?
So even intermittent fasting, like you said,
that could be, it’s for people that are grazers.
Like, if you are a grazer and your real problem
is portion control over the course of the day,
but you can respond to a rule that says,
no, you’re eating between here and here,
that you can obey that rule,
well, you’re not gonna be able to graze
during the times that you might be doing additional damage.
So sure, there’s other hormonal benefits
that people will talk about from that approach,
but from a longevity standpoint and habit-forming standpoint,
if it’s fixing the habit that you’re breaking too often
by eating throughout whenever you feel
like you walk by food, it’s good, and it works.
And again, people will tell you
you can probably eat whatever you wanna eat
as long as you’re eating within that window,
but I think the more responsible people
who are practitioners of that will say,
no, you still wanna avoid processed sugar
and things like that.
So, and that’s just a mechanism of eating,
not really a diet, right?
But I think that people,
I hate to be as basic as it sounds with that,
but it’s for the exact reason that
if it’s that 23-hour-a-day phenomenon
that it’s like, you said you’re impressed, it is impressive.
It’s so hard to control all of our behaviors
and food being one of the hardest,
one of the biggest temptations for people.
You gotta learn how to control that for so long
and then do it day after day after day.
Whatever that mechanism is that works for you is impressive,
and I’m a believer in it.
I think that’s how I feel.
I just feel like people need to be able
to be given some reins to be able
to find what works for them.
Well, I love to eat,
and one of the beauties of weight training
is I feel like I can eat plenty for my age,
and I’m not as lean as you are,
but I’m happy with where I’m at.
I could always do better.
With each year, actually, I’ve been getting better,
probably because I’m eating cleaner,
probably because I also have someone to cook for me now,
and we like healthy food, and so I’m very fortunate.
I don’t think we have any packaged food in our home.
We even started making sauerkraut at home.
I don’t make it.
She makes it.
My wife, actually, she turned me on to a tip
that I actually shared with the whole channel,
which was you can go to,
we have a Stu Leonard’s
around our big grocery store chain around us,
and they have a catering department,
and they’re often used for catering big parties
and big tubs of grilled chicken,
but really good grilled chicken.
Again, not the boiled chicken,
but big tubs of sweet potatoes,
and we’ll get a bunch of those,
and she’ll go over and she’ll get them,
and then she’ll sort of arrange them on plates
and put the plates in,
and I’m okay with repetitive eating.
I think more people are probably okay
with repetitive eating than they think.
I think that when you actually break down
how many different breakfast variations do you have,
Two or three maximum.
So I think when people do,
there’s more variety for dinner probably,
but even there, you probably eat
five different types of dinners
over the course of a week or a month.
Well, if you have that ability
to identify the things that you like,
and again, no plan is gonna work
if you’re eating stuff you don’t like.
It’s not gonna work forever.
You have to really enjoy what you’re eating.
As long as these variations of this meal
are something that you really enjoy,
and there are limited versions of them,
the reproducibility of that is simple.
It will take some time,
but if you’re fortunate enough in our case
to have somebody who can prepare it for you,
now that’s even part out of the equation,
and it just makes it very simple,
but I do think when you tally up
all the costs of medical care
that are spiked by having poor nutrition,
and you then offset that by what it might cost you
to invest in a faster strategy
like this catering trick or whatever it might be,
you’d be best off figuring out a way
to maybe reallocate some of your money
to preparing this because you know
how important it is to your long-term health and longevity.
If you can figure out your nutrition issues,
if everyone listening to this podcast
can figure out their nutrition issues,
this whole world will be different.
That is like one of the largest sources of disease
and pain and discomfort
because people really struggle with nutrition.
Yeah, and it’s a huge problem.
I mean, the obesity, it is an epidemic in this country.
It’s very, very serious.
Also, a lot of highly processed foods
are more expensive than healthier foods
when you really break it down.
Even the better sourced high-quality foods
are right there on par,
less than the processed foods, for sure.
I have a couple other questions as it relates to training
because I think that one thing
that a lot of people wonder about,
and maybe we could do this in kind of a true-false method
just to get through some of these.
