DIET MASTERCLASS: What To Eat, When To Eat & How To Eat For LONGEVITY | Sal DiStefano | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "DIET MASTERCLASS: What To Eat, When To Eat & How To Eat For LONGEVITY | Sal DiStefano".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:00)

Obesity is a choice. This doesn't mean it's easy to solve, but it is a choice. You must accept this or you will never solve this problem. I agree with that wholeheartedly. And I know how much you care about people. So I don't want people shutting down or thinking that you're being a jerk. It's just like, this is a problem that you can unwind and it is a problem that you created for yourself. Again, lies abound, lies in the food pyramid, lies that we tell ourselves, lies that our parents raises with all that. But so the list that I gave you in terms of what people need to understand, what they're gonna have to unwind, and then I had you put it in order. So in no particular order, this was the list. Diet, exercise, which for what we're talking about, we'll call cardio, already accumulated fat, I don't think people understand is a organ and it signals hormonally and all kinds of stuff. Muscle mass, excuses, insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction, hormones, lifestyle, which for this I'm gonna say is sleep, sunlight, and stress, and then love, relationships, joy, joy for life, something in a hobby that you really love. All right, that was the list.

Fitness Myths, Lifestyle, And Progressive Change

The tweet that got his wife banned from Twitter and starting this conversation. (01:14)

So in terms of things that get people there and keep them stuck, what's the order? - All the things that you listed contribute, but a couple of them contribute to the rest. There's a couple of them that are drivers to all of them. So first I wanna address the tweet that I sent out. And I say that with the most compassion. I made a career, I mean, two and a half decades of working with people, trying to help them improve their health, and anytime you're trying to change anything, you have to, you absolutely have, especially if you wanna do it long term, you have to accept the things that you can't change, but you also have to take the responsibility for the things you can. So that feeling of empowerment is crucial to long term success. Like if there was one indicator, one predictor of whether or not a client that I worked with would be able to get that long term success, which by the way is less than 5%. If you look at all the data on weight loss diets and attempts to lose weight, it's like a 95% fail rate. It's dismal and it doesn't matter. - Is that initial weight loss or long term, like you actually kept it up? - This is like within a couple of years. So you lose the weight and then you gain it back. That's like 95%. And I would stretch it out to even higher if you were to go stretch that timeline out even further. I mean, millions of Americans lose weight every year. Nobody can keep it off. And this doesn't matter what the diet is, right? By the way, they compare all diets, diets that are considered healthy, like Mediterranean, diets that are extreme, like carnivore, veganism, fasting, you name it, all of them have a similar or the same fail rate. So the problem is not losing weight, the problem is keeping it off. And the challenge is like, what's happening? What is it that is preventing people from being able to positively impact their health and then maintain that process or maintain that type of relationship that keeps them there? And that was the problem that I worked on and tried to solve for years and years and years. You have to start with believing that there are things that you can control and accepting that those things are your responsibility and saying, okay, now that doesn't make it easy at all. It's still hard as heck, obviously. Modern society is the default of living in a modern society is poor health. The default is obesity. You have this-- - That is really terrifying. - That's 100%. If you just lived a quote unquote normal life in modern societies, you're going to be sick, unhealthy and probably overweight, okay? So you have to take conscious steps, develop different behaviors, disciplines, structures. You have to be weird in the sense that you're not going to be like most people in order to live differently, in order to break free from the default, which is sick, unhealthy and obese. You accept that there's things that you can change control, accept that this is my responsibility. It doesn't make it easy, but you got to start there. And then let's talk about that list that you sent me. So you went through all those different things. There are two things that contribute to the rest. Now I remember years ago as a trainer, I first started out thinking that losing weight would help people become happy. I later took me 10 years to figure out that you first had to learn how to be happy before you could really lose the weight and keep it all forever. That's really the direction of where things go. When you look at data on people working with dieticians or nutritionists versus people working with therapists, we're talking about obese people, therapy has a higher success rate, long term, than people who work with dieticians or nutritionists. Let me restructure this. Let me paint a different context. When you're eating and living in a way that is making you severely obese and giving you poor health, it's not unlike somebody that has a poor relationship with, let's say, alcohol. So let's say you have a friend that has got a bad relationship with alcohol, they're an alcoholic, and from the outside, it's easy for you to look at them and say, "God, why can't they just see that they're killing themselves? "Why can't they stop doing this?" It's very similar to when somebody's, let's say, 60 pounds overweight. It's like, what is going on? Why can't they care for themselves in a way that's gonna make them feel better? Why can't they take care of themselves like somebody who deserves to be taken care of? That's the root of what's going on. We use food rarely as a way to nourish ourselves, and rarely do we eat because we're genuinely hungry. Most people in modern societies never really feel true hunger. We don't go more than a day without food for most people. Okay. - I think the right way to think about food is it is a drug that you have to take every day to survive. - That's one that has drug-like effects. - 100%, so that's one very accurate way to look at it. So if you look at all the reasons why people eat, it's usually because of feelings. I'm anxious, sad, depressed, happy, or because I'm bored or as a distraction. We develop a relationship with food in modern societies that revolves around palatability, mostly. How good does it taste? How does it make me feel while I'm eating it? And maybe convenience. Those are the two main things. And so our relationship is almost entirely revolved or developed around those two things. This is why when people are with each other and they say, "Hey, what do you want to have for lunch?" It's an interesting conversation, "Well, I feel like this." Or, "What about that?" Or, "What they're using to regulate or consider what they're going to eat next?" It's those two things.

Lifestyle and love before all else. (06:49)

Palatability, convenience, maybe fun. And that's about it. - I want to push on this a little bit. So when I think about therapy being more effective than going and working with a trainer or a dietician, that brings me back to this idea of it's a drug-like effect. So last year is the first time in my life where I've ever been so stressed that I found myself wanting to manipulate my neurochemistry. And I was like, "Whoa." So now I understand how people get here because I was like, "This is really intolerable." And if I didn't have rules in my life, if I didn't have meditation, if I didn't have a healthy relationship with my wife, if I didn't have a healthy relationship with food, I would have really gotten myself into trouble. And it was the first time where I was like, "Oh, this is the people get into a neurochemical state "that is so unpleasant. "They will do anything to get themselves out of that. "They will smoke weed, they will drink alcohol, "they will sex addiction, food addiction, all of it." Like that they have to change that neurochemical state. There's something though when I say that it's like a drug that I can tell doesn't quite click into place like a puzzle piece for you. But for me, that sounds right. What is it you think that I'm missing? That is still congruent with the idea that therapy is the most useful treatment. - Yeah, so what you're saying by the way that it's like a drug is 100% correct. The reason why what you're reading is that it doesn't maybe fit 100% is because when we use the word drug, the understanding that people have or I guess the knee-jerk reaction is, "Oh, that's negative." 'Cause food can also be quite positive. By the way, so can drugs. Drugs can also have profound positive effects as well. But when we say it in that context, people are like, "Oh my God, it's negative." - I'm saying all this though, in the context of someone is obese and they are stuck. - Yes, no, you're 100% right. They aren't eating to feel good long term. It's to feel good in the moment or to numb themselves or distract themselves. And this is a very difficult relationship to break. In fact, if you look at the studies on drug addiction, which we can put food addiction in this category, when you look at the studies on drug addiction with the old ones on mice, they would put mice in a cage and then they'd give them like water or like cocaine-laced water. And the mouse would just drink the cocaine-laced water until it died. And so these are so powerfully addicting that you can't control yourself. Well, later on, scientists said, "Hold on a second. "This is a mouse stuck in a cage. "Let's create an environment where they have playmates, "where there's lots of space, "there's lots of things for them to do." And what they found is the addiction rate dropped significantly. So the substance wasn't necessarily the problem. It was the state of mind that drove the animal, or human, to this type of abuse. So what we need to do, if we're looking for long-term success, is stop considering or stop thinking of humans as machines where we can put inputs and then it just follows directions. And remember that were these emotion-driven behavior-based creatures. And so when you gave me that list, I put at the top two, which drive everything else, all of this stuff. - In order? - In order. - Okay, let's hear it. - I'll give you all the ones. - Yeah, I wrote them all down. So lifestyle first, love, then comes excuses. And then the rest are important, but the order of them isn't as important. Then it goes diet, muscle mass, exercise, hormones, insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction, and then already accumulated body fat. Now, all right, hold on. So I got lifestyle, love, excuses, diet, muscle, and then-- Exercise, hormones. - People have got to be freaking out the exercise. - I know. I know. Insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction, and then already accumulated body fat. - Last one is body fat. - Yeah, okay, so-- - Interesting. - Yeah, now I'll explain this, and it'll start to make sense. Okay, so why did I put lifestyle and love at the top? Those two things drive behaviors. If your stress is dysfunctional, if you don't get lots of sunlight, you get poor sleep, those are very, very strong behavior drivers that will drive your behaviors to comfort, distract, seek out foods or activities that in the moment might make you feel better, but in the long term, aren't so great. Love is right up there as well. Love has, or lack of love, has profound negative effects on our health and amazing effects on our behaviors. There was a study done within the last 10 years where they showed that having poor relationships was as bad for your health as smoking 10 cigarettes a day. So you could be a health fanatic, but also have terrible relationships, and you might as well be smoking 10 cigarettes a day. - Do you know what the mechanism of action is? Like is it that it raises your blood pressure or something like that, do we know? - All of the above, when you look at the physiological effects of poor relationships, all of the physiological measures that we can measure decline, all of them, immune function, hormones become unbalanced, sleep becomes dysregulated, neurochemical balance becomes dysregulated. We're such social creatures that, it's in the Geneva Convention, isolating someone for too long is considered inhumane. This is, these are prisoners of war, okay. That's how terrible it is for us. Now this list is linear, but it's actually more of a circle, okay. Because all those other things that I listed, when those start to go downhill, when I start to not be active, when I start to lose muscle mass as a result of it, when my mitochondrial function starts to become dysfunctional, when I start to develop insulin resistance, when I develop, when I gain more body fat, and then that body fat starts to signal my body through hormones and chemicals, what it does then is it goes right back to affecting my lifestyle, affecting the relationships that I have, which then also affect all those other things. And it actually becomes a positive feedback loop. So for people who don't understand what a positive feedback loop is, it's like when you have a microphone on a speaker, and you put the mic closest speaker and it gets real loud, because the microphone picks up the noise of the speaker, the speaker then projects it, and it just gets super loud. So when you get into that spiral, it gets really, really hard to break. Now, this isn't to say that you need to just focus on lifestyle and love and everything else will follow, exercising alone if you do it in the right way. And that's one of the-- - You're gonna remind people how low exercise is on your list. - Yeah, yeah. Again, if you have a bad lifestyle and poor relationships, you can become fanatical about exercise, you can become orthorexic about your diet, you're not gonna be healthy. - We're talking about healthier, okay? You're not gonna be healthy. And I know plenty of people like this in my space, in the fitness space. Fitness space is riddled with bodies that look ripped, that belong to extremely unhealthy, dysfunctional individuals. - And so where, if somebody is obese, first of all, for anybody that's listening to this as a podcast, Sal's Jacked, it's important to note. And for anybody that is obese, and they're looking at somebody that's in shape, I think they would need to understand what under the amazing outward appearance where they do look healthy, what isn't going well? - Yeah, that's a really, really good question. You know, one of the biggest challenges, this is where I feel for people who struggle with obesity. Well, there's lots of reasons why I feel for them, but this is one, a big one.

