Craig Marker

It’s a pleasure to bring back my friend and favored podcast guest Dr. Craig Marker for a third show!

A prominent figure in the strength training world, his epic article HIIT vs HIRT was also, in my opinion, one of the best things published in decades to help us frame our high intensity workouts—and these days, a lot of people are talking about it and using the term “HIRT”, which is great to see. We’ve talked a lot about training in the past, so this is a really fun show since we get to go off in different directions, many of them informed by Dr. Craig’s day career as a psychologist at Mercer University in Atlanta. 

We’ll be talking about resilience and how to bounce back from post-traumatic stress disorder, and there will be some surprises and controversial assertions in this episode that might help you as a parent, or just as a person who is trying to do their best to be competitive, while also maintaining focus on the process and balancing those disparate goals. We also talk about exercise, training, and designing appropriate workouts as people in the 50+ category—people who are still trying to perform magnificent athletic feats while feeling that frustration of your body taking longer to recover, while still trying to dial in workouts that allow you to hit that sweet spot of getting great fitness stimulation without comprising recovery and longevity—a big challenge indeed, but I love this healthy perspective from Dr. Craig, who said: “I don’t have all the answers here, we have got to keep figuring it out.” 


Popular dietary practices fall into place with people who are generally metabolically healthy, fit, good blood markers. Do we need to change that? [03:46]

It is so easy to overdo exercise when you push yourself without acknowledging the importance of finding the proper balance of stressors. [06:19]

Your body has to be prepared for whatever you are doing. It doesn’t need confusion.  [09:37]
What does Craig think about that common commentary that we are obligated to fit in this so-called zone two at comfortable pace cardio if we want to get a full report card as an all-around fitness enthusiast? [12:41]

When there are so many levels of activities and goals individuals engage in, talking about eating strategy gets confusing. [16:28]

The pendulum effect seems to be a natural pattern with people who have had a stressful incident.  They go back naturally after a bit of time. It’s a natural immune response. [20:53]

Some cultures say you need to be happy all the time and others have the opposite idea. [28:41]

People are afraid to make mistakes, however, we learn much from our mistakes. [32:15]

The hardest thing about being a parent is letting the kids learn from mistakes. We want to protect them. [34:12]

Accept yourself before changing.  [36:24]

How can we negotiate the appropriate loading of challenges and progressing with our fitness? 


Warm-up and prepare properly always. [49:14]



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Brad (01:12):
Hey listeners, it’s my pleasure to bring back my friend and favored podcast guest, Dr. Craig Marker. I believe this is show number three. He’s such a prominent figure in the strength training world. His epic article titled HIIT versus HIRTwas, I believe. One of the best things published in decades to help us frame our high intensity workouts. It’s great to see that a lot of people are talking about it. Now, a lot of people are using this term HIRT, high intensity repeat training, and we’ve talked plenty about training in the past. And so this is a really fun show because we get to go off onto different directions. A lot of them informed by Craig’s actual day career as a psychologist at Mercer University in Atlanta. And so we’re talking about resiliency. We’re talking about how to bounce back from post traumatic stress.

Brad (02:07):
There’s gonna be some surprises and some controversial assertions in there that might help you as a parent or as a person who is trying to do their best, be competitive, but also maintain, focus on the process and kind of balance those disparate goals. So I think you’re gonna enjoy this winding conversation where we do talk about exercise and training and designing workouts appropriately, quite frequently, especially both of us in the 50 plus category, still trying to perform magnificent athletic feats and feeling that frustration of taking longer to recover from such feats and trying to dial in those workouts into that sweet spot where you get great fitness stimulation, but you’re also not compromising your recovery, your longevity, and it is a big challenge. And I like when Craig a couple times said, I don’t have the, I don’t have all the answers here, we gotta keep figuring it out. So I think it’s helpful to learn about yourself, learn about your tendencies, understand the importance of applying stresses and challenges to your life, but not overdoing it and going overboard. So yeah, let’s give a listen to very thoughtful Dr. Craig Marker.

Brad (03:20):
Dr. Craig Marker is back and we have some pieces to pick up and further reflection. So I’m so glad to connect with you after a couple of mishits due to widespread power failure in the, in the south of us. I hope you guys are okay. Now

Craig (03:36):
All all is good. It was a kind of a very targeted hits. It’s kind of random power outage. So

Brad (03:41):
A targeted attack on a, on a beautiful university. I’m sorry about that. Yeah. Yeah.

Brad (03:46):
Well, you had some great comments on our last show about phish and infusion in terms of same thing as feast or famine, when we’re talking about your dietary practices, the benefits of fasting, but also the importance of performance and recovery. The listeners, I shall remind you that this guy is on the, on the war path. He’s trying to dunk and advanced stage and do all those wonderful ketltebell workouts that you share with everybody so much. So, we’re kind of in the same boat, Craig, cuz I’m also in those higher age groups higher than you and, um, struggling and trying to figure out this puzzle where I know I don’t wanna sit on the couch and watch other people perform, but then I also don’t want a litany of aches and pains and minor injuries and difficulty recovering from, from workouts.

