In part 2, I cover the remaining highly important and extremely effective concepts you can implement to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy passion for competitive intensity with adjusting to the realities of aging and aging with grace.
You’ll learn about the value of integrating short-term extrinsic goals and I share some compelling research about motivation cited by a Stanford neuroscientist. I talk about how making a conscious decision to depart from cultural influences and ego demands can offer wonderful health benefits, why it’s healthy to downsize your ambitions into age-appropriate goals, and the importance of keeping track of your progress through journaling and performing regular fitness assessments, as this allows you to spot any regressions or patterns of injury or breakdown.
You’ll hear about emerging research that suggests that we can achieve good (or even excellent) fitness levels with a MED (minimum effective dose) approach and that cardiovascular fitness and disease prevention benefits can be obtained with only a few hours of low-intensity exercise per week. I break down how you can honor the high-intensity repeat training protocol while also avoiding the overly-stressful HIIT modality, reveal why there is no justification for inducing post-exercise muscle soreness in pursuit of lifelong fitness, and explain how to make necessary adjustments so you rarely get sore.
I also talk about the importance of reframing “consistency” and the fact that many fitness enthusiasts and competitors misinterpret the importance and application of “consistency” in training, to the extent that they experience a consistent application of too much stress. One important takeaway from this show is that it becomes increasingly important as you age to honor your intuition over anything else when it comes to fitness, as you have far less wiggle room to overdo it and get away with it. This is why establishing a modest baseline of activity makes it far easier to incorporate fitness on a daily basis without overdoing it—the best example of this being my morning routine, which has taught me over the last few years that even with subpar energy and motivation, once you’ve made a habit out of it, you’ll always get the job done. I also talk about establishing firm guidelines for yourself in your fitness routine and why you should never push yourself to a peak performance effort (unless you feel 100% rested and energized), and the three symptoms that warrant a rest day. Finally, I suggest introducing cold exposure into your routine and talk about the benefits that come from still pushing the limits of peak performance occasionally—not just for the fitness breakthroughs, but also for the psychological benefits that come from getting out of your comfort zone.
We are trying to maintain a healthy passion and competitive intensity for compelling fitness athletic goals, but also adjusting to the realities of aging with grace and keeping your healthy perspective. [01:21]
Any form of motivation will be effective toward achieving short-term goals. [03:32]
Set age and lifestyle appropriate goals. [08:53]
Track your progress. [14:34]
Fly under the radar. Be conservative with your approach to fitness. [17:27]
Perform the high intensity workouts correctly. [24:45]
Avoid overly stressful HIIT modality. [29:44]
Try not to get sore. [31:27]
Consistency is essential but it can be misinterpreted. [33:45]
Push the limits once in a while. [38:35]
Try cold exposure. [47:33]
- Peak Performance Podcast, part 1
Run for Your Life, At A Comfortable Pace, and Not Too Far
- Podcast with Dr. Doug McGruff
- Body by Science
- Podcast with Dr. Craig Marker
- Ancestral Supplements
- The New Evolution Diet
- Podcast with Dave Kobrine
- Brad’s cold exposure routine
USA National Human Activity Pattern Survey
Download episode audio by clicking the arrow in the top right corner of the player above
Check out each of these companies because they are absolutely awesome or they wouldn’t occupy this revered space. Seriously, Brad won’t promote anything he doesn’t absolutely love and use in daily life.
- Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece: Mind-blowing, life-changing nut butter blend
- Male Optimization Formula with Organs (MOFO): Optimize testosterone naturally with 100% grassfed animal organ supplement
- BeautyCounter: Premium skin care products and cosmetics rigorously tested to be free from toxins
- Bala Enzyme: Electrolyte and triple enzyme recovery drink mix. BRAD30 for 30% off
- BiOptimizers: Top quality performance supplements like magnesium, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. BRAD10 for 10% off
- Paleo Valley: Nutrient-rich, ancestral-inspired health products. BRAD15 for 15% off
- BradNutrition.com: Coming soon – the ultimate whey protein superfuel formula for peak performance and longevity
- Morning Routine Course: Coming soon – Comprehensive online multimedia course to design the ultimate morning exercise routine
Welcome to part two strategies to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life. So we are trying to thread that needle of maintaining a healthy passion and competitive intensity for compelling fitness, athletic goals, but also adjusting and,, managing the realities of aging with grace and keeping your healthy perspective and having your athletic fitness goals fit easily and smoothly into your other lifestyle responsibilities. So in part one, I mentioned that I had a total of 14 different tips and strategies that I want to cover and we got through four them. We’ll see how many we get on this one. But just for a quick recap, I hope you go back and listen to part one. The first one we talked about was cultivating this primal mindset and the importance of putting ourselves into struggle, difficulty, challenge, rather than just cruising through modern life, enjoying all the comforts, conveniences and luxuries.
Number two was to develop a healthy, competitive intensity with the, uh, enjoyment and the appreciation of the process as where the main rewards lie rather than an obsession and unhealthy obsession with the results, which we often see. Number three was setting goals that support longevity and honoring the epic quote from Olympic gold medalist in triathlon Simon Whitfield, where he said today, now that he’s retired from the pro circuit, I am coached by my 80 year old self. Love that. So make your 80 year old self happy with your behavior patterns, your training schedule today. And number four was the value of setting long term, big picture intrinsic goals, visualizing them with great clarity. I put the example of John Assaraf with his overpowering goal today of teaching his future grand and how to ski. Peter Attia has his wonderful concept of the centenarian Olympics, where he has envisioned a bunch of athletic challenges that he would like to complete when he turns a hundred and he’s training for those right now.
