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Muscle Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know | Dr. Andy Galpin

Episode 105, duration 3 hrs 10 mins
Episode 105

Muscle Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know | Dr. Andy Galpin

Dr. Andy Galpin, a leading muscle physiology expert, shares his unique insights on skeletal muscle biomarkers, the impact of sleep on health, and his philosophies on scientific information. With a career dedicated to enhancing the performance of top athletes and fighters, Dr. Galpin brings a fresh perspective on health and wellness that challenges conventional wisdom. Don't miss this deep dive into the mechanics of our muscles and learn how you can apply these insights to improve your own health and performance.

Exciting News! Dr. Andy Galpin has launched a brand-new podcast! Dive deep into the science of human performance, fitness, and health with one of the leading experts in the field. Don't miss out on the chance to elevate your understanding and achieve your peak performance.

Subscribe and listen to "The Perform Podcast with Dr. Andy Galpin" now on your favorite podcast platform. Let's learn and grow stronger together!

In this episode we discuss:
– Unique insights on skeletal muscle biomarkers
– Perspective on health and wellness that challenges conventional wisdom
– How you can improve your own health and performance

00:00:00 – Introduction to Dr. Gabriel Lion Show with Dr. Andy Galpin

00:12:27 – Dr. Andy Galpin’s Journey and Career Highlights

00:24:09 – Challenges and Rewards of Public Engagement

00:35:18 – Early Career Experiences and Mentorship

00:46:25 – Transition to Academia and Research Focus

00:57:45 – Scientific Contributions and Muscle Physiology

01:08:48 – Importance of Biomarkers in Health and Performance

01:21:02 – Digital Twins and Future of Personalized Medicine

01:32:52 – Addressing Fatigue and Energy Management

01:44:37 – Sleep Quality and Environmental Factors

01:56:26 – Muscle Mass, Strength, and Longevity

02:08:42 – VO2 Max and Cardiovascular Fitness

02:21:10 – Interconnectedness of Muscle Quality and VO2 Max

02:32:51 – Protein Intake and Nutritional Strategies

02:44:48 – Strength Training and Exercise Routines

02:56:50 – Consistency and Long-Term Health Benefits

 

Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show. In this episode, I sit down with my very dear friend, Dr. Andy Gelpin. He’s a full professor at California State University, Fullerton. He is an expert and a game changer in muscle physiology, health and wellness. He works with a ton of professional fighters and athletes. In this episode, we cover a number of things. We talk about skeletal muscle biomarkers, health and wellness biomarkers, essentially blood biomarkers, sleep, and how you can think for yourself when it comes to scientific information. We talk about this and a whole much more. And by the way, I show you and bring you a different side to Andy that I don’t think you’ve seen before. He’s truly extraordinary.

Not to mention, before we get into the episode, if you are not on our newsletter, please go to dr.gabrielleion.com and sign up for our free newsletter. We give a ton of evidence-based information and things that are happening, and most importantly, things that are free and valuable to you. Let’s jump into this episode.

What’s up friends? Did you hear the news? Yep, that’s right. I am hosting my first ever, forever strong, six week bootcamp. What’s a bootcamp you’re thinking? Well, this is going to get you leaner, improve your metabolism, help you move forward in your health and wellness goals, and you are going to do it with me and my team alongside real people for real results. What are you gonna get? You’re gonna get workouts, meal planning. You’re gonna get my forever strong, muscle-centric training course. So much more. Most important, you’re gonna get support.

You’re gonna get the time to start, and the time to start is now. Head on over to my Instagram and DM me bootcamp. I’m gonna send you all the information. That’s right, head on over to my Instagram, DM me bootcamp, and I’m there to support you along with my team. It’s rock and roll friends. Dr. Andy Galpin, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being in studio in Houston. I know it’s hot. Yep. And I fed you well. You did. And so we’re gonna be ready to get after it. And there’s just no chance I was gonna do this on Zoom. Not with you, of all people, not with you. I mean, how long have we been friends?

I don’t know, a long time. We both have gray hair now. Yeah, for sure. I have a lot less hair total.

Prior to, we had no children at that point.

Potentially no marriages at that point.

Different worlds, different universe. Been a long time. But what I think is so cool is that we’ve been on parallel paths. Yeah. I asked you while the cameras were off, if you ever thought you would be in the position that you are and now.

I mean, I always dreamed of it, right? Like that’s where you’re at.

I’m also very aware of where I am at. And I say that and say like, everyone gets their 15, right? And I’m very aware that this is mine, which is great. Also very aware that that 15 ends. So I’m having a blast right now. I do feel, like I told you earlier, I do feel that I somewhat deserve it, but I also feel incredibly lucky.

There are many, many people who could be in my position, probably deserve more, have done better things, more important things, are more eloquent, more effective.

So this is not really a day. And I’m not really being cliche there. My wife and I like actually have a little bit of a practice. I love that. And it’s like, man, this could end any day. And also could have anybody. Like you have to have talent, you have to do the hard work thing, but you also have to have that third and component, which is you call it luck, call it a break, call it the fortune, like whatever you want. And to me, that’s a big part of how I approach the entire world.

It’s just like, hey, represent, some people don’t get that shot. And some people don’t get that luck. Well, for any number of reasons, right? It could be a thousand things deserving or undeserving. And so I’m just always very, very appreciative that for whatever reason, it landed on me, at least right now. So yeah, very, very appreciative of where I’m at. – Well, I think there’s a few things that really separate you. And I probably haven’t told you that. I think that you have a lot of integrity. I think you’re a really good human. And one of the things I respect most about you is you very much care about making the world better, making it different than it was and is. And I would love to know what it is that you hope to accomplish.

– I was actually, a couple weeks ago, I was with a good friend of mine, Jeff Byers, as I was telling you about. He’s the CEO of Momentous Supplements. He’s just a friend, we were doing stuff. And he kind of asked a similar question. And I stumbled around for like 15 minutes. So I was like, I don’t really know. I’m being totally honest. I don’t have like, I want to rid the world of obesity. I don’t have anything like that. I’m not gonna make a difference on the world. And I think what really boiled down to the end, me figuring out is like, all I really care about is I feel like, because what I said a second ago, I don’t feel, I have a burden, but I almost feel like I owe everyone else who didn’t get that lucky break. It’s like, hey, you did the work, you have this, and you had the chance here. And so for everyone else that was in a worse position or get any number of things that didn’t catch it, you owe them, right? You owe them to make sure you are taking advantage of this opportunity in a way that’s gonna move things forward, or at least you’re respecting those people who would have done it better than you. And I think really fundamentally in this aspect of my life, it’s not for my kids. It’s like, I don’t, it’s really none of those things. It is really that going, man, could have been anybody else. And if they were here, what would they have done? So that’s what you better do. – And do you think that that keeps you hungry and motivated to keep going?

Yeah, for I mean, there’s obviously a part of a lot of, anyone that’s forward facing has a bit of arrogance.

I’m never gonna walk away from that, right? Been accused of that plenty of times. – You know. – There’s a bit of desire to be needed and wanted and attention seeking. Like there’s all those things that roll into you, right? And I actually have no problem saying that. It’s not a negative thing, right?

In context.

But it is still foundationally going, okay, also, in doing that, can you use that in someone that’s, in a way that’s gonna help the world? Then to me, it’s like that’s a positive way to channel that energy, attention, vigor, and saying, all right, you’re gonna be up here. You better use it and then you better continue to move, right? Like you better continue to do something that is worth it.

Because if you’re just piddling around or you’re doing things just for the sake of maybe attributes that we would find less appealing. – Less desirable, yeah. – Then like, you know what? When you’re 15 runs out, good riddance.

And like, okay.

So make sure you’re just respecting again that opportunity you’ve been given and you better not do things for the sake of doing things. Which is another really hard thing in our position, right? It’s like you just really do get addicted to that more, more, more. Another publish-cation, another thing. Get another high profile client. Get another big podcast invite. Like whatever it is that you’re valuing, you gotta be really careful of making, not making the thing the thing. And like falling back and being like, “Whoa, whoa, what are you really doing this for?” Right? Is this really an instant mean? Are you doing this because of justification of wanting the attention? Even if it’s not directly. It’s like the, or whatever the case is. Is this because it’s landing the most finances or getting the best spot for your product or whatever it is? Just going like, is this really moving the needle forward to where when your time’s done, no one remembers you. They do where they don’t, that doesn’t matter. But did you again really respect the opportunity that someone else would have done with that? And if they would have created something better that enriched the human experience more, then you better continue to do that. And if not, then maybe it is time to step back and let everyone else have their shot. – I wanted to ask you that question because you are very well-published and you’re a thought leader. But the other unusual aspect of you is, yes, you’re very charismatic and you’re a great speaker and you’re a great educator. And you were an educator before you were ever in the public eye. – Totally. – For years. And I don’t know if people understand that, that you spent a lot of time in the trenches educating students and educating people. That is unusual to be in the position, a lot of academics don’t become forward facing. I would say 99.9% of academics.

Also, you’re very young. You were very young when you got tenured. I think you were 34. – I was a full professor at 35, I think. – I mean– – Yeah. 36, maybe 36, yeah. – At Fullerton, UC Fullerton, which is an excellent school, excellent muscle physiology lab. So these are very unusual aspects. Yes, we’re gonna talk all about science, but I also think that it’s very valuable for people to know who you are. – Yeah, I appreciate that. We’ll get down to business in a second. I still educate. – I know. – Not only in this sense, but I still teach four academic classes per semester. I teach winter and I teach summer. When I first got into this, that was what it was really for. In fact, when I left my PhD program, I really didn’t think I would do a single study the rest of my life. – Where did you do your PhD? – I got my PhD at Ball State in the lab that the famous Dave Costell. You know anything about sports nutrition? Dave started that lab decades ago. Dave really is the one that brought out things like, oh, we use carbohydrates during exercise more, and turns out hydration’s important. Really, that foundational layer of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s exercise physiology. – I think holiday was around that time as well. – Yeah, I mean, look, if you look at any classic exercise physiology textbook from the 1990s to 2000s, those are the authors you’re gonna see.

I didn’t think I was gonna do a single study, because I was just not interested in science at that point because of, I think the limitations and a number of other reasons. And I was like, I’m just gonna teach, because I really, really enjoyed that aspect. And then, obviously, I realized I could kind of do science in my way, and I was like, well, that’s way, cool. So I did that, and then, fast forward so we can move on. What happened was, I was actually working on a project with some close friends, Doug Larson and Mike Bledsoe, who started a company years ago called Barbell Shrugged. This legendary– – Hey guys. – Yeah, shout out guys.

And we actually had a side project called Barbell University. So we were trying to make– – I remember that. – Yeah, I was like, man, what if we could make a real kind of online university for this human performance type of stuff, and we’d built a lot of it out, like a ton of it out, curriculum and courses and flow and all kinds of stuff. And then, one day, Doug was called, and just like, yo, we’re done with the project. Smart choice on his part, by the way. And I just laid on my floor, and I was like, oh my God, I’d spent just so much time on this. And then I just thought, why did you wanna do this first place? And I really drilled back, like, why did you care? And then I realized those core things that I wanted, what I didn’t wanna do, and I was like, oh, you can do 90% of that. Like, you don’t actually have to have all this stuff built out, like you can just do it. So that’s what I did. And that really was the biggest, like one of the biggest breaks I ever had in my career was directly because of all that stuff, and just being like, yo, just do the education you want, however you want, don’t worry about SEO optimization, and like editing, and like all the things that I didn’t wanna do, and figuring out, and how do I charge people for it? Like, I didn’t wanna do any of that stuff. So I was like, just do it. What if you do it exactly the way you want? What’s gonna happen? And it was, again, to this day, the smartest career decision I’ve probably ever made in my life. – And if, so you answer two questions. Number one, the question of a mentor. I was gonna ask you about a mentor, and then I was gonna ask you, was there a time, or has there been a time where you’re like, I think I kinda made it. I know that we’re never done, but there are usually moments where, I don’t know, you get a call from someone like Dana White, or whatever it is. – I remember sitting in my office one time, my phone rang and it just said Zufa LLC, which is like the parent company of the UFC. It was like, that was pretty dope.

Getting a call from Joe Rogan years ago, and to go on his show, that was, especially back in the time, was like, wow, that’s gonna be pretty big.

So that was another one, and then, like funny, it’s little stuff like, when I paid off my student loans. – That’s cool. – Like that was really, I had coached, like privately coached a very famous actor, god, like eight or nine years ago. And it was just like the first check, and I was just like, student loans gone. And I was like, wow, that was pretty dope. So some of those things jumped to mind, but yeah, that’s probably the biggest ones. – And now you’re just on a trajectory where you’re giving actually a lot of content still, a one for free. – Honestly, that’s the jam I have the most. If I could figure out what I’d just do that, and nothing else, that’s probably what I would spend most of my time doing. It’s just not possible right now. – And there are components to learning, I think that you probably love. Is it the challenge of learning? Is it the challenge of teaching information? Is it the challenge of distilling down the science? – You know, it’s honestly that, I think, it’s gonna sound weird, but I think most of it is vanity.

I totally honestly think that, because the reason I like to do it is because, number one, the attention, the accolade, when you do something really well in front of an audience, and you get a huge response, even if that audience is one person, right? You hear people talk about this all the time, people say the cliche of when you see the light bulbs go off in somebody, that’s really you.

When they go excited because they learn something, that makes you feel good, because that’s a vanity thing, like you are feeling good about that. And when you do that in front of a crowd of 7,000 people, or 700 people, then that feels like really, really good. So that’s part of it. The other part of it is, if I’m trying to learn something myself, and I’m like, whoa, just really, really, really struggling with it, and I spend weeks or months or years on something, and you figure out like, actually, why is no one ever just weaved it through this way? And then you go, you know what, I bet if I did that and put it out there, a ton of people would find it super helpful. And then you do it, and it is, of course, so it’s a vanity of going, I can do this better than anyone else has done it. I haven’t seen anyone who can do this as good as I can. And then you’re right. That, you can’t even call it whatever you want, but that is a large part of why I do it, because I’m like, man, everyone’s made this way more complicated than it has to be. I think I can do this better. I know I can do this. Actually, y’all suck. Let me go crush all of you on this right here. And that’s just what you’re saying. – Not competitive at all. – Totally.

– I love that. – These are, I’m throwing these traits out on purpose. – Yeah. – I’m labeling arrogance, labeling attention seeking like this part of it.

But these are not negative things in this way. – They’re not negative. – It’s like, if the worst thing that sin I ever had is I wanted someone’s attention, so I made a bunch of free content and YouTube gave it to the world, like. – Taught them all about muscle. – Yeah. – It would be amazing. – I’m good at that. – Last question on you. – That’s it, we’re wrapping up. – No, no, that’s it. That was a long show, two hours normal podcast. – What two hours? You better strap in for about three times that way. – Yeah, yeah. What is the hardest aspect of the amount of attention and now being put in the public?

Man, there’s a bunch of hard stuff. One of it is, I actually for probably 10 years had a 99% response rate. If people emailed or social media like for a decade or more, I was like, 100% gonna get back to you. Now it’s like completely unmanageable.

That sucks. And then a lot of times it’s like, people like really genuinely, they do it the right way and they’re really and like I try, especially if it’s like, I can answer that pretty quickly. But a lot of times you’re like, ooh, that’s not like a quick answer. – Yeah. – That sucks. Like I really don’t like that aspect of it. Number one.

And then like, it’s hard to always give to the world. Like when I come home, my kids want everything from me. My wife wants everything from me, right? And then you touch your phone. Everything on your phone is somebody wanting something from you. And you try to not be under lack of appreciation for that, right? Because you’re like, yeah, dude, like that’s what everyone is trying to do, is get in a spot where everyone wants them. And so it’s like, man, I really am super appreciative every time someone wants my advice or a company wants to work with me or whatever. And of course I’m hyper appreciative that my family wants it. But it is hard when it’s just like, everybody is always outgoing. It’s just like pulling out. That is hard.

I ask no sympathy for that, because that is 100% like, that’s what I tried to do. – But it is a lot. And there are components of that that are, it pulls you, right? You want to be 100% present with your kids and your wife and your working a lot. It’s hard. – It’s impossible. Even when you’re not working, like this is a thing that, like I’ve still yet to really articulate when my family’s side is, I can’t just walk out of the door at 6 p.m. of my office and like immediately go into dad mode. I’m like trying my best, right? My phone has gone all that, but like you can’t do that after a 12 hour plus run and then just like shut off. I can do a walk. I can do like all these things, it’s great. But then like seconds later, it’s just a flood back. That has been the hardest on my family for sure. Like I was joking out, like don’t build three companies in one year. That was probably the biggest thing that did it. Like not a smart decision to do that. Because now it’s not the workload, it’s just the amount of different things that are flooding in. There’s no chance setting out. So like that is the biggest burden is not just being able to like walk out and just be like yeah, and truly be on with my kids and wife. That’s super challenging. The last thing I’ll say is getting back to my own internal circle. – Yeah. – I mean, you know, like just like when my family or my close friends like text, like, you know, like I’m sorry, but I did a podcast, I came back to my phone, I had 84 text messages. – You’re in the zone, it’s a lot to get. – And then if I try to do anything like take a day off, you’re just like, it’s a wrap.

So that part sucks for sure. – But also your friends understand. – Yeah, most are pretty good. – And we’ll continue to spam text you until you get back to them. – So we’re sweet.

– It doesn’t matter. Okay, I said that that was the last question, but I have one more because I think this is relevant as we take it into the scientific literature. You have very good concentration and focus.

How do you manage that? – I wish I could give you something of value here. I think my most honest answer is going to be, I don’t know any different.

I wake up in the morning, I generally have something really going on in my brain that I wanna go do. And I’m pretty good about compartmentalizing.

So like, I’m very good about being like, yo, my sleep stuff is not in my brain, my blood work stuff is not in my brain. And I’m only gonna grade right now. Like I don’t set a calendar, I don’t have like any of those fancy things. But like when I get into something or I get an idea, I’m pretty good at shutting the world out. So much so that like will infuriate my wife. Cause I’m just like, I’m gone. Like, and even if I’m not in front of the computer, like I’m mentally– – You’re thinking about it. – I’m not even trying. I’m just like, I’m on another level. It’s so actually dope because my daughter does the same thing. – That’s cool. – And I can see it and my wife’s like, I think she’s got it. I’m like, no, no, no, I know exactly what she’s doing. Like she’s in space right now. And I’m like, that’s exactly what happens to me. Like I just go into space. So I’m very good about it. Even if there’s like real legitimate things going on, I can be like, okay, great. If that is, if there’s nothing I can do else about that right now, I can’t prepare more. I can’t doing else. Like I’m pretty good about being like, that’s out of my brain space. And now I’m like into something else where like my wife has a really hard time with that. Like until that thing is, it’s not a, I wish I could say that it’s like a book I read or practice, – It’s somewhat of an obsession maybe or the way your brain works. – It’s the way my brain work. It’s the way that I think it, a lot of it is actually my upbringing.

Like I’m from the country and it’s sort of just like, well, that problem is that problem. There’s three more over there. Like it doesn’t matter. Like you have to be able to just put that down and like go get over there and go get over there and go get over there. You don’t have the ability and the time to just like, you can’t ruminate. That’s just not an option. Cause there’s too many other things that other life is dependent upon you, right? Like that fence is down, like animals gonna get out. Like whatever’s happening, like it does not matter about your taxes being laid or like whatever the heck is like, doesn’t matter because something is on the line right now that you just have to like move to and you just have to execute.

I’m actually looking in the background at Jaco’s book, totally accidentally, but when he came out, I’m like, yeah, like totally resonated with me personally. Cause I’m like, you have to, you know, task analyze, compartmentalize and then just move forward. So I think the only reason I can do like teach the classes, run my lab, run the companies, like do the other stuff, do the podcast is like, I have to just be able to be like next, next sort of next. And there’s a downside to that trait. Like there are real downsides. – I mean, you’re not wrong. My husband who is obviously a former SEAL is very much like that. And I think that in order to be successful in the way in which you guys are, you have to be that way. – Yeah. – Are you the first scientist in your family? – Oh, for sure. For sure. Like where I grew up, like I didn’t know anybody famous and like, I didn’t know anybody who knew anybody famous.

I didn’t know what, like I- – Where’d you grow up? – In Southwest Washington.

