In this episode of the Super Strength Show, Dr. John Berardi takes us on his journey to becoming a Coach, Athlete, Professor, Researcher, Writer, Speaker and Founder of Precision Nutrition. During this interview, John teaches you how to live a bigger life in and out of the gym.
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[0:00:18.9] RT: What’s up Strength Maniacs? And thanks for tuning in. I’m pleased to welcome today’s special guest, Dr. John Berardi.
John is the founder of Precision Nutrition and is an adviser to the companies like Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist. On top of being a writer, researcher, professor, speaker, coach and athlete — is there anything else we could throw in there? Yeah there is. Dr. Berardi was also selected as one of the 20 smartest fitness pros in the world and one of the 100 most influential people in fitness.
In the last five years, Dr. Berardi and his team has personally helped over 30,000 people improve their eating, lose weight, and boost their health through the renowned Precision Nutrition coaching program and guys I can’t recommend this enough, we’ll get in to it more during the show but you definitely got to check this out.
They also teach fitness professionals how to bring this level of quality coaching to their own clients through the Precision Nutrition certification program. You can connect with him by visiting his website, PrecisionNutrition.com. Guys, it’s got fantastic information, there are a lot of really great contributors, the blog is fantastic, a lot of good stuff there. Definitely highly recommend you guys check that out.
[0:01:] RT: Dr. Berardi, welcome to the show, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. Looking forward to getting into this, it’s been — we planned this a few months in advance at least so let’s make this happen.[0:01:33.6] JB: Yeah, absolutely. Ray, thanks for having me, everyone listening in, thanks for listening. I’m really excited to be here to chat with you and hopefully share some things that I’ve learned over the years.
[0:01:44.2] RT: Yeah, I think that’s going to be difficult. I think the difficulty’s going to be which ones because by the sounds of it, you’ve learned quite a bit over the years. Both through nose in the books and actual application. So love having guest on like that.
[0:01:56.2] JB: Yeah, I’m really excited. This is actually one of my favorite parts of what I do, which is actually sitting down and thinking about what’s really important here when it comes to nutrition, when it comes to training, when it comes to life lessons. Like you say, if there are so many, then you kind of have to be, or you have to discriminate, right? You have to boil it down to the ones that matter and leave everything else off. Hopefully we can do that today.
[0:02:21.5] RT: I think we’re both up to the challenge.
[0:02:23.1] JB: Okay.
[0:02:23.9] RT: We’re going to have some fun here. All right, how about we start it off by giving us a bit more information about yourself? That was like the 50,000 foot view and I’m interested in knowing, just kind of give us a little bit more info on yourself.
[0:02:35.6] JB: Yeah. So I mean from an academic perspective, the PhD stuff, my journey was actually undergraduate I studied premed, thought I wanted to be a doctor, I love the human body and understanding it. That was kind of born out of training. I started actually working out when I was about 16 years old. Had some great mentors who kind of coached me along and then I actually started competing in bodybuilding and powerlifting? Won a national championship and body building when I was 20 years old.
For me, just kind of, I just got so into it, not only just the lifting and the training part, but understanding the body and I thought, “Well, if I take these human anatomy and physiology classes, maybe I’ll understand more how to build muscles,” and that sort of sparked a lifelong passion and interest for science, for biology, for physiology. I do the premed thing and as I was getting ready to go to med school I realized I actually don’t want to go to med school. I really want to study exercise and nutrition, that’s what I’m passionate about.
There weren’t any clear career paths at the time, there wasn’t like, “Well go get your masters and exercise physiology and then you can go get a job at the exercise physiology factory.” It was kind of an unknown which made me a little bit scared at the time but I said, “Whatever. I never been led astray by following my passion as long as I work hard at it.” And so I did a masters in exercise physiology and then I went on to do PhD in exercise and nutritional biochemistry. The whole way through, I funded my education by training people.
It started out personal training clients and then it became working with the lead athletes and sports teams and Olympic teams and stuff like that. And so that’s kind of been the consistent theme throughout. When I finished my PhD, I started Precision Nutrition which you mentioned. I realized I didn’t want to stay in academia, which most people do who get a PhD. I realized just like being out here helping people and sort of doing my own kind of applied research. That started out as an unknown but Precision Nutrition has grown, it’s sort of outpaced any expectations I might have ever had for it.
We’ve become the largest online coaching program for recreational exercisers in the world, we have an advanced testing and coaching program for elite athletes that’s awesome. We basically, some of the most elite athletes in the world come to us and we do genetic testing and we test their micro biome so we look at all the different microorganisms and bacteria in their gut, we look at food allergies and intolerances, we look at blood profiles, we want to leave no stone unturned in helping them get the best nutrition, sleep, lifestyle prescription to perform at elite levels.
Then, because we do all these coaching and we do such a good job of it I think, a lot of professionals, health professionals, fitness professionals, strength coaches want to learn how we do that. So we created a nutrition education and certification program back in 2009 and since then, we’ve certified close to 40,000 professionals. That’s kind of the three big things we do, we coach recreational exercisers to help them eat, live and move better. We test and coach elite athletes in a very comprehensive and cool way. Then we teach professionals how to do that as well.
[0:06:09.1] RT: Yeah, I mean it’s hard to believe how much science you guys pack in to what it is that you teach but the way that you teach it, from the material I’ve been exposed to, you make it very easy to understand and ultimately apply which is, that says a lot.
[0:06:23.8] JB: Yeah, that’s been a bit of a personal mission for me. I grew up in a really blue collar immigrant family. We talk in plain language and we say what’s on our mind and we were loud and we yell and that’s what us Italians do.
[0:06:41.4] RT: I can kind of relate to you my man.
[0:06:44.6] JB: When I went to do my graduate studies, I found that people talk differently and people in academia don’t actually communicate in some of the same ways and while I can speak that jargon if I want to, it always just felt better for me to bring it back home and when I started doing that, people were like, “Wow, I get it for the first time.” The other thing is, I’m just intensely interested and passionate about this stuff, and I want other people to be too.
And not only bring you into plain understandable language but trying to communicate what’s really interesting about the field. What’s really interesting about let’s say nutritional biochemistry or how a particular food or nutrient affects liver metabolism and what that means to your life. It’s fascinating to me and I think it’s fascinating to others too if it’s presented in the right way. So that’s become sort of a personal mission for me sort of to advocate on behalf of science and the types of things that I know and do it in a way people can get.
[0:07:49.4] RT: Yeah, let me tell you again, I keep saying this guys because I keep complimenting not because I’m trying to brown nose here but I want to impress upon you who is listening right now the importance of getting your nutrition in order and John, you and I were talking before we got this kicked off, to understand what it is capable of doing and what it is not capable of doing.
There’s just some marketing out there and they try to I don’t know, maybe push the capabilities of diet and nutrition, the foods you eat, to the point where it almost seems to be mythical abilities and these super powers and while there’s some truth to it in terms of getting quality whole foods versus some super processed junk. Obviously night and day comparison there.
It’s important to know what it can do for you, what it can’t do for you and definitely have it in order and it’s not something that John’s here, he’s obviously a doctor, he’s very well educated in this, this is his life, he spent so much time on it. But to get a working understanding of it to the point where you can achieve what you’re talking about John, which is being able to apply it in your life, you perform better, you feel better, all of these things you look better, I mean it’s just one of your trainings alone could do that within a matter of weeks. This isn’t something that takes years, you don’t have to get a PhD to get that level of benefit from it.
[0:09:01.0] JB: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I spent last week out in California, I’m an adviser to a bunch of different companies. We had an advisory board meeting and there was some of the smartest people in the world there. The fact of the matter is, while it’s advantageous to the media to make you believe that no two nutritionist would agree on what to eat. It’s simply not true. It’s just not true. It’s just confusion, propagated by people with agendas.
But when you get some of the smartest, most evidence based nutrition people together in a room, the principles of what to eat and how to eat are largely agreed upon. When I say that, I mean both in theory and in practice. What I mean by in practice is when I’m at an advisory board meeting with some of the smartest nutritionist in the world, we have to stop for lunch, and then we have to go dinner.
I see what they’re eating and we all generally choose the same things plus or minus a small variation, which tells me that we all agree regardless of the principles. Sometimes when we’re knee deep in the ideation session, we disagree on things like, “No, I agree with your principle but I wouldn’t say it that way.” That’s the kind of disagreements we have. When we go to dinner, we all eat the same stuff. I think it’s sort of, as a listener, it’s to your advantage to figure out what the same stuff is.
Don’t get bogged down and mired in this sort of confusion and the small points of departure that people have, experts have. I almost advocate this idea as sort of like a visual that I like to give. If you imagine yourself in a room with five different nutritionist and you think they’re all saying different things, take three humongous steps back metaphorically and squint your eyes. Don’t look at the details to what they’re saying, think about the things that are in common between all five let’s say.
If you do that by kind of squinting your eyes and stepping back, you’ll come to some common principles and if you do those things then you’ll get the results you’re after regardless whether one’s slightly lower carb than the other or that sort of a thing. I think it’s generally good practice to not get bogged down in the details but to just step back, squint a little bit, it’s almost like looking through the matrix right?