And then we get into part two with a bunch more fun tips. And I talked about, uh, setting long term big picture intrinsic goals, item number four. Number five jumps to the value, the benefit of integrating short term extrinsic goals, Mark Sisson banters about his acronym LGN and that stands for looking good naked. And everybody gets a chuckle lot to that when he delivers that line at a live lecture. But behind that is a really valuable and worthwhile goal of wanting to look good and feel good in perhaps that superficial level of putting on nice clothes and, looking in the mirror and seeing your six pack or maybe posting something on social media with you looking good and people giving you accolades. It’s okay. But of course, it blends best and has the best traction when it’s combined with the more meaningful, deeper, intrinsic goals.
Those are things that motivate you internally. So, so sometimes we criticize the superficial, the extrinsic goals. But look, if you wanna be a reliable performer on your adult basketball league team, if you wanna make the podium at the next road, race or competition, you’re performing, I oftentimes mention my obsession with sprinting and high jumping, and I’m looking at the, the national rankings all the time and seeing how dudes in the 55 to 59 age group are performing in those events. Now, as I mentioned earlier, with the high jump example, my main opponent, of course, is that bar. And I want to clear that bar. Look that is so much more important than what place I than how I rank amongst the other jumpers. And I talked about supporting each other with a camaraderie that we have in athletic realm and how, how it should be there, how you can have mutual support, but still be intensely competitive.
So it’s nice to post in public my results and get accolades and hopefully motivate and inspire people. That’s the main purpose I’m doing it. But I also, when you see me, well, when you don’t see me practicing alone in an empty stadium, and I clear that bar and I scream like I’ve just won the Olympic gold medal. It has that type of meaning to me, intrinsically where I don’t care if there’s anyone watching in the stadium or not. Okay, you get how we can beautifully blend the intrinsic goals and the short term extrinsic goals. On that note research cited by Huberman lab podcast, Dr. Andrew Huberman, the Stanford neuroscientist, suggest that any form of motivation will be effective toward achieving short-term goals. So even if it’s negative stuff, like you’re disgusted with your performance at the last basketball game.
And so you’re gonna shoot more free throws and try to get better and apply this resolve that comes from, uh, anger and disgusted. Same with people who are fed up with their physique, and they’re finally gonna turn the corner and that’s it. They’re not gonna buy any more junk food and they’re gonna sign up, uh, for sessions with the personal trainer or the nutrition council. That’s fine, anger, envy, fear. All these things will light up the same dopamine and acetylcholine pathways in the brain to get you to focus, persevere and achieve challenging goals now. For your long term, happiness enjoyment, psychological wellbeing, and a positive, enthusiastic, happy mindset, is clearly going to have maximum effectiveness. So what you wanna do is kind of leverage if it’s anger, frustration, envy, whatever it is, leverage into a, a lifestyle and behavior patterns that are enjoyable and sustainable and reasonable.
And so we can put those two and two together nicely. I hope that makes sense. The graceful blending of the touchy-feely wonderful stuff, that sound great coming outta your mouth. And then the other stuff that it might be on the tip of your tongue, but you’re holding your tongue and you’re filled with rage and anger because, uh, you didn’t get as enough enough recognition, unlike the other person. And I can reflect back now on my triathlon days where, you know, I was really caught up and very intense and driven and would get the magazine every month and hope that my picture was in there. But instead I see a picture of someone else, or I find out that someone else is making a better contract from a sponsor than I am. And it would drive me into an internal rage where I was just, you know, completely consumed with improving my performance to try and get more re recognition, uh, get more rewards, all those great things.
But at the same time, while I was spewing my anger to my training partners in our group ride, while we’re killing time riding for hours and hours, I was also enjoying the process every moment of it, because if you’re just consumed by these superficial things, that’s going to be entirely unsustainable. So it’s the blending of the disparate types of goals and motivations that will really work for you, anything to get out the gate though. So that was number five, integrate short term extrinsic goals.
Number six is to carefully set age and lifestyle appropriate goals. And you’ve heard me criticize the glorification of these marquee athletic events driven so strongly by marketing forces. So we have the marathon for runners. We have the Ironman triathlon for a, uh, the triathlon scene. Uh, we have the CrossFit gains for people that participate in CrossFit at the recreational level.
And the glorification of these events has often time created a distorted mentality among the recreational participants. So we’ve been conditioned to believe that the Ironman triathlon represents the ultimate accomplishment in the sport because we watch these incredible TV shows. And we look at the featured athletes persevering over all these challenges and being celebrated. Everyone gets to watch them and hear the interviews and watch the pros compete at the highest level over this incredibly daunting challenge. And so then we get inspired and say, I wanna do that myself. But, if we reflect for a moment and try to put things into perspective of our own lifestyle, the Ironman is vastly too difficult of an event to properly train for, for a person with a normal everyday life. For the pros that’s great. It represents, you know, the highest level of professional competition.
And those guys are well prepared to race their butts off for eight hours straight in the hot sun and perform amazing achievements. But for most of us, what about, and making this argument, I’m sorry, very strongly, but, couldn’t a sprint distance triathlon, and actually selling at that to your level of potential. Couldn’t that be, uh, equally regarded as equally impressive and fantastic that you can go out there to your local community event where maybe you’re swimming for 500 meters, you’re bicycle riding for 20 K that’s, 12.4 miles. Maybe you’re running for 5k, that’s three miles, but you’re actually competent at each event and you’ve worked hard and you’ve received swim lessons and you’re integrating improved stroke technique. And now you’re pedaling more strongly on the bicycle because you’ve followed a training protocol and you’ve practiced getting off the bike and running, right out of the transition area into your wonderful stride for 5k.