Brad (04:36):
And so maybe we should hit this this concept of where popular dietary practices fall into place with people who are generally metabolically healthy, fit, good blood markers, um, good body composition. Do we, does Brad Kearns and others need to fast at all, or play around with keto, low carb to tap into these vaunted benefits? And, I’m referencing my recent shows with energy balanced podcast, Jay Feldman, who makes a really compelling argument that any sort of dietary restriction such as fasting time, restricted feeding, keto, low carb, is a form of stress. It actually turns on stress hormones and that’s the mechanism by which they work and bring you the wonderful benefits, but the same is true for high intensity exercise.

Craig (05:30):
Yeah, I, I think, and I, I hope you’ll challenge me and if I take Feldman’s ideas and really challenge me with this, cuz we’ve had some awesome email discussions about this. I, I think I’ll just kind of start it with this caveat that four 99% of the population we don’t have to worry about over taxing the body exercises. <laugh> darn good for them. Um, and we shouldn’t be talking about overtraining don’t, it’s our little secret, the 1% room can have secret about it and talk about overtraining, but for 99% of the people just train and get, get at it fast, do whatever you need to, and those type of things, your listeners are a whole different story. They’re part of this club of, I think people that might be overdoing it at times. And, and so I think there’s, you know, different, different things that we have to think about.

Craig (06:19):
I think for most people we talk about our training way too often, and it’s not a problem for most people where bodies are pretty good at figuring out, Hey, you shouldn’t do this. There might be a difference between overtraining and training, less smart than we should, that, you know, and you and I were talking about this before we started, but I, I did a snatch test this weekend. Somebody said, you know, and a snatch test in ketlebell world is, um, putting a, a, a 24 kilogram or 55 pound ketlebell over your head a hundred times in five minutes. Um,

Brad (06:56):
And how many minutes ? In, in five minutes? Oh, mercy.

Craig (06:57):
So, and I, you know, I’m not gonna let some young whipper snapper beat me on, on this snatch test. So I, of course I’m gonna do this. And I had done snatches in a year. Um, but there was one movement where I kind of went internally and I felt a little bit of up top in my biceps and a part of the internal part of my bicep. And I thought that was a stupid thing for me to do. And it wasn’t over training. It was just, uh, dumb for me to do so. Um, you know, I think that’s, that’s part of it is that sometimes we equate dumb training with over training and, and that’s, I am certainly guilty of that as well. Um, but yeah, no, let me, let me stop for a second. I’ll just keep, keep talking about this, but I’ve, I’ve got a few ideas on this. I want you to, I think we had really good discussion about it, so

Brad (07:46):
Yeah, and I think there’s an overlay there and you’ve written about this, and of course, this lends to your, your day job, your work in, in the psychology field and especially with anxiety, anti-fragility, things of that nature where, um, we would benefit from putting our body into all forms of challenge, not just getting up and working out more, but, um, going to the grocery store and greeting people in the front, didn’t you take the group there and had to go through this exercise because they were feeling shy and withdrawn or whatever, going outta your comfort zone. And so mixing in more of those, and I think that’s where we get into the popularity of the cold plunge and how it represents a way of overcoming the body’s fears and anxieties in a micro exercise that can then ideally play into all manner of lifestyle behaviors and goals and challenges that you face or withdraw from if you’re, if you’re not, if you become fragile due to the comforts and conveniences of your, of your confined day.

Craig (08:49):
Yeah. You know what you just said reminded me of this far side cartoon, and it was a crane with like kind of a phone booth type thing on it. Um, and so the person’s inside the phone booth, there are snakes coming out the window and it says our, our new exposure technique for a fear of heights, fear of snakes and fear of closed in spaces. And I, I think that’s, that could be problematic. I think the right amount of stress at the right time. And, and when we do stuff with, we’ll talk about exercise, it’s much easier, but with anxiety disorders, you know, it’s a piece by piece, we take a little bite of it, and then we, you know, we finish that challenge and then we do the next piece. We don’t, you know, throw snakes on the person. And then the next thing, and just keep trying to admit as bad as possible.

Craig (09:37):
You know, it’s one thing at a time. And I think the same thing with our other hormetic stressors, we, you know, the cold plunge is great. And part of our conversation was should we be doing cold plunge on a fast after intense training? You know, those type of things and the answer probably as usual is it depends. It might be, you know, you might be able to handle that. You’ve used to the cold plunge, body’s adapted to that. It knows how to UN uncouple the, um, in the mitochondria and, and build heat for somebody else that’s a major stressor and a much bigger deal. So I think it probably is dependent. And, you know, as we do this more and more we get diminishing returns out of these, but also diminishing stress out of these type of techniques. And, you know, that’s maybe when we have to add on the next next piece, well, I should maybe try some fasting every once in a while.

Brad (10:31):
Hmm. Yeah. I’m thinking of this in the context of that common refrain in the fitness scene, where they want you to mix up your training so that you don’t get used to your regimen. And I kind of recoil when I hear it, because I always go to Jack Lalane who I had the good fortune of interacting with personally when I was a kid, we played golf together and I would see him a lot at the golf course. But you know, when you’re doing a thousand pushups and a thousand sit ups every morning, I don’t think Jack Lalane needed to mix it up in order continue his fitness progress, because if you can get to a certain level and then be able to perform and, and be well adapted to it. So it’s not highly stressful, same with Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner of all time where his training log has been published on the internet.

Brad (11:18):
People have scrutinized it like crazy, and it’s like the guy, a machine he runs, you know, 20 miles a day at a very good pace with interval workouts and all these things thrown in there. But he’s well within his capabilities at all times to the extent that he doesn’t even need to taper before major marathons, he just puts in his work every single day, but it’s so minimally stressful to him that, um, he’s, you know, he can rise up to, uh, bust a world record when he does want to open the throttle a little bit.