You can actually see through all the confusion and differences and you start to just see what’s common and you’re like, “Ah, that’s the gold.” It’s easy to miss but when you practice doing it, it becomes much more second nature and then it becomes really easy not to miss. It becomes really easy to see through the matrices and see, “Oh yeah, yeah, these are just differences of language, not really a principle.”
[0:12:03.4] RT: Right, yeah. Basically what you’re saying is you almost have to train yourself to do it and then it becomes just second — yeah, it’s just second nature.
[0:12:09.2] JB: That’s exactly right.
[0:12:11.0] RT: That’s a good way of looking at it. I found that out before in just in general, reading and learning things and learning, all of a sudden you start to realize, “Wait a minute, I’ve heard this before. I don’t quite remember where I heard it.” You keep reading and you come across something again down the road. “I’ve heard this before too,” and all of a sudden you realize, “I read this like 10 different times already from 10 different people.”
Okay, if all these people are more or less saying something and it’s similar, there’s a common thread, well there’s probably a good chance that there’s something to this. Maybe requires a little bit more attention and investigation to check it out but no, I think that’s a good way of looking at it because again, as you and I discussed prior to starting, a lot of people are looking to, looking for a promotion angle to kind of get attention in. That’s fine and all but sometimes that can be confusing to put it politely, and other times it can just be downright deceiving.
All right John, I’m wondering, do you got a motto or a success quote that you apply to your training in life and if you do, could you share it with us and it’s meaning as well?
[0:13:13.9] JB: Yeah, I actually have two, we’ll call them mottos. They’re not really sort of quotes lifted from any great thinkers in history or anything like that but there’s two things that — one is something that I feel like I’ve really embodied, and I live on a regular basis. The other one is a bit aspirational but they’re kind of related. One actually stems from like an improvement of myself from when I was younger.
I used to really agonize over decisions in life. From big to small. “Should I follow this workout program or that workout program? Should I get married or not get married? Should I have kids or not have kids? Should I take this job or not take that job?” I see lots of people do that and that’s actually predicated on a particular philosophy, which is that with every possible decision, there’s a right answer and a wrong answer.
That kind of thing made me really stressed out when I was younger. I think it actually held me back in a lot of ways and so I’ve sort of adopted a different life philosophy since then, it’s this, it’s “in all situations. There are no right or wrong decisions. There’s only what you decide and then your opportunity to make it right.” Take kids or not kids, right? “Should I have kids or not have kids?” Well, choose one of them. It may not even matter which one.
Then you have the opportunity to make it right. To create it, turn it into something that makes you happy, that enhances your life. I feel like there’s around every bend. New decision to make and if you agonize over what’s right and what’s wrong, again, it could be anything as basic as what training program you do, all the way up to life’s biggest decisions. If you look for the opportunity, just decide. Just decide what feels right.
There’s this great coin flipping test that people talk about where if you have decision A and decision B. Say you’re going to flip a coin right? Heads it’s A, tails, it’s B. Then you look at the result. It’s tails. If you feel like you want to flip again, that’s your answer. You know what I mean?
[0:15:30.9] RT: Good one, yeah, I like that.
[0:15:33.1] JB: You really wanted A. Just pick A because the rest of your life it might be or the rest of the phase or whatever it is, you have the opportunity to make it right. To iterate, to enhance, to change your view on things. That for me is I guess kind of a motto that I live by, there’s almost no right or wrong decisions, there’s just what you decide and then your chance to make it right.
One that’s kind of related and this is more of a quote that really, really resonates with me is, I’m trying to become more mindful of, I don’t know? I guess going with the flow in life or accepting things how they are rather than how I want them to be. There’s this one idea which is what happened is the only thing that could have happened. Let’s say you are running a business which I do and there’s an outcome which is not ideal.
You can agonize, “Well we did this wrong, we did that wrong,” and obviously those are opportunities to learn. There’s this one thing that has to descend on you at the end of the day which what happened is the only thing that could have. With this staff that we had, with the knowledge that we had at the time, with the challenges and obstacles that we had and with the resources we had, this is the only thing that could have happened.
And that’s okay because I can learn from that and I can move forward. Rather than sort of beating yourself up or agonizing, let’s say you get a knee injury by squatting like an idiot or something. You let this occur to you, “What happened is the only thing that could have happened. I was doing the wrong technique or I was, my volume was too high,” or whatever the case may be.
Then you allow that to be true and then you move on. This is a bit more aspirational for me because it involves a deep acceptance of life and all the things that are in your life and all the things that aren’t despite the fact that you might want them to be. This is a constant practice for me to remind myself, “What happened is the only thing that could have and that’s okay.”
[0:17:40.3] RT: To me it sounds like you’ve eliminated a lot of potential frustration or stress depending on how you react to the things that occur in your life or decisions you have to make?
[0:17:47.4] JB: Absolutely, that’s it. I mean, both of these are pressure of a little bit in terms of putting this intense pressure to do the right thing, make the right thing, make the right choice and then after you’ve made it. Accept it with the knowledge you had, the resources, what happened is the only thing that could have and that’s okay.
[0:18:06.6] RT: Yeah, that’s a big thing because if you have that tension, that frustration, creates resistance really slows you down and starts to destroy your performance. It’s kind of like hesitating during a lift.
[0:18:18.1] JB: It totally is yeah. In fact it makes more of the moments that you have, the precious few moments you have on this earth feel bad. There’s enough opportunity to feel bad without creating more chances for that yourself.
[0:18:32.9] RT: Yeah, you don’t need to help the situation out.
[0:18:35.6] JB: Yeah, that’s right.
[0:18:36.8] RT: That’s a really good way of looking at it. Very good way, very much almost like in the moment. It’s like, “Okay, that was, I did that and that happened, maybe it didn’t go the way I wanted but we’re in a new moment now and let’s kind of keep moving forward. No point killing myself over this.”
[0:18:49.6] JB: Yeah, it’s interesting because when I was younger, I probably would, this would have not felt resonant with me at all. If I would have heard this, that would have been like, “Ah yeah, whatever.” It’s really important for me to let people know, I still am an achiever, you know what I mean? I’m an ass kicker and I have accomplished some major things and I continue to both in sport, in business, and in life. This actually doesn’t take my edge away in any way shape or form when it comes to accomplishment. What it does, it just helps me see the things that I’m working toward more clearly.
[0:19:26.9] RT: I heard somebody say the other day to me that there’s nothing wrong with aiming for perfection as long as you realize, it’s okay if you’re not perfect, if you don’t reach that goal. There’s nothing wrong with — ultimately the point was, try your best and if it doesn’t happen, don’t beat yourself up over it, just keep moving.
[0:19:45.2] JB: Yeah, it’s so hard for young people in particular or people driven to success to accept this idea.
[0:19:53.6] RT: This is a guy that was extremely successful in business and that was his attitude.
[0:19:58.5] JB: Yeah, exactly, it’s backed up by a ton of science. Even if you look at a elite athletic performance, the people who learn and develop the best in sport are the people who find a way to kind of forget their failures and not let them sit like a rock inside their spirit. Because that’s the performance killer.
[0:20:24.4] RT: Well I mean..
[0:20:25.0] JB: It’s regrets, negative thoughts, “What I could have done differently?” Beating yourself up, all of this is reliably and predictably leads to lower performance, not only in business but in sports and all aspects of life.
[0:20:40.3] RT: I think a way to look at it is just imagine you’re playing a sport that has a very quick turnaround. Let’s just say basketball for example. Even football but anyway, either one of those. You mess up a play, do you really have time to kick your butt and linger over that messed up play? The second that you waste doing that, the other team could have scored on you.
[0:21:00.3] JB: Yup, I was defensive back in college, I played football and yeah, I mean someone once told me the best quarter backs have the shortest memory. Which is that exact thing right? They forget the last play.
[0:21:13.3] RT: Yeah, I think that’s an example of just life in general. Fractals are pretty cool and I think you can kind of take a look at that and you can extrapolate it to just life in general. Again, I don’t think neither of us are saying be sloppy in the way you do things and don’t really care about your performance. We’re not saying that at all. What I think you’re saying is, don’t beat yourself up about trying to be perfect when you’re not.
Obviously aim for excellence, whatever it may be, try your best but just understand that if that doesn’t happen, okay that moment’s passed and now you got another shot at it, don’t squander this next moment that you have this next opportunity at reaching that goal. Good information, didn’t think we would be diving into this stuff, let me tell you something.
All right, this kind of flows right into this next question, that’s talking about sharing a story of a time in your training and life where you encountered a major challenge and if you could take us to the time in your life, paint the picture for us and share with us the lessons that you learned from it.
[0:22:06.8] JB: Yeah, totally. I’ve been pretty lucky like training wise, haven’t faced a ton of big challenges. There’s really only one that jumps out. It was about 12 years ago, this was before I was married and had kids and I rode my motorcycle everywhere. I was actually driving to campus, I was a PhD student at that time.