Why being jacked doesnt mean youre healthy. (14:39)

Obesity is a very outward, visible, obvious sign of poor health or dysfunction. I'll say, if we can tie it back to lifestyle, when I see somebody that's overweight, I know they're struggling emotionally. I don't wonder, I know. - Right, but like a gambling addiction, can't always see it. A drug addiction, a lot of times you can't see it. Someone has a sex addiction, terrible relationships, other dysfunction, they could present themselves, and at first glance, they're like, oh, they're okay. But if you're walking around 80 pounds overweight, you know, there's a lot of judgment, there's a lot of assumptions, and it's like you're wearing your challenges on your sleeve. It's out for everyone to look at. So it makes it even more challenging, I would say. But okay, so you look at somebody and they look ripped. You're on Instagram. Oh, wow, look at that person, they're super ripped. But what you might not know is that person abuses their body through over exercise, that their relationship with diet is not a healthy one. It's extremely restrictive, it's very orthorexic, lots of stress around their food. If it's not perfect, if I'm not hitting the right macronutrients, oh my God, I'm gonna be going on vacation. What am I gonna eat? I'm going to that restaurant, I can't go there, I can't enjoy birthday parties. I don't like going out with anyone unless they're fanatics like I am. So it's this unhealthy relationship that on the surface appears to be, because you look at someone and we've learned to glorify extreme bodies as healthy. Oftentimes drug abuse, drugs that make the person feel better, that don't have calories, you'll see a lot of drug abuse with the fitness space that isn't alcohol, 'cause alcohol makes you fat, so. What drugs are popular in that space?

Any drug that doesn't have calories, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, you name it. It doesn't help me, it doesn't make me gain body fat, so I'll abuse it. And then pharmaceutical performance enhancing drugs, anabolic steroids, growth hormones, appetite, suppressants and the like. So they can be very unhealthy and be quite miserable, even though they appear. And this is one of my gripes with the fitness industry. There's so much bad information that comes out of fitness, I'd say a majority of the information that comes out is bad. And a lot of the reason why it's bad, part of it it's consumer driven, we want the quick fix, easy answer. But a lot of it is that the information that we get is coming from these fitness fanatic orthorexics. Like these are people who don't understand what it's like to be normal. They're obsessive about their lifestyle. And so they're communicating to the everyday average person. And so what do you hear? You hear stuff like beast mode, no days off, food is fuel, I don't even taste the food, I just eat what I need to nourish my body type of deal. Which I could see for some high performers, might have some value. Look, you're a high performer in business, I think you know what I'm talking about when it comes to that, you have this another gear that you could turn on. But I think when the average person hears that, first of all, either they're like, oh, that's what I gotta do and that doesn't work because they're not that fanatical, or it turns them off completely. - So I wanna talk about that for a second. Okay, going back, people are obese, they're stuck.

Lies around Weight Loss (18:01)

There are lies running around in their head. A lot of those lies are being told to them by them. They've absorbed some things through other people. But I want to go back to your tweet. And it's like, okay, I come from a morbidly obese family. When I say that I love these people, I love these people. So in no way do I disparage people that are in this gnarly situation. But I really want people to understand that when somebody says go beast mode, go ham, all that, it will work. And if you do it and you can sustain it, like there is something I don't ever want to say, hey, this really hardcore mentality is not gonna work. I love that shit. I love people going ham and pushing themselves and like, "Dude, I want to be the greatest of all time." And one of the things that drives me crazy is when everybody's like the tyranny of low expectations. Like, oh, you're overweight. Oh man, like you're never gonna make it. Like, don't worry, like aim low. And of course people don't say that, but it's like, hey, aspire to something that you are inspired by, that you really would be prepared to just go after for a very long period of time. But understand that you have to find a thread and you begin pulling it. And so just anchoring back around lifestyle, lifestyle was sleep, sun, and stress. Which you said is everything is downstream of that. And so people, like, I don't want to give people low expectations. I want them to aspire to something great. But then I want them to take one step at a time. So I know that being a trainer for as long as you were, really beat you down because a lot of people give up. And so I've heard you say a lot that like, my goal is to give people to do two or three days a week and they'll sustain it. I really have a hard time with that. I know, you know why? You have a hard time with that? How many Tom Billie's do you think exists in the world are people like you? You are literally one in a million. So those messages that you hear, the beast mode and aspire and they resonate with you because that's who you are. There's two ways to do this sustainably. Okay, there's two ways. One, which is extremely rare, which you fall into is the epiphany. This is the moment. That's it, the light switch. And it's could be anything. It could be trauma. It could be, you just decided. It could be an event. Someone had a heart attack. My friend died from cancer. Sometimes you see this and they're just like, that's it. I'm never gonna be the way I was before. That's extremely rare, extremely rare. I know more people who've had heart attacks, more people who've lost people to poor health, who didn't have that epiphany than people who have and it's stuck with them. So you're a rare individual. Now here's where the majority of people are. It's the developing the skill of discipline and modifying and changing their behaviors over time. This is where a majority of people will find success. I am not saying aim low. I'm saying, if you wanna climb the mountain, there is a way to get there and it's a step-by-step process. And every step is a step forward. You do have the control. You do have the responsibility, but we have to do this in a way that is sustainable. And the only way to do so is to take this step-by-step approach. Now the reason why I say my goal is to get people to develop a relationship with exercise where they're doing it two or three days a week is because in my experience, the average person who is not the ultra-driven, high-performing, high-achiever, you know, rarity, the average person wants exercise to improve the quality of their life and they don't wanna do it all the time. They want to go to work, not because they want to, you know, be the most successful person in the world, but they just, they wanna do something, they kinda enjoy, but they wanna go back to their house and enjoy their family and lead that kind of a life. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Don't Aim Low, but Go Step-By-Step (21:56)

So those are the people that I'm talking to. Now if you were my client, Tom, you came to hire me, you'd be easy. You'd be the easiest client in the world. I know, I would know exactly how to train you. I tell you what to do and you do it. And you'd show up as many days a week as I told you and however many times a day, I told you to show up. In my 25 years of working with people, I can say I've had like two or three clients like that. The vast majority that wouldn't work. And I can be a very inspirational motivational speaker and communicator and in my early days as a trainer, that's what I tried to do is I tried to turn everybody into a Tom or a me in that regard. And I was successful at getting people on board, terrible fail rate long term. And again, the data is super clear on this. So how do we get the average person to become healthy? You can reboot your life, your health, even your career, anything you want. All you need is discipline. I can teach you the tactics that I learned while growing a billion dollar business that will allow you to see your goals through. Whether you want better health, stronger relationships, a more successful career, any of that is possible with the mindset and business programs and impact theory university. Join the thousands of students who have already accomplished amazing things. Tap now for a free trial and get started today. - How do we get the average person to lead us a lifestyle that's balanced, that improves their longevity, makes them feel better, balances out the hormones, get them to a body fat percentage or body composition that is sustainable, but healthy, improves their mobility, gives them energy. How do we get those people to do so? It's a different conversation. It's more of a conversation like this. Ask yourself the following questions, and I've said this so many times. I think I even said it last time I was on your show. What's one step I can take today that is realistic forever, but also somewhat challenging? It's gotta be challenging because otherwise there's a meanie thing, but it's gotta be realistic forever because otherwise I am going to set myself up for failure, 95%. Whatever that step is, there's no wrong answer. There is no wrong answer. So I'm gonna drink an extra glass of water. It could be, I'm gonna walk five minutes today. Now is that ultimately what's gonna lead them to this healthy lifestyle? If they just did that, no, probably not, but what it does, and my experience is they do that, and they do it, and it becomes a consistent behavior. They develop a good relationship with it, and then on their own, naturally, they ask themselves again. And usually happens within a few months. What's the next step that I can take? What else can I do? And over time, this trend becomes a snowball, and over time we develop this relationship where I'm never gonna stop taking care of myself. I enjoy this. I'm never gonna stop eating in a way that's healthy because I want to, not because I'm feeling forced, but because this is something that is caring for me, that I'm caring for myself. That's the direction that takes people their long-term. Everything else is good luck. I could give people all the answers. I could give them the cheat sheets, what I used to do. And it just doesn't work. It's hard, it's almost impossible. This is a skill that takes time to develop. And again, the epiphany, when you say, this is a skill, what's this? This relationship with yourself, with exercise, with nutrition, with lifestyle, that is healthy. Okay, so going back to give a counterpoint to that, and I wanna fully acknowledge that the number of people that you've seen in this context is extraordinary, and so I don't wanna diminish the just, you've tested this idea against real world people.

Consistency, results, and metabolic flexibility. (25:33)

