We hit the Q&A hard with some really thoughtful and interesting questions on topics like:
How to correct feeling overstressed after workouts and does my Morning Exercise Routine run counter to the recommendation to avoid working the same muscle groups day after day? We also go over how MOFO can help boost testosterone, answer questions like is carb cycling an effective strategy?, and touch on second guessing hormetic stressors, as covered in my previous shows with Jay Feldman. Finally, one listener asks if an animal-based eater should try green powder and another asks about the myth that cholesterol increases in relation to egg consumption. Join the conversation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
David is a fit 43-year-old struggling with stress reaction after exercise. He needs to look at revising his exercise pattern and the timing of his workouts. Most people, it seems, do workouts way more than is recommended. [03:01]
Your first rep ought to be as high quality as your final rep. [08:47]
Learn about positional parasympathetic breathing post workout and think about balancing your protein diet and rest. [09:38]
Mark Miller asks about Brad’s daily routine being in conflict with the advice that you don’t want to train the same muscle group on consecutive days. [12:44]
Mike Catlin is asking about the modifications in the diet, particularly regarding testosterone level. [18:36]
Carb cycling implies going in a ketogenic pattern and then increasing the carb intake. [27:14]
There is an important distinction between processed carbohydrates and nutrient-dense carbs. [30:09]
Many fitness enthusiasts go overboard on these things. You have to distinguish between the stress and the mechanism. [32:11]
Research shows that we spend almost 93 percent of our time in temperature-controlled locations. Occasional exposure to temperature challenges can benefit us. [40:12]
If Brad promotes animal-based diet, what is he saying about athletic greens? [47:21]
From Sweden comes Par asking about eggs and cholesterol causing heart disease. [49:57]
- Brad Kearns.com
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[00:01:06] Greetings, listeners, and welcome to another fabulous q and a show with really fantastic and thoughtful questions from many devoted listeners. I so much appreciate you guys writing in and really challenging, uh, the commentary, adding your own personal twist, real people leading real lives, trying to do their best. So I really look forward to jumping into a huge list of questions. I’m sorry I’m falling behind, and I will try to proceed at a crisp pace. But, uh, some of these commentaries are really lengthy and thoughtful and will, uh, bring up some major talking points that have been swimming around, uh, recent podcasts content. And I also wanna thank you so much for listening to the B.rad podcast. We just received notice from Apple Podcasts weekly rankings that we rose into the top 10 at number nine in the fitness category. So that is so awesome because it really is a lot of work.
We have a big team here, 5, 6, 7 people involved every week putting out this great content. And it’s helpful to get your assistance spreading the word, getting more listeners, sharing the show with your friends, and then the more people that can find the show, listen to it, it gets more attention, especially if we land in the appropriate level of the rankings, because then when you visit Apple Podcasts and your browsing podcast, we appear there. So we like to stay up there and that’ll give us more momentum for more great content coming in the future. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And if you have the chance to leave a review, that is a huge help also.
And with that, we talk to David, who is a fit 43 year old, but I still struggle with the stress reaction after exercise, especially after weight training. I feel you, man, I know what I’m, I know what you’re talking about, where you go to the gym, you go to the track, whatever, you’re pumped up, you’re excited, you have that competitive intensity worked up, you deliver an excellent result, feeling great the whole time. And then in my case, an hour later, five hours later, 24 hours later, I’ll kind of feel the after effects of pushing myself really hard and have a little dip. Perhaps it’s combined with, uh, muscle stiffness and soreness and possible signs that I overdid it a bit. So this stress reaction after exercise, especially weight training, as David reports in, I can totally report the same thing. And I think it’s important here to try to fly under the radar as much as possible. So if you are feeling kind of wiped in the hours after workouts at whatever time checkpoint, like I mentioned, let’s consider toning down the overall degree of difficulty of the individual workout or look at your entire training program in the whole.
And, consider whether you might need more, distance between your high intensity, high stress workouts. So continuing, David’s, that was just my little input there. He says, Brad, I’ve taken your advice and increased the number of rest days per week, which has helped, but I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do after a weight workout as a quick fix to reduce cortisol, reduce stress. Uh, he says, I typically weight train two days a week. I run and do the assault bike two days a week, run or do the assault bike two days a week, and I rest three days a week. So it’s not overly demanding, but I definitely get the stress, stress crash in the afternoons after doing weights at lunchtime. Uh huh. So that last comment is interesting about doing weights at lunchtime and then crashing in the afternoon because we all experience a natural dip in circadian rhythm in the afternoon anyway.
I almost never work out in the middle of the day. I prefer to do it in the morning. And that’s all personal preference. There’s hormonal cycles and people predicting that the best time to do a high intensity workout is the late afternoon because your body temperature is the highest and your hormonal balances here or there. But I really think it’s more about scheduling, personal preference, convenience, <laugh>, what your training partners are doing. You know, it’s just something, uh, that to to, to work out on your own. However, that’s possibly setting you up for an afternoon crash if you’re working hard at lunch. But I’m gonna more focus on the degree of difficulty of the workouts and the entire week, because when you mention two days of weight training, uh, combined with, uh, a couple days of running or the assault bike, the assault bike by nature is extremely difficult, challenging, stressful.