Driving to campus to get a workout in and it was leg day, it was a squat, I was pretty excited about it, I was on my motorcycle ripping around town, heading to the gym. I was going around the roundabout and I hit some lose gravel and the bike kicked out from under me and so I did the exact thing you’re not supposed to do in that kind of situation. I put my leg down.
[0:22:55.8] RT: This isn’t motocross.
[0:22:57.3] JB: Oh yeah. And so the torque on my knee totally tore a couple of the ligaments in my left knee. I didn’t realize it at the time, I actually stopped the bike from going down but I was like, “Oh, that felt like a funky thing that just happened.” But I’m an idiot and I continue on to the gym and I squat that day. Slowly but surely I’m realizing something is wrong with my left knee but I’m an idiot. I don’t back off. I just keep trying to squat on it.
It’s getting worse and worse. At that time I was probably 195 pounds and I’d routinely be able to do sets of 10 reps with 405 pounds on the squat, which to some listeners, that’s nothing and others it’s respectable. A year later, the knee had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even squat like 135 one time pain free. Then what started to happen was the compensations that I was making was starting to ruin my right knee. I’m an idiot, I’ve said it a few times and I just didn’t get help, I didn’t listen to my body, I just ignored it.
I think in a lot of cases, athletes, when you’re younger and you grow up being an athlete, you actually learn to not listen to your body, right? Because competing at high levels, lifting heavy weights hurts. You got to tune out the pain and so you learn to do that kind of a thing and that works for every day kind of discomfort associated with lifting or performance and sport. But it doesn’t work for injury.
It’s actually still a working progress for me, my knee still are kind of jacked but I’ve gotten a ton of help and they’re better and I can do stuff now. For me, the biggest lesson learned was that even though I was an adult, I still needed to grow up in terms of being able to listen to my body. That sounds like such a nebulous thing but I can make it very tangible. Nowadays I actually know the exact dose of let’s say knee extension work, squats and that kind of stuff, that I can do before my knees gets so bad, I can’t go up and down the stairs.
There’s like this certain amount of load and volume that if I exceed it in a week, my knees are ruined, I can’t even bend down to pick up my kids. If I stay just south of it, my knees feel pretty good and I can do almost everything that I would want to. It only took me 10 or 12 years to get to, I’m a really slow learner when it comes to these kind of things.
For me that was such an important lesson, it was this idea that there comes a point in your life where you have to grow up, start to figure out how to listen to your body and start to accept certain boundaries and limitations. I don’t mean that in the give up sort of way. I still compete in sport and I’m a master’s level track athlete. My goal is actually to win Canadian nationals for my age group this year.
[0:26:25.6] RT: Oh nice, I didn’t know that.
[0:26:27.2] JB: I’m not tapping out but what I am saying is, I want to be able to keep running. So how do I plan my training that in a way that has a deep respect for what my physical limitations are so that I can walk the line, so I can be just short of injury, pain, incapacity and still progress? It’s a hard thing to do because I think there’s a level of black and white thinking with this. Just go through the pain, just ignore it, go through the wall and if you need a surgery, go get the surgery then come back and go hard again.
I see a lot of people in weight lifting who do that exact thing. They never take the time to figure out where their limits are and how to stay just south of them. So then they end up in this situations where they’ve had 15 surgeries or they get to their 40’s and 50’s and can’t do anything anymore. That’s like — this was my lesson but I think it’s a cautionary tale for everyone.
If you’re in your 20’s, you’re going to have to start thinking about this sort of thing soon. What your boundaries are, what your limits are, how can you get the right amount of work just short of too much. If you’re in your 30’s, you probably have already experienced something like this and if you’re in your 40’s and you’ve been lucky enough to make it this long, take this advice and start planning your algorithm today, you know what I mean?
Figure out what’s enough lower body knee extension work or back extension work or whatever the case may be without doing that one extra set each week or that little bit of extra volume that puts you in the danger zone for not being able to walk properly for the rest of your life and stay there.
[0:28:14.6] RT: Yeah, agreed, and I think it’s really important to understand that as we age, training becomes more and more important and if you’ve kind of written yourself off where you can’t train to the intensity you either want to or potentially even should to really maintain and increase the quality of life later on, that really sucks, that’s a problem.
[0:28:38.4] JB: Yeah, it’s true and I think the difficulty for most people here is a type of all or nothing thinking which is, “I’m hardcore if I’m not doing it all. Training with the maximum possible intensity at the highest possible load with the highest reasonable volume. Then I’m doing nothing. It’s simply not true. We have a motto at Precision Nutrition which is instead of “all or nothing”, it’s “always something”, always be doing something.
[0:29:08.1] RT: I like that.
[0:29:09.8] JB: For me, it’s just figuring out those two. How can I retain this belief in myself that I work hard, that I accomplish things without being all or nothing about it? Assuming that if it’s not perfect, it’s crap. How do you navigate the two and I like to look at everything on a spectrum. There’s not perfect on one side, crap on the other and it’s a switch, you’re either one or the other.
It’s more like there’s a spectrum, there’s perfect, there’s a little bit less than perfect which is, let’s say mastery. There’s a little bit less than that which is good enough and then you keep going down the spectrum. So where on the spectrum do really need to be to feel good, have the body you want. It’s certainly not balls to the wall every minute of every day of my life.
[0:30:00.1] RT: Yeah, you know what? I’ve talked to some really high level guys, I’ve said this on a few prior interviews. Some very high level guys and one in particular is Bud Jeffreys that his training is real rowdy, the stuff that he does is crazy, crazy intense, heavy, really interesting stuff and he said, sure, you could train till you bleed from your eyes, that 100% or you could dial it down to the 70 to 85, 70, every now and then to the 95.
And he said the difference is, you’ll think you’re the man for a few weeks, a few months, eventually you’re going to burn out or you’re going to feel better, you’re going to perform better and sure enough a lot sooner than what a lot of people realize, you will eventually outpace the person who is just going crazy with his training.
[0:30:44.0] JB: Yeah, it’s true. That’s true in every area of life, business, relationships, working out, everything.
[0:30:50.9] RT: He said there’s value to pushing it like that every now and then. He said , “Definitely! Those type of routines and workouts are great, they develop a certain type of grit, they toughen up your body to a degree and your character.” He said, “Yeah, no, it’s not something that you do day after day.” A lot of us, that’s what we do, we don’t understand especially when we first begin. We just want to add that five, 10 pounds to the bar, we want to increase our speed, we want to increase a couple of more pounds for our body.
We don’t realize, yes, you have to — it’s not forcing the body as much as it’s like coaxing the body to go in the direction that you want. Because ultimately the body, and correct me if I’m wrong, the body will do what you want it to do as long as you do the appropriate thing. You feed it correctly, you give it the proper amount of rest and you train it properly, you will get a certain reaction in the body that will lead you down the certain path.
[0:31:40.1] JB: Yeah, and I think this is where people confuse the idea of progression right? The notion is that progression is like a set of stairs that infinitely goes up and up. So that if today I use one unit of load, tomorrow I should use two units of load and the next day three units and I’ll just keep going up and up and that’s the way to get better. It just never works that way.
Usually what happens when you try to do that is you fall down the staircase, that’s either injury or inability to keep up the pace or something else happens in your life that doesn’t allow you to train that hard with that much volume. You fall all the way back down so then you go one, two, three, four, again. Then you fall down again. That’s how most people live their training life.
I have a good friend who probably for at least 15 years, every time I saw him, he was recovering from a different injury right? We don’t live close to each other so I might only see him every few months. But it started to become this weird pattern. Every time I talk to this guy, there’s no “Training’s good, I’m feeling strong, life is good.” It’s always another injury.
And it’s just like, “How can you continue to live like that? How fun is that for you that there’s never a period in your life where you’re not recovering from some kind of injury from weight lifting? This is not like a competitive sports stuff, it’s just weight lifting.” And so that’s an example of this problem right? It’s hard, hard, hard, break.
[0:33:21.5] RT: Yeah.
[0:33:22.6] JB: Recover, recover, recover. All of a sudden, the body I think, you had Ryan Andrews on recently, he’s a colleague of mine and he has a great quote about this. He’s like, “Recovery happens. It has to happen. Either you choose when it happens or the body will choose it for you.” It’s such a great way of saying it. In other words, if you don’t plan and take recovery, your body will break to make you take it and it’s perfect, I love that.
[0:33:56.3] RT: Yeah, we’re not outsmarting our bodies, not happening.
[0:33:58.9] JB: Yup, that’s right.
[0:33:59.5] RT: Not happening, not after umpteen generations, years, whatever you want to call it, eons of evolution, it’s just not going to happen. Just because we want to add a fraction of an inch to our bicep. No. Definitely. Again, I think the biggest challenge is explaining, getting the point across that, yes, there’s a time and place to just go hard but that’s not the MO 24/7, that’s not the way you operate all the time, there’s a time and place for that.
You see videos of guys competing like powerlifters an they’re just giving it everything they got on the platform. The training isn’t always like that at all if anything, it’s almost like — I don’t want to say “routine” almost but it’s structured in a manner where they got it setup that they’re not literally bleeding from the eyeballs to get to a meet or Strong Man, or any athletic competitors, they may have a hard work every now and then for sure.