What I come back to, so I get the same kind of thing through Impact Theory University, but it's not usually about the body, it's about the mind. So think of it as goals that aren't the body. So you've dealt with goals that are the body, and ideal endlessly with goals that aren't the body. And the one thing I've seen over and over and over is that people don't want it badly enough. It's a game of desire. And there were two things as you were talking that I wrote down, one was desire, that people just, they have to want that thing. And the problem with fat loss, the reason I think that people lose fat, but then they gain it back, is consistency. Like people don't understand, like when it comes to success in business, they can do what I tell them for two weeks, but can they do it for two years? And even if they can't, two years is nothing. Can you do it for two decades? So every time I put my head down and I'm like, "I have to get this person to change our behavior. "I come back every time." Do they've got to want it badly enough? And then they have to see results. Now the thing, like that I want to scream into the fucking camera and get people to hear me. If you eat right, you will feel awesome. But there is this window, for me it was about three weeks, where when I started eating well, which I will say is whole food, and don't eat things that spike your glucose. If you do those two things, oh my God, like you're going to be in great shape. But for three weeks it was miserable. And I remember going to my wife and saying, "If I ate a cookie right now, I would feel better. "I have a headache, this is fucking stupid." Like, I just want to eat a cookie. And my wife is like, "You can keep whining about it, "or you can realize that if you keep going down this path, "you will break your addiction to sugar." And supposedly, 'cause this is a long time ago, now it's like so commonplace that people understand metabolic flexibility, the difference between burning sugar and burning ketones. And, ah, but I didn't know any of that. But she was like, "Look, supposedly on the other side "of this, you're not addicted to sugar anymore, "and those headaches will go away." So either eat that cookie and stop complaining, or get to the other side of this. My wife can be really cut and dry sometimes. I'll fucking love it. And so I was like, "Yeah, you're right, "I'm not going to eat the cookie." And then I woke up one day and I was like, "I feel different." It was so on off. Like I went from headaches, this is miserable, to waking up one day and being like, "Something is different." And like, I, there is a person I'm thinking about right now that I love very much so, very much. And every time I see them, they are in tears over how much they hurt. They don't feel good. And they'll even say, "I know, I know, it's my diet." And I'm like, "For three weeks, just for three weeks." Because if they get that result and they start feeling better, now they want it. And once they want it, like nobody has to tell me to eat well anymore. Because I don't like the way I feel when I don't eat well. And I'm lucky enough to be old enough that like, if I eat something bad, my skin will start to itch, my joints will hurt. And so I'm like, "I know how much I can get away with, "so I never eat more than that "because I don't want to be itchy "or I don't want my joints to hurt "or I don't want my sleep disrupted. "I don't want brain fog." Oh my God. So, but ultimately what I really want people to hear, or for you to smash me down and say, "I'm out of my mind because I am very open. "If you can open a door to me "and I can see a way to helping people "that I don't currently see, "they've got to do something to build the desire. "And if they fail to build the desire, "they will never get beyond the like doing enough." - Yeah, there's a lot of truth in what you're saying, but you have to ask yourself this, right? How many people became sober and then went back? How many people lost weight, improved their health, felt better, and then went back? So it's like, what's going on? They got the result, they felt better, they felt healthy, and yet they went back to what they were doing before that made them feel so crappy. - Can you say in a single sentence what you think happens? - They didn't build the right relationship with what they were doing. So I'll give you an example, okay. Let's say I go into weight loss from a standpoint of self-hate, I hate my body, I'm gross. Exercise is now a punishment. Diet is now restrictive. So while I'm eating better, it's restrictive. I can't have that, I can't have that, I can't have that. Exercise, in the beginning is cathartic because I'm punishing myself. This is why people initially love working out to exhaustion. They leave crawling out of the gym. Wow, that was a great workout, right? They commiserate over how hard the workout was with their friend, but then eventually it's like, this sucks, who could possibly enjoy beating themselves up every time they work out? So the relationship they built with this lifestyle, although their health is improved, although they move better, what they're focusing on, what you shine the light on is what you see, right? What they're focusing on is this is punishment, this is restrictive, this sucks. Now let's flip that. Instead of saying I hate my body, I'm gross, it's like, I love myself. By the way, it's not a feeling. It's not like the love feeling, love is an action. I have kids, I don't always feel the feeling of love. Sometimes I want them, I want to kick them out of the house, but I actively love them, okay? So it's an action, you have to choose oftentimes. If you've been married for a long time, anybody who's done that for a long time knows it's a choice sometimes. So I can look in the mirror and say, I need to start loving myself. I need to start taking care of myself. I deserve to be cared for by the person who is most responsible for me, which is myself. Now exercise becomes self-care. Now nutrition becomes self-care. It's no longer restrictive, I can't, I can't, I can't. It's, you know what, I don't want that. I actually don't want that. Going to the gym is no longer punishment, it's self-care. You show up to the gym and you go, all right, what can I do to take care of myself? Sometimes it's hard work out, sometimes it's easy work out, sometimes it's stretching, sometimes it's cardio, sometimes it's strength training. You're actually trying to care for yourself. Now you've developed a relationship with the behaviors that lead to the healthy fit body. Because it's the behaviors that lead to that. It's not the effect, it's not the result that leads to the behaviors, it's the behaviors that lead to the result. That's how it typically works. So now I want to care for myself. Now when I eat, I want to care for myself. Now I've developed a relationship with those things where, look, I crave healthy food. I know people hearing this might be like, what are you talking about? No, no, I know pizza tastes better than a fresh salad. Like I know the palletability of pizza is through the roof, but I've developed a relationship with food to where, I also know all the other values that that salad may bring me. I feel better, my skin is better, my energy is better, I feel sharper, my digestion is better.

The function of adding behavior, not annihilation. (33:09)

That pizza is gonna taste amazing, but I know all the other stuff that comes along with it. So when I'm sitting down and I'm offered both, nine out of 10 times, I don't want the pizza. Now I can't have it, that's very different. I don't want it, I do want the salad. You know, Tom, this took me 10 years to figure out. I trained people, I apologize for all the people I trained the first 10 years I was a trainer, 'cause I was terrible. But I remember early on, or for those first 10 years, I should say, first decade, when I would look at people's diets and change their diets, I would take things away. Okay, write down what you eat over the next two weeks and then they bring it to me and I'd look at it, okay, we're gonna cut this out, we're gonna cut that out, we're gonna cut this out. And it was a terrible long-term approach. I mean, if they listened to me, they would do it, with the results, and then everybody eventually went back, everybody. Later on, I stopped taking things out. I started adding things. And you might think, well, how does that make any sense? You're trying to get someone loose weight, what do you mean you're adding things? I added things that I knew would contribute to the behaviors that would then get them to take things out of their diet. So I'll give you some simple examples. I would say, hey, look, eat, continue eating the way you are, but here's what I want you to do. I want you to hit these protein targets every day. So here's what we're gonna have to do. We're gonna have to add protein to every meal to hit your, whatever, 130 grams of protein a day. So that's gonna be 40 grams of protein plus a protein shake. So when you eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I don't care what else you eat, but before you eat, whatever you eat, hit the 40 grams of protein, then eat the rest. Now, why would that work? Protein is very satiating. Protein controls blood sugar, contributes to behaviors that make you eat less, gives you more sustainable energy. So when they would do that, you know what I would find, they would end up eating less. Here's another one. I would say, hey, do whatever you're doing, continue doing it, but I want you to drink almost a gallon of water a day. Let's hit that target every single day. There's no fat burning miracle properties of water, aside from, you know, if you need to get the right amount of water. But I knew when they would do that, they wouldn't drink anything else that had calories. They had to drink the gallon of water, you know, hard that is to do for most people. And it also helped with craving, satiety, energy, inflammation, those types of things. - This is a great strategy. Without denying that, I will say it is side-stepping that therapy is more effective. So when I asked if you could describe in a single sentence what you think is going wrong, the single sentence I have is that this is a neurochemical problem. People are trying, they have an emotional issue and they are manipulating their neurochemistry.

The role of a compelling future for people who are trying. (35:49)

And the reason I think people rebound, so I know somebody that was sober for a very long time, 30 years, and then they relapsed. And if I told that story to a therapist and said, what do you know about that person? They're gonna say something stressful happened. And the answer is yes. And if it's a breakup, if it's a career failure, whatever, things happen in the mind that people go, I can't feel this way. And going back to, you know, one of the really brutal things about being overweight is that everyone can see that you're struggling with something emotional. But there are other ways that people can begin to develop that healthy relationship. Therapy is one of them. But then the other is feeling good, which we talked about, but the other is a compelling future. And so what do you think the role of compelling future is? Like, I am excited about something and I'm willing to fight for that something. - Yeah, that's all, you said we're sidestepping therapy. What I said about adding things, I learned from therapists. I had huge growth as a coach and trainer working concurrently with therapists, with clients. And it started with clients that I would get that were recovering from eating disorders.

IOB: Do not help people start from calorie restriction. (37:14)

So I get people who are recovering anorexics or bulimics and they would come to me, hire me. And I'd say, do you mind if I work with your therapist? Because I'm a trainer, I'm not a therapist. And I would work with the therapist with these people and I learned a lot, a lot about how to be effective through my vehicle, which was fitness. And that's one of the things that I learned was the psychology that we have around restricting can be so powerful. Tell people to take things away and it's hard. Tell people to add things and it tends to be a little easier because it doesn't feel-- - So they're rebelling against the instructions. - They're rebelling. - Don't tell me what I can eat. - Absolutely. By the way, speaking of rebelling, you know why people, when they go off a diet, they don't like just go back to what they were doing before. There's a period of like where they went worse, they go worse than what they were doing before. You ever notice that? It's like they don't go off the diet and eat like one cookie. They go off the diet and eat a box of cookies, make themselves sick. It's because they're rebelling against their own selves, their own tyrannical identity that was telling them, you will punish yourself with exercise. You will restrict your diet.

The biggest mistake people make with exercise. (38:25)

And then eventually that inner child or whoever feels like they're being punished, who's like at first they're like, yes, you deserve to be punished, but eventually he's like, I don't want to live this way anymore, breaks free, and like a teenager doesn't just go back to what they were doing before, actually over-corrects. - Did the therapist ever give you anything around how to get them to stop feeling they need to punish themselves? - Yeah, absolutely. You have to connect. One of the biggest mistakes people make with exercise is obsessing over the scale. That's a metric. It's not, it's an important one. So I'm not gonna downplay it and say it's not important, but it's not the only metric. There's lots of things that exercise and nutrition positively impact that for lack of a better term, most people are not even aware of because all they're focused on is the scale. In fact, people are so focused on the scale that they'll sacrifice their health in order to make the scale go down. They'll actually make themselves feel worse, but they're like, oh, it's working because the scale is going down. Not even paying attention to all the other things. So I used to really help people connect the dots to all the other things that were happening. So it's like, okay, the scale hasn't moved over the last couple of weeks, but how was your sleep? How was your energy? How was your skin? Have you noticed any changes in productivity? What about your moods? What about your libido? And then they come back and be like, you know what? Yeah, actually I'm sleeping like way better than I was before. And I feel more patient with my kids. I remember I had this one gentleman that I trained. He was very successful entrepreneur. And he had a tough relationship with exercise, but he was this very disciplined entrepreneur. That used to always confuse me, by the way, where as a trainer, early trainer, I thought it was just people were just lazy. And then I realized like, these are some pretty successful people that are hiring me. I mean, a higher personal trainer, you have to have expendable income. So most of them were doing pretty well. And I thought, oh, they're not lazy. There's something else that's going on. They obviously crush it in other areas of life. - They are lazy. Just in that area. But how can I get that carryover? You know, it's like they're not just generally lazy people, like what's going on here, right? So I had this gentleman who was a successful entrepreneur.

Something surprising about exercise most people are shocked to learn. (40:40)

And I remember when this connection happened to him. And I knew like, this guy's never gonna stop now. He came to me and he goes, "Sow, I am giving the best sales presentations. I've given in years." And he goes, "And I realize it's 'cause I feel so much better from exercise." And that's what I knew. This guy's not gonna stop now. The thing that he loves most, he is now connected to the fact that he's exercising. Which, by the way, there isn't a single, and this is a great selling point for most people, there isn't a single thing in your life, nothing, that will not improve if you improve your health. Nothing. - I agree with you. - Partner, you'll be a better partner. Entrepreneur, you'll be more productive, more innovative. You'll have better ideas. You'll be able to work harder. Sleep gets better. Labido improves. Hormone profile improves. If you're a parent, you'll become a better parent because your health improves. On the other end of that, there isn't a single thing in your life that won't become worse if your health declines. So, why is this important? Well, we talked about the scale, okay? All right, well, so the scale is one metric. Let's look at everything. Maybe you didn't lose any weight, and you've been working out for three months because you still haven't figured out the right amount of calories. You're still kinda overeating. Like you're exercising, maybe making some different choices with food that were better than before. What other things can you look at? What other things have you noticed? Those are also very important. Pay attention to those things as well. Then you start to develop this broad, complete picture of what's happening through this process. Then you start to develop this full relationship, this balanced relationship that then stays with you for the rest of your life.