50-50, I’ll get it right at least.
Men and women should train differently.
The science of it will say false.
The, and again, not to generalize,
but kind of the point you touched on earlier today,
I do find that casually interested women in training
will migrate more towards certain types of fitness,
like kickboxing, like dancing, like-
Low-rest circuit type.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And I think, again,
whatever it is that you’re going to engage in regularly
is what you should do.
And I think if we can get more women
to feel more comfortable in the gym,
performing the same exercises and the same,
and receiving the same strength training benefits
and working on progressive overload,
and like, you know, we’ve hit the holy grail.
But I think that it’s a big bridge
that has to be gapped still
because there’s just some reality to,
listen, there are very,
my wife is a perfect example of this,
living a very complicated, busy life.
We have two young boys, they’re twins,
and her attention and focus is there, you know?
And it’s like, she doesn’t do this for a living like I do.
And if she can get a decent workout in, she’s happy,
you know, but she’s not necessarily
working on her deadlift PR, you know?
And so I think that that would help her
and serve her in the longterm
to work on increasing her PRs and different lifts
and building her strength progressively.
You know, in her life right now,
it’s not necessarily in the cards
to have the time to focus on that.
So would you then discourage, you know,
this other thing that she might find interesting,
like some boxing, you know, there’s a little,
I don’t remember the brand,
but like one of those punchable boxing stand-up things,
you know, and she enjoys it, you know?
And, you know, like anything to get you moving
is gonna be preferable,
but I don’t think that necessarily physiologically
there’s a difference.
You started weight training pretty young.
Yeah, I messed around, you know, with my brother
because he was older, he was four years older.
So I was kind of messing around with weights,
probably 12 or 13 with a five pound dumbbell.
Okay, yeah, you hear that young kids
shouldn’t work out with the weights.
I don’t know what the going standard is now.
They say, you know, shuts down long bone growth
or growth plates, you know, this sort of thing.
You’ve got two young boys, adorable kids, by the way.
Yeah, one of the things that is very heartwarming
is to see that you’re in great shape,
extremely bright, you know, your craft,
you love your craft.
You work with Jesse, who we’ll talk about as well.
You know, which is great, you know,
that there’s a camaraderie there,
having great teammates as part of a business
or to work out with is just makes life better.
Let’s just be honest.
I’m grateful to have great teammates for the podcast
and my lab, of course, as well.
But to see your boys and your dogs
and the whole picture, you know, it’s a, you know,
I’m sure it has a lot of contours and complexity
that we don’t know about and shouldn’t know about,
but it’s a beautiful picture.
And will they weight train?
I’ve seen the videos of one or both of them
hanging from the bar.
These kids are naturals.
I’m telling you that.
I wonder where they get it from.
I don’t even, you know, I don’t even encourage it.
I’m not gonna be the dad who’s sitting there
and say, let’s go son.
Yeah, we got our two days here.
I’m not gonna do that,
but they have a natural interest in the gym.
They just sometimes like to be out with daddy.
So they’ll come out there and, you know,
I, of the two of us, my wife and I will be the one
who has a little bit more of a longer leash
to let them explore things.
Cause I was a dummy at times too
and figured out best through the mistakes I made.
In neuroscience, we call that one trial learning.
There you go.
These guys are gonna be masters of one trial learning
because, you know, they’ll go grab, you know,
the bars of my, the handles of my jammer that’s there
cause it’s at a lower level to them.
And they’re swinging around.
They’re doing pull-ups on it naturally,
uncoached, nothing from me.
One will walk up to a deadlift bar,
stand over it naturally, never saw me do it.
Stands over there and just goes,
argh, you know, tries to pull it.
So there’s a, there’s a definitely an inclination
to liking the gym and I will fully support that.
But of course, you know,
body weight will be good for quite a while.
So what age do you think is reasonable
for kids to start exploring a non-body weight training?
I think around 13, you know, I think around 13.