I don’t think I’ve done anything that has put me into that much oxygen debt so quickly as doing hard intervals on the assault bike. For those of you who don’t know what an assault bike is, that’s a type of bicycle that has those handles, the handlebars that you pull back and forth. So you’re dispersing the energy output between your legs as well as your arms cranking those handles back and forth, back and forth. I’ll find a link on my Instagram. I think I had a little post where I showed the assault bike happening. And, uh, oh my gosh, it’s a very challenging workout. It’s low impact. It’s a great way to max out in a safe manner if you’re integrating sprinting. However, if you stack all this up, David thinks his schedule’s pretty moderate, but, um, four days a week you’re doing something that’s difficult and challenging.
We might wanna consider revising the nature of those workouts, particularly let’s talk about the assault bike. I would recommend sprinting between 10 and 20 seconds, but never more than 20 seconds of all out effort on something like that. And doing as few as five sprints of 20 seconds with extended recovery in between those would be a great assault bike workout. And I’m guessing, of course, but I feel like a lot of people out there are putting in an effort that’s harder than the recommended template. Not saying you’re gonna be racing in the Tour de France anytime soon, but it’s the relative degree of difficulty. So even a moderately fit person can really cook themselves by doing a series of intervals with insufficient rests between them or doing too many or doing it too many times per week. Same with the weight training, of course.
So, um, you could talk to someone who says, Yeah, I do five sets of these and three sets of these and, and then two sets of these. And the aggregate could be considered too stressful, especially if you experience a decline in energy output and a decline in quality, a decline in technique over the course of the workout. So even the most hardcore elite level performers will strongly assert. Mark Bell comes to mind. Power Project is great podcast that I’ve been on, and, um, he and I are working together on projects, very helpful and, um, diverse, uh, content that’ll help you not only get better with strength training, power lifting, which is his core area of expertise, but all kinds of health, diet, fitness endeavors. Go listen to the Mark Bell Power Project podcast and start with my episode. We had a great time.
He does great long form stuff with two other hosts. So, uh, the four of us were hammering for three hours on all kinds of topics. And it’s always fun to connect with those guys at Mark Bell Power Project. Anyway, he contends that your first rep should be just as high quality as your final rep in your workout. Imagine that and compare contrast to a lot of people who are heading into the gym. And when that hour is up, yes, you may be bathed in stress hormones and feeling great that you accomplish something psychologically, your mood, your mentality. But if it was too stressful, that’s when you’re gonna feel these drawbacks and the fallout from the, uh, extreme effort in the hours and days that follow. Uh, now you asked me for a quick fix. I’ve got one for you, man. I gotcha. And it comes from my previous podcast guest,
Dr. Jannine Krause, functional medicine expert. She has a wonderful clinic going up in the Pacific Northwest where she has sort of an exam area, like a traditional functional medicine, uh, clinic. And then across the room are a bunch of fitness, uh, apparatus, weights, uh, all kinds of things. And so what she’ll do is treat people and then head them right over to the other side of the room and see if the treatment is taking and if their stride or their form gets better. So that’s integrative as you can get. And she has great content on Instagram herself. And one of the things she recommends after workouts is what she calls positional parasympathetic breathing. And you are to lie down on the ground and elevate your legs above your heart, uh, after, you know, performing and doing something that you worked hard with your legs, but you wanna lie down, relax, and engage in five to 10 minutes of deliberate nasal diap formatic, gentle breathing as I talked about at length during my breathing podcast.
So, uh, you’re taking these minimal, gentle breaths, however you are engaging all the lungs and inflating the diaphragm each time. So you’re taking what amounts to a deep but relaxing and light breath. And as you lay there on the ground and focus on your breath, this will help you quickly recalibrate to parasympathetic state, or we could say sympathetic parasympathetic balance. Because when you’re doing a workout, you’re triggering fight or flight mechanisms, uh, by, by design, by, that’s desirable, right? You want to get pumped up and perform well in a workout, but it’s nice to try and quickly recalibrate back to homeostasis, and that will minimize the stress impact of the workout. Similarly, uh, the elite runners have been known to wade into the freezing cold stream and stand there for five to 10 minutes and cool off the legs, and also help bring their body temperature back to normal after a workout.
And that will also facilitate quicker recovery. So I would say to David, look at the stress rest balance of the individual workouts and the week as a whole, whole, make sure that you’re well nourished because as we’ve talked about, especially recently with the Energy Balance Reflections episodes in my interviews with Jay Feldman, if you are combining things like fasting, carb restriction, time-restricted feeding with an ambitious workout schedule, these could be stacking too many stress factors. Uh, I’m so excited to launch our new protein product very soon after I record this. Maybe it’s out by the time this thing publishes. But if you can get some protein into your body and other recovery agents like creatine, which is going into this magical formula that I’m about to launch, and that becomes your go-to quick recovery fuel that you consume as a rule immediately after workouts, that is also going to help reduce the stress impact of the workout.
All right, so I promise to move quickly and we go right to Mark Miller’s question. Hey Brad, I’m very interested in your daily routine. You clearly are a convert and a lot of what you’re saying stack up. One question, though, might cuz Mox from Melbourne Australia, and can you believe this, the great nation of Australia represents, uh, I forgot our stats. Sometimes I look, I don’t really, uh, pay too much attention, but it was something like 10% or 6% of all the listenership, which if you look at population Australia has vastly less than 10% or 6% of the USA population. And so, uh, overrepresented in Australia, and I really appreciate the lifestyle down there, the commitment to health, fitness, healthy outdoor, outdoor living. And boy, we’d love to get, uh, a bigger slice of America into the similar type of lifestyle. Uh, we’ve got a big challenge here.