Craig (11:47):
That’s amazing. Yeah. Yeah, no, I, I think there’s the term, keep your body confused is just kind of, uh it’s um, I, I don’t, I, I agree with what you said. I don’t, I don’t think we need to keep our body confused. It’s, it’s, it’s probably good to have an overall program that you’re working. You know, you know, if I were doing pushups all the time, I’d wanna make sure I do some sort of pull movement or something along those lines, but for the part I don’t need to go in and, you know, one week do such and such and the next week, change it up to another program. And, you know, I can stick with the same, you know, I think that’s why kettlebells have really resonated with me. I can do I know exactly what I need to do to get my, my hinge, my squat, my pole, and my press, and those sort of four basic, you know, two upper body push and press or press and pull, and then two lower body hinge and squat, you know, kind of covers what your body needs to do for the most part. So

Brad (12:41):
What do you think about that common commentary that we are obligated to fit in this so-called zone two, uh, comfortably pace cardio. If we want to get a full report card as an all around fitness enthusiast?

Craig (12:57):
I’ve struggled with this, to be honest, I I’ve toyed with this idea. And, you know, I think it’s a sort of a Univa type thinking where we’re thinking of one variable. I think it’s great build aerobic system have that base. Um, but when you do any sort of circuit training or interval training that aerobic system’s kicking in cleaning up the mess from the glycolytic system, you’re building aerobic system. If our goal is to be an ultra runner zone, two training is outstanding. I wouldn’t know what else to program for somebody <laugh>. But if your goal is, um, to be you and to have world records and speed golf and, and, uh, high jump, I, I, I don’t think, I think having that sort of quickness that quick type two muscle fibers with that aerobic base built into it. I think that’s probably what you wanna do.

Craig (13:53):
And for longevity purposes, I wonder do we get enough of that aerobic base from our other training that we don’t have to spend 50 minutes doing type zone two type training? I question it, I feel like I should do a six months of zone two training and see what it, what it does to me. Um, but I also feel like I have a pretty good base without doing it. And I, I, I don’t know if, how much, you know, more I can gain and would I want to re you know, would I benefit that much from it?

Brad (14:26):
Yeah. Well said, I, you know, I’ve done it for 40 years. So I can also comment that the specificity of training is so important and there’s just no way around the puzzle of if you want to participate in a certain competitive event, you have to prepare for it and approximate it. But, um, I contend that you can get that aerobic conditioning in so many ways. And Dr. Phil, Maffetone is good about pointing out that going really, really slow, such as walking, uh, will stimulate in aerobic training effect, a very significant one. As soon as you get up off the couch and walk to the mailbox, you’re, you’re doubling your resting heart rate in most cases. And so, it could be that we need way more zone one. I don’t even know if that’s a term, but, you know, walking and moving and just staying active.

Brad (15:13):
And then, uh, when we’re doing those more strenuous workouts, we’re getting a fantastic cardiovascular conditioning effect that kind of negates the importance of going out there, especially moving in a straight line. And I have a video on YouTube. I talk about a lot jogging 2.0, where I started mixing up my daily jog. I take the dog out, it’s no big deal. I’m going very slow. I hardly count it as a, a big workout or training session. Um, but I, then I started doing jumps up and down the bench and doing some balancing drills and then walking, because something I did was strenuous and then jogging again, and then finding another challenge. And it was way more fun. It was more interesting. It developed diverse fitness skills, and I guarantee you, I didn’t lose any conditioning by taking those walks in between things that got me breathing a little bit hard. And when I got back to the house, it’s the same level of, uh, difficulty as just a straight ahead jog.

Craig (16:09):
That’s awesome. No, that’s great. I mean, and yeah, you’re really the expert on this. I mean, back in the Primal Endurance book, I mean, that’s the big, the main point take home that I got was, you know, do things either really slow or really fast and, you know, kind of vary it up. You need both of those areas. So I like your, that running 2.0 stuff too.

Brad (16:28):
So back to that positioning of the diet, and again, I think your comment that 90, 99%, uh, of people who don’t move enough and don’t exercise enough are out there. Maybe not listening as, uh, as much as I wish to this show, they’d be, they’d be hit with some new information. Wow. Uh, but then with, um, you know, the eating strategy of someone who’s, who’s got performance recovery and longevity goals. Um, wonder if we can talk about that, especially this kind of, uh, different contention that I’m fascinated with that maybe I should get up every morning and slam a big bowl of fruit and a giant protein smoothie rather than my typical inclination over the years, which would be fasting. I feel fine. I’m doing a workout. I’m not hungry. I might have a square, dark chocolate here and there and another square and then have a, a big meal at midday. But maybe I’m possibly interfering with peak performance and recovery by turning on too many dials of, uh, cellular stress and, and so forth.

Craig (17:33):
Yeah. I think what you said, the, the goals of performance, recovery and longevity, we can hit all three of those goals, but sometimes we have to choose a, you know, there, we have to choose a little bit more or less of one. If your goal is to, you know, break the high jump record, like, I think, you know, that’s when you might focus on that and you might do things a little bit differently, but your goal is also longevity. So you might give up some of the, you know, things that you might give up a little bit of performance. So I, I think it’s just that step balance that I don’t, I don’t think there’s a black or white answer on this. We’re trying to balance it by me, fasting in the morning. I might be long term helping my fat adaptation and burning more fat, um, and doing it on exercise.

