In this edition of questions and comments from listeners, we get into all kinds of fun stuff.
Should anti-aging enthusiasts consider bulking up with extra muscle? How do you go about doing that correctly? I discuss the controversy and confusion over protein intake, explain how you can get the longevity benefits of maintaining muscle mass without the concerns about overstimulating growth factors, and then we hear a success story from a listener who lost 40 pounds and is getting stronger doing major lifts and pullups. Another listener asks a question about the stress factors of air travel and I explain why fasting is a great strategy on travel days, as well as how you can beat jet lag upon arrival. I also talk about the proper way to train for contests and ultramarathons without getting into overstress patterns, how to prepare for long distance triathlons after taking time off, and especially, how to not get beaten up by long runs. Finally, we hear comments from listener’s about their favorite takeaways from past shows, such as honoring John Gray’s direction to be a Kung Fu master amidst relationship stress, and I talk about how to strengthen problem muscles and connective tissue in order to heal from chronic injuries. Enjoy the show and enjoy participating in the community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Belanger asks if Brad has done a bulking stage to gain weight. The more muscle mass you have, the more protection you have. Brad tries to optimize his strength to bodyweight ratio. [01:25]
Your triglycerides to HDL ratio is an important detail to look at for good cardiac function. [09:24]
There is a tendency in the gym culture to encourage nutrient deficient processed calories. Use caution when consuming “workout” products. [10:34]
Brad Warden has lost over 40 pounds, has increased his athletic challenges, improved his diet, and is feeling better than ever, which leads to a discussion regarding the controversy about eating too much protein. [12:39]
The best sources of protein, by far, are from animal sources. [17:40]
Stewart travels weekly mostly by airplane. He is asking whether he should eat or fast during these flights. [19:03]
Billy Vogan wants to know how Brad thinks about signing up for an ultra-marathon when time is not the goal. He plans to walk some of the time. [25:09]
Keep tough workouts under an hour and keep heart rate at 180 minus your age or below. [29:44]
If you have a workout pattern that seems to be really satisfying and enjoyable and you’re performing well, keep it up. [31:07]
Kevin is retired but wants more than sitting around. He still has that competitive bug.
He wants to train for triathlon. [32:41]
A 44-year-old Canadian who plays competitive tennis is having a problem with his Soleus, which is one of the most prominent calf muscles. He wants Brad’s suggestion on helping him lessen the problem. [38:55]
Write of review of Brad’s podcasts, send us a screenshot of your review and receive a jar of Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece. [48:56]
- Brad Kearns.com
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- Podcast with Dr. Ron Sinha
- One Running Shoe
- Running on Empty
- The Four Hour Work Week
- Voodoo Floss
- Two Stretches to Heal Plantar Fasciitis
- Brian Liver King Johnson
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Hey, everyone, it’s time for listener questions and comments show. I would call it a Q and A show, but, uh, I also appreciate how some of these are questions and some of these are commentary on how people have improved their lives, taken inspiration from others, guests, show content. So it’s really cool just to kind of connect the community here and talk about all manner of topics. Oh my gosh. I can’t wait to jump in and get into some of this. And we’re starting with Scott Belanger and he asked if I have ever done a bulking stage to gain some weight. Scott’s in the middle of one, he’s never done it before. He’s working with a trainer to add some muscle in his best interest for going for those longevity goals at the age of 59. I just wanna walk around with a bit more beef on my structure.
He says very interesting insight there because we know so much about the preservation of lean muscle mass and actually explosive energy production is strongly correlated with longevity, avoiding the risks of falling and the associated demise that rates it as the number one cause of injury and demise in Americans over age 65. So the more muscle mass you have, the more protection you have against metabolic syndrome and the more protection you have against accidents, falling, things like that. Sarcopenia is the term for the decline in muscle mass associated with aging. And that is strongly correlated with morbidity of all kinds, especially the associated decline in organ function. So if you lose muscle mass, your organs also get weaker too, because everything is correlated, right. When you’re going for an exercise session, you are asking your heart and lungs and liver and kidneys to perform, to meet that exercise demand.
So someone walking around with an appropriate level of functional muscle mass is going to have better health markers across the board than someone who has excess body fat and insufficient muscle mass. So it certainly is a great goal for anyone in the older age groups, possibly to add some functional muscle mass or at least preserve an appropriate level, especially for their fitness goals and everyday lifestyle behaviors. So, what Scott is doing is adding in some more carbohydrate intake and association with these strength training sessions with the trainer. And I am, so my answer is no I’ve never done a bulking stage. I never had the cause to, because my athletic goals have universally been in the area of endurance for many, many years. And in recent times I’m trying to be a sprinter and a jumper and adding even if it’s lean body mass doesn’t really correlate with performing better in the 400 meters or the high jump. Now getting stronger certainly does.