Anyway, uh, Mark says, I understand the concept of strength training is that you don’t wanna train the same muscle group on consecutive days. However, isn’t this what you’re doing with some of your daily routine that is strength training the same muscle group every day without arrest? Hey, fantastic, excellent point and a really important discussion topic because you definitely don’t want to get into a chronic pattern of exercise where you are having difficulty recovering from the previous day’s workout because you’re delivering a consistent level of slightly too stressful stimulation to the body day after day after day. A simple example is the runner who’s going out and running six miles every single day in the name of getting fit, but maybe they’d be better off mixing things up, running one or two miles here, running three or four miles here, maybe running 10 miles once a week, and then kind of, uh, having a little more fluctuation in stress/rest balance.
Now, when it comes to my morning exercise routine, which, of course, you can learn all about by enrolling in the online firstname.lastname@example.org, this is, I put in a different category than an athletic training session in pursuit of a peak performance fitness or competitive goal. So the morning exercise routine is in that category of general everyday exercise and establishing a solid fitness base from which to launch my actual formal training sessions where I’m training for high jumping, sprinting speed, golf, uh, strength training in the gym, whatever I’m doing. So in that sense, my goal is to kind of fly under the radar such that my morning exercise routine is just a staple of my everyday lifestyle and it doesn’t really impact the performance and recovery cycles of my actual formal training sessions. And so what I’ve designed is a routine that for me is really doable and sustainable and lands right there in the medium degree of difficulty category.
And as you’ve heard me talk about with the full show, talking about the benefits and the rationale for doing a morning exercise routine over the years, because I repeat the exact same sequence of exercises every single day. The routine is no trouble for me to complete, but it’s actually, semi-badass in terms of, uh, the duration and the degree of difficulty. So it now lasts, uh, for 40 minutes minimum, and I’m committed to doing that every single day. I have a five and a half year streak going where I haven’t missed a single day. And that’s kind of an extreme commitment for most people, uh, waking up and considering, uh, devoting that slice of pie every single morning. And that’s why I recommend starting out, uh, really modestly I started out my routine, uh, as a 12 minute routine that wasn’t very difficult.
Um, a lot of it was done in bed, sinking into the mattress. I didn’t realize that core exercise is much easier when you’re on a mattress rather than when you’re on the ground. And so I, I took baby steps, baby steps to increase the duration, add more exercises, and elevate the degree of difficulty. And so my final flourish, the last three or four exercises that I do in my template, uh, get me breathing hard. And they’re pretty challenging every single day. The mini bands, for example, where I do 60 forward, 60 backward, and then 20, really hard sprint type type of mini band stretches at the end to, to finish off, that’s tough. My glutes are burning every single time, but it’s right there in that sweet spot where it’s not too much that it’s gonna go mess up my sprint workout or cause next day muscle soreness and so forth.
So in terms of questioning whether I’m training the same muscle groups every single day, yes, exactly, I am, uh, for example, my dumbbell raises, that are also coming at the end, holding onto 10 pound weights. Um, those are work in the back really nicely, but it’s a nice way to wake up my back every single morning, uh, build those muscles, improve my posture, but not cross over that line of being so difficult. I’m not doing two or three or four sets. I’m doing a single set, and the next set will come the next morning. And if it happens to be on a day where I’m going into the gym to perform, for example, the Doug McGuff Big Five Workout sequence, which is a pretty challenging pattern of doing five different full body machine exercises, a single set to total failure. That one’s pretty tough, but my dumbbell raises in the morning certainly aren’t going to compromise my performance in, uh, that challenging workout at the gym.
Okay, so Mike Catlin writes in and he gets the award for most prolific email exchanges in recent times, and he has some really good thoughts. He’s reflective, as I am on, these modifications to the diet to try to maintain optimal cellular energy and nourishment and reporting in his results. So I think you’re gonna like to hear some of these things. Uh, one of the things he got an improvement on was his total testosterone level, which went from 199, which is pretty suck and would be indicating of a lifestyle problem. He bumped that up to 4 54 in a short time. So isn’t that encouraging that when you come into the blood lab and deliver a 199, um, you’re a candidate for replacement therapy that’s just not robust. It’s actually below the range and the range is pretty generous.
In other words, um, I think the, the current range is like 200 to a thousand for serum testosterone. And if you’re not at the bottom end of that range, something is going on, something is blocking your male hormone status that needs to be addressed quickly. It could be sleep, could be, um, consuming processed foods and especially could be over training. And as I’ve mentioned before, when I was a triathlete in my peak years of ages 20 to 30, my serum testosterone was routinely between 200 and 300. So that was really disastrous for a young, healthy, athletic person. But of course, the suppressed male hormone was due to the extreme training regimens and traveling that I was following. It was essentially a very high stress lifestyle. It might as well have been a rockstar partying all night. It might as well have been a Wall Street person working 80 hours a week.
Uh, but it was me writing and swimming and running and getting on airplanes and flying all over the globe and competing. So, um, when you have a high stress lifestyle, even if you’re enjoying it, right, I’m not criticizing or being negative, it’s just that there’s a lot of stress and stimulation and hard work every single day to the extent that the chronic overproduction of stress hormones was suppressing my testosterone to an extreme level. And now happy to report back that in my fifties, which is, you know, way past your male hormone optimization decades. My numbers are much, much better. I put an Instagram post where I had my, my highest result, uh, back in, uh, late 2021, I pulled a 1008 on serum testosterone, and that would put me off the charts above 95th percentile, even for a young person and especially for someone in the older age group.