Once puberty, I think it’s okay to start to, you know,
because there’s so much,
I even say for people that are like later in age
who are just starting out,
learn with your own body weight first.
There’s plenty of resistance to be had
by learning how to command your body in space.
So if you have never trained before,
you’re going to get very stimulated by doing lunging
and reverse lunging,
even learning some of the proprioception
around movement through space, pull-ups, chin-ups,
pull-ups and chin-ups are challenging
for even people that have had 20, 30 years
of experience in the gym.
So there’s a lot of stimulus to be had by body weight
and jumping straight to dumbbells or barbells
is actually doing yourself a disservice.
You can learn better command of your body in space
so that when you go back to the bigger lifts,
you’re going to have an easier time
sort of progressively loading them
and building up that foundation of strength.
I’m not saying that you have to become
a master calisthenics athlete
before you can touch a barbell.
That’s not even true.
I’m just saying there’s so much capacity.
Kids are going to be doing this anyway.
And really just, if you look at general play,
they are jumping, they are lunging,
they are climbing, they are pulling.
Like that’s what they do.
So I don’t know where the avoidance
of like structured training is for younger kids.
Again, provided they’re using body weight
and maybe less ballistic movements or something like that,
things that are certainly overloaded movements.
I think we should encourage kids to do more.
There’s a lot of obesity in kids on the rise also.
And that is incredibly disconcerting to me.
So I think, and I hope it doesn’t come
from the advice of some that say,
well, wait until you’re older to start doing something.
Like that’s a way worse trade-off
than engaging in something smart now.
We used to get kicked out of the house when we were kids.
My mom would kick us out.
I don’t know, I had a huge pack of boys
that lived on my street, but we’d get kicked outside.
Like literally, you’re not allowed in, no television.
There were video games, of course,
but we were kicked out of the house.
We had to go play.
For us, it was skateboarding, soccer,
and then we’d find our trouble.
But, so, post-training nutrition.
We’re the same age.
Years ago, I was sort of neurotic about the idea
that I had to ingest a certain amount of carbohydrates
and proteins within two hours.
Then it was 90 minutes of training.
I confess, I get, if I train hard,
so I’m talking about the resistance training,
not the running, but the resistance training,
you know, 60 to 90 minutes later, I’m really hungry.
But there’ve been days when I just skip
and then the hunger passes, and then later I eat more.
I might eat twice as much later.
You know, that’s just the way sometimes schedules go.
But what are your thoughts in terms of the nutrition science,
the training-related effects of the post-training meal?
Is it something that you try to get?
Is it something that you think
people should pay attention to?
So, that science has actually probably been
the one that’s changed the most in my lifetime, honestly,
because I, again, we’re the same age,
and I was falling for the same trap,
you know, where I would really be focused on,
like, I’m risking speeding tickets,
driving home from the gym to make sure
I got an anabolic window.
You know, like, I did all that.
I really did.
But thankfully, that’s been sort of debunked,
and your body isn’t just rushing through, you know,
these certain periods of time
to utilize the nutrients in our body,
but are able to partition them
and use them over a much greater duration.
Up to now, they’re saying, you know,
three to four hours after training,
five hours after training,
you can still see the benefits of replenishment.
A lot of that is just, you know,
I think there’s a consistency element to it,
that just utilizing a post-workout window
or a post-workout meal,
even if it’s within two hours or one hour,
is just integrating the habit of saying,
listen, I just did this activity,
and now I wanna replenish some of what I lost,
the energy that I used to perform,
you know, the exercises that I did.
And just getting into the routine,
knowing that the engine is ultimately fed
by what we put in it.
And the concept of replenishing the fuel lost
is still a concept that I think, again,
different in mechanism, but still important
in terms of fueling the overall performance.
So, you know, the pre-workout period of time
gives us a chance to actually have a longer window,
because if those nutrients are obtained pre-workout,
it’s not like they’re gone in that hour that you’ve trained.
They’re still there and available for your body to use.