And so there’s different ways to exercise in the gym where you’re going for hypertrophy. That’s the term for adding a larger size muscles putting on muscle weight or, uh, going for muscle strength. And hypertrophy is generally associated with these prolonged workouts where you’re doing numerous sets of numerous exercises until failure, and really working hard to exhaust the muscle and then refuel and especially the dietary pattern of just consuming more calories in general, especially more protein and even more carbohydrate. And that will stimulate muscle growth. The muscles actually become larger. Now, getting stronger is associated with the shorter sets with heavier weights. And so you’re challenging the existing amount of muscle fibers to perform more work when they’re called upon. And that’s why you see the incredible strength to weight ratios in many athletic areas, including gymnastics, including sprinting down the track, stephen Hall olympic gymnast.
high jump, things like that.
So the high jumper, like Stephan Hull, the shortest Olympic gold medalist and holding the world record for the highest height jumped over one’s head. He’s about two feet over his head with his PR back in ’04 when he won the Olympic gold medal. So here’s a guy five 11 jumping, seven feet, 11 inches, one of the highest jumpers of all time, uh, pretty impressive. Maybe they should have a different event for fairness to see who can jump the highest over one’s head. But he has that distinction along with his Olympic gold medal. Uh, but here’s a guy who doesn’t weigh much, right? All the high jumpers are universally slender because the goal of getting the body and the center of mass over the bar requires that incredible strength to weight ratio, where you have to generate a ton of force leaving the ground.
The sprinters, like Usain Bolt will generate over 1000 pounds on a single foot strike on the ground. I would assume the high jumpers are up there air in that phenomenal level of force, but they can’t do it with giant mass muscles. So that’s the goal of many sports. And so what I’m trying to do is optimize my strength to weight, to body weight ratio. Of course, the lower percentage of body fat, the better you’re gonna be there because the body fat, all it does is serve as dead weight. It doesn’t help you, uh, perform and pullups or sprint or jump. It actually hinders you. So the leanest possible, and then whatever muscle mass you have is functional in direct association with your athletic and or longevity goals. So, that’s my personal answer is I’m not seeing that I’m gonna need a bulking phase anytime soon, but someone who is just generally interested in longevity, not about to enter a pull up contest or the CrossFit games or a Master’s track meet in a specific event.
It might be a great idea to try to add more muscle mass and in concert with that reduce excess body fats. Most people would probably nod their head that they would love to have a little less body fat and more muscle mass. And guess how strongly correlated those two are. That’s right. The more muscle ha mass you have. I said briefly that you’re protected against metabolic syndrome. And that’s because the muscle is able to absorb some of the glucose from the diet, rather than have it be converted into fat when you’re an inactive person, or you don’t have a lot of muscle to utilize when you feed yourself. So you’re having that slice of pie cuz who can resist that wonderful home baked treat. And if you’re an active athletic person some of those calories are gonna go toward replenishing muscle glycogen because you work out hard every day and your muscles have a ravenous appetite for glucose.
If you’re not working out, you don’t have a lot of muscle mass. The body’s gonna be overwhelmed by that dose of glucose carbohydrate and will be likely producing a lot of, and transporting those calories, converting them into fat for storage. And so Lane Norton, Dr. Lane Norton, he’s been around on the podcast scene pretty popular and, um, opinionated sort of controversial guy, cuz he really speaks his truth. He’s very well researched but he draws that important distinctive point. And I think it’s widely agreed if you can get a good workout program going a good strength training and explosive exercise program going where you build lean muscle mass, it is going to do wonders for your metabolic profile. So yes we have to do essential dietary changes, cut out the junk food and all that stuff.
But independent of that and in great support of any dietary change is that adding muscle mass, you will automatically be inclined to drop excess body fat and have these blood numbers looking better. Especially as we’ve talked about on other shows, the all important cardiac disease risk factor marker of your triglycerides to HDL ratio. It is known that exercise prompts an increase in HDL, widely recognized as the good cholesterol it’s nature’s garbage trucks. They scavenge the bloodstream for dysfunctional molecules and remove them, repair them. So the high HDL level is cardioprotective helps your arteries stay smooth and supple and the reducing of the triglyceride number below a hundred as recommended by my recent podcast guest Dr. Ron Sinha that’s different than the under 150, which is widely distributed as the, as a goal for lipid health. You wanna get those triglycerides under a hundred and a great way to do that is to go out there and exercise and burn carbohydrates as well as fatty acids depending on the intensity level.