Exercise Approach, Food Impulsiveness, And Managing Anxiety

Why do you continue to exercise? (42:24)

I'll tell you what. If you were to take 100 people who have been consistently, appropriately exercising for 10 years, people who are consistent with it, people who have developed a good relationship with it, tell them to list the top five reasons why they continue to do it. And I bet you how they look won't make the top five. I bet you number one has to do with something mental. I feel better, I have better energy. It makes me more positive or helps my depression or anxiety. How they look won't make the top five. Trip off that. And yet the number one reason why people approach exercises to change how they look. Here's something that I've said on my show many, many times. And this one, I remember when I first said it, it's like people resonated so strongly. And I realized that I was taking this for granted. If you chase aesthetics, you will eventually lose your health and then you will lose the aesthetics. If you chase health, you'll get health and then you'll get those aesthetics. Your body is a reflection of your health. And if you compromise your health to accomplish this look that you're looking for, then you'll have neither. Eventually you'll lose both. I learned that the hard way. You mentioned my microbiome gut issues. I learned that the age of 31 when I had sacrificed my health for the pursuit of trying to look ripped or buffed or whatever. And I lost a lot of my health and then I started losing muscle and started feeling terrible. And I had a whole year where I had to like completely change how I looked at things. And thankfully it was a blessing. I look back and it was a terrible time, but I'm so grateful that I had that because it really shaped and molded the voice that I have now on my show and how I communicate health and fitness to most people. So the way I'm talking about health and fitness is I believe strongly the way that we need to communicate it to the average person. It is not easy. I'm not saying that, what I am saying is this, is that if you wanna get there, you wanna do it long-term, you have to work on the why, not as much as the how. The how is important, what I do for exercise, what I eat, all that also contributes to the why and the drivers. But let's start to look at the why. Why am I doing this? What's making me do the things that I do? Why am I reaching for the slice of cake or pizza instead of the thing that I know that'll make me feel better? Why am I not getting up to move? Why am I allowing myself to make my health worse? What's going on here? This is not an easy process. It is a process of awareness. But as you move through this process, you'll get there, you'll totally get there. And there are, and I don't wanna make it sound so esoteric. I can give specific ways that'll help a person get there.

Impulsiveness around unhealthy food (45:27)

Like I'll give you one example. A lot of unhealthy behaviors become impulsive behaviors. Impulse is just under consciousness. It's just under awareness. It's that reaching for that unhealthy food because I'm anxious. And I'm not really fully aware of what's going on, right? So one simple, silly sounding, effective way of helping somebody through this process is create barriers between you and your impulse. And don't allow yourself to be distracted when you're eating. Those two things right there would typically with my clients result in like a 10 pound weight loss, just those two things right there. So I'll give you an example of the barrier. Take a food that you know for yourself is like your impulse food, right? For me it was potato chips. Don't have it in the house. But don't say you can't have it. Say, if I want it, I'll have it. I just got to drive to the store and get myself a bag of potato chips. That barrier between you and the impulse just creates the space for a little bit of awareness. And what happens often when you do that is you pause, do I really want to get in the car? Why do I want that? Am I really hungry? I'm not gonna do it. So that's one silly simple example. It makes a big difference. The other thing I said was to not eat while distracted. So studies are, I've shown this by the way, when you eat while distracted on your phone, on your computer watching TV, you'll eat about 10 to 15% more calories. So you want to cut your calories by 10 to 15% without even trying. Just sit down to eat and don't be distracted. Literally sit down, you and your food, and just eat. Don't do anything else. That will naturally, and the studies show this, result in a 10 to 15% reduction in calories. So if you eat 2,500 calories a day, you'll eat 250 less calories a day, which is like 30 minutes of cardio. That's how many calories you'll burn about 30 minutes of cardio. Like simple things like that make a profound difference. Another one, which I think I've said on your show, is to avoid foods that have been engineered to make you overeat. So when people, I used to love doing this, by the way. People would think I was like a wizard or there's some magic to what I was doing. I would say, you know, Miss Johnson would hire me, she wants to lose 30 pounds. I'd say, all right, here's what I want you to do. Eat as much as you want, just don't eat heavily processed foods. She'd be like, what do you mean? Eat as much as you want. Whole foods, fruits, vegetables, potato, meat, eggs. You know, eat whole natural foods. Eat as much as you want, let's start there. And then they'd lose weight. And they'd be like, what? I can't believe like heavily processed foods are so, you know, make your body gain body fat. And then I'd tell them, well, you're eating about 500 calories less a day, you just don't realize it. And the data on this is some of the best studies done on food are done on heavily processed foods versus whole natural foods. So actually take groups of people in a controlled setting. One of the challenges with nutrition studies is they tend to be observational. So people will come in and report, which is just notoriously wrong. Help people to tell you what they ate a week ago. It's like, forget it. - Yeah, they can't remember or they lie. - Yeah, it just never. - Yeah, by the way, I'm super aware. You know what's in food? Tell me to estimate and I'll be off, right? So just super, that's why there's so many conflicting studies. But these studies actually took people put them in a controlled environment and said, and they put whole natural foods in this side, heavily processed foods in this side, macros controlled, similar ratios of proteins, fats and carbs. And they just let people eat and they observe them. Then they took those groups and switched them. Just in case you had like a group of people that ate more than they switched them. Five to 600 calorie difference between the two sides. That's a big, when I cut people's calories down to get them to lose weight, I typically would try to cut them off five, six hundred calories. So again, we're talking about behaviors here, right? Psychology. I could tell somebody, track your calories, cut 500 calories, or I could say, eat as much as you want, just don't eat heavily processed foods. Both will result in the same calorie reduction, one of them is much more likely to feel restrictive and the other one is more likely to be something that they'll feel like they're not restrictive and it's something I can maintain and do on a long-term basis. - That's so interesting. So going back to where we started, so you've got everybody is, there are lies that are bouncing around inside their head. Most of them are self-inflicted and they're causing them to make mistakes, causing them to go for hyper-palatable food to manipulate their brain chemistry, causing them to think that I need to be punished. And so I'm going into the gym and now I hate the gym because I'm just beating myself to death. I need to punish my fat, I'm gross, I'm disgusting and I shouldn't eat these things. And so now they're ruling things out. But then, because they haven't dealt with the emotional issues, a stressful thing comes up, they're feeling bad again, they turn back to their drug, now they're not eating a single cookie, they're eating a whole box of cookies and they're in this death loop. And this is why I say, it isn't that people don't know what to do. Anybody that's made it this far in the episode has already heard you say the very simple truth and that is eat whole foods. And so if you eat whole foods and avoid spiking your glucose, you're done. Like you don't have to worry about anything else. And so the question is now that everybody that's heard that, I have a feeling 95% of people will still put the weight back on longterm. And so I wanna go back to the therapist and this idea of self-punishment. And the way that I combated this was with rules. So I'm really prone to negative emotion. And so I'm really prone to thinking, oh, I did something, I didn't succeed the way I wanted to succeed and, you know, damn it, that makes me a bad person, I've done something wrong and I need to be punished for that. And when I finally realized that I had that, 'cause it was subconscious, not like I thought I need to be punished, but it was just like, I was beating myself up, I was going over and over and over, like, oh my God, you're a loser, like, you're never gonna do it.

Guiding Beliefs (51:20)

Like, of course this is where you're at, like, 'cause you're dumb or whatever, right? And so just like, I realized, okay, hold on, I need to set guiding beliefs in my life. And I was like, okay, I think every person ought to act in accordance with the following statement. You should only do and believe that, which moves you towards your goals. And that ended up really changing things for me because I realized, oh, wow, like, I was beating myself up because I thought I deserved that level of punishment. But once I had a rule that said, I can't stop that first negative impulse of like, oh, you're an idiot or you deserve to have lost, I was like, I can't stop the first one, but I can stop myself from looping on it. What's my goal? Is my goal honorable? Because look, if you're a dirtbag and you've got goals that are about manipulating and taking advantage of other people, like not good. But if my goal is honorable and exciting to me, so I really want it going back to desire, but then also it elevates not only myself, but other people, okay, well then, why would I death loop around what a loser I am? Because it will stop me from pursuing this goal that is honorable.

The stages of learning. (52:38)

And so I was like, okay, that really makes sense. And I think making that a guiding light in my life will be useful. And it was huge, it stopped me from spending the mental and emotional energy on either beating the life out of myself in the gym, starving myself, which I was very good at, by the way. And so all of that back to your point about you have to develop this healthy relationship. Once I started not only putting behavioral guide posts around what I ate like, and I think it's brilliant, eat the protein first, great behavioral guideline, but also put a behavioral guideline around what I allowed myself to think repetitively, ended up being really transformative. And so going back to when you were talking about, hey, I had these entrepreneurs, they're really high performing, I know they're not lazy people, but they are being lazy about this thing, what gives, it just comes down to what do you want badly enough? What do you have behavioral rules around? Like even when I think about my own physique, I used to have more muscle mass, I used to be leaner, and I always tell people, my body is a reflection of the exact amount that I care. And so I care, right? I'm not obese, I stay healthy, I make sure I don't have joint pain, I make sure I'm sleeping, I don't have brain fog, I'm very clear, I'm optimizing cognitively, but I'm not yoked, 'cause I was just taking too much time and energy, but my life really is regulated by behavioral rules around what I allow myself to think, and then everything cascades from that. - I wanna interrupt you right there, because what you said is so brilliant, in that what you just went through, and I don't know if you realize this, were the four stages of learning, which we all go through whenever we develop an automatic lifelong behavior, and this is what they are, this is what the four stages are. - The truth is, hitting your career goals is not easy, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to stand out and do hard things better than anybody else. But there are 10 steps I wanna take you through that will 100 X your efficiency, so you can crush your goals and get back more time into your day. You'll not only get control of your time, you'll learn how to use that momentum to take on your next big goal. To help you do this, I've created a list of the 10 most impactful things that any high achiever needs to dominate, and you can download it for free by clicking the link in today's description. All right my friend, back to today's episode. - It starts off with unconscious incompetence, okay? You don't know that you don't know, like you said, you had this negative self talk, but you weren't even aware of it, it was just like there it was happening. So you had to move to the second stage of learning, which was conscious incompetence. Oh, this is what I don't know, this is what's happening right now. Okay, I need to do something about that, which takes you to the third stage, and sometimes people get stuck here, and if you get stuck here, then it's hard to continue to progress. But the third stage is conscious competence. I have to consciously do the things that move me forward. I create the structures, the disciplines, the behaviors. So for somebody with weight loss, it would be like, I'm going to eat protein first, I'm going to avoid these foods, I'm going to get up and move on these days, okay? Conscious competence, but conscious competence, you can't live there for the rest of your life, okay? I'll give you, and so the fourth stage of learning, and then I'll use this, I'll use other examples, kind of illustrate why you want to get there, the fourth stage of learning is unconscious competence, okay? So let's talk about a behavior or a skill that we have that is in stage four that we take for granted, breathing, walking. Imagine if you had to consciously think about walking or breathing all the time, and in fact, I apologize for people watching, 'cause you're probably now consciously breathing, it's real uncomfortable, but it would suck, right? At the consciously take a step every time, or consciously breathe in and breathe out, like you can't live there, right? So you can't live there when it comes to your health, you can't live there when it comes to your lifestyle, but you have to go through that in order to get unconscious competence, which happens through doing it over and over and over and over and over and over again, until it becomes a behavior. And that's exactly what I'm trying to communicate here, is you go from each stage, so it opens up by, you don't know what you don't know, to, okay, I'm listening to the podcast, I'm watching this video, I'm hearing them talk, that's all the stuff I don't know. I'm going to make these changes, I'm going to create these structures, these behaviors, and Sal said start with something small, make it something realistic, that's challenging, I'm gonna start there. So now I'm consciously competent about the things I'm doing. Do it long enough, and then it becomes, like I lead, you know, I exercise and I eat a particular way, and I'm in that fourth stage, I'll probably never stop, it's just a part of living, it's like walking and breathing for me, that's the place we need to get to, if we're looking to have this be the rest of our lives, because, going back, circling back to the beginning of the episode, modern life, the default is poor health. If you just live a modern life according to the way society's structured, the way technology is structured, the way our jobs, our houses are organized, the way everything's organized, your fourth level of learning is going to take you to poor health. The unconscious competence that we have in modern societies is to eat hyper-palatable, convenient food, to ignore all the other signs, is to be inactive, everything's designed to reduce activity, I mean, you could door dash anything you want to your door, you could walk nowhere if you wanted to, almost literally, pretty soon we'll have hover chairs like they do in Walley. Our medical system is designed to keep us there. I have a headache, take a pill, I feel joint pain, take a pill, I feel this, take this, not, let me see what's causing those types of things. So it is gonna be a process, you do have to get the conscious competence stage, but if you're able to do it properly and you do it long enough, then you'll get, 'cause I'll tell you what, I'll ask you this, I guarantee you don't have to sit there and consciously think about your structured discipline like you did when you first started. I bet you now, it probably feels like second nature, it would probably be hard to kick you out of it now, whereas before, you had to keep yourself there, you had to really, really focus on what I was doing and what's going on and am I moving forward? You probably still have those conversations with yourself, but it's not like it was in the beginning and that's only because you're so growth minded that you're probably always trying to grow even more, right? You're always trying to put yourself through that scale over those four stages of learning. But yeah, that's it right there. And if you get to that fourth stage, diet becomes just how you eat, you know? Exercise, well this is just what I do. Do I enjoy it? Yeah, I enjoy it for the most part, just like I enjoy breathing and walking. - Yeah, man, this topic is something I fret about a lot, because the fact that the default stance in the modern era is unhealth, the fact that being unhealthy makes people miserable in myriad ways.