So, you know, I think it’s important
to get one of the two, you know, right,
or at least make sure you’re consistently
having one of the two,
or you might risk going through all these periods
of having no nutrition to support your efforts,
not only will your workouts potentially suffer
in terms of the output,
but then you’re also not providing your body
any ability to capitalize on an opportunity to feed it
and refuel and recover.
So I’m not very dogmatic about what specifically
to eat pre or post, you know, workout,
but I do think you should have protein
surrounding your training,
whether that be ahead of time or after.
Protein can be a little bit hard to digest for some people.
So if you do that pre-workout
and then you’re finding your workouts slogging
because you don’t feel good,
then certainly you put that after your meal.
But this whole concept of the urgency of time
has thankfully been removed
and we can just learn to eat a little bit more,
you know, responsibly and drive more responsibly
so we’re not, you know, trying to rush home from the gym
and risk, you know, killing people on the way.
You know, I think it’s,
but I think it’s great because I think that
that was something that it just showcases a belief
that people had for so long
that has since been proven to be not that important.
And there’s a tip of the cap towards research in a good way
where it’s like, all right, I think we could all agree
that this isn’t necessarily true anymore.
And look at yourself and say,
oh my God, I did that so often.
Like I bit that one hook, line and sinker,
but then realize, okay, we could always make a change.
And the good thing about nutrition is
those changes can happen the very next time you go to eat,
you know, and you’ll start to see the benefits of that.
So I’m not a big believer in that strict approach
to pre or post workout.
I mean, even as far as pre-workout supplements,
a lot of people don’t take them.
A lot of people don’t like them.
They don’t take them.
They don’t like, they’re not necessarily even being used
as the new nutritive side of the pre-workout.
They’re just more used to fuel the workout.
Stim, for me, it’s water and some form of caffeine.
Yeah, I mean, it’s whatever, you know,
again, I think it’s important.
I do think it’s important to maintain a high level of output
so if your pre-workout nutrition requires a stimulant
in order to help you do that,
or if your pre-workout nutrition is causing you
to have a harder time to train
because you’re feeling full or stomachache
or something else, then that’s not achieving
what you’re trying to do.
The ultimate goal is to still be able to perform
at the highest level.
So whatever your nutrition is required
to allow you to still do that,
that is probably the most important factor of all of it.
Great, I love the very clear and rational approach.
Don’t ingest anything right before your workout
or near your workout that’s going to make
your workout worse.
Oh, I mean, even if you-
Yeah, and it’s so simple and yet you don’t hear this
because I think people will think,
oh, they must have a pre-workout.
They must have a post-workout.
No, I mean, again, like even if there are,
the benefits that are to be had
from whatever’s being suggested
is gonna be easily offset by the fact
that you can’t perform at an output
capable of driving any change.
So that would pretty much negate the fact
that you’re not outweighing those benefits
of whatever nutritive approach you took
and it’s struggling through your workout.
Yeah, for me, the best pre-workout is a good night’s sleep,
hydration, caffeine, music.
Yeah, yeah, there you go.
I mean, it’s a pretty simple formula, you know?
And then post-workout, I do find I get quite hungry
and want to eat quite a bit more.
Well, that’s a natural response.
The body’s going to, and most people want to do that.
And I think it should be fed.
I work out as, you know, again,
a lot of my postings on Instagram will happen
at 10 o’clock at night, 10.30 at night, 11 at night,
because I am actually training there.
And that’s where I’m taking those little breaks
in between sets to actually film or post something.
But like, I then go inside, I eat dinner.
So I’m eating at 11 o’clock at night, you know?
It’s not necessarily ideal.
I’m not recommending that as a tool for anybody.
I think it dispels one thing.
I’ve never been a believer in can’t eat carbs after six.
That makes no sense to me.
Based on all the new, all the science of metabolism
that I’ve seen, makes no sense.
I think as long as you can, sort of like napping.
I talked to Matt Walker, one of the great sleep researchers,
wrote Why We Sleep, et cetera, you know,
and has his own podcast about sleep.
Tremendous researcher, public communicator about sleep.
And he said, you know, naps are fine,
provided they don’t interrupt your ability
to sleep well at night.
