I made it all the way to 2023 without getting Covid, but in January I was forced to check out from my everyday life, sleep more, and rest as I recovered after testing positive.
I even broke my six-year long streak of performing my morning movement routine every single morning without fail, but this gave me a wonderful chance to reflect on my health and my habits with fitness and food. In this Q&A episode, I talk about if fasting is okay when you have an illness, how to feed your dog in the healthiest way possible, my favorite nutritious carbs for peak performance, and how I feel about doping in sports—particularly in regard to my previous guest Shelby Houlihan’s situation.
Enjoy the show!
Whenever Brad has an illness, he tries not to eat much thinking that the body can heal itself faster when giving the digestive system a break. [00:47]
The first question is from Jordan asking about how to improve his dog’s diet. [08:46]
Another listener asks about how Brad prepares his intake of liver. He chops it into little pieces and freezes them. [12:55]
David De la Rosa asks how do I feed myself during training racing for a long endurance event? Endurance athletes out there should be consuming a ton of fresh fruit and other nutritious, easy-to-digest carbs that work for them. [15:48]
Brenna criticizes Brad’s comments in the podcast with Shelby Houlihan about her ingesting of a banned substance. [19:47]
David from Spain is working on his diet and is concerned about adding carbs. Brad’s response is when you have good metabolic health that equals metabolic flexibility, you are going to be able to burn whatever sources of energy you need to thrive. [30:35]
David also asks about his training approach. With his very active training approach, he’s wondering about switching his tempo runs and intervals with a less stressful Maffetone style. [39:38]
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- Is Brad Natty or Not? part 1
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The brain is a glucose-burning organ, as is preferentially, uh, the heart and the red blood cells.
Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life without taking ourselves too seriously. I’m Brad Kearns, New York Times bestselling author, former number three, world ranked professional triathlete and Guinness World Record Masters athlete. I connect with experts in diet, fitness, and personal growth, and deliver short breather shows where you get simple actionable tips to improve your life right away. Let’s explore beyond the hype hacks, shortcuts, and sciencey. Talk to laugh. Have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.
Hello, listeners. Happy 2023. Thank you so much for emailing me podcast@Bradventures.com is the address, and I will not rest until I cover all the questions, but first, I suppose I should give you a little update here in early 2023. I made it all the way to 2023 without getting Covid. And then on January 1st, yeah, got my first double stripe positive test. I’m not gonna offer a bunch of reflections. I think we talk about it too much. But one thing I’ll note is that, uh, having to check out of normal, everyday hectic, high stress, modern life, in this case, a forced sidelining. It’s not a bad thing Once in a while, you know. I enjoyed, I appreciated sleeping a little extra, not having that urgency to get up and engage. Um, I broke my streak of, I think right around six years, maybe more of performing my morning exercise routine every single day without fail.
And so now I’m starting a new streak and we’ll see how long it goes. What else? Oh, uh, my experiment that I’ve talked about a lot, the energy balance experiment to consume more calories, more carbohydrates, especially trade in my historical morning fasting period for an early morning feeding of huge bowl of fruit and giant protein smoothie that I’ve talked about so much over the past nine months on the podcast. And I kept reporting that I had the same weight and same body composition. And then I think I gained a couple pounds finally, and I think it also was triggered, prompted by my foot surgery on November 17th. So while I was remaining active and rehabbing and feeling great doing things like strength training and cycling, I stopped sprinting, which has such a profound effect on body composition, particularly to keep you to get that final few pounds of excess body fat off and down to, uh, the most appropriate racing weight for a sprinter.
Knowing that, as I’ve talked about in detail on my shows, covering sprinting that the genetic signaling to, uh, to reduce excess body fat is so profound with sprinting because the penalty is so profound for carrying around a little extra weight. So I think even though I was cycling strength training, doing my morning exercise routine, that lack of high impact running sprinting caused me to add back a couple few pounds of extra body fat. And so that was my opportunity for my first reflection on this somewhat outta control or over the top, uh, effort to just throw down as much food as I possibly could and kind of break free from some of the regulatory behaviors that I’ve put into place to keep me in check, such as, you know, trying to control my popcorn intake as I did, uh, an entire show on that topic and control my dark chocolate consumption because I have a penchant for consuming mass quantity.