Okay. So that is an answer for Scott, good luck adding on some muscle mass, but I should also issue a caveat because I see this gym-gaining a community where especially young folks looking to get big, feel like that the way to get there is to slam down these cheap nutrient deficient processed calories. So you get these weight gainer jugs or these protein powders that throw a lot of junk in there, including shockingly refined industrial seed oils. And the, the athlete is encouraged to consume these products before and after every single workout. And what happens to of people is they add muscle and they add body fat and they just kind of overeat in the name of getting strong and lean and ripped and the great leaders and, uh, experimenters in this area have proven that you can get super lean and ripped and strong without ingesting ton of nutrient deficient calories. Brian Liver, King Johnson, a great example, check him out on Instagram.
He just got on there months ago and he is just become a sensation. And this guy is the real deal. He works out as hard as any human on the planet. He has an extremely clean diet where he says he earns his carbohydrates. So it’s a really carnivore ish meat based diet. Of course you’d expect nothing less from the guy who started Ancestral Supplements and the desiccated animal organ meats that you can buy in a bottle if you’re not inclined to cook all this stuff up frequently, including my MOFO product. So please check that out at bradkerns.com. It’s fantastic. But anyway, Liver King is working out hard, eating extremely cleanly with the emphasis on these nutrient dense animal foods. And then when he wants to consume extra carbs, it’s an association with these extremely difficult workouts and there’s not a lot of over-consuming of junk calories and he’s as ripped as anyone you’ll see on the internet.
Okay. How about Brad Warden writing in? He says, Hey, I love this podcast. I’ve lost over 40 pounds. Congratulations, Brad, and increased my deadlift squat and bench back to where it was in my twenties He doesn’t say how old he is, but he’s turning back the clock. That’s fantastic. I’m doing more pullups than I ever have before. I feel great. I’m doing two meals a day, I’m doing a carnivore type strategy and anti-aging was his first interest a thing that really got him going on this journey. I’d love to hear more about people who are pursuing anti aging and, striving for, uh, rigorous athletic challenges. This is a good opportunity to talk about how we’ve had some misrepresentation and pushback in recent years about the quote unquote dangers of consuming too much protein. And we’ve even dropped a few lines in, uh, our books, Mark Sisson and I, just aligning with the, the research of the time and the, the expert voices.
But it now seems like a lot of people are turning the corner and saying, Hey, look, this stuff has been overblown or misrepresented. And so what we heard previously or have been hearing is that when you eat a bunch of protein, perhaps over consuming protein, you will over activate these growth factors in the bloodstream. One of them is called mTOR and one of ’em is called I G F one. These are important agents that help muscles grow and repair, but if you overstimulate ’em, if they’re be activated all the time, this leads to unregulated cell growth, which is the essence of the process of cancer. And so we don’t wanna have unregulated cell growth in the body, except at times when we’re trying to have our cells divide quickly and efficiently. And that is during infancy, childhood adolescence, pregnant or nursing mothers or young dudes trying to put on weight to make the high school or college football team.
So we have these narrow periods of life where unregulated cell growth is certainly desired, right? We want the kid to double in weight after the first year. Otherwise we’re not smiling about that, but then everyone has taken this kind of to the extreme to try to absolutely minimize protein down into areas where you’re not going to be thriving or experiencing optimal muscle repair or development. And so I, I love how the leaders here, people like Robb Wolf are coming to mind, um, Dr. Paul Saladino and others, explaining how, uh, maintaining preserving functional muscle mass throughout life is perhaps the ultimate anti-aging strategy. And of course you need sufficient dietary protein to do so. And it’s very, very difficult to over dose on dietary protein, because it has extremely high satiety level. We’ve been warned that the kidneys will be overtaxed and challenged when you’re consuming excess protein to try to excrete the waste products from, uh, protein synthesis.
And this has also been shown to be, um, not, not on target, not a major risk factor. So your body’s really good at, consuming the protein, putting it to good use and excreting if necessary or converting it into glucose via neogenesis as necessary, especially for people who are eating a low carbohydrate diet. So really the takeaway point here is that we don’t want unregulated cell growth, but we also want to maintain preserved lean muscle mass and feel alert, energetic and strong throughout the day without our hair falling out or getting these signs of deficiency and depletion. And so the ideal strategy appears to be this feast or famine type of experience as Dr. Art De Vany was the first one to kind of, uh, promote this. And this was now, you know, maybe 20 years ago,. He was talking about how our ancestral example, the paleolithic example, uh, of human evolution was that we had an uncertain pattern of food, right?
If we were able to take down the wooly mammoth, we would gorge on that beast. The whole clan would gorge for whatever, a couple months straight. And then we might have a terrible, harsh, brutal winter, uh, where we were, uh, near starvation, making a lot of ketones, tapping into our internal energy production capabilities and all that stuff was part of human life. So we’re very, very good at adapting. But the ideal, the optimal is to, is to be in nitrogen balance is what it’s called when you’re getting sufficient protein. So you’re either going to be in nitrogen balance. You’re going to be in an anabolic state, that’s in a muscle building state, or you’re gonna be in a catabolic state, which is a muscle breakdown state.