Craig (18:21):
I might be training my body something different, but I’m not performing as well as I could be at that moment. And long term, my training could maybe benefit, you know, I might be stronger long term if I were to eat right beforehand. So I have to decide what’s a little bit more important. I’m gonna give up a little bit on performance for those longevity benefits. And I wish there was a clear cut answer that we, you know, maybe one of these shows will finally find the right answer and we can just quit, quit doing this, but I, I don’t know what it is. I think we’re giving up a little bit, uh, each time. Um, you know, I was trying to think of an analogy when you were bringing this up by email and that pendulum analogy is what I keep coming up with that, you know, we wanna swing between, you know, mTOR and the muscles, and we wanna swing towards a P K and, and blocking mTOR and that back and forth.

Craig (19:14):
And, you know, when we fast, we, we have more amp K uh, we have more signaling that we need, you know, more mitochondria, you know, and, and our high intensity does the same thing. And then when we swing to mTOR and muscles, we’re building more muscle strength and those type of things. I think our goal, if, if we’re trying to, you know, I think of the speed bag, I’m not that great on a speed bag. Um, and that’s what we’re trying to do with our life is that speed bag. Like you guys have to hit it, let the pendulum go, and you add a little bit more momentum and more momentum and just keep going, and you’ve gotta get that rhythm down. And I think that’s what we need to do is we start slow, add a little bit, add, get a little bit faster by adding a little bit more to it.

Craig (19:56):
And our, we get better and better at that speed bag, but we’re, we’re just playing with our pendulum. We can’t change it. If, if, you know, I can easily screw up the speed bag. And so it’s, uh, you know, stops and, you know, hits me in the face or whatever. It’s easy to screw that up, but if I get the right rhythm and the right speed, it, it’s a beautiful thing. And I think that’s what we’re trying to do with our bodies is get that pendulum going just a little bit farther, a little bit faster. Um,

Brad (20:23):
Yeah, but not jump the gun and get too excited and try to go faster. And then you screw everything up. Or I I’ve noticed playing with the speed bag. Like, I’ll get excited that now I’m, I’m finally in the groove and I might smile, or I’m really, I’m really thinking of thought like, all right, now I got it. And that’s exactly when I screw up. Like when you get outta that, get that flow state and start congratulating yourself or, or observing yourself. Oh my goodness.

Craig (20:49):
Definitely. So yes. Yes. That feeling of accomplishment I’m doing it. Nope. Not anymore.

Brad (20:53):
Not anymore. Hey, look over here and not anymore. <laugh>, Talk about the pendulum effect with relation to your work with post-traumatic stress and how the human resiliency, uh, comes into play.

Craig (21:08):
Yeah. I, um, you know, I think I’m not like a big researcher in post-traumatic stress, but I, I will reference some people that are, um, what George Bonano has found. He’s looked at people who’ve had a stressful incident. So a major thing happens, you know one of ’em was 9/11. He just surveyed a bunch of people and watches what happens to them over time. And I think for most of us, we think as a, as a stress that we’re gonna develop symptoms and, you know, be, be struggling with the stressor for the rest of our lives. And what he showed with his data was for the most part after one stressful life event, people have a trajectory where they might have a little bit of increase in traumatic stress symptoms, but then over time, it goes back down naturally without any sort of intervention or sort of any sort of treatment.

Craig (22:04):
Um, that’s the natural pattern for things. We have a very good sort of immune system associated with our resilience, our resilience to immune system. So we bounce back pretty well for most things. Um, you know, another, a lot of people have done research on this, but, um, Dan Ariel is another person that looks at happiness and how well we predict things. And if we predict we’re gonna win the lottery, we’re thinking, God, I’m gonna be so freaking happy. I’m gonna tell I’m gonna do this, this, this I’m gonna be, how are you, how am I gonna be next year? I’ll be just as happy as I am right after I win it. Terrible prediction because our happiness goes right back down to where it was before we win the lottery. Same thing. If we lose a big, we have a big loss, um, you know, some sort of loss in life we think, well, gosh, I’m gonna be terribly sad.

Craig (22:56):
I’m gonna be devastated. I won’t be able to survive this, but shortly after we go back to where we were. And so we have this happiness immune system that brings us back to where we were. I don’t wanna say all traumas like that because there are certainly, I’m talking about a one time stressful event. There are people that have gone through multiple traumatic events, repeated traumatic events. And that’s, I don’t wanna say that they’re not resilient. It’s just a whole different, a different ballgame with that. It’s a, it’s a different, type of life event, especially kids who go through multiple traumatic events. I, I’m not talking about that at all. But I think for the most part, we have an immune system that helps us get back to where we were much more than we expect. And we, we think we need to do some sort of intervention. And I think sometimes, and I keep emphasizing think, but I I’ve seen cases where we try to help people. And that actually backfires that we, we are telling them that there should be a problem and it becomes a problem because we’re telling them not

Brad (24:02):
<laugh> oh, like that, what’s an example. That sounds terrible. I get you though.