That is an equally an impressive athletic accomplishment for doing something with great competency. And if we’re talking about promoting longevity, setting age and lifestyle appropriate goals, oh my gosh, this long distance stuff has nothing to do with longevity. And it’s probably arguably way more valuable, your strength, power, explosiveness in high intensity efforts, reference the wonderful study that I talk about a lot from the Cooper Institute and Texas A and M where they discovered that one’s time in the mile run at age 50, having a competent or an excellent time per their standards at age 50 doubles your chances of living to age 85 and having a crappy time being unable to perform at basic competency for the mile run at age 50, puts you into the high category for disease and demise. So a mile’s not very far, even for someone who’s slow.
And you could put that in comparison to these extremely long endurance events that are over glorified. So maybe you should consider training for the mile as the ultimate expression of both your power endurance and a blended competent well-rounded athlete, aging gracefully. And just for reference, the outstanding category was eight minutes and under for males nine minutes and under for females and the extreme needs to improve, failing grade, uh, at age 50, if you can’t bust to 12 minute mile, male, 13 minute mile female, we have to do some examination of your fitness competency. And that is so compelling to reduce it down to something so basic as improving your time in the mile, rather than feeling obligated to do an assortment of different fitness activities. But we’re going back to that Primal Blueprint fitness example of covering the big ones, which is sprinting once in a while, putting your body under regular resistance load with strength training, resistance training, and, of course engaging in a sufficient amount of general everyday movement and low level cardiovascular exercise.
So, number six X set, age and lifestyle appropriate goals. And Hey, guess what if you’re in the gray hair demographic, you might want to step aside from the cultural forces and the influences and reconsider what might be the optimal amount of workout, energy expenditure for you to promote both fitness and longevity. So if you’re going to an hour long bootcamp class, several days a week, or an indoor cycling class, that’s 40 minutes, 45 minutes, CrossFit class, same thing, maybe just maybe, depending on your age group, it might be really nice to turn the dial down at the two thirds mark or the halfway mark, cool down and get out of there. And I think an extremely effective coach would be more attuned and more sensitive to the needs, the disparate needs of folks participating in the same group workout. So the hot shots in the front row or the back row, wherever they are, they can push themselves further and further come back the next day. Do it again. But not so, if you’re trying to balance your longevity goals with your fitness goals. Okay, so that’s number six.
Number seven is track your progress. Journaling and performing regular fitness assessments, extremely valuable, and these things become increasingly important as you age, because we wanna be extremely vigilant for any sign of decline or regression in fitness or injury patterns, breakdown, patterns, burnout patterns. This can include getting minor respiratory infections, frequently suffering from nagging autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, musculoskeletal injuries that keep coming back or keep hanging around. That’s a very strong indications that you’re pushing past that appropriate, that optimal balance and into the chronic overtraining patterns. So, keeping you honest, man, those fitness assessments, the clock doesn’t lie, or the plates on the bar, the MAF test is so widely promoted and recommended for measuring your improvements in aerobic conditioning and general cardiovascular health for that matter.
You’ve heard me talk about that many times and it basically entails measuring your performance while maintaining a fixed heart rate equivalent to 180 minus your age in beats per minute. And so you pick the same course that you’re going to repeat over and over in your favorite event. If it’s running easy, simple example is heading over to the running track and running laps, jogging eight laps, whatever it is to maintain as close as possible to 140 beats per minute heart rate, if you’re 40 years old, right, 180 minus 40 equals 40, if you’re 50, you’re gonna hit 130 and so on. So you have your MAF, your personal MAF heart rate. And then you start the watch and complete the same course. If you’re a cyclist, perhaps it’s cycling from the bottom of the hill to the top or to a landmark.
And every time you go out, you perform the same test. Of course, you can perform an identical test on indoor calibrated exercise equipment. So if you’re going to row for six minutes, 10 minutes at a heart rate of 140, you can see what distance you cover and so forth. So just that important aspect of consistency with the test, and then you track your results over time. And if you’re training well and getting in shape, you should have a better and better performance. But the main thing here is to continually track that progress. And the same goes for once in a while, giving yourself an all-out maximum and see where you stand with that mile run, or that 400 meter time, or your single set of pull-ups to failure, or whatever it is that means a lot to you and something that you can track. Okay. So that’s number seven, track your progress.
Number eight, let’s call it fly under the radar, be conservative with your approach to fitness. And this suggests with a lot of research to support it, that you can get the majority of your cardiovascular fitness, disease prevention, and peak performance benefits from a very minimal time commitment overall to fitness. And then if you’re trying to be a competitor or strife or personal best or pursue more daunting fitness challenges, of course, more training is going to be appropriate and beneficial. However, for most of us just hitting those basics, checking those boxes, it’s the same with diet. If you can just get rid of the junk food, you are so far down the road to success, that it’s absolutely stunning. You can get 80% of the way there per Dr. Peter Attia just by cutting out processed foods and with exercise just by getting your butt off the chair and heading out for a reasonable amount of low level cardiovascular exercise and daily movement.
And then occasionally, pushing some muscles in resistance exercise and occasionally going out there and doing something all out, such as a sprint or a low impact or no impact sprint. If you’re not inclined or not adapted to running sprints, this stuff up, when you mix it up, it’s a very minimal time commitment over the course of a week or a month. And you can get all the way up to good or even exceptional fitness level. And remember that when you go beyond this modest level, that’s required to get a B plus or A minus score, you’re going for performance goals and possibly bringing a little bit of a risk factor in where you could have the potential to compromise your health and even your longevity, as we’ve talked about before the extreme approach to exercise. Dr. James O’Keefe’s research, I’ve referenced his Ted talk before it’s called Run for Your Life, But Not too Far, and at a Slow Pace.
