Welcome to another Q&A show!
In today’s episode, we hear from a listener who wants to know if they can get enough protein to build muscle when eating only two meals a day, talk about fiber and constipation, healing plantar fasciitis, and the ideal effort to rest ratio when sprinting. I also answer questions about my morning exercise routine, timing workouts with your circadian rhythm and what the best time to train is, and what I’m eating these days.
Finally, I answer a few questions about cold plunges and advise a high school track and cross-country coach on how to integrate ancestral principles into his coaching method. Thanks for listening and please do continue to send in your thoughtful questions and comments—they are always so insightful and helpful to hear.
Jenny asks: Can you get enough protein when following the Two Meals a Day pattern? [04:00]
Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA is recommended for survival, NOT peak performance. A good way of figuring out is to consume a gram of protein per pound of your ideal body weight. [09:08]
John asks: How do you minimize fiber and not get constipated? [14:07]
Ellen writes how she helped her plantar fasciitis by using Brad’s YouTube about stretching. [18:55]
Limiting your high intensity sprint efforts to a maximum of 20 seconds, and then taking an extensive recovery is recommended. [20:59]
How does one’s circadian rhythm affect exercise? The best time to exercise is when you prefer to exercise. [24:47]
Mike is asking five questions regarding Brad’s morning exercise routine. How does Brad recover after his morning routine and what does Brad eat? [27:25]
Brendan is a high school track and cross-country coach. He wants to know how he can integrate the ancestral health principles into his coaching method. [43:25]
Douglas wants to know how often and when does Brad do his cold plunge and for how long? Another question is about comparing the diet his doctor recommends and the science behind what Brad talks about. Nutrient deficient, toxic processed foods are the drivers of heart disease, not red meat, dairy and saturated fats. [48:38]
Find a health care provider who is well-versed in nutritional science. Some medical schools fall short in offering current information. [58:38]
- Brad Kearns.com
- Brad’s Shopping page
- B.rad Whey Protein Isolate Superfuel (Now Available in Cocoa Bean)
- Two Meals a Day
- Podcast with Stan Effording
- Fiber Menace
- Plantar Fasciitis video
- Circadian Rhythm podcast
- Brad Kearns’s Morning Routine
- Brad’s Shorter Original Morning Routine
- Podcast with Doug McGuff
- CAROL bikes
- Brad’s Morning Routine Course
- Unfrozen Caveman Runner
- Dr. Rhonda Patrick
- The Hacking of the American Mind
- Dr. Anna Lembke podcast
- The Framingham Study
- The Primal Blueprint
- Keto Reset Diet
- Keto for Life
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The very best time to exercise is the time that you prefer to exercise and when you’re actually going to get it done. 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 sciency. Talk to laugh, have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad. Hey, hey, this is Brad. It’s time for the Q and A show
Thank you, listeners, for these tremendously interesting and heartwarming inspiring messages. There’s a nice, always a nice mix of, uh, compliments helpful feedback. So we accept and appreciate all forms of feedback, even critical feedback. So keep it coming when you got something to say, I am trying to get ever more personal, real, authentic, and unfiltered. So I’ve branched out from my normal content template with recent shows with my rant about the fascination of climbing Mount Everest, uh, inspired by my binging on the Amazon Prime series called, uh, Everest Beyond the Limits, and just really got me riled up and fired up, uh, the absolute idiocy of some of these summit questers that put the lives of Sherpas in danger show up to the mountain unprepared and this fascination with achieving goals, uh, instead of, uh, thinking about doing things the right way.
So, uh, that’s kind of a, um, an offshoot type of show. Maybe you’ll appreciate it. Maybe you think I should stick to my lane and give you diet and exercise advice. But it’s, um, I was compelled to talk about that. I was compelled to talk about the tremendous controversy surrounding my friend Brian, the Liver King Johnson, the internet sensation, who’s long been accused of taking performance, enhancing drugs, long, denying it in large public forums like the podcast, major podcast circuit. And then sure enough, a scandal erupts prompted by a video released by the very popular YouTube personality, Derrick More Plates, More Dates, showing very incriminating information in the form of leaked emails, pretty much validating, that the Liver King was on the product. And so here’s this scandal blowing up, and I had a, um, some lengthy comments about that urging us to appreciate all the nuances and the complexity of a public figure misbehaving and facing the music, and also our reaction to it and how we process this information and where we can potentially go off track from just looking out for our own best interests and our own wellness and staying focused and mind and our own business.
So, all different sides of that. On my fun rant, it’s on Instagram. It’s on YouTube, and we’re publishing it as a short, audio episode. So a little bit of mixing and matching. And here we go with some questions. The particular ones that I’m going to burn through today, a lot of them warrant a short answer. So if you’re used to listening to these shows and, uh, familiar with me going off on a tangent, talking for 11 minutes, prompted by one question, I will do my best today to breeze down the page and try to make some progress on this backlog of wonderful questions and comments.
So we’re gonna start with Jenny. I learned about you from the book, Two Meals a Day. Now question <laugh>, can I get enough protein to build muscle if I’m only consuming two meals a day? That’s an outstanding question, especially as many of the popular experts are backing off with these dire warnings of the dangers of consuming excess protein, which have been bantered about, especially since the advent of the keto craze and the talk that consuming too much protein could throw you out of ketosis. And so people were making a devoted effort to limit protein and limit carbs. And now we’re hearing from great resources like Robb Wolf and his epic quote, if you want to live longer, lift more weights and eat more protein. And we’re hearing about the benefits of a protein centric animal based diet from leaders like Dr. Ted Naiman, co-author of the Protein to Energy Ratio book with William Shewfeldt. Dr. Paul Saladino is pumping that point a lot of times. Stan Effording wonderful recent guest, talking about the benefits, the satiety factor of protein, the necessity of consuming sufficient protein to make sure that your metabolic function, your energy, your performance recovery, are all on point.