Like halfway between Seattle and Portland down there, a little city called Rochester, Washington. It was dope, like a dope little city.

But like people weren’t, my family are not lawyers or scientists, like no one in my family has. I actually was the first one to graduate with a college degree in my family.

So yeah, like even as like an undergrad student,

I didn’t know what a PhD was.

When I got on my master’s program, I didn’t know the difference when a master’s and PhD was. I had no idea. So yeah, first scientist for sure.

But probably not the last. – Your daughter. – My kids, my son, my daughter’s all over. – Where’d you do your undergrad? Was that all South Ball State? – No, I did my undergrad at a small school in Oregon called Linfield College. So I played football down there at Division III School. Did my undergraduate degree in exercise science. I think it was what it was called there. Did my master’s with Andy Fry at the University of Memphis. – Amazing.

He’s amazing. – Yeah, he actually did, like the story of getting into grad school is one of my favorite ones. Like that was- – We have all the time in the world for you. – I know we’re like so far in, we haven’t covered probably anything people are interested in. – Well, I think that that’s incorrect. I think people are interested in who you are as a human. – Okay, well, we’ll see. I will see how many two and outs you get in the first 20 minutes. – No, you guys better be listening. If you are a fan of this podcast, I have someone on here who I deeply respect. – I appreciate that.

So as I mentioned, like I didn’t know anything about academia, even as an undergrad, right? I was playing football and I loved human performance stuff, but there was no advanced place to go in this field, right? I remember being on like recruiting visits and asking what do you wanna do academically?

And I kind of like tell them, and there was like, well, there’s athletic training. Like athletic training is more of dealing with acute injuries on the field and stuff like that. It’s not really what we think of as like training an athlete. All right, athletic training is a very specific field, but like a physical therapist onsite at all times, right? And so I’m like, I don’t wanna do that. I’m not really dealing with the injury. I wanna like high performance stuff. And they’re just like, there were no strength conditioning degrees. Exercise sciences– – There wasn’t any strength in conditioning degrees. – Definitely not. – Wow. – No, there was nobody really doing it. Research in the area was very little.

Very few labs focused on that. And if you did get into an exercise science program like I did, you’re really looking at public health, right? It is park the car on the other end of the parking lot and walk, right? Take the stairs more. It was, you know, eat nuts and vegetables. Like it’s more of public health stuff. There was no like, hey, how do we optimize VO2 max? How do we enhance performance? All these things, right? So like cool.

So you’re dealing with like obesity and all those things.

So coming out of that program, I’m just like, I don’t know what to do. So actually I’m gonna tell two stories. – Did you enjoy your education? – Loved it. – Exercise physiology? – Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t like the high performance stuff, but who cares? You’re learning how muscles work and grow and how the body works in general and how you’re recovering. And to me, it was pretty easy for me to honestly cover and mentalize. Cause like in the example in class would be how this is working for somebody who has cardiovascular disease. But like, it’s so easy, my imagination would be like, okay, then how does that work? And like, just to switch it over, right? Cause it’s the same physiology, right? Physiology is physiology.

We were kind of joking earlier, but like I’ll kind of jump it a little bit.

But like to me, there’s like human performance is human performance. You get to use that body and your flesh to perform however you want. I don’t really give a shit, but it’s still performance, right? – Doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter how old you are. – No, you all wanna look, you wanna feel, and you wanna perform a certain way. How you wanna look and how I wanna look is different. I don’t care, you set the terms, right? But we all wanna look a certain way. You all wanna feel a certain way. You set the terms, right? I wanna feel more energy. I wanna feel like I’m more focused. I wanna feel stronger. Great, fine, right? But that’s still, you wanna feel a certain way, right? Then you wanna perform a certain way. Okay, you wanna perform a certain way. Again, you wanna be strong. You wanna be fast. You wanna just not hurt.

Great. It’s still all the same three things, right? And now if you took that example and put that in one of my starting quarterbacks in the NFL, you put that in some one of our athletes preparing for the Olympic games. Cool, or you put that in my wife. You put that on me. Like I’m none of those people. I still wanna perform on my best, right? So it’s not, I’m not saying anything different. With the one exception, this is the best part. In my PhD, we actually had the real cool opportunity to, my physiology courses were actually in the medical school. And so I’m in the med classes, just a physiology one, right? And I’m the only PhD in that class. Or Esther, like real proper MDs, right? – Why? – Our program is small, right? So if you’re in our program, you did it, but no one else got to crossover. It was like a pretty dope like back of the door deal we got to do. So it was like, cool. We were taking like a normal class over there. We got to go take the physiology.

But the teacher was a PhD, not an MD.

And he would get in there and he started getting his stuff. And I don’t know how your med school went, but this one was like, you’d basically do like a full chapter a day. Like a chapter of the medical textbook per day. Like that’s the rate that you’re crushing. And you stick on one topic for like four to six weeks. And then you kind of cruise to the next one. Like immunology for, and renal physiology for a month or two weeks or whatever. And you just like crush, right? And you hammer through and you do four or five hours a day, four days a week or something like that, right? So you get really focused on one. So we would get into stuff and he would start talking about things like blood volume.

And I’ll be like dope, right? And he’d start talking about, hey, if you’re a female and you have five liters of blood, like you’re going immediately into cardiac arrest concerns and you’re going out of blood thinners, why, how that’s working, what the kidneys are doing, how you’re altering stuff. And I’m like immediately from five liters of blood in a woman, I’m like, dude, that girl’s super fit.

Right? Cause you’re like the same thing that you would see in a legit medical, especially a trauma issue, right? Like a medical concern is the exact same thing you see in high performance. So I’m looking at it, I’m like, wait, what? Like five liters, one of the biggest adaptations, most pronounced adaptations to endurance training is more total blood in your body. You hold more blood, right? So you make more blood cells, but in order to make your blood not get super viscous, I think you have to retain more water, right? So your total blood volume goes up. One of the most classic hallmarks of high performance is more total blood. At the same time also, that is like, if you’re an unhealthy person, you see the exact same numbers on a chart, you’re going, whoa, cool, get this person on a diuretic immediately, cause retaining fluids and this is all classic signs of heart attack that’s coming. Or from my perspective, you’re super fit. So like, I’m just like, okay, great. And you start to really appreciate, wow, physiology, it’s the same thing here, but now we actually got here at a different angle. In this context, this is deadly. In this context, it is the healthiest way you can be. And now you start going, okay, it’s just physiology, but now also context matters.

Context is everything. That’s one of the reasons why I hate giving these direct, straightforward answers on podcasts and like social media and they have to be, like people don’t really realize why you and I don’t post very often, cause I’m like, it takes me so long, cause you have to be really careful in like really poor situations, not only like this, but even on a smaller scale. Like you wanna be as accurate as possible and you wanna fairly represent what’s happening. That just takes like a long time. So it’s not misappropriated or misinterpreted rather.

So like just learning physiology that way, I’m like, so I loved all my undergraduate classes, like coming back to where they started because I’m like, all right, you’re learning how all these systems work, even when it is like cellular biology stuff, genetics, even if it’s botany, it’s like, who cares? You’re still learning the basics of living systems. And then even in the areas that I didn’t like, like biomechanics, it’s still like, okay, this is great. And it’s biomechanics of, this is why people’s gate starts shutting down as they get older or with dementia kicking in or something. Like, okay, great. The example is dysfunction, but just imagine what it’d be like if it was higher function and you’re just running through those games in your mind and you’re learning, you’re thinking, you’re creating additional holes where you’re like, oh, I wonder if everyone’s thought about that. Like that could be a place where, so I just loved every second of it. And I loved it. So I finished that. And along the way, the only people in our program were, again, like public health people. And one of the professors, Janet Peterson, she’s the greatest, actually, you know what’s funny? Janet was at Cal State Fullerton. – Really? – Left Cal State Fullerton, went to Linfield and she took over and was my professor there. And then all the years later, when I got to Linfield, she was able to call down and be like, and I was interviewing, he was like, amazing. – It was super, super fortunate. – Sounds like you’ve had a few mentors that– – Janet was great. – Have helped direct where you’re going or how you were thinking. – 100%, like director and director, right?

This is one of the powers I learned very early in my academic career is you could be mentoring somebody and have no idea.

You have no idea, because I had a kid come back to me and say something one day. I was like, what? He’s something like, he’s like, you know, no one’s ever told me that I’m a good writer before. And I was like, huh? Like apparently I told the kid that he was a good writer. It meant everything in the world to this kid and I didn’t even know what his name was. And then I was like– – That’s amazing. – That’s when I was like, oh dude, you gotta be careful.

Like you, because everything you’re doing could, even though that person, you know, it doesn’t mean anything to you, you could really be impacted in their life. Which is kind of going back, we said earlier, like one of the things I don’t like is not being able to respond to people. Because it can make a really, really big difference in somebody’s life. That was like one of my first or second year as a professor and I was like, okay, that changed everything in my brain. Because, yeah, and I would say the same thing. Like at the time Janet had no idea that she was having that impact. – Really? – No, no idea. – Were you just– – Because I’m just another kid in her class, you know, and it’s just like, it’s changing my life, right? – Yeah. – And so in class one day she was like, hey, I wanna start doing blood pressure checks on campus. – You said that. – She said that. – Okay.

– Does anyone wanna volunteer? And I’m like, hell yeah, right? I’m taking like– – Did you sit in the front? – No, I was not a sit in the front kind of guy. But she asked that and I was like, yes. Immediately yes, I’ll volunteer. And she’s like, great, you know how to take blood pressure? And I was like, nope.

She’s like, do you want, are you interested in getting into the meds? I’m like, nope, nope, nope.

Yeah, you knew you were never gonna do – For sure. – Which is interesting, I think that because– – I knew I couldn’t get in. There’s no chance I could have handled it.

I don’t have the horse power upstairs. You have to be really smart. Like in a very specific type of way. And I definitely knew there’s no chance. Like I had an undergraduate GPA of probably 3.1, 3.0. Like I’m really not that kind of intelligent. Like I don’t have a lot of, my IQ is not particularly high. My wife’s crush is mine.

Like we’ve tested, we’ve run out a bunch of testing done. But my synapse speed, like it’s not particularly impressive. It’s like very, very average, very average. – You obtain mastery and then you can think outside the box. – Different, yeah. Like I’m not– – Creative in a scientific realm. – Way more creative than I am operating. Way more, right? So just being able to, like you have to learn and memorize so much. – So much hours of memorization. – Dead in the water. I’m never getting in. – Talk about, I used to study 10 to 12 hours a day. – I believe every second of that.

Because you’re in like that class, I’m in for four plus hours a day. And then you’re taking a test on it. Again, the entire renal system from a medical perspective. – Terrible. – Like three days, like it was– – Terrible. – There is, I barely got through that course and only really got through that course because I got as a PhD and had a big soft spot for me. It was just like, I’ll just give you a C or whatever. I was like, thank God. There’s no way I would have passed that. Like I was dead last. Because you in med school, you get your grades posted. – I know. – I’m dead last. I have every single one of them. I’m down there, right? – You’ve made up for it. – Yeah, I felt the right.

But so she asked that and I was like, okay, great. And she’s like, why are you volunteering? I’m like, I’m only gonna learn, like this is what you do, right? You want your spot, like you’ve, yes to everything, right? That’s how I grew up. Like, yes. Playing college football, I’m taking like 16 units. I have to study way longer than all of my friends. Like Doug Larson went to school. – I knew you guys went to school together. – Yeah, so we’ve known each other since we were like We took almost every class together for four years. And he’s just, I think, I literally remember one time I got a better score in one class on one exam than him. The rest just shut out the entire four years, right? He’s a really smart guy.

So I remember I’m like, I’m just going to win my other ways. Like I’m going to win in other ways.

This is part of it. So I ended up taking this blood pressure thing for, and I sit out in Western Oregon outside, and it’s like drizzling, raining, and not a single person comes by to get blood pressure. And I’m like, well, that sucked. But whatever, like at that point, you’re just chalking up wins. Like you just, everything in the bucket you can throw in, you’re going after, right? Right.

Like nine months later, Janet emailed her something. I was like, hey, one of our former alumni is working up Adidas. So Adidas’s national headquarters is in Portland.

– I also didn’t know that. – Yeah. A lot of people don’t because Nike’s up there and they just think of Nike, but Adidas is up there too. It’s like an hour drive from our school. And she’s like, there’s an opening. It’s kind of like a corporate wellness gig. Like they have a gym on campus. They need someone to like open the gym five in the morning. And I’m like, I’m on it, done. She’s like, great. So I’m still playing college football. I’m getting up at like 3.30 in the morning so I can drive an hour to make sure I’m there half an hour early. Cause I grew up in, like my dad works in road construction. You show up 10 minutes early, you are definitely getting fired. Like you’re gone. So I’m like, I’m- – So you learned your work ethic. – Oh no. – And from where you grew up. – Oh yeah, my parents, my grandparents, everyone I grew up with, like I’m in the country. That’s like the expectation, right? If you show up five minutes before practice, you’re gone. Like that’s just a wrap. So I’m like, I’m not blowing this opportunity. I have an hour drive. I have a $600 car. So I’m like, if it breaks down or whatever, like I still have to change the tire and get there on time.

Traffic hits, like no, whatever, right? So I’m getting there way early. And I start to notice, and by the way, I didn’t want a personal train. Like the last thing in the world I wanted to do is be a personal train. – Really? Even though you loved bad mechanics. – Yeah, but like, I don’t want to train these people. – But did you know what you wanted to do at that point? – No, I’m just hustling. – Okay. – I’m hustling, right? I’m like, whatever’s gonna take.

I’m hustling. I like being in the gym. That’s like great and all that. But I’m like, I don’t want to train 45 year old corporate people, like not at all, right? I’m hustling. I’m getting there so early that I’m just like, I’m unlocking the door, right? And getting there. I noticed there’s like three people, four people, six people that are like always there half an hour early. So I asked them, well, can I let them in? She’s like, yeah, I don’t care. Like if you want to get her that early, you’re not getting paid. I’m like, I don’t care. I’m here. I let them in. And then they started asking, hey, will you train us? I’m like, yes, I’m coaching them. We’re just like, we’re training. We’re going after it. And there’s no like personal training there, right? But I’m just like doing it. I’m like, before the hours show up, like, yeah, we’re good. Let’s go, right?

And it turns out like, I don’t know what it was. Three or four of them were on the executive board. I needed it. – You had no idea. – No idea.

I worked in like the smoothie shop. I didn’t know anybody from anywhere. – I didn’t care. – Did not care. I’m just like, who cares, right? I’m hustling. It didn’t take long for one of the guys to be like, yo, we are actually invested in a facility in Arizona that only trains athletes. It’s called athletes performance. So Mark Verstegen opened this thing up in like the late 1990s. At that time was the only place like in the world, right? Had your nutrition, your chiropractors, your training, all this stuff in one location. And he’s like, you don’t need to be here. Like you need to be down there. And I’m like, I’m in.

He’s like, no money. You gotta go work for free for six months. And I was like, I’m in. Like, can’t say yes fast enough. So graduated, drove my car down there. – Did it make it? Everyone wants to know. – Yeah. – They come and made it. – For sure it made it. I had nothing though. Like I had nothing else. I was eating oranges every day on like the orange trees that I could find on my way there. I would wait for any of the athletes who left. They’re like protein shake and drink the rest of it. Like smashing all those to get through the day. – So you really put in your time. And you didn’t have anything. – I didn’t have much. I mean, I had like, again, I had a lot of opportunity in terms of, like my parents were really good people. There was no violence. There was no like, I didn’t, so I didn’t have to deal with the stuff that’s really hard. Like I didn’t have money, but like I had safety and security. So I didn’t care. Cause I’m like, worst case, I go right back to, you know, back at the couch, like not a big deal.

– Do you ever take a moment and reflect on not having anything to now? – For sure. Like I make extraordinary life. The amount of money I make right now, like relative to the amount of money my parents made their whole lives.

Like it’s bonkers. – Feel really good to be able to do stuff for them. – Oh, it’s dope.

It’s like so dope. The best part is like, they’re not on the internet. Either one of them really, they barely know how to use their phone.

For real, it’s embarrassing. And they have no idea.

Like they have no idea. They’re like kind of like, I had to explain this to my mom cause I got stopped in the airport like three times.

Randomly at different times. She’s like, how do people, so many people know you? And I was like, kind of a big deal mom. Like I have to pull up, but she’s like, no, I know. But I’m like, I don’t think you really get it.

So yeah, like the things we’re able to do for them now, we’re just like, yeah, it’s the greatest thing. – So you got to Arizona. – Yeah, so I get down there and I’m just hammering it, right? And it was dope cause I’m like training hall of fame baseball players. We had like 15 or 18 guys go in the first round of the NFL draft that year. Guys ended up being like real legit Vernon Davis, guys that were around, like really, really elite guys in baseball stuff.

And I was coaching them like right out the gates for the most part. – You know what you’re doing? – Yeah. – You did. – That’s honestly why I didn’t want to become a strength conditioning coach.

As funny as that sounds, because like, literally I’ll never forget, like probably the third day I was there, like you’re interning, right? There’s a bunch of interns that show up at once. And you got a bunch of really high level coaches that are running the show. But like the third day I was like, and this is total arrogance, but I was like, yeah, I could do that better than that guy. Like right now, like I can out coach that guy right now. And I was picking up on things that the athletes are doing stuff and I was like, oh, the coach missed that, missed that, missed that, whatever. And I was just like, man, that stuff’s not challenging. Like it’s just not hard. And I mean no disrespect at all to anybody.

But it wasn’t like a, it was strength conditioning coaching on that level was a little bit like babysitting because those coaches couldn’t kick those kids out. Right, those coaches couldn’t, they didn’t really have authority.

To really like run that show. So you had to be like a little bit of kind of do it, do what the high profile people want.

And anyone that isn’t strength, like in that world of pro athletes, like you don’t, if one of the athletes is getting paid 20x you are, and they don’t want to do something, like you don’t really have a say. – Even though it makes them better? – No, no. Like what are you gonna tell LeBron James if you’re the strength coach? He says, I’m not doing that exercise.

– Okay. – You’re not gonna say anything, right? So I didn’t like that and I was like damn.

I don’t really want to do that. And then I thought like, it just wasn’t mentally like challenging enough for me to be like, again, like program designers are really, really, really hard at that level. And coaching is really, really hard. And the hours that those people work is just bananas. But that was, I was like, I’m not working these hours to not have the autonomy. Like I didn’t like the autonomy. I didn’t like if a head coach got fired, I just lost my job potentially. I’m like, I didn’t like not being in control of my own life and destiny.

And it just wasn’t like, there’s so much to learn in strength conditioning, but I felt like I got to, the kind of way I think is like, I felt like I got to purple belt really fast.

And I was like, eh, eh. – Too easy, too fast. – For me, for that aspect of it, right? And then the hard part on that field is like putting in the work. And I didn’t want to do that. I don’t want to be there every day, like really just getting people to execute the plan. I don’t like operations. Like I like the creativity side of it. So I want to come up with new and innovative things, but I don’t want to be there every day, like going through the same process. – Groundhog day. – Dude, it’s so hard, but those people, like it’s so hard to do that. That’s the end of that. This is the flip side of creatives, right? It’s really easy to come up with an idea.

Holy hell. (laughing) And I was like, I don’t have the toughness that these people have to get through this. So I’m out on this one. And the athletes were what they are. I just knew they didn’t want to do that. So I went to the, actually Doug Larson, I went to the NSCA, the National Strength and Conditioning Association National Conference, changed my life.

I was lucky. Again, another big break. Doug’s lifetime mentor, he worked for Hewlett Packard as an engineer. He just loved lifting though. NSCA member was like, I’ll take you boys down there. So he drove us down there, let us stay in his hotel room. – Where was it? – Vegas. So he drove over like 24 hour drive or whatever, 12 hour drive or whatever, to get down there or whatever it was. He’s like, I’ll take care of everything. Basically I paid for most of our food and stuff like that. Like I knew he was gonna take care of us because I got back actually when I finished in Arizona. I literally got back. So I moved back and I was like, man, I need, I was about a half a gas tank away. Like my cards were tapped. They were red line. And I was like, whoo, like I just have to get, and I was like driving home. I was like watching the odometer being like, gotta get there, gotta get there.

Made it back. So I didn’t like have anything. I got super fortunate though, got to work with my dad, like make some money, build the roads, but then got to NSCA.