He contends, and other researchers as well, that you can get maximum cardiovascular health benefits from exercising at a modest pace for only two and a half hours a week. Beyond that we’re going for cardiovascular fitness, right? Cardiovascular health, cardiovascular fitness, two different things. And that’s where you can enjoy yourself. It’s part of your life. You like doing more than that. That’s fantastic, but understanding that the bar is very low to achieve excellent score, same with strength training. Oh my gosh, who can forget my interview with Dr. Doug McGuff co-author of the fantastic book, Body by Science, or written with John Little, where he talks about his big five workout that you are directed to perform once a week. It’s a single set to failure of five different strength training exercises, major compound exercises that you do on machines, for safety. So you don’t even have to go over and wander into the free weight area with the bros, but you go and perform a single set to failure of the overhead press, the lap pull down, the leg press, the chest press and the seated row.
And so if you think of one set, you’re choosing a weight that hopefully you can get to around 12 reps to achieve failure, that single set, little bit of rest in between each of the five. And there goes your big five workout. The subtitle on the book contends that this workout only takes about 12 minutes. So in 12 minutes of high intensity strength training per week, remember, he’s only recommending that you do this workout once a week, cuz it is quite difficult, especially as you get fit in one session a week, you can continue, continue, continue to progress with your power and your strength and your performance. And of course, that’s not the entire, your big picture of what it means to be fit. And so if you like playing tennis or you’re like training for the next upcoming obstacle course race, or have other distinct competitive goals, playing basketball in the basketball league, you’re gonna be wanting to get out there more frequently and doing all kinds of different stuff, whether it’s dribbling drills or shooting or practicing the rope climb for the obstacle course.
But the foundation of muscular strength can be developed with great success in just a single properly conducted workout per week. There’s a little bit of contention around, uh, Dr. McGuff’s assertion. In fact, he cite research in his book that going more frequently than that, like trying to perform it twice a week or every five days, delivered inferior results to waiting and resting and allowing the body to recover. And that same research baseline is honored by Dr. John Jaquish and his X three bar home training system using resistance, resistance straps, and doing a very, very short workout that’s very difficult bringing your muscles to complete fatigue. He argues for doing three exercises a day takes about 10 minutes and then repeating another three the following day. So you’re doing a very minimal time commitment to fitness, but you’re getting massively strong and powerful.
He also applies this model to his OsteoStrong program, which is a chain of specialty fitness facilities definitely targeting the senior population, striving to minimize the major dangers and the prominent condition of osteoporosis. So when OsteoStrong you go in there and you perform four basic total body workouts, very safe, you’re just pressing against a fixed object. So you’re not even having to take your joints through range of motion you’re just pressing or, or pulling at the point of strongest force production. And they have tremendous research showing that a senior population, especially because they have so much upside can get amazing strength gains throughout their body. The major muscle groups in their body and improve bone density by going and doing the workout once a week. So we’re talking about four exercises to complete muscular failure only takes five, 10 seconds under load, then move to the next machine, move to the next machine.
My mother is a strong success story so far she’s been going for several months and making strength, breakthroughs, and boy, to think that it’s that simple and takes that little time. There’s no excuse for anyone to have a deficiency in their strength training protocol. Just show up there once a week and push yourself hard and go about your busy life. Okay. So, that’s this fly under the radar approach where you don’t have to go day after day after day to consider yourself a fit person. You just have to sprinkle in an assortment of workouts and be very precise with your protocol. Again, everything’s magnified. The mistakes of doing too much are magnified in the older age groups. So the young folks can get away with going back and doing more bench press the next day cuz their buddy was in town, but we have to be very careful, but at least we have to check those boxes that we’re doing it, that we’re in a regular strength training protocol and the same for sprinting. If anyone can get out there and just do a little tiny bit, even tiptoe into the world of sprinting, it will deliver phenomenal results
And speaking of that, that flows us right into item number nine, which is to perform these high intensity workouts correctly. And please honor the protocol best characterize with this high intensity repeat training concept that I talked about in such detail on my show with Dr. Craig Marker, who coined that term high intensity repeat training, in contrast to the more common acronym of high intensity interval training. So with these HIIT workout outs, they’re so popular, they often due to their duration, due to the number of intervals asked for and due to the insufficiency of the rest period, they often become exhausting and depleting and draining over the course of the workout, right? If you’re asked to do 10 sprints of 30 seconds in the spin class, and you’re only getting 30 seconds rest in between each sprint, guess what?
That eighth of ninth and 10th are gonna be torturefests because you’re cumulative fatigue and the burning in your muscles. Now once in a while, a HIIT session, designed toward your athletic goals and designed to prompt a breakthrough in fitness, that’s wonderful. You gotta push yourself once in a while and go really hard. But in general, when you are going for this explosive workout, you want to have a repeat of extremely high quality performance each time you do a repetition. So the high intensity repeat training protocol is that you deliver a consistent quality of effort each time you sprint, for example. And I often tout this baseline workout, which I think is sufficient and optimal for just about everyone, unless you’re training for the Olympics or have extremely specialized running goals. For example, I do happen to have those specialized goals.
