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I am so excited to share with you the release of this comprehensive project, one that has been two years in the making in order to create the ultimate online certification experience for the topic of fitness!

I’m talking about the Primal Fitness Coach online certification program—a home study, multimedia educational program that we believe is the single most comprehensive, online educational experience you’ll find anywhere. If you want to start a career in fitness, elevate your career in fitness, or if you just want to enhance your overall personal knowledge of all aspects of leading a healthy, active, fit, energetic lifestyle, then you will love this course. Homestudy is where it’s at these days, and in this very intensive program, it helps even more to be able to go at your own pace. You also have the perk of having endless access to the materials!

In this show, I will walk you through all the details of what you’ll be learning if you decide to embark on this guided journey on all aspects of fitness. One important point we hit on is that in this highly regimented, goal oriented, focused, driven, hectic society, it can be easy to thoughtlessly apply the same mentality to our fitness pursuits, thinking we must quantify and measure everything, and push ourselves past our breaking point. But science and the wisdom of our bodies tells us that we shouldn’t go out of our way to put up consistent results at the expense of our health, which is why the first chapter of the course is centered around the concept of Fitness for Health. Unfortunately, a lot of mainstream fitness programming is flawed and inherently overly stressful, but this episode will teach you how to draw the distinction between fitness and health— something all health conscious people must remember, as it is entirely possible to be super fit while also being unhealthy!

TIMESTAMPS:

Home study multimedia Primal Fitness Coaching Certification is now available. The best gift you could give to yourself. [01:02]

Chapter one is entitled “Fitness for Health.” It is possible to be fit and unhealthy at the same time. [02:57]

Ideally in any workout, you should feel comfortable by taking things down a notch or two. You do not have to suffer and struggle to keep fit.  [06:04]

Steady-state cardio requires the same caution to overdo it. [09:45]

Include play in your routine.  [11:33]

Simon Whitfield’s 80-year-old self is his coach. Make sure you align your activities for longevity with age-appropriate workouts. [14:24]

You need to be consistent. But, of course, you can go all out once in a while. [19:17]

The second chapter of the course is about everyday movement. Just moving more in daily life, is possibly more important than adhering to a devoted fitness regimen.  [23:42]

The third chapter is called Human Posture and Movement Fundamentals. Standing improperly causes back pain. Learn good posture. [32:01]

Workplace variation includes stand-up desks but many other things that give you variation. Can you walk while on a phone call? [36:42]

Breathing properly is covered in Chapter Four. Deep breaths are associated with stress and shallow calm relaxing breaths are associated with relaxation. [39:18]

The BOLT test analyzes the tolerance of carbon dioxide in your body. [47:16]

The do’s and dont’s of proper stretching is covered in the next chapter. It is a fundamental element of fitness.  [50:30]

Mobility, flexibility, balance, and injury prevention skills are taught in Chapter Six. [54:20]

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B.Rad Podcast

Brad (01:02):
Hello listeners. I’m so excited to share with you the release of this comprehensive project that has been two years in the making to create the ultimate online certification experience for the topic of fitness. It’s the primal fitness coach online certification program. This is a home study multimedia educational program that we believe is the single most comprehensive online fitness educational experience you’ll find anywhere. So if you wanna start a career in fitness, elevate your career in fitness, or you just want to enhance your overall personal knowledge of all aspects of leading a healthy, active fit, energetic lifestyle, you’re gonna love this course. That’s very intensive. It’s a significant investment in your educational experience. Home study is where it’s at these days. You don’t have to get on an airplane and fly to some conference and sit in a conference room with the water on the side.

Brad (01:58):
No, you can study at your own pace. You have lifetime access to all the materials. You have a wonderful kit, a celebration kit when you finish. And if you’re in the fitness game, you will get some promotion and some exposure through the primal health coach Institute when you become certified in primal fitness. So what I’m gonna do in this show is give you a pretty detailed journey through all the educational material, the 16 modules of distinct topics that you will go deep into during your home study journey. And so to make sure you have the most impactful educational experience, you will take an exam after each module. And that opens up the access to the ensuing module and the modules are built upon, uh, each other so that you can continue to get into more complex and detailed topics as you go along. So you have one on one email support.

Brad (02:57):
If you’re ever struggling, we wanna make sure that the experience is rewarding, that you’re grasping everything. And so it’s a really nice guided journey on all aspects of fitness. So that’s what I’ll aspire to do on this show is to just walk you through these chapters and you’re gonna get a nice free education on a variety of topics, but I’m convinced that it’s going to inspire you to go further with your education and knowledge in the fitness realm. And we set the stage in chapter one, it’s titled Fitness for Health. And I think it’s an important distinction these days, especially as we see so many, uh, wonderful growth and popularity aspects of fitness, but also there’s a lot of mainstream fitness programming that is quite frankly flawed and inherently overly stressful. So it’s really important to draw the distinction between fitness and health.

Brad (03:54):
Yes, they can go hand in hand, but it’s also entirely possible to be fit and even super fit and also unhealthy. And the more extreme one’s fitness pursuits are, the more likely they are to compromise health. You can take an example from the professional bodybuilders or the elite level endurance athletes that are working so hard every day, year after year, that they come up with heart problems after decades of, you know, excessive training and excessive elevation of heartbeats into that training zone for hours and hours every day. Uh, of course we have the example of contact sports where you’re beating yourself up and you’re paying for it for the rest of your life. Um, I think in the mainstream fitness scene and the programming that comes in the gyms and the group training experiences, as well as in home-based fitness programming, the biggest flaw is the continued idealizing of struggling and suffering as the necessary path to becoming fit.