Craig (24:09):
Scott Lillian Feld, who passed away recently, but he was a professor at Emory university. He studied, he talked about these potentially harmful treatments that we might have in clinical psychology. And one was this emergency response. You know, if there’s a stressful event, send in a bunch of psychologists, have people talk about their feelings and their problems. And he said, you know, if you look at their trajectories after this people end up having post traumatic stress disorder, versus if you just let the natural resilience happen, um, back to normal. And, you know, I just know clinically I’ve seen these type of situations where, you know, people have been at the, like a veteran’s hospital and, you know, you need to talk about what happened in the military and that talking about it sort of, gosh, this sounds terrible, but like, we’re, you know, we’re always trained. We need to, to work through this and work through it. If we let our natural system work, sometimes that just works well enough. I think so. I, I got a little off topic there, but, um, you know, I think for the most part we’re more resilient than we think we are.

Brad (25:13):
That’s, I would imagine a little controversial because so many people are wedded to the process. And I, I’m thinking of, of funny examples because might as well talk straight here, but you know, you go on, uh, Facebook and somebody puts a picture up of their dog rest in peace, Rusty. He was such a faithful companion for 14 years and I’m heartbroken. And then you get a hundred, uh, condolences and it’s like, look, man, your dog lived for 14 years. You gave it a good life. It’s dead. There ‘s another shooting that the country had to process, uh, by perspective. And so maybe if you make a huge deal about your, uh, your elderly dog passing, it, it takes on more, you know, there’s more grief and sadness generated instead of just, you know, quietly saying goodbye. I don’t know, it’s, I’m sorry to offend dog owners. And I’m one myself, my dog’s 15. And when that dog goes, it’s gonna be a sad day, but then we can just celebrate the wonderful lifespan and, um, put it in perspective, I guess, and let our, let our natural immune system, you know, return us to, um, to calibration.

Craig (26:23):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that’s the biggest part of it is that, um, you know, I don’t know if asking for condolences and, and those type of things is making it worse, but yeah, the, the idea that I’m not gonna, you know, I think the message is if a therapist comes right up to you and you know, like let’s say there’s a new Facebook, uh, intervention, like we see your dogs died, I’m gonna come and, you know, call you, maybe you need to talk about it, I’m giving the message that you are not gonna be okay. And I think that’s where the problem is, is that, you know, by telling people that you can’t handle this on your own, that’s our implicit message sometimes, um, where I think people are, have an immune system that, you know, just same thing with the wind lottery.

Craig (27:06):
You know, nobody goes up to a person that’s a lottery winner. Like, oh, you’re gonna be too happy. These are natural emotions that we can feel and we can process our bodies good at that. We need these emotions, um, in order to function properly. And, and, um, you know, I think we’re almost telling people it’s not okay to sad. It’s not okay to be affected by this. So I think that’s where I was getting at is sort of our natural, uh, response or immune response to these events is, um, to generally get better, not seeing everybody gets better. Some people do need help, but, um, so

Brad (27:41):
That’s also interesting on the flip side where the lottery winner is gonna come back down to baseline, no matter what, and reminds me, there’s a great book by the psychologist, Gay Hendrix, um, will have the, the title in the show notes, cuz it’s slipping me right now, but he talks about how everyone’s got kind of a set point, a happiness set point, and you do things in life to kind of bring you back down to it if too much good fortune comes your way. And then even when you’re into struggle and difficulty, you’re gonna be drifting up to that set point with a more positive attitude than the next person. Who’s got a lower set point. And he’s talking about raising that set point and discovering how you might be more deserving of even more abundance and happiness. But, it takes work to, to kind of break through this, ceiling that’s been created from whatever childhood programming and all the things that we talk about today or point to, uh, that, you know, put us in our current situations.

Craig (28:41):
Yep, yep. No, it sounds, sounds like a great book. And, um, you know, in different cultures, people have different levels of, of happiness. And I think in our culture, we think we should be happy all the time and, and you know, some cultures expectation is not that. And maybe they’re, you know, maybe built better for stressors. They just expect to have these stressful life events. And I think that’s maybe the, you know, it’s that sort of anti fragility, um, you know, we need to feel other emotions, you know, I think we can’t just be happy, happy, happy we can be, you know, a little sadness for me here and there is not bad, a little anxiety, you know, teaches me a lesson. I learned something from these, you know, sort of events. I don’t wish it on anybody. But I think that, you know, and nor do I try to find these things, but if I have it, I think the Buddhists are very good at, you know, you know, these are emotions and running away from these are, you know, one of our, our biggest reasons for discomfort. So

Brad (29:44):
Well, I’m, I’m thinking of my recent interview with author Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke talking about how, as soon as we start putting numbers into the mix, that’s when we have a inappropriate over stimulation of the dopamine receptors where, you know, we’re doing something for the pure love of the activity. And then someone says, oh, that’s a beautiful work of art. You should sell it at the, at the, at the gallery or the showing and then no one buys it and then you feel sad. And, um, we’re, we’re definitely locked into this consumerism culture here in the USA. And then I’m referencing like the studies on the happiest countries for whatever they’re worth, very interesting to read. But it flooding the top rankings are the Scandinavian countries, uh, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland is like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, every time they do these surveys. And one of the attributes that they point to is that these countries happen to have tremendous income equality, a lack of income disparity whereby the US of course, has the most extreme income disparity of any, uh, population in the history of the humanity. And that lends it to a lot of, um, potential for anxiety, depression, you know, comparison flooding the dopamine receptors and then feeling on we, even though you’re a very materially successful person and all that, all those hazards.