Should exercise be your last resort when managing anxiety? (01:00:09)

One, if people aren't already aware, I really believe there's a subroutine that runs in your mind that if you're not in shape, not shredded or anything like that, but if you're not in shape, you will feel badly about yourself. I don't think there's any escaping that. I don't care how much body positivity comes out, people will not be able to escape it. - Did you see the meta-analysis that came out on that? - No. - The meta-analysis that recently came out, and they are now finally, this is positive, very positive news, they are now finally going to consider exercise as a first line treatment for anxiety and depression. So the meta-analysis came out-- - Do you think that's more important than diet? - Yes. - Really? - Not in the context of what's gonna make you healthier, what's gonna make you lose weight. - Just talking anxiety and depression. If you get people to start exercising, and they do it right, and it's appropriate, and they enjoy it, they tend to then try to eat better. They tend to then try to take care of themselves. - Why do you put exercise so much lower on your list then? - Because the rest of them were kind of lumped into one. Because the other stuff led to lifestyle and love and relationships lead to everything else. But what this meta-analysis showed was that exercise was as effective, and this is in the meta-analysis we're looking at, like six months, okay? As effective as pharmaceuticals and talk therapy. - Yes. - Now I would argue, and I'll bet my house on it, that in the long term, exercise is more effective. Because-- - Than diet? - No, than pharmaceuticals. - I see it. - Because there's no down-regulation of receptors, there's no adaptation to where it's no longer as effective. - This is very interesting, and I don't wanna lose the force for the trees here, but so as somebody that struggled profoundly with anxiety, I will say that the biggest breakthrough for me wasn't exercise, I was exercising like a fiend at peak anxiety. And exercise is amazing, I don't want anyone to think it's not vundabar. But if I were going to say N of one, plural of N of one is not data or whatever the phrase is, I get that, but I will say my bet, given how much the gut regulates neurotransmitters, it's something like 70% or more of the serotonin in your body is created and stored in the gut, there's a reason for that. So you are a collection of a lot of microbes from mitochondria to the bacteria on your skin, in your mouth, in your gut. Now for me, it was diet monster. Once I cut diet monster out, my anxiety dropped by like 70%. - I'm gonna say this, so it's in the context of appropriate exercise, I bet you a lot that you overworked out. I bet you that when you first went into exercise, it was inappropriate. - I'm pretty bad in the genome. - Yeah, I wanna give myself that credit and okay, how you do anything is how you do everything. And you have two gears, probably sleep and go. - No. - So, oh God, I don't wanna deny that how you, that is a very good heuristic, okay? Very good, rule of thumb, it gets you real close. But the reality is, I think that what people's lives end up becoming is what do you care about? And I know I sound like a fucking broken record, but I really want people to understand this.

Get a value system down. (01:03:45)

Like if you are not consciously saying, I care about these things. This is why I tell people, get your fucking value system down. What do you value? Because, and people value things, and they haven't taken the time to pull it into their conscious awareness, and so they're just steering by, like for instance, if somebody tells you you can't eat those cookies and you are like, fuck you, I'm gonna go eat those cookies, you value autonomy, you do not want anyone telling you what to do. Be honest about it, I don't like people telling me what to do, okay, are you gonna be a slave to that, you need to be very thoughtful, 'cause if autonomy is like over everything, which mine used to be, so I can certainly relate, then you're gonna be in real trouble, 'cause now you're just doing something to be defiant instead of saying, oh, I value longevity, I value love, whatever, but like rank, really put them in order. - I mean, to be fair, okay, to be fair, diet and exercise are, I mean, if I had to pick, here's why, if you forced me, I would pick exercise, here's why, exercise is easier than the diet. Need to move a little more? - That's a statement. - I can get someone to move a little more, more successfully than I can get them to change their diet. - It's food or drugs, baby. - It's hard. - And people in a bad mental state. - So that's why I sell it this way, because I know people are watching right now, and here's what ends up happening. They're gonna hear what I say, and if they do anything, they're gonna do, well, Sal said, this is more important. More people will find success by moderately applying appropriate exercise at first, than they will by trying to change your diet at first. So when I would get clients, and any trainer who's watching who's been doing this for a long time will tell you, it's easier to get them to show up for the workouts than it is to get them to fundamentally change your diet. So that's the reason why I would rank it a little higher. - Now, I would just say this, so that I can firmly establish myself as the asshole in this conversation. - I love you, Tom. - I'm just gonna say, boys and girls that are listening, that's a you problem, because diet is way more effective. I need people to acknowledge to themselves, you are doing a sub-optimal thing, because you've not gotten ahold of your own mind. So if you'll let me think out loud for a second, I wanna ask myself why I feel so strongly about that. So I work with people a lot, so people that only know me on YouTube, but don't know me and impact your university, where I'm trying, I am trying, man, to teach people what I did to go from scrounging my couch cushions to find enough change, but gas my car to be able to afford to drive to a fucking job interview, to building and selling a billion dollar company. This is my third multi-million dollar company in a row, like this shit is teachable. Now, I, my father-in-law didn't want me to marry his daughter, my mother assumed that I was going to fail when I left for college, my best friend said, "I just assumed you were gonna marshmallow "your way through life." These people had not misidentified me, I really was that lazy. I really did not know how to put things together. It is just a series of ancient ideas that have literally been around for thousands of years, that if you deploy them, everything in your life will change. But I have a real issue, remember, this is me thinking out loud, I have a real issue with like, people aren't just saying the real fucking thing. And I think the real thing is, you have allowed, I get it, life is hard, your parents fucked you up in a thousand ways, the bully that picked on you messed you up, but you, going back to your tweet, you have to own that you can change. - 100%. - It's what I call the only belief that matters. The only belief that matters, if you wanna change your life, is that if I focus on getting better at something, I will actually get better. And the thing that I think keeps driving me to push this point is, the thing you actually need to get good at, if you wanna go from the 95% of people that fall back and put all the way back on, to the 5%, you, it's gonna be a little cheesy, and so I reserve the right to refine this. You don't love yourself. And you have so much negative emotion that you are flailing about in every area of your life. And whether you're like me, and you are like, the thing that I use to soothe myself is meaning and purpose. And so meaning and purpose leads me to work a lot. Now I'm very thoughtful about managing love, love is my highest priority, my marriage, to make it not cheesy. My marriage is my highest priority. But even I know that like, I understand that there are insecurities that I have that lead me to want to prove that I'm worth something and I manifest that in the world of business. Cool. Acknowledging it, being aware of it keeps me from ever letting that spiral out of control. But people need to understand, there's a mess inside your mind. You don't love yourself. You don't have a healthy relationship with who you are and who you want to become. And you're ignoring your biology. And if I can get people to, hey, if eating protein first is the thing that gets this going, I fucking love it, man. Like whatever thread you can pull, whatever's gonna be the doorway. If working out a little bit is like that thing that, okay, it gets you going. But if you don't address your mind, you will never address your biology. And if you don't address your biology, you are dead in the water. You are 100% correct. But I'm gonna give you an example of a story. I'll tell you a story that, or create a story that kind of exemplifies a little bit of the approach.

Practical Guidelines On Dieting, Fasting, Protein Uptake And Sleep

The story of an example that exemplifies this approach. (01:09:05)

What's gonna be an effective approach? So I remember as an early trainer, people would sit in front of me and I'd ask them about their fitness goals and what's prevented them from working out in the past. I would get the, I don't have enough time. I don't have enough time to exercise. I'm just too busy. Now initially or early on, I would do the whole, we all have the same 24 hours and every day. It's how you prioritize your time and the more time that you make for exercise and for your health will contribute to the time that you do other things that'll make you more productive, it'll make you better parent, the whole thing. All true, all totally true, okay? Not nearly as effective as when I learned to say this. It is tough. You probably are really busy. How much time do you have to commit to some exercise? And then whatever answer they gave me was fine, was fine 'cause it opened the door. They would hire me and I'd train them once a week. And if I did a good job, which I figured out how to do later on, then they'd come back twice a week and then three days a week and then so on. So what you're saying is correct, but the way that we're gonna reach most people, you know, what's that saying? You attract more flies with honey. The way you reach most people is empathy, understanding, truth, honesty, which is what you're delivering right now. I do not believe in lying to people. You gotta be honest with people, create those boundaries, be very clear. But let's start here and then let's see what happens. And what almost always happens is they start to move in that direction, they start to move in the right direction. So everything you said is 100% true and it is 100% a choice. And you do, everybody watching, listening to this right now, has the power to move in the right direction, 100%. And it's your fault, you're where you're at. It's largely your fault. Yes, there's circumstances, yes, there's, but if you made different choices, different decisions, you would be in a better position. Maybe not perfect, nobody is, but you'd be in a better position, accept that. Okay, what do you do with that information now? It's still hard, I don't know what to do. Do this, take one small step, that's it. Take one small step, start caring for yourself. You said people don't love themselves, people listening to this right now are like, well, how can I change that feeling? I have all these negative emotions, how do I change those negative emotions? Here's how you do it, act like somebody who cares about themselves, that's all. Act like somebody who cares about themselves. Act like, take care of yourself like somebody that you actually love. And then here's what happens. Those negative feelings start to become less and less and you start to create more positive feelings. What do you think about this? You have to do things that you believe are worthy of respect in order to have self-respect. 100%. 100%, agree with that, absolutely. If we treated ourselves, here's what makes it tough, Tom. This is why people treat themselves so poorly. It's because who knows you better than you? You know all the shitty thoughts that you have, you know all your imperfections, you know all your weird, whatever stuff. So you can judge yourself pretty damn harshly based on real information. That's what makes it so hard. So I like to tell people this, think of someone in your life that you really care about. How would you treat them? How would you feed them? How would you encourage them? What would you say to them when they struggle? What would you say to them when they have those negative thoughts? What would you say to them when they want to skip going to the gym or not being active? That's how you should talk to yourself. And if that means you have to act it out, 'cause you don't feel it, well, yeah, that's where you start 100%. Eventually it becomes more like second nature, but that's where you have to start.