Brad (04:57):
The biggest loser television show is the most ridiculous and extreme example where the participants are pushed to the brink or beyond the brink of exhaustion and starvation to pursue their valuable prizes. We have, in the gym scene, the pep instructor and the pulsating music, that’s getting you pumped up to go and push yourself beyond an appropriate level of perceived exertion, as you do those final few sprints with your fellow exercisers. And of course, once in a while, it’s fine to push your body to a breakthrough fitness experience. But when the pattern of these class attendance or working with a trainer, uh, training with a group, when it becomes a pattern of slightly to significantly overly stressful workouts, it adds it tips the balance scale over, and you have what, in a sense is an overly stressful lifestyle because of your serious extreme devotion to fitness.

Brad (06:04):
You’ve heard that joke where, um, a CrossFitter, you can distinguish their physique from across the grocery store parking lot. And then at closer range, you can also distinguish them as a CrossFitter because of their surgical scars. <laugh> Not fair to blanket, uh, criticize a, uh, programming method. And I’m a huge fan of a lot of things that CrossFit does, and CrossFit stands for, especially their broad based approach to fitness and their creativity and diversity of workout programming. However, one observation that I have that people might wanna nod their heads at is that it can easily become an overly stressful workout experience due to the challenging nature and the diverse challenges that one is asked to complete during a CrossFit workout. So my dream for the movement, and for the gym culture is that people feel comfortable taking things down a notch or two or three.

Brad (07:05):
So you can go in and participate in that fun, exciting spinning class with the pulsating music and the peppy instructor, or go to the CrossFit box and have it be a centerpiece of your social experience, but you can take the workout intensity down to 75% or 82% or something like that, rather than always thinking that you have to struggle and suffer and hit that 95% effort to qualify as a proper workout. So that’s what this first chapter is all about. We talk about high intensity interval training and the whole philosophy that is often and widely misinterpreted and misappropriated to become a workout that is by nature, exhausting and depleting. That means there’s too many work efforts. The efforts last a little bit too long, they’re performed at a little bit too high of intensity, and there’s not quite enough rest between the efforts.

Brad (07:57):
A great example is Tabata. And this is a fitness buzzword, uh, referencing the name of the Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata who published the material, uh, describing the Tabata protocol, which is a pattern of 20 seconds hard effort, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds hard effort, 10 seconds rest. So his scientific research and the great results that he achieved from the Japanese speed skaters came from this protocol being performed for the duration of four minutes. That’s it? So a Tabata workout, properly designed, only lasts for four minutes. So you go 20 hard, 10 off, 20 hard, 10 off. But the idea is to go at a very high intensity to achieve these amazing fitness breakthroughs that the skaters, um, reported. However, you look at gym culture and you often have a class described as Tabata that lasts for 45 minutes or an hour, or at least the, you know, the programming where they’re doing Tabata with the step up or they’re doing it with the, the bar or the kettlebell they’re going over and over into this 20 second on, 10 second off pattern lasting for much longer than the protocol is originally intended.

Brad (09:12):
And so when we do these high intensity interval training sessions that last too long and are just a little bit too difficult, and that’s kind of our weekly pattern where we do these on Tuesday, Thursday, whatever. It’s completely, uh, missing the point of engaging in interval training and prompting those magnificent fitness benefits, which you often hear about and compare contrast to the steady state cardio, which of course is not going to deliver those fitness benefits because you’re not pushing yourself up to maximum intensity.

Brad (09:45):
Now, when it comes to steady state cardio, same thing, it’s widely being screwed up and misappropriated into a workout that is slightly too stressful. So when we’re talking about building endurance and aerobic conditioning, it’s very important to keep the heart rate into the fat, predominantly fat burning zone. And that means there’s a cap, a maximum, which we call maximum aerobic function heart rate, not maximum heart rate, but maximum aerobic function, heart rate, which designates the heart rate at which you are achieving maximum fat oxidation per minute, with a minimal amount of anaerobic stimulation, a minimal amount of glucose burning.

Brad (10:31):
And if you exceed this maximum aerobic function, heart rate, of course you start burning more calories. You’re going faster, you’re performing better. However, your fat oxidation rate goes down. And so we want to emphasize fat burning and make these workouts comfortable, such that, for example, you can carry on a conversation during the vast majority of your steady state cardiovascular exercise. You’re teaching your body to burn fat both during the workout and at rest. And that carryover is what’s really important for people looking for fat reduction goals. But what happens is the effort level is so comfortable at the maximum aerobic function of 180 minus your age in beats per minute. That’s the heart rate calculation that you do not want to exceed when you’re out there jogging or pedaling the bicycle, in order to achieve the optimal aerobic conditioning. It’s so easy that people routinely exceed it by five beats, 10 beats, 20 beats, because then they’re in that zone where the perceived exertion is significant.

Brad (11:33):
You feel like you’re getting a workout, you’re getting a sweat, and you feel like you’re doing yourself a solid by going a little bit harder than is comfortable. And what’s gonna happen down the line is you’re gonna, you’re gonna compromise hormonal function, immune function, musculoskeletal function. You’re just prompting or increasing the risk of breakdown, burnout, illness, and injury, because your steady state cardio workouts are too difficult, slightly, to significantly, too difficult. And your high intensity interval training sessions are also slightly to significantly, too difficult overall. And so if that’s your pattern, boy, that’s going to compromise your health in the name of fitness. So, finishing up the content of this chapter, we also have a section on play and the importance of play one of the original Ten Primal Blueprint laws, because oftentimes when we’re in this highly regimented <laugh> goal oriented, focused, driven, hectic lifestyle, we apply the same mentality to our fitness pursuits.