[0:34:59.5] JB: This is the same thing is true in track and sprinting which is what I do. It’s actually funny when people who are not sprinters come out for a workout with me. So we’ll do let’s say an hour and a half workout at the track and so we’re like 45 or 50 minutes in and we still haven’t raced. We haven’t run all out, we haven’t sprinted. Some workouts, we may only do three 10 meter sprints.
Now, we’re working out for an hour and a half. What is that? That’s a lot of drills, it’s a lot of mobility work, it’s some plyometric type movements, some single leg bounds, stuff like that. But we don’t sprint all out. Even those three 10 meter sprints are moderate pace. Same thing is true with elite powerlifters as is elite sprinters as is elite almost everything in sport.
You never do the intensity that you have to do on competition day in training or almost never because it’s impossible to sustain that. It’s always funny because people come out and they’re like, “When do we start sprinting JB?” I’m like, “Well,” — or, “When do we start the workout?” Is the question, it’s a lot of warming up you know?
[0:36:15.6] RT: This is the workout.
[0:36:16.6] JB: And it’s like, “This is the whole workout bro.” We will sprint for three, 10 meter sprints, somewhere towards the end and then we’re going to go home and it seems so weird to them that you would not sprint every workout to be a sprinter. Just like you wouldn’t do your max effort squat during the eight weeks leading up to a powerlifting meet routinely. It’s just an important thing that people on the beginner end of the spectrum never really realize, it doesn’t seem to make intuitive sense but when you understand how the body works, you’re like, “Of course. Of course you shouldn’t do that.”
[0:36:53.3] RT: I mean, powerlifters will take the last week or two before the competition, they’ll back it off big time. Sometimes they won’t even go in the gym for like a week prior to the competition. Bodybuilders, they really start backing off especially when they’re a month, two weeks, especially two weeks out from the show. They’re so depleted that they just can’t push themselves, otherwise they’re asking for trouble.
Yeah, again these are things that a lot of us when we first get into training, we look at the magazines, we look at stuff online, we see the pictures of the guys just those faces on it are just, they’re giving it everything they got. We just automatically assume that’s it. Pushing through the pain is something that is glorified because there is a certain aspect of — it is something to respect that somebody is in pain.
One picture comes to mind, it’s Jordan when he had that flu way back when. They had to practically — they literally had like, I think it was Pippin almost carry him off the court, he’s done, he had nothing left. There are times for that but that’s not the way you do things 24/7. Yeah, that’s all. People just need to understand.
And I think with the advent of some of this follow people’s training programs and routines online, a lot of guys are like, “Yeah, that’s what I did today.” You start to realize, “Okay, all right.” If you’re perceptive and you pay attention, you realize, this guy’s not killing themselves all the time. Sure he may do it on a set or two but that’s about it.
Okay JB, let’s go to the next question here and that is, sharing a story of a time in your training or life when you encountered a major challenge and I don’t know, that knee sounded like it wasn’t too much fun. I’m wondering if you could take us back to that time and let us know what was that moment that caused you to flip the switch and kind of have that aha moment for you?
[0:38:40.1] JB: Yeah, the aha moment for me was just that sort of learning to grow up and listen to my body and that started a process which led to kind of a major breakthrough for me. I’ve had really two big breakthroughs in my training life. The first one was related to that, it was very specifically learning the cycle of my volume in particular, which is kind of what we’re talking about here.
I remember Eric Cressey who a lot of listeners probably know who he is, he’s a really well known strength coach, very successful powerlifter at a certain period of his life. He is spending much more time coaching and he has twins now. He’s coaching and dadding most of the time. He runs two phenomenal sport training facilities. One in Boston and one down in Jupiter Florida and he works predominantly with baseball players now.
Eric’s been a friend of mine for a very long time and I remember Eric sent me a sneak peak of one of his upcoming books years ago and I knew the concept of cycling volume and training and stuff like that and I did a particular version of it. But Eric’s version of it is awesome, it’s just awesome. Probably a lot of people have copied it since but Eric was the first person who really introduced me to this idea of having different volume weeks to cycle training.
There’s a couple of benefits to it and I’ll explain what it kind of looks like first. Let’s say for example, there’s a selection of exercises and rep schemes you’re going to use. I’ll do something very basic, let’s say you’re going to begin with weighted lunges, it’s a leg day, you’re going to begin with weighted lunges, sets of 10 and then you’re going to move on to squats and you’ll do sets of five and then you’ll move on to dead lifts and you’ll do sets of three and so on. So you have your series of exercises and you have how many reps you’re going to do of each one.
So the way Eric might cycle the volume in one particular case is to you say, “Week one, you’re going to do three sets of each, week two, you’re going to do five sets of each, week three, you’re going to do four sets of each and week four you’ll do one set of each.” The only thing you’re changing is the amount of sets you do which controls your overall volume for that particular day. When I saw them, “Oh yeah, this seems pretty cool, I want to try this.”
Literally I have never had a training week since where I didn’t do this very thing. My programs all have this extra column which shows how many sets of each you’re going to do on week one, two, three, four. You start to look at your programs as these like four, eight, 12 week blocks that cycle the volume up and down and you usually go moderate, high or I would say the categories are kind of like moderate, moderate, high, high and low. Those are how you — so then you cycle through those.
That for me was a huge breakthrough. It allows you to have your hardcore weeks. I’m in the middle of one right now. They’re hard, they’re really hard. By Wednesday, Thursday, I’m feeling sluggish, my nervous system’s a bit shot, it’s a hard training week to get through and you’re on high volume like that. The thing that helps you get through it is the knowledge that next week is going to be a low week.
It’s a recovery week and then the week after that will be moderate. Then I’m going to start getting back into danger zone, will be high, moderate high and then you’re in high, my god, will I ever survive this? Then comes low. It’s such a psychological valuable way of planning your training but it also is so physiologically sound.
The other thing I love about it is that I never need a week off. I don’t particularly like weeks off. Exercising and training makes me feel good. I don’t really want weeks off if I don’t need them. This type of training planning doesn’t require it. Some of your one set weeks, you might only be in the gym for 20 minutes. The other thing I like about it is you don’t necessarily on those weeks have to use lighter loads.
[0:43:21.8] RT: Yeah, I was going to ask you. Are you upping the weight or the reps at all or no?
[0:43:24.8] JB: No, you literally only change the number of sets you do for each exercise with this way that I use it. Your loads can be the same. You never feel like you have to go light. If I’m squatting sets of three, it’s 405 or whatever the case may be. I would just do that one set instead of five sets in a particular week.
Your load is still there, you don’t have to back off on the load, you just back off on the number of sets, the volume and it makes such a huge difference psychologically, physiologically. It really allows you to go hard when it’s time to go hard and then recover when it’s time to recover and it’s all planned into your training because for me, there’s never anything worse in training than trying to maintain this high volume of exercise and really getting ground down and then feeling like, “Ah I’m such a wuss if I can’t stick to it.”
Then eventually not being able to stick to it and then having to back off either like we said earlier through injury or simply because I can’t keep it up. It’s just obvious, I can’t even get out of bed in the morning. There’s no reason for that, this type of cycling was just such a huge breakthrough for me and I always thank Eric for it because he’s not the inventor of it and I’m sure many people have it in their programs but he’s the guy who introduced this particular brand of cycle volume to me and it’s amazing.
[0:44:54.6] RT: As you go through one cycle to the next, is that when you will decide, “Okay, I’m going to add a couple of pounds to the bar?” Is that kind of the concept and maybe switch exercises also?
[0:45:04.2] JB: Yeah, exactly, that’s exactly right. You might — again, my goals are a bit different right? I do strength training to support the work that I do on the track. It’s a lot of power based stuff. It’s usually like power cleans, power snatch, one arm snatch, one leg snatch, that kind of stuff. A lot of unilateral and bilateral power movements. I rarely change the exercises. I usually keep them the same so I might actually be on a training cycle I guess if you want to call it that four to six months.
That’s another thing I love about this particular setup, you don’t actually have to cycle off of it at all because as you get stronger, you just increase the load but you keep the volume the same. Five sets for a super high week and one set for a super low week, you don’t make five, six and one, two. You keep them the same but you use your load as your progression.
[0:46:10.2] RT: Okay. How do you find this lends itself to both strength or muscle building?
[0:46:15.6] JB: Yeah, I think it’s relevant for both, in fact I think Eric’s actually published books on using this for both outcomes and he’s definitely a credible source for both. I think at 165 pounds, he’s deadlifted close to 700 in competition. He’s credible you know what I mean? I think it works great for both actually.
[0:46:44.2] RT: Yeah, Brook Kubic, the author of Dinosaur Training, I read one of his newsletters or may actually be in his actual book where he showed some of the training methods of the guys form the US Olympic weightlifting team from way back. We’re talking Davis, Kono, like guys from the 40’s and the 30’s and they would do something similar.
Even with a lower reps stuff, where they would start off maybe five sets, they work their way up to maybe eight, maybe 10 and then once they hit that, they’d drop back down to five, maybe add a couple of pounds to the bar and then repeat the process. What he said it did is a lot of the things that you’re saying, it built in like a natural break, it allowed you to really push it and not be concerned that you’re not going to be, you know, have nothing left in the upcoming weeks.