Some people can sleep from eight to 9 p.m.
and then go to bed at midnight and not a problem.
Other people, they take a 30 minute nap after lunch
and they can’t sleep at night.
Caffeine’s a little different because Matt would argue
the architecture of sleep can be disrupted, et cetera.
But if you can eat dinner late and eat carbohydrates late,
I actually need carbohydrates at night
in order to be able to sleep.
Whenever I’ve done a low-carbohydrate type regimen
in the evening, I have a hard time falling asleep.
I’m just too alert.
And so I eat carbohydrates in the evening
to restore glycogen, but also in order to make sure
that I can fall asleep.
I actually can, again, obviously it’s already late at night
by the time I’m done eating,
but I can fall asleep within five, 10 minutes
of finishing my meal because I do think
that they have that same effect on me.
But I’m not bothered by the feeling of fullness.
I’m not unable to sleep because of a feeling of fullness.
But I do like the fact that I feel as if I’m
at least replenishing what was lost through my hard training
and I do like to back it up with a dinner.
I don’t need to eat smaller amounts.
Some people can’t have that much.
I will say after a hard leg workout,
I don’t have the same appetite that I do
after, let’s say, an upper body workout.
It can really disrupt my whole feeling of wellbeing.
You wanna eat less after you train your legs?
I do, yeah.
Oh, wow, I’m the opposite.
No, because I just feel like I could feel sick
to my stomach.
You’re clearly training harder.
I’ve seen the way you train.
You do train very intensely.
Yeah, I think it’s important.
I mean, I think that, again, it’s that trade off
between if you’re not gonna train for a long period of time,
then you’re gonna wanna train harder.
And again, I actually feel like contrary
to what people might think as you age,
you’re better off training harder
for a shorter period of time.
It’s always within the realm of safe training.
I mean, I think that’s what I like to think.
That’s what I bring to the table,
like an approach that’s smarter so I can train harder,
like not doing the dumb things I did when I was a kid.
And with that trade off being a harder trainer,
I think I get the results that I want
because I’m able to really push it and then back off.
And again, the meal feels like almost a physiological reward
for the hard effort I put in the gym,
knowing that I’m also replenishing and setting the stage
for the next day to be another successful day of training,
or maybe not, depending on how many times a week I train.
But yeah, I think that it’s a lot less,
I hate to say it, but it’s a lot less scientific
than we wanna make it.
And as it seems to be coming back oftentimes,
like the thing that works for you
is really the most important thing
because ultimately getting your ass in there
and doing what you do is really the thing
that provides the best benefit.
Absolutely, and there are many things
that I would say are hallmarks of Jeff Cavaliere,
but one of them is certainly consistency.
You make it happen one way or another.
Huge, I mean, consistency really is the determinant.
And I know that that is the hardest part for people
and why people tend to look for the shortcut
because consistency is the part
that becomes the biggest challenge.
But if you could find, listen, if you could find the,
I mean, through what I’ve been trying to encourage here
is like if you could find the nutrition approach,
if you could find the training approach,
if you could find the training split,
if you could try all those things
that encourage you to wanna go to the gym,
like you’re locked in at the point
where you said you actually look forward
to going and doing your workout.
I love it.
I look forward to, I mean, it’s, you know,
actually this morning, one of our teammates
for the podcast, I got a workout and halfway through,
I just turned to him and I said,
I’ll never figure out why that feels so good,
but it feels so good.
I just, I really enjoy it and it lets,
and I love to eat and it lets me eat
and I love the way it makes me feel afterward.
I don’t understand this concept of not enjoying the gym.
Cardio is a little different.
I always loathe the first 10 or 20 minutes of a jog.
I mildly loathe the middle third and by the end,
I think this is the greatest thing ever.
Why don’t I do it all the time?
And then that feeling evaporates
before the next time I do it.
Yeah, of course, you don’t even remember it either.
The next time you get on, you hate it again.
Yeah, I think if people could,
if we had one gift we could give to everybody,
it would be the love of fitness, right?