For example, if you’re not consuming enough dietary protein. And of course the best sources of protein by far are from animal sources. They have the complete profile of amino acids that we need, and it’s much more difficult to get your protein needs met if you on a diet that restricts animal foods. So the idea here for longevity maintain lean muscle mass throughout life is to eat nutrient dense foods meals that are so efficient, or you could even call it a high protein diet in comparison to people striving to minimize protein intake. And that is paired with times where you’re fasting, not consuming any calories, not turning on these agents, such as mTOR and IGF one and allowing the body to just exist in nitrogen balance. Perhaps there’s gonna be a little bit of catabolic state happening after extreme workouts or what have you. And then you rebuild and recover. So it’s this feast or famine pattern where you do give your digestive system a rest. You are not activating these growth factors with calorie consumption.
And then, when you’re hungry next, you sit down and enjoy a delicious meal. And that is the centerpiece anti-aging strategy is getting enough protein in the diet and then, doing something to earn it by pushing and challenging your muscles to stimulate muscle growth, muscle maintenance.
Okay. Stewart says I travel weekly from my job mostly by airplanes. Air travel can be stressful to the body, the lack of movement during these hours. And the sky drives me crazy. Now question, should I be eating food during these fights or fasting? A great question. Thank you, Stewart. I think airplane travel is an excellent opportunity to fast. There’s some great information out about this from Dr. Mercola. He talks about how sitting in the air cabin is stressful in many ways. So your fight or flight hormones are stimulated via the high amounts of radiation you’re exposed to up in the high sky, the high amounts of electromagnetic exposure as you’re enclosed in this metal cabin.
And of course the stress of traveling through time zones with jet lag. So flying is a stressful experience to the human and stressful experience, stressful situations and consuming calories are never a good pair. Remember the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is nicknamed the rest and digest pattern versus the fight or flight pattern of the sympathetic branch. When you’re in fight or flight stimulation, you are liquidating. Your assets says Dr. Tommy Wood. In other words, you are prepared for peak performance by putting all routine body functions on hold on the back burner. That includes immune function, and that includes digestive function. And so when you’re stressed, not a great time to eat. We all know that, you know, if we’re coming in the door, having a, a tough argument in the workplace, we don’t really wanna sit down to a nice candlelight dinner, right?
We have to be in the mood and be relaxed and calm and in calm, quiet environments to really optimize our digestion and our enjoyment of meals. So in the airplane cabin, there’s a lot of reasons to use that as a fasting opportunity. Mark Sisson talks about this a lot where he will routinely fast during his travel days. And so he basically won’t eat much, get on the plane, fly to his destination, go to sleep, and then wake up on cue the next morning at the desired wake up time in his new time zone and sit down for a delicious breakfast. And when you, sit down and eat in the morning, you turn on your digestive circadian rhythm, which is strongly aligned with your overall circadian rhythm. So it is an interesting and effective strategy. The research of Dr. Panda at UC San Diego and time restricted feeding supports this as well.
Where when you sit down to eat a meal and turn on digestion, you will also help yourself wake up and normalize your morning, feel alert and more energized because you are also turning on digestive function. Of course, the same thing is true for exercise or turning on your muscles. So the best strategy to adapt to a new time zone would be to wake up near sunrise in the new time zone, no matter how difficult it is, get out there and get some direct exposure to sunlight. It doesn’t have be bright, sunny. When I say sunlight, it could be an overcast day in Norway, but when you arrive there, you get up in the morning and you go for a walk outdoors expose your eyeballs to direct light exposure, natural light exposure, and eat a meal. And so you get the best of both worlds here where you’re helping yourself adapt to jet at lag.
And the travel day is less stressful because you’re giving your digestive system a break. Now, am I full gangster level doing this on all my airplane fights? No, I pretty much like to enjoy a, a snack here and there rather than completely fast. So I might have some 85% gourmet dark chocolate with me in my travel bag or something really light, maybe a spoonful of Brad’s Macadamia Masterpiece. And it’s there accessible in my carryon bag, but I’m not sitting there tearing apart giant bags of trail mix or choosing to eat the processed food that they serve on airplanes or any of that. So it’s a really great opportunity for fasting. The airport food options are getting much, much better, I have to say, but it’s still kind of I wouldn’t say optimal, but you can navigate your way through an airport and find some acceptable foods.
But again, you know, when you pay 20 bucks for a couple of fish tacos or what have you, I’d rather wait and, you know, go to a really enjoyable quality restaurant at my new destination. So if there’s a way that you can manage to minimize caloric intake on travel days, I think that’ll really help with not only jet lag, but the overall stress impact of your traveling. And then furthermore, the overall dietary quality, because you’re getting an opportunity to eat in a superior manner away from the airport offerings. Okay. So hopefully that sounds good for Stewart and, on the same on the same note, you wanna hydrate optimally when you’re in air travel, because the cabin is extremely dehydrating. Not only is it a simulated altitude of around 7,500 feet, maybe my fact checkers can help me if that’s off.