The other thing is, it really allowed you to master the weight because you gave yourself time to truly master it. You’re not just barely making it and then trying to add a few more pounds. You can get into some trouble doing that. That’s one of the nice things about the five by five system that Reg Park was always such a big fan of. He was, some will argue that he even created it, was that you have however many working sets you decide, let’s just say three of them, two warm-ups and three working sets with five reps. You pick a weight and you aim for it getting three sets of five.
Now you may get five, four, three, five, three, three, that’s fine. Then the next week, same weight and you stick with it till you get five sets of five and you up the weight and your reps may drop a bit because you’ve upped the weight. But then you just stick with it until again, you’re getting however many working sets you decide upon, let’s just say three sets of five again.
[0:48:14.0] JB: Yeah. Well you know, it’s interesting because I love both of these examples, they’re both great and they’re both timeless kind of ways at looking at training. For me, I remember when it sort of dawned on me that this idea that what I had written down for my program for the day might not exactly match what I’d be able to do when I was in the gym that particular day. The notion of like, “When should I add load?” Well I mean, there should be like a nice answer to this. For week’s one through three you get to the point where you can do your five by five successfully, like you said, it’s five, four, three, five, four, four, five, four, five, five, five. “Yay, I hit it!”
Now, we increased the weight but the truth is, some days they’re going to be variable, some days your nervous system’s going to be more performance than others. This is like what I was saying earlier about the only thing that happens, the only thing that could have. Just accept that, some days you’ll be stronger, some days you’ll be weaker. Build in that natural variability, understand what it is and then take that in to progression. It’s like kind of micro oscillation with this oscillation of the program itself. You know what I mean?
[0:49:28.9] RT: Yeah, definitely, I like that. All right JB, we’re going to go to a break my man and guys, you’re listening to the Super Strength Show. The doctor is in, I know, I say that all the time, every time I have a doctor on the show but hey, come on, it sounds cool doesn’t it? Maybe not, I don’t know? Anyway, it is cool that he is a doctor and he’s dishing all kinds of good information for us.
I got to tell you, we’ve been talking about some things that I didn’t expect today as I said and this is some solid gold, so I appreciate that. We’ll be right back guys, Dr. John Berardi from PrecisionNutrition.com, we’ll be right back.
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[0:51:05.3] RT: All right guys, we’re back with our guest Dr. John Berardi from PrecisionNutrition.com. This guy’s given us a seminar on all kinds of things, life training, you name it. Right now though we’re going to jump in to some questions, a few of them nutrition related and here we go. John, what can you recommend to us, for us when it comes to a training resource. And if you were to say, “Here’s a resource,” it could be anything, a training program, a book, an app, a piece of equipment, what would you recommend to the listeners when it comes to their overall progress?
[0:51:35.2] JB: There’s so much good stuff out there you know? In keeping with what we’re talking about before the break which was that sort of method of volume cycling that kind of changed my life. I just send people to Eric Cressey’s stuff. If you go to Eric Cressey’s website, check out some of those books, you’ll find some of these kind of ideas embedded in them and even some example programs of what that looks like. If what I was saying earlier is intriguing, definitely pick up one of those.
Another thing is going to be such a weird recommendation. Go to a little kid’s gymnastics class. That would be my next favorite resource. I have three children, my daughter who is six now, started gymnastics whens she was 18 months old. I learned so much watching her progression over this last few years in gymnastics. It taught me what an idiot that I can be, it taught me how a lot of adults look at training in progression all wrong. I’ll give you an example of that.
You take these little 18 month olds who can barely stand up on their own and within three years, they have them like swinging upside down on bars and doing areal type maneuvers. How is that even possible? It’s actually reason defying. Watching it though, you’re getting a master class in progression. You see these little children and for week after week they do this very basic things. Then the coach, if they’re talented, adds one new thing and it’s tiny, it’s just a little bit of a tweak on something they were doing previously.
Then they do that for several weeks and then they add the next thing. Then slowly but surely, they progress to gymnasts. Flipping, balancing, doing flips on a beam, that’s like two inches wide. It’s quite amazing and I think there’s so many lessons for people in sport particularly adults. For me it came at the perfect time. I started watching her do this when I was thinking about sort of rekindling my athletic career and getting back into track and field which I hadn’t done for 20 years.
Very much unlike the gymnastics class, I go to the track and I just start blowing it out. I’m like, “Ah, it will be a great day to just run a hundred meter repeats,” after not running for like 20 years. Most adults do this. Imagine the time in your life, listeners as where you had an injury and coming back off an injury, you’re finally healthy and you do too much. I know you do. Most adults do, especially if you have a background doing that particular thing.
For me I was just about to get back in to track and I was already doing it a bit wrong. I was going too fast in my return, in my workouts, I was doing too much volume, I was going too hard. It was actually watching this children’s gymnastics progression that made me understand how progression should work. It should be slow, it should feel boring at times, you will have to be more patient than you’re naturally inclined to be and if you do it right, you’ll feel all those things while at the same time getting better at a pace you couldn’t have got better at any other way.
So it’s not really a thing you can buy and if you don’t have kids or go with like a friend’s kids or go with like a friend’s kids, it might even be creepy if you go to their kid’s gymnastics but for me it’s a place where you can learn some of the best lessons about physical aptitude, about progression. Then constantly ask the question “how can I apply this to my own training” and I think you get a lot out of it.
[0:55:32.0] RT: Also, that gymnastic track kind of background is an amazing just basic fundamental foundation training for any athletics. I know in, I think it’s in Russia, that’s a big deal. A lot of the Russian text talk about that. As you said, taking somebody who was basically a blob that just laid there and crapped himself and just drank milk all the time and slept and all of a sudden in a few short years it’s just this ninja, it’s like, “How is this even possible?” Those skills, they could pretty much be applied anywhere, that body awareness, special awareness, the strength that you develop, yeah, it’s amazing stuff.
[0:56:04.4] JB: Absolutely, yeah. That’s why our children do gymnastics and they run with me, I take them to the track with me a few times a week in sprint and do dance. I feel like it’s such a good foundation.
[0:56:19.0] RT: Oh yeah, definitely, for sure, all of those actually. Pretty lucky man, that’s what I’m thinking right now. I’m like, “Damn, I had some of that going on.” No, that’s really good actually. I don’t know how many guys I’ve talked to that have told me this question we’re going to get to in a moment that they would have done more gymnastic/track and field type of training in the early stages, in their early years, in their youth, leading up before they got into whatever sport they got into or even really dedicated strength or bodybuilding type training.
[0:56:45.9] JB: Yeah, but you know what? The truth is, it’s never too late. I’m 42 years old now and it had been 20 some years since I competed in track and now I’m back and I’m doing some things different than I did when I was younger which is a good thing and it’s awesome. I love it, it’s amazing. It’s a really nice balance to the strength training that I do in the gym.
Anyone out there who like feels like they’d love to have their competitive itch scratched and they’re good runners or whatever. There’s other things you can do too. Gymnastics is a great example. I thought my daughter’s coach was so awesome I decided that my wife and I should take lessons with her or two. So we started doing adult gymnastics one night a week.
We had little goals that we wanted to pursue and we had to go through this slow progression. It’s hilarious when someone athletic like myself or my wife goes to something new like that. We just think we can do way more than we can. So you constantly need to calibrate and say, “All right coach, where am I being an idiot? Help me scale this back.” You just think because you’re a physical capability, you can do whatever you want.
[0:58:01.5] RT: Right, yeah. Capability doesn’t really lend itself, doesn’t correlated to skill per se right?
[0:58:06.6] JB: That’s exactly right.
[0:58:09.0]RT: Okay, I want to add to this just very quickly, you mentioned Cressey and the learning how to basically more or less kind of program your training, that’s crucial, in the early stages, pretty much following any program you can get some results but if you really want to set yourself up for the long term, you got to get some type of a periodization, some type of a long term routine that you can follow.
I definitely second that recommendation and again, we just talked about the gymnastics, the sprinting, some type of athletic thing, it’s just very primal type of movements, the way the body is, to a degree is meant to move, moving it in that way is great as supposed to these locked patterns all the time.
I also believe that we didn’t mention your program, we’re going to get to that eventually, but nutrition side I think it’s crucial too because with training, you get to a point where you hit a wall, you got to discover, you got to figure out how do I structure my training to keep moving. Then there’s a nutrition aspect of it as well. Especially if you want to have changes in your body, you want to get leaner, you pack on more size.
If you don’t know how to eat right, that skill is going to stop and all of a sudden you’re going to, “Okay, well what do I do next?” One of two things happen, you either — or three. You don’t do anything and then you don’t’ really change at all and that’s no fun. You start packing on more calories like I did, I just started dumping. When I learned more calories means more bodyweight, I was putting olive oil on everything.