If they could be bestowed the love of fitness,
it would change the entire world, you know?
But I think when you hear things like this,
that like, hey, that will work and that will work too
and that this will work too, you know,
rather than the dogmatic one way only approach,
which could become discouraging for people.
Then I think it becomes a little bit uplifting.
Like, well, I’ve never tried that.
I’ve actually never tried a total body split
or I’ve never tried, you know, that style of eating.
Like, it becomes encouraging that you might wanna explore
and then you might finally get locked in
and say, I really liked this
and then you’re off and running.
Well, that’s what I so enjoy about your content.
We would be remiss if we didn’t briefly discuss Jesse.
One of the great pleasures for me in watching your content
and learning from it over the years
is that you took on, you decided to mentor somebody, Jesse,
and there’s some poking fun back and forth
between the two of you, which is very amusing,
but I have to say it inspired me to do something early on
in developing this podcast as I have a young intern
who has helped me with some of the research
and he’s interested in science.
He’s about to go off to college,
but he also got really into fitness.
We would watch the videos of you guys.
He was helping me get the Instagram content out early on.
And one thing that was just, it’s such a pleasure
to be able to pass along knowledge.
And of course, I’m learning from him.
This is always the way it works.
We learn from teaching and we learn from students.
But it’s been great to see Jesse’s progress.
I’ve gotten to meet him in person just now
and he has grown, he’s changed physically.
And I think that you mentioned a love of fitness.
I think that one of the best ways to be consistent
is to take on the responsibility of teaching others
once one has proficiency in something.
So maybe you just tell us a little bit
about how that’s going.
How is Jesse doing and where does he need a little more work?
Where is he thriving?
I’m impressed by the progress.
Well, we have, I mean, physically,
we can obviously see the changes.
The list of things to work on is immense.
It’s so long for him to continue to improve.
No, actually, in reality,
the story of Jesse was that I knew Jesse
prior to starting even ATHLEANX.
And as a matter of fact, I think the funny thing
is the very first video that was ever posted on my channel
was a video that he shot as, I don’t know,
a 13-year-old or something.
And I said, can you just film this for a second?
I was over there training members of the family.
So he then went off to college, went into film,
realized he had much greener pastures at ATHLEANX
instead of becoming the next Scorsese or something,
and he decided to come work with me.
And the expectations in the beginning
were just to edit videos or just to help
with various aspects of my day-to-day
that I don’t think I was equipped to really handle
and grow the business anymore.
So then, look, by virtue of being in that environment,
there’s an interest.
I think if I worked in a gym,
I might become interested in working out.
And though mine is not a commercial gym,
it’s sitting right behind my office window,
there became an interest in wanting
to work out a little bit.
And it wasn’t even an intentional experiment
to put Jesse there.
I just thought that he’s a very likable person.
He has a very funny personality.
He’s also the everyman.
In some ways, as I’m sure maybe you experience sometimes,
I’m the guy that this comes naturally for me,
is what people will say.
This is what you do for a living.
There’s an element of disconnect
in terms of the relatability
because I do do this for a living.
I can’t deny that.
I do work with professional athletes.
So there’s a level of interest in this above and beyond.
But for him, he’s just the kid who wants to train
maybe if he rolls out of bed before 11 a.m.
and doesn’t have a date on Friday night.
But that’s the guy everybody can relate to.
And watching him transform,
and I love the fact that even the interest level
was up and down.
It wasn’t consistent for him
because he was part interested
and then maybe not interested for three months,
and then interested and not.
And I never pushed it on him.
Again, this was no orchestrated experiment for me.
It was just like, if you wanna do this, then do this.
And also from a standpoint of lending my help
or expertise to him, like I said with my son,
I’m not gonna force it on anybody.
I don’t wanna do that to anybody.
I don’t think that that’s ever gonna spark that desire
for long-term adoption.
He got more interested.
He started to learn more about it.
He watches the videos that we’re filming.
He films the videos that we’re filming.
And he’s learning through what I’m saying.
He’s becoming more of a student of the field.