So that’s just a function of recalibrating to, uh, an optimal training program rather than an overly stressful one. And of course, trying my hardest to nail the other big objectives for male hormone status or female hormone status, right, which would be sleep and a nutrient dense diet free from processed foods. Mike also tripled his free testosterone from three to nine. Um, he says a couple factors helped. One of ’em was supplementing with MOFO from Ancestral Supplements. So, as you may know from my commercials and my lengthy presentation on the website, I’ve been co-promoting this great product with the folks at Ancestral Supplements, including my man ,Liver King, the Instagram sensation, for the last three years. But the response has been so tremendous that it’s gone out of stock, uh, many times. So it’s kind of a bummer, uh, to build the momentum and then it’s gone.
And sometimes it’s gone for a long time because the raw materials are so difficult to source. They all come from New Zealand, from 100% grass-fed cattle. And so I highly encourage you to try this product to get a natural boost in testosterone production from the many great agents that are contained in this formula, which is a compilation of testicle, prostate, heart, liver, and bone marrow. And so you can get these into your diet by swallowing them, putting in a smoothie, whatever, and it’ll help nourish your cells with the great proteins, peptides, enzymes, co-factors, and molecular bio directors that you need to optimize your own hormone status. And, um, that could definitely be a contributing factor to the nice bump that Mike got in his, uh, serum testosterone levels. It also is important to test your, uh, test your blood at the same time every day.
And testosterone, we wanna see that fasted and in the morning time. And he says one of his results was later in the day, so that could cause a little bit lower, uh, but not that much. So he’s definitely made some amazing lifestyle improvements furthering the questions. Uh, how do you consume these supplements? Do you swallow them? You said you put ’em in your smoothie. Do you empty each capsule one at a time? Uh, no. These are capsules made of, uh, obviously, um, edible, uh, gelatin. And so I just dump probably 24 different capsules into my smoothie every day. And that would be six or nine MOFO capsules. And I also use a bunch of other ancestral products. I like their blood vitality, I like the fish eggs, I like the prostate, I like the beef organs, I like the liver. And of course, I’m also putting, uh, grass fed, frozen liver into the smoothie.
So I’m trying to do my best with my organ meat game these days, and I think it really, really helps. I reference an improvement, a real breakthrough in my overall energy vitality performance and recovery, dating back to 2019. So there was a few things that I changed, and I’ve had a great run for the past three years, where prior to that, I had a lot more crash and burn episodes. And one thing I point to is a huge commitment to consuming organ supplements and more nutrient-dense food, especially that knows to tail objective where I’m putting in those animal organs. I’m consuming beef broth every single day. Bone broth is the base of my smoothie is a great way to do it, or you can heat up a warm mug. It’s a great drink. So that’s one. And then second, um, I had a, uh, indulgence into the ketogenic diet, uh, a pretty deep dive while we were working on the book in 2017, 2018, the books, The Keto Reset Diet, Keto for Life, and the Cookbooks.
And I believe that was not really, um, effective for me because it was too stressful to combine, um, ambitious workouts, my older age group, and a severe restriction of dietary carbohydrate in the name of R and D. Keto can be a fantastic tool, uh, a a a short term strategy to, um, kind of clean up your diet, maybe drop some excess body fat and teach your body to become, uh, more efficient, uh, burning cellular energy, uh, you know, kicking up the fat burning engines, learning how to produce ketones for the brain. Uh, but overall, um, I don’t think humans and many people agree with me, uh, Dr. Paul Saladino especially providing a lot of commentary while about his transition from a strict carnivore, which by definition would be keto because there’s hardly any carbohydrates going from strict carnivore to emphasizing nutrient dense carbs, easy to digest carbs like honey and fruit in his diet.
And I’m totally on board with that. So I think it’s for an healthy, active person with peak performance competitive goals, it’s really important to optimize your, your cellular energy and your nutrition at all times. And that includes all the macronutrients, including fruit. Okay? So, um, that’s how I consume my capsules. I just dump ’em into the smoothie easy style. Um, this is Mike commenting on the, uh, emerging trends and, um, trying to be more active and consume more nutritious food to support that more active lifestyle. Uh, Mike jokes that the only time he sits down is when he goes to bed. So he’s busy every day, pretty active. He has his own morning flexibility, resistance exercises, and, uh, also, uh, dabbling in sprinting and going pretty fast actually as he reports back. So, he says, I often wish for something sweeter to eat in my carnivore ish diet.
I’m wondering if you do carbs-cycling. I watched a video by Thomas DeLauer. Sounds like a good idea. So, uh, I’m going to answer carb cycling implies, uh, going in a ketogenic pattern in general, and then taking some opportunities to significantly increase carb intake. Let’s say on the weekend or whatever the pattern is. And the idea there is this will fine tune your insulin sensitivity rather than hedge you down a potentially adverse path into what’s called physiologic insulin resistance. And that’s a symptom that comes about with strict ketogenic enthusiasts where they’re producing so little insulin because they’re eating so few carbohydrates that they actually become insulin resistant. That’s the bad one. That’s the <laugh>, that’s the, uh, the term we use for the disease state of people who chronically overproduce insulin and then have a problem with insulin signaling to the cell.