That can lead you down a path, unless you want to be a sumo wrestler, that you don’t want to go down. Then the other thing is, if you’re trying to strip off fat then you get into the whole jeez, I don’t know how to do that correctly and I worked so hard to put on this muscle, I don’t want to lose this muscle by stripping off the fat. You just kind of keep it all covered up underneath that flab blanket. That’s no fun either.
[0:59:47.0] JB: Exactly.
[0:59:47.6] RT: So anyway, we’re going to get to that but next up, I got just some quick questions I want to ask you. It’s a couple of things I’ve come across. You mentioned earlier, genetic dieting. I’ve heard of like genetic profiling and basically creating a nutrition plan that follows I guess a person’s genetic makeup. I’m wondering, just quickly, what is the benefits of it, how does that affect health and performance?
[1:00:08.2] JB: This is starting to I guess, come to prominence in the Internet world where there’s a bunch of companies rushing to market with let’s say a genetic test for fitness or nutrition and then they try and make recommendations based on that. The truth is, I think it’s just a tad bit early to say, “Oh I did your genetic assessment,” which is really straight forward, you spit into little tube, your saliva contains cells that represent your DNA across the whole body. Then they just do a test.
Then over the years, there’s been enough sort of large scale scientific trials suggesting that certain genetic combinations lead to certain physiological traits. For example. Your eye color is determined by just a small group of genetic programming. Whether you’re lactose tolerant or intolerant. There’s a bunch of very simple things and companies like 23 and Me for example, for I think it’s a 199 bucks in the US, you can have yourself genetically tested.
And it tells you all kinds of things about — some of it is what you know already right? It’s weird when spitting in a tube gives you a report that tells you what color your eyes are when they don’t know anything about you or your eye color. Then there’s disease relationships and stuff like that. Like you may be more prone to a certain disease or a certain physiological trait and stuff like that.
So some of that stuff is pretty well done but now we’re starting to get in to the domain where there are certain jeans that are emerging as maybe related to an aerobic performance or aerobic performance. So if you have this genetic profile, these four or five gene variants, you might be better at a particular type of activity versus another.
There’s some data suggesting that your recovery ability might be different based on a genetic profile. Others suggesting that you may tolerate saturated fat intake better or carbohydrates better or gluten. So there’s starting to emerge these patterns, it’s not quite good enough yet to spit into a tube and get a custom diet. The way we use it at Precision Nutrition is a little bit different, we’re not doing genetic screening and we’re not giving you a diet based on your genes.
What we’re doing is we’re measuring your genetic makeup in concert with dozens of other things and then we’re using that to help us determine what you should eat or how much you should eat or what you should not eat. What types of things do we measure? We do a full lifestyle profile, we’ll see how you eat now, we’ll ask about signs and symptoms so you can tell us exactly what you experience.
We’ll look at your body weight, we’ll look at your blood, we’ll look at different values in your blood. We’ll look at your gut, so what bacteria populations you have in there which these have been related and been shown to be related to everything from how many calories from the food that you eat, you digest and absorb like your gut, micro biome changes, your ability to digest and absorb food, related to mood and depression, all kinds of things.
We look at that. Like I said, we look at genes, we look at allergies and intolerances. We get at all the things that could affect your nutrition and then we look at probabilities. For example, when you do allergy and intolerance testing, it’s not perfect, it doesn’t say with 100% certainty you are allergic or intolerant to these 12 foods. It gives you probabilities. You use all that to paint the picture of a person and you validate it against the person’s experience and then you give them a prescription.
Really, we use genetic testing and micro biome testing, allergy intolerance, blood testing as clues to a larger picture which is, “Who are you, what’s happening in relationship to the food you’re eating now and then what might you do differently based on everything we know?” So that’s why I often say, we’re not a genetic counselling service, we’re a nutrition coaching service.
We do all these things and I called it earlier, we want to leave no stone unturned. We want to look under every rock, look in every little nook and cranny that we know about today to help give you a better prescription to eat, move and live better. That’s really how it works, there’s a lot of people writing about the idea that in some future that we’re imagining, you’d be able to do genetic test and you know exactly what to eat.
How many grams of carbohydrates, how many grams of fats. Should you eat high fat, low fat? Should you eat more vitamin C or less vitamin C? All these things. We are probably a lifetime away from that. It’s sad to say but you and I will probably be dead before there’s actually that. But that doesn’t mean — this is the all or nothing thing, just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s crap. That’s what some other people are saying. “Oh the sciences and theory, this is crap.”
It’s not true either, it’s a spectrum, it’s not perfect yet, we can’t tell you exactly what to eat based on your genome but what we can do is we can look at your genome to get clues as to what might increase the probability that you’ll have of success when you do certain things and when you avoid certain things. That’s what we do and I think that’s the most honest answer anyone can give you about the state of genetic testing and nutrition and training.
[1:05:55.0] RT: So just simply, do you see value in applying it to the nutritional programs that you guys put together?
[1:06:01.9] JB: We do. Now the extension then or what a lot of people will assume is that they should then get genetically tested and that will help them plan their nutrition and my answer is false. Right? We see value in it only because we test lots of other things and use these genetic results as a clue, living in the broader context of everything else we’ve learned about you. You just going out and doing a genetic test for $199 and hoping that’s going to influence your nutrition, it probably won’t.
Now, if you’re really deeply curious about it and really interested and you think its super wicked and neat, could go do it for that reason. But as an effective means to change your diet based on your genetics, no, you’re not going to accomplish that.
[1:06:51.0] RT: Okay, all right, fair enough. Now, verdict on GMO? Are we better off avoiding GMO and going after organic foods, is it as clear cut as that?
[1:07:01.4] JB: Yeah, such an interesting and awesome and timely and super charged question. We published an article about GMO’s recently on our website which said as most people think, most intelligent people think about most things, “It depends.” The GMO debate I think is particularly challenging and damaging because it implies that all genetically modified things are bad.
The fact of the matter is, there’s millions of people walking around on earth today because they’re medicines. Diabetics are one example, insulin is made from genetically modified organism. Their medicines are made from GMO’s right? I think this notion that anything genetically modified is bad which is why most people start thinking that genetically modified food is bad is a problem because genetic modification is actually very, very valuable in science for discover, very, very valuable in medicine for medications that are helping treat diseases that would otherwise kill people.
It may even be in food a better way to feed the planet. Genetic modification is a natural thing right? It’s just usually happened randomly, they’re called mutations. Here’s an interesting example of that. At Precision Nutrition, we’re working on a book right now on genetics and genetic testing and how it relates to nutrition, health, fitness, all these kinds of things.
We did a ton of experiments, we tested services against each other, we validated protocols, this is stuff no one’s ever really done before in this way. One of the things I wanted to do was I call it validating biology right? We know that when two parents couple to form a child, that child should be half mom, half dad. Each of my children’s genotype should be represented by Amanda, my wife, and myself. There shouldn’t be any other genes in there except for ours.
Except, there’s a known mutation Ray, which means that some small percentage of each of my children will be different from Amanda and I and it’s a really small percentage based on just random mutation. Something happened when the genes were being copied and they didn’t turn out just like mine or just like Amanda’s. This is known in biology. We wanted to validate that.
We actually had Amanda’s parents’ genotyped and then her and her sister and then me and Amanda and then our children and we wanted to trace down the passing down of genes through three generations. It’s super fun and interesting to do and what you end up finding is yes, random mutations occur.
So in our food supply, and I swear this is relevant, this happens in every crop. That’s where you get these variations of corn or sweet potatoes or whatever. It’s because random mutations occur and over millennia and longer, some of the mutations continue due to evolutionary pressures, others don’t continue. So it’s very random and anyone who follows fitness and training and strength training has seen the Belgian Blue Myostatin cow, right? You’ve seen that bull or whatever.
[1:10:38.2] RT: The Schwarzenegger cow.
[1:10:39.6] JB: That’s right. That’s a random mutation. It’s just randomly happened one day when two parents were coupling and they formed this one and it had just one gene variant that was just an accident and bam. Hey, junior’s getting pretty big. It’s persisted in a few cases. The problem with that is that it’s so random. With genetic modification, we can actually reliably produce favourable variants of crops of foods that, again, can help feed the planet, can he healthier and things like that.
Now, does that mean GMO’s are without abuses? No, of course. When you have one or two large companies controlling all the GMO’s on the planet, that’s a bad thing. It’s important not to conflate the issues, right? GMO’s aren’t bad because one company owns them all, right? What’s bad is that one company owns them right? So we have to be really clear in our thinking about them.
My take is, GMO’s aren’t going to cost you or your children to grow a third head, absolutely not. GMO should not be banned, but what I think should happen is they should be labeled, there should be government policies in place so that they’re not all owned by one or two major corporations and I think that will help free up the ability to do research on them to let us know all the pros and cons.
I know there’s probably some pros that we don’t even know about and some cons as well. Then it just becomes a thing where we’re in the unknown and I always say, when we don’t know enough about a thing, your choice is based on your personal risk tolerance, that’s all, that’s all we have. In the absence of science, there’s no good science to suggest that GMO’s are going to cause birth defects or genetic defects or anything like that.