I want to get good at 400 meter competition. And so I do different workouts and I go for longer duration efforts, maybe taking shorter rest depending on the type of workout, but the bread and butter sprint session would be four to 10 efforts lasting between 10 and 20 seconds. So these are short sprints in that optimal time window of 10 to 20 seconds where you get maximum fitness benefits with a minimal amount of cellular breakdown. If you try to sprint for longer than 20 seconds, you are going to be risking this dissembling and deamination of the cellular proteins that causes that breakdown, that fatigue, that feeling lousy in the 24, 36, 72 hours after the workout. So there’s no need to push yourself to the brink. You just become explosive. You exhibit precise technique and explosive form for an effort lasting between 10 and 20 seconds.
If you’re running sprints, we’re gonna go on the low side of that, and if you are doing bicycling or something. That’s no impact, running upstairs, whatever you can inch up to the 20 second limit. And the range of four to 10, depending, on fitness level, depending on your fitness goals. If you’re more explosive power athlete, you don’t need to do that many and you don’t need to go for that long duration. So let’s say a truly explosive athlete might do, four times 10-second sprints, really powerful, really fast whereby someone doing an exercise bike workout can do 10 sprints lasting 20 seconds. The rest interval per Dr. Marker should be quote luxurious. That’s right. You want to wander around and catch your breath and get refocused and get nice and rested and primed for another explosive effort. So the recommended ratio is around six to one of rest to work ratio.
So if you’re working for 10 seconds, you’re gonna rest for a minute in between each of those 10-second sprints. A lot of accomplished athletes, people familiar with the exercise where they’re doing some really elaborate sessions that are really challenging, will consider this template and go, wow, that’s nothing. That’s too easy. That’s ridiculous. Because again, it’s four to 10 times a sprint of 10 to 20 seconds duration with a six to one rest to work ratio, and then you’re cool down and you’re done. But if you can get good at this and we’re trying to progress over time to better performance, not necessarily adding more repetition. So you’re doing 12 sprints, you’re doing 14 sprints. That’s not the intended strategy here. The strategy is to maintain power and explosiveness and improve that over time. So that’s the correct way to perform a sprint workout. And same with most of the stuff in the gym, in the resistance exercise, where with the example given you’re only doing the single set to failure once a week, so you’re getting plenty of recovery and then you’re going in and delivering an extremely high quality session with good performance markers. Okay. So that’s number nine.
Number 10 is avoid this overly stressful hit modality. This is the vast majority of mainstream fitness programming. It makes me very sad to report. So, can congratulations to all the participants in the morning, 6:00 AM cycling class or the 7:00 AM bootcamp, or those who are joining the clubs and doing a group workout like a track workout if you’re a running club. But by and large, same with the home based workouts, like your average Peloton workout is ascribing to this mental where you’re pushing and you’re struggling and you’re suffering and you’re experiencing exhaustion and depletion over the course of the workout. A pattern of these types of workouts, doing them too frequently, doing ’em as your baseline, leads to cravings for carbohydrates. It leads to fatigue problems during the day. And guess what? That’s right.
It compromises your efforts to reduce excess body fat, which is seemingly an overpowering, a very prominent goal of most people who are out there pushing themselves hard with high intensity workouts. If you exhaust yourself and you exercise in this exhaustion depletion pattern, it is going to trigger the appetite center in your brain to overeat, especially quick energy foods like carbs. And it’s also gonna mess with your hormones and your immune function when you’re in this pattern of overly stressful hit workouts. So, we’re talking about flying under the radar doesn’t mean that you’re just goofing around, but you’re doing these extremely high quality workouts, but they don’t last that long. And you quit before you get tired or before you notice a fatigue breakdown.
Relatedly, cuz we have to emphasize this stuff so much, we go into point number 11 and that is don’t get sore. Pretty darn simple, right? There’s just not any justification for inducing post exercise, muscle soreness in pursuit of broad-based fitness competency and longevity and all those things. Yes, of course. Once in a while, maybe more than once in a while, you’re gonna have soreness. That’s gonna come from trying to perform a breakthrough workout, doing anything new and unfamiliar. Okay. So obviously soreness to be is to be expected if are going water skiing or you’re introducing pull-ups to your exercise routine for the first time in a while. And that’s fine. You’re gonna adapt quickly to those soreness inducing workouts just because of the unfamiliarity, same with a hot yoga class. Oh my goodness. I’ve never been more sore than doing a couple of those to an extreme nature when I have, hadn’t done yoga in a long time. So, aside from that, if you’re going out there and performing your regular workout routine and becoming sore over and over and over, this is very likely going to compromise your progress.
Very likely to increase injury risk, especially performing on sore muscles, right? It’s Tuesday. I have to go do my sprints, but I’m a little sore here and a little sore there. That’s when your joint and your connective tissue absorbs, uh, inappropriate load your muscles, aren’t firing the soreness is your message from the central nervous system that, Hey, I still need to rest and repair rather than put more stress on to the body. And so we have to totally respect muscle soreness as a chance to continue our recovery process rather than add more, uh, hard work and then try to design our workouts and learn from experience. Unlike your host here on the B.rad podcast who will admit to frequent bouts of muscle soreness over the past decade or more from my sprint workouts because they were slightly too hard and I’m finally achieving that psychological and physical breakthrough where I can perform a very ambitious sprint workout and not experience or very little soreness after and recover more quickly because the workout is better designed. And also I’m building my fitness over time. So, try not to get sore. How’s that?