We get there and I’m like, my mind is blown. I’m like, what is this thing? And I’m walking around, there’s part of the conference they have, they give away like free beer and snacks. So I’m just like smashing all the snacks, right? And they have a big row of posters. And people at scientific conferences, they put up like for like two or three hours, you’ll have a poster. You make a big poster of a study you’ve done. Typically not published yet, but like you can kind of see what the field is working on, preliminary results, stuff like that. And there’s these big halls. And I’m just walking up and down these halls and seeing all this strength and conditioning science. And I was like, what the, cause all this, like where’s all this? – And you had no idea, I didn’t know about a PhD, didn’t know anything. – I had no idea this stuff existed. I was like, science was the crappy boring crap. It was all the like, again, blood pressure medication did this, I’m like, I don’t know, this stuff sucks. I had a new idea. And I walked by one poster and it was a poster of these people taking muscle biopsies. And they were doing like really heavy squats with chains and bands. And I was like, well, what? And they were looking at, they did a one rep max back squat. And you had to do 10 successful reps in a day. At 100%. If you failed, like you had to do it again. So you were there squatting. – That’s a lot. – Oh yeah. You did 10 one rep maxes in a day, every day for 14 days. And they took muscle biopsies before and after. And I was just like, what the, what is this? This is like, you took biopsies, what’s a biopsy? How do you do that? And like all this squatting stuff. And I just hammered this poor guy with questions, right? I’m just like, no, like the kind of questions you get at scientific conference, like, how does this work? Like, well, like, how do you do these things? Like, how does this all happen, right? I just remember going back and forth, getting back, getting two more beers, coming back, talking to this guy. – Was it just this one poster? – One poster, right?

By the time we’re done, like the poster session shut down and the guy was like, hey, you want to go over to like the bar over there with like, let’s keep chatting and whatever. And I was like, yes, absolutely. Goes by and he buys me a couple more beers or whatever it was. And I was like, and you know, we’re talking. He’s like, hey, you know, I think I have an opening for a grad student next year. Do you want to come get your masters? And I was like, absolutely. What’s a master’s? Like I had no idea. – That’s crazy. – Like no idea. That guy was Andy Fry.

And for people who don’t know who Andy Fry is, he’s just a legend in the He recently won Lifetime Achievement Award. Like the first real muscle physiologist in strength and conditioning. Like really. Couple other guys, paratestered and stuff. I’d done some stuff. But really, really Andy was like really, most of the overtraining research, like a lot of stuff.

And people have to appreciate that strength and conditioning has been kind of separated from It’s been different. All of exercise physiology, all of health, it’s part of the reason why, like you and I have such an incredible connection. It’s just like, this is so cool to see this stuff become science. This stuff become medicine. This stuff become things that are in papers and in scientific journals, not the strength and conditioning journal. To get into JAMA, to get into New England Journal of Med and Sal and stuff like that, nature and science, to go up there. But yeah, so then he told me and he’s like. – You just happen to pick Fry’s work. I mean. – Well, in retrospect, there’s no other one I could have picked, right? Because I’m like, who else is doing this stuff? And other people were there.

But I got in there actually, I started, I did a year with him, then he left and went to Kansas, started his lab out there. And then I finished with him. And as I was actually getting closer, I was like, man, I don’t know what I wanna do. I don’t wanna coach, they want a personal train. And I kinda wanna do more stuff like this. So what are my options? Well, no one was, had PhDs in that type of stuff. So he hadn’t started his PhD program in Kansas yet. He just got there. Had no funding yet. And I was like, damn. No one was really doing it. So I just looked and I was like, well, who is doing the science and the physiology part? Like I wanna do it. Who cares what they’re doing at N, right? Is somebody doing the science side that I wanna do? Can I learn that? And I felt so arrogant and confident in the performance and strength and conditioning side. I’m like, I don’t need your help there. If I can learn the science side of what I wanna do, and then I can come back and do this in this population, I’ll be now the second person.

And the first guy doing it is 25 years older than me. So I’ll be in a real good spot. So that’s what I did for my PhD. I did it in a bunch of stuff I didn’t really care about. And then when I finished, right as I was getting done, I had this skill set of human performance, strength, conditioning, and molecular physiology. – What did you do the PhD in? – My PhD was in called Human Bioenergetics. – Okay.

It’s exercise physiology. It’s just a title. Like it’s all the same stuff. My actual dissertation was we developed a method for measuring individual muscle, individual signaling proteins in single muscle So it was all like a chemistry technical sort of one. There’s no real intervention.

But the first part of the dissertation was actually our Sweden study, where we had the, we can probably talk about of interest, the lifelong cross country skiers and the Violetsimaxis stuff we did there. So that was Eric, the guy who affords me dissertation. So I worked on that one and then mine was like a chemistry. – But the physiology was very cool. – Yeah, it was dope. Like we were able to measure proteins at a really small level in individual tiny muscle fibers that like no one had ever been able to do before and didn’t really go anywhere. We never used the methodology really again, but it was cool to show that it was possible. So when I finished, I was like, what am I gonna do? And I started kind of applying for jobs. And most of it is still that like public health like kind of job. – As a PhD. – Yeah, because I’m like, you’re gonna start a lab but you gotta get federal funding. You have to do health, like you can do sport, but only if you really do obesity or diabetes research or aging. That’s like the kind of hallmark three in our field, right? You got obesity, aging or diabetes, metabolic disease, something like that. I’m like, I don’t wanna do any of that stuff. And like you can do the sport performance stuff with your slush money, like your leftover money from your real studies or something like that.

Like I don’t wanna do that shit at all. Like I wanna do human performance. And then I just happened to see a posting at Cal State Fullerton. It was like, yeah, we wanted someone to do molecular physiology of strength and conditioning. And I was like, what? What? And then I applied and Lee Brown, who also just recently won Lifetime and She Moved Word called me. I feel like it was like an hour after my application went in. He’s like, hey, this is Lee Brown Fullerton. And I was like, of course I know who you are, like president of the NCAA.

And he’s like, this is like exactly what we wrote our job posting for him. I’m like, I know, this is weird. He’s like, how do this exist? I’m like, this is, so that application process was pretty short, but it felt pretty good. And the guy actually, the reason that job was open was because the guy had just left that job. That guy played football at Linfield. So he was a few years ahead of me, gone on and got his PhD from Bill Cramer at University of Connecticut. I applied for my PhD to go work with Bill. This guy interviewed me with Bill, and I turned that spot down for the other one. So like four years later, five years later, I applied for it and he’s like, hey, I remember your name. You’re that Linfield guy or whatever. I’m just leaving. He went to actually, he left Fullerton and went to work for Yussarian or Natick. One of the, he’s been to both. So I don’t know where he went, but he left to go do military research and he’s like, you should apply for this job. And I was like, did like, I’m there. And then Janet called and was like, yes. And so I like, I had all these people being like, like, this is the spot that you’re in. So when we opened our conversation 40 minutes ago or whatever, and I said, I can feel very fortunate. – Because I don’t, I don’t know some of this. – Yeah. I told you though, like, it is a ton of hard work, but look, look, I’m just in this like 20 minutes, like, look how many breaks I got. Just like lucky, lucky, lucky also fluke. – Not really though. – Yeah, cause there’s also like what I didn’t tell you were the 6,000 stories where I did something and nothing happened.

– I think this is important for the listener. – Yeah. – To push ahead and to. – You just have to keep firing shots. – But you also knew what you loved. – I did. – And I think a lot of people don’t spend time figuring out where their true passion lies. And if you don’t. – Well, what I’ll say is like, I want to be really clear on that one. Cause I get this one a lot from students. Like I didn’t know what my passion was. I didn’t know like, I want to do this specific thing. I just knew it was like, I love human performance. And I also know like I can get after it. And I’m just going to keep going.

So like, I didn’t care about like having no income as a master’s student or going on a PhD student. Cause like, I don’t have any money anyways. So I don’t know any different. Like I’m not going backwards lifestyle wise. – Right. – Don’t care. – Unbelievable.

I’m just going to keep. And I know like, I don’t know exactly what I want to do. When I started that job, I told you, I didn’t even want to do science. It was a teaching based job, right? I was like, I was going to – Yeah. What did they hire you for? – Well, I came in and I was like, yo, this is exactly what I want to do. So Dave Costell had this thing where he was like, I want to do one-to-one. One-to-one is for every scientific publication I have. I want to do one lay publication.

So in like the 1970s, that’s you’re talking like, you publish the paper in Journal of Applied Physiology and then you write an article in Runner’s World.

That’s how it was, right? – Yeah. I suppose I didn’t realize that. – And so coming in, like Dave was retired by the time I got there. So I didn’t spend much time with him, but that’s like a big part of the lab, it’s culture, like this is what Dave, and I was like, damn, that’s perfect. So when I came into Fullerton, that’s what I told him. I wrote him and I was like, yo, I’m going to do one-to-one and I’m going to put equal emphasis. So in the center for sport performance that Lee started that I run now, the goal, the mission of that center is to produce and disseminate research that enhances performance.

It is produced and disseminate. That is one-to-one. We will make and we will disseminate, not we will publish, we will disseminate, which means we’ll get it out to the world. So I came in, I told him, yo, I’m going to do this. And like, I’m going to go hard in the paint both ways. And I’m going to spend as much time or more getting the current information we have out to people and not just publish, publish, publish, publish, like let it die. – Which I’m surprised because most labs want. – 100%, but Lee is different. Like Lee was in charge and Lee was like, no, that’s what you’re doing. Like you do what you want and like get this out in the world. Like the NSCA’s mission statement is something to do with bridging the gap between science and application.

And I’m like, that’s it. And like, this is what I want to do, right? To be in that middle world. So I come in, I’m teaching, we’re doing studies. I’m getting in them out there. And that’s when like the barbell shrug guys were like, you got to, you have to go on social media. And I was like, I don’t want to do, like I hated the idea of social media, but I did it. And they’re like, you have to start coming on our podcast. I’m like, okay. That started all making sense. Things take off from there. And then at the same time, that’s when I started working with the pro athletes as well. – Did they find you? I mean, because at the time, there wasn’t a lot of people doing what you were doing or good at both. It was in individual lanes. I would say. – Yeah. I mean, it was a decent time ago because I had never, what I didn’t like, I never stopped coaching athletes the whole way. I was coaching people in my masters. I was actually in the strength conditioning room, was a strength conditioning coach at Ball State as well, which I wasn’t supposed to be, but I was like, like coaching teams down there and stuff. So I didn’t stop coaching.

I was training myself. I was fighting. I was competing. I was doing different stuff. I was working with fighters. So when I get to LA. – You were working with fighters that time. – Oh yeah, for sure.

Because you’ve been working with fighters for years. – Yeah. When we were master students, Mike Bledsoe started CrossFit Memphis and the fighters, and Doug was fighting at the time, the competing at MMA. They’re just like, damn, like all these science people now have a gym. Like, let’s just go over And then we started training, competing over there.

And then when I got to my PhD, I found the first fight gym I could find, then I’m like, join them. And then they’re like, they figure out what you know. And it’s like, okay, great. Like, we’re gonna trade services here. So I never stopped. I was competing myself. So I’m like, we’ll just keep doing this. – And everyone is thinking, how did you have the time for all that? – Yeah, well, it’s funny because I would leave the lab. I think practice was like 6.30 p.m. or something like that. So being in the lab, I would leave. It was right down the street from the lab, funny enough. We would go train and we trained pretty hard and we fought a lot in practice. And I get home, eat, go sleep, like wake up, do it the next day. And it was awesome because the rest of my lab mates were like the classic ex-Fizz PhD students, were like, they’re running and maybe like doing some bro lifting. It’s like, I’m coming in. I’m just like, I had a broken rib one time. So I was like hunched over in my thing. I was all smashed up all the time. They’re just like, what are you doing? And I’m like, I love it. – You think it made you a better scientist? – For sure, right? Because like, that’s such a good question.

We would, oh man, like we would go over, papers would come out or we’d have scientific ideas or basic ex-Fizz stuff come up. And one of the reasons why I fell in love with fighting so much scientifically is because it doesn’t fit the mold of any other energy system, right? – Not at all. – Super, super hard. And they would say things like, you can’t do A, B, and C. And I’d be like, well, we did it last night at practice. I’ll show you my data. Like, I’ll show you the numbers. And they’re just like, what? All right, so it’s like, basically, think about this, like this, there’s like lifting and then there’s like long duration endurance. And I’m like, no, no, no, no. Here’s what we did in practice. Here’s the rounds we did. Here’s the heart rates we’re at or whatever. And just like, no way. And then it’s like, well, you don’t do any distance running. I’m like, no, nor should I. All these things coming up, right? Like, you can’t do that and be strong and this. I’m like, yeah, you can. This is how you’re gonna do it. And you guys don’t know anything about training. You guys know a ton about your little areas of science, but you guys, you work out. You really do not understand how to train for your performance. None of you have been real performance coaches because our lab actually never interacted with the strength- conditioning people at all. And they were very much like the classic, all those guys don’t know the science of training sort of thing. I was like, you guys have no idea what you’re doing. You guys have PhDs in muscle physiology, but you do not have any understanding how to train muscle, like at all. You know how to distance run. And that’s like all you know or swam or cycle, right?

So it was like, it was a ton of being able to be like, yeah, and look, well, what if this, what if this, what if this, right? And like, look what happens. And look what these people are able to do. And they were constantly, and so even like the science questions I wanted to ask and things I want to go after the way that I would interpret papers, I mean, I’ll never forget a ton of them, right? We could get these giant fights, like academic fights like as doctoral students coming in, because they would interpret a particular paper a certain way. Like one of them was a classic one. There was a, I wasn’t an author on this paper, but we did a training study in 80 year olds. It was 70 and 80 year olds is what it was. And the 70 year olds got stronger and added some muscle mass, but the 80 year olds did not, right? And it was like, okay, great. And so the lab interpretation of the paper was there’s something happening at age 80 where you stop responding like as well to that arbitration, right? And I look at all the data and I’m like, no, what you saw is your training program sucked. Like I’m looking at your training program. You did leg extensions, three sets of 10 at 70%.

I think it was like once or twice a week. That was the whole training program. I’m like, your training program sucked. What you found out is you don’t know how to strengthen your student coach. Like that’s what you found out. So, and then we were like, well, okay, look at the marker. Look at this marker. Look at this one over here, blah, blah, blah. Like here’s more support.

You’re just hammering down on it. But yeah, like all that like came out as in my science, right? So I’m like, how am I interpreting? How am I positioning things? What do I want to do? And then really learning the skill of going, man, this is why, I’ll say this, not to hopefully offend anybody, but if you really have never been a scientist, really never done the work, like you really don’t know how to interpret research. And you really, really, really don’t. You can get kind of close, but I mean, like even someone like our good friend, Lane Norton, right? Lane did a PhD and he gets this, but he also has not done a single study on his own, right? And I’m saying this with all love and Lane would fully hug me right now if I said this. – We love Lane, yeah. – It’s like, you don’t know the difference between you’ve run 10, 20, 40 studies. Like you really, there’s layers of understanding that come with this black belt level, right? – With career researchers. – With careers. So that’s like, man, and knowing like the scientists and knowing the labs, like I can pick apart and be like, hmm, so I can see things in between lines just because I like, I know these things. So there’s a level of trust that has to happen with like the actual people in there. Like when a real scientist that’s really producing research says something and that disagrees with maybe somebody else, doesn’t mean they’re right. Plenty of biases and bug, but there’s a different level of understanding how the whole game works and they even get to. But yeah, it totally informed how I was doing things and you can see it to this day.

That the type of studies we’ve done in my lab, the things we’ve learned, the approach I’ve had, it has all funneled back to that same thing, right? The direct work with tons of fighters. – It’s very unusual. It’s a very unusual combination. – But I did it all on purpose. – You did? – Yeah, because like I saw that thing, right? Like I looked at that thing as a master’s student when no one does this and this together.

Okay, how are you gonna get a job? Well, you have to have a skill set. Tim Ferriss was so beautiful about this a decade ago. It’s not necessarily having a crazy skill set. It’s having a skill set and two things that don’t compliment each other.

That’s where people get magic. You’re like, how do you have a PhD in mathematics, but then you’re also a world-class chef?

What? Weird, now all of a sudden weird things and opportunities happen because you have this unique combination of skills, right? So I’m looking, I’m like, I don’t see anybody who really understands human performance from a coaching perspective, that understands cellular physiology, who’s also actually still competing, who’s really coaching people, who’s doing all this, right? If I go start a lab like that, I can do whatever research I want. I’m not competing against anybody because no one’s doing this type of stuff. Any grant I go after, I’m in the open here. No one’s looking at this and any athlete who I would potentially wanna work with is gonna come in and be like, “Yo, which of these people would I pick?” Like, I’m gonna be the pick, right? People wondered, like, I’ll finish this rant. Like, God, we’re so deep in. You can cuddle this or put it in. – Well, no, no, we’re keeping us in. I mean, when, because I did, it’s been like six or seven years since the first time I went on Joe Rogan. People ask me, I had like no following at the time, right? Like a thousand followers or something. Like, how the hell? And people were like, “Oh, what publisher do you use?” And I was like, “None, ever, zero.” – How did he find you? – He DM’d me. – But how did he find you? – How did he find me? If you go back and look at my bio, it’s something like this, like PhD muscle physiology, MMA coach, like blah, blah, blah. And it was like the four or five things that he loves the most. So people always wonder, like, how’d I get on? I’m like, well, first, I don’t know how to get on.

His show is up to you. But like– – Don’t ask me, yeah. – When you’re like a, if you’re a strength-additioning coach in golf, don’t expect to get on there. Like, he doesn’t like that. He follows, I’m like, I listed all the things that he was super into. Then looked at all my posts are science and sports and athlete stuff. And he’s like, he probably saw that and was like, that’s exactly what I’m into. Like, that’s cool. I don’t have posts about other stuff or whatever. It’s all science com.

So like, part of that was like, yo, I’m doing this because no one’s in this field. Everybody wanted to be in the NBA and the NFL and Major League Baseball. I wouldn’t want to be strength coaches for like those people. And I’m like, that’s great. No one’s giving a crap about these UFC people. Well, that was 2008.

Turns out– – Wow. – Like, that sport was getting big, right? And I’m like, and I’m the only one there. I’m the only person to turn to. So when these fighters start like looking and finding where it gets out, like, dude, there’s a scientist doing all this work. And like, he also has worked with ABCD and these UFC champions and all this. And like, all of a sudden floodgates in that community gets opened up. Boom, like things get going. So like from there, I had already had this experience with NFL players and Major League Baseball players as well, too. So I still had some people from there that was sending people over.

And then, you know, at that point, like we’ll call that marketing in terms of like word.

But marketing is only as good as then what your product is gonna be. So once the time came out and I was like, oh shit, he’s like, look how well people are doing out of his stuff. And like from there, it was a wrap. – Did that inform your research? – 100%. – So you went from fighting, doing all these things. You then took over this sport lab at Fullerton. What was the first study that you did? Do you even remember? – No, I don’t. – I mean, because that was, gosh, when was that?

It was 14 years It’s something like that 13 years ago. I don’t remember what our very first study was. – But it was geared towards, was it geared towards fighting?

I don’t think

The first couple of years, I had to build the biochemistry lab. I had to get the muscle biopsy on board. Like there was, that’s a lot of infrastructure, like building, like physically building the lab.

So I don’t remember what our first study was, but I mean, some of the early ones we did, I wanted to know whether or not, you’ll see a lot of times in between rounds of a fight boxing or MMA, that coaches will put an ice pack like on people’s neck and rubber on their shoulders and stuff like that. And so I was like, wanna know, does that actually work? – Does it? – Doesn’t matter. Well, so we looked at it and we’re like, let’s put them in a control condition. Let’s put them in a placebo condition. Let’s put an ice pack on people’s necks like in between rounds, like of a simulated fight.

We didn’t see any difference in like thermal regulation or performance or any other direct or indirect markers of fatigue in the first three rounds. But then it started to make a difference after that. And so the basic idea was like, well, okay, if you’re fighting in a championship fight, potentially putting it right back there, it also does no harm.