What does acceptance really look like? (01:13:00)

So this whole like, you mentioned body acceptance movement and body positivity movement. It's such a, it's been presented as such a distorted opposite end of the spectrum, incorrect, terrible approach. One end of the spectrum, you have the whole, hate your body, your gross, look like these sexy people are your worthless. And what they did is they went in the other end and said, "Your poor health means you love yourself, loving yourself and accepting yourself means you do nothing about the fact that you're 80 pounds overweight or that you have bad health or that you can't, play with your kids 'cause you ran out of energy or at a breath." That's also incorrect. Acceptance is more like this. Yeah, this is what I look like, this is what's going on. I accept the fact that I've played a big role in this and I've accept my limitations. I don't have the genetics to look like a model or whatever, that's fine. Body positivity in self-care is okay. Now it's time to take care of myself. And what does that look like? What does it really look like? What does that really look like? Most of the time, most of the time, it looks like eating healthy. Most of the time it looks like being active. Most of the time it looks like prioritizing good sleep. Most of the time it looks like getting rid of toxic relationships and fostering the good, healthy ones. Sometimes it's eating a cookie and having some pizza and a beer. Sometimes it's taking a day off of the gym, but most of the time it's all that other stuff. So if you just go from that standpoint and separate yourself and ask yourself those questions, the decisions you'll make will most of the time point you in the right direction. And again, I wanna be very clear, not easy. So one of the hardest things to do as evidenced by the fact that a majority of people have poor health and majority of Americans are overrated and we're on our way to becoming a majority obese. - Jesus. - So it is not easy, it's super hard, but it is possible. It is 100% possible. And the way it will create for you, this other thing that annoys me about my space is this whole emphasis on motivation, which I'm sure probably irks you just as much in the business space where it's people like, I don't have motivation. Like, well, I don't wake up motivated every day either. I do it anyway. I do it anyway. That's the difference between discipline and motivation. By the way, creating the behaviors that make you consistent, having that discipline leads to the environment that sparks motivation more often also. So you like being motivated, then do it when you're not and you'll get motivated more often anyway.

Why you should aim for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. (01:15:40)

Isn't that weird? - Yeah, facts. All right, I wanna talk about the mechanism of action with some of these things. So we talked a lot about lifestyle, but just to put a fine point on it, sleep, sunlight, stress. I don't think people get nearly enough sunlight. But that's probably another episode. Love, we could definitely derail on that. Excuse us, we've talked about. But let's get into diet a little bit more. So what are your, like, what, if you were gonna put a quick nutshell on your strategy, what's to use Ray Dalio's terms in finance, what's your all-weather strategy? You don't know who the person is, you don't know what they're struggling with, but what's that nutshell where it's like, go do this? - I wanna preface this first by saying that there can be a very wide variance when it comes to individuals in diet. So you're gonna see some people who are gonna do much better on diet. - Based on genetics and microbiome or something. - Yes, and behaviors and emotions and our connections to food and that kind of stuff. So just, we're just such a fingerprint, physiologically and emotionally and psychologically. But generally speaking, most of us are somewhere in the middle. Generally speaking, if you prioritize protein and eat a high protein diet, you'll eat less generally overall and you'll get better blood glucose levels that are more stable, which leads to behaviors that lead to better eating. So you don't get these spikes and drops that tend to make us irritable or have cravings and that kind of stuff, which leads to over eating. So high protein diet, this across the board has been shown to be beneficial for fat loss, muscle building, energy. - And is there like a ratio, one gram per pound of lean body mass? - 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. I tell people to eat. - Body weight no matter what? - 800 pounds, you still that? - No, no. For relatively average weight individuals, so if you're a little overweight or whatever, that's fine. If you're obese, use your lean body mass. You wanna take your body fat percentage, subtract that. And then that lean body mass is the number that you'll hit. And I tell people to aim for a gram because most people fall short of it and they fall within that number. And again, that's better for almost any goal. And it helps with-- - Do you care vegetable versus meat? - No, not if you're eating that much protein. If your protein goes below that, then animal sources make a big difference. So in other words, if your protein intake is high, you're eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight. Doesn't matter the sources. If your protein is like, you know, 0.3 grams per pound of body weight, animal sources make a big difference. They really do. So I'm glad you asked that question. The second thing I would say is avoid heavily processed foods, just avoid them. They are carefully and expertly engineered to make you overeat. - Do you think overeating is the only problem are there chemical issues that are also causing-- - All of that leads to the overeating, but yeah, you're 100% right. So they have drug-like effects. They've taken, here's what they do. If you've ever, I don't know, have you interviewed anybody who's in the process food space that talks about how they engineer these foods? It's remarkable. - I'm used to be in the food industry. So we hyper-aware of this space. - It is remarkable. It's like, it's not just the taste, it's the texture, it's the mouth feel. - Oh, yeah. - The rapping, cloric densities, the imagery they use out. - The science is remarkable. I mean, you could eat, most people could eat a family size bag of potato chips, but they couldn't eat. - As a warmup. - Yeah, but they couldn't eat five plain potatoes, right? Same amount of potatoes. In fact, the potato chips are-- - So crazy. - I'm in calories, right? So avoid heavily processed foods because they will make you overeat or you're gonna be white knuckling this thing the entire time, which it's a terrible idea. So, high protein. - White knuckling, meaning I have to reduce my calories so much. - Yeah, you're just constantly, like if you eat heavily processed foods, you're constantly gonna be battling, overeating. It's just, you're not gonna win that battle.

Optimal Behavior: Protein & Fiber, Hydration (01:19:35)

It's very, very challenging. So, high protein, avoid heavily processed foods. Make sure you get enough fiber. Fiber also has a wonderful satiety effect on most people. Great for digestion. Leads to a healthy gut microbiome, as you've talked about on the show, microbiome can drive a lot of our behaviors. It turns out our bacteria influences our behaviors to ensure their own survival. So, it's kind of like we're zombies walking around with bacteria, telling us what to do. - So, it's a true man. - It's super-reaving a biological experience. Like getting people to understand that you're in a battle, you're living harmoniously with all these bacteria, but they want things and they'll speak up. - They will, they will change your mood, they will change your mood. - And whatever you eat, you will want more of. So, if you eat cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, you're gonna crave that. If you eat meat and vegetables, you're gonna crave that. People don't believe it until they do it, but it is bananas. - It is 100% true. So, the next thing I would say is eat, oh sorry, is drink half a gallon to a gallon of water a day. This tends to contribute to better behaviors overall, better energy. - I really study this. - So, here's what the data will show you. The data will show you, it's not that big of a deal. - But it has to. I don't see how it could be anything else. - Yeah. - Dude, from an evolutionary standpoint, animals fucking kill each other at the water hole. Water holes are seasonal, they're there. Sometimes they're gone, the next, like how would humans ancestrally have ever had access to that amount of water? - You know what the challenge, you know what it is, is that what we're not talking about is essential and optimal. There's like, you need a certain amount of water, and this is what we understand. Optimal is what we don't understand so much. Just like protein. Essential protein for a man would be like 40 grams a day, maybe. I mean, I weigh 210 pounds. I could eat 40 grams of protein a day, and I would definitely lose muscle mass on the like, but I wouldn't die, right? Meeting essential amount. Is it optimal, not even close, right? With water, there's essential, and then there's optimal. And in my experience, half a gallon to a gallon a day for most people, so long as your electrolytes are balanced and all that stuff, that's a whole other discussion. You will typically see better behaviors, more energy, less cravings, better digestion, and so on. It tends to lead to just behaviors that lead to a healthier lifestyle. So those would be the most important. You start there. You could totally start there. By the way, starting your day off with a high protein meal, they're now showing, they have CGI, so continual glucose monitors are pretty cool. They'll show how your body responds to food in real time. If you start your day with protein, with a high protein meal, even if you eat garbage later on, your blood, glucose levels won't be as effective as they would have been had you not started with a high protein meal. So start your day off with a good protein fiber breakfast, and later throughout the day, you'll probably will have better behaviors or less cravings and you'll feel better later on. And then down the list, I would say, learn how to track your macros. This is that whole conscious competence stage where now I'm kind of paying attention. I know what 30 grams of protein looks like. I know what 50 grams of fat looks like. I know what 30 grams of carbohydrates look like. I know what 10 grams of fiber looks like. I know what's in the foods that I'm eating. And that's important because when we get to that unconscious competence stage, we have to be able to attach or connect the foods we're eating to how we feel. And then eventually it could be like, I don't count. I don't sit there and count my macros. I know like, oh, I need more protein. That's what makes me feel this way. Or I'm gonna, you know, like today, I'm coming on your podcast. I eat a particular way when I do these podcasts 'cause I optimize my, yeah, yeah. There's a way I'll eat to optimize my physical strength and performance and then there's ways that I'll eat to optimize my cognitive performance. - What do you do on a day where you need peak mental acuity?

Fasting for Peak Mental Acuity (01:23:33)