I believe that’s the case for an air cap happen, but it’s also extremely low humidity. So it’s like being in a really, really dry climate at 7,500 feet. Imagine some desert that’s very high. And so, you get dehydrated very easily. I like seeing people traveling with an empty stainless steel drink container. And so they go through TSA. There’s nothing in it, right. Or they drink it and dumped it out. And then you can refill, once you get past security and have, 32 ounces at your disposal rather than, uh, patiently waiting for a single poor from the flight attendant on their busy schedule, trying to serve everybody. So there you go. That is your jet travel, uh, Q and A.
On to the next. This is from Billy Vogan. Thanks for your podcast, B.rad. I wonder what your thoughts are on signing up for an ultra marathon run. However, I plan to walk or hike most of the way I’m not chasing a goal time. I’m just making sure the sweepers don’t catch me. I can acknowledge, when you talk about how marathons are so brutal, because you’re pushing your body hard and you’re training for so many hours. I’m just ad libbing here. But he says, I can see why marathons are more brutal. And, and it’s also the, the trail ultras where people are really pushing for a good time. And it’s difficult to swallow my pride and not watch the clock, but I wanna just do this in a healthy manner. So I absolutely agree that you’re on the right wavelength here. And if you’re going to do extreme endurance efforts, when you perform those at a entirely aerobic heart rate, it is vastly less stressful for, for the body.
And it has an assortment of health benefits. I may have talked a bit on the show and you’ve seen on my Instagram, my post about doing the epic Cactus to Clouds hike in Palm Springs last October with my friends Jon and Phillip. We had a fantastic time. We left at three 30 in the morning and we ascended the single most difficult hiking trail in the United States as rated by elevation gain. It climbs up 8,400 feet in the first nine and a half miles. And the total hike is a 22 mile hike where you leave super early, like we did, and then get finished just before dark at 4:30 PM. But we went at a very, very comfortable fat-burning pace the entire day. So it was completely enjoyable there wasn’t that fatigue or feeling fried or starving or broken down, uh, like as often happens when you’re, uh, pushing yourself and, and going at a, a tempo pace for an hour and a half or two hours and 15 minutes, or are things that are really causing that stress hormone to flood the bloodstream and then stay there for a prolonged period of time.
So that’s kind of the cutoff point here. People is a desirable fight or flight response from a workout is great. So when you go for, you go over to the track, you warm up, you do your drills, you do your sprint workout. And the whole thing’s over with in 30 minutes, 40 minutes counting the warm up, cool down all that stuff. But the hard work, the real stress hormone spike only happens for a handful of minutes. And then you recalibrate back to homeostasis. And so you get this optimal, this desirable, hormetic stressor. That’s a stressor that has a net positive benefit. Our body loves that stuff. We love getting to the sauna for 15 minutes and sweating profusely and then getting out, and then recalibrating back to homeostasis. We love jumping into the cold water, whether it’s the river, cold pool in the wintertime.
My, my chest freezer filled with 38 degree water, but I’m not in there for 27 minutes and then pulled out by the paramedics. I’m going in for an optimally brief fight or flight experience. The same goes for the workouts. So, Dr. Andrew Huberman on the Huberman lab talks about an hour and 15 minutes, I believe was his cutoff. And anything longer than that is going to be really challenging to your long-term health endocrine immune function, because the fight or flight hormones are in there for too long. So if you’re going to do endurance efforts, you want to do them at a comfortable pace. And then, oh my gosh, you’re getting a whole bunch of fresh air. Your heart and lungs are working. You’re building your muscles. You’re enjoying nature. Hopefully you’re disconnecting instead of seeing if there’s cell reception to, to push out texts during your day, that you should be high hiking and enjoying nature.
But that is entirely different than pushing yourself and focusing and concentrating and trying to hang on with a crazy pace or a semi crazy pace for an hour and a half, two hours, three hours, five hours. And, oh my gosh, I point you to some of those articles that I’ve mentioned before, like, one of ’em is called, One Running Shoe in the Grave. One of ’em is called Running on Empty. These were published in publications like Outside Magazine, the Wall Street Journal. There’s a lot of commentary about how these extreme ultra endurance athletes who were breaking records on the world stage, and then suddenly disappeared from sight, victims of extreme burnout from this excess endurance exercise hypothesis. It’s an actual medical and scientific area of study, the excess endurance exercise hypothesis, where we’re now compiling data, showing how these extreme efforts are really, really bad for the heart.