They’re just producing too much insulin in the bloodstream. And that is the disease and death pattern that we see in western civilization. That’s the number one public health problem in the world these days. Metabolic syndrome slash insulin resistance. So we do not like that physiologic insulin resistance is different than, uh, pathological insulin resistance. That’s the disease state, but it’s certainly no picnic to, uh, all of a sudden become, uh, uh, uh, not good at processing carbohydrates because you rarely eat them. So the carbs cycling ideas to bring those back in. Uh, Thomas DeLauer YouTube sensation, he’s got like 3 million followers, has very interesting high production videos about all aspects of optimizing keto, optimizing fasting. And interestingly enough, he’s my new neighbor in Lake Tahoe. He lives one door away. So in between us, Marty and Mindy, oh my gosh, those guys are gonna get bombarded <laugh> with, uh, health and nutrition advice, huh.
Anyway, he’s a super good guy, and I look forward to doing some podcasting with him soon. He, too, is rethinking the way that he uses the ketogenic diet as a tool to optimize his health and his peak performance. And his backstory is he used to be a fatty guy. I think he’s lost over 100 pounds, using tools like the ketogenic diet and fasting and sharing those tools with everyone. And now he’s Mr. Rip City, and he’s got a fantastic level of fitness, his physique. And so, uh, that consequently is a large part of his rise to popularity. That’s great. But when it comes to carb cycling, I am stepping so far back pedaling, as you know, from my energy balance shows that I’m gonna propose, what about not cycling, but just having them in there all the time?
And could that also be highly effective? And I contend that it is, and I contend that a lot of the problems or the criticism of carbohydrates in the diet of a healthy, active person, uh, could be recalibrated to, uh, make an important distinction between processed carbohydrates and nutrient dense, easy to digest carbohydrates, namely things like fruit. My bowl of fruit that I start every day with. Now, with my ongoing experiment now at month five, mark, I challenge anyone to tell me that this is not healthy for my overall energy production and, nutritional needs. So I’m not cycling anything. I’m continuing, uh, ongoing with daily dietary optimization and choosing the most nutritious and easy to digest foods on earth. So that’s my take on carb cycling. It’s like if you’re gonna cycle, maybe you can, uh, consider a bigger picture and go beyond cycling.
Now, um, most people in the world, maybe not most listeners, I contend that you probably are more concerned with your health and more active and more metabolically healthy than the average person out there. But a lot of people need some tips and tricks and strategies to restrain them from unfettered, indulgent intake of, uh, modern foods, including a whole bunch of carbs that are processed and nutrient deficient. So if you are engaged in carb cycling and that’s keeping you away from crap that you’re tempted to eat all week long, and then on the weekend maybe you do have a pizza, that’s better than having numerous pizzas, right? But I think we have to look at, uh, the basic purpose and the basic strategy and prioritize beyond anything else, beyond timing your fasting periods or counting your macros. The number one goal here is to just clean up the fricking diet already and get rid of processed foods.
And once that’s done, everything else is nuanced and fine tuning and optimization. And when I sit down with Thomas DeLauer, I’m sure we’ll be talking, we could talk probably for hours about fine tuning and optimization, but you shouldn’t even listen or consider anything if you’re still chowing on Oreos now and then, or reaching for Ben and Jerry’s in the evening. Okay. Back to Mike and continuing this thread, this theme about balancing the stress and not going overboard on stress factors. I agree with you on limiting things. There’s a certain point where the cold plunging is at the level of enough. The fasting is enough, enough already. I say, uh, I admit that it’s hard for me to back down. So the point he’s making there, a lot of ambitious health conscious individuals have a tendency to go overboard. And that’s something we all, uh, wanna look at carefully, just as the first question that came about, uh, on the, uh, the stress reaction to training.
I’m constantly trying to rein myself in and recalibrate my stress levels of my workouts. You listen to my 87% show about the training of the greatest middle distance runner on the planet right now, the 21 year old Jakob Ingebrigsten from Norway, and how he never goes beyond 87% of his capacity during workouts. Um, 87, a pretty high number. I mean, he’s moving pretty fast. But if you think about how much easier that is than a true race effort, and if we all get out a pen on paper or calculator and, you know, take 13% off what we’re capable of doing, whether that’s plates on the bar or whether that’s times around the running track, it is a nice comfortable strategy such that you don’t really tank yourself in training and you harness your energy for occasional peak performances rather than overdoing it day in, day out.
And I think a lot of recreational or medium to serious athletes are guilty of that, of going into the CrossFit class or working with that personal trainer one on one and pushing it a little bit too hard to the extent that you’re above your 87% capacity. Uh, so here’s Mike. Talking about hormetic stressors. Uh, this subject is interesting. I agree with the premise that a brief stress creates a beneficial adaptive response, and that’s the reason to subject oneself to stress. But not, not all stressors result in benefits. Uh, the ones that we’re looking for are the ones that create a physical response, like improving physical strength, improving metabolic activity. Um, subjecting one’s self to any stress that has harmful effects is a bad idea. So I ask, this is Mike talking. Is exposure to cold water for a minute or two going to be harmful in terms of the stress that it causes is fasting for a couple of extra hours harmful?
What would liver king say about this? What would Mark sis say about this? Um, Jay Feldman left me with the impression that there aren’t any stressors or stimuli that ultimately are beneficial, but rather we should sit around and take it easy all the time. So that’s great because, um, it’s, uh, possible. It, it shows that Jay’s message can be easily misunderstood. And if you remember him talking, he was talking about, uh, optimizing cellular energy by keeping the cells fully fueled as opposed to fasting, which is stressing the cells. And then you’re trying to exercise and bringing on more stress. And he has great articles on his website, uh, talking about hormesis and how we are widely misinterpreting and misappropriating. This concept of hormesis. Hormesis is defined as a brief stressor that delivers a net positive adaptive benefit. So if you do a set of bicep curls, you are actually stressing the muscle.