So I put all that stuff on the sideline for eight months and just ate whatever I want whenever I wanted, and made that purposeful effort in the morning to, you know, chow down a, a huge quantity of fruit and the huge protein smoothie. So finally, the experiment resulted in adding a couple pounds of body fat from what I was carrying for a long time. So it was extra food and then stopping sprinting. And so, that was the reflection point where I said, you know, I don’t have to go out of my way to go and look for extra calories as part of my science experiment. I can kind of settle into a behavior pattern where I’m honoring my natural cycles of appetite and satiety and <laugh> in concert with my illness. All of a sudden, the extra pounds of body fat are gone.
So, I guess you could say pulling back the reins a little bit, not going overboard, trying to eat more food. And then secondly, I should convey my strategy. And whenever I have an illness, minor or significant, I try not to eat because I think the body can repair from illness faster when you’re giving the digestive system a break and not, devoting energy to digesting food. So I ate very little food for many days while I was down with Covid, and I contend that it helped me recover faster or lessen the severity of the illness. I basically, what I did was I’d fast for about 24 hours every day, and then finally when I couldn’t take it, or just really wanted to get something to eat, I’d have a really simple meal. I think I ate steak or ground beef and sweet potatoes for several days in a row, and that’s about it.
And so that’s kind of, what I report as an effective strategy to deal with any illness, especially like a minor cold coming on where you start to get a little stuffy, a little heady, maybe a little bit of a scratchy throat. I will, and I’ve done this for years, stop eating at that point, uh, when the minor symptoms occur and start, you know, consuming a lot of water, making sure I’m getting my L M N T and electrolytes. So I was bombing those throughout my week where I was down with covid, and seems like a prudent strategy to help the body kick into high gear with immune function. And as I talked about in detail on my two shows, is Brad Natty or not Part one and part two, I also try to greatly minimize my consumption of any medications for pain relief or any relief when I have an illness in the interest of healing more quickly, especially things like anti-inflammatories for nagging aches and pains.
I want to feel all that inflammation. I want to feel the effects of whatever condition I have to regulate my behavior for one. And also the allow, allow the body’s natural healing mechanisms to take place. So my only, uh, caveat to that is if I can’t sleep or I’m in so much suffering that it’s potentially or clearly affecting my ability to heal and get the rest and recovery, i n recovery, I need to heal, that’s when I’ll reach for the bottle. So during my bout with Covid, I took a thousand Tylenol, uh, one evening so I could sleep cuz I was just suffering so much, I, I couldn’t sleep. Terrible headache. And then I think I took a 500 dose the next day again to try to sleep and get some rest. And that was it throughout the whole duration.
And I was getting all kinds of helpful advice from people who had suffered before offering up their concoctions of this and that medication. I would rather just, uh, you know, suffer in silence and have the belief that I’m gonna beat it more quickly when I don’t tamp down all the symptoms in the interest of feeling more comfortable. It’s just not comfortable anyway to slice it. And so I choose to go cowboy style and works for me until further notice <laugh>, as I said. Okay. So there’s my update for 2023, and then we jump into the questions. So most of these come from email. Some of them come from, uh, comments on YouTube videos and we’re gonna integrate those, when appropriate.
So Jordan writes in from YouTube, Hey, can you point me in the right direction to learn how to change my dog’s diet? I have a one year old Frenchy, 28 pounds, I want to put him on a carnivore diet. Can I get away with just feeding him nothing but raw hamburger, raw beef, and cooked chicken? And how much would I feed him a day? Uh, so great topic because, we have that I guess, controversy or different camps of, uh, what’s the best human diet? And these are loud and passionate, uh, groups. People have dedicated their lives and their research and, uh, high advocates of a plant-based diet where animal foods are <laugh>, apparently evil and promoting of, uh, heart disease and all those kind of things. And then we have the very popular, especially the recent emergence of the carnivore diet movement talking about the benefits of an animal-based diet to the extent of even eliminating many of the popular plant foods that are highly regarded for their nutritional benefits, but could be causing problems, due to their presence of the natural plant toxins, gluten being the most familiar one.