- Oh, it's usually, it's gonna be high protein, fat, fiber, lower carbohydrate. In fact, if I really wanna be sharp, this is my, this just works best for me. And you'll see this with a lot of people. Fasting/ketogenic tends to provide that for me. If I want best physical performance, I wanna go hit PR in the gym. I wanna go lift a lot of weight. Then I'm gonna have a lot more carbohydrates and typically start your carbohydrates. If I want to positively impact my digestion, this is again for me, then I'm going to eat well-cooked vegetables, fish, grass-fed meat, and I'll avoid start your carbohydrates. I'll have berries, those tend to do really well for me. I've identified that for myself. By the way, what's cool about that now is I don't sit down and think about it. I see how I feel and then that tends to be what I crave. So I came here and this morning, what did I crave? Eggs, berries, cooked spinach. So that's what I had for breakfast this morning. - That's very interesting. There is a lot of N of one individual stuff with diet, but I found that there really is, and I would say it lines up, what I would tell people is basically identical to what you just told people. I think that there are gonna be things outliers on the extremes where some people really like a vegetarian or vegan diet, they just feel so much better. And then on the other side where it's all meat all the time, but for the most part, there's a real down the middle fastball that if most people just stick to that, they're gonna be fine. - Yes, and you can't separate, and this is where things get really interesting, and this is why I talk so much about the mental emotional component. You can't separate how you feel about foods, not physiologically, but maybe emotionally or mentally, with the physiological aspect. I mean, you take a vegan who is vegan because they truly do not wanna kill animals. Like they're like, the vegans that stay vegans long-term forever are typically these. Like they really believe like, I don't want animals to hurt, I don't like to eat animals, I do this for the betterment of animals. You give that person a piece of meat, you force them to eat a piece of meat, you will see a spike in blood sugar because of the stress response, the fear response. - Really? - Absolutely. Because they ate something, oh my God, this is terrible. Oh yeah, you'll, like right now, if you get stressed out, you get some bad news, you answer the phone, you'll see a spike, your liver will release, cortisol goes up and your liver releases a ton of. - Yes, true. Compared to eating carbohydrates, oh, it could be worse. - Oh, it could be worse. - Get really, really stressed out, and you'll see your physiology act like you just ate a bunch of candy or like you just made it. - That's not true for me. So I wore a continuous glucose monitor probably for six of the 10 months that I was stressed out of my fucking mind. And it was, I could see it when something acute would happen, I'd be like, oh, okay. But compared to eating something. - I would, and you're, this is one of the variability in individuals, I would venture to say that you probably do pretty well with stress. - Yes, yeah, so. - That is true. - Yeah, so I'm speaking generally. There's also an immune response. We might have someone who eats an avocado and sees a strange spike in blood glucose. - Really? - Yeah, but it's not because of the fat or anything that's in the, you know, obviously it has no carbohydrates or sugars, but maybe their body has developed some type of an immune reaction to the avocado. - And that releases glucose. - Yeah, because it's a stress response. It can, and some people. So people will, like people have food intolerances and they'll lead a food, not an allergy, but like an intolerance lead a food. And then they'll feel like garbage afterwards. That's a systemic stress response. There may be foods that you have a positive association with and you'll see positive neurochemicals and hormones and stuff, you know, that, I mean, you can't separate the two, you really can't. It's like they both speak to each other. So why is it important to know? I mean, we're getting into the weeds here, but it's important to know because you wanna consider all of it. You wanna consider all of it when you're getting, if you get down, if you get through the basics that we talked about, which that's 90 something percent of it, okay? But when you get through all of that and you're doing it, then the other stuff starts to matter more. And you can say, okay, well, I do have this positive association with these things. It's negative association. This does, for whatever reason, make me feel a particular way, who knows, but it doesn't matter. I feel this way. It's like the placebo effect. Placebo effect is real. We can measure it. So is it there?

How sleep, stress, diet, exercise & sunlight affect testosterone. (01:28:11)

Yeah, it totally is. Yeah, so interesting. Talk to me about hormonal regulation. So one thing I'm actually considering, well, not considering, I'm going to get my blood tested. Do you know Derek for more plates more days? Yeah, I do. Since I think you guys had hit it off. So how'd him on the show was talking about TRT. So he's going to be doing a blood draw for me, running a panel. I'm super curious to see where my testosterone levels are. What do you think about TRT? So I know you've done it for a while. Yeah, so Western medicine is amazing for what it's great for. And if there's acute issues that could be solved through medical intervention, if lifestyle, if lifestyle and behaviors can't solve a particular issue and medical intervention can help, then go that route. Okay, so I'm not a black and white. I'm not one of those. Well, should I do naturally first before I say, oh, I need TRT. So the things that affect testosterone and men significantly are sleep, stress, diet, exercise, in particular strength training, in sunlight. Not like Brazil nuts or anything like that. If you have a nutrient deficiency, if you have a zinc deficiency and you supplement with zinc or you eat something that's high in zinc, you'll see a positive influence on your testosterone. If you don't have a nutrient deficiency, it's not gonna make a difference. So these foods that race testosterone are typically because they're feeling nutrient deficiencies that are common in men. Okay, but if you supplement, like if you have low vitamin D and you take vitamin D, you'll see better testosterone levels. But if your vitamin D is great, you could supplement with vitamin D all day long that won't do anything for, in fact, it might be detrimental. So those things that I listed, so like if you lift weights and you're getting stronger and building muscle, you'll typically see higher testosterone levels, higher free testosterone and more androgen receptor density. So these are the receptors that testosterone attaches to. If your sleep is not great, but you improve your sleep, you'll typically see an improvement in testosterone. If your stress is overwhelming and you find a way to manage it better, whether that be reduced stress or have stress management techniques, then you'll typically see an improvement in testosterone levels. And then there's genetic factors and other factors that are harder to parse out, like personally for me, in the early 2000s, full disclosure, and I don't think this is a surprise for most people.

Personal Journeys, Exercise And Self-Respect

Sal's personal experience with an inherited testosterone condition. (01:30:25)

This is why most people start exercising. I started working out because I had body image issues. I had insecurities. - Too skinny. - Yeah, too skinny. And so I started working. - I wish. - You know, people who struggle with being overweight say that, people who are too skinny. - I know, I know. I have a guy here that just, he struggles to put on weight. It is so crazy to me. To watch him eat, I'm just watching him pack away to calories. And he'll be like, dude, if I let off my just obsession with make sure I eat all my calories, he was like, I will lose like three, four pounds in a week. I'm like, what the hell? - I know, it's weird. - Never. But insecurities are insecurities, right? So you can't tell someone otherwise. But I got into it because of body image issues. And in the early 2000s, you had this market, gray market of supplements that were called ProHormones. - I remember that. - Remember that when Mark McGuire was taking Andristana Day on all that stuff? Well, anyway, supplement companies can be pretty, they can be like the pharmaceutical industry. What they did is they went through the laws and they saw what was illegal and what wasn't necessarily illegal. And they went and found discarded anabolic steroids that pharmaceutical companies stopped pursuing that weren't technically illegal and sold them as ProHormones over the counter. So here I am, young kid, insecure, want to build muscle. Oh, I can buy it over the counter. It's legal, it's a ProHormone. So it's not technically, but it was, it was a designer steroid. And so I took them. And in fact, they're not black market steroids, but you could get them over the counter. So I took them on and off for years and then eventually stopped taking them. Well, it turned out that they affected my body's ability to produce testosterone. Once I hit my late 30s, early 40s, I was just, just couldn't tell what was wrong. I had everything optimized. I was doing, you know, I'm a fitness guy. So I worked out, slept good, ate right, took the right supplements, did everything right. The part that was weird to me was my libido was okay. But I've now learned that libido can be affected by so many other factors than testosterone. But you were having issues everywhere else, lethargy. Just my energy was off. I was getting anxiety, which I'd never had before. See, that's part of why I want to try it. So I have dramatically reduced my anxiety, but it's still like a daily thing where I'm like, ah, like it's there. I won't say ever present, but it's there. Yeah, it was weird for me. Like I just, I would get anxiety speaking, which that's my favorite thing to do. It just, I didn't feel right. I would tell my wife like, "ERT helped with that." So I got my testosterone levels checked. So we had a company approach us. Hey, we want to work with you guys. We're a hormone replacement facility. And we've been approached many, many, many times by other companies, but this one said, "Hey, we'll give you guys free blood work." And so we're like, okay, let's go see what's going on. And I went and got my blood work tested. And it came back and my testosterone was in the floor. It was, my total testosterone was two, was below 240, which is like, yeah, 300 is like the bottom, right? And then in retrospect at that point, I was like, oh my gosh, it all makes sense now. And at that point, I was like exercising well and eating right and taking the right supplements. And I get my nutrient levels tested. And I had this conversation with my wife and I said, "Honey, if I raise my testosterone by 50%, I'll be low. "I'm still gonna be low." Like this sucks. And so I had this like, it was really challenging for me to make the decision because, because I'm a health and fitness guy. So I'm like, oh, I shouldn't have to. And I know some people go through this, which now I can be assumed I always would need to as I got older. - Yeah, so I went on testosterone replacement therapy and yeah, it was like game changer, complete game changer. And I was like, okay, now I feel like myself. And by the way, I'm a great, you know, end of one. So people who are like, what's the difference between low testosterone and high testosterone in terms of like, let's say athletic performance and fitness. So, and I'm a great example because I was doing everything right before and I continued to do everything right after. So really the only change was the testosterone. And for me, it was about around 14 pounds of lean body mass. And around seven pounds of body fat. Yeah, so I lost body fat and built, this was over the year, over a year and a half. - Interesting, 'cause I've always told people 15 pounds of lean muscle for somebody that's not obese is a game changer. Like you're gonna look fundamentally different. Now you are already, I'm sure pretty big. So maybe not as noticeable on you, but. - Oh no, I mean, it's a good amount of muscle. - It was a game changer for sure. But that's 'cause I went from low to like high.

Chris's journey with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) & his results. (01:35:29)

- And where are your levels now? - Now, so what happens when you get tested, 'cause there's different ways you can administer testosterone, but I prefer the old fashioned once a week injection. When you measure. - Why not daily? - I feel better, I feel better this way. And most people with an athletic background, well, if they go on TRT, we'll go this route. - Interesting. - Yeah, so I just feel better, but I know people who, or like the convenience of topical, you know, - Do you pay attention to Rogan at all? - I do. - 'Cause he does TRT. I thought I heard him say he does daily. I don't wanna put words in his mouth. - Not sure, but I know he does testosterone. He's also done growth hormone, a couple of things. But yeah, at its peak, it'll be out of range, a little bit out of range, but by the time it comes down during the week, then I'm around like 800, 900 total. - Okay, so which is about three, do you pay attention to that, Rogan? - Oh God, you know what, that's a good question. Same, it would be slightly out of range and then with an high normal. And, you know, this, again, I'm not a doctor, so this is out of my wheelhouse now, when we're talking about like testosterone levels and stuff like that. But as explained to me by the people that I work with, they base it off of the range, but also how you feel. So, and you look at things like libido, energy, sleep, you know, that kind of stuff. And then they'll look at markers like blood markers, your, you know, red blood cell count, cholesterol levels, you know, blood lipids, that kind of stuff. So now I'm an advocate, but I'm not the, I'm not gonna tell people to go on TRT when they have an unhealthy lifestyle, because that'll mask a lot of things and probably not gonna help you a ton. I mean, it's, I'm sure it's better than nothing, but typically your testosterone levels are quite manipulatable through lifestyle. And we can see this in studies with men. Although, although testosterone levels of men have been dropping consistently now for decades and we're quite not sure, we're not quite sure what the hell's going on. This is again out of my wheelhouse, but this is well established like men's testosterone have been going down since the 50s and 60s. - That's crazy. - Yeah. Like an average 20 year old testosterone now is like what a 50 year old would be in the 70s and 80s or something like that. - I'm gonna just pop off because I know nothing about this, but if I had the guess, it's gonna be diet, it's gonna be chemical exposure, both on the food and in the air, I'm sure, between those two things, you're gonna get obliterated from an endocrine perspective. - Yeah, they think it's like XeanOS surgeons, they think it's lack of activity in diet. That's probably causing. - Lack of activity, yeah. - Yeah, I can see that. - Lack of muscle mass strength, men's strength levels of decline pretty significantly as well. - But yeah, so that was a game changer for me, so if it's appropriate, I'm a huge believer. It was a life changer. My health dramatically improved. - Yeah, it's very interesting to me.