Okay, number 12, we want to reframe this concept of consistency that is bantered about as being super important and the most essential part of a successful fitness protocol. Now consistency is essential on many levels, but what I’m talking about is when we misinterpret the meaning or the context of this recommendation to the extent that we have a, a consistent application of a little too much stress to the body in the name of adhering to a schedule or being consistent with our attendance at the gym. So we always have to understand and operate from this philosophy that the body’s a living, breathing dynamic organism that progresses and regresses in an often fractal and unpredictable manner. So that’s fine to design a well formulated training schedule, but you also have to have intuition at work at all times and have intuition be the priority over the rigid schedule
that’s written on a piece of paper, oftentimes coming an outside resource, such as a coach or an internet site or a book. Okay. So you can have a starting point of a desired optimal training schedule that will keep you consistent. And have you improving maybe adding degree of difficulty in a consistent manner over the 12-week schedule or whatever it is. That’s fine to start from there, but we have to always make judgements on the fly and determine whether the intended workout of the day or the intended block of training is still appropriate based on all these different lifestyle factors and subjective notions of fatigue or readiness to train. Okay. So when we have these overtraining signs creeping in, when we have overly stressful lifestyle patterns and indications that we’re out of, optimal stress/rest balance, we have to make oftentimes strong adjustments to the training schedule, including curtailing the workout.
Soon after we started, taking a week off when you intended to take two days off and just waiting and being patient, for the body to progress with fitness on its own schedule. So yeah, get into this sweet spot where you’re consistent in certain ways, and then you’re adaptable and flexible in other ways. I’m a strong advocate of establishing a daily baseline of activity and being extremely consistent in living a healthy, active lifestyle. And I tell my morning routine the best example. I haven’t had a major major illness in five years that I’ve accumulated this routine,, but I’ve had a couple slight colds. And I remember going through the routine, not feeling great on a couple few occasions, especially the day after let’s say the track meet when I was high jumping my butt off and running the 400.
And there comes the next morning, a little source, stiff and tired, but I was still able to get through my routine because it’s been designed to be at that perfect degree of difficulty where it’s not terribly difficult to do every single day, but over time it’s become a pretty impressive sequence of exercises. And I’ve developed a high capability to be able to get through of those every day to do my 23 ab rollouts and my 23 drinking birds on each leg and so forth. So when it comes to pushing yourself and, and going hard and doing one of those breakthrough workouts that I talk about, and that’ll be the topic of the next tip, you only contemplate those when you feel 100% rest it energized, motivated, and ready to deliver a peak performance. So if there’s even the slightest whiff of soreness, stiffness, muscle weakness, you will delay your intended impressive workout until all the systems are go and all the green flags are in place.
And don’t ever forget that rest is where all your adaptations take place, not on the stress side when you’re out there performing a workout, especially a hard workout. You’re basically breaking down the body. You’re sending all these stress messages to the body, inflammation, oxidative stress, production of free radicals. And then the body goes, wow, that was tough. I’m really beaten up and broken down. Now I need to eat, rest, engage in basic activity, recover and come back stronger. Thank you very much for giving me all that rest so I can do what the intended purpose of the workout was.
Okay. Number 13. Yes. Push the limits once in a while. So, we’ve talked so much about, reigning it in being aware for overtraining, chronic exercise patterns, exhausting depleting workouts, the problem with recurring muscle soreness and all that. Now we’re going to over open up the throttle and contend that yes, indeed, once in a while, you want to go out there and try for an extreme challenge and major breakthroughs, and you get so much psychological benefit of getting out of your comfort zone of comfortable, luxurious, convenient, modern life, and getting raw and putting your toe on the starting line or, you know, setting a goal and going for it. And then the big day comes and you feel a little nervous. You got the butterflies. You got that tension, that appropriate lifestyle tension that comes in once in a while when you’re asked to perform and maybe, the attention is on you, the spotlight’s on you. Here we go. You anchor person on the mile relay team. What better place to be in life than with everyone counting on you and the crowd cheering.
And if there’s no crowd and you’re not on a relay team, but you’re by yourself in an empty stadium, looking at a high jump bar, it’s the same thing. It’s like today is the day let’s bring your a game. Let’s go for it, put your heart and soul on the line, lean into your fears, quiet the doubting internal voices, the negative thoughts, the negative emotions, and go for it. And poof, even if you quote unquote fail, you fail to achieve some arbitrary goal that you said in your mind, or that society said is a great accomplishment. No, no, no. Let’s reframe that immediately realize that merely pushing yourself and challenging yourself to a peak performance is a tremendous success in its own. Right? I laugh and I’m teasing a little, but I want everyone to have this takeaway point. Talking to the ultra marathon crowd.
Western states is the big race on the west coast and ended in my former hometown of Auburn. And, you know, it’s a hundred miles from the lake Tahoe area across the entire slope of the Western Sierra Nevada mountain range, finishing in the foothills on the running track with all the cheering crowd and the announcer saying your name and boy, isn’t that a great feeling to run a hundred miles. But not everyone finishes in fact, on a hot weather year, the attrition rate is tremendous. You know, even the best trained people are gonna have something go wrong, where they can’t get to the a hundred mile finish line. And you’ll talk to these dropout people and they’ll say, yeah, yeah, I had to drop out. I dropped out at mile 84. My my ankle was so swollen that I couldn’t put my shoe out on.