And we do not want to make the mistake of consuming insufficient protein. And there is some talk that we have a certain limit that we can only digest and assimilate. Uh, I’ve heard 40 grams, I’ve heard 30 grams, I’ve heard 80 grams per meal. So if you load up with a, a huge load of protein, um, it might be, um, more optimal to kind of spread out the intake and allow the body to digest and assimilate. So if you consume, uh, two nice protein centric meals each day, choosing the very highest quality animal sources like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, you can probably, uh, do okay there. But the reason that I’m so enthused about the release of the B.rad Whey Protein Isolate Super Fuel is that it’s easy to miss when you’re running around on a busy day, especially when you have the penchant for extended fasting, skipping meals, and so forth.
And especially if you’re trying to perform and recover and be really active, and the failure to consume sufficient protein or going around and looking for inferior or more difficult to digest and assimilate protein sources somewhat, such as someone eating in a vegetarian or vegan pattern, where it is known that the body’s ability to, digest and assimilate the various amino acids that are contained in the beans and rice from your vegetarian burrito are going to be much more difficult and much lower levels of the individual amino acids than if you were to simply take a scoop of protein or have some steak and eggs instead of the veggie burrito. So we have some challenges that we’re facing due to the popularity of protein restrictive diets, protein minimized diets, and the popularity of fasting and things like keto, where people are going outta their way to limit protein.
So I think it’s pretty clear from many experts these days that it’s good to prioritize protein in the diet. I’m also enjoying listening to Dr. Gabrielle Lyon and her relatively recent podcast launch. She did a great show on Mark Bell Power Project. Those guys talk a lot about that, especially with their healthy fit high performance guests, and we definitely have to go for it here and make sure that we cover our bases. So if you’re eating in a two meals a day pattern, and for example, skipping breakfast, I would strongly recommend grabbing a bag of the B.rad Super Fuel and taking a scoop or two, uh, every morning to help boost your protein intake. There was a great guest on Dr. Peter Attia’s podcast, The Drive. His name is Don Lehman. People are calling him like the godfather of protein research.
I think Dr. Lyon studied under him and someone else, prominent Layne Norton, I believe, studied under him. Uh, but anyway, he’s dedicated his life to protein research and contains that the best times to consume protein would be first thing in the morning after an overnight fast and toward the evening so that you can prepare for an evening of rest recovery, restoration and rebuilding. So you can get your protein needs on, uh, both ends of the day and set you up to attain what’s called nitrogen balance rather than go into a catabolic pattern where you are breaking down protein to meet your, uh, your body’s basic biological functions. That’s indeed what the body will do. For example, when you go into starvation state, you’re just going to break yourself down to get your daily needs met, and that’s gonna put you, uh, into all kinds of adverse health consequences from, you know, catabolic patterns rather than nitrogen balance, or the other one is anabolic.
So you’re either, you’re either anabolic catabolic, or you’re in nitrogen balance at all times. You’re in one of those states. So back to Jenny, 44 year old female looking to get strong for the first time. And we have heard an assortment of protein intake recommendations. I want to explain right now the difference between that term recommended daily allowance, R D A, and these numbers are to ensure or to promote survival rather than to promote, to promote peak performance or optimal protein intake. So we have a survival threshold that will be conveyed by the U S R D A, which is quite low. And then we have the tweaking and testing and optimizing to consume sufficient protein to support your performance recovery activity and basic biological functions, especially as you age, because we get diminished ability to synthesize protein as we age.
So in those high protein need categories are of course, the high school athletes during the summer trying to bulk up so they can make the football team and the real high performers that are burning a lot of calories, lifting a lot of weights, and we have the average senior citizen who’s walking around the park every morning and having showing a diminished ability to synthesize protein so that they are also a viable candidate to hit the protein supplements right alongside, uh, their grandchild who’s just returned from the gym from lifting a bunch of weights. So that’s pretty much everybody, especially as we advance through the age groups and want to maintain functional muscle strength throughout life, which is widely regarded as the key to longevity and avoiding the disease decline and accelerated demise driven strongly by the condition of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the age- related loss in muscle mass and corresponding loss in all kinds of functional skills like your power, your strength, your endurance, your balance, your ability to avoid the number one cause of demise and death in Americans over age 65, which is falling and associated adverse consequences like being bedridden and so forth.
So in short, get your proteins, strive to get your protein needs met every day, and go for the modern evolved recommendation to consume a gram per pound of your ideal body weight. And so if you’re at a good body weight, now it’s a gram per pound of body weight. Pretty simple. I weigh of 164, so I’m gonna go for 164 grams of protein per day. I don’t have to get out the calculator like we used to in the old days. Mark Sisson and I did a lot of research, this is now five or six years ago, to try to compile the various recommendations from different experts and expert resources. And we discovered that something like 0.7 grams per pound of lean body mass was the most popular recommendation, and that’s gonna be significantly less than just going for a gram per pound of total body weight, right?
Because your lean body mass, if you’re 10% body fat, let’s take my quick example. I told you 164. So if I’m 10% body fat, I’m going to subtract 16 from that a hundred sixty four, sixteen 0.4, right? So now I’m down at 150, and then I have to times that by 0.7 quick calculation, that would be another 45 off that. So that’s only about 105 grams of protein instead of 165 grams. So if I just took a couple more scoops of my own dang product every day, I would be optimal rather than flirting with suboptimal or protein deficiency that’s going to cause me to turn down metabolic peak performance and all those important dials. So there you go, Jenny. I would highly recommend a protein supplement for someone like you writing in a 44 year old woman looking to get strong for the first time, eat protein centric meals.
And keep in mind, people, when we talk about calories and our programming, that we want to limit our intake of calories and then go burn more calories in order to maintain a healthy body weight. This is an extremely flawed and oversimplified notion. For example, the protein calories that you consume will not count toward your total, when you’re trying to avoid adding excess body fat, because that’s not how a protein intake works in the body. So if you consume extra calories every day consuming protein, you are just going to get better at, for example, performing and recovering in your quest to get strong for the first time at age 44. So, good luck, Jenny, thanks for writing in, and she finishes her note. Thank you for your amazing podcast and writings. All right. All right, thanks for the compliment.