But we also have phytates, oxilates and things that are in, uh, high concentrations, especially when you’re consuming plants in raw form like with your salad, your kale smoothie, things of that nature. So it’s interesting to, follow the debate back and forth, do some experimenting, see what works for you. But when it comes to your pet, your dog, we are talking about a different species, which is a pure carnivore descending from wolves. And so it’s difficult to dispute that a dog will be best served to consume a completely carnivore diet. Some of the experts recommend throwing in things, uh, like some blueberries here and there, or some yogurt or some sweet potatoes. But when we look at the mainstream approach to feeding dogs, it’s been a huge disaster. And the domesticated animals suffers from all these conditions, uh, that are, you know, unique to humans and or they’re domesticated pets.
So obesity and the, uh, prevalence of cysts that you see in older dogs, um, these are largely driven by a disastrous diet that’s especially harmful for a dog, not to mention a human eating a lot of processed foods. So when you go and buy that big bag of kibble, maybe you can draw an analogy or imagine yourself living on potato chips <laugh> every day for your entire life. That is 100% processed foods that’s not species appropriate. I’ll link this show to a great article on Mark Daily Apple, when he talked about carnivore diet for, uh, dogs and cats. But there’s very little dispute. I talked about the various human diet camps where there’s a lot of dispute, but when it comes to feeding a dog, yeah, the ideal would be raw meat. And the problem here is if your beautiful little dog has been eating kibble for two years, five years, or eight years, there will be some difficulty in that dietary transition.
I experienced that with my dogs as I tried to move them further and further into a species appropriate carnivore style diet and away from the consumption of kibble that was the centerpiece prior to that. So, um, there’s all kinds of great resources that you can plug into to try to get that dog transitioning. But one year old, great time to do it. And looking at those things like raw organs and raw beef, that’s gonna be a big win overall. And I guess the, layperson’s advice here would be, you know, you can transition gradually so that your dog’s digestive system has the time to adjust. So, if you’re going from a kibble diet, you start putting on some sardines or some lightly cooked beef on top, and they’re gonna love the heck out of it, and your dog will probably guide you to the things that he or she prefers more than others. And then you’re on your way to a more species appropriate diet. Good luck.
Here comes another comment from YouTube, Brad, I can’t stand the taste of liver no matter how hard I try to hide it. I read about how you freeze it and eat the chunks. Is this cooked or raw when you pop the bites into the freezer? So I take the raw liver and slice it up into little squares and then freeze it so it’s raw. It takes a while to thaw out. So I can’t just reach into the freezer and take a nice little liver square because they kinda, you know, bunch together in a frozen state. But in a few minutes, I’m able to kind of reengage with the small bites and then I will salt those heavily per Dr. Paul Saladino recommendation and just put the cube into my mouth and chew it lightly.
And it doesn’t have that super strong taste of liver, nor the jelloy consistency that turned a lot of people off. Uh, it’s also great to pan fry it lightly in a cast iron skillet where you can cut up a slice and, you know, sear it on both sides. The middle’s still gonna be pretty tender, and that’s a good way to prepare liver. And then what I also do besides eating those raw chunks is I will throw the chunks into the blender as part of my smoothie. The taste is pretty strong, so you’re gonna have to use a lot of fruit and other flavoring. So I put a lot of frozen fruit in there, so it’s not just a liver dominant taste in the smoothie. But all those ways work and as many of the experts are conveying, you don’t have to consume a ton of it every day.
So I’ve seen recommendations to strive to consume around an ounce per liver of day. A few handful of ounces a week total. And that’s gonna give you the incredible nutrient density of liver and all the wonderful benefits without having it to be this huge centerpiece of your diet, especially if you find the taste unpleasant. No excuses, man. Get your liver game going. And, my mom who’s listening to the show cuz she’s doing the transcript, remembers fondly her childhood, one of her favorite meals of cooking liver and onions. And she contends that anybody who, uh, learns how to cook it properly and get some nice flavoring on there, especially with the fried onions, it actually tastes pretty good. And so, um, try cooking it to the point where you can say, Hey, you know, this is a pretty pleasant taste. No complaints.
I believe people will soak the liver in milk for a while to kind of take away some of the, the stronger tastes before pan frying it. But certainly it’s not the demon it’s made out to be in terms of this terrible thing that you have to choke down in the name of health, especially, uh, when it’s frozen raw little chunks. You cannot taste that liver taste, you salt it up and pop it in your mouth. It’s great.