And I’m like, wow, congratulations. That’s outstanding. And they look at me with a strange look on their face. Like, what are you talking about? I dropped out. I’m like, you ran 84 miles in a single day. That’s amazing. And it’s like, wow, I never thought about it that way. Right. Cuz you didn’t get to the finish line. You think it’s a failure or think all is lost. And all you’re thinking about is I gotta come back next year and do it again. Well guess what? If there never is a next year and you, you bomb out on your resume. It says furthest distance I ever ran 84 miles. That’s pretty freaking fantastic. So let’s be sure to recalibrate that mentality, to know that pushing your limit is the true victory. Here’s a great quote from one of the forefathers of the paleo movement,
Dr. Art DeVany ,author of The New Evolution Diet. And I love some of his content. He’s not around much cuz he is, in his older years, but still live in a healthy lifestyle and has left us with some epic quotes. Here’s one quote, modern life leaves our minds restless and underutilized because we are confined inactive and comfortable. We cannot be satisfied with more and more because we are evolved for another life way in which material goods do not matter. The result is that we’re deeply unsatisfied with modern life. And we don’t know why. And I think a way to escape this ennui, Did I pronounce that, right? Thank you. The way to escape this trap of modern life, getting ever more comfortable, ever more is convenient is to go out there and tackle a daunting athletic physical challenge. That’s what The Liver King Instagram sensation is all about.
He’s in your face, draping giant chains over his neck or dragging his kettle bells and his weighted sled on his epic world-famous barbarian workout, dragging all this weight one mile, in pure human suffering. Everyone who works for the company, Ancestral Supplements, has to attempt this crazy workout, but you get such a sense of personal satisfaction of just towing the line and trying something. And I have tried to live like this my whole life. Of course, when I was a professional competitor, there was plenty of opportunities to tow the line that wasn’t a weak or avoid area in life. But as we grow old and uh, life gets busy, try to find a way to schedule something or many things over the course of a year that really stand out as peak performance efforts. I mentioned my friend, John Stahley, many times he’s the treking superstar.
And he goaded me to participate in this amazing Cactus to Clouds hike in Palm Springs. So that was one of my highlights of the year 2021. This is rated as this single most difficult hiking trail in the United States because in the first new nine and a half miles, you ascend 8,400 feet, that’s right. 8,400 feet in nine and a half miles. And for perspective, that is like walking up a steep staircase, nonstop ,unbroken for that long. He also does crazy stuff like the rim to rim, to rim crossing of the Grand Canyon. That’s 48 miles with 11,000 feet of elevation gain and all kinds of other fun stuff. But, the cool part is, is you put this destination event on your calendar and you start practicing for it. And every day, every hike that you do, has additional and meaning because it’s pointing toward these wonderful athletic goals.
And that kind of brings this whole show full circle is to saying, look, the importance of pursuing peak performance with passion throughout life cannot be understated. It’s the essence of living a rich, meaningful, healthy act life. I also reference from 2021, the day that at, uh, we gathered and performed the epic the signature CrossFit workout called the Murph. And this was on the occasion of my friend, Dave Kobrine’s 60th birthday. So he’s in shape all the time, like few other 60 year olds on the planet, his athletic pedigree, as you can hear about in our podcast episode from a few years ago, he’s the only human in history to play, to be a player on the number one ranked NCAA college basketball team back at UCLA in the eighties. And then the very next year, while he was still a student at UCLA complete the Hawaii Ironman triathlon.
I don’t know if that double will ever, ever be matched because, oh my gosh, look at the ball players. Now on the number one team, these guys are, you know, at an incredibly high level and who the heck is going to walk out of the gym and start training for the Ironman besides Dave Kobrine back in 80 81, 82, 83 timeframe. And so he’s brought that athletic legacy throughout all the decades of his life as have his father, all his brothers, his sister, an incredibly athletic family, instead of just having a birthday party and eating a bunch of food and telling stories about old athletic exploits, like playing for the number one ranked NCAA basketball team, and then doing the Hawaii Ironman the following year. No, no, no, no. We were busy. So we had this Murph challenge set up. Uh, I was inspired to go on a crash training course to try to get my body weight exercise game up.
And so I indeed participated and barely completed one of the most difficult single workouts. Oh my gosh, it was certainly a torture session, but the protocol was to run one mile then in the gym complete 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats and then run the final mile to the finish of the Murph workout. And you did these in miniature sets. So you did five pullups, 10 pushups, 20 squats, five pullups, 10 pushups, 20 squats over and over and over for the appropriate number of times. And it’s just nonstop action. I think my nonstop action was 48 minutes. Dave was more like 38 minutes. So what a way to celebrate the 60th birthday. And then we can sit around and tell stories and enjoy the richness of celebration in life, including whatever things you like to indulge in, but to have that framed with athletic challenge.
Fantastic. And that brings us to the final of the 14 tips of strategies to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life. And that is introduce cold exposure. And I put this in here because it’s such a convenient and quick proxy to access this alternative pathway of struggling, suffering and bringing richness and meaning to life accordingly. Right? Of course, any high intensity workout will do the same thing or any challenge like an extreme hike, but it’s so close. All you have to do is grab the a handle in the morning and turn that water over to cold, and you will get an instant sensation of the appropriate fight or fight response, the hormetic stressor of cold water. And you’re gonna work through that and become more resilient as a human for bringing things that are uncomfortable into your daily experience.
It all has all kinds of hormonal benefits that did an entire show on the variety of hormonal neurotransmitter, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting benefits of focusing cognitive performance benefits of, appropriate cold thermogenesis. That is an appropriately brief exposure to cold water. And, oh my gosh, when you start to make this a daily habit, it’s a way to keep yourself sharp. It’s a way to become more resilient against all other forms of stress and distraction in daily life. Because I find when I’m jumping into my cold freezer, that I have to breathe through it. I have to sort of get into that meditative state where I’m just controlling my breath and totally focused on the experience rather than shrieking and jumping out and saying, oh my gosh, it’s like, here I go. I’m gonna put my body into this difficulty and it’s gonna be okay and I’m gonna work through it and then get out before any harm is done.