And next we go to John. Hey, Brad, how does someone eat 200 to 300 grams of protein per day, and how do you not eat any fiber? How do you minimize fiber and not get constipated? So I guess he’s talking about like the extreme carnivore diet enthusiast, someone like Dr. Shawn Baker, who’s breaking world records in his fifties in indoor rowing machine, and is a high performing peak performance athlete on a strict carnivore diet for a long time now. Same with Luis Villasenor of Keto Gains and LMNT electrolyte drink, uh, a bodybuilder, a powerlifter. And those guys are putting those protein numbers up really high, uh, especially when they’re, um, restricting the carbohydrate intake. So 200 to 300 grams is a lot. That’s gonna be some big loads of steak and eggs and most likely protein supplements to get up to that total realizing that your digestion, your cooking preparation time, your mealtime is gonna get limited when you’re trying to load up that high.
So by virtue of taking an easy to digest protein source in a liquid form, when you’re drinking a smoothie or just mixing scoops of protein in water, uh, you can get up to that number without undue distress and walking around with the giant stomach we have, and Andrew Zaragoza, the co-host of the Power Project podcast, and his fascinating recent experiment to consume 10 eggs for breakfast every morning before he heads off to a busy day at the Power Project and the super training gym, and he just reports feeling fantastic, energized, alert, burning through those eggs. He also puts toast in there too. So he is getting some carbohydrates along with the 10 eggs. But what seems like a ridiculous notion at first glance, especially in the decades of cultural programming, asking us to limit our eggs, which is still in place, sadly, to this day, especially from your average, armchair expert or even your physician at your annual checkup, your cholesterol’s a little high.
Maybe you should cut back on your egg intake. And these things have been widely proven to be flawed, dated, and oversimplified. So, eggs, one of the premier human foods of all time, human evolution. And loading up on 10 for a guy who’s putting in a lot of exercise, has a lot of muscle mass, is a winning formula for him. And if we wanna put that into perspective for you, the listener, why don’t you try starting your day with four eggs, or six or two if you’re at zero now, and getting a great start and, uh, helping promote that, uh, nitrogen balance and high energy, good performance, good recovery. Oh, and John asked about the five or two. So this concept of the need to, uh, go looking for sources of fiber in the plant community, grains, legumes, the widely touted high fiber foods, the leafy green vegetables, uh, that, that we need to go crossing a minimum intake threshold for fiber, uh, is also been widely discredited or challenged in recent years.
There’s a great book that Mark Sisson and I reference frequently as we’ve been writing about fiber in our assorted books over the years. It’s called Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky, and he talks in great detail. This is someone who’s, you know, dedicated their life’s work to the subject that we get plenty of fiber in an animal-based, ancestral inspired diet. Dr. Paul Saladino does a great job in The Carnivore Code and on his podcasts and, uh, social media content, talking about this fiber concept being overblown. And in fact, we are many of us eating the, whoever’s eating the, the standard western diet with a lot of processed foods and a lot of grain-based intake is putting ourselves at risk for excess fiber intake. So you know what fiber does? It helps clean your pipes outright. If you eat too much fiber, you’re going to have the opposite effect, and you’re also gonna have the potential to deplete important micronutrients because the fiber will take it away.
So we have the ability to thrive on minimal fiber intake and a pattern such as the meat and fruit that has now become my recent fascination and topic of a future book that is gonna give you plenty of fiber. It’s gonna be arguably optimal fiber, whereby taking those scoops of Metamucil and going and looking for high fiber foods and high fiber meals could put you at risk of nutrient depletion and constipation.
Here comes Ellen. Hey, Brad. I found your article video about stretching to cure plantar fascitis. Did this help with the painful inflamed fascia attachment directly under the heel, because it hurts when I walk on the bottom of my heel? Sorry about that, Ellen. And yes, I suffered for a long time with painful condition of plantar fascitis. I would say it was in the category of moderate to severe for somewhere around 15 years.
And as I report on the very popular YouTube video, I was able to pretty much cure the acute and extreme nature of my condition with some aggressive stretching, and happened really quickly for me. So I needed to lengthen those calf muscles and take the pressure off of the arch. Quit stretching it so much and inflaming that fascia. And really, I emphasize the stretching in the video, but really the secret here is to stretch and strengthen the lower extremities, particularly the calf muscle. So as you continue to receive advice from someone who’s recovering from heel surgery for a bone spur which is, you know, a consequence of repeated inflammation and scarring of the tendons, I will, dare speak on about the subject. So, um, because my, uh, calf muscles and tendons weren’t resilient enough to handle the sprinting and jumping, I developed this bone spur condition, which is that chronic inflammation of the tendons and stretching of the fascia.
And so we really have to make a devoted effort to both stretch and strengthen the connective tissue and the muscles, and avoid these painful conditions, especially the very, very common plantar fasciitis. So that’s my simple answer is, keep mindful of both stretching and strengthening, especially in the calves and the arches and so forth. But you’ll get immediate relief if you do some devoted stretching if you have an acute condition of plantar fascitis.
Okay, next question is about, uh, sprinting or increasing the pace. Hey, what about 30 second fast-paced running intervals or going one to three minutes at a faster pace, and then returning to a walking pace? Would this be considered stressful to the body? Is it still better to keep everything under 20 seconds? So that’s referencing my, commonly, frequently recommended, uh, guidelines for a proper high intensity sprint workout where I’m urging you to sprint between 10 and 20 seconds.
So, limiting your high intensity sprint efforts to a maximum of 20 seconds, and then taking an extensive recovery, uh, around six to one ratio of the recovery time to the sprint. So if you’re sprinting for 10 seconds, you rest for a minute. If you’re sprinting for 20 seconds, for example, on a low impact or no impact exercise, you can sprint for longer. So you’re doing 20 second bicycling sprints and then taking a two minute rest period between those sprints. So anything outside those parameters, would probably not be characterized as a true sprint workout, because if you’re asking yourself to go at a faster pace for one to three minutes or even up to 30 seconds and not taking extensive rest and recovery after that, you’re not really gonna be able to deliver maximum or near maximum output due to the fatigue factor.