They put your heart at risk of atrial fibrillation. They’re bad for the endocrine system. They suppress your sex hormones. It’s just a bad deal. So the cutoff point is that wonderful heart rate limit of 180 minus your age in beats per minute. So we’re gonna do a quick calculation here. The host of the show is 57, right? So that would put me at 123 beats per minute. And if I head out the door and trot down the road for an endurance cardiovascular training session, and I’m looking at my heart rate monitor, 123 is quite a comfortable pace, and I’m sure you will find the same, whatever your age and whatever your fitness level. So when we’re in that predominantly fat burning state, it’s nourishing, it’s energizing for the body has all kinds of fat burning, hormonal health boosting benefits. And then when you start to drift above that number and you do it on a routine basis, can, as you go to the bootcamp class in the morning, or you go to the spin class at the gym and they push you and get you that instant gratification, that flood of endorphin pain, killing hormones in the bloodstream after you’ve done an extreme fight or flight workout, um, you get that instant gratification, but you’ve inappropriately prompted the fight or fight response for two prolonged of a period. So keep those tough workouts well under an hour and keep the aerobic workouts, the long workouts at that,180 minus age or beats per minute or below. All right, Billy. Thanks a lot for writing in and good luck in your ultra that you’re going to walk and hike most of the way.
Love it. Hey, Brad, from Dr. Ewan. Thanks for taking my question long ago. I was the guy who asked about doing a fast mile at the end of a sprint workout. And you said it was okay, go out there and push yourself once in a while, get a breakthrough effort. And then of course, ample rest and recovery afterward. So yeah, keep it up. And I do want all of us to kind of broaden our perspective here and use our intuition as much as possible when it comes to designing the optimal training schedule.
So we’re taking in all kinds of information from places like this podcast, other podcast, books, magazine articles, internet articles, other athletes, but we have to sort it out and sift through like with one of those flower Sifers and see what works specifically for us. So if you have a workout pattern that seems to be really satisfying, really enjoyable, and you’re performing well, you’re recovering, that’s something to walk into and then if you’re frustrated it, and you continue to struggle, you’re overdoing it. You’re not dropping excess body fat as you intended. Then we have to take a look at some of these recurring patterns that are so common, such as the inappropriate, prolonged stimulation of the fight or fight response. Okay.
Kevin Olsen, old time fireman, triathlete in Sacramento. I met this guy when he was a college student. We trained together. We pushed each other in the pool back when I was racing as a pro and was trying to find a swimming pool where they would let me in and work out with a team. So, we way back and, um, it’s good to hear from him. He’s on a nice new path as a retired firefighter. Congratulations on getting to that finish line. And now he’s looking for more challenges ahead. Isn’t that great. I mean, come on. Whether you’re retired listening to the show or not retired, dreaming of retirement, wondering what you’re gonna do. I think here’s a plug for are, you know, maintaining that passion for peak performance throughout life. And so when you transition out of an intense career, oh my gosh, the idea of sitting at home and watching, uh, a streaming programming, I would imagine that would get old after about 30, 60, 90 days, whatever.
And then you gotta wake up and go, gee, what am I gonna do, uh, with the rest of my life? And so this glorification of retirement, I love how Tim Ferris talked about that in his book, The Four Hour Work Week. I love how my father continued to practice medicine until the age of 95. And he died at 97. So most of his life, he was working very happily reading the medical journals that came in the mailbox. So he is continuing to be up on the latest surgical techniques and also taking golf lessons until he was 95. And all those things, kept him doing his own gardening in the backyard, digging a new hole for a new cactus plant. All those things are what make life rich and meaningful. And the, even the idea, the mere idea of sitting around and cashing in your chips, oh my gosh, it seems unhealthy on the surface of it.
So this is a great note to get from Kevin Olsen going straight into a more devoted commitment to the racing scene now that he has more free time. I’m trying to figure out how to get back into some long distance triathlon. You helped me with my training for the iron man in 1999. That was a long time ago, man. You’re gonna be going a lot slower. I’m gonna tell you that before I even finish the question. But what do you think I should do? I know I can, uh, get the swim and the bike, right? Cuz he has all that experience. But with running, um, you know, I don’t wanna overdo it. Okay. I don’t wanna pound the crap of my body. Excuse me. I should quote him rather than paraphrase. So should I run long once a week, maybe every few weeks, a couple of short runs during the week, maybe some speed work? Any help would be appreciated.
So when I’m speaking directly to someone with an extreme endurance goal such as a half iron man or iron distance triathlon, you’re gonna get the most bang for your buck. The most return on investment when you develop that aerobic system with over distance workouts at a comfortable heart rate. So the idea of amateur recreational level triathletes going at a recreational pace, the idea of them heading out to the running track and pushing themselves with a circuit of of six times 400 meters or doing sets of 800 meters and thinking that this is gonna make a meaningful contribution to their performance, I’m gonna challenge that a bit because for the part you’re going too slow to really benefit from that type of anaerobic stimulation. Now the guys on the Olympic team, he watched the Olympic triathlon on TV and the guy from Norway Blumafeldt running a 29 minute 10 K in the steamy heat of Tokyo Japan.