Maybe even you’re causing, uh, micro tears to the muscle fiber, so you’re damaging the muscle, but by doing so in an appropriate manner, you’re building a bigger, stronger muscle. And so, uh, Jay’s really important point that has got me, uh, rethinking the concept of hormesis in general, is that we have to distinguish between the stress and the mechanism. And the mechanism is what we’re doing to the body to help it get better and stronger. So when we pick up a weight and we move that weight through a range of motion, uh, asking our joints and our muscles to perform work, we are building, uh, stronger, more resilient joints and connective tissue and, uh, stronger muscle. And so the mechanism of working the muscle, working the weight through a range of motion is making the body stronger. So it, it’s beneficial, uh, but the damage, any damage potentially caused by, uh, something that you’re doing in terms of hormetic stressor is not giving you any benefit whatsoever.
Let’s take another example of my high jump practice. Uh, so I’m working hard. I’m working on my approach. I’m jumping in the air, I’m landing in the pit. I’m trying to clear the bar, and this type of workout is making me overall a stronger, more explosive person. I get a lot of bone density benefits. I’ve improving my balance, my strength, my power, and all these things are gonna contribute to my longevity and my ability to live a long, energetic, active, healthy, happy life, pursuing goals, achieving goals, all that wonderful stuff. Now, when I wake up the next morning and my left heel is burning because of the extreme stress of torquing the body on that curved approach and taking off and trying to clear the high jump bar, my left heel was done no favors from the workout. I sustained damage in pursuit of fitness.
And so the damage could always be characterized as a bad thing. And sometimes we have to accept a little bit of damage in the pursuit of things like fitness, but it’s not part of the reason that we get a benefit. And the way this is widely misinterpreted is this muscle soreness concept. And I think a lot of recreational fitness enthusiasts equate post-exercise muscle soreness with doing their muscles a solid. And that means that you had a good workout. That means that you’re going to get a bigger muscle, um, by and large, you do not need to induce muscle soreness, uh, in order to get fit. And the muscle soreness is damage, and the body has to repair the damage, has to engage the, uh, inflammation control processes and spend energy, uh, valuable energy repairing damaged muscle rather than, uh, for example, using that protein synthesis purely to make bigger and or stronger muscle fibers.
And so we kind of have to put the damage in a different category and try to mitigate that damage if at all possible, and just deliver the appropriate mechanisms to get a fitness response. Same thing with sauna and cold plunging, right? If you spend too long in the sauna, you’re merely going to, uh, increase the overall stress levels of your life. The guys who are working on the roof, uh, during the summertime when it’s a hundred degrees, probably the hottest job you can think of is the roofer in the summer. That’s plenty stressful. I don’t think any of them are engaging in sauna in the evening after their hard day working on the roof and scraping off the old roof and installing the new roof. So, um, there’s no sense over going overboard on any such popular modern hormetic stressor in the name of health.
And maybe just maybe, maybe just maybe, uh, we’re overdoing things routinely in this world of biohacking and extreme health optimization pursuits. Cold pl is another obvious example where if you spend too long in there, you’re going to be so stressed that you get, uh, suppressed immune function and it’s gonna be making for a worse day rather than a better day. So merely by reading and considering, uh, the articles that Jay wrote on his website, I was inspired to reduce the duration of my cold plunge instead of trying to be a badass and go for five or six minutes, which I’m capable of. If the cameras are on me and I’m <laugh> wanting to show off, I can stay in there for a long time and live to tell about it. But to what end, why am I doing that?
And thinking more carefully about, uh, what’s the intended benefit of a cold exposure. And the benefit is that we are so temperature controlled these days that we don’t have anymore thermal stress to speak of in our lives. A recent survey outta the United Kingdom, uh, revealed that we spend 86% of our time indoors and another 7% inside vehicles that might be the train, subway or an automobile. So we spend 93% of the time in temperature controlled environments year round. And that is not, um, anything that’s going to, uh, make us stronger, more resilient human beings. So today we kind of have to simulate a more ancestral experience by occasionally exposing ourselves to temperature challenges. And then of course, the science is overwhelming that, uh, these kick into gear. A whole bunch of adaptive responses like immune boost, anti-inflammatory boost, cellular repair, uh, the highly regarded heat shock proteins that are, uh, released during sauna, or the cold shock proteins that are released during cold exposure are gonna clean up your brain cells and have all these wonderful, uh, health benefits.
But we can’t forget that these are still stress mechanisms that we’re tapping into in order to achieve these health benefits. So we wanna be relatively balanced and sensible with, uh, these practices. Now he mentioned Brian Liver King Johnson, who is fond of extreme cold exposure and extreme fasting. You might have heard me talk about his, uh, quarterly five day fast of just water. So four times a year he and his wife Barbara go to town. They start their five day fast with what Brian calls a failed hunt workout. So that’s an extremely challenging high stress, vigorous workout that depletes glycogen. And then he steps into the fasting period, which is a huge difference from going to an all you can eat banquet at the Las Vegas casino, and then fasting for five days. Cuz the first day and a half you don’t even wanna eat anyway.