So that’s the point is not to suffer and be an idiot. I think a lot of people misinterpret my enthusiasm for cold exposure that I like to you know, uh, get dangerously hypothermic for hobby. And that’s not it at all. It’s something that you can tolerate and you have to have to start slow. That’s fine. Just turn that handle to 30 seconds of cold, breathe through it. That’s a really important tip, especially in the shower your first time. And then you’ll notice that you get more and more resilient over time. So boy, what a great way to reawaken these adaptive mechanisms in the body that we’ve nullified, especially when we live in temperature controlled environments almost all the time. Oh my gosh, the stats are kind of troubling. There’s a 2001 survey from the Lawrence Berkeley national laboratory. Hey, my aunt used to work there.
It was called the USA National Human Activity Pattern Survey, revealing that Americans spend around 87% of time indoors and six more percent of time in an enclosed vehicle for an astounding 93% of time away from any sort of weather elements whatsoever. And that indeed has negative repercussion to things like our immune response, our inflammatory response, our cellular repair, all these things. Cold therapy has also been shown to have a nice boost, be a nice catalyst for fat metabolism. So great way to accelerate your efforts and the benefits of trying to lose excess body fat. So, uh, that goes on the list and let’s recap all 14 from the two shows. Number one is to cultivate that primal mindset. Number two is develop a healthy competitive intensity. Number three is to support a longevity with your goals, answer to your 80-year-old self. Number four is to set these long-term big picture intrinsic goals.
Uh, John Assaraf wanted to teaches grandchildren how to ski Peter Attia, wanting to do the centenarian Olympics. Number five is to integrate the short term extrinsic, external goals like looking good naked, achieving, high rankings or accolades of any kind and blending those with the, the deeper goals of more lifestyle significance. Number six is to make sure that you set age and lifestyle appropriate goals and perhaps rethinking the cultural fascination with the extreme goals that might not line up too well with your average, daily life responsibilities. Okay. Number seven is to track your progress. So journaling is a great idea. In fact, I’ve journaled my workouts for four decades or so, starting when I was a runner in high school and write down how many miles we ran each day and keep these wonderful training logs that served as both a source of motivation and also a way to track progress or to reveal shortcomings or errors.
You know, all of a sudden you wake up with a cold, you wonder, gee, that’s too bad. Wonder what happened. And you look back over the previous two weeks and you can see these over training patterns taking hold, and then maybe, hopefully, next time you’ll take corrective action better. So that was number, um, number seven, tracking your progress. Number eight is fly under the radar. Back off a little bit air on the conservative side, realize that your aerobic conditioning can happen with minimal time, dedication. Same with your improvements and strength with the body by science, big five workout and same with sprinting where a little goes a long way. Number nine is to perform these high intensity workouts correctly. And I describe the high intensity repeat training protocol doing four to 10 reps of sprints lasting 10 to 20 seconds with a six to one rest to work ratio. And hand in hand with that as number 10, avoid the overly stressful hit modality, which is so common and seems to be the centerpiece of most mainstream fitness programming, both group programming and home-based workouts that last a little too long and ask for a little too much high intensity output with not enough rest performing the sessions too frequently and digging yourself a hole.
Also related number 11 is don’t get sore. So, make sure that you make the proper adjustments. And the workload is such that a soreness is an infrequent experience rather than a centerpiece or a recurring aspect of your exercise program. Number 12 is to reframe this notion of consistency. So we want to have consistency in certain areas that are easily sustainable, such as a morning exercise routine or a baseline of general active lifestyle. And over the big picture framework, that you’re putting your body under resistance load on a regular basis that you’re sprinting once in a while. But making sure that you don’t tip the balance over into trying to adhere to a robotic workout schedule and number 13, push the limits occasionally. That’s right open up the throttle. Set an extreme goal, put it on the calendar, train for it, Cactus to Clouds.
It was super fun. The Murph workout. And those high points that you can look back and say, that was a highlight, experience of the year, but also right hand in hand with that was the preparation and the value and the richness of having these extreme peak performance endeavors and training for them on a day after day basis. And having your life framed around something of that meaning struggle gives meaning and richness to life said, Roger Bannister. And then finally introduce some cold exposure. Get started gradually if you want in the shower and who knows, maybe someday you will become an extreme enthusiast and pop for that chest freezer, which I’m so fond of in my backyard, or heading out to Lake Tahoe and jumping in that water year round. So summer fun. Hey, you know what? I can swim for 10, 15 minutes before I get cold in the heat of summer.
But when it comes to winter, Big George and I are going in there for a, maybe two and a half minute bout. And believe me, that is plenty when the water’s 42 and the air temperatures lower than that. So in appropriate amount of cold exposure could be a nice way to inject some challenge ready, made challenge to keep you sharp and focused and resilient. Thank you so much for listening and hopefully sharing, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to know what kind of challenges you’ve set for yourself and achieved, what was the buildup like the training patterns and all kinds of other feedback. We sincerely appreciate it. We also appreciate you spreading the word about the show, leaving a review, if you’re so inclined, we would absolutely love that. And Hey, go leave a review. Send a screenshot or paste the content of it.
Say, Hey, yeah, thanks a lot. I just left a review and we will enter you in a drawing for a free jar of Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece. How’s that for a deal? Thank you so much.
Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email podcast@Brad ventures.com with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list at Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with inform of articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. And if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review with Apple podcasts or wherever else, you listen to the shows that would be super, incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the B.rad Podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast player called Overcast allows you to actually record a sound bite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember B.rad.