Brad (12:39):
And we think that we have to quantify everything and measure everything and get all our technology all straightened out and then push ourselves a little bit harder than we might. If we were just left our own devices, maybe the instructor’s helping you, the personal trainer. And so it becomes regimented. It becomes drudgery. Kind of in the same way that a job does, right, instead of an opportunity to express your physical being, have some fun, Hey, maybe push the limits and go hard and do a, a difficult challenge sometimes. But for the most part, taking care of your body, taking care of your spirit, when you’re out there exercising. Trying out a new trail that you’ve never tried before, maybe it’s gonna result in a longer run than planned or whatever, all kinds of different examples, going to a new exercise class, but not torturing yourself along the way and making sure there’s a playful component.

Brad (13:27):
One of the world’s leading experts on play, Dr. Stewart Brown. He talks about how play promotes the development of a cognitively fluid mind. It can reawaken the athletic spirit, provide a jolt of motivation and excitement and bring newness and freshness to the overall fitness experience. And guess what? When you’re in a playful mode, uh, at your workouts, you’re perceived exertion goes down significantly. So you’re getting a great workout when you’re out there playing ultimate Frisbee or standup paddling, or going on, uh, orientering expedition or whatever it is. But it doesn’t feel as difficult and as much drudgery as those regimented workouts. There’s also great section on aging gracefully, starting with the wonderful quote from Olympic gold medal triathlete and Olympic silver medalist. He’s got two Olympic medals, eight years apart, Simon Whitfield of Canada, one of the greatest and he’s has such wonderful wisdom to convey.

Brad (14:24):
I have some great interviews with him in the Primal Endurance Mastery course. So I would definitely enroll in that if you are a fitness minded or endurance training athlete, and you can see a short clip. We’ll put it in the show notes where he talks about this concept of in his retirement, after his, you know, binge on the circuit that lasted for over a decade. I asked him like, what do you do for fitness these days? And he said, you know, today I am coached by my 80 year old self. And I thought it was one of the great one liners I’ve ever heard about fitness. So he wants to make fitness exercise, lifestyle decisions that his 80 year old self would nod head in approval, rather than for example, when he was pushing the very limits of human endurance and competing on the pro circuit and going for the gold medal, he was of course compromising his long term health and pursuit of those incremental fitness gains that you must make that sacrifice for.

Brad (15:21):
If you want to go for the gold medal. And speaking of links, I’ll try to find the great finish of the 2000 Olympics, Sydney, Australia, triathlon, where he was far behind with like a kilometer to go. And he just said, what the heck? And he just took off sprinting and improbably caught the leader from Germany, right in the home stretch before the finish. You just could not believe the heart and the incredible athletic achievement of him just going for that gold going for broke. And then coming through and winning the first gold medal in the history of Olympic triathlon. It was the first ever, uh, triathlon in the Olympics, 2000 Sydney. Okay. So, Simon is setting the stage for aging gracefully, and that means doing stuff that your 80 year old self would nod in approval. And there’s an, an assortment of strategies presented. Things like adopting that primal mindset, nurturing a healthy, competitive intensity throughout your life, but making sure that your goals are aligned with longevity and that they’re age appropriate.

Brad (16:29):
So for me, uh, for example, I had fun playing in the adult basketball leagues. When I was in my forties, I was coaching youth basketball. I was showing off too much at practice. And my son said, Hey, dad, why don’t you join your own basketball league instead of doing those hotshot moves during our practice, I’m like, Hey, good idea. But after a while, I noticed that, um, the, the misplaced competitive intensity of the average adult basketball league player made it a little bit dangerous. So there was some outta control, physical, behavior, and also outta control, um, you know, psychological mindset where you’re gonna get roughed up and bounce around because people were having trouble directing that competitive intensity in a healthy manner. Right? Come on, guys, we’re in the D league here. It’s not life or death. And, um, so I had to step out of that to preserve, and honor these goals of, you know, having, uh, athletic goals that align with longevity rather than put me at potential risk.

Brad (17:30):
Same with going down a hill really fast on my bicycle. Well, during my twenties, when I was racing on the pro circuit, I did crazy stuff, going down the hills in the east France course in the maritime Alps. And there’s no guardrails, there’s no signs. You just come around a corner and you might go off a cliff. If you miss that turn. And some of my fellow athletes did they survived and climbed back up with scraped up bodies, but boy, it was a break neck out there, and you’re taking, uh, all kinds of risks that you might not do as a sensible person going into your later years. And so the goals also want to be looking on that long term horizon as well as being process oriented rather than being obsessed with the outcome. So again, compare and contrast to my younger self when I was, had to be obsessed with the outcome when I was competing as a pro, right.

Brad (18:20):
Everything was calibrated toward what place I finished in the race. My income, my notoriety, my contracts with my sponsors, what have you. But today I’m still, uh, you know, desiring and, and setting goals and, and putting up, you know, numbers, but the whole joy and the, the essence is on the process. And we’re talking about, uh, definitely going out of your way to reject these flawed approaches that I discussed with high intensity interval training and with slightly overly strenuous, uh, cardiovascular aerobic exercise when it comes to aging gracefully and longevity. And then there’s this topic of consistency, which again, is often misappropriated. So we talk about how it’s important to be consistent with a fitness lifestyle. But you don’t go out of your way to put up a consistent results at the expense of your health.