So my general recommendation was like, potential to work, no downside whatsoever, I’d strongly encourage it. Like definitely put that thing as high, but you have to put it really on the base of your neck, like the base of your brain, not only like your lower neck, put it right up there where your thermal sensors are, so high as you can, and then hold it. Don’t rub it around, don’t move it everywhere. The longer you can apply that thing, the better. So that’s a great example is like, okay, great.

And I’ll actually like, what’s actually really funny is for my first tenure review, I got completely crushed from my own department, actually, because they’re like, your research isn’t focused. Because I had done like a muscle biopsy biochemistry one, I had done that one. We did a study on deadlifting with heavy bands, right? So we built in on the force plate, and we’re looking at that, and they’re like, you’re all over the place, because they want you to be super focused and like do one thing. – I would say probably most labs.

Always, They want you to be a niche, because the only way you’re gonna get world famous and get funding and stuff is like, if you have a hyper niche into something, right?

I’m like, fuck that, I’m not doing any of that. Like I’m doing exactly what I want. So I got crushed on that. But I was like, I don’t care. I’m gonna do what I wanna do.

Well, it turned out it worked out for me. So yeah, we were all, I mean, we’re all still to this day. If I think it’s gonna help people with diabetes– – It’s a very diverse lab. And I think that the papers that you publish have a lot of diversity. Thank you to Cozy Earth for sponsoring this episode of the show. I have been using Cozy Earth products forever. And if you have not tried them, you are definitely late to the game. Cozy Earth products are made from viscous from bamboo.

These are the softest towels, bedding, clothes you will ever, ever try. I am telling you, I recently got the resort towels. I don’t even need to go to a resort to use these towels. Quite frankly, I’m using them for bath towels. They are large and fluffy. They feel great. They’re beautiful. And listen, Cozy Earth has been around for a while and they just continue to create new products that you can use in your daily routine. I love my Cozy Earth bedtime sheets. Well, I guess they would all be bedtime sheets, but they could be nap time sheets, especially as it begins to get warmer. And many people are hot at night and you can turn down the temperature, but the sheets for some reason stay hot. Cozy Earth is not that. Cozy Earth keeps you cool and soft and just amazing. You can get yours at CozyEarth.com. You’ll get 30% off, my listener gets 30% off using the code DrLion. That’s CozyEarth.com, 30% off and use the code DrLion. Now back to the show. Talk to me about, let’s talk about your lab now. Or I should say, let’s talk about some of the things that should be being done, like biomarkers for muscle health. – Big question. Where do you wanna go here? Cause I got a lot to say about this topic. – Well, I think it’s really important because there’s the blood biomarkers. And then of course there’s the physical piece, the physical imaging piece, whether it’s ultrasound, CT, MRI, DEXA.

I would love to talk about the blood biomarkers and I have messaged you many times.

Andy, what can you tell me about this? Or what can we think about muscle turnover or sarcopenia? Again, you and I come from different perspectives.

I care about performance because I care about the military operators. But other than that, aside from dealing with tier one operators, I deal with real people. I deal with CEOs, people that are getting after it. You’re interested in human performance. Again, there’s a spectrum of the human performance, but from what can be applied clinically, even if we’re not even there yet, blood biomarkers of skeletal muscle health. What do we know? Number one, defining operationally what we’re going after here, biomarker simply means a marker of biology.

Your height is a biomarker, right? – A very small one.

(laughing) – What it mean? So when you, this is, the reason I’m saying this is to say that actually it’s used nefariously marketing purposes. And I think it sounds sexy, sounds appealing, right? But it could be anything. When you see a company that’s like, “Oh, they are really good at biomarkers.” They do biomarkers. It doesn’t really mean shit, to be totally honest, right? What does that actually mean? Okay, so a biomarker could be any of number eight. So you lay out a couple of different forms or flavors of those biomarkers. It could be a physical thing. So if we’re analyzing, take on a company like Axio Force. Are you familiar with Axio Force yet? Okay, great. They actually are an up and coming company. They’re out, actually, the subconscious mind is fascinating. They are out of Andy Fry’s lab.

So they’re actually a biomechanics company. They’re out of the University of Kansas. And they built a force plate that is a sole of a shoe. So what you can actually do is you get full 3D motion analysis of how you’re moving. And all you do is take the sole out of your shoe and put their sole in. Full, like you have a full kinematics, kinetics coming off this thing. Force plates are like 40 grand. But they figured out how to put this technology into a sole of a shoe. So you can put this in there, right? – Can anyone purchase that? – It’s not available for consumer purchase yet for the outside world, but. – But you might know someone. – Maybe.

Axio Force is spending most of their time with early Parkinson’s detection right now. Because one of the things that they’re going after is saying, hey, look, if we can identify changes in your gait, how your left foot’s moving, how you’re walking, right? Because obviously, you can imagine somebody with dementia or asthma. They’re shuffling, right? – Shuffling gait, yes. – They see these clear changes in gait, right? What if we can pick up those changes in gait six months earlier, a year earlier, six years earlier? I don’t know what the number is, right? But we are clearly, if this is now a passive technology that’s just sitting in your shoe, and you’re at risk or have some other mark, like I don’t know who gets it, we don’t know, right? But now we can identify this before you start identifying other signs of neurological denervation. You’re not feeling the loss of mental clarity. You’re not seeing some of the early signs, right? But they can see that marker happen earlier. Now we can step in and intervene prior to you actually having observable changes by just that. That’s a biomarker. That’s a biomarker of muscle quality. It’s said differently than you and I typically think of it, right, but we’re looking at now true function, right? Okay, super interesting.

That’s out there. Now whether or not their technology fully works or– – But conceptually. – Yeah, it’s the point of going after it, right? You have other companies that do something like that. Then you have another form of a biomarker like what you and I do, right? We’ll take hundreds of blood biomarkers. In this, I typically refer to them as blood biomarkers or probably more appropriately molecular biomarkers. And we’re looking at everything from a combination of actual enzymes to metabolites to full proteins, any number of things we’re looking in there, right? And we’re trying to gauge, and I’m putting words in your mouth here, you do for your job. You’re trying to gain, gauge a stage of like, what is signal? What is response, right? What is the actual cause? What is the symptom, right? And there’s all these things, right? What is the dysfunction? What is the response? And this is like way more tricky than just saying, hey, your testosterone’s low, therefore it needs to go up. Like, hold on here. We gotta go upstream, we gotta go downstream and figure out again, is this the response? Is this the cause? If so, why? And then you’re trying to really get an understanding of what the physiology is doing because it is proactive and it is responsive. And so you’re moving up and down. I’m gonna come way off that here in a second, and then we’ll come back, we’ll spend most of our time there. But now we’ve talked about like a physical movement biomarker, we’ve taken actual blood biomarker, and now let’s take another biomarker like, how do you feel?

What, yeah, your subjective life experience is an incredibly powerful biomarker, right? How are you going through the world? How are you experiencing things? Is your back hurting? Are you low energy? Are you feeling like you’re struggling to recover? Are you not you anymore? You wanna go back to like, you just don’t feel like yourself anymore. Like all this stuff is a biomarker. So when you say like, what do you go after? What do we look for? It depends on what are we looking for? Fundamentally, you go all the way back to a science principle called first principles. Strip this whole thing down and just start asking questions along the way till we can no longer get past an assumption we feel like is 100%. No, I think of this in a handful of ways, number one.

Step one is there has to be some assessment.

Okay, I gotta have some data on you. If those data are, how do you feel today? If it’s that and your waist circumference, great. If we go all the way to the end of that and we’ve got 500 biomarkers, we’ve got stool, urine, saliva, I know how you walk. I’ve done a springbok analysis on you. Are you from a springbok? Oh my God.

Write this one down. Please let me tell you a whole bunch about springbok when we’re done here.

Springbok allows you to run a full MRI scan but not for cancer detection, for muscle analysis. And so you actually get a 3D movable analysis of the volume of every muscle on your body. And so I can look directly and go, okay, great. Your left VL, your left quad, best lateralis, the outside leg muscle is 12% larger than your right side or lower thing, right? Now that’s just size, it’s not function. – It doesn’t talk about function or quality. – But now we’ve, but it’s another piece of the pie. Like what if I could visually, physically see every muscle on your body? Now I can in a 20 minute scan. – So is springbok available to the public? – Totally. – I mean, we do a full body MRIs but we do it for a vasculature, we do it for cancer detection, we look for physical injury, but we don’t, what is the accuracy? – It’s dialed. – Okay, the MRIs are really pretty good. – Yeah, MRIs are very good. But you could take those things, right? So imagine now you’re stacking these things together and you’re going, okay, great. Been seeing the blood, blood looked fine, nothing popped out there, right? Gate looks totally normal functionality. Why is it what we’re struggling to return? Why is this knee still hurting? Okay, now we run through the springbok analysis and we’re going, oh, okay, well maybe we’re seeing this giant asymmetry in muscle size. Now I don’t know what giant asymmetry means or not. Some asymmetry is normal, like there’s a ton of things to learn about that, right? Like I don’t know, or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe we see a 15% difference in your quad size left to right, but there’s no pain, there’s no dysfunction. Okay, great, right? It’s not there. And then we’re going into, now we’re going to your sleep and we’re looking, and so my point is, we start talking biomarkers, it’s like, what problem are we solving?

And ideally, step number one is assessment. We have to get some sort of data on you, as nuts as that all stuff could be, or as simple as how you feeling, how’s your energy, how are your poops today? Like what is it gonna be? Okay, step number two, now we have to be able to contextualize that. You call that assessment, right?

Is that good, bad, great?

All those things, right? So okay, doc, my testosterone’s low. Is it? According to what? According to who? We have a full conversation now to talk about reference ranges for things like blood markers.

Yikesies, right? Holy Toledo, we could talk the entire time about that. Like compared to who? – Correct. – High compared to what? Low, what do you mean outside of what reference range? Like based on a population of who?

All this stuff, we could go into all this, but we have to understand how am I contextualizing that front piece, right? We talked about it from the spring back. Okay, you have asymmetry, but what does normal even mean? How much is okay?

Part number one is easy.

Unending technological growth on number one. You can pick any metric of health and human performance you want, and there is a great technology, and there’s even more coming.

Part two is a problem.

Part two is a real problem, right? I don’t know.

If you don’t really understand how to interpret blood work, we can’t get this. If you don’t really understand how to truly analyze sleep, you’re gonna have problems. If you don’t really understand, you could, okay. We don’t have databases of super healthy people. This is a huge, huge, huge– – This is a huge problem for all of us. – We do not, for sure, not the pander to the audience here, but we for sure do not have good data on healthy women.

I can scrape together in a lot of areas what a normal healthy 40-year-old dude should look like.

You go into women, and now you go into anything between pre-post-childbirth.

No idea.

There’s a definite difference between a 35-year-old woman who’s had children and a 35 that is not.

Okay, right, now we get into all other challenges, which is where you thought I was going, right? You go into menopause, right?

This is just a Darth.

We’re in dead space right now, right? We might as well be in the middle of a black zone. Really fundamentally, we have– – We’re in a black hole right now. – We’ve got nothing here, right?

Then you gotta go to the next step, which is, okay, we’ve determined, we’ve made our best guess based on your clinical experience, based on your intuition, based on the data that is available, based on, okay, we have some data on men at that same age, then we have some animal studies. Like, you’re doing the best you can because people need action now with, that’s practice, right? That’s evidence based, that’s, okay. The next step though is going, all right, how do I get that corrected?

What’s my actual action? And now we’re still at an even bigger mystery, right? Because now we’re going, well, I didn’t even know, there’s not enough data on if that was good, bad, great, and there’s definitely not intervention data then.

What do I do? How do I solve it, right? And so now you’re leaning on people, again, with their experience and intuition, and you’re making your best sort of guess there. That is the stepping stone that we have to walk through this entire path on, right? So getting into biomarkers, we could go up and down this any way you want. We could maybe spend time on one, one in particular, or one style or something like that, but that is really the full picture of trying to assess, how do we actually use this information to make my world better? And the way that this is all packaged, the last thing I’ll say here, that is all under an umbrella of population.

And that sucks for you, right? Because I need to know what works for me.

I do not care if something works on the population level. That’s a great start, but science doesn’t really give you answers on the personal level very often. It almost always gives you answers on the population level, right? This is most likely to work the best in most people. And that’s super, super helpful. That tells you very little information about you. And so we have to be able to approach this, whether you’re intervening on your own behalf, whether you’re working with somebody like you or a great doctor, it doesn’t matter. We have to be able to go from, okay, great. That’s where the science took us this far. Now, how do I figure out in my system, in my approach, how I collect my own data, makes sense of that, how well do I know that that’s good, bad, terrible for me, and then what is gonna work for me? That’s the gap we’ve gotta close. We have to help people understand how do I figure that out for me personally? The science is what it is, but we gotta help people get that last level of individualizing, personalizing, however you wanna call this, precision, nutrition, precision, recovery, precision training for me. That’s the problem we’ve gotta get to. – I wanna ask this question, but I do wanna talk about myokines and so– – Oh yeah, we get to details. – Just because it’s not discussed enough, these markers, maybe even three methyl histidine things, but before I do, I’m gonna throw this out there because actually you taught me about this. We were at a nutrition conference for special operations. – Oh yeah.

Do you remember, we were in San Diego. – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. – It was for, it was a lot of the nutritionists that worked with and worked with– – J-SOC – Yeah, J-SOC, Joint Special Operations Command, DevGrew, those kinds of individuals.

Digital twin. – Oh yeah.

That where the digital twin potentially comes into And my listeners don’t know about digital twin. Maybe they’re smarter than me. Maybe they know about it. – Most don’t. – I just learned about this. – Great.

The digital twin is, imagine we can take your physiology, your genotype to phenotype.

So who you are at the genetic level, all the way to how that is physically expressed, how tall you are, how you feel, what blood biomarkers you have, and we can digitize that. And now with that, we could run endless simulations on you and predict how well you’re going to respond and what ways to any intervention and big, any combination of interventions. So you did this for your sleep routine, this for your supplements, yeah, you run that whole thing and we would see what would happen with your physiology as a result of that. That human digital twin thing has been going on since the 1960s. And now started off at NASA after their Apollo mission that got all screwy, and they basically said, here’s a new standard. Any physical machine we sent up this space has to have a digital twin made of it. So if anything goes wrong in space, we can run simulations on it here digitally, and I’d have to rebuild it physically, identify the problem, know what the best solution would be for our crew up there, and then tell them exactly what to do. That then just got extended in the 1990s or so to the human. It made sense, right? How can we start digitizing? And so the first things that started to come on board were like the heart. And so being able to run a digital twin of your heart and identify which surgical intervention is gonna be best for you in your particular case, right? Using that information. There’s a couple of groups that are working on the physical brain, and that’s getting close.

Just physically, not cognition, not emotions, not memories, not like that’s a very deep problem to get to. The soft and hard problem of consciousness, like that is way, way– – We are not there yet. – No, but just like a physical brain, pretty close. Lungs and kidneys are very close as well.

So much so is like they’re basically here. You’re talking about like third step clinical trials now at this point, running some last little things, and technology and costs and stuff, but it’s really, really quite here.

The stuff that’s been worked on for the last decade or so, and you’ll find these. If you just go into PubMed. – Yeah, I have. – Human digital twins, you’ll start seeing these all over the place, right? This is not like a fringe thing.

You’ll see human digital twin for the immune system. And that gets really, really challenging. We’re not close to that yet, but that is hard because as you know, I can go in and pull out your renal system. I can go in and pull out your vascular system. I can go in and pull out your pulmonary system. I can’t pull out your immune system. It’s everything. It’s in every cell of your body. Like it’s all over there, right? So figuring that thing out and mapping that is really, really challenging.

But there’s other stuff we can get to. So we actually, like one of the reasons I’m here in Houston right now is tomorrow, we have a special little conference thing going on. We just actually finished our first round of our human digital twin project. It was myself and a bunch of other companies. So our sleep company, our blood work company, and a bunch of other companies came through and said, okay, what if we run all these analyses on somebody, created digital twin of them, then put them through advanced protocols based on their response and then test them at the end. And that’s the actual project that we completed with the handful of the NASA teams and other stuff, SpaceX and like some other groups that are combined on that one. So we put all that stuff together.

Pilot study, learned a lot from it, but really impressive.

There’s a bigger conversation about like some other things going on. But the reality of that step number one, like I talked about, assessment, it’s just getting better and getting really good. We still don’t know who we’re comparing to. Like I don’t know any of the things, but the ability to take your physiology and upload it, it’s just not a if anymore.

Like it’s effectively here. Being able to run digital twins on your own self and you’d be able to put them through, like there’s actually a group called Svexa is out of, they’re in the Bay Area, but it’s like Silicon Valley exercise something or other group.

They can take very little, limited amount of data and basically tell you how you’re going to predict in any performance marker anytime down the road. – I mean, that’s pretty extraordinary. – Yeah, with stunning accuracy. I think that they did this for the Chicago Marathon and the group of people that they did it with, they were within like six seconds of their marathon performance.

Do you think there’s a space where we could say, okay, in my brain is the practical aspect, would this give us a sense of where someone, and again, recognizing the limitations of the subjective question of feeling better. Let’s say we have a woman and we have her do these things or we give her this number, this amount of testosterone and then she feels, we give her, I don’t know, 50 milligrams of testosterone this week. It causes her free testosterone to go to 100 and she feels amazing. Just make it up. With amazing accuracy versus we give you 20 milligrams of testosterone, you might see a free testosterone of 15 because that’s kind of the human Again, I understand it’s not the intracellular amount. – Yeah, yeah. Sure, yeah. I mean, the fact of the matter is why people who are listening to this will really care is you just saved years of experimenting. – Years. – Years. – Of trial and error because– – And you save, when this is going to be ready, you’re gonna save massive side effects. So we gave you the 50 milligrams of testosterone and all of a sudden, now you’re crazy. – And you lose all your hair or whatever and you get acne. – Yeah, yeah, tons of– – And maybe testosterone wasn’t the right choice for you. Maybe we had to figure out a way to lower your sex hormone binding globulin or whatever it is. – Yep, right. So the issue is there’s many issues with this stuff to balance the conversation because I want you to get excited but not too excited.

I was very excited. – The balance is always still, remember, it’s only as good as data in. So what data did you collect to begin with? – Right. – Okay, you have to be really careful of that. Then number two, it’s only operating on the information it has. So if it doesn’t have any information about your mental health, then it’s not going to have, be able to predict that. Has no idea, right? So you have to have a more comprehensive, this is why when you have practices like your medical practice, this is why you have the success you have, right? Because you’re looking at every part of this program, right? – Everything holistically, yeah. – Everything holistically, right?

Ours is the same with our coaching practice, right? Like you have to do it this way. I think at this point– – In order to move the needle, truly in a meaningful way for people, it has to be all encompassing. It has to be stool, all of it. – You have to. – Stools, saliva, genetics, everything. – Yeah. If not, like the way that we phrase it is, we’re looking for performance anchors. Okay, what does that mean? What is an anchor that is holding down your performance? I didn’t say sport.

Your performance, again, you define how you look, feel, and what performance means to you, right? So we’ve coached hundreds of non-athletes, hundreds of them, right? Okay, you tell me the terms. I’m still looking for that anchor. What’s that thing holding you back? Maybe for you it is your testosterone. Totally great. I don’t do that, I don’t give hormones, I’m not a real doctor like you. I’m sending that person to you. Okay, great. I really need to give you hormone therapy like you go to them, not what I do. We’re gonna come back and say, okay, your biggest thing though, however, is maybe something small. I’m trying to think of examples that I’ve had like the last couple of weeks.

Maybe it’s the fact that like you don’t have a consistent daily schedule.

You have a variability of three to four hours a day. All I do is change that and all of a sudden watch your testosterone rise. That’s exactly what happened in this guy, right? Okay, great. Got him up there, perfect. Other ones it is like, hey, you need really a very specific protocol for six months, we have to have this combination of breath work, we gotta get you down and regulated. We need to change the time of day you’re working out. You’re not getting some exposure, we need these specific nutrients. I can get very, very, very complicated for some people because you end up in a circle, right? Where it’s like a little bit of bad sleep, a little bit worse nutrition choices, a little bit worse nutrition choices, a little bit less energy, a little bit less energy, a little bit more stimulants, a little more stimulants, a little bit worse sleep. You gotta break the cycle, right? You can’t just come in and give them– – Testosterone.