Pesticides and things can, but that’s a different issue from GMO’s again right? People conflate them. There’s no good science to suggest GMO’s are fundamentally bad but there’s not a ton of compelling science on the pro side either that says GMO’s are better. So in the absence of that, we have uncertainty. Then, your choice comes down to risk tolerance.
If you’re really risk intolerant person and you want to just air on the side of “natural” if there is such a thing. Then you might avoid GMO’s. If you’re not particularly risk averse and you’re like, “Oh yeah, whatever, there’s no science to say they’re fundamentally bad then whatever, I’m not going to try to avoid them at all cost.” It’s a very unsatisfying answer which is we don’t know enough and anyone’s choice is based on their own personal risk tolerance. That’s where it is, that’s where the science is today.
[1:13:30.4] RT: Yeah, that answer is exactly why we don’t just go off of any headlines that we read.
[1:13:36.3] JB: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
[1:13:37.5] RT: In any aspect of life.
[1:13:40.1] JB: Yeah, a quick answer would have been yes, they’re bad, no, they’re good. I spent the last 10 minutes wanking on and on about GMO’s and science and how genes are passed down but that’s the truth. Any scientist, any thinker worth their weight is going to know that this is a very subtle thing and I just gave the highlights. We did a 5,000 word article on this thing exploring each of the points I made in detail.
[1:14:08.5] RT: Yeah, we got to get that link from you so that we could share it on the show notes page.
[1:14:11.9] JB: Yeah, absolutely.
[1:14:13.1] RT: I got so many more questions I want to ask you and we’re running short on time so I kind of have to run through these. I did want to ask this just tell us, “Yes, look into it or no.” I recently read that post workout shakes with a lot of sugars spike insulin, supposedly suppresses testosterone, it may not be a good idea. Any input on that? Just quick input that we could point us to the direction to find out more?
[1:14:32.8] JB: No, it’s not true. There’s a bit of theoretical consideration that goes into that. There’s one piece of science that chose this and then maybe the carbs do this. The truth is, in actual studies looking at testosterone, growth hormone, IGF and post workout nutrition, there is not really an effect. What you end up with sometimes is people ignoring the studies that look at the actual question, “When I give someone post workout nutrition that contains carbohydrate, does it affect hormones negatively?”
That science says no. When you actually do very specific studies with sugar and tissue culture or something like that. It looks like it may have this effect. What you end up with is theoretical scientists suggesting these things all the time but applied physiology doesn’t support it. Your choice of whether you should have sugar or not should not be dependent on whether you think it will affect your testosterone negatively. There’s a whole bunch of other considerations.
[1:15:37.6] RT: Yeah, I’ve read some of that from you guys, it’s definitely something worth diving into. Again, all the more reason to go to the website and check out what you guys have to offer.
[1:15:46.3] JB: Yeah, for people interested in this particular question, we have a great article and an info graphic that goes along with it on post workout nutrition that’s very comprehensive and helps you think through the different considerations personal to you.
[1:15:59.0] RT: Your info graphics are great, I like that. Sweet potato and regular potato one.
[1:16:02.8] JB: Oh yeah, the one we just put out this week. Yeah.
[1:16:05.2] RT: Okay, here we go, we got a quick question for you, let’s get through this and then we got to wrap it up, I know your clock is ticking on you, you got some time pressure as well as I do. Man, I could keep this thing going though.
[1:16:15.7] JB: Yeah, this is fun.
[1:16:16.2] RT: This is great man. I love it because again, you’re bringing the science to us in a way that not only can we all just grapes and understand it but it seems very applicable, actionable stuff. I’m absolutely loving this man, I would love to have you come back on.
[1:16:30.3] JB: That sounds great.
[1:16:32.2] RT: Okay, here we go. This question, we like to have some specifics when you answer so we got something we could take away and apply. And I get a little silly with it. So if you’re ready, I’m going to go in. All right, here we go. I visit the PN headquarters, walk in, looking for you, they say, “He’s over in the lab.” I walk over to the lab and the lab is, it’s a kitchen. “Okay, well I guess that makes sense, Precision Nutrition lab, I guess it’s a thing right?” Start looking g around for you.
Then all of a sudden I pick up a funk, what in the heck is this smell? Now I know how everybody else feels whenever I come around. I turn around and I see you, you turn around, you’re at the stove and you got this pot and you look up at me and you go, “I’ve been waiting for you.” “You have, have you?” “I’ve heard all about it buddy, let’s go outside,” and go okay, sure enough, you take the pot with you and you got your own special brew to put in the back of the DeLorean. My hot garbage mess that usually is stinking up the place is getting replaced with yours.
It turns out that look, look at that, we got a coupe extra horsepower from your stuff and I guess that makes sense considering you’re the nutritional doc and all that stuff. Doc B. The doc from the movie was a doc B too also isn’t he?
[1:17:40.8] JB: Yup.
[1:17:41.6] RT: Anyway, I think I need to get out of the recording studio to load in profit. All right, here we go. Hoping in the car, going back in time, knowing what you now know. How would you structure your training to get the best results in the shortest period of time but also keep in mind long term success? And we’ve been basically touching on this though, along the whole way here in the interview and how about we just kind of codify into a couple of good points for people that they could really apply? What do you got for us?
[1:18:06.0] JB: That’s a great question. The one that we’ve talked a lot about is this idea of kind of cycling and periodizing your training better. That one obviously we spent enough time on already but that would be something that I would do from the beginning. I remember when I was 19, 20 years old, I was training with some guys who were 10, 12 years senior to me and these were some of my mentors and I would try and train at the pace and volume that they had and it would wreck me.
There were weeks where I just would come home from the gym, sit in the dark, my darkened bedroom for hours after just ruined depressed, over trained. I would learn retrospectively I realize that they also had chemical enhancement that I did in at the time.
[1:18:54.8] RT: Yeah, that would make a difference.
[1:18:56.1] JB: They failed to tell me. I was training at that kind of pace and tempo and volume load without having the same advantages. That would be one, just cycle my volume and training smarter and better and per iodize better. The second would be including more restorative exercise. Everything had to be hardcore, high intensity and now, I live very close to the Bruce Trail here on Ontario, which is a beautiful trail mountain hiking.
That for me is like the most emotionally and physically restorative thing that I do. I try and get out through the spring, summer, fall as often as I can to hike. Hiking might not be it for you or for anyone else but it’s this thing that centres me, balances me, helps me feel restored. When I get back from a hike I feel like a million bucks. Whatever that is for you, do that, do more restorative exercise.
The third one would be find a way to be less stressed about my training and nutrition. Less rigid about my template. I’ll give you a great example. When I finished my undergraduate, I took some time off and I moved down to Miami Beach and I started personal training business and it was great. I was still so into my training and nutrition, so rigid about it that I was working with these clients who are like, super wealthy, actors and actresses, musicians, athletes, business people.
One of my clients who I got to be good friends with had a private yacht and a private island and every weekend they would go to the island on the yacht and it was like a rap video. I would never go because I had to train and I had to eat. I want to punch that kid i.e. me, young me in the face. I was so stressed and rigid about my training and nutrition, I didn’t get on the rap video yacht to go to the island.
[1:20:54.1] RT: You mean you weren’t in the video, “I’m on a boat,” that’s it? That probably resonated with you in a very different way than the rest of us.
[1:20:59.2] JB: Totally man, I was not on a boat.
[1:21:02.0] RT: Yeah, that’s your song.
[1:21:06.6] JB: Now, in retrospect it was a mistake man, it was such a mistake. I had this one client, a woman who was beautiful and I’m married now so I probably shouldn’t be talking about this. But she was a dancer and this beautiful German woman who is a client of mine and she wanted me to go on like a trip to Italy with her and through Europe and stuff and I’m like, “No, I got to train, got to eat,” such an idiot!
I would be less stressed about my training in nutrition. The question I have for most people, because I think a lot of young people are goal oriented people would be like, “Yeah, yeah but look, you accomplished success with it.” The thing is, yeah, maybe in one measure but I often ask people when it comes to your goal, what is your real goal? Is it to be huge or have bigger muscles or have just a bit less body fat?
Or do you want those things because you think your life will be better when you get those things? You know what I mean? It’s important to know the difference because if being huge and having the lowest possible body fat is the goal then yeah, you probably should stay off the boat but if living a better life is the goal and you think that being huge and having lower body fat will get you there, I can actually attest that some of these other things will actually help you have a better life too.
Make sure you know what you’re doing this for. If it’s for a better life then get on the boat, go to Italy you know? Have a little less stress about the other things. If it’s just to be huge and have the lowest possible body fat, okay, I guess, then you’ll be happy that you didn’t get on the boat. That’s my DeLorean moment. Cycle of volume and per iodize better. Include more restorative exercise and find a way to be less stressed about my training and nutrition, enjoy some of the other things in life.
[1:22:56.0] RT: Yeah, I went through some of that too man. I know exactly what you’re talking about, I think a lot of us have. You’d think you are that much more dedicated when the reality is, if you may be just kind of altered your schedule a little bit, you could probably have both worlds right? The best of both worlds and if you’re going to go away on a trip for a few weeks, I mean, come on man, a beautiful German dancing fitness client for a couple of weeks, I’m sure that those workouts that you did during those few weeks, you probably don’t even remember do you?