Craig (31:10):
Yeah. Two thoughts on that. Like the, I dunno if it’s S E C or what, um, regulation agency, um, thought that it would be a good idea to have CEO salaries published. <laugh> thinking that this would shame, you know, companies and not paying their CEOs more. Oh. And it had the opposite effect because now you could see what CEO at another company is making and use that as leverage for your position. And it caused this sort of, you know, I am not happy because I’m making less than company Y in this comparison. Um, so it backfired on them that, you know, this more, uh, it, it created even greater CEO salaries and, you know, because people. The other piece of going back and switching topics again, um, there’s importance of making mistakes. And, you know, I, I think as we get older, we might think we shouldn’t be making mistakes and, you know, we, we need to be perfect.

Craig (32:15):
Um, and that’s another thing that I think people are afraid to be vulnerable with is making mistakes. And, Bill Robertie, I think that’s the person’s name became a world class poker player, Backgammon player, and chess player at different times in world class rankings at different times in his life. And he said his strategy was to make a lot of mistakes. And what’s interesting, there’s a part of the brain right in front of the singular cortex, the, um, and that registers it’s sort of our oh crap network, it’s, you know, something doesn’t feel right. Um, it brings together the emotions and thoughts, and then the frontal lobe can process it. And we learn a lot when we start to feel that, oh, crap feeling like I, I screwed up, I messed up and to not be afraid of that is one of the best tools for learning. And I, I think that’s, that’s really neat. Um, you know, I, I know I’ve made these mistakes in life that I can point to, and I’m never making that mistake again because I learned from those emotional experiences. And, um, so I, I think putting people, putting themselves out there is really important as well. And, you know, to, to not be afraid to make mistakes and to, to screw things up because that’s how you’re gonna learn, um, take chances. So

Brad (33:36):
Yeah, I guess a young person, especially, the parents can lecture them about their misfortunes and mistakes and don’t you do the same but the significance of the lesson is gonna be magnified a hundred times if they, if they can go and, and figure out, you know, something like that themselves, of course, we don’t wanna repeat the accidents that occurred before the seat belts were commonplace. So some of this is not gonna be, you know, a good idea, but in other terms you could loosen the, loosen the strings a little bit and see what happens.

Craig (34:13):
Yep. Yeah. I, I read this years ago and I, I strongly agree with it now that I have a child, but, um, the hardest thing about being a parent is watching your child skin, their knee, and, you know, picking them up and telling them, just keep on playing. And, um, you know, I, I think we want to be protective of others and, and, um, but it’s important that they, you know, can get up and, you know, realize that they’re capable on their, their own. And, and that to say the same type of thing with mistakes. I think my daughter gets ashamed of making mistakes and I, I celebrate the process. You did it, you tried it. Um, that’s, that’s, what’s important is the process, rather than the outcome,. The outcome doesn’t matter, it’s, it’s just taking the chance and, and doing it.

Brad (34:58):
Yeah. There’s a lot of cultural programming to unwind, uh, even how old’s your daughter?

Craig (35:04):

Brad (35:05):
Yeah. I mean, that’s, you know, that that’s pretty heavy that somehow she’s developing these, uh, beliefs from the world around her, from the mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, well, meaning comments that whoever she’s interacting with. And then she’s stressed when she makes a mistake and, you know, my kids are in their twenties, but I remember having numerous conversations where I was making attempt to unwind the, you know, misplaced competitive intensity of youth sports and having to talk to my son and say, look, you know, this is, um, it’s part of the process. It’s okay to compete hard and try to win, but you also have to remember that you gotta let it go as soon as it’s over and, and not be afraid. And, uh, all those kind of things, which I think get lost in the shuffle when we’re obsessed with winning and results and numbers in modern life here, especially with, uh, the trend to, uh, you know, the, they used to call it the helicopter parent. Now, now it’s been referred to as the lawnmower parent because helicopter’s flying above watching everything, but the lawnmowers just, you know, paving the path.

Craig (36:07):
<laugh>. Yeah. And, and I, I’m sorry, I’m going all over the place today in this discussion, but

Brad (36:13):
It’s great people we’re talking to Craig Marker, the kennel bell guy unasked as an actual psychologist and getting all kinds of interesting commentary. Right? Yeah. We’ll bring it back to exercise and, and do time, but

Craig (36:24):
Yeah, and maybe this is the segue to it, but like, you know, I think about CrossFit and I enjoyed my time in the CrossFit community when it was, you know, early on in the CrossFit times. But the reinforcement system for that, your, you know, your name goes up on the board with your time. Mm. And at the end of the day, you want your time, or, you know, to be the lowest lower than everybody, or a number of lifts to be higher than everybody where actually I should be focusing on the process. I should be making sure my such and such is perfect forum. And this, this is perfect form. And instead of focusing on just beating everybody that day, like nobody on that gym remembers me beating them on such a day or doing the best caren time. I remember it, but nobody else gives it crap. Um, mm-hmm <affirmative> so, you know, why do we get so focused on these outcomes when I could have been spending a lot more time on, you know, getting really good at this rather than some sloppy muscle loves that, you know, just to, to get done with a routine. So