You can, and then they’re gonna feel great, and then they’re gonna quit that, and then they’re gonna come see me and you. Because they’re gonna be like, I feel horrible now. Yeah, that’s what happens, right? So you have to approach what is that real anchor, what is the most severe one that you have? What is the linchpin, the log jam, like however you wanna think about it, but what is the thing that is dragging? And what I, the tip I’ll give you here is, it’s not the thing that’s dragging necessarily like just your performance down. So it’s not always one to one. Meaning like, I have low energy, therefore, it’s an energy

Maybe not. Really, maybe not at all. Or I’m not recovering like I did, it’s something by, maybe not. It is what is putting the most constraint in your physiology? Physiology will only operate to the level that it is constrained. You have to figure out what is constraining that physiology. Then get out of it the way, right? And then watch all the other peripheral things just take off because physiology is physiology. It’s all just one big soup in the same pot, right? So it’s not like you can mess with one of the ingredients and expect the other thing. That’s good mess with. So look at the entire pot and then go, this is the area. Even if you don’t think you care, let me give you like a direct example. So people don’t think it’s not, it’s like you’re not strength training at all. Okay, great. Yeah, but I don’t really care about that. I don’t want to get big and bulky. I don’t need to put on a mask. Like I really just care about my mental health. Okay, great.

Obviously not mental does not just strength training. We’re not saying that. But if we look at your entire panel and go, yeah, but here’s what you’re not appreciating.

Oh, and then we could go on and I’ll make them read your book, right? They got to read your book and they realize all the physiology that goes behind high quality muscle. And then we can show them, we can show them the papers. And this is what we do. Like we present, like the people that work with it, they get presentations of the science of their physiology. This is what’s going on. This is why. And so then when we look at your labs, A is low and B is low and D is low. And then we look at your sleep and all these things are connected back in your case to your lack of muscle mass. So when we think we correct this problem, this is going to go up. And then you’re going to get the thing you want. Oh, that’s what I mean when I say what’s constraining the physiology is not just the marker. Oh, your testosterone is low. It needs to go up. Maybe, maybe not. Oh, your insulin’s down.

Hold on here. Like we do not treat one-to-one. Like do not, I don’t treat anybody, I’m not a doctor, but we don’t coach one-to-one. Like it’s not just like, oh, my sleep, sleep’s low. We got to go sleep more. Maybe. Why is it low? Let’s fix that problem and then watch everything else correct itself. – Do you think with the clientele you guys are working with, there’s one overarching theme. I understand everyone is very individualized. – If you, like energy is probably even, like with our pro athletes, with our executives, like I would say then probably the biggest one we get is fatigue. You think about it two ways, like either fatigue slash energy. So I can’t train as hard as I used to. I get tired sooner slash like physically I’m sleepy throughout the day. Like I don’t have the energy I used to have. I don’t have the vigor, the like, the go after it as much anymore. Like if we collectively call that energy, I’d say that is the biggest collective thing we’ve had. – And do you find that in terms of the cause, I understand the cause is different, but do you think, I mean, again, sleep apnea is huge. You sleep apnea also, environmental toxins in the house, in the room. – For sure. – Do you find that there are top three issues that is pushing the fatigue and or lack of energy? – Yeah, so we kind of have like a, we triage. We walk most likely, most common, all the way down to more likely. Something like an environmental toxin, important, but that is down on our list of like, we’re not getting there till the end, most likely. Cause we’re gonna start with the most obvious. If you’re fatigued, the most, the number one place we’re starting is your sleep.

If you don’t have energy and you feel tired. – That makes sense. – Makes sense, right? We’re going to exhaust that one. – And if you’re a parent, forget it. Of young children, just forget it.

Caffeinate, that’s all I gotta say. – Yeah, right, okay. So we’re starting off asleep, right? There’s some insane number of people in the world.

Okay, well, I don’t want to go too far down here, but here’s the reality. Your practice, medical practice, we talked about blood marrow markers being poor reference ranges. Look at the sleep ones. They’re a fucking disaster. – Okay. – Total disaster. – You mean from a sleep apnea test? – Here’s what sleep testing looks like. Imagine you get into a snowmobile accident and your knee is totally trashed. And you’re like, oh my gosh, your knee is pointing the wrong direction. It is sideways. You’re in screaming pain. And you go into a hospital and they take an X-ray. And they go, well, Dr. Lyon, there’s nothing broken here. It looks like your knee’s fine. Like, yeah, but it’s pointing the wrong direction and I can’t move it. But nothing’s broken. – So you’re fine. – That’s what sleep testing is right now. It is an X-ray. If you officially have one of two or three things at a certain cutoff, you will be told you have sleep apnea, you have some other clinical sleep disorder.

Below that though, you’ll be told, nope, your sleep’s fine. You’re like, okay, great. Well, my ACL, PCL and M-cell are all torn off the bone, but you only looked at the bone structure themselves you got there. If you go get a sleep test done at almost any sleep lab, you have that. In addition, you’re going into a lab, you’re sleeping for a couple of nights in a very weird scenario. I don’t even need to explain to you. You’re putting wires all over your head and face. Like, this is total utter nonsense, right?

You’re not getting that. There’s a litany of subclinical. I mean, they don’t officially– – Have sleep apnea. – But you are suboptimal, extremely deficient. That can be explaining all of your fatigue. All of it, right? There are things that are benign, or things that people think are benign that are absolutely not. Snoring. Snoring is not normal. You should not be snoring. I’m not saying you have a sleep disorder because you’re snoring, but if you are like, yo, can your partner hear you from the other room? Most nights are often, yeah, like that is ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, like red bell. That is suboptimal sleep every day of the week, right? – Regardless of what comes back on your one-day sleep study. – No question. If you’re waking up more than once per night for most people, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, like that should not be happening unless it’s because your three-year-old is running upstairs. Like if it’s under your control– – Needs milk or needs water. – Sure. – And the other one, yeah. – All of them. – Right, all of them. – Last night was, mom, dad, I have a question. What?

No, go back to your room. But it’s a really quick question. This is my just turn for your room. – That’s very funny.

Could dinosaurs eat me?

No, bud. Dinosaurs are extinct, huh? Yeah, yeah, bud. Go back to your room. Okay. – Did he come back? – Of course he did. Goes back to his room, five minutes later, he comes back up. – Unbelievable. – Is it playtime? No, it is not. – It’s 11 o’clock at night. You should be fully asleep. – It is, it was 3.40 or something like that. I’m like, dude, you waited a little bit longer. I would’ve let this one slide when we just got up. But this is too early. Go back to bed. But yeah, outside of that. So there are lots of things that are like, people are like, oh, I guess it was normal. And then one’s feeling like, oh, I’m just pretty tired all day. Like, well, I guess I am 50 now. – No. – No. – No, no, no, no. Like these are all things people just assume of like, well, it’s because I don’t have this like giant sleep issue that you think your sleep is just like normal. I’m just a bad sleeper.

Man, we have analyzed a lot of people’s sleep and we are really yet to find anybody who was just a bad sleeper. – I love that. Because that means you can fix it. – Yeah, you’re sleeping poorly for a reason. You haven’t found it yet, but because you’ve also probably done very little about it. In fact, some of these people have had two, three, four, five sleep studies. I’m like, well, you’re still doing the same x-ray. You have to get better analysis of what’s actually happening. – And you’ve created that. – Yeah, I mean, this is, obviously we have our technology at my company. – Which is absolute rest. – Yeah, that’s one. But generally, sleep assessments are gonna look at how you’re sleeping. So let’s say like my company is, this is not meant at all to be a plug for my company. Do whatever you want. Our company’s sold out anyways. Good luck. I really do wanna say this one. It doesn’t matter about my company. So I’m trying to be as helpful to you as possible. – Thank you, thank you. – If you wanna pay attention to something like this, you have to step number one. This is like we talked about, assessment. What’s that mean? You have to figure out how you’re sleeping.

Okay, if you have some sort of sleep tracker, that’s gonna tell you how you’re sleeping. Now I could go on and on about why they are bad while I think sleep staging is terrible. Do not pay attention to how many minutes you spent in deep sleep and things. – Why, why? I actually agree with you. – Yeah, a lot of reasons. Number one, on the small level, most trackers are at best like 85 to 90% accurate with sleep staging. So for a lot of people, that’s actually good enough. Okay, fine. That gives you a rough idea of plus or minus, okay? However, bigger problems with that.

Number two, what makes you think that we know exactly how many minutes in each stage you should be at? Because we do not have normative data in these different situations, but number three, you’re not asking your brain and body to do the same thing every day.

Why are you asking them to have the same sleep?

It should not, right? If you spend an entire day podcasting versus an entire day running up a mountain, you should not expect the same sleep staging that night. It should not happen. So in one of those nights, you turn around, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, my deep sleep’s down 20 minutes.”

It should be, because then it’s prioritizing other phases of your sleep. Deep is not just better. Rem is not just better. Light sleep is not bad.

Fourth, those stages I just laid out don’t even really exist. Those are arbitrary and made up. And the line that makes something officially deep or non-deeper and one or two changes. These things have been restructured over time, right? – And probably will continue to be. – They will, for sure. Fifth, on top of all this, this is all based on a system of assessing sleep called polysomnography, PSG. That’s the gold standard. I think it’s all garbage. In fact, I will put my stamp on this one. 10 years from now, I don’t think people will do it anymore. It’s like it’s fading out of the sleep. Look at the sleep scientists, the sleep researchers, these folks that are in these labs. Like PSG is going, by the wayside. There are much, much, much better ways to look at your sleep quality.

If you’re just looking at things like timing, did you go to sleep at roughly the same time? Which is very, very, very important.

Fine, your sleep track will work. PSG’s fine. If you wanna just look at total duration,

it’s important, it’s not the most important thing. It’s okay. These are things we’re fine. But if you’re really trying to figure out like your sleep staging and your sleep quality, and you’re trying to understand what’s actually happening there, like PSG is, it’s okay, right? It’s okay, but it’s not, I’ll put it this way. When I have a $600 million athletes like we have, we’re not using PSG. Like that alone should tell you, like when we have unlimited funds, that’s not what we’re doing. When I’m sticking wires all over your head and like doing that for one or two nights, there are much better ways that we can go after these things. So all of that just tells you how you’re sleeping.

So throw my company out the window. Don’t use opposite rest at all. You believe. – They’re full. Gotta contact us. – No, but I’m just saying like, it doesn’t matter. Pick your wearable, pick your tracker that you have. Great.

And let’s just say everything I just said doesn’t matter, and it’s good enough for what you have. Because again, it really is good enough for a lot of people. If like really $200 is the limit you’ve got on your budget,

okay, like you can get some reasonable stuff. But that’s step number one. That is how you’re sleeping. You gotta go the next step, which is why are you sleeping that way? You’re not gonna solve anything, and none of your trackers tell you any information about why are you sleeping that way. That’s why people don’t get solutions. That’s why every time I go to conferences or I talk, I maybe did this, if you ever see me speak. I ask like, how many of you have ever had a sleep study done? A lot of hands go up. How many of you have ever found any value out of it?

Down. – Well, I don’t know. We see a ton of major sleep apnea from head injury. – Oh yeah, you’re gonna see that, right? And then they usually get told CPAP, which is like, hey, we are all for it. – Or trans-magnetic stimulation, other things. – There’s better ways to go after, right?

How many, you know how many NFL guys get told to wear a CPAP? – All of them. – And you know how many actually you wear it? – Zero, three. – Exactly. I’m like, it’s not gonna work, right? You rip them off, like this, all kinds of problems. Really not against it. Like tremendous, tremendous solution for a lot of people. It saves lives, like changes lives. – Yeah, for sure. – For sure. – It’s not about that. But it is why. Okay, why are you sleeping the way you’re sleeping?

You’ve gotta expand past the fact you just have obstructive sleep apnea. If that is the case, for sure, definitely go after it. But you wanna think about this in a couple of different buckets. You mentioned environment.

There are environmental factors physically going into it. I’m not talking about like the sleep hygiene stuff, like how light it is. – I’m talking about CO2 pollutants in the room. – Yeah, dander, polygen, allergens, like all kinds of stuff like that in the room. All these things that are happening there. Number two, is it actually pathology? Do you legitimately have a sleep disorder, right?

Okay, like that could be happening, but that’s only one of our four. Number three, is it behavior?

Are you doing something? Are you doing many of the obvious things one should not be doing? You had caffeine late, you did– – Oh, is there something wrong with that? – Yeah. – Right before bed? – Yeah, well, not if you’re a parent because you’re such sleep deprivation. – Forget it. – Yeah. – Anyways.

Are you doing really high intensity training really late at night, right? Are you like doing many of the things, like pretty obviously shouldn’t be, you’re having giant meals right before you fall asleep, right? Okay, and then the last one, the fourth one is physiological.

So is there actually something in your physiology that’s doing this? So like, are you not creating enough serotonin or melatonin? Is something off? Obviously a cortisol curve is like the most classic thing here, right, but it gets way more interesting than that. Micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, all this stuff can be now laying the foundation of really what’s happening, any of that stuff. What I didn’t actually put on that list, but actually part of it, is it psychological as well, right? And there’s clearly PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, like all of this stuff going on. So how you solve your sleep issues is you try to look for that performance anchor.

If this thing is in psychology, I don’t give a rat’s crap what melatonin you take.

Not gonna matter, right? We’re not solving any issues. If this is really a brain injury, I don’t care what breath work you do. That will help, but like you, okay, great. – You do other things like H bond or? – Tons of other stuff going on, right? And so it is about going back and saying, finding out how you slept, that’s just the start of your journey. If you can find out how you’re sleeping specifically though, now knowing where to start with our solutions is really precise.

Like that’s why people at Absal Rest have crushed it so much because we don’t have to guess anymore about, wow, like it could be this and this and we have to give you 600 things to go do and try because we have the most advanced analysis of how you’re actually sleeping. We now have the most direct pipeline to exactly what to do. So we can just go after people with lasers and just juggernaut the big thing that’s coming after them and overwhelm it and just like go after problems. So sometimes it’s really, a lot of times hopefully it’s really easy, cheap, scalable solutions. Like that’s by far the most. If we can, we like to start with inactive solutions.

Like if it is something to do with your environment and we can open up a window, you didn’t do anything. That’s an inactive one, right? If we can do something.

If we then have to progress to active ones, like from those passive ones and you have to have a change your behavior activity, we will, but obviously, hey, if we can start with something that you don’t have to do much and we can win, like that’s where we’re gonna go for sure. But eventually sometimes it’s like, hey, you’re gonna have to change your behavior here.

Hopefully we can, but if not, we’ll work backwards, right? We work with people that run companies all over the world and like, it’s like, hey, I can’t just have you going to bed at nine o’clock. – Yeah. – Like that’s not gonna happen, right? – Right. – Okay, great. How do you help me within that? Then that’s when we start getting really tricky and dialing stuff up a little bit, but that’s gonna be really specific to that person.

And that brings me a little bit to muscle because everything goes back to – We’re muscle people. – Yes, we are. So I have a couple questions.

And then I do wanna circle back to this biomarkers. – Oh yeah, yeah. – Because I have to say, I don’t know if you know this, but you were the one that turned me on to Bente Patterson’s work in Copenhagen, who really looked at myokines and again, I don’t know if we know the amount of training that’s going to release X amount of myokines. But before we get to this, let’s close out sleep. – Okay. – There is evidence to support the training can offset lack of sleep. Would you agree with that? – No. – Okay, good. Tell me.

It would all be pedantic here. It would depend on when you mean by offset. And it would depend on what type. So clearly what you’re not saying is, okay, as long as you live today and you sleep an hour tomorrow, you’re That’s not what you’re saying. – No. – At all, clearly. It’s some level of like, well, how much? And by what?

Could you manipulate some markers? Yeah. Would you totally ameliorate the issue? I don’t think so. I think the most proper interpretation, I know actually what paper’s kind of referring to, but there’s probably something you’ve read, I haven’t, I’m sure they actually. I think the most appropriate interpretation is, if you had a bad night of sleep and you train the next day, that’s a really good decision. Even if you’re tired, don’t feel like, we’re not talking about hitting PRs, but actually getting after it in a meaningful way. – I just didn’t want people to interpret that the opposite, which is to go, hey, I lift, I don’t have to sleep.

Just because you lift weights in the gym a few times a week, you’re not good to continue with your shitty sleep behaviors. Didn’t want that interpretation. So I started out a little bit with like, catch the attention.

But yeah, like it’s exercise in general for sure, we’ll do it. But strength training has really vigorous training, but really strength training, we’ll have some special benefit there. So I will absolutely say, like, let’s say tomorrow, tomorrow our meeting starts at seven, I think, which is Texas time, which is two hours ahead of my time. – So five a.m. – So that’s maybe five time.

There is a 1000% chance I will be lifting tomorrow morning. And that’s going to be a very early wake up call. – Yeah, gross. It’s like 4 a.m. – Don’t wanna do that. At all, but 1000% is gonna do it. I could sleep in and just go for some additional drugs in the morning, go to more coffee, things like that’s what I meant, just calm down. – I actually papped you a little. – Yeah, great. You’re a doctor, you can do that stuff. I’m not– – But just talking about caffeine people. – And that’s going to strictly be for me going, I need to be productive tomorrow. And I can go 45 minutes extra.

I will legitimately, not only like psychologically, but actually very physiologically, be in a better spot tomorrow. So that will happen. I’m tired too. Like I don’t like waking up, I’d rather not. I’m not one of those people who are like, ah, are those people like, no, I would definitely rather sleep. But I know, because I have to be on tomorrow, I will do that. It’s been a really rough run lately for me. – Yeah, you’ve had a lot of stuff. – But it’s gonna happen, right? Like you’re gonna get it done. Depending on what time we finish tonight, I might probably do something tonight as well, just to move through there. So I think if you’re positioning your statement that way, it’s just like, again, if you’ve had done something, and for whatever reason, within or outside of your control, that where you got suboptimal sleep, even if it’s acute or even mildly chronic, a few days, weeks, something like that, strength training will be a really good choice that next day just to get something through there. But I wouldn’t want one to use it as an excuse to continue with poor behaviors. – Do you think it matters the lower that you’re lifting? Could it be, because again, it’s the stimulus. Could it be a lighter weight, more reps? – I would say don’t let the enemy be the perfect, don’t let good be the enemy of perfect here. – Fair.

Get what you – And this is interesting from a muscle physiologist, because we know that there’s different adaptations, physiological adaptations, if you’re lifting heavy, versus if you’re lifting light, not just above and beyond hypertrophy. – Yeah, but you also gotta be a human. – That’s right. – You gotta be a real person, right? I think one of the reasons also, when people ask me questions on podcasts about protocols and stuff, and different actual interventions, I rarely give straight answers. I’m always this long winded going backwards. – It’s difficult. – Why? And it’s difficult because when you ask a question like that, my brain scanned the people I worked with just this week. Right, I went, okay, all right. Starting quarterback NFL, coming off injury. Guy playing in the Masters this weekend, like in golf, a bunch of our non-athlete clients, a couple folks who just need basic workout program stuff, another one running a billion dollar hedge fund. Okay, great. My brain scanned that just this week, right? And I went, that’s not the same answer for all these people. – No. – So I can’t, in my real honest effort to really try to give all of you listening, I don’t know who you are. So I’m trying to give an answer where I don’t mislead some of you. I don’t wanna put some of you in the wrong position because I’m only thinking of this myopic avatar in my head of who you are listening. I think some of you are probably running a bunch of companies. Some of you are probably MDs. Some of you are probably traveling a ton. Definitely some moms out there. Definitely some guys trying to get jacked. And I got afraid I have an answer that is accurate for all of you. – And I appreciate that because– – It’s hard to be specific. – It’s hard, even hypertrophy protocols. Yeah, you could say, you know, whether it’s a three by five or et cetera, but there is a whole spectrum of what can work. – Most definitely. – Muscle clock genes. Talk to me about that. Some data has kind of changed over the years. I think it really got a huge, I remember when I was in fellowship,

I think one of the first papers had come out. This is at WashU out of Sam Gline’s lab, 2015. But since that time to where we are now, what do we know about– – This is really good. – Muscle clock genes. And is there any relevance for application to us? – Okay, I’m gonna put my foot in my mouth on this a bunch.

But I don’t mind, right? Like science is the act of being wrong mostly.

Right, that’s really what it is. Generally gonna be more wrong than you are right.