You can’t hold a sprint pace for one, two or three minutes. So it’s gonna be a different category of workout. It’s gonna be an anaerobic training session, and these have wonderful fitness benefits. You can see these integrations into all manner of group exercise, where they’re asking you to perform on the group cycling class or the steps or the contraptions, the bar class, whatever it is. And they’re asking you for a minute of high effort and then a break, and then some more. And so all this stuff is, I guess you could call it, uh, metabolic conditioning, that popular term, but it’s not a true sprint workout. And the only kind of warning warranted here is that if you frequently engage in these types of sessions, you have the potential to drift into over-training patterns. And so if you’re going over to the exercise classes three or four days a week and going hard for a series of one minute efforts, or a series of three minute efforts or whatever, you’re, you’re putting up a pretty stressful exercise sessions that warrant some recovery time, unlike a truly aerobic, low intensity cardiovascular session.
And unlike a much shorter duration sprint workout that has long recovery times, that’s truly explosive. So that’s kind of this in-between zone, and you don’t need to do that too frequently, especially if you’re doing high impact running because there’s a lot of trauma to the body and a lot of recovery time necessary. And this reminds me of me and my track workouts where I would do things like a series of 200 meter repeats or breakdown where I’m running 400 meters, running a couple 300 meters, running four times, 200 meters, four times a hundred meters. So it’s all adding up to, um, what is that? That’s only about, um, a mile or a little over a mile or close to two miles of high intensity running. But those workouts required a lot of recovery time after, and they were for the specific purpose of training for track and field event rather than that overall goal of fitness competency where you focus on the high intensity sprint workouts, the low level cardio like walking, hiking, easy pedaling, easy jogging, and then the high intensity resistance training as conveyed by the Primal Blueprint Fitness Laws for many years.
Okay. Hey, Brad, what are your thoughts on exercise being more optimal for circadian rhythm when done in the evening rather than the morning? I would direct you to my breather show where I talked through the great article on Dr. Jack Kruse’s website covering our entire 24 hour -ycle in terms of what’s some highlights in our circadian rhythms. So, in other words, the best time to exercise, the best time to have sex, the best time to eat, the best time to repair and restore and recover. that would be 12 midnight to 3:00 AM. So the importance of achieving total darkness and being asleep and really allowing the repair processes and the spike of human growth hormone to enter the bloodstream in the middle of the night. that kind of thing was really educational. Uh, but in terms of, um, best time to exercise <laugh>, you can go onto the internet and look at the articles in Men’s Health or Shape or whatever, and they’ll comment on this, uh, widely discussed issue of the best time to exercise.
But really, the very best time to exercise is the time that you prefer to exercise and when you’re actually going to get it done. And so for me, that’s almost always first thing in the morning. For my son, he likes to head over to the gym right around two o’clock in the afternoon. I notice when I’m with him, uh, it’s right about the time that I like to take a nap. So he heads to the gym, I hit the deck, but I was busy, uh, at 7:00 AM going through my morning routine. Maybe he was, you know, sleeping and getting more recovery because he worked so hard in the gym at his preferred time of two in the afternoon. So the preference and the convenience, you know, strongly outweighs any type of circadian rhythm advantage that you’re gonna get. But since you asked the question, I’m gonna report some of the research that I’ve read where you have this window of time, uh, I think in the late afternoon, that’s when your body temperature is highest.
And there’s some other, biorhythmical, circadian rhythm factors that set you up for optimal workout performance. And I believe there’s even a distinction between an endurance workout and the best time for that versus a high intensity workout. But again, I’m just going like, you know, Brad, when is the gym less crowded? Can I work out from 2:30 to 4:00 PM Yes, you can.
Okay, next question. Uh, Mike writes in and says, Hey, Brad, I just went through your morning exercise routine course. Thank you very much, and thanks for writing in. And he comes back with five questions. Do you do any other strength training? Or is this, uh, pretty much it as you demonstrate? Uh, with, um, several of the ending moves in the morning exercise routine would be considered, uh, strength training exercises like my 45 degree dumbbell raises. Second, do you eat breakfast right after this three, since you don’t have rest days for this morning exercise routine, how do you know if you’re possibly overdoing it?
Four, do you continuously increase the reps on some of the exercises and then gauge when it’s enough? And five, do you think a cold shower before this would be a good suggestion? So, let me hit these, one through five. Uh, do I do any other strength training? Yes, I will integrate some formal workout sessions, oftentimes write on the heels of the morning exercise routine. So, as devoted listeners know, I do this sequence of exercises every single day, and it takes about 40 minutes, and it’s pretty impressive these days. I’ve worked up to that, and some of the exercises are pretty strenuous, but it’s always well within my capabilities. In other words, I’m pretty good at it because I do it every single day. So it puts me at a nice higher platform from which to launch my formal fitness sessions, my actual workouts.
I call this in a different category. It’s my morning routine, or I just call it my, my morning session, whatever. Um, but I am striving to be consistent with Dr. Doug McGuff’s big five workout that he talked about on our podcast interview, as well as integrate frequent micro workouts into the mix. And you should know all about those from dedicated shows. I have some great YouTube videos about micro workouts for the home or the office. And I also have recent Instagram posts where I welcome you into my wonderful studio slash office and all the contraptions and implements and opportunities for quick fitness, explosive fitness experience that I have right here within reach, my high pull bar, my low bar where I can do the Nordic hamstring curls. I have the stretch cords hanging from the pull up bar. I have the mini bands where I can go up and down the hall.
I have a staircase where I have my standing rules. Every time I ascend the staircase during the workday, I will sprint up it rather than just walk at a normal pace. So it’s a mix of the morning exercise routine, uh, some formal exercise sessions, like heading over to the gym to do Dr. McGuff”s Big Five Workout, and some other favorite machines and exercises that I do that are specific to the gym. In other words, I don’t have that opportunity at home. And then, the micro workouts, and this is, I feel like, a wonderful, uh, breakthrough in the mindset and the perspective about what a fitness lifestyle means. And I think a lot of us are stuck in this rigid perspective where a workout means getting in the car, driving over to the gym and clanking the plates for an hour, or going through the sequence of machines or showing up for the 8:30 class, or you were too busy, uh, in the morning, and so you miss the class.
So it’s like this black and white perspective where you either did an elaborate formal workout, perhaps at the proper venue, or you skipped it. And so I want all of us to embrace the idea that a fitness lifestyle can be had in a matter of seconds, anytime, any place. And I’m talking about, uh, sitting in the airline gate and grabbing, uh, your mini band that you travel with, strapping it around your ankles and sliding up and down the row and getting some activation for your glutes instead of just sitting around waiting for your next formal workout when your calendar, clears. We also have this wonderful Carol exercise bike, C A R O L. The website is Carolbike.com.ai And it has a programmed, high intensity cycling workout that only lasts for eight minutes. So you do some pretty heavy duty all out sprinting.