So it’s like, come on now this is a little more difficult, right? Um, so does someone that fit and that healthy with that low body fat and that impressive of his physique need to fast for five days every quarter? Does he need to go into his 38 degree cold punch for eight minutes? He asked me if eight minutes was, was okay, was pretty good. And I’m like, Dude, the most I’ve ever gone is five and you’re going eight minutes and 38 degree water. I’d say that’s pretty badass. However, there are profound psychological benefits, especially in comfortable indulgent modern life where we no longer have these ancestral inspired challenges that make us resilient, disciplined, focused, uh, perhaps even more grateful for the comforts and conveniences of modern life. When we overwhelm ourselves with comfort and convenience, boy, we start to get soft.
We start to take things for granted, and we start to compromise our physical health by being weaker and less resilient. Um, think about how sensitive you are personally, let’s say to temperature changes. Oh, it’s so cold, I need to get a different jacket. Or, Oh, I’m, I’m so hot. I can’t stand it out here on the patio anymore. Let’s ask the waitress to move us to an inside table. And all those things are indications that, uh, we have such an extreme preference now for perfection and extreme comfort that we can’t even handle a moderate walk outdoors in a hundred degree heat, which, uh, arguably we should be able to deal with these things and carry on with a smile. So, I put in a big plug and a great amount of respect for Liver King pushing the envelope and becoming a very focused, disciplined, and competitive human being and living his best life, uh, through, um, extreme challenges.
And my show with Dr. Anna Lembke, author of Dopamine Nation, Geez. I mean, when we have this pain pleasure principle that is known to science, uh, when you experience a little bit of difficulty, challenge, persevere through an ordeal, you get a corresponding pleasure response, a sustained pleasure response in the body. And so putting yourself through a little bit of difficulty, and let’s say on your morning run or your morning gym session the rest of the day, you’re gonna have a feeling and a sense of wellbeing for the accomplishment that you did, as opposed to someone who just took everything easy and made everything as easy and efficient as possible. Okay? So you get all that? I think it’s really important stuff to reflect upon and optimize the level of stress and also understand the difference between the mechanism and the stress.
And boy, I got tons of more content on this topic coming up soon. I’m gonna do a show with Mark Sisson, uh, because he has a lot to say in response to this concept of energy balance and striving for full cellular nutrition at all times. He’s of course committed to a closed loop system, he calls it where he is, um, engaging in routine extended fasting every day on sort of that 16 and eight pattern that is talked about frequently. And being highly fat adapted to where he can last for long periods of time without relying on external calories because he’s good at burning fat, he’s good at making ketones, he’s good at storing glycogen and burning it when necessary for a workout, for example. And so if you get so strong and resilient that these things aren’t so stressful like a five day quarterly fast or a 16 hour fast every day that’s a great, uh, counterpoint where you’re, you’re well adapted and your stress is in balance because you’re so good at manufacturing cellular energy internally.
Okay, here’s an interesting question. Hey, Brad. Kearns, promoter of the animal-based diet. What’s up with consuming greens, as in your commercial for athletic greens? I’ve heard many people promoting these, Tim Ferris, Andrew Huberman, and many more. Um, what would Dr. Saladino say about this? Does athletic greens address these concerns about anti-nutrients and anti enzymes? Fair point, mate. Fair point. So the concentrated dose of nutrition that you’re getting from a green powder product, which is so popular these days, and yes, I have dabbled in this and sometimes put it into my smoothie. So perhaps my rationale is I’m getting many of the highly touted benefits of the nutritious plant foods without having to actually sit down and consume these large quantities of salad, stir fries and things that I’ve eliminated from my diet, uh, as I mentioned frequently and focusing more on the most nutritious animal-based foods that might be flawed logic on my case where, um, I’m taking a couple scoops of this, so I’m still perhaps exposing myself to the things that Dr.
Saladino doesn’t want us consuming the antinutrients that are contained in the plants. And it’s a really fair point. I’m gonna contend that I’m not sensitive, and so I don’t have any adverse reaction, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t take something. But I’ve done further research and reflection on this topic, honestly. And my conclusion is that I think it would be better to have a fruit-based powder because then you are getting, uh, all the intended benefits of this type of supplementation, antioxidants, and micronutrients abundant, but without that concern that are coming with some of the, uh, the produce, the vegetable based plants, and whether they’re in a powdered form or in their whole food form. Indeed it could be problematic for certain people. And so I’m in the process of R and D for a fruit-based powder that will be a wonderful addition to a smoothie or something you could mix in plain water that would taste good, taste a little fruity, and give you a great nutritional boost.
So thank you so much for giving me the straight feedback there. And of course, I always welcome it and, uh, love to be challenged on the stuff that I’m doing. And then, uh, be honest about my recalibrations and my evolution.
Okay, maybe let’s do one more. All the way from veer, that would be Sweden and Par Londeau writes in. I’m a returning listener of your podcast all the way from Sweden. Thank you for an interesting and thoughtful podcasts. You’re both an entertainer and insight for providing person and podcaster. That is so cool to imagine here in my tiny little studio, talking to myself and knowing that I’m connecting with people from as far away as Melbourne, Australia or Sweden. And boy, those two guys are pretty far away from each other, huh? So, uh, thanks for meeting up here on the B.rad podcast sending in Q and As.