Brad (19:17):
And there’s a big distinction there to like going out there and doing a workout that, you know, you shouldn’t do because your knee still hurts and your a little bit tired or your throat is scratchy, but you need to be consistent. So consistency in the proper context. And then finally, I’m just going over these tips for aging gracefully. I told you, I was giving you a lot of free content and free sneak peek here stuff, even if you don’t enroll in the course. But we’re here now finishing, um, the first chapter and, uh, as far as aging gracefully and keeping that competitive intensity that flame going, yeah, once in a while, push your limits and set a goal and tackle challenges that are extreme. And, uh, back in 2021, you know, were coming out of quarantine. There wasn’t a lot of events or opportunities to compete, but I had a couple signature, uh, athletic goals that really kind of kept me focused and accountable as I prepared for them. One of ’em was the, uh, famous CrossFit workout called the MERF. And it was performed in June, by a big group of us on the occasion of my friend, Dave Kobine’s 60th birthday.

Brad (20:25):
And so we had to be ready for action. When we showed up in Newport beach, this is the birthday party guys. Here’s what we’re doing. You run a mile and then you come back into the gym and you perform 300 squats, 200 pushups, and 100 pullups in succession of, uh, short rep sets. So it would be like 20 squats, 10 pushups, five pullups, go back to the floor, 20 squats, 10 pushups, five pullups over and over and over until you get the final number, and then you run another mile. And boy, that was an endurance feat, and I had to train for it in sort of a binge manner to get ready. I didn’t feel like doing many pullups and pushups for months afterward, but it was such a great, you know, culmination achievement of that practice and that preparation. And then later in October, with, Jon and Philip, my hiking buddies. We conquered the notorious cactus to clouds trail in Palm Springs, California, rated as the single most difficult hiking trail in the United States of America, on accord with their elevation gain in the number of miles.

Brad (21:31):
So in the first 9.2 miles of the trail, we gained 8,500 feet in vertical elevation climbing, straight up the extreme peaks, uh, heading toward Mount San Jacinto in the Palm Springs area. And the entire hike was 22 miles, took us 13 hours, and that’s a lot longer than I’ve ever hiked before in my life. So that was definitely a signature event. And these are the kind of things that will help you keep that competitive intensity, age gracefully. And then again, we’re not doing this every single month, month after month. And I think a lot of the endurance athletes in that scene, they love the lifestyle so much. They love setting these goals. And then what happens is, it becomes a little bit excessive or out of balance when you’re signing up for something. Every time you turn around and your spouse, your family’s going, what another marathon?

Brad (22:24):
<laugh>, Where’s this one. Okay. So I think once in a while, the extreme events, but not as a pattern, because by definition, they’re really pushing you and they require a lot of rest recovery and preparation time. Um, Jon Staley, my hiking buddy that I referenced, uh, he’s talking about his, um, epic double crossing of the Grand Canyon that he does in a single day. That’s a 13 hour effort where you start on the south rim. You go to the bottom. You climb to the north rim. You get some water,. You go back down to the bottom and back up to the south rim, fighting darkness and fighting the, the weather and all those things. And, uh, he said, yeah, people wanna do it and go for the Instagram shot. And he saw those types of poses out there on his hike, but he says, what people don’t understand is that he prepared 13 weekends in a row conducting a relatively long hike to prepare his body for the big challenge of the Grand Canyon and the Cactus to Clouds and all the other stuff.

Brad (23:20):
He’s right now in the Alps doing, the Hut to Hut hike. And that’s a long distance, couple weeks stint with his wife, Mary. Good luck to them, but well prepared. So instead of going for the money shot on social media and doing something that you’re in over your head, that’s not aligned with health, it’s not aligned with the ideals. We talk about. Whew, that’s just chapter one.

Brad (23:42):
Okay. I’ll pick up the pace a little bit. The second chapter about everyday movement is highlighting this extreme importance of just moving more in daily life as possibly even more important than adhering to a devoted fitness regimen. These are health experts. These are peak performance exercise physiology experts revealing that just long periods of stillness, cause all kinds of metabolic and health dysfunction, increased disease risk. Even if you have a devoted gym regimen or devoted exercise regimen where you’re putting in 20, 30 miles a week of running, or you’re going to the class several days a week, but at the same token, you’re sitting on the subway, sitting at a desk in an office, sitting on a couch at home for your leisure time.

Brad (24:32):
So we have this critical objective to get up and find ways to move more in everyday life walking of course is the centerpiece of that objective. It’s the quintessential human activity, the human form of locomotion for millennia. And it’s also forms the centerpiece of a healthy, active lifestyle and has all these health and metabolic benefits. You’ve heard about BDNF that’s brain derived neurotropic factor. So when you walk, you make more of this wonderful agent. The Harvard doctor, uh, calls it Miracle Gro for the brain. So it improves the functioning of the brain in many ways. It actually increases the thickness and operating function of the hippocampus. And there’s a widely touted study from UCLA where they compared senior citizens who failed to achieve a basic threshold of daily walking. I think it was those who walked less than 2000 steps a day.

Brad (25:31):
Maybe it was 4,000. I don’t know. I think it was those walking less than 2000 steps a day. And then those who had active walking and were putting up good numbers and there was a distinct difference in the size of their brain, the processing speed on brain challenges, neuroplasticity, they call it. So we wanna maintain that brain function through walking. And of course, BDNF is also, uh, produced through sprinting strength training. So it’s being exercising and active and the strong correlation between brain function and physical fitness is widely acknowledged and undisputable. So, because we have all these built in conveniences that we humans have been clever enough to invent and continue to escalate, the luxuries and the indulgences and the conveniences where we don’t have to make hardly any physical effort to do anything, including preparing food, which has been, I just listened to a podcast with an evolutionary anthropologist.