Brad (37:26):
How do we find that balance point individually, where we know that we respond to incentives and recognition, but we don’t want to tip it outta balance. And I’m referencing my, my triathlon career where I was, I was professional. So this was everything to me. This was my career. It was, you know, apparently very serious, very important in all those attributes. However, I would routinely struggle when I got too stuck up on myself and too obsessed with the results. But again, it wasn’t a recreational pursuit where I could say, ah, I don’t feel like swimming today. It’s kind of raining. And so I was constantly walking this tight rope where I had to maintain a high level of competitive intensity and goal setting and focus. But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. And I made that mistake frequently trying to find the, you know, the center of power, where you can be a process oriented, highly competitive athlete, able to accept both success and failure gracefully

Craig (38:28):
Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. I, I think I, I have a great answer. Carl Rogers said something, you know, that the paradox of change is that you have to something like this, accept yourself, before changing. And so you have to have acceptance of where you’re at that you’re, you know, this type of thing and, and, you know, then you’ll feel comfortable changing and you always have to have that sort of radical acceptance of where you’re at. Um, if I think very pragmatically about mistakes, if I make a mistake, I try to, um, cry like a baby, learn from it and then move on like a baby cries. They get over very quickly and, you know, that’s the type of thing. I think we, you know, cry like a baby learn from that lesson and then forget it. There’s no reason to ruminate it on an, on it anymore because that’s just gonna make us miserable. We’ve taken our lesson from it and we can kind of move on. Um, that’s the best I have on that, but it’s, that’s great. It’s the human challenge, I think. Yeah.

Brad (39:29):
So can make a shirt or something cry like a baby and move on.

Craig (39:34):

Brad (39:35):
So I’m thinking about that pop in your bicep. And I’d like to talk about that appropriate loading of challenge and progressing with your fitness, with minimal risk of setbacks that occur from overdoing it or, or extending beyond your capabilities. And if you have any, any nuggets, especially for us in the, the older age groups, cuz uh, I think my brain is still stuck on, um, what, whatever age, 32 or 27. And, um, that, that part’s a challenge right now.

Craig (40:11):
Yeah. my favorite quote, Neil Stevens said something like until a man is 25, he’ll he still thinks that, you know, if his family, you know, were murdered, he’d go into a ninja and um, like train as a ninja and can be, I don’t think the age is 25. I still feel like I can, you know, like, uh, do whatever I need to go into an ninja training, whatever it is and, and become ninja. Um, like that’s my mindset too. Like, like I feel like I’m gonna beat, you know, the 30 year old kid next to me, you know, doing the snatch test. And that’s where I need to be realistic that I probably can, but you know what, I probably should do the proper warmup probably should test this out a little bit and not, uh, you know, just jump right into it. I know I could’ve like did some prep work that probably would’ve prevented all that. So that’s where maybe I should have been more mature and thought about the situation a little bit, but yeah, I that’s, I don’t know if it’s our testosterone, if it’s the drive, the competitive drive that we have, what it is, but, um, that’s, that can be problematic at times, but,

Brad (41:24):
What’s, what’s going on in the body when you can get into a, a, a peak performance state, I, I guess it’s inflammation or something. And, uh, these little niggles and aches and pains are suddenly vanished and your mind is optimally excited and uninhibited like Tudor bapa says. And so you’re ready to throw down. And I have a wonderful practice session where I do 20 full high jump approaches and my technique is getting better. And, um, it feels like a thumbs up. I’m walking away from the track with a bounce in my step feeling good. And then the next three days I get the message like, dude, you’re not supposed to do 20, you’re supposed to do 12. And, um, what were you thinking? But at the time mm-hmm <affirmative> I was thought I was clear headed and uh, thoughtful and rational.

Craig (42:13):
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t, uh, have a great answer for that. I know Pavel used to always say, you know, things like, I don’t care about your feelings, don’t care about your feelings at time. You know, if you feel like you can lift more that day, if it’s not in the program, it’s not what you’re gonna try that day. Um, there are days that are built to, you know, take off the, uh, governor off the system and, you know, do what you feel like you can do that day, but if it’s not in your program that day, and maybe that’s the, you know, we need to have more intellectual approach and you know, that those type of days, like I didn’t have that in my program on, on Saturday when I did that. And I shouldn’t have, I know better than doing those type of things, but I, you know, I didn’t follow my own advice, as usual. so

Brad (43:02):
Yeah, that’s, uh, that’s a good one. I, I think you have to bring the intuitive component in and reason with the circumstances I’m thinking of like coming back from the high altitude training camp, where we trained awesome for three weeks straight and we ate and slept and trained and got fitter and fitter. Uh, but of course it was an extremely stressful event. And then coming down back to real life and you still feel great, but you know, you have to say, look, I’ve just had an incredibly strenuous walk of training. It makes a lot of sense to take a recovery week here, even though I still feel great. And I remember having those sensations a lot because of the, I guess it’s the chronic stimulation of the stress response you actually do feel good the next day and the next day and the next day, because you’re bathed in, you know, too many stress hormones without recalibrating. Um, mm-hmm, <affirmative> back to a recovery state.

Craig (43:58):
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, Pavel’s, looked at a lot of the old Soviet, um, training programs and you can Curtis, um, forgetting his name. He, he did, he was a famous Soviet coach, weightlifting coach, and he competed in the Olympics himself and he won a silver medal and he was supposed to win gold and he felt so much shame for it. He, he said, I’m gonna dedicate my life to making sure no one else feels ashamed.

Brad (44:28):
Oh My gosh.