I don’t see any utility in them right now at all. From like a practical use.

Now, muscle clock genes, let this again set the stage a little bit. If you’re thinking about, we’re trying to get an assessment of overall quality and functionality, right? If you think about biological age, similar idea, chronological age, okay? So what we’re saying is chronological year, 32, 68, whatever, okay, great. With these markers, we’re trying to figure out, yeah, but how long are you going to live and live well? Not every 35 year old and 55 year old is the same, right? So biological age, phenotypical age, various calculators. There’s a bunch of them. There’s these classic nine hallmarks of aging. It’s probably in your book, right? I think you have the nine in there. – I mean, we have certain things, but we don’t– – You pulled some out, right? – Yes. – Great. Okay, and they’re all a little bit different. They’re telling you a little bit different values and they’re all like, okay. Now there’s some that I really strongly dislike. Happy to call them out by name if you want or not. – And by the way, you guys can pull up this paper. It’s a hallmark paper and it discusses the nine hallmarks of aging. I think they’ve added two more, potentially. But you guys can Google it. It’s free, PubMed, we’ll link it. – Amazing.

So what we’re trying to get to with this one is like, okay, now can we break this down more specifically to muscle? And if I just look at how much muscle mass you have, on a population level, this will be pretty telling.

Roughly telling, right? Now, if I compare muscle mass to muscle strength, now muscle strength is way more telling than muscle size. Translation, if you were to take 60,000 people or 600,000, it doesn’t matter. Randomly, those that have more muscle mass are generally going to be healthier than those that don’t have as much amount. If you factor in body fat, things like that, okay? – Fair. – All right, great. Now, if you also strength tested these people, what you would find is their data on their strength would tell you more about their overall health than their data on just their muscle size. So what we generally would say is muscle size is important. My muscle functionality, muscle quality, is more important than just muscle size from an aging perspective, right? From a longevity, from a functionality, from almost every sporting perspective. So almost across the board, how your muscles functions, generally more important, unless one of these is severely off the train. So if you’re really under-muscled, I don’t really care how strong you are, this is going to be having a problem eventually, if you’re really, really under-muscled, right? So unless you’re way off the spectrum. – I was talking about sarcopenia or even cocaxia. – Definitely. – The frailty. – There was actually a paper that came out today. This was like tongue in cheek here, but it was cool. They looked at calf circumference, and they were able to find that calf circumference, and this was in elderly people in the hospital, were able to predict some percentage of prognosis, right? And I was just like, yep, like what we’ve been saying for decades, like small calves is not only embarrassing, but it’s deadly.

– But the point is like, you can actually get a pretty good assessment of people from that on these population levels. But functionality is typically more important. The next level then below that is saying, okay, can we do liquid biopsies somehow? Can we get a blood marker from somebody and predict their muscle quality? Why? Because in order to get muscle quality per se, I have to have a functionality test, which means you have to come in, I have to have a lab. Do we have technique issues? Do we have warmup issues? Do we have knee injury issues? How are we gonna get this done? Is one of max testing is, how are we gonna standardize this? Okay, these are easy problems to solve, but like it’s still, it is some barrier. – Yeah. – To training, to execution. Okay, what about imaging? So I wanna see the muscle quality itself. Well, that’s an MRI, that’s really expensive. And who interprets it? – Or CT, we don’t want radiation. Or DEXA, which is not that great. I’m not a huge fan. – No, you’re not gonna get much information from that. Or ultrasound, okay, still you like how hard you press. And this is really, really challenging. Time expands, again, not unsolvable problems at all, but issues. So can we get easier? Can we pull something out of your blood?

And are there any markers in there? And this is what you and I have been, it feels like 10 years.

Talking about. – Like going after, right? And this is why the mild kinds, the societal kinds come And this is where the Arfino Games project is. Why we’ve done that project. And there’s tons of stuff. There’s not one particular marker, but even with the muscle clock, you’re sort of thinking, okay, there’s just different ways to try to go after this problem. What we’re trying to do is identify a lot less healthy muscle versus more healthy muscle. So then we can intervene before things get nasty, or at least be more convincing data, or whatever we wanna do with it. – Or at least show people, hey, this is a problem, and if you do not address this marker, and again, we’re picking a marker. – Yeah, it’s not the marker. – Right, but the lack of muscle, lack of healthy skeletal muscle is more impactful than the gain in body fat over time. – Outside of true pathology or infection, you’re gonna struggle this find more, like I’m doing this live right now. So I’m like looking not even at you because I’m thinking.

I just, I don’t know if you can find a marker that’s gonna be more predictive of your global health than that.

It’s gonna be really challenging. Maybe one could argue mental health. – Okay, but that’s also different. That’s more subjective as opposed to objective data of here is the marker. – Yeah, because like obviously you and I are, if we’re gonna play a game of what’s your favorite organ, like can you know which one we’re gonna pick, right? Tell with your liver. – Yeah. – You just beat it up, it comes back fine.

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– Yeah, I mean, I think you’re gonna have a hard time. I mean, I can’t, because you could pick like, you could go for thalamus or something like that, but man, your recovery, like your physiological health, your immune system, all these things are being regulated in large part by skeletal muscle is, you know, thousand times written in your book.

In addition to, it’s your interface with the world.

How you experience this life, the one, like, I think, I don’t think this example was in our grip strength paper, but Tommy Wood, friend of ours, and his grad student, was the first author of this paper a couple of years ago. But one of the stuff we’ve looked at a little bit is grip strength, right? And so people will look at like grip strength as a marker of aging, and while in some part of that, that is correlation, right? So people who are healthier, older, also tend to be stronger, that’s totally true. But there’s also direct causality here, right? There’s absolutely 100% direct causality between your grip strength and your aging. And if you think about this, why? People always ask me, I’m like, well, let’s go a couple of steps back. It’s not difficult to imagine you not being able to carry things, right? When you can’t carry things, you’re less likely to go out into the world. Why this becomes a problem is, if you look at the research on social sciences outside of our side, one of the largest determinants upon when people retire, when they have major drops in mental health, and when they will stop leaving their houses, when they become a burden on society, self-perceived. But people do not wanna feel like they’re slowing the whole ship down, quite literally. If you know you are not going to be able to carry your groceries through the thing, you’re not gonna go to the grocery store anymore. Okay, fine, I’ll just do it electronically. I’ll order it and I’ll have it delivered in my house. Why? Because it takes me forever. I can’t carry my groceries, I can’t get through that place. I’m moving slowly. – Can’t load the dime, yeah. – Waits for me, I get really embarrassed. I slow the whole thing down. I don’t wanna waste people’s time because I’m just too old and slow. I can’t get through that place. So you order groceries to your house. Great, fantastic. Which means now you’re never leaving your house. You lack the physical activity anymore. You’re not holding these things anymore, so you just got weaker. But addition, look at the social isolation. You also have the mental burden of lack of purpose.

So you start looking at those things and you feel like you are a drain in society. You stop doing all this stuff, the physical deterioration, and then you have those other really strong papers showing you fall off a cliff. Your physical health really falls off a cliff when you don’t feel like you have a purpose in society. Not good, right? Okay, great. Same thing with your legs. You’re not gonna go on a trip. You’re gonna skip the family vacation. You’re not gonna go to the kids’ activity because you know that that place has stairs in it and they don’t have an elevator. Not gonna go. You start opting out of things because you don’t feel strong in your legs and you don’t feel strong in your hands. If you’re on, you know you have to take that tram because you’re gonna go to the airport and you have to take that tram to get to your car. And you know that tram is really busy and you don’t feel confident that you can stand in there with your balance while that tram is going. You’re gonna opt out of all these things, right? This place doesn’t have a taxi service. I’m not gonna go. You start doing that and then you have those second tertiary problems that come with all that other side of health. So this is why we say it is, all physiology is really a circle here. These are the problems that associate that. I mean, it doesn’t mean you’re not gonna have those issues if you’re strong, but you can just see. Just avoid that trap. – How strong does someone need to be? So if we were to– – If you can’t have a world record, then you’re off the team.

(laughing) – How we quantify, so yes, there is grip strength. Basically what I’m hearing you say is grip strength, leg strength, and I’m sure VO2 max matters to you.

Do we have a sense of an optimal grip strength? So hear me out here, right? So there are these charts that will say you should be able to back squat, double your body weight, or bench press, one and a half times your body weight for grip strength, or any of these. Are these markers reliable in terms of optimization for an aging population?

– So what I would say is I probably wouldn’t use those markers in that population because you’re gonna run into technical limitations. All these things. You can Google, and there are plenty of reference range papers out there. They’re open access, and they’ll break it down by dominant hand, non-dominant hand. They’ll break it down by age demographics. So 40 to 44, 45 to 49, et cetera. Men, women, right hand, left hand, all these things, for something like grip strength. And you can get a rough idea, whether you’re in the 20th percentile, 50th percentile, 75th percentile, or where you’re at kind of on that chart. And there’s lots of papers that are open access like that. So anyone could download those and find those. You’ll find same thing for leg strength, like extension, leg press, VO2 max. Those three things are very easy to do there. By the way, one would do the same thing for your body composition. So you mentioned earlier, we very much differentiate the two major components. If you wanna call bone mineral density a third, like that’s great, pay attention to that, if you DEXA. And you have how much body fat do you have? It’s very, very important. Of course, you’re probably going to know though. Like you’re going to have a good sense if you have too much body fat. And then the second component is how much lean muscle mass you have. And we wanna look at those things separately. I want to know functionality, strong, all those things, but I also need to see what’s under the hood in terms of just total amount. So even if one is okay, say you’re in the 50th percentile for your grip strength, 40th percentile for your leg strength, but we’re seeing a fat free mass index of 12.

All right, I don’t care fat free mass index, not the best way ever to look at it, but like I see that and I’m like, that is off the reservation. Like you are way down there and you’re 44.

This is gonna be a real challenge. Like we have got to put some stuff on there because we know that that number is just gonna continue to decline unless you really take interventions after it. So we wanna look at all those things, but all those charts for the most part are gonna be open access that you can take a look at and you could break it down. – That’s the best that we have. – Yeah, it is the best that we have. And it’s population level? – Again, this is population level. I struggle with it because it, the appendicular lean mass index, I don’t know.

– So that one, okay, appendicular lean mass is interesting. What you’re looking at is dependencies, right? So basically saying, if we look at how much muscle mass you have on your arms and legs, and it makes sense, those are the things again, you’re going to interact with the world. But think about it, my appendicular lean mass is gonna be a lot smaller than yours. – Yeah, but like you have, like most of these things are gonna account for body size. I would imagine you’d be at least average if not above average. Cause you have a, like you’re small physically, but you have a, like very much a large– – You hear that, I’m jacked. – You’re pretty jacked. I saw you doing some one arm rows. It was legit. I think I texted you and I was like, dude, that’s legit. And you’re like, oh, I was like, no, that was legit. I don’t know what you’re doing. It was like a real number. It was good. – Not bad for a non-athletic real person, but whatever. – Yeah, for sure. But like that would be a situation where we’d be like, okay, if yours came back a little bit low, I’d be like, all right, you clear it up, and then you add muscle. Why? Because look at the other markers you would have, assuming, right? And you’re just like, okay, everything else is checked off. Functionality is there, VO2 max is there.

One arm body composition, okay, like you’re fine. Like I’m always gonna support people getting more jacked. Like always– – But at some point, they probably should get, would it be fair to say that individuals should put on as much healthy muscle mass as they can while they are young?

– Yeah. – Because– – I’m always going to support that, right? Now coming from someone who’s like certainly not the most jacked person ever sitting in this chair ever, or even close, but yeah, like there’s, actually, let me go back a second.

There is, there’s kind of a line with skeleton muscle mass. You asked a question about grip strength.

All right, there is a line of muscle mass. I’m gonna go– – The U-shaped curve, are you getting to that? – I’ll do that right now, I wasn’t going to, but there are idiots, I mean, people,that would have folks think– – Yeah. – That too much muscle mass is deleterious for your health. That’s like so easily not true. You will find published papers on this, typically from MDs, but– – We’re not that bad. – I was just taking a funny shot at you. – Okay, fair. – Very clear data if you have insufficient muscle mass and you compare this to things like mortality risk, survival risk, all cause mortality. It’s just risk. Doesn’t mean you’re actually gonna die. It’s just like you’re adding stacks to the deck, right, of like, more risk, you know, it’s 10%, 20%, 30%, 80%. – But again, it’s not taking into account metabolic dysregulation. – Anything else. – Which comes with low muscle mass. Those are issues with insulin and glucose and all the other things related to healthy skeleton muscle. – If you look at that, what you’ll generally see is if you’re under-muscled and you increase muscle, things get better.

Lifespan goes up, right? And that is a pretty much a straight line. And some people have published data and spoken about data incorrectly such that that line looks like a U, meaning if you get like in the male numbers, I don’t know the female numbers, sorry, but it’s something like a fat-free mass index of ballpark like 20 or so is when the line crosses. So once you cross to a fat-free mass index of 20, getting any more muscle mass makes that line go back up again. So it’s the U, right? So it goes down, decreasing the risk, decreasing risk, got to 20, now it’s a 21, 22, 23, now I’ve increased the risk.

It’s fundamentally not true. We published data on this. In fact, another one of our papers recently showed that if you go into the national databases at which those things are pulled from, you will find zero correlation between the muscle mass in those populations and their physical activity history.

And I’ll say that one more time.

No relationship between physical activity past and muscle mass, which tells you those people did not, under any circumstances, accrue their muscle via lifting weights.

They accrued it most likely from just being bigger people. Which is to say it is muscle, but it is not high quality and healthy muscle. – What would define high quality, healthy muscle versus unhealthy? – Non-functional, as in it’s not strong. It can’t produce any function. The classic visual image is it’s gonna be marbled. Meaning you have fat infiltration in there, right? You’re gonna have other byproducts, inflammatory responses, suboptimal ones, right? Typically sensitivity, beta adrenergic receptors, basically every hormone receptor is either way dialed up or way dialed down, right? So insulin, anabolic, estrogens, like all of these things are typically off.

Byproducts, like basically every marker of healthy functionality, mitochondria health, metabolic properties of them, damage. Not always every case, but you’ll see– – Typically, especially there at that point, yes.

– So let’s go back to say, I don’t think that’s true. However, I don’t think there’s a strong argument that once you and men get past about 20 to 21, that getting any more will exceedingly increase your health span.

I think that tapers off. I do think from 14 to 21, 22, it helps. Going from 22 to 25, like 25 is a lot. That’s really big amount of muscle. I don’t think you get any healthier there. I think at that point now we’re looking at other aspects of your health, your metabolic health, your buetomax, your lifestyles, your mental health, like your sleep, okay, great.

That’s not the case though for strength.

That’s not the case for buetomax either. There are multiple, multiple giant data sets. You’re talking about meta-analyses, on top of meta-analyses. One just came out like this week. It was some insane number of papers. It was something, I don’t know what it was. It was like 5,000 papers in this meta-analyses. If you look at Jonathan Meyer’s work, all the way back to Stephen Blair’s work, late 1980s, early 1990s, you typically will see no upper limit to benefit for leg strength, grip strength, or buetomax.

Almost never. – That’s a pretty big statement. – It does not stop. So if you are, that’s like we say in our coaching practice all the time, I’m like, yo, if your buetomax is great, it’s not good enough,

Why? Why? Because there’s no number you could put on there and be like, that’s good enough. I’m being facetious, obviously. – Yeah, yeah, I understand. – That’s the number, right? So what you’ll see is those numbers don’t tend to stop. And you’ll actually see in these papers, the classic one that I always think of here is Jonathan’s paper. It was actually from the VA.

Like there’s like 750,000 people in this study, 174,000 died in the course of the study, not because of intervention, but you know how these studies work, right? So it’s hard endpoints, it’s a point. Like who lived, who did not die, or who did. And you see, this is when you see these classic comorbidity stack up. So you see diabetes, you see smoking, you see coronary artery disease all stacked up against VO2 max, right? And you’re looking at like, those things are increasing hazard ratios

for all cause and mortality of like 1.2, 1.4. That’s not good, right? So you can kind of, it’s not how it works, friends, but like to be very quick. It’s like a 1.4 would mean like a 40% increase in risk. It doesn’t mean like 40% chance you’re gonna die. But like it’s a, so don’t over interpret that. But you stack the VO2 max numbers up, instead of being 1.4, it’s like 2.6, 3.8, 5.2. Like the numbers are, that’s dwarfing, smoking. They’re dwarfing diabetes. They’re dwarfing stacking those things together, right? These numbers get large. And in that, you go from the, so imagine, think about it this way. This is not what they did, but I’m trying to help folks like collectively understand what generally the research will say here. So you take all seven, let’s make it a million, make numbers easy. – Great. – So we have a million people in this database and we say, okay, we’re gonna break this into quartiles, which means the top 250,000 scores, you’re in the top group, you’re a group A. The next 250,000 scores group B, you’re in the 50th to 75th percentile. That’s what it works.

Bottom three, 250,000 in the C group. I mean, see the 25th there and the bottom. – Not doing well, friends. – Means you’re in the bottom 25th percentile. Bottom 25th percentile means 75% of people are better than you. That’s what it means, right? All right, awesome. If you’re in that bottom group,

if you go from the bottom group to the second highest group, that C group, you’re still 30th percentile. 70% of people are still higher than you. You’re talking about risk reductions of half.

You’re cutting your risk of dying in half by going from just the terrible group to the still terrible, but not as terrible group. Like that’s what you’re really talking about. You can pull different papers and you’ll see different numbers there, but you’re getting the same general point. Some break it into quintiles, so 20%, 20%, 20%. Some do 25%, some do quintile. They do all different things, right? Different databases, different populations, the numbers differ, but it’s all generally gonna say the same thing. If you go to the top though and you say, great, let’s stop the group at the 90th percentile.

Those are in the 90th percentile and compare those to the 99th percentile. You still see, you still see– Less reduced in the 99th percentile and it does not stop. And so even going from 90th to 99th percentile still confers the survival advantage for VO2 max. And the same thing has been shown in grip strength as well. So there just appears to be no upper limit to benefit at the population level, like very clearly at the population level, to continually getting stronger and then getting your VO2 max higher. – And I mean, that’s a really important statement. This idea that cardio respiratory fitness is extremely important for overall health longevity.

Improving all cause– – I would literally say there is almost, outside of having an infection or actual acute disease,

there’s just, I can’t make an argument for anything else being more important for how long you’re going to live. That, well, the controllable factors, nothing is gonna beat that. And VO2 max, people are probably thinking endurance, but there’s multiple ways to increase your VO2 max, whether it’s high intensity interval training, we know that that’s effective.

Now, I’ve read a few papers, there’s not that many, and maybe there’s more now, the relationship between VO2 max and skeletal muscle. Have you, I mean, so as a trained geriatrician,

what we would look at is, in terms of VO2 max, we looked at papers and data sets that really, it seemed as if that the more healthy skeletal muscle mass they had, the better their VO2 max was. – Okay, so that’s a manipulation of math a little bit. So VO2 max is measured in a metric of liters per minute. So how many liters of oxygen can you bring in per minute? That’s absolute VO2 max, right? Typically, we talk about VO2 max expressed in a relative term, which means milliliters, now we’ve gone from liters to minutes, so you gotta do a little bit of unit conversion,

but it’s milliliters per kilogram per minute. And so by default, bigger people have a more skewed VO2 max negatively skewed than smaller people. This is why, like if you take an NFL player, any of that, like just a guy who’s over 100 kilos, you tend to like get a false sense of their VO2 max being lower than it actually is, because their body mass is being the denominator. It’s getting them smashed, so it’s actually not a linear, if you look at like powerlifting and weightlifting, Olympic weightlifting, you don’t just see like, who’s the best lifter, take your body weight and divide it, or take your however much you lift it, divide it by your body weight, you have to actually correct for it because it doesn’t scale that way. Like a strong lifter who’s your size, you know, 70, 60 kilos, 50 kilos, something like that, you lifting double-wide weight is not that hard, but somebody who’s 100 kilos lifting double-wide weight is really damn hard. – Totally.

It scales that way. So VO2 max plays a little bit of that same game. Bigger people will get falsely represented as smaller VO2 max because everything is being divided by their body So if you’re looking at relative, you’re gonna lose, like the math is gonna get you a little bit there. In addition, when you’re smaller, you’re physically total body mass, you’re less likely to have,

when you’re smaller, you’re more likely to have a better body composition, just because it’s hard to be 120 pounds and be 50% body fat.