David De la Rosa writes in Buenos dias. , This is my concern. How do I feed myself during training racing for a long endurance event? When I’m following, the protocols in such books as Keto Reset Diet, Primal Endurance, where the recommendation is to get fat adapted and have a lot of nutritious fats as the centerpiece of your diet, and then minimize the consumption of processed carbohydrates, which can be pretty harmful to endurance athletes, especially during exercise when the digestive tract is not well adapted to processing, assimilating a lot of calories, but, we have a penchant for sucking down those gels and eating those blocks, those cubes, or drinking a lot of calories in a powdered energy drink.
to get those carbs in the body to perform can very easily and very commonly causes a lot of digestive distress. And so one way to counteract that is to get better at burning fat where you don’t need a ton of carbs while you’re performing. And that happens through appropriate endurance training, training at the right heart rates, as well as, transitioning to a diet that’s minimizing these processed carbohydrates and this massive consumption of carbohydrates in general. So, thanks for the question. And when you’re trying to perform, you do need an appropriate level of carbs, especially when you’re going at a race level where you’re pushing your body hard and trying to go quickly over the whatever endurance course that you’ve chosen. Um, but I think we can do a, a great job just ditching the processed carbs and emphasizing the nutrient dense carbs, as I’ve talked about with my experiment.
So endurance athletes out there should be consuming a ton of fresh fruit and other nutritious, easy-to-digest carbs that work for them. So we do wanna honor the concerns about plant toxins that are shared by the carnivore, the animal-based community, and examining those high risk categories that are roots, seeds, stems, and leaves. Those have the highest levels of plant toxins, especially when they are in raw form. And those toxins can be greatly neutralized when you soak sprout, ferment or cook. So if you’re eating a raw spinach salad, spinaches has one of the highest oxylate levels of any food, uh, can cause problems with kidneys, can co cause problems with nutrient absorption. But when you pan fry the spinach, saute the spinach you are neutralizing those toxins and making it much more easy to digest. So, the, the game here as an endurance athlete is to get good at digesting and assimilating the calories you need for performance.
And some of that might be straight sugar or those sugar type products, but through training you can get much better at that. And that’s kind of, I think, the forgotten message when, uh, a lot of endurance athletes are out there mixing and matching and trying a different product and seeing this one agrees with their stomach, or maybe the blueberry flavor agrees with their stomach more than the <laugh>, than the strawberry. And I think a lot of those concerns and those stomach sensitivities that are so common in the endurance scene can be mitigated by getting in better shape. So that would be my, um, cheeky answer to David’s question, is you just keep training, keep working at it and ingesting the calories you need. And of course, experimenting with different types of calories. Things like dried fruit, <laugh>, they were, they were the go-to substance, whatever 40 years ago before the advent of anything like a power bar or an energy gel. And now it seems like, uh, we’re coming full circle to realize that the natural products like a dried fruit might be more agreeable than the high-tech designer supplements. But it’s all personal and, and, uh, requiring a lot of experimentation out there. Okay
So Brenna writes in to comment specifically on my interview with Champion American female, middle long distance runner, Shelby Houlihan and the doping violation that she, uh, sustained, uh, a couple years ago and is serving a four-year ban knocking her out of the major championship meets. And it was a pretty, um, heartbreaking story due to the many circumstances involved that seemed like she was getting a raw deal and perhaps getting an extremely severe penalty here in the prime of her career by questionable means, like lack of due process in the legal case, and then the fact that she tested positive for a very trace amount of a performance-enhancing drug that’s on the banned list, but an amount that is, agreed not to confer a performance advantage, if you get what I’m saying.
I mean, think that’s the strongest part of her case was that she wasn’t busted, quote unquote, with a whole bunch of shit running through her bloodstream that was confirmed to make her a superhuman athlete that can go and break records. It was more like, you know, microscopic amount. The testing is so sophisticated these days that if you come up <laugh>, you can come up positive for something that’s, you know, a very, very trace amount that can be, uh, ingested by a, a number of means where the athlete might not even know how it got in there. And unfortunately, that was the tough part of Shelby’s case where she told the truth. She said, I have no idea what happened here. And so she had to go on a guessing game of her own to mount a defense, because the burden of proof is on the athlete when you get a positive test.