You warm up, you recover, you do another sprint and the workout’s over in eight minutes. So I love jumping on that thing because, um, the barrier to entry when you’re staring at an exercise bike, perhaps you own one yourself and you walk by it many times a day, or you think about it, but you don’t have that hour of time to dedicate and also get motivated to sit there and not move, while you’re pedaling for a long time. But if you can kind of, uh, lower that bar to say, Hey, an eight minute workout is a fantastic fitness experience, that’s when we start getting into a better groove. The next question was, uh, eating breakfast right after the answer is yes. Please listen to my interviews with Jay Feldman, as well as my four-part series of reflections on this energy balance model that has become my obsession in 2022.
And as you may know, I’m on an experiment now. I’m lasting. Let’s see. We’re, we’re into month seven, where I’ve made a devoted effort just about every single day to consume more calories than my historical pattern, starting with a huge bowl of fruit every morning, followed by a huge high protein, high carb, high fat smoothie, very nutritious smoothie with, uh, two or three scoops of my protein powder. Some frozen fruit of assorted nature. I put frozen liver chunks in there to get my liver game on point. I throw in a bunch of, uh, ancestral supplements, uh, capsules, especially my MOFO capsules and other things, uh, some like, such as additional supplements that I might be experimenting with from time to time. And I start my day fully fueled. And this comes after the 40 minute exercise session. And I really feel like that’s a strong one-two punch where I get the body moving, I put in my work, and then I’ve earned this wonderful, nutritious, but quick, easy to prepare, easy to digest bowl of fruit protein smoothie.
And sometimes I will stack on a nice breakfast right after that, or perhaps, uh, wait a couple, few hours and have a nice big lunch and a big dinner. And then I make a considered effort in the evening hours to go looking for more fruit, more dark chocolate and <laugh> more freedom to consume popcorn that I, uh, talked about cutting back on, on my fatty popcorn boy saga story when I gained some excess body fat. But I feel like everything is optimized now because I’m choosing nutritious calories and have almost completely eliminated anything that would, for example, compromise my ability to produce cellular energy internally. I don’t eat processed foods. I don’t eat industrial seed oils, and I just, don’t have these indulgences that get in the way of my quest for peak performance, health and longevity. So my main indulgence is the extremely high quality, high cacao percentage bean to bar dark chocolate.
I eat a lot of that. I enjoy the heck out of it. The popcorn, I would say is, uh, you know, an occasional, perhaps more than occasional treat. I don’t say that the popcorn has a tremendous nutritional value. We put gourmet, uh, first cold press, extra virgin olive oil on it, and it’s just something to enjoy. But the experiment has been about going outta my way to consume more calories and see what happens. And what has happened to date is that I weigh the same, I have the same body composition, and I have, you know, to report good energy, good performance, no magical breakthrough, where I’m now gonna break world records and, and go make the Olympic team. But I think it’s been a successful experiment, and I’m strongly enthused about the idea, the, the bioenergetic model, as Jay Feldman calls it, and many other people are weighing in now, that for healthy, active people, the justification for fasting and carb restriction just doesn’t seem to be there.
It just adds another layer of stress when I want all of my stress abilities to be directed toward performing and recovering and performing and recovering. And then also the other stresses that we face without choice, or I guess, you know, uh, just sort of inherently face in general, everyday life. So that takes us to question number three. Since you don’t have rest days, how do you know if you’re not overdoing it? So here’s the thing. My, uh, morning exercise routine is right at that level of totally doable and sustainable, such that it’s no problem even on a rough day. Uh, for example, recovering from a high intensity, peak performance session the day before, or recovering from jet lag, from travel, whatever it is, not you know, feeling a little bit under the weather. Um, I can still get down on the mat and knock it out.
So you want to find a morning routine that’s, um, enjoyable, sustainable, automatic, easy to perform. It’s comfortable within the parameters of how much time you have available to devote in the morning. And as I say frequently, remember that I started in late 2016 or early 2017 with a very easy 12-minute session that the video is still on YouTube where I did most of it in bed. So I sunk into the mattress. So the core work wasn’t that hard, and it has ascended over time to be a pretty impressive session. As you will learn from going through the morning exercise routine course, which I highly recommend, which you can find on my website. You can also find a quick, uh, overview of most of what I do on my morning routine, on a more updated YouTube video, uh, Brad Kern’s morning routine circa 2020.
But it’s even gotten more ambitious from that 2020 filming to the point where, um, again, it’s pretty impressive by outside observation standards, but for me, it’s just my morning coffee and crossword puzzle that’s the same category that I put it in. So that’s what you want to get to, is where you become a habit in every way, including the habitual use of those muscles, so it doesn’t knock you out, and it doesn’t put you at risk of, uh, getting, uh, exhausted, um, from, from trying to stick to a goal that’s, um, you know, uh, perhaps, uh, a bit too strenuous. It’s about flying under the radar. And then, as I mentioned, uh, I will stack the formal training sessions on top of that. So a lot of times I will complete the 40 minute routine, and I’ll get on my bike and pedal right over to the running track and do a big time workout that there was no way I would repeat that the next day or the day after or the day after.
But of course, I’m gonna be hitting the deck every morning. That’s where you can find me. Okay. Um, question number four was, uh, do you continuously increase reps on some of this stuff and gauge when it’s enough? So the morning routine is a template. It’s the exact same thing every single day. So I start with 40 hamstringing raises and leg kick outs on the right, 40 on the left, then I do 20 frogs forward, 20 frogs backward, then I do 20 mountain climbers, uh, toe pointing, one direction, then I switch and do 20 the other way. And you get the point, then I do the crunches, then I do the leg swings, then I do the leg circles, uh, and it’s all the same count. I do 23 of these, I do 40 of these, I do 20 of those. And I will adjust the template over time.