And I have to say, his knowledge in the field has grown
with the growth of his physique.
And he’s put into practice some of the things that I say.
He’s put in practice some things he hears other places.
And he winds up improving as he goes.
And he winds up starting to love this
like he never thought he would.
But it’s great to see anybody grow.
And whether that be physically or that be emotionally
or whether it be just in their career,
it’s great to see somebody grow.
And I like to tease him, funny admission here.
There are times when the jabs that I will throw at him
are something that we might know ahead of time
of what I’m going to say to him.
People will say, you’re so mean to him.
I can’t believe it, that’s so abusive.
And I’m like, dude, honestly, we laugh after it’s over.
It’s good, we’re good.
So, of course, but like, but there’s-
He’s tougher than he looks is what you’re saying.
He’s tougher than he looks, believe me.
And he looks pretty tough now, he’s got the big beard.
He looks more manly than I do.
I can’t grow a beard, I don’t, yeah.
I mean, believe me, he’s totally alpha.
And I’m like, quickly becoming the second star of this show.
But like, he’s definitely contributed
and people enjoy his presence for sure.
Yeah, I certainly do.
And I think that, as you pointed out,
he’s a kind of a proxy and a template for everybody.
We can relate to him because even though I’ve trained
for many years, it’s been a struggle
through graduate school, postdoc,
made it happen one way or another,
but with more or less attention and admittedly
through waxing, waning levels of motivation,
although I’m fortunate that I do enjoy it.
What I think is nice about it too
is that it’s a realistic expectation that we set, I think.
In other words, you’re showcasing
what the journey actually looks like.
And he’s been on the journey for, again,
devotedly for, let’s say, the last year and a half,
but on the journey for five years.
If I could make the gains that he did,
starting when I started training at 14, 15,
and you’re saying, hey, by 20,
you’re gonna have the strength levels he does,
the physique that he does,
the knowledge that you’ve gained,
that seems like a blink of an eye now looking back.
At 46 years old, I’m like, holy cow,
I think it took me 20 years, 15, 20 years,
so to just even start to get into a groove.
For him to do it in a period of five years,
it doesn’t seem long, whereas there’s people
that will criticize his journey,
like, oh, it’s taking so long.
There’s such an instant gratification that people seek.
Luckily, that’s the minority.
Most people are like, this is amazing.
But I think that it becomes very uplifting
because not only is it relatable,
but the journey is real, and people can appreciate that.
This is what will happen if you actually put in
consistent hard work, and you’ll watch him transform.
Go back and watch the videos.
We like to oftentimes throw back to videos
where he appeared as smaller Jesse, but also shy Jesse,
arms crossed, head down,
not making eye contact with the camera,
to where now he’s got his own skits and intros.
It’s like, it’s funny because the confidence,
with the growth of physique came confidence, too,
which is great.
Absolutely, it’s pretty soon it’ll be his world,
and we’ll all be living in it, as they say.
Well, on behalf of myself and all the listeners,
I really want to thank you, first of all,
for the discussion today.
I learned an immense amount.
Even though I thought I knew your content well,
I still learned an immense amount.
Many things we could deploy, from when to stretch,
how to stretch, the skipping rope.
We talked about nutrition.
We talked about heat, cold, training regimens.
And what I love about all of this,
now that you’ve given us, is that there’s a backbone
of logic, and some consistent themes,
indeed, about consistency.
But the logical backbone, I think, is what will enable
people to really show up to the table and stay there
for training consistently over time.
As you said, the gift of fitness is an immense gift.
I can’t thank you enough.
I know you’re an incredibly busy human being
with kids, and dogs, and a marriage,
and a thriving business.
That’s my pleasure.
I’m happy I was able to make it work,
because I’ve been watching your stuff for a while,
and I love the science of it.
I like the way you think.
And I’m just really fortunate that I was able to do it.
Well, I feel very gratified in hearing that,
and honored to have you here.
So, thank you so much.
Thank you for joining me for my discussion
with Jeff Cavaliere.
I hope you found it as interesting
and as actionable as I did.
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