I just listened to your show. Par says about staving off belly fat and cleaning up diet. In that episode, you mentioned the faulty idea or the causality that egg can increase cholesterol, egg consumption can increase cholesterol. And he wants to write in and say that he’s living proof that this actually can happen. If your egg consumption is too high, you can get a dramatic spike in your cholesterol levels such that you would bring about concern, especially in the traditional medical community. So, Par describes, uh, a period of six, 12 months where he ate around eight to 20 eggs every single day, and his cholesterol went up to extremely high levels. European values. That’s 25.8. I don’t know how that correlates to the traditional, US scoreboard where they don’t want your LDL over 200 or so. So, uh, I know you speak highly of eggs, Brad, but keep in mind, some people might react in a bad way.
I know that eggs are some of the most nutritious foods, but there might be a limit for certain people. Uh, keep up the good work. Now, um, I just listened to Dr. Paul Saladino, one of my favorite resources on this subject, and the expert guest that he’s had on his show talking about cholesterol. Paul himself was going over some of his blood work, which he does regularly, and he references back in his strict carnivore days, his cholesterol got up to 500 and he wasn’t the least bit concerned. I know this is a matter of life and death, so it’s kind of a big deal about who to believe and who to follow, and who’s full of crap and who’s behind the times. There seems to be some strong, strong evidence and argument that mainstream Western medical approach and the very dated quote, lipid hypothesis of heart disease, is now being destroyed by many respected people who have made this their life’s work.
The lipid hypothesis of heart disease began in the sixties, and it was the, uh, the notion that if you consumed a lot of dietary cholesterol and consumed a lot of dietary fat the cholesterol would form plaque on the walls of your arteries and you would kick into gear, the heart disease, heart attack process. And so that was when we were collectively steered away from consuming saturated fat, away from consuming nasty foods like eggs and red meat, and instead directed to consume things like margarine and polyunsaturated vegetable oils instead of saturated fat. And this has been arguably the greatest health disaster in the history of public health and government dietary recommendations. Not just in the US but all the countries that we’ve exported it to in recent decades, as we have a tendency to do with things like this.
The people that are, uh, leading the charge here to, to, uh, turn the, turn the subject, there’s a great many books, great many experts I mentioned, Saladino and the guests he’s had on his podcasts, uh, like, um, Thomas Dayspring and, uh, Dave Feldman, I think are two cholesterol specific experts. Uh, Dr. Ron Sinha and Dr. Cate Shanahan, both of them MDs, treating real people, real patients. Cate’s a family physician, Dr. Shaw’s an internal medicine specialist. And they are contending that where we want to turn our attention to is the triglycerides to HDL ratio in the blood. And when that becomes favorable, you have a nice thumbs up in terms of your minimal heart disease risk. So if you can get that HDL up, you want it to be at least over 40, and you want your triglycerides to be at least under a hundred.
The mainstream recommendation is under one 50. Dr. Sinha would like us to go for under a hundred instead. And ideally, you want to get that ratio to one to one or better. So you want triglycerides and HDL to be, let’s say 75 and 75, and that indicates that your blood is doing good things and you don’t have those adverse values that raise eyebrows. And for many decades, we’ve looked directly at ldl, You know how they say the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol extremely oversimplified, inaccurate, and misappropriated. And so now it’s time to expand the lens to realize that LDL is extremely important to large values are generally harmless if you have a favorable triglycerides to HDL ratio. And if you don’t, if you have high triglycerides, for example, it’s possible that your LDL levels could cause a little trouble, especially the small dense variety of LDL
And now you can test further for cholesterol particle size if you do feel like you are in the, um, elevated risk factor zone. But fortunately all this stuff can be righted very quickly with dietary modification. So even if you do have bad blood values, you can, uh, correct these things so quickly. I say all this right now because it’s possible that someone like Dr. Saladino would look at Par’s extreme spike in LDL cholesterol and not be worried about it in the slightest and say, Go ahead and continue to eat your 20 eggs a day. But again, I reiterate, I know this is scary stuff. It’s uncertain. It’s very, very difficult to stand up in the face of your perhaps long, trusted family physician and say, You know what? I’ve been hearing a bunch of podcasts talking about how LDL is no big concern, or that triglycerides to HDL are more important blood markers.
And, if they think otherwise, it’s difficult to extricate from, for example, a doctor’s recommendation to take a little statin. And I know so many people who are taking statins. Every one of them says it’s a really low dose. I’m sure they got that verbiage from the doctor. But we also have a counterpoint that even, uh, mild statin use can be highly counterproductive. Um, it’s not shown to be effective in reducing your heart disease risk factor. Dr. Sinha often references a meta study out of UCLA. A meta study is a study of hundreds of other study conclusions. So it’s very highly respected, conclusions coming out of things like meta studies. And this meta study that he talks about revealed that I believe it was 80% of heart attack victims had LDL levels that were considered to be in the safe range. A lot of that 80% were on statins to artificially suppress their LDL
Thereby they were subject to an assortment of side effects, uh, from consuming those statins, especially compromised cellular energy production, uh, as we’ve heard about with statins. And again, uh, I’m not standing here trying to be a cholesterol expert, but I do urge you to open your mind and listen to people who are experts and farm your own opinions. And to close it on a simple, fun, inspiring note, just clean up your diet, get rid of the processed foods, and you’re gonna be well on your way to improved health, better blood markers and so forth. Thank you so much for listening to the Q and A show. And why don’t you write in you can ask a question, you can give feedback, you can give a personal report. I’d love to share all kinds of commentary, to the email address of email@example.com. Da da da.
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