Right amounts of energy and ketones. (01:38:35)

Okay, insulin, mitochondria. How do you think about those? So as news started coming out about that Alzheimer's is probably diabetes type three or diabetes of the brain. And then I had a guy on named Chris Palmer, if you know him, but he's got a hypothesis. He wrote a book that's basically the punchline is that mitochondrial dysfunction is the root of all mental illness, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, like all of it, all of it, all of it. And while I don't know if he's right or not, he's got a pretty compelling case for if you look at what's happening to the mitochondria that when you take those, like if it's the mitochondria in other parts of your body, it will manifest as not being able to have enough energy. It will manifest as an inability to deal with glucose appropriately, body fat storage, like on and on becomes an issue. What happens when that's happening in the brain? And it just asking the question of what does mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain? So if we're unable to get the right amount of energy in the brain, what ends up happening? What are the consequences of that? It makes sense that there would be some pretty scary repercussions. Do you think about that? Is that something that you look at yourself? - Yeah, so that's compelling. That's a compelling argument. Now the challenge is what contributes to the poor mitochondrial function? That's a much more complicated conversation. But here's what's interesting. You take people with Alzheimer's dementia and sometimes actually a significant percentage of people with depression and anxiety, you put them on a ketogenic diet and you see improvements. And that directly has to do with the energy production of mitochondria. So people who have issues with utilizing glucose for energy, the reason why you see improvements is they're now utilizing ketones and ketones are just a cleaner, easier source of energy. - And so-- - Glucose literally sticks to cells. - Yeah, so if your body isn't inappropriate, if your body isn't utilizing glucose well, then that's why you see improvements in those things with people when they go on things like ketogenic diets or they fast, for example. That's pretty interesting. Okay, so let's talk about insulin and mitochondrial function. And I think they're both closely related. When you start to become insulin resistant, you start to see some dysfunction in the mitochondria. One of the most, one of the single most effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity is to build muscle. Now it's not the be all end all, but it's one thing that will almost always improve insulin sensitivity. In fact, they have studies on muscle is very insulin sensitive. It's also one of the places that we store glycogen, which is made from glucose. - And you use it. - And use it, right? So the liver being the main source place, but then muscle mass. So if you build a little bit of muscle mass, you improve your body's ability to store and utilize glucose for energy. So they have studies on obese individuals where they don't have them lose any weight at all. They just haven't built a little muscle. And we see some improvements in their blood glucose and their insulin sensitivity. - You know, I'm gonna say, if I wanted to get somebody to work out of struggling with weight, one thing I would do, put a continuous glucose monitor on them and then say, you can eat whatever you want. This could absolutely fucking kill them at a cellular level, but this is so powerful for me at Christmas where I take all of my rules. I throw them out the window. I eat whatever the hell I want. I steer only by how I feel. And one thing I've learned about myself is if my blood glucose goes to 175, I don't feel good. I actually feel kind of sick. I'm like lightheaded, it's really gross. I absolutely hate the way that feels. So nobody has to tell me not to go over that. But one thing I realize is I can eat, let's say, ice cream, which is a big thing for me. Ice cream and licorice. - Oh, wow. - Yeah. - So, that's licorice? - Yes. - Oh, wow. - Is there any other kind? - Yeah. - Well, it's licorice, not licorice. - It doesn't count. - It's red vine, licorice is a flavor. - Yeah, you're right. - Anyway, I get on my high horse about licorice. At Christmas, what I do is I will go and do a lot of leg workout, legs in back. - Oh, okay. - Big muscle groups. - Yeah, so in early in the day, I just go do really high rep legs back, legs back, legs back. And I'll mix it up, obviously. So I don't end up like with imbalance. But then I find I can eat a ton. And so I did this for about two weeks over Christmas. And my average glucose level was like 78. So I had a CGM on the whole time, morning, noon and night, eating ice cream, licorice, cookies, cakes, pies, whatever the hell I wanted. And all I steered by was my average glucose level. - Yep. - I was shocked. You just by working out, so to your point, that the muscles just suck it up. Now, whether the following statement is true or not, but I heard this, I'm almost certain I heard this from Jesse, the glucose goddess, who said that if your muscles are screaming out for glucose, it will actually go into those cells without the need for insulin. If that's true, and it's also true, the insulin actually ends up damaging the system when it's in overabundance, then working out, having that muscle mass becomes an incredible way. This is terrible, but it becomes an incredible way to be able to cheat a little bit on your diet and get away with it. - No, you're, I mean, this is bodybuilders have known this for a long time, or they'll, I do not advocate for this, I think this is terrible. I think it's terrible, it just fosters a poor relationship with food, but they'll say things like, eat gummy bears and pixie sticks, post workout, repulsion, and they'll show that their blood glucose isn't affected. Let me see, it's great. Well, you got a lot of muscle, you just did some strength training, and your muscles are sucking up amino acids and glucose to repair. Muscles are glucose utilizing machines and they're very insulin sensitive. Sarcopene has very strongly related to diabetes. - What's sarcopenia? - Muscle loss. - Yeah, it's very strongly related to diabetes and insulin resistance. - So now you have nothing using that glucose. - Yeah, you know, by the way, all exercise, appropriate exercise will have a positive impact on blood glucose and insulin sensitivity, but nothing compares to strength training in that regard. Strength training has the most profound, when you do it, apples versus apples, time versus time spent.

Why strength training is most effective. (01:45:20)

One day a week of cardio or whatever, one day a week of strength training, five days a week of each, whatever, you go apples to apples, strength training, controls or works with blood sugar, glucose, insulin, you know, sensitivity, far, far more effectively, and it's just 'cause it just builds muscle. So, dude. - If you can see it with a CGM, like the first time that this happened, and I was feeling weird for meeting ice cream, I was like, let me try to do some air squats, and literally over the course of, I don't know, 45 minutes to an hour, I just watched it just start going down, down, down, down, down, down, down. Normally when I eat ice cream, it's going up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up. It was very impressive. It's one of those things that is as drug-like as you want it to be. It's like, oh, you have this thing, your blood glucose is escalating, just doing air squats. Now I had to do a lot of them, but just doing air squats, you could watch it happening on the CGM, it was so fun. - Yeah, that's why like pre and post activity, even if it's mild, actually, is pretty good for that when you eat. So what they call post-prandial activity, so like you eat and then go for a walk, you'll see significant, just a walk. There was a study, oh, this is a good one, I hope you guys can find it, if not, I'll look for it. They did a study, and they, of course, they marketed it as like this miracle thing, but there's nothing spectacular, it's what happens in the body, where they had people simply do, like, heel raises, like I'm doing them right now, you can't see it on camera, but literally I'm just picking my heels up and bringing them down. They had people do that while they ate afterwards, and they saw significant improvements in their blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.

Lift weights. (01:47:04)

So yeah, so even just activity around a meal, and it doesn't have to be much, you know what I find that's interesting about this, Tom? When you, if you wanna find truths, one of the best ways to do so, in my opinion, is to look at different cultures, different societies, and see if you can find commonalities in their behaviors, and then there's typically some value there, and what I find that's interesting is most old cultures value a post-dinner walk, or post-meal walk. You'll find this in many different countries where it's like they eat a big meal, and then let's go for a little stroll outside. Very interesting, but yeah, that has a pretty good effect. It's real simple, but yeah, just build some muscle, and most people who are inactive will build a decent amount of muscle, just strength training even once a week. You'll see a nice improvement in that. Yeah, that especially, so going back actually to one of the ideas that we touched on briefly is I think the most transformational thing that you can do for your life, your mentality, everything, everything, everything is add muscle.

You have to earn self respect. (01:48:03)

The act of having to do it, and I've heard you talk about this, and this is very important, if you could take a drug and add a muscle for you, it won't work, but the person you have to become in order to be consistent enough to show up, to put on the muscle, it teaches you this really powerful lesson at a deep limbic level of, I showed up, I pushed myself, I did something hard, and I added muscle, you're gonna earn self respect, so, and I think it is very important. If you wanna respect yourself, you have to do things that you think are worthy of respect. There's no way around that. So you can't stay in the mirror and say, "I love you, I love you, I love you." You've gotta go do something that you already think is cool, that you think is valuable, and if you do that, it's really transformational for how you feel about yourself. I don't think I would have gone on to have the success and business that I had, if I hadn't first had to morph my physique, and by showing up and pushing through everything and getting trapped under the bar multiple times, and having to figure your way out, and embarrass yourself, and ask for help, like all of those things, and you see it, and it actually happens, and you go from one of the coolest things in the world to me, and I can't do this anymore, but I used to be able to bend over and pick up almost 400 pounds, and that used to really, like every time I do it, I'd be like, "This is crazy!" Like, I literally can just bend over proper form, bending my legs, obviously, not straight-legged deadlifts, but that psychologically was so powerful, and so the fact that it then also helps with glucose, and it also helps with mitochondrial function, and it also helps with mental acuity. It's like one of those things that, and this is why I wanna like scream into the camera to get people to do it, because, man, if you push through and you stay consistent, on the other side of that self-respecting-- - You hit the nail in the head, Tom.

Steps To Grow And Improve

Grow through it. (01:49:43)

You could take a helicopter, and it could fly you to the top of Mount Everest, and the view will be amazing, and everything's look great, and wow, this is beautiful, but it's nowhere near the transformational experience is climbing the mountain yourself, and I've said this so many times on my podcast that one of the things I love most about fitness, that I learned myself personally, and I could see in the clients that I trained, was that it's one of the most powerful vehicles for personal growth. It's extremely powerful. Part of the reason why it's powerful is it's unassuming. A lot of people don't go into it thinking, like, this is a personal growth thing. It's like, I just wanna get more fit, but you'd mention a lot of things that you learn from it. Getting pinned under the bar, that's like learning how to fail. Like, you know, what was the statement? Winners lose more than losers lose, okay? So it's like learning how to win is great, learning how to lose is even more important, 'cause you're gonna lose way more in life than you're gonna win. So what does exercise teach you if you pursue it? How to suck, how to lose, how to continue to try and practice. Teach you self-acceptance, because at some point you're gonna get older, and you're not gonna be as strong as fast as you were before, but you do it anyway. It creates a positive relationship with pain, you know? Like, people who are advanced with exercise feel as much or more pain in the workouts than beginners do. Yet they feel it differently, or at least they experience it differently. Think about the carryover into everyday life with that. I mean, think about how you can learn how to experience pain and challenge everyday life, because you go to the gym and you can, you know, push yourself through a set of 20 reps in the, you know, heavy barbell squat or whatever. It teaches you growth, it teaches you how to keep trying and iterate and change and try different things and change the directions, 'cause this isn't working, well, that's working. Oh, this is great. It's a wonderful journey. It's one of my favorite things about it. I used to love training kids for that reason. I would train young teenagers or, you know, late teens and they'd come see me, and their parents would come and comment about how they got better grades or how they were, you know, better at home. Why? Because this week we did 10 push-ups, next week we did 12 push-ups. Guess what, Johnny? You're not the same person this week as you were last week. You did two more. You are fundamentally a different person. Like, you can't tell me that doesn't have carryover into everything else.


Where to find Mind Pump? (01:52:33)

So yeah, you hit the needle in the head with that. - Massively. Brother, where can people follow you? - Mind Pump Media. You can find our podcast. You can find us anywhere, but Mind Pump Media, look us up. - I love it. - All right, everybody, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe, and until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Peace. - Keep watching if you wanna learn the daily hacks to melt fat, lose weight, and live longer. - Sean Stevenson, welcome back to the show. I am very excited to talk to you, and at the end, I want everybody to stay tuned because I'm gonna give you the best Sean Stevenson quote, which sums up one of the most important principles you--

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