But you can do that at 280 pounds, like pretty easily. So it’s really, really hard. So most likely smaller people are generally most likely leaner in those equations. So you’re misrepresented. – That misrepresented. – I’m glad I asked. So what you’re saying is, there’s not a direct correlation between skeletal muscle mass or even healthy skeletal muscle mass and VO2 max performance. – No, there is. – No, there is. – Oh, for sure there’s a relationship there. No question. You will not see somebody, I’ll put it this way. If you go to the inverse here, you run a counterfactual, you will not see somebody with a VO2 max of 75 with unhealthy muscle.

No way, right? Because VO2 max is two parts, it’s central and peripheral, right? The equation for that is your cardiac output, which cardiac output is two components, your heart rate, so how many times you can pump, multiplied by your stroke volume, how much blood comes out per pump. Okay, that is heart. That is cardiopulmonary. I have to be able to get things in. So this is where back size, lung size matters. I have to bring air in. I gotta get that oxygenated air, cardiopulmonary into my heart, I gotta get that thing pumped out. Okay, then the second half of the equation is AVO2 difference. So it’s the difference in oxygen between the arterial and venous side, which is basically saying how much can actually extract into skeletal muscle. So if you have bad muscle, low capillary density, poor ability to use it, poor mitochondrial function, mitochondrial function, and you have a backup of oxygenation so we start running, we have to kick over to anaerobic side, then you’re gonna struggle to handle the last side of the equation.

So it is two components to it, and there is no way to say, you can have dysfunction in one side and still have a high total. It’s half the equation. It won’t be there. So you can be okay, just like you can have really great muscle and poor cardiopulmonary, right, and be okay. You do the opposite, but you can’t have great and be terrible in the equation. Same thing to say, if you take somebody who’s gotta be O2 max, it’s low.

And if all you do is train their musculature, you can see huge improvements in VO2 max if that muscle quality is really, really, really poor for that exact reason, right? If it is an oxygenation, and think about it this way too,

imagine going upstairs, and if you’re going upstairs, by the time you get to the top, you’re like huffing and puffing, you’re like 70, 80%.

It’s probably not because your cardiovascular system’s unfit.

It’s oftentimes because your legs are weak. Why? Because every step now took 70 or 85% of your one arm or max, this caused such a large amount of muscle mass to contract, it caused a large amount of energy production that you had to kick energetic demands up so high. If you got your muscles super strong, and now walking up those steps represented 10%, if your cardiovascular system didn’t change at all, you’re now way more quote unquote fit. – That makes a lot of sense. So really, they’re interrelated. – 100%. – Half the equation. – You can’t find, like you could find an elite cyclist out there, male or female, they are not weak in their legs. They typically don’t jump very high, they’re not powerful or springy or things like that. They may not back squat very much. But if you put them on a, look at the watts that kick out on a bike, you’re gonna be like, oh, geez, they’re smashing out 600 watts, and you’re like, yo, I can’t get that once.

They’re not weak people at all. It’s just specific training or adaptation. So it would only behoove you to increase your muscle quality, to increase your view to max. It’s only going to make life better. And you will never get a really great score with that. I can tell you, like going back four hours ago, when we were talking about performance centers, that’s one of the things we look at. So when we have, that’s a really, actually a really good example, when someone comes in, we see that their view to max is super low. We’re gonna all of a sudden just naturally only put them on like a steady state endurance program, or even high intensity intervals. We might look at that and go, yeah, we’re not going high intensity intervals, especially if we have something else that’s causing problems. So if they are a hard charger, right? They’re running companies, they’re in a job that has really, like where the consequences matter, like physicians or finance folks were like, hey, maybe you’re not working 90 hours, you’re working 40, but every choice you make really matters. All right, great. I probably don’t want to throw you into high intensity intervals every day. That’s maybe not the best approach for you, especially when I’m looking at your sleep data and your respiratory rates 18. – Yeah, it’s gonna be a blast out of the nervous system. – Yeah, like you’re over breathing, you’re shot, right? Okay, I’m not gonna do that to you. But your view to max is 26.

Okay, great.

I’m gonna go out that a different way. And we may look at this thing and go, okay, is it a cardiopulmonary issue? If it’s both stuck, then I’m probably starting with muscle. I’m probably starting there. And then I’m working my way backwards into it. I might get cardiopulmonary brain breath work. I might get it with the sauna. I might get it with walk. I might get it with lowering arousal. Like we got lots of ways we can play with the VO2 max side equation that doesn’t have to just be hard charge, like go do four minutes of death sort of thing. Because remember, you’re just looking at physiology constraints. There’s a thousand ways to get there. And I’m looking at it and going, based on your other factors, how can I get you there? And that person with different situation scenario, I’m like, oh yeah, let’s just go do this, boom. We’re gonna train, we’re gonna run, we’re gonna do endurance work, okay. But depending on the person, we’re just looking for the physiology. And once I get the physiology, I’m going, all right, what are my different options? What are my different tools to get there? So I’ve never tied to like a methodology or a protocol or that crap. Because I’m just like, man, you just think about the physiology.

What’s challenged adapts? – What’s challenged adapts? – What’s not doesn’t.

So I’m looking at that as going, okay, what are my different options to make a challenge there? And if that means I’m gonna put you in a pool, I mean, you’re gonna hold your breath. It means we’re gonna go for a walk. I’m gonna put you in hot or cold or whatever. Like I have different options there. And then other folks, I might be like, no, you don’t need a sonic. Get that sound of the ad, I just waste your money. We need to go do this over here, right? – That’s too easy for

you. – Or whatever, right? Like it’s just, it may be negative. May put them in the wrong spot. Like maybe making a problem worse, exacerbating, right? It’s like, we don’t, no, no, no, no, no. We’re not doing that. We’re going over here.

So yeah, we have options. – I think that’s very intelligent that there are multiple ways to push the boulder up the hill and it’s not always the obvious in that way.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, which I think makes it very difficult to move people, for people to move forward.

I mean, that’s fair, right? Should people do hypertrophy training? – In fairness, I don’t know if in this entire conversation I’ve really given anybody who’s listening like a lot of really helpful tips at this point. And I’m not saying that to be like self, but to your point of like, a lot of that was probably like, okay, I don’t know. I feel less confident about what to do. – And I would love- – So I’m happy to switch like entirely, like give some specific examples. – I think background is important because there’s a lot of discussion on VO2 max and people go right to, well, how do we improve VO2 max? And that’s fine. But you know, at Body Composition, you’ve talked a ton about that. If you guys wanna hear Andy talk about Body Composition, you can find a million podcasts and his own videos, his own YouTubes.

What do you think if you were to pick three things that people need to practically at home implement or three major, I don’t know, myths that people are now doing or things that they’re doing wrong. And again, it could be three, it could be five, but actionable items, I know you’re gonna say sleep, aside from sleep, in terms of the health of their skeletal muscle.

Very hard to do that well without a minimal viable protein intake. I’m not sure, have you read much about protein? – – Oh, okay. – Is that a macronutrient? – This is new to you? – Yeah. – This is great. – Do you have amino acids in it?

You have to have

And I say minimal viable, you can get away with,

you probably default to a gram of hound minimum, right? You cut that in half, okay, you can get away with it, maybe. If you have to, not where you and I start, but. – It’s not ideal. – Okay. – Ton of data out there that the lower protein intakes are not ideal for Body Composition. – No, I wouldn’t do that either. (laughs) – Give me halfway there. Amelie’s halfway.

All right, let’s start there. If that’s– – Where are we starting? .7 grams per pound?

I don’t wanna see anybody that low, but if we had to start at .6,

one could make an argument at .6. I think there’s not a Cogen argument below that. – No. – There’s just no. – And that’s– – And you would lose the argument at .6 and you would lose it quickly, but there could be a– – It’s kinda low per gram. – Thing. But there’s just not one below that. – Yeah. – That has to be there.

You don’t get a ticket into the door. We’re like, “I’m not even talking about “what game you get to play.” You don’t even get the door. – Right. – You don’t have that. I don’t really care what your sleep is. – If you don’t have the basic substrate, it’s gonna be very difficult. – Not gonna happen, right?

We have to have that. I think secondarily on that, I don’t have to– – How high would you go?

Well, I mean, there’s really no upper limit that you have to stay at. At that point, it depends on Do we care about total body size in terms of calories? A lot of our athletes are in weight class space sports, so we actually do limit protein because we have to make weight. We have to lose typically 15% of body mass or so.

So even if we lose some muscle mass, sometimes that’s a go, because we have to hit that number one way or the other. And any amount we don’t lose on the way has to happen in that last 36 hours. – That’s not fun. – It just gets bad fast, right? So we would, like a lot of our athletes, I’d say we honestly, even athletes, non-athletes, we run around one gram per pound is pretty there.

We also, candidly, not many people are tracking it that closely.

Once you figure out for you, I’ll say this one, track like crazy for two weeks.

Figure out what a gram or so looks for you. And stay at that and go higher. – Great idea. – That’s all we really need to do. I can like to be totally honest with you, I don’t think a single one of our quarterbacks in the NFL is weighing and measuring their food.

Like, we don’t have that, we’re not doing that at the Masters tournament. They’re not, we’re not doing that. We get them to figure out what’s that roughly look like for you. So whether they really at like 0.8 gram maybe, some days, surely some days, we don’t go out and have this. – But these guys are probably consuming a lot of calories, getting carbohydrates and fats. – Well, again, some of them are coming down because you’re like not a lot of calories because we’ve got 15% of body mass. – Oh, I’m talking about the NFL. – Oh, those, yeah, some of them have, well, so one of the dirty secret series, we have a lot of times and there’s weights and contracts. So we have to cut weight for those things. So we can’t just like eat a nauseam because there’s like, and those are big fines too. So there’s games we have to play there. So some of them do, some of them don’t, but yeah, the point is either.

I don’t know, if they get to two, I don’t really care for the most part, like two grams per pound, like totally fine there. – Nothing detrimental. There’s some chatter on the internet about how going above 1.6 grams per kg, so 0.7 grams per kg is not gonna, yes, I know, I know, benefit. – It’s not gonna what? – Benefit, muscle mass. – Like, this is like, man. – We don’t, (laughs) – This

is so, like, this is what you have to, you have to have basic literacy of interpretation of context, right? – Yes. – There’s a difference between like had no benefit versus that was detrimental.

That’s not the same thing, right? – And also these people are, have a higher percentage body weight.

Again, I’m just thinking about one particular study that seems to not die. – One thing that I’ll say on this before, I know we’re one in here, hopefully this is a practical tip. It’s very easy to make, as a marketer or as a scientist or not, it’s very easy to take anything from a study and not make this sound however you want because like that can be done and people know that, but it’s very easy to make a story out of it. And I’m saying like as a still honest interpretation of it, right? I’ll put it this way.

If you take two scientists that worked on the same paper together, they won’t necessarily interpret it the same. – That’s absolutely true. – So I’m not even saying like bad actors. – Right, that’s absolutely true. – People that are trustworthy and good people, my friends, people shows up in on, I will look at some of their stuff and I’m like, no way, you’re near it, no way. Fully disagree with that, right? – Yeah. – So then there is the whole other layer of the liars and the cheats and the fraud, blah, blah, blah, okay fine. Just within the good honest people. It’s really hard to do that. And the reason is when you take things like that, you go, okay, great. What you don’t know is the scientific background of going, yeah, what marker do they look at? And my lab actually think that that marker actually shows it a little bit high. It’s scientifically validated, but I think that number is overestimates or I think it underestimates because I’ve seen this, okay. Or it is, yeah, not population would have worked, but those people were untrained or those people were highly trained or those people weren’t– – All excellent points. – So all this lays into it. And if you’re skipping that part of the explanation, then it’s like, oh yeah, these things have shown to be bad. Well, no, no, time out. Like been shown to be maybe not great or didn’t have a– – Neutral. – Neutral thing in that situation, in that context, right? Like that’s always the best answer. And so rather than, my tip here is really this, because you’re not gonna figure that out. Like you listening home, you’re not gonna figure out that level of context. My tip is this, pull back, pull way back. When somebody has a social media posters on a podcast and they give a specific number, never take that number to heart.

Me, like any number I’ve just told you, when I said gram a pound, never take that number to heart. – But it’s a great target, guys. – It’s just a reasonable target. – It’s a reasonable target. – And zooming back and going, okay. So when I tracked myself and I realized I was at 0.4, that’s too low.

But don’t get caught up on like, well, this paper showed 0.8. Well, who cares? That’s outside the level of accuracy you live your daily life anyways. So it gives a shit. Like who cares, right? Like it’s not, that’s not the thing to pay attention to. What you wanna look at are like these big global trends.

Looks to be a lot of different papers. This is why like I hate talking about this particular point like with protein, because I’m like, oh my God, like look at the well-roundedness of the data. – Yes. – Or the decade of evidence. – That’s what I mean, like different populations. The numbers don’t care. Someone’s found, someone studied at 25 grams. I don’t care. What’s it roughly saying?

Okay, clearly it’s doing A, B and C. Like I don’t need any more data at this point. Like you can close the door on, like to me that conversation is actually overwhelming. Like I don’t need, – I can appreciate that. – To be totally candid, when new papers on that come out, I don’t read them. I go, the internet– – And by the way, you have not,

we were at a meeting together many years ago. We were in Colorado, do you remember?

Okay, well anyway, we were at a meeting together and you were like, protein, don’t care. – Oh yeah, probably. – I mean, you had stopped caring because I think that the evidence, the volume of evidence, okay. – And you’re just like, you’re just now like, you’re splitting such irrelevant hairs for the most part. I’m like, God, we’re done here. – So one gram per pound, ideal body weight. – Ish. – Ish, great. – Fine, move on. – Number two. – I guess we should have started with some form of resistance exercise because if you look at actually those two things compared, the protein’s not even close to stimulating as strength training. – That’s true. – Not even close. – True.

Like nothing, you can, boy, you can really,

I don’t care what you do. Protein timing, casing, plant-based, animal, I don’t really care at all. Nothing’s even gonna come on the same planet as resistance training’s gonna be. – That’s true. People are like, well, Gabrielle, you talk about protein. Yes, because you can’t do it without it and 100% of people eat.

And I’m trained in nutritional sciences. – And it’s also still true. – But exercise, resistance training, it prompts – Now what’s dope about protein is it will stimulate muscle growth independent.

So if you can’t or aren’t training and at least you eat protein, it has a protein sparing effect. And so it’s just context, right? It’s like who are you speaking to? If you’re speaking to somebody who’s willing and able to do both, okay, strength training is more important. If you’re speaking to someone who’s willing and able to do both and their strength training and they’re not eating protein, then all that protein stuff matters the most for them. They’ve already checked the box. – Fair. – Or the opposite person, right? I’m not doing anything. Okay, great. If the barrier to entry is easier to start with protein, then I’ll do that. In fact, my example here, I just did this, I was in Maui last week, right? Was Maui Nui. – Jealous. We love Maui Nui. – Yeah, like those– – Great protein sticks. – I could go on and on. That company, what they’re doing is so, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. It’s so dope. But they were bringing up all your high performers and getting them on this higher quality protein, blah, blah, blah, and I was like, “The health of high performers?

“What do you mean?” I’m like, “To me, this is the best first step into health.” – I agree. – They’re like, “What?” And I’m like, “Think about this.

“This is literally what I said to them.

“Think about all this confusing stuff that’s out there. “The supplements are confusing. “And do I fast? “Do I not fast?” And all this, “What do I do? “Do I exercise? “But this person said this guy’s bad. “And this is other.” There’s so much confusion. A lot of people who are just starting their journey, like, “I don’t know where to start. “I don’t know where to start at all.” Right?

When I told them, it was like, “I don’t know anybody reasonable.

“Anybody who wouldn’t say high quality protein support.”

What do you mean? Like, “If this is your first path,

“better than exercise, not better, “but probably prior to you starting exercise.” – He’s getting, everybody eat. – Everybody has to eat. And if you go, “Yo, this is the highest quality, “most nutrient dense red meat that we know of.” – And low calorie, very lean. – Super lean animals that have to be harvested anyways.

So like, people are dying because of accidents on the road. They’re overrunning the, like, there’s tons. They have to be harvested anyways.

Now, we have this insane nutrient profile.

It’s easily, objectively, the best tasting four legged animal, like, you’re gonna go after, no question, right?

Amazing.

And Jake was like, “Dude, that’s great.” And I’m like, “Yeah, this is the start.” So if I’ve already been like, “Yo, for my family, “my family does not exercise for the most part.” Right? – What? – No, for sure. Not at all, right? Like, there’s just no way, right? They’re too far away from me and all these things.

All I do with them is like, “Just get protein. “Just get protein, just get protein. “Like, just get protein.” This is the, and this is the biggest impact I have on their health is getting them to eat protein. Like, by far. I’m literally not pandering to you. This is like, you know, check the text. Like, go see the protocols as I build them. They don’t work out. They probably, realistically, never will. Would love to say that they do, but they never will. But, okay, great. As a first starting place then, people will disagree about those things, but I just, again, well, no, I don’t think you would really find anybody who’s reasonable in this space who will tell you, “Ah, protein, doesn’t matter.” – I know some, but maybe not reasonable. Resistance training? Do you think about how much, how hard, you just get it done? What are your thoughts? Again, this is your, this is your tips for taking people on what they need to do. – I would love to see strength training three times a week. – I agree. – I would love to see, within that, each muscle at least twice per week, right? I would strongly encourage most people to do more full body rather than doing it like muscle part splits. So don’t do like Mondays are your triceps and Tuesdays are your legs, things like that. – Well, Mondays, universal chest day. – Oh my God, no.

Tell me that was a joke, right? – Yes, of course it’s a joke. – That’s not Mondays. Mondays is leg day. – Oh really? – It really is Monday’s leg.

– Oh, can we cut this please? You do not have my permission to post this in this episode. Please delete my phone number. No, Mondays leg day. – Oh, all right, we’re not friends anymore. – Oh my gosh. – And your friendship down the tubes. Okay, full body training examples of that would be deadlift, squat, whatever. – I don’t even care if you’re still doing single joint or like exercises, but just don’t do the entire gym of one body part. – Okay. – So even if you’re doing like leg press and then you go do chest press, okay, that’s fine. But the reason I’m generally saying this for this audience and this avatar is you’re gonna miss workouts. That’s gonna happen, right? And so if you do only chest on Monday. – Or legs. – Or legs. – Guys, can I eat my first four now? Okay.

And you missed. Fill in the blank, you know the reasons why. Now you’re not getting chest again for the next seven days. That’s like, okay, that’s gonna be a problem. And then what happens that next trip, that next thing, and all of a sudden you go two weeks without getting a body part. That happens like in a blink of an eye, right? Anyone who’s a real person knows like, oh yeah. It’s like very rarely or very common to have that kind of thing happen. – But potentially you could maintain if you were gonna do pushups or some kind – If you mitigate the damage, that’d be great. But in an idle world, I personally, I don’t even do, I was joking, I don’t anymore do like legs Mondays.

What I have is the training I do and I do them in that order in whatever day I can get them in.

So I don’t have that, right? So I’m way off my routines, like so Mondays could be any number of my different training sessions, but I have six training workouts that I do. And I do those six in a row. And sometimes that’s six days in a row. Sometimes that six days cycle of workouts takes me 18 days to get through, right? Because I only got three workouts in three workouts in three workouts. So I just continue to do that. So imagine building like 50 workouts and saying, okay, I’m gonna try and in the next two months, I’m gonna try to get these 50 done in this order. But like whatever days they happen to happen. And it’s exactly for those reasons earlier. Kid got sick, was gonna train today. Now I don’t wanna get the whole thing thrown off like I was just rest today. I’ll do the next workout. The next day I get the opportunity. I wanna plane, plane got delayed. Like all these things happened to us, right? And I don’t wanna allow my whole schedule to be missed to do it. So I do it and I generally rotate.

I’ll do like my just my full training session here. Like one day, most of my training right now is, we’ll call it like movement based stuff. So I’m training to correct asymmetries to repair some joint health, to feel better. It’s kind of like a little bit of a reset. It’s like, hey, I got a lot of more years left to do. Let’s invest six months, almost a year actually. And like really good. – Wow. – Yeah, I told you my physique’s terrible right now. It is for me. – He’s being dramatic. Friends, he’s being dramatic. – I told you I like attention. – Right Brandon, he’s totally being dramatic, okay. – I like attention.