I will add or subtract and exercise. Recently I added, one set of, uh, some work with the hexagonal deadlift bar. And that’s become a, a really great integration that very carefully, very carefully considered, and now is part of the template. But I don’t change the template from day to day. So I make a, um, you know, a, a fundamental change. And then that’s the template going forward. And so my rep count on each one. For example, the, uh, the abdominal roller, I do 23 with really good form, uh, as demonstrated by the viral video from Jeff Cavalier. I think the title was, um, five Mistakes on the AB Roller or How Not to do the ab Roller, you know, clickbait, like whatever the title was, he’s showing where you wanna maintain this sort of hunchback shape and shorten the length of your abdominal wall, and that will protect the back from trauma.
And then also kind of, with that, with that hunchback, your shoulders are kind of, uh, sweeping, uh, in a over the top position, uh, when you’re grabbing the handles. And that will, uh, alleviate the strain, potential strain on the shoulder and isolate the abdominal. So when I do these correctly performed abdominal roll reps, I do 23 and, 20, 21, 22, and 23 are pretty tough. I stand up, I’m breathing hard, my abs are burning, but I’m not gonna keep going up and trying to do 30 and 35 or do another set unless I’m immersed in a formal workout session where I’m doing, who knows what. I might do five sets of this and three sets of that, but generally I wanna be right under that radar in that sweet spot where it’s not too tough. Does it make sense there? Okay. And then, uh, you wanted to ask on the last one, what about taking a cold shower beforehand?
Hey, uh, I would say that after is a better idea because, it’s, it, you can pair cold exposure with exercise. I have that fabulous video and article called the Unfrozen Caveman Runner. But you have to be so careful to rewarm after the cold experience before you challenge yourself with a peak performance effort, that it’s much better to pair that after afterward. And I’m always warm at the end of my session, even though I do it outside almost year round. My hands and feet have been freezing lately, especially when I’m up in Tahoe and the weather’s down around freezing. And so when it’s freezing or below, I will do as much as I can outside and then I’ll move into the inside, um, when I start to feel a problem in the hands and feet. But I’m also deliberately doing an outdoor experience to get that, uh, direct sunlight, uh, hitting my eyeballs and affecting my super chiasma nucleus, uh, kicking my circadian rhythm into gear, getting the desirable spike in hormones like cortisol and serotonin, thanks to the, the light exposure, I shouldn’t say sun, like it doesn’t have to be a sunny day, but it’s direct light exposure to the eyeballs that super important first thing in the morning to set your circadian rhythm.
And sometimes it turns into a partial cold exposure event when it’s cold out there. And on those occasions, I’m not inclined to jump into the cold tub or jump into the lake afterward ’cause I’m already, you know, kind of, uh, uh, building resilience against the cold air. But let’s say on a summer day or something, that would be a really nice pairing to do it afterward, but not necessarily beforehand. I mean, come on, man. How much are you asking here? It’s enough to try to keep this commitment to do the 40 minute exercise routine every day. And so going in the cold first on a cold morning, I would much prefer to do it after when I’m already, you know, a nice warm body temperature and then be prepared for a nice brief and appropriate cold experience. ut go watch my Unfrozen Caveman Runner video. It’s a fascinating, insight that I experienced about leveraging the hormonal boost that lasts for around an hour after a typical cold plunge experience to deliver peak performance with lower, uh, perceived, uh, exertion level. But first, I had to warm up my body significantly before I went and sprinted. But that’s what the unfrozen caveman runner is all about.
Brendan writing in, Hey, I’m the high school tracking cross country coachs from New Jersey. I’ve used the Primal Blueprint and also the, uh, maximum aerobic function concepts to guide the team training. Isn’t that awesome? So he’s basically taking care of his athletes rather than just running ’em into the ground, like the typical high school and college program does. It’s kind of disturbing here with in 2022, with, you know, the high level of sophistication with sports science, athletic training, sports physiology, and we still see sort of rudimentary methods applied to the very vulnerable population of the young kids who may be just starting with endurance running.
And so, some of ’em thrive, some of ’em stagnate or just become mediocre, and a lot of them drop out because the program is not properly structured to help kids’ balance, stress and rest, especially, uh, considering the other forms of stress. And my favorite example was, uh, me and many other, high school athletes heading off to the college program. So you have all these major life changes and the stress of moving away from home, uh, tackling challenging academics at a different level than high school. And then you’re going and slamming these crazy workouts against older, more mature athletes. And that’s why so many collegiate runners get injured, broken down and burnt out, which is exactly what happened to me at UC Santa Barbara. So back to the, uh, the note from Brendan. Can you give me some ideas, success stories, or thoughts on how teachers and coaches can implement some of these ancestral health principles that you talk about?
I’m always looking to optimize and, you know, do do the right thing for my young students. Personally, I think the Primal blueprint, the B.rad Podcast, I wouldn’t say it saved my life, but it’s definitely saved my health and inspired my team to achieve greater results. Awesome letter. Thanks so much, Brendan. And when it comes to the young population, I’ve given quite a few talks about health, nutrition, peak performance to high school athletes. And it’s an interesting audience, or even lower down middle school. There’s not a lot of, uh, intense devotion to the subject matter, as you might see when I address, for example, a group of adult athletes or a team, you know, a group where they’re, uh, coming to their evening, uh, meeting and enjoying a lecturer. So with the kids, there’s a lot going on. They might not be making eye contact.
They might be poking and wrestling in, in the background of the gathering. And so you really have to, uh, go in for the kill with, uh, short bursts of inspiration and educational content that might possibly stick if you deliver it properly as a coach, of course, you have more time and you have a, a better connection where you can, you know, have an impact, uh, day after day after day. But I feel like if you just focus on the lowest hanging fruit and leave it at that. And so with the kids, like we just want to get some good nutrition into their bodies. We don’t wanna ban them from, 7/ 11 or the hot fudge sundaes ’cause they’re gonna go out and get those. But at least they can get a basic awareness of how to make healthy choices and eliminate some of this toxic nutrient deficient processed food if they have interest in being a high performing athlete.