In other words, you have to say, this positive test came because I took this tainted supplement, which if you test, you will find, has trace amounts of a banned substance, and I’m sorry, I took it and I apologize. And then if you can prove that it was because you took this banned supplement, they will greatly lessen your sentence or let you off. In Shelby’s case, she went with the now infamous pig burrito defense. So she, uh, contended that she ingested some tainted meat from a Mexican food truck where she went after practice the day before she delivered the urine sample that got her into trouble. And that was proven to be a poor defense. So her, her case was basically, beaten to heck by the doping authorities in court where they said, no, this is so improbable as to be non-existent, non-existent odds that you actually ingested this trace amount of nandrolone from the pig burrito.
So that was her legal team, I would say, in my personal opinion, screwing up and not offering a very strong defense, which possibly, leads me to believe her story even more where she has no freaking idea how this substance got into her body and mounted a poor defense because they were struggling and reaching at straws to say something because you have to say something. You can’t just lie down and say, gee, I don’t know, uh, or you get your four-year ban. But anyway, Brenna’s says, look, your defense, Brad, it boils down to quote, why would she risk doping if she’s number one? So I’m not gonna accept you putting those words in my mouth. That’s not at all what I said, but if I conveyed that somehow, I’m sorry, because it’s sort of like, it’s logic that doesn’t belong in the, in the story, why would she risk doping if she’s number one?
Well, a lot of people risk doping if they’re number one, so they can get to number one or stay to number one. And, Brenna points out correctly, many athletes dope to get to number one. So again, I completely challenged that I meant that thought that, or conveyed that, but anyway, that’s how it came off. So, I’m sorry. And going on with Brenna, it’s completely believable that an athlete would dope to get there and stay there. Yes, of course it is. It also looks like you neglected to mention Brad, some important research about the case. Ross Tucker has provided a really strong theory of what this positive test could be fro, and nearly everyone has acknowledged that nandrolone can give athletes a performance advantage. Have you read Tucker’s article? Thank you very much. Yes, I have. It was outstanding. It was extremely lengthy.
I’ve also listened to him talk for an hour on podcasts, and that’s kind of what I alluded to at the start, was that her defense, Shelby’s defense was totally botched and it was highly ridiculed, deservedly so. So they pretty much proved that the chances of getting, a trace amount of nandrolone from a pig burrito was, uh, non-existent. I will point out in, in, uh, in support of Shelby that the due process that was not there during her case was pretty rough. When we’re all familiar with or at least, have a sense of familiarity with our legal rights, when we get caught doing something wrong, we usually have the chance to engage with the prosecution and figure out what they’re gonna say, be prepared, all that kind of thing. Um, and that, that really was, um, sort of draconian in the way they, they treat these athletes when they get a positive test.
One thing, that occurs me to to reiterate here was that, um, she tested positive for a trace amount versus a performance enhancing amount. And this part is really one of the big challenges in the doping system. This goes back to the days with Mark Sisson when he was head of the anti-doping commission for the, uh, sport of triathlon. Um, there was one athlete that tested positive for an opiate, and it was traced back to eating a poppy seed bagel with the trace amount occurring on the poppy seeds. And it was like I think that athlete got off, um, showing that you could consume a poppy seed bagel and potentially test positive for the opiate in question. And, in Ross Tucker’s analysis here, um, he contends or, or proposes the idea that the type of nandrolone that, or, or the amount and the chemical makeup of the nandrolone could have been ingested from taking a, uh, a precursor type of supplement.
So this would be something that is banned because it’s a hormone precursor, it helps you make the hormone. One good example is D H E A is a precursor to the sex hormone. So, taking D H E A, you can go buy it in a, on Amazon, you can buy it from a vitamin store and it’s over the counter legal, all those kind of things. But I believe it’s banned for the Olympic, uh, athletes because it’s a precursor to helping you make more testosterone. And so, as one of the points made in the lengthy Tucker article is that someone testing positive for this isotopic signature of minus 23.8, to get a little technical here, Houlihan’s signature of her positive test was very close. So it was similar to what you would get from, uh, consuming a precursor, which puts a little bit of suspicion on the athlete, taking something that they’re not supposed to.