No, it is worth for me because like I’m not doing hypertrophy training at all. I’m not doing even enough volume of– – What are you doing? – It is more of like, it’s really hard to articulate in something like this, but it’s more of like, so I have a, like anyone should I have a coach?

Tim G. Francesco is my coach. He was the coach for the Lakers head strength coach there, physical therapist. He’s great. So it’s lifting, but it is like, I might do like a specific sequence of a one legged RDL to a reach movement. And then I’ll come back and reset and then it may be like a lateral lunge with a specific rotation. – I like it. Very specific thought out,

different planes of motion. – Totally different planes of motion. – That sounds really good. – He has like, it’s literally a year long progression of movements. – Wow. – So it is built out, like, and every, we do about like six weeks.

And then we’ll kind of do like a little bit of a check. And then he updates and says, okay, this is ready to progress. This isn’t, this development didn’t happen. Like we wanted it to, we’re staying here with this part, but this part did. So we’re moving up a regression here. I mean, it may be like going from gobble of box squats, that went well okay to, so like holding a dumbbell in your chest while you’re box squatting. And then moving to removing the box. So then maybe a two second hold at the bottom position. Like there’s all kinds of stuff. – And that’s a very advanced, well thought out training program. – So it’s hard to kind of like explain. So it’s kind of easy for me to just like give the basics. – But it’s interesting that you’re doing not just one plane movements. – I haven’t done like a barbell back squat or deadlift in a long, long time. Because we’re trying to like– – Clean up movements, different unilateral strength. I love it. – Yep. So I do that typically.

And then I’ll do that say on Monday. And then the next day I’ll either do more of like a real high intensity interval conditioning base. You’re talking I have assault bike, air assault bike. – We got one in the garage, you can use it. – It’s the best, right? – How long are you going? And what are your rest intervals? – We’re doing lots of different stuff. But this is your more typical, could be 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 20 rounds. Like for four rounds, right? – And it doesn’t really, do you think it matters? Again, this is for– – It matters, but it also like mostly doesn’t matter. – It mostly doesn’t matter. – Yeah, for me when I’m programming for like our people, like for our paying attention to everything.

But for the people that are not professional athletes, just get it in. – If we were like, if I showed up here to your house and you’re like, hey, I got cut up at the kids’ school, I’ll be at the home in like an hour and a half. I would have been like, all right, I’m just gonna hop on it. I don’t want to do I would have just like done, I would have made it up. I would have just, it wouldn’t not have mattered, right? Because today I’m not like trying to optimize work out. I would have just been like, well, this is, burn some calories, let’s move on, let’s have fun, let’s play. People forget like exercise can also just be for fun.

Can it be just totally? – Great, really? – Yeah, or like the mental benefits. – Yeah, I love it. How many high intensity interval training sessions are you throwing in there? – One, probably a week or so. – So three to four days of lifting, three days of lifting, or you go through the cycles of– – Think of lifting conditioning, lifting conditioning, lifting conditioning, back and forth. The first conditioning one, this is to say, would be a more higher intensity interval. The second one is gonna be very low intensity.

– How long are you going? – If I can get 45 minutes, let me try this. – I’m just on the bike. – I might literally not even exercise, I might walk. I don’t count walking as exercise. Some people call it fast cardio or whatever. It’s walking. – It’s just walking. – But sometimes if I can walk, I can do that. If I can get like a bike ride, like a bicycle, like I’m on a bicycle outside, now I’m checking off multiple boxes, right? Cause now I’m getting sunlight, now I’m getting out of the way. We have to do those things, right? I will do something like that.

I might get on the assault bike and just cruise, right? I don’t know. – I’m the only person on the planet that just cruises on an assault bike. – Yeah, a lot of the times, a lot of the times now, I’ll do my low intensity stuff in the sauna. – Really? – Oh yeah. Yeah, dial it back. You don’t, like I won’t have it at 200, 205 anymore. – Just squats or pushups? – 100%. So little thing I’ll give you. I got this actually, Brian McKenzie. You know Brian? – I do. – Yeah, Brian told me this. – You wrote your first, did you write one of them? But your Unplugged book. – Yeah, Brian wrote that together. Good friend, great, great stuff. But he’s like, dude, go in there like 140, 150, 160 degrees. – So that could be an infrared. That’s about how hot those get? – I don’t know. I don’t use them. Mine’s the traditional. – The traditional. – You could use them. I’m being a, I’m being a pill. Yes, of course you can use those for that. – But, I truly- – Cause they don’t get super hot. – But the evidence supports the traditional sauna more. But I do have an infrared. – I got nothing against it. I would use one if I had that there. My full sauna’s way doper. I’m using it. But I’ll go in there and he’s like, set it to that and do 10 pushups, 20 pushups. It doesn’t matter, right? You’re just moving. Get your heart rate up a little bit. Do that and then stand for a minute. He’s like, stay at the top, stand up there. A lot of times I’ll do walking high knees. I’ll do some, I’m just moving a little bit, right? And then sit for a minute. – How long are you in there for? – Those sessions, 30 minutes? Like nothing crazy. – So if anyone’s listening and wants to join Andy. – Dude, Brian has a bike in his. – What? – He just, Laird does too. – Come on. – Desert Storm. So Laird puts his like actual salt bike. – Okay, hard pass. I just, yeah, hard pass on that. – But I feel like, I really feel like there’s something special to doing very, very low intensity work on the sauna. – I’m gonna throw that in. – I feel way different.

Instead of just sitting there doing nothing. If you’re using it for different purposes, but I’m like- – That sounds amazing. – I need to like double dip when I need to be time efficient here. And like say I’m really beat up, or like I’m like, I don’t want to sit on that damn assault bike right now, or it’s raining outside, like something like that. Like I’ll definitely go on the sauna. You get super, whoever complained about me on the sauna, right? And they’ll do low low activities. So like a lot of my low intensity stuff will be in there and I’ll just like try to move. I’ll shadow box stuff a lot in there. Like I’ll just- – That’s a great idea. – And don’t, I just don’t. And if I start like a high, just sit down for a second. Like I don’t like-

I think it’s a great But that’s really it. So then I’m rotating back and forth between those. – Let’s talk about protein. Specifically, FirstForm’s Natural whey protein, Formula One. People ask me all the time, what kind of protein powder I use, what kind of protein powder I recommend. Formula One makes many different kinds of protein powders, different flavors, a natural one. You pick it, it mixes amazing. It makes it extremely easy to get your protein in. And really there, it’s a whey protein isolate. So you’re getting the majority of your calories from protein in the shake. Tastes great, super easy to travel with. Great breakfast, dinner, maybe even lunch, whatever you need, it’s got you covered and it has all the amino acids necessary. Will help improve body composition, muscle mass, all the things that protein does. And by the way, when do you need protein? Well, you need it every day. And that’s why I love FirstForm’s protein powder. They’re Formula One. Go to firstform.com slash Dr. Lion. That’s firstform.com slash Dr. Lion.

Have you done your blood work? If you haven’t, I have a solution for you. And that is one of the sponsors of the show, Inside Tracker. Why is blood work so important? Well, you know, I use Inside Tracker. My friends use Inside Tracker. Also, my parents use Inside Tracker. Inside Tracker makes getting blood work very easy and user-friendly. They have an amazing interface. You can check it out on your phone. You can check it out on the desktop, which, you know, hopefully you’re using a small one. Inside Tracker allows you to look at really important biomarkers like hormones, iron, thyroid, insulin. The list goes on, APO-B. It never stops. And by the way, if you are a professional and you have clients, Inside Tracker also has a pro platform. Amazing, I really feel that Inside Tracker has revolutionized healthcare and listen, blood work can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Inside Tracker is offering my listeners 10% off, 10% off anything on the store, in the store, anything as it relates to subscriptions, 10% off. Go to inside tracker.com, like Inside Tracking Your Body. Use the code DRLION and do not wait. If you are due for your blood work, give this a shot. It’s extremely valuable. Back to the show. So we covered first is dietary protein, interchangeable with training. – We’re on number two. – No, no, we’re on number three now. – Okay, the next one I would be for high quality muscle. I mean, what I’d probably say here is range of motion.

I did not think you were gonna say – If I’m looking back at like the issues we’ve had with people that either come into the program or that like when they realize we’re like, this is our biggest issue, that is a really big one. Like your joints need to be healthy and you need to have like the default of all your joints should be, you should train over full range of motion. A lot of people don’t have that anymore. – Give me an example of training over full range of motion. – You like, you can’t do a lat pull down and have the bar all the way come down to your chest. You can’t do a basic body weight squat, right? You can’t do any kind of RDL or hinge or all the way down because your hamstrings are so tight. You can’t properly run. You can’t get in good positions. You certainly can’t like do a pushup or do different things like that. You can’t do a dip. Like we can’t get into any of these basic body, you can’t hip extend because your hip flexors are so tight. We can’t do hip thrusts. – Is this with aging, sedentary behavior that this kind of thing happens or injury? – It is, sometimes it’s injury, but it is mostly not training over full range of motion. Like the biggest way to improve range of motion and the biggest way to stop from lost range of motion is to lift weights over full range of motion. I’m not saying that to be- – Fisticious. – The strength training guy. I think the data are clear on this one. You can static stretch, I’m not against that, that’s fine, but lifting and contracting over full range of motion, to my opinion and from my coaching experience, like from just my personal coaching, I feel like it’s so much more effective at improving range of motion. And so getting people to, I don’t need you to be a jiu-jitsu player where you can do all kinds of things with every joint, but we gotta have minimal viable here. So I’d say of our non-athletes, even with playing with our athletes, but of our non-athletes and executive coaching program, that would be the third biggest one. The reason I’m saying that is because it causes so many injuries and so much pain, and we get so limited in the movements we can do, that you end up just being like, “Well, I don’t have that machine, “I don’t have that machine, and my warmup takes so long “because everything hurts, and I don’t want to do “this exercise because it hurts my back a lot.” And we’re just like, “God.” – If this could have been prevented. – If we could just give you a better range of motion, now the world opens up to you. And now we don’t have to do all this prevention stuff, we don’t have to do all these things.

And so when things hurt less, you tend to do more stuff. One of the number one reasons why, I don’t know about your practice, but we have found that people are resistant to exercise in general, but specifically lifting, because they’re just like, “Oh, everything is so tight today.” I don’t want to, I don’t want to end up lifting. I just don’t want to go through that warmup process because everything hurts so bad. So I’m like, “All right, what if we cut that problem out?” Like, “Yeah, I’d lift the weight more.” Oh, okay, great. So I think in order to get the strength training in, we have to have that first piece to lower that barrier to entry.

I think those are great three actionable tips. I’m going to ask you one more, and then we’re going to get you out of here so that you can get to Nassau. – Oh yeah. – Otherwise, you and I could talk for probably– – I know, we never even got to biomarker, – At least another three hours. The one biggest mistake you think people are making? – In terms of their exercise or overall lifestyle? – Yeah, it could be either. And there’s probably not one, but if there’s one or two major mistakes that people are making. – Can I give you two? – Yeah. – Okay, I’d say one would be,

I’m hesitant because I’m trying to give you an insightful, non-generic answer, but one that’s also very true. – I wonder if it’s the same one I’m thinking. So I’ve in my mind predicted two for, oh, well, one for sure. – Probably nowhere in the same way. – Okay, let’s see. Never know. – I’m trying to intentionally, give one, I think, be well. One recommendation I’ll give folks is to say a lot of these details, they do matter, but the ones that matter most, I’d probably say the one that matters most, whether it’s exercise or nutrition or mindset or recovery or health, the one that comes out to me as the top dog is consistency.

Just give your body time.

Don’t expect it in six weeks. I hope it happens. And if you know what you’re doing, you can definitely get progress in six weeks. A ton.

But if you don’t, you can’t afford to work with you, and you don’t have a private coach that’s doing all these things for you, you probably are a little bit inefficient with what you’re doing. It’s not precise to you yet.

But what that means is not that it’s not working. It just means it’s gonna take longer.

That’s a good – That’s really, really important, right? It’s like, hey, I’m doing all this stuff. I’m eating this way. I’m working out. I’m trying to get to bed earlier. Like nothing’s working. I haven’t lost weight yet. I don’t feel better yet. I promise you, if you’re eating good food, you’re exercising, you’re doing other positive behaviors, I promise you it’s working. It’s just not specific. So you’re not getting a specific result yet.

Specific adaptations to impose demand. It’s this classic scientific principle called the said principle.

What that means is if you wanted to get bigger biceps, getting those muscles bigger, the bigger the biceps is, the most specific thing you can do is to do nothing but train those biceps.

Great. I promise you, if you did nothing but biceps training, that’s all you did. And you just kept going, those biceps muscles would get larger, right?

Having said that, when you’re over-reliant upon specificity, you lack variation. So we lack well-roundedness. We lack other adaptations. Lot of people that are trying to like, hey, I wanna have more energy. I wanna lose some weight. I wanna get a little bit stronger. The nice part about it is you’re doing a variation in training. But because you’re doing a variation in training, you’re not doing specificity, which means you’re not seeing maximum results in any one of those areas. Which means in six weeks, when your friend who did nothing but biceps curls has noticeably bigger biceps, in six weeks, you have 1% bigger biceps, and 1% better VO2 max, and 1% healthier metabolism. You have 1% in a lot. So if you got 10% bigger, you got 10% as well, but your 10 was spread across 10 different areas.

– I mean, I think that’s great. – You just gotta give it time. – Gotta give it time. – That person come back in a year, and now you’ve both gained 100%, but that’s all in that person’s biceps. And now it’s like, whoa, how did you change your physique? How did you change all these things? Well, like you did all these right things. I promise you, if you’re doing those actions, especially if you were not doing them before, it is working, it is making a difference. It’s just not, like in science, we’d say the fidelity of that measurements is not strong enough. It’s like saying, look at any of the classic research. If you start strength training, muscle hypertrophy doesn’t really happen until eight weeks or so. But that’s only because the technology we have, the measure increases in muscle size, is not accurate enough under that. It’s happening every single damn day. It’s just happening at these microscopic levels. – I love that you’re saying this, yes, yes. – In this case, the person, you just haven’t hit the threshold of your technology yet. I promise you, your body composition improved, but the only technology you have is your scale. Whatever. It’s not accurate enough to find your changes yet. So just give it time. I promise you, we’ve worked with a billion moms and a billion non-athletic, regular people and stuff like that. – Like me. – And we’ve worked with the best in the world. It’s true in all of them. It’s true in all of them. You will get there if you just hang tight and do the best you can. And also remember on that same point, you’re gonna have lols. I have not lifted weights in nine days probably.

Not happened. Just unexpected things of, okay, great.

I’m not stressed about it. I’ve exercised, I’ve done other stuff, but I haven’t lifted weights because I’m hiking up mountains and doing all kinds of other stuff. I’ve got super, super, super sore. My ankles thought they were gonna die. – But they didn’t. – Oh my God, it was wrecked. My ankles were wrecked for a week after this.

But fine. I’m looking at this as like, is nine days gonna matter across 90 years?

Not at all. Like is nine months gonna matter? That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now for like a year. Because a year gonna matter across 120 years. No, not gonna matter at all. So you missed a day, you missed a week. Don’t trip. Don’t trip. It’s the accumulation. It’s the big package here. Come back to me in a year. Did you accumulate a lot over the year? You’re gonna win.

Don’t matter. How long is it little things like? It’s life, it’s cool. Like you’re fine.

Careful, don’t like use that excuse to be lazy shit. But you feel me on that one. So that would be number one. Was that what you predicted? I thought that you were gonna say individuals over complicate things. Similar to you, right? That we over complicate the things that really matter and that that impedes us for making progress. Yeah, it is, right? Like, it’s a matter of, get close a lot often and keep going.

Love it. That’s a start, yeah. You owe me one more.

One more is gonna go the opposite direction. Okay.

There’s a lot of discussion, a lot of chatter, a lot of conversations that are interesting. We’ve had some tangential ones today about this movement of precision.

Precision health, precision nutrition, precision training.

And the reality of it is some of these areas are strong at this point. Some are weak.

Okay. Genetics, as an example. Genetics for precision training is garbage. Genetics for precision nutrition is mostly garbage. So say that again, because I think…

You should be making no decisions whatsoever for your exercise based on any genetic test anybody in the world did. I don’t care if you got three billion base pair sequence. I know these data very well. Or food-based traces based on genetics. There have been now five to six trials, full trials on personalized nutrition based on genetics. I believe all six have failed to find any benefit from the genetic base testing. Any. And you’re talking different labs, different clinical trials, different outcomes, different populations. And it’s like a clean slate of garbage.

That doesn’t mean nothing is coming though. There is clearly something there. Precision nutrition from genetics will get better. But right now there are a few actual things. But the big basics of how you globally should eat are so clearly not the case. In fact, in at least two of the trials that I know of, maybe the third, at least two of them, what they found though was individualized coaching mattered way more than precision coaching. What’s that mean? Paying attention to people’s preferences, paying attention to their lifestyle, all actually had a bigger impact than randomly putting them on.

Just a random diet. Stunning, right? Get a coach. – Shocking, yeah. – Get a coach that pays attention to that stuff. And if your coach’s main selling point is they do genetic testing.

– That person’s not advanced. Like you have almost complete garbage. And I can go even a thousand ways worse on this one. But if they have not done actual phenotypic testing, then like run to the heavens away. Meaning I don’t give a shit what your MTHFR is.

When I can directly measure B vitamins and homocysteine. – Right. I mean, yes, I agree with you. – I do not care at all. – I mean, it’s okay if you wanna know, that’s fine, but we’ll be able to tell in your blood work. – I know. And also the relationship, I’m sorry, I hate to tease this one at the end, but like the relationship between your genotype of that particular one and your actual resulting homocysteine levels, you’re talking under 1%.

You’ve learned a lot about nothing. (laughing) Nothing, especially when you just measure homocysteine. That’s what you’re so worried about. – That’s right. – Whatever. I can go, there’s a ton to say.

But this field is clearly improved.

Like there are some actionable things with genetics for nutrition. Most of it is utter nonsense.

Whether or not, like you should eat carbohydrates, like that’s not garbage at this point. There are some things, but it’s gonna get better. And so what I’ll say is like the age of precision interventions, it is clearly coming. I don’t have a dog in a fight in any of those things. That is an area where I would say right now, I’m happy to just torch that field. I’m happy to torch anyone at the same time. I am acknowledging it’s gonna get better. – Yeah. – And so, all right, like I watch, I’m reading, I’m hopeful, I actually am a believer in it. It’s just not right now. – We’re not there. – Not at all.

Well, Andy Galpin, thank you so much for coming on. We could go another two hours and maybe if you’re back visiting the astronauts, you might. – I’ll be back. I’m in Texas a lot. – You come, you can stay, bring the family.

I really am glad that we were able to sit down and have this conversation. I think there’s a lot of things that we’re really important and one of the things is you shared how you think about things and if people gain just a little bit of insight, it will allow them to question what they’re hearing, what they’re reading, maybe be aware of some of their own limitations or the limitations of those that are talking to them and it’s really valuable. You have an extraordinarily creative mind and scientific mind. – I appreciate it. – Thank you so much. – It’s been way too long. – I know. – Way too long. Next round will have to be sooner. – Yes and maybe I’ll come to you.

Yeah, maybe it’s a way to come here. – Thank you so much and we’ll link where everyone can find you and you also have an amazing podcast coming out. – Yeah, I don’t know when this is gonna come out but my show will be out, Rob won’t let me tell people but it’ll be out in the – Amazing, we’re gonna try to hold this podcast till– – Oh no, yeah that’s right. – Comes out and we’re gonna do our best to hold it so that we can put it out before yours comes out. That would be amazing. – Cool, yeah it’s called Perform with Dr. Andy Galpin. – Well done friend. – Thank you. – The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon podcast and YouTube are for general information purposes only and do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional healthcare services including the giving of medical advice and no patient doctor relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast YouTube or materials linked from a podcast or YouTube is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition. They may have and should seek the assistance of their healthcare professional for any such conditions. This is purely for entertainment and educational purposes only.