Brad (26:27):
And he said pretty much all the innovation in tools and technology, you know, make making tools and, and enhancing our ability to manipulate the natural environment. He says pretty much all of it has been driven by, uh, seeking food. So all the tools and the innovations that we’ve done are to improve our ability to hunt and improve nutrition. Pretty interesting. Anyway, so, um, we have to now orchestrate opportunities to lead a more active lifestyle and walk more. And we have a whole section giving you some ideas like, Hey, if you drive by a park on your commute home, pull over, walk a lap around the park, get back in your car and then go hit the firestorm at home where you do feel like crashing on the couch or whatever. Um, if you have an animal like a dog, for example, and you picked up that dog at the shelter, you rescued that dog from the shelter, or got it from the breeder, you making a lifelong commitment to take care of the animal and give that animal the life that it, he or she deserves.

Brad (27:27):
Well, guess what, that’s an obligatory opportunity to walk. If you, if you can’t honor yourself and your own fitness goals and ideals, at least give the animal the life it deserves and get out there and walk, whether you feel like it or not, or whether it’s raining or snowing or whatever, I guarantee your dog doesn’t care. Your dog’s wagging its tail at the door and just wants to get out and go endure a snowstorm or a windstorm. So, that’s a great opportunity to build in walking. And when we talk about everyday movement, there are all kinds of other things that qualify, including the formal practices like yoga and Tai Chi and Pilates. My morning exercise routine that I talk about so much sets me up for a day of activity and it hits that quota as soon as I wake up.

Brad (28:13):
So that’s really a great thing about starting a morning routine and getting it into consistent pattern where at least if you get into a super busy day and you fall short of your desire to move and take breaks, for whatever reason, maybe you’re getting on airplanes and traveling, uh, going on a long drive. At least you can start your day with some general everyday movement and all kinds of other things count towards your movement objective. This includes gardening. You see the articles where gardening burns this many calories. It’s great. Challenging household chores, sexual activity. We called it bedroom leisure in the certification program. I think, even foam rolling, right? Because you are, uh, moving tissues through range of motion. So if you’re sitting around enjoying leisure time, get out the foam roller and that counts towards your movement objective. Now, in contrast, if you do not move enough, if you fail to obtain this base level of activity and movement and walking, you are going to screw yourself up pretty bad.

Brad (29:15):
Even if you have some fitness points such as putting in your miles on the bike every week or hitting the classes at the gym devotedly. You have these widely touted destructions to metabolic health from even brief periods of stillness. So there’s research that I talk about a lot where even sitting still for 20 minutes will prompt a measurable decrease in glucose tolerance and an increase in insulin resistance. So you stop burning fat efficiently, and you might increase appetite or also lose cognitive ability because after a certain period of time sitting still concentrating your brain also will diminish cognitive function because you are not moving. So it’s basically the evolution of the human species entails near constant movement throughout the day. And that is a big takeaway from research with modern hunter gatherers. Prolonged sitting also causes an assortment of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular problems. Hip flexors and hamstrings shorten and tightened. Glutial muscles are deactivated making your balance and your gait unstable during exercise.

Brad (30:29):
The lack of engagement of the abdominal core muscles promotes an assortment of postural imbalances and puts excessive strain on the spine and back muscles. By contrast, the core muscles are constantly activated when you’re standing, walking, squatting, performing all manner of physical work or engaging in these ancestral resting positions. So if you do have to remain still, when you’re interacting with the grounds and you sit your butt on the ground and use a low desk to put your laptop on, that’s vastly superior to sitting in a chair or a couch. And we talk about Katy Bowman a bit in this chapter, she’s the queen of nutritious movement. That’s her trademark for her operation offer of bestselling books like Move Your DNA. She says, quote “cells are always responding to mechanical input via process called mechanical transaction. When individual cells are unmoved or moved, they adapt to repetitive positioning by changing their cellular makeup and literally becoming sticky and stiff.”

Brad (31:29):
Even those who are super fit can have certain muscles and joints with reduced range of motion and an actual hardening of the arterial walls in certain areas. For example, sitting in a chair all day with your knees, bent those arteries behind your knees can show symptoms of dysfunction, a hardening of the arteries. Even if other parts of your body are really strong. Like your heart, because you show up at the gym every day. So, uh, a big plug for increasing all forms of general every day movement.

Brad (32:01):
That takes us right into chapter three, which is called Human Posture and Movement Fundamentals. So here we’re establishing this foundation. That’s why it’s an early chapter because there are an assortment of fundamentals of correct human posture and movement that apply across all fitness and everyday life activities. So when you learn, for example, to preserve a straight and elongated spine at all times through all manner of fitness and athletic activity, except for specific movements that call for the inflection or extension of the spine. Boy, then you are really putting yourself into the most safe and anatomically correct and maximum leverage position.

Brad (32:47):
So when we’re in the gym, performing resistance exercise, a key feature of all the technique instruction is that you want to preserve that straight and elongated spine. So the exceptions I’m talking about are, for example, sports like gymnastics, or a yoga class, where they’re calling for a pose where you bend the spine and generally with proper instruction and proper experience, you can achieve benefits from engaging in spinal flexion and spinal extension. But for many fitness enthusiasts, especially novices, you can maybe put those types of activities on the sideline and honor this edict to preserve a straight and elongated spine at all times. So we have comprehensive instruction, including videos teaching you how to correctly stand, sit, lie down, bend and extend. Just some quick interesting tidbits, cuz this is a topic of great interest to me. When I originally learned from Esther Gokhale, author of Eight Steps to a Healthy Back bestselling book. She presented at our Primal.con conferences as did her daughters on the Gokhale Method of human movement and eliminating or avoiding back pain by getting things right as, and it goes just right to as simple as learning how to stand correctly.