Craig (44:28):
And he measured all of the athletes and like looked at training programs and, and those type of things and what the Soviets did was they have a normal curve of training and they did between 55% and 85%. They did most of their work in of their one rep max. Mm. Um, so it’s all in a very doable range. And they very seldom went above 85% of one rep max. Their lifters were known to get a, uh, one, their world records still hold the, the weight classes have all changed, but if you look for pound, um, for how much they weighed or kilogram versus how much they weighed, they still would have the records.The Bulgar and some of them, like, I think one was winning it at 36 32. They were, they had great long careers. The Bulgarian trained in a, just much more intense.

Craig (45:26):
A lot of their work was 90%, um, above 90, 90% of one rep max or above. And so they were training their system, stressing it. And a lot of their lifters were out, you know, they were winning a gold maybe at age 22, but never to be seen again and, and just injured or just not competing again. So I, I think there’s something to building a program where you’re not pushing yourself all out very often, but you give yourself the windows when you can, so you can feel those, you know, those great days, as well. And it’s gotta be more intellectual, I think. And, and you can use your insight when you design the program, but you’re kind of building, you know, there’s, there’s variability, you know, some days are easy. You know, his system is very simple. You have light, medium, heavy days and they vary and you only have one heavy day a week and the next, you know, just cycles through. And I think that’s, that’s a smart way to train. I, again, I don’t follow my own advice, but, um, you know,

Brad (46:30):
Maybe that’s, yeah, you’re, you’re on a time schedule cuz you’re so busy and you have a chance to fit a workout in. And of course, why would you go there and do a 55% of one rep max workout for the average Joe like me making these calculations, it’s like that’s ridiculously light. And I, I don’t think I’ve ever lifted a weight that light in the course of a workout because it’s like, what am I doing? I, I drove to the gym. I waited in line to check my, to beat my tag and, and get a towel and I gotta go get some work done now, but that’s an amazing insight that these world level guys, and I’m just thinking of, I was just reading about Elaine Thompson’s training, the, the fastest female, uh, on the planet and her very peak. And, she was listing her workouts and one of them was like 10 times, 200 meters at 5K pace.

Brad (47:16):
And I’m like, wow, is that a misprint or something? <laugh> this sprinter who’s running, you know, 10, uh, what she just run 10:51 last year in the hundred, probably the greatest performance of all time. And she’s doing a track workout at a 5k pace. That’s um, you know, so far below, um, an actual, you know, capability of, of running sprints. Like you might imagine if you happen by her track in Jamaica, but it was a real revelation to think they’re just there and moving their legs and building and building and building without crushing themselves, like the average CrossFit enthusiast or the triathletes go to the track Tuesday night and have their track session and their huffing and puffing and their they’re running at way higher capacity than an Olympic athlete, comparatively mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Craig (48:07):
And maybe we can use a food analogy. I mean, it’s almost like you’ve got something really good and you just take those extra bites and we probably shouldn’t <laugh> um, you know, that’s when we don’t follow emotion, I, I think there are times we should follow emotion, but, um, you know, maybe if you just feeling good that day and you’ve probably should quit, that’s when you should quit. And that’s the hardest, that’s the hardest decision I I’m right there with when you’re feeling good, you just wanna try it. Yeah. I think I can do a PR today. Yeah.

Brad (48:33):
We have some reinforcement now, people, we’re talking it, we’re bringing it, we’re bringing it to the surface. This is that point where you have to ask yourself, what am I still doing here? Have I hit my, uh, effective minimum dose? Or what have you, but the food analogy works really well because, um, you know, you know, that three bites, a cheesecake is plenty and it’s a wonderful celebration and you deserve it and you’re gonna enjoy it. And if you stepped away from the table, right at that point, that would be ideal. And then the rest of it’s gonna feel, uh, gas, bloating regret the next day or whatever,

Craig (49:10):
Mm-hmm, <affirmative>

Brad (49:12):
Have that control.

Craig (49:13):

Brad (49:14):
All right. And it’s great to catch up with you. I’m I’m glad we went off onto different paths today, cuz I think a lot of it applies to our health and fitness goals and we, we brought it back pretty well. So, um, thanks for, thanks for checking in. Good luck with your dunking and hopefully you didn’t hurt your arm too much from that, that little, little challenge, but

Craig (49:36):
It’s just enough to activate my ACC in my brain that says, oh crap. And I learned a valuable lesson

Brad (49:41):
From it. So there we go.

Craig (49:43):
Don’t don’t screw around with this. Uh, yep. I need to, yep. So it was a very lucky lesson that I, that I didn’t get hurt.

Brad (49:50):
Yeah. Espcially, warming up and preparing properly. And I know whenever I skipped those steps, when I was young, it didn’t matter at all. I would, you know, jump right off my bike into the swimming pool and be off with the next workout. And now, um, everything needs that, you know, methodical preparation to bring the body to, uh, readiness for whatever you’re gonna do. That’s you know, significant mm-hmm

Craig (50:16):
<affirmative> yep.

Brad (50:18):
Dr. Craig Marker, people. Catching up before his busy day on campus teaching kids. And I like those tips to get outta your comfort zone and bring in a little, little stress and challenge some mistakes and then learn and grow from it.

Craig (50:33):
Brad, it’s always a pleasure to, to speak with you. Thank you so much.

Brad (50:36):
Thanks for listening everybody. Da da dun. Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support please. Email podcast@BradVentures.com with feedback, suggestions and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list@bradkearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative 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 soundbite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember, be rad.




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