Oh my gosh. I mean, these guys are speed freaks as well as being endurance machines. So that’s a whole nother category of athlete. That’s gonna be training multiple different energy systems and somehow able to absorb and adapt and benefit from those kind of workouts. But for the recreational athlete, I wanna see you getting stronger and more resilient with that comfortably paced two hour run and Kevin was asking for sort of a, some input on the scheduling and that’s gonna be a highly individual strategy here, but yes, indeed, you want to go over distance on a regular basis. When you feel alert, energized, motivated your muscles, feel good. You don’t have the aches and pains or stiffness or tightness. So you head out the door feeling great. And those are the days when you’re gonna push your body with a, a long distance workout.
If you’re feeling, you know, halfway there, that’s the time to just jog around the neighborhood, jog around the block. Now these very comfortably paced, shorter runs or whatever your workout desired workout is. They make a great contribution to your ability to perform on those days when it’s time to go long. So the idea that you’re not running very much at all, and then you’re going out for a two hour run every weekend, that’s gonna be a difficult way to absorb and benefit from those workouts. So we want to emphasize these nice gentle sessions where perhaps you’re just jogging around the neighborhood for 20 minutes with your dog. You’re waking up and maybe you have a busy day. So you’re gonna take a 10 minute, very slow jog around the neighborhood. And you’re just gonna accumulate some time on your feet and you’re gonna be training those aerobic energy producing enzymes and muscle fibers to fire when it’s time to go for two hours.
So that’s why the elite athletes in every single endurance sport for the past 60 or 65 years since Arthur Lydiard first started in New Zealand training his runners and winning Olympic gold medals. That’s why all of them put in this extensive amount of base training at a very comfortable heart rate. It’s to enable them to perform when it’s time to do the epic workouts. Kevin continuing with some comments on this show. Thanks man. He says some of my favorite guests, Dr. Cate Shanahan, Dr. Robert Lustig, Dr. Peter Attia. Very interesting. I would take notes. I also listen in the car most of the time. So my notes aren’t that great. I really enjoy listening to John Gray. Whenever my wife starts handing it to me. I remember to be the Kung Fu master and stay cool, calm and collected, and just receive that feedback. Don’t take it personally. Good stuff. Um, and there you go. So, long time listener, appreciate it very much. Good luck with your future endurance goals.
Next coming in from Toronto Canada, I’m 44 years old. I play competitive tennis in the over 40 age group. Awesome. Keep it up. At my best, I’ve won a national level tournament. I’ve had issues in my Soleus. That is one of the two most prominent calf muscles. The Gastrocnemius is the one. It, uh, sticks out like a ball high up on the, on the lower leg. And the Soleus extends on the side of the leg down into the Achilles tendon. And he sent me a picture of this goofy swollen area at the bottom of his Soleus near the Achilles tendon. I’ve been dealing with this for almost 20 years. I think the root cause was from jogging.
A sports medicine doctor said I have a one third tear in my Soleus. We tried to treat it with P R P injections that stands for platelet rich plasma to advanced healing strategy for people with nagging joint and soft tissue injuries. As soon as I go back to tennis, the pain and swelling persists, I’m stretching my calf for four minutes. Like you suggested for plantar fasciitis. I’m wearing zero shoes, the Z E R O. Those wonderful shoes I had the founder, Steven Sachen on the podcast talking about the benefits of minimal shoe experience. The listeners trying to build strength in the area. Do you have any suggestions for treatments that could turn the tide? Oh my gosh. I mean a 20 year long injury, and if you could see the photo, there’s a nice prominent bump on the back of his foot, just above the heel.
So we got some scar tissue, we got some issues there. And one thing that I’m really fond of, and I recommend a lot is the voodoo floss treatment as recommended by Dr. Kelly Starrett. And so you can go on YouTube, we’ll put a link in the show notes for voodoo floss Soleus, or voodoo floss Achilles, and you can learn how to do it from Dr. Kelly for the videos featuring him. And basically it’s wrapping up the joint area the muscle and the joint in that area with a really, really tight wrap of a rubber strap. And you can buy these voodoo floss straps on Amazon specifically for this purpose and you wrap it up, wrap it up. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s cutting off the circulation, so you can’t keep it on there for longer than a minute or two. But while the wrap is on you work the joint through the range of motion aggressively, and what you’re getting is this blood flow restriction that will cause a rebound effect.