Brad (34:12):
So just one quick tidbit. Your heel bone, the calcaneus, incredibly dense bone. If you look at it on a skeleton or an x-ray, right, it’s this giant ball, guess what that is supposed to support your body weight when you are standing. But unfortunately when we wear shoes with an elevated heel, like almost all shoes, except for minimalist shoes that elevated heel loads our body weight onto our midfoot instead of our heel. So we are in incorrect posture anytime we’re wearing a shoe with the heel. And so oftentimes when we’re barefoot, we’re still exhibiting that incorrect forward loaded posture. And then when we’re doing things like driving, interacting with a mobile device, typing, swimming, bicycle riding, we have all these exercises and daily activities that promote a hunched forward postural position, right? When our arms are hunching forward to send the text message with two hands, then, uh, we develop these bad mechanics.

Brad (35:16):
We actually engage in, uh, such prolonged muscle dysfunction that causes spinal curvature. And we exhibit that popular modern posture, especially males where the shoulders are hunched forward. The cervical bones of the spine up in the neck are compressed so that you have sort of this scrunched up upper neck. You have excessive curvature in the lumbar spine as a consequence of those weakened abdominal muscles from sitting around too long. So in this chapter, we are totally gonna set you straight and get you exhibiting these technique, fundamentals out the gate. Oh, the other one I like is when you’re standing up and learning proper posture. So now you’re rocking back onto your heels. You’re standing in bare feet and you get this sensation of rocking back and loading up the heels with weight and then turn your palms outward and stand facing forward. So the act of turning your palms outward will roll your shoulders into the safest and most functional retracted position where your shoulders are in line with your spine. They are not forward of your spine. Your head is in aligned with your tailbone. So you have the straight lines and these good mechanics. And then when it’s time to, lie down, bend, extend, we talk you through that as well.

Brad (36:42):
We also have a section here on workplace variation and workplace variation is different than get a stand up desk and be a badass and be cool. <laugh> Okay. Stand up desk is great. And it’s a big step forward giant leap forward for mankind from just having only the chair at your desk. But what we’re ultimately striving for is a variation in positions and mechanics throughout the day. Uh, if you are forced to interact with the screen all day. Okay, so the standup desk is great, but what we really want is to mix between standing up, sitting down, perhaps achieving a low desk position and engaging in these ancestral resting positions on the ground.

Brad (37:23):
And if you can just rotate through throughout the day, you’re constantly varying things and oops, oh, there, you got a phone call. So you’re gonna take that phone call while walking, rather than being stationary. That’s the ultimate goal in the back of your mind is workplace variation, especially if you experience fatigue while you’re standing up. And I know some people that are like, yeah, I tried it, but you know, it was not comfortable. Okay. Well stand up until it’s uncomfortable. And then sit down in you’re comfortable chair and enjoy a 30 minutes in that mode and then get up and take a three minute break and then go back to standing up. And if it’s 10 minutes at first, that’s fine. I also know other people that stand up all day that had back problems that are alleviated by that strategy.

Brad (38:05):
And as soon as they sit down in the chair, their back pain comes back. Pretty funny. So whatever works, but that variation is, is key. And then you’re gonna learn about the ancestral resting positions that I mentioned. And these are things like squatting, kneeling, sitting with your legs in assorted position, like one knees bent and close to your body. And the other leg is extended. This stuff is important to learn because it’s, uh, again, it’s quintessential to the human experience, interacting with the ground, prior to the advent of chairs, sofas, and modern civilization. And when you are interacting with the ground, it allows you to leverage natural resistance provided by gravity known as “ground reaction force.” And what “ground reaction force” is doing is alternatively compressing and stretching various muscles and connective tissue. And this delivers a beneficial compression effect to boost lymphatic function, improve fascial tone and strengthen muscles and connective tissue. Who knew that just sitting on the ground would be an awesome fitness benefit in comparison to deloading your skeleton on a chair or a sofa?

Brad (39:18):
Then we go to chapter four. Let’s take a deep breath and break here. No, no, let’s take a shallow breath here and relax. That’s right. Did you know that the long time folk wisdom of taking a deep breath to relax is exactly the opposite of how the body will prompt parasympathetic function and try to disengage from fight or flight sympathetic function? That’s right. Deep breaths are associated with stress and shallow calm, relaxing diaphragmatic breathing is associated with relaxation. So that next time you’re stressed and someone says, okay, take a deep breath, relax. You can correct them and go shut the F*** up. I’m really stressed right now. And I’m supposed to take a shallow breath. Leave me alone. <laugh> Okay. And we devoted entire chapter. This is an emerging field of great excitement and interest, especially as it applies to your fitness goals and the performance benefits that you can achieve from learning to breathe properly.

Brad (40:22):
Uh, some of these great books, bestselling books, The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. The book Breath by James Nester and the great work that fitness leader Brian Mackenzie is doing at his website Shiftadapt.com where breathing, control and breathing drills and breathing skills are integrated into the fitness experience. I love the wonderfully brief and memorable takeaway that Patrick McKeown offers to basically encompass the essence of his life’s work. And what he is doing is encouraging you to breathe as minimally as possible through your nose only at all times for the rest of your life. It’s that simple people. And when you breathe minimally rather than over breathing, which is very common in our hectic high-stress modern life, and also breathing incorrectly, uh, failing to engage the important diaphragm muscle and instead breathing in a shallow pattern using only the upper part of your lungs.