But again, when we’re talking about trace amounts, I feel like someone needs to swoop in. If it’s me and they, they call me, I will be happy to do it. Someone needs to swoop in with common sense, uh, when it comes to this, uh, punishment and testing system that’s taking place in major sports. And we’re talking about real people, real athletes destroying their lives, turning them upside down, from lack of due process and a questionable, uh, a questionable correlation between the offense and the punishment. So if she had really bad luck, Shelby, and delivered a positive test, okay, how about you, ban her for four months or something? That really sucks because she did miss the world championships when she first came up with her positive test. But four years is a similar ban to the many athletes in the endurance sports that have been cold blood busted for having elevated levels of EPO or testing positive for the drug EPO, which confers a massive performance advantage.
And it is flat-out disgraceful cheating, where if you dope up sufficiently, you will blow away world-class competition due to the chemically enhanced body of you running around the track with a hematocrit level of 53 or whatever an EPO enhanced athlete can get up to and get a, a noted, confirmed 6% advantage in endurance performance. So if you take 6% off the winning time, uh, gold medal on the 10,000 meters in the Olympics, the person’s gonna be lapping the <laugh>, some of the best athletes in the world. That’s a disgrace. And we need to get rid of all that type of behavior in sports where these desperate athletes will cheat their asses off. And, boy, what a huge difference from someone who tests positive for trace amount seems believable and goes onto a YouTube video and says, look, I love running, I love competing fairly, I don’t know how this got into my body.
I’m distraught, I’m upset. I don’t know what to do. It was highly believable to me anyway. But hey, as I admitted, I’m pretty gullible cuz I believe the Liver King and I also believed Lance Armstrong. Um, but let me just finish this, uh, with, uh, Ross Tucker’s very, uh, measured and thoughtful presentation. He says, we must remember that standard of proof for the athlete is on the balance of probability, which means Houlihan can’t just say, I promise it was an accident. She has to provide explanations that are more probable than their non occurrence. And she absolutely didn’t do that, and that’s why her four year band stood. It’s a rough story and I do look forward to seeing Shelby back on the track when her suspension is over.
Next David from Spain. All right, thank you for listening to the podcast in Spain, which is Gracias. I’ve been reading and listening for a long time, but I’ve never sent you an email. After following a keto diet since I read the Keto Reset Diet and then a carnivore diet, after reading Dr. Saladino and Dr. Baker’s books, I started to question things. Now with your series of podcasts on the energy balance ideals, uh, things are getting even more clear or, maybe confusing. <laugh>, I’m 50 years old, I’m very active, I do full contact karate. I’m doing the shift adapt breathing protocols from Brian McKenzie, former podcast guest. I do things like, um, CrossFit wads. I like running. I participate once or twice a year in endurance competitions like a Spartan race or a trail marathon. Um, I chose carnivore because I thought it would be ideal for me to help me with injuries, recovery stress and my experience has been mostly positive, but my sleep sucks.
It also may be due to an electrical imbalance, because I’ve suffered a couple muscle tears, calf and hamstring in recent times. And as you mentioned my carnivore regime is so strict that I’m, uh, tend to, uh, break the diet every 10 to 15 days binging on cookies and junk food. So after listening to your shows, I started to include more fruit and eat to satiety so that my cravings were reduced, which has been a big help. I also, uh, wanna make sure that I’m keeping my fat burning capacity even if I add in more fruit. So I’m wondering when I add in more carbs and perhaps some of the other easy-to-digest plants from the Carnivore Scores Chart is this going to adversely effect my fat burning? Okay. Good question.. Thank you. I hope you guys followed.
So he’s went, you know, full heavy into a carnivore style diet, pursuing all those vaunted benefits, but he’s also, uh, performing his butt off and being very active and obviously burning a lot of carbohydrates with a regimen as as described. So, let’s establish here that when you have good metabolic health that equals metabolic flexibility, you are going to be able to burn whatever sources of energy you need to thrive. And adding carbs back to your diet is not going to adversely affect your status as a fat burner. Furthermore, if you listen to my shows with Jay Feldman, he will have that very, sort of mind-bending observation that maybe this obsession with being a, uh, priority fat burner is misplaced and the difference in the NAD to NAD plus ratio, as he described, he got into the the science a bit, but it effectively, the message there was that carbohydrates burn more efficiently with less oxidative stress than fat.