As soon as you take the tourniquet, so to speak off, you will get a rush of a blood oxygen, and that will promote the healing effect and also lubricate the joint improve the synovial fluid function, improve the improve the lymphatic function, and just basically boost the circulation and the functionality of the joint by challenging it with this voodoo pH strategy. So this is just one component of a comprehensive new mindset or new philosophy about healing, where I think we’ve aired on the side of resting it, taking prescription medication to inflammation and looking at the clock, looking at the calendar and then stepping right out into the battlefield, the court, the field, the road, and hoping crossing our fingers that we don’t get these recurring injuries, but we know that simple rest, of course, it’s warranted at times when you’re in the acute stages of injury, but for the most part you gotta get up, you gotta move around, you gotta work through, or excuse me, work around the pain and discomfort of an injury.
So anything that you can do that doesn’t further traumatize, the injured area that works around that is going to help with your healing. Uh, I’ve talked about my knee injury that I had for six months, a couple years ago. I couldn’t sprint, I couldn’t jump. But I finally learned from great physical therapy that I had to aggressively strengthen the muscles in that area, remove the cause of the referred pain that was down near my knee joint, although nothing at all was wrong with my kneel joint. So that was the real eye opener. When I saw physical therapists, Rod Shorey and Los Angeles, Jason Callen in lake Tahoe. And they said, there’s nothing at all wrong with your knee. Your knee’s fine, but how come it hurts every day every time I try to sprint or jump? Well, it’s because I had extremely tight dysfunctional muscles in the quadriceps area and the piriformis.
And so that tightness, every time I tried to go out there and perform and do something, a semblance of my previous workout load, I would get this aching area near the knee joint. So of course I thought it was a knee problem. So we have to envision this comprehensive rebuilding strengthening strategy to avoid recurring injuries. I’m glad to have that video on YouTube, I, I believe it’s titled Two stretches to Heal Plantar Fasciitis, and it done gone viral with hundreds of thousands of views where I talk about these prolonged stretches that helped heal my plantar fasciitis. My 15 year case of plantar fasciitis was healed in a week or two as by the random doctor. I forgot his name who taught me to hold these stretches for a prolong period of time. So clearly I needed to stretch and lengthen the gastro and the Soleus muscles to take the load off of the arch, where all the pain was, every time I ran or did anything for 15 years.
But also if I were to add to that video today, add to the instructions, you wanna do comprehensive stretching and also strengthening. So right now, as I battle a minor coming and going Achilles condition that happens when I do my crazy high jump workouts, uh, I do the lowering and raising off of a stair off of a curb elevated surface. And so I hold the high position. I hold the low position. The high position is a calf raise, right? So I’m contracting my calf muscles and strengthening them accordingly and then lowering down. And I now do one foot at a time I’ve built up the strengthen do so. So I have that eccentric lowering one leg at a time, taking the entire load of my body weight. And then I hold the bottom position. So it’s an excellent stretch for both muscles and the Achilles tendon.
So it’s the stretching and strengthening of calf raises and calf lowerings that will help heal and not only heal, but make the area more resilient against future setbacks. So, um, you got a long condition there, but keep the hope up because when you get into the right exercises and, of course, something this serious, and this prolonged would definitely warrant a visit to a sports-mind,ed physical therapist. And I put that clause in there because let me tell you people, not all physical therapy is created equal. It’s a wonderful profession. It’s such a great compliment to orthopedics where, Hey, you need knee surgery. You crashed out of the ski gate in the Olympics and your knees torn up. Uh, that’s fine. But generally speaking, for most people, the soft tissue, the dysfunction, it can be best addressed by physical therapy, stretching, strengthening, getting prescriptive exercises that you go home and perform.
Okay. but there’s, a range of, I believe, philosophies or approach where on one end, the very best are super hands on. They’re athletic and performance-minded. You might see the athletic population on the staff, and that would give you a clue you’re in the right place. And on the other hand, I feel like I’ve had care. That was absolutely pathetic where they didn’t know what to do with me. They thought I was a healthy specimen. They did a bunch of routine simple assessments. And I, I performed them all very easily. There was, it was absolutely a joke. Like, can you touch your toes? Yeah, I can touch my toes. I can also you know, balance a quarter on my palm. So what, what’s the point? But anyway, um, there was not a lot of, um, progressive mindset there to get me back and performing.
It was more like, Hey, here’s this magic wand. I’m gonna wave it over your knee for five minutes and you can go. And then I remember getting the bill for $244 for this visit that lasted 20 or 30 minutes of a lame bogus assessment and waving the magic wand of red light over my joint. So I had some great phone calls with the billing and the management of that healthcare program. And then I went down the street and found the incredible PT Revolution in lake Tahoe and Woodland Hills Physical Therapy in Los Angeles, where they are all over you digging in deep Rod Shorey going in there with the fists, the palms, whatever is necessary to unlock those muscles, reeducate them. And so, yeah, find someone who really, really is on board with getting you back out there performing. And that’s my plug for physical therapists everywhere.
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