Brad (41:27):
You’re not going to get an optimal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Now the nose is super important to breathe with, and the mouth is not intended to be used for breathing unless you absolutely need extra oxygen. And so, when I offer that quote up, I don’t want you to misinterpret it because the, the objective is to breathe as minimally as possible. So if you’re out there doing a sprint workout like I did this morning, I was sucking air big time after each rep of 200 meters. And so I’m opening my mouth. I’m sucking air. I’m trying to not get busy and pass out, and I’m breathing as hard as I can as much oxygen as I need. But my goal is to recalibrate as quickly as possible to calm, relaxing, nasal breathing. It’s a lot to get into briefly, but when you are able to breathe efficiently, nasal diaphragmatic breathing, you are going to get an assortment of benefits.

Brad (42:27):
And the main one is that you improve your carbon dioxide tolerance. When you escape from over breathing and go to efficient nasal diaphragmatic breathing, improving carbon dioxide tolerance is important because the more carbon dioxide you can tolerate, the more carbon dioxide buildup in your bloodstream, you will experience an increased delivery of oxygen to working muscles and tissues. This is quite counterintuitive to our general notion of what breathing is all about, where we think, okay, breathe in as much oxygen as possible. And then we’ll get all the oxygen to our working muscles and tissues. And in fact, that’s not how, uh, biochemistry works. There’s something called the Bohr effect, B O H R. And the Bohr effect asserts that the level of carbon dioxide in the blood dictates whether our cells hold onto oxygen or dispense them to the working muscles and tissues. I did an entire show on this.

Brad (43:27):
If you wanna learn more or grab one of those wonderful books, but we talk through this in detail. In this chapter we talk about some advanced breathing techniques like the breath-holding drills, the breath, counting drills, the controlled hyperventilation exercises, but this is kind of a separate and distinct subject from just learning to breathe properly. So you might have heard of Wim Hof and the proponents who are engaging in these, uh, exciting and regimented drills, where they do something called controlled hyperventilation, which is an aggressive inhale. And then a quick exhale and a pattern of 30 such breaths, which will build up carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. And then you can go do an exercise like, uh, uh, a single set of pushups to failure and find that you broke through your previous personal records because of this bore effect, delivering more oxygen to your muscles and allowing you to do more pushups.

Brad (44:24):
Uh, there’s also a great book by Scott Carney, two great books where he talked about breathing. The first one was What Doesn’t Kill Us, and he was on the show as well. And so he learned these Wim Hof techniques and performed magnificent athletic feats out of the gate with just a few days of training. Cold tolerance feats, where they’re climbing a, a snowy mountain peak in Poland in the middle of winter, and he’s wearing running shorts and sneakers without any prior training. So he went from a skeptic to an extreme believer in the power of leveraging breath control to perform athletic feats. But again, like I said, that is, uh, over and above. Those are some advanced techniques that we dabble in and mention a little bit, but mainly what we want you to do is learn how to use your diaphragm, learn the importance of using your nose only, except when you really need to suck in maximum air.

Brad (45:15):
When you’re performing high intensity exercise, nasal breathing offers an assortment of advantages to breathing through your mouth. Guess what the nose does? That’s right. It filters moistens warms and pressurizes inhaled air, and the sinus cavity also produces nitric oxide to mix with your inhaled air. You might have heard of nitric oxide. It’s a potent signaling molecule that enhances the function of nearly every organ and cell in the body, particularly through its action as a vasodilator. People who are unhealthy have low nitric oxide levels. And those of us who engage in healthy eating, exercise, sleep, all that we have naturally higher levels of nitric oxide. And that will happen when you breathe through your nose. A lifetime of nasal diaphragmatic breathing can help prevent all these modern conditions like narrowing of the breathing, airways, asthma, sleep apnea, poor jaw function that are widely attributed to mouth dominant breathing.

Brad (46:13):
So, um, how do you kind of get involved and get going on these new objectives? They have a couple wonderful tests that you can perform to measure your increase in breathing competency. One is called the BOLT test. Blood oxygen levels test. I believe that stands for, and then there’s another one called the CO2 Tolerance test. So you go out and perform these tests out of the gate and assess your current level of breathing competency and your current ability to tolerate carbon dioxide. And major, major shocker that most people are horrific at this, including many elite athletes that Patrick McKeown talks about testing, uh, elite soccer teams and rugby teams. And even these well trained athletes are so used to sucking excess oxygen, that they are terrible at carbon dioxide tolerance, meaning they are not doing a good job delivering oxygen to the working muscles and tissues when they are needed most during intense exercise.

Brad (47:16):
So if you want, you can pause the recording and perform your first BOLT test, and here’s how you do it. Uh, you breathe normally for a few cycles through your nose, uh, start closing that mouth, getting used to it, it, and then exhale all of your air through your nose. Everything’s gentle. You don’t have to like force it out, but take a full exhale. And at the bottom of that exhale, pinch your nose closed and start the stopwatch. And you should be able to make it to 20 seconds without feeling a significant discomfort or significant urge to breathe. So the BOLT test ends not when you can show that you’re the most badass person on the block and last longer till you’re turning red, but it ends when you experience that significant urge to breathe. So you don’t want to go past, uh, you know, that first, okay, now I gotta take a breath, you know, in order to, to get a better time, you can’t force the result here.

Brad (48:12):
And so if you are under 20 seconds, that indicates, um, a health disturbance and a significant health risk that you are not tolerating carbon dioxide well, and not delivering enough oxygen to your working muscles and tissues. You know why they test blood oxygen in the hospitals. It’s kind of an important aspect to show that people are healthy. So try to get better at this BOLT test by doing nothing more than performing the test regularly, and also making concerted effort to minimize your breathing. So when you minimize breathing in general, okay, that is going to improve carbon dioxide tolerance because you’re taking in less oxygen. When you take in minimal oxygen through the inhale, only what you need. Remember the first quote, that’s going to improve the tolerance of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream and the carbon dioxide buildup in the bloodstream is what gives you the urge to breathe contrary to common belief.