And that fat is sort of the survival mode for the human. And if we had the chance or we had the option, Jay argues that we wanna prioritize burning carbohydrates or giving our bodies sufficient carbohydrates to be able to burn what we need rather than have to kick over into emergency type metabolism with making ketones in the extreme example or trying hard through, uh, strategies like fasting to be a prioritized fat burner. Now I asked Jay this as a follow up question because there is that known advantage, when you’re performing in endurance sports to get more efficient with fat burning so you can last longer without tapping into your glycogen store so you can compete or, or train at a faster pace while still, burning predominantly fat. And so he acknowledged that that’s different than what we’re striving to operate on at rest.
And at rest we wanna be metabolically flexible so that if God forbid we have a hot fudge Sunday, it’s not gonna ruin the rest of our evening passed out on the couch from that sugar bomb. No, we should be able to gracefully, ingest something like that even though it’s not gonna be that graceful because, um, when we ingest process nutrient deficient food, it’s going to interfere with our body’s ability to manufacture cellular energy internally. So there is no call ever to consume processed food or junk food, especially for an athlete, a fitness enthusiast. But when you’re consuming nutritious sources of carbohydrates and giving yourself enough to be in the, somewhere on the spectrum of burning fat and burning carbs efficiently in different cells throughout the body, and that’s another important point when we obsess about fat burning, is that certain parts of the body need to burn glucose.
The brain being the most prominent one. The brain is the most energy ravenous organ in the body. It burns 20% of our total calories and it burns almost entirely glucose unless you get into that extreme metabolic state of ketone burning through extended fasting starvation. Consuming an exogenous ketone product would be another example, but generally the brain is a glucose burning organ as is, uh, preferentially, uh, the heart and the red blood cells. So, um, at times when we’re burning fat in the muscles, for example, at rest, when we don’t have a high muscular demand, we’re burning fat in some, uh, cells of the body and we’re burning burning glucose in other areas of the body. So it should blow the lid off this kind of black and white thinking or this, uh, anxiety that we might be harboring about compromising our skills and our status in the fat burning club if we start to add some moren vcgbwell-deserved fruit back into the diet.
Um, I also am gonna just throw in a random comment here, uh, that that comes to mind from, uh, Layne Norton. He’s a popular figure in the health healthy eating, uh, strength training, body building scene, PhD scientist. And he contends that our health problems, uh, mainly boiled down to energy toxicity, eating too much, too much food in, in general, and he’s not even that concerned with the, uh, the nature of the bad food that we’re eating. So, uh, whether it’s sugar, he wasn’t even that concerned about seed oils. Uh, so he is kind of stepping out with this really compelling message where, uh, the main thing we need to concern ourselves with is, uh, burning more energy, exercising more, moving more, and eating less overall food. Otherwise we are going to be in trouble and have, uh, adverse metabolic health consequences. And I kind of like that simple.
Take that before we start splitting hairs. Just take a look at your lifestyle and see if you can move more throughout the day. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon calls this, uh, concept, uh, muscle centric medicine. So if you build your muscle and work on your muscle and strive to maintain lean muscle strength throughout life, that is going to largely take care of your metabolic health in, in a far superior manner to jumping from one restrictive diet to the next and so forth. So yeah, take a deep breath, realize we all, uh, probably can benefit from moving more, um, and consuming more protein in other in order to support, uh, that development and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. And then when it comes to processed foods, whatever they are, obviously processed fats and processed carbohydrates are both terrible and will mess up your body’s ability to burn cellular energy internally.
So that’s your metabolic health and your metabolic flexibility. Eating nutritious foods, moving around a lot, exercising appropriately and not getting too bogged down on the details accordingly. So good news, you don’t have to obsessively restrict carbohydrates to be a good fat burner. That’s just not true, especially if you’re active, you can get yourself into trouble with the stacking of the assorted stressors of, uh, high performance exercise and restrictive diets. Stacking those together can be a recipe for trouble and a recipe for turning down your metabolic function as a compensation to a high performance lifestyle with insufficient energy coming in, in the form of nutritious calories, including carbs. Okay. Um, that was that part of the question, but there’s a little bit more. David from Spain deserves the floor. He’s from that far away. He traveled this far to send his question. <laugh>.