And a lot of kids on the high school, a athletic team have good intentions, um, good devotion to health, good interest in it, and they need some basic guidance and some simple objectives that they can definitely carry out and make better choices. That would be on the, on the diet nutrition side. And then on the training side, we just have to again, instill a basic awareness of the importance of balancing stress and rest through training. And so if one is feeling tired, stiff sore, unmotivated, or having performance regression, and that person is a member of a high school team, we need to have a sit down one-on-one and say, what’s going on? How can we adjust and adapt your program? And instead of just treating everyone the same and expecting, you know, the fastest runners prevail, it’s sort of like a dog–eat=dog approach, uh, especially relevant at the collegiate level where the coach is, uh, purportedly looking out for the best interest of every single member on the team and trying to get the best potential and the best long-term development for everyone, rather than having a race within a race, which is what I experienced at UC Santa Barbara, where you were essentially competing against your teammates to try to win a coveted spot on the travel team because you have 21 guys on the cross country team and only seven get to travel to the away meets and all that fun stuff.
And so it becomes too competitive, too strenuous. Many individuals will not thrive. And so those are the two, uh, most important objectives is get some healthy eating and lifestyle practices in place, getting enough sleep and then training in a sensible manner rather than just going out there and grinding it out and getting tired.
Okay, so I’m gonna do one more nice letter from Douglas. Hey, Brad, I love your newsletter, podcast, chocolate, and your Morning routine recommendations. How about that? He was known for his newsletter, podcast, chocolate and Morning routine recommendations. I respect your openness. So you’re willing to try new things like the fruit and protein smoothie in the morning instead of intermittent fasting. Makes sense to me. Question, how often and when do you cold plunge? And for how long? Is there any science behind what the benefits are? Doug is 60 and lives in the Bay area trying to get back in shape.
And hey, I hope you won’t disown me, but I do eat veggies and whole grains. I come from a strong family history of heart disease, and my doctors are adamant that I need to limit red meat, dairy, and saturated fat. If you have good science to help me on this, let me know. So let me go back and address the questions one by one. So the cold plunge I’ve been in a big enthusiast since, oh, I would say around 2017. My good friend and former podcast guest, Dave Kobrine, really got me inspired when I went and visited him. And he showed me the ice machine that was perched in his master bathroom above the tub, and he would scoop the ice out or, or make big blocks of ice and put it in his bathtub. And I’m like, wow, what a cool thing.
And so we kind of went on the journey together where we upgraded to livestock tanks, and then finally the chest freezer. And now the advanced wonderful options that we see on the market are, uh, so exciting because the, the practice and the community has grown tremendously. When you ask about the science, there’s a tremendous amount of science. I’m now putting the finishing touches on another online course in the same realm as the morning routine course, where I’m gonna take you through all the options and the protocol and the rationale and the benefits for therapeutic cold exposure. So that’s pretty exciting to get that out and share that information with you. Um, you can also look at Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s website and I believe, uh, download a 26 page paper, A P D F format that is filled with an assortment of scientific research validating the benefits of cold therapy.
The history is fascinating. We’ve been, uh, fascinated by this for, uh, many hundreds of years. Uh, the Finnish culture has had sauna and, uh, cold exposure as a centerpiece. Vincent Van Gogh was treated, uh, with cold exposure several times a week for his mental health concerns. There’s a lot of good research, uh, around the mental health benefits of cold exposure. It’s known as an instant cure for anxiety. Dr. Andrew Huberman had an entire show on the rationale and benefits of cold exposure referencing extensive science as he does so well on all of his shows. So the science is there that you are going to get a hormonal boost, a feeling of wellbeing, a dramatic spike in the mood-elevating hormone norepinephrine, and related hormones that has been shown to, uh, last for up to an hour. Afterward, you’re gonna get a dopamine surge, an appropriate dopamine surge that lasts for many hours.
When I say appropriate, I mean because you earned it rather than the often criticized flooding of our dopamine receptors through indulgent behaviors as detailed in Dr. Robert Lustig’s book, The Hacking of the American Minds. So we’re talking about video games, pornography use of, uh, street drugs and, uh, prescription drugs and indulgent use of mobile technology, uh, surfing the internet, scrolling through your social media feed and your text messages, and all these things that hit the dopamine receptors hard, but they kind of give a rebound effect. As detailed. In my great podcast with Dr. Anna Lembke, author of Dopamine Nation, we kind of spiral into, you guess you could call it, mild addiction to all these dopamine triggering behaviors. And that sets us up for a lifestyle of sadness, disappointment on we rather than the desired use of the powerful hormone dopamine to keep us motivated and inspired to pursue, to challenges, persevere through those challenges, and then get the corresponding hormonal benefits from things like oxytocin and serotonin.
So the cold plunge is persevering through the challenge to get a corresponding pleasure, rebound effect from the immediate and intense discomfort of going into the tub. And, how often and how long. So dating back those years, I had a couple streaks going where I really made a devoted effort to go every single day. And now that’s sort of been replaced by my intense devotion to completing my morning exercise routine every single day. So when convenient, I will pair that with a quick cold plunge, especially when I’m in town and have my venue available, which is either in Lake Tahoe or the chest freezer. And so I do it frequently, but I’m not gonna report that I have a streak going or that I’m devoted to doing it every single day. Sometimes I run short on time because the morning exercise routine takes so long, especially when I roll into a formal workout.
But one thing about the duration is over time, I have reduced my duration somewhat inspired by Jay Feldman and his great articles about hormesis on Jay Feldman Wellness.com. I think the title was, is Hormesis Even Healthy Part one and Part Two. But this contention that you can easily overdo it with so-called hormetic stressors that are intended to deliver a net positive benefit, but when you stack them up all the forms of stress in your life, they can become too much, especially as they become cumulative over time. So I was building up my cold tolerance and becoming more and more cold adapted and proudly being able to say that I am able to stay in the tub for longer or stay in the lake for longer. So at my, at my peak, I guess I was getting in that chest freezer at 38 degree water, and I was able to stay for five or six minutes by controlling my breathing and making it a real meditative experience.