Brad (49:12):
It’s not the need for oxygen. It’s the buildup of carbon dioxide that causes you to, Ugh, I gotta take a breath. So I am, uh, pleased to report that when I did my first BOLT test, my score was pathetic. I could not really get to 20 without gaming the result, which I didn’t wanna do. So my first urge to breathe was whatever, 10, 15, 17 seconds. Now with devoted practice over probably about a, a one and a half to two year time period, since I was first exposed, uh, to these ideas, I can perform a BOLT test. Uh, 52 seconds is my best and routinely over 40 seconds. And when you get over 40, you ascend to the outstanding category as a good practitioner. So 20 is necessary passing grade and 40 is outstanding. And it does not take that much time to get there. I don’t do these exercises obsessively. I do them, you know, maybe once or twice, uh, every other day or something, whenever I feel like it, whatever I’m sitting there looking at a stopwatch. But it can be a fantastic, uh, improvement to your overall health, as well as your athletic performance. So listen to my entire show on breathing and grab one of those books and get into it. And you’re gonna love that chapter of The Primal.

Brad (50:30):
Chapter five is on stretching, a fundamental element of fitness, but often controversial and confusing. It’s widely acknowledge that stretching in an ill-advised manner can compromise workout performance, potentially injure muscles, and that an effective stretching program that blend static, stretching and dynamic stretching at the right times can help improve performance, prevent injury, ready your body for peak performance effort, all that good stuff. But again, you have to do it right, and it has to be combined with other modalities of rehab, prehab, and training to have best effects.

Brad (51:10):
As Dr. Kelly Sterrett says a lot, it’s not just about stretching and lengthening a muscle, but moving it correctly through range of motion. So we go into detail about the dues and don’ts of stretching and how, you know, becoming more loose and supple is not, it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. I think at first glance, because we wanna be, um, explosive, powerful and have strong ability to control our joints. And if muscles are too loosey goosey, of course that’s gonna be the opposite of the intended effect. So that’s when we get into the proper application of dynamic stretching, which is defined as moving through a range of motion to achieve a stretch or static stretching, which is applying a counterforce to a still muscle in an inactive muscle to achieve a stretch. As, as you probably know, dynamic stretching is best performed before workouts to, uh, work those muscles through the desired range of motion or challenge.

Brad (52:10):
The edges of the intended range of motion and static stretching is generally best performed away from workouts or after workouts. And it’s an integral part of improving overall mobility, flexibility, balance, injury prevention, and especially counterbalancing. Some of the damage caused by prolonged periods of sitting and putting our bodies into these anatomically stressful positions, like hunching over to type on the computer and type text messages all day, and then going for a swim workout where you’re kind of hunching over and developing the front of the body, the pecks and those types of muscles. And then you can go engage in a stretch where you open up your chest as a nice counterbalance. So we got static. We got dynamic. We have the rationale for each. We have the circumstances when you don’t wanna stretch. Um, and these are times when the muscles are cold when you’re stretching the wrong way, using poor technique, um, stretching after an acute injury during the inflammation phase or performing static stretches is before workouts.

Brad (53:18):
So again, a lot of instruction and practical takeaways for the dos and don’ts. And then of course, tons of examples. And we focus especially on hip flexors, which are the muscle group, group of muscles, primarily responsible for lifting the leg in the air when you’re walking or running, or pivoting from side to side, moving your opening up your hips, for example, and these are a common area of dysfunction. And typically what you see is tight and or weak hip flexors. So tightness and weakness are two different things, and we need to learn to distinguish, uh, the difference, especially, uh, understanding the appropriate balance between, counterbalancing muscle groups, like the biceps and triceps or the quads and the hamstrings. And so if you’re out there stretching like crazy, and you already have an imbalance between two opposing muscle groups, those are the things where we can get into trouble.

Brad (54:20):
So, um, we have some assessments and corrective exercises for the hip flexers in particular, and then some great sequences to put together that can be used before workouts after workouts. And then we roll, we roll right into chapter six, which is about mobility, flexibility, balance, and injury prevention. And these complimentary skills can add a fun and exciting dimension to your workout program because muscle mass and bone density are not necessary for shuffling along for a marathon ultra-marathon or peddling a long distance bike ride. Oh my gosh, they do bone density studies on Tour de France riders who for those three weeks are peddling like crazy, or they’re resting, lying down, sitting in a chair. And so they have a significant reduction in bone density, even in a few short weeks. And the astronauts, I just heard this anecdote from another podcast where they go to space for, what is it for like six weeks or something on the space station or something.

Brad (55:18):
And it takes them years to rebuild the lost muscle mass caused by leaving the `influence of gravity even for a short time, pretty wild. And that closes chapter seven, cardiovascular fitness and endurance training. Okay. That’s a nice finishing point for part one on the comprehensive review of the Primal Fitness Coach Expert Certification program, learn more at primalhealthcoach.com and you can find all kinds of educational opportunities. Tell them Brad Kearns sent you for special treatment, and I would love for you to become a student. It’s gonna be so much fun. Thank you for listening, too. Hope you got some value and education out of this as a standalone and much more to learn during the online experience. Baba, Baba,

Brad (56:12):
Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email podcast,@Brad ventures.com with feedback, suggestions, and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list at 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 B.rad.

 

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