Okay. I also have some doubts about my training approach. The shift adapt protocol that I’m following is practically all of its high intensity. And so I’m realizing that my kind of diet, this animal-based diet where I’m restricting carbs, my martial arts, my workouts that are following the shift, shift adapt that happen to be at high intensity, I also have a family, a job <laugh> things can be very stressful. Do you think that switching the tempo runs and the intervals with a less stressful Maffetone style, heart rate run and then keeping the CrossFit wads here and there, would that be a better combination in order to reduce stress? Absolutely. I think a lot of the devoted fitness enthusiasts in whatever camp it might be endurance, uh, scene might be the CrossFit scene. But basically we’re loading up too much stress at a typical workout.
So we have a lot of workouts that are in that medium to hard zone that are difficult to recover from and that potentially and very frequently inhibit our progress because they’re a little bit too hard. Frequently, several days a week where you’re going a little bit too hard, pushing yourself a little hard, you’re coming around with recurrent muscle soreness, lingering muscle soreness, and I’m guilty of one of those parties because, um, frequently my sprint workouts turned out to be a little bit too hard. I didn’t know it at the time, but the lingering muscle soreness afterward lasting for two or three days, that was a sign essentially that I would say, uh, I screwed up a little bit. And if I could just dial it back one notch or two notches to not prompt that muscle soreness again and again, uh, my development would be smoother without those setbacks and increased injury risks that happens when you push your body a tiny bit too hard.
So a lot of people <laugh> need the recommendation, the suggestion to get up off the couch and exercise more. Especially there’s a whole segment of the fitness population that is going to the gym, uh, getting on the, the StairMaster or the bicycle and watching TV for 40 minutes, uh, exercising at a comfortable heart rate. And that is the essence of their fitness program. So there’s a lot of people in the fitness community that deserve to push their bodies really to the, to the near maximum effort, uh, now and then in order to prompt the greatest fitness gains. So we want the cardio crowd to push it once in a while. Uh, we want the inactive, sedentary crowd to at least get up and walk around the block and start on a fitness related lifestyle. And then we want the extreme fitness enthusiasts who are doing all kinds of stuff
as you might see in a typical CrossFit session or in an ambitious group exercise class where the instructor’s taking you through a lot of challenging work, there are a lot of people in this category that are simply overstressing the body when you look at the big picture, the chronic nature of their exercise patterns. And so, that population would be better served to dial back the degree of difficulty on the vast majority of their workouts. Yes, indeed. Once in a while you can open up the throttle. You might call that a competition. So when the weekend, uh, event comes that you’ve been pointing for, whether it’s a CrossFit games qualifying or the big celebration, uh, on Saturday at the gym where people are gonna try to set their PRs on various CrossFit challenges or it’s an endurance event, um, open up the throttle, the gun goes off, forget about your heart rate, what whatever, and, uh, go to town and, and try to beat your best time.
Uh, but in general for so many of those workouts that are level 7.5 or level 8.2 on a scale of one to 10, take those down to five or six and you are going to progress without interruption from those little aches and pains and nicks and setbacks and fatigue and hormonal suppression and immune suppression that occur when those workouts creep into that zone. That’s a little bit too difficult. So all told over there in Spain, eat more nutritious fresh carbohydrate foods and tone down a good bit of your workouts to make sure that they don’t overstress you. Okay. There wasn’t a ton of topics, but I think there were some important big picture topics for all of us to reflect upon, especially the time I spent talking about my update and my further reflections on my eating experiment. So with that, thank you for listening to the q and a show.
Please participate. We’d love to hear from you. Even if you don’t have a specific question, you can provide your feedback on the material and the questions that come in. But I’d love to hear from you what’s going on, comments, feedback, we read and evaluate everything and I appreciate being on this journey with you so much. So thanks for listening and more come in in the Q and A category soon along with fantastic interview guests and the new style of breather show that we are debuting in 2023 where it truly is a breather show down there in a short duration for those time periods where you don’t have a lot of time to listen to a podcast. Now you can plug into a breather show and mix and match with the longer interview shows or the shows that I host that will go for a longer period of time. Ah, thank you.
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