And, of course I wasn’t challenging my health or getting uncomfortable or, you know, uncontrollable shivering afterward, but that was a big effort. And what I discovered over time, again, doing this for, you know, a a couple, few years was I had a slight aversion to the whole deal, because it is not that pleasant to sit in there for five or six minutes. So what I, again, what I wanna discover with my cold therapy practice is that sweet spot where I actually look forward to it. I’m not gonna say it’s fun or pleasurable, like going in the sauna is pleasurable, but I look forward to the net effect of the experience where I know I’m gonna do something that’s a little uncomfortable and I’m gonna come out feeling refreshed and energized and with that nice spike and norepinephrine and dopamine. So now my cold sessions, I would bet I don’t time them obsessively like I did when I was trying to get better and better and see how long I can last, but they’re probably only a minute to two and a half minutes at most.
Same with my plunges in the lake with my lake plunging partner, big George, who happens to have the convenient access. And we’ll go in there and, uh, paddle around and move around and then look at each other after probably a minute or two minutes and 15 seconds or something, and we’ll say, Hey, you, you good <laugh>? Yeah, I’m good. Let’s get outta here and go into the jacuzzi. So, um, it’s nice to find that sweet spot where you don’t, uh, dread it or don’t make excuses like I was finding myself sweeping and vacuuming frequently right before my cold plunge times <laugh> as sort of a procrastination technique. So that’s a long answer to say that the essence here is doing an appropriately brief exposure to cold water to trigger those hormonal benefits. And surprisingly, the research shows that a really brief immersion will deliver these awesome hormonal benefits and all the psychological resilience that you build as well.
So a prominently cited finished study, uh, reported that even a 22nd immersion into 40 degree Fahrenheit water will give you that 200 to 300% boost in norepinephrine lasting for up to an hour. So I’m going way plenty longer than 20 seconds, uh, but I’m backing off of the crazy ass five or six minute immersion. Furthermore, when you move your limbs in a small confined space as if you’re, when you’re using a tub, it’s significantly more, uh, has significantly more, um, effective cold, because once you sit down in the cold water, you begin a intense warming effect, with your body heat. And so you form a protective layer, essentially, of heat around you to the extent that the water’s not really 38 anymore as soon as you get in there. So now I get in and wiggle my legs around wiggle my arms.
And that makes the ascension effectively more cold than sitting there with stillness. And I’ve also noticed that an open body of water, like a big lake or ocean, is effectively more cold than sitting in a confined space. So my duration of the Lake Tahoe plunge in the winter, when the water gets down to 42 degrees, it’s oftentimes in the low fifties or high forties. The effective temperature is probably the same as 38 degrees in a small tub, barrel, bathtub, whatever you have going for you. So that’s the scoop on the cold plunging.
And then of course, you, uh, shot me a doozy there at the end where your doctors are adamant that you need to limit red meat, dairy, and saturated fat. So this boilerplate information is now about 40 or 50 years old. It ascribes to what has been what has been called the lipid hypothesis of heart disease. That if you consume a lot of cholesterol and a lot of saturated fat, these agents will deposit on the walls of your arteries and initiate the heart disease process. And we now know that heart disease is driven primarily by oxidation and inflammation, which is driven by the consumption of processed foods, hyperinsulinemia metabolic dysfunction in the general sense that you’re consuming a lot of food. It’s interfering with your ability to deal with inflammation, reactive oxygen species, free radical damage, and, uh, mitochondrial function inside. And then these disease processes initiate as well as adverse lifestyle practices, like not enough sleep, too much stress, not enough exercise and excess of exercise, but especially we should focus on the consumption of these nutrient deficient, toxic processed modern foods. Those are the drivers of heart disease. Red meat, dairy, and saturated fat have been centerpiece foods of human evolution for two and a half million years.
So this one will get the hair, uh, standing up on my skin when we see this stuff still, uh, holding true today that a doctor is spouting, uh, flawed, dated, and oversimplified information for that’s 50 years old. Um, and my only comeback, it’s really, really difficult to go against the advice of your medical professional, especially someone who’s seeing you one-on-one. But the essence of the ancestral health movement is to challenge and rethink these flawed, dated and very dangerous recommendations and notions that have been proven strongly by highly regarded studies like the Framingham study, the nurses health study, and many other ones that the intake of red meat, dairy, and saturated fat alone has never been shown to be harmful to the human. But when we scrutinize the throwaway line that your doctor gave you. Red meat encompasses everything, including the nasty hot dogs and bologna and processed, you know, grain fed, feedlot animal, all those things that we object to when we’re talking about poor quality meats and has really minimal relevance to making excellent choices in these categories of dairy,
saturated fat intake and nutritious red meats, which again, centerpiece foods of human evolution. So if your doctor is bold and daring enough to make sweeping, and strong dietary recommendations to you, I would possibly come back with some challenge questions and get a second opinion from a doctor who has actual expertise and interest in nutrition ’cause mainly what we’re looking at here is again, this boilerplate, oversimplified information where the doctor has not necessarily any training whatsoever in nutrition or is up on any of the recent research. But rather than saying no comment, that puts them also in a difficult position because they’re your healthcare professional. But that’s probably the best course of action for someone who is not highly astute in nutritional science. And again, your doctor has not necessarily been trained. I’ve had so many doctors on the show that will laugh and reflect upon their complete lack of training in anything relating to nutrition, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle practices.
They are by necessity extreme experts in their important area of expertise. And that’s the way that they can best help you. But if you’re looking for nutritional healthy lifestyle advice, <laugh> look to look to someone else who’s making that their life’s work rather than someone who, uh, opens up clogged arteries all day. Okay. That’s as, uh, as soft and nice as I can say it. Thank you so much for writing, Doug, and for being curious. And you’re asking me if I have good science on matters like this. We made a big effort in the Primal Blueprint, in the Keto Reset Diet and Keto for Life, in Two Meals a Day to reference good science. There’s so many great, uh, avenues to consume content these days, and I think you could find a lot of enlightening information, uh, just going through the, uh, B Rad podcast episodes. So thanks everyone for these great questions. We’ll get more in the future, but keep ’em coming firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your feedback, especially perhaps on these specific questions that I addressed, and anything else that comes to mind, including your own personal situation and curios. So, love to engage with you in this manner. So thanks everyone for participating.
Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad Podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email email@example.com and visit brad kearns.com to download five free eBooks and learn some great long cuts to a longer life. How to optimize testosterone naturally, become a dark chocolate connoisseur and transition to a barefoot and minimalist shoe lifestyle.