[1:23:26.6] JB: I do with sadness.
[1:23:29.7] RT: Exactly, that’s why, they’re imprinted because of that sadness that you had. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t have really remembered them. Sure, there’s a meet coming up that you’ve been training for months and months, okay, we understand. Anyway, okay JB man, we’re pretty much, this is it man, we’re wrapping it up, this was really good information man, holy man, there’s a lot of good stuff in here.
Guys, go back, man, if you’re listening to this while you’re training or traveling or commuting somewhere. I highly recommend going back with a pen and paper and taking some notes. There’s some really good info in here. There’s some subtleties in what you’ve said that just listening to it quickly, you may not grasp it so I highly recommend go back and give it a really good listen. There’s some very important points that you had made which have ramifications above and beyond the specific subject that we were talking about just in life in general and the quality of your life.
Thank you so much for taking the time and the extra time to come on here with us and share all that with us. Now, before we leave, I’m wondering if you can tell us where can we find out more about you and yeah, maybe a quick parting word of advice or something and then we could wrap.
[1:24:28.0] JB: yeah, absolutely. If you’re interested in health, nutrition, I don’t have anything to promote today but if you just want to find out what we do, you can come visit us at PrecisionNutrition.com whether you’re just doing it for yourself, you want to eat, move and live better or you’re a professional and you help others, we have tons of resources for both.
I even put something special together for all the listeners. I put together special URL so it’s PrecisionNutrition.com/podcast and if you go there, I’d put together some of our best, most popular articles of all time and some great free materials, some PDF’s on how to eat better or how to get your clients to eat better if you’re a fitness pro.We’ve got a packet for men, a packet for women and packet for fitness pros. It’s all free so you just go to podcast and I’ll send you all that stuff if you want.
That’s where you can find out more about me and you said something about parting wisdom and I think really wrapping this whole call, I just encourage everyone listening. There’s this idea that I have which is just live bigger and I feel like it’s such a good idea for this audience because ironically sometimes putting all your energy into getting a bigger body actually can shrink your life, it gets too small.
[1:25:42.2] RT: Yeah, that’s good.
[1:25:42.6] JB: It’s your diet, your training, your sleep, your recovery but the people who are living the best are living bigger, they accept more into their lives, more experiences, more experimentation, more love, more time with others, more variety of food and more acceptance and openness to ideas.
For everyone listening, I encourage you to think about your own situation and I ask, “Am I living big or small right now? Is trying to get a big body creating a small life?” You don’t have to change it all if you feel like it is a bit small. Just ask yourself what can I do today or this week to just nudge along that continuum, what’s one thing I can do to live a little bit bigger in the broadest possible sense? That’s what I leave people with.
[1:26:26.0] RT: Guys, we got to add philosopher to your bio. Some good stuff here. Life philosopher. Live a good life man, coach. Some good information guys and some of this stuff we’ve heard it before and we kind of brushed passed it, whatever, I’ll deal with that later but there’s a lot to be said when it comes to squeezing every last drop out of every moment.
And a lot of that is just simply by being mindful and making conscious decisions of how you want to live your life and spend your life. This is great man, this definitely covered material that I didn’t expect but thank you so much, I really appreciate this.
[1:27:01.2] JB: Thanks Ray, it’s been great being with you today and I hope everyone who spent the time listening today got something out of it and I really appreciate you being with us.
[1:27:09.7] RT: Excellent. All right guys, you hear me say it a million times, the closest thing to a shortcut is getting a mentor who has been there, done that, has taken others like you to the promised land, has come back and is able to take you there too. I’m telling you right now, when it comes to John, his team at Precision Nutrition, they are the best when it comes to learning how to feed and fuel your body properly for both health, performance, for aesthetic reasons, body composition reasons.
This is something that confuses a lot of people for plenty of reasons and the reality is, it’s all figured out and it’s systematized and it’s just — I can’t recommend his resource enough, I highly recommend you guys go check it out. Nutrition is a big part of this, it doesn’t have to be something that becomes some mystical, mysterious thing and it doesn’t have to become something that becomes to the level of some magical godly thing. It’s just the food that you’re eating, you just got to learn how to do it correctly and it isn’t something that you have to break your head against the wall to figure out, it’s all already figured out for you.
A lot of smart people over there have done this. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely check that out. Other than that, show notes page, John Berardi, if you go there you’ll be able to find this show here, you could re-listen to the episode, you can download it, you can also share it with others at social media, there’s a link to go to the various social media platforms we’re on to sign up which I highly recommend because then you get these come directly to you. His name is very easy. It’s John Berardi, right?
[1:28:35.4] JB: You got it.
[1:28:36.4] RT: Got it, so highly recommend that. Feedback, good bad or fugly guys, let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org, we read it all. Training, before and after photos, photos of your gym, that is simply, email@example.com send it over to us, the show notes page also, we’ll have links a lot of the goodies that John mentioned, there was a lot of them. Don’t forget to sign up for the tips, the free reports, all there. Other than that, put this stuff to use guys and until next time, train smart, train hard.
More Specifically in this Episode You’ll Learn About
- Dr. Berardi explains how he got his start in physical culture
- The birth of Precision Nutrition
- Look for the common principles within experts
- Just decide and make a choice
- What happened is the only thing that could have and that’s okay
- Don’t beat yourself up over your failures
- Listen to your body and know your limitations
- Instead of “All or Nothing”, it’s “Always Something”
- Recovery has to happen. Choose when to recover or the body will choose for you
- Learn to cycle your volume
- Genetic Dieting
- GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms
- Post workout shakes and testosterone
- Why you should be including more restorative exercises in your training
- Less stress when it comes to your training and nutrition
- Live Bigger
About Dr. John Berardi
Dr. John Berardi, is the founder of Precision Nutrition and is an advisor to companies like Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist.
On top of being a writer, researcher, professor, speaker, coach, and athlete, Dr. Berardi was also selected as one of the 20 smartest fitness pros in the world and one of the 100 most influential people in fitness.
In the last 5 years, Dr. Berardi and his team have personally helped over 30,000 people improve their eating, lose weight, and boost their health through their renowned Precision Nutrition Coaching program.
They also teach fitness professionals how to bring this level of quality coaching to their own clients through the Precision Nutrition Certification program.
You can connect with him by visiting his website PrecisionNutrition.com
FREE Report – Instant Strength: The one little trick that will instantly boost your strength by 10 lbs or more in your main lifts.
Training Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Dr. John Berardi talks about the health benefits of Ginger
Body Fuel – Dr John Berardi – Carbohydrates and Energy
John Berardi – Protein Cycling – www.precisionnutrition.com
Connect With Dr. John Berardi
Every person that we interview on The Super Strength Show has an opportunity to answer some extra questions that aren’t asked in the podcast. It’s a chance for our listeners to learn a little bit more about our guests and to get even more value from our show. Check out the answers that Dr. John Berardi provided below!
Can you share one of your habits that contribute to your success in the gym? When I hit my 40s I realized that training as hard as I can every week is ruinous. So I cycle my volume and intensity almost every week. This allows me to go hard sometimes, moderate other times, and easy other times. And I never require time off. This was hard to learn. But it’s my #1 success habit nowadays.
What are your favourite exercises? I compete as a masters level sprinter so my favorite exercises are actually sprinting drills. Although, in the gym, I rather like barbell power cleans and power snatches — or 1-arm versions of each — for 3 reps or less.
What are your favourite muscle groups to train? I don’t really train muscle groups, rather, I do movements to support my sprinting. Haven’t trained “arms”, for example, in a long time.
What are your favourite pieces of equipment? I have a pretty sweet home gym. I’ve filled it with olympic bars, bumper plates, kettlebells, and adjustable dumbbells. “Free weights” are my favorite.
What is currently on your workout music playlist? During some workouts I’ll either listen to Disturbed, Metallica, or something similar…or Hip Hop…depending on my mood. During other workouts — lower intensity ones — I’ll listen to podcasts to get my learn on.
How do you psych up for a workout or set? I do one-rep practice sets of increasing load.
What was one exercise or routine that gave you great gains in muscle mass and/or strength? Back when I was in my 20s, and focused on bodybuilding, Mike Mentzer’s HIT training blew me up in a surprising way. Although, training that way today would blow me up in a totally different way 🙂
What’s your favourite way to speed up recovery between workouts? To not destroy myself so badly that I need to speed up recovery. As mentioned before, I cycle volume and intensity so that I’m always able to handle my training load. Of course, in addition to that, my diet is really solid.
What’s your favourite meal? My favorite everyday meal is an egg/veggie omelette with bacon and huge veggie salad on the side.
What’s your favourite cheat meal and how often do you indulge? Pizza, meatballs, and salad. Ice cream for dessert. I only do this once in a while though as it’s important for me to maintain my body weight for track.
What supplements do you feel work well for you? I use quite a few supplements, some for performance, some for health. Daily supplements include: multivitamin, curcumin, green tea extract, digestive enzyme, probiotic, protein powder, greens powder. And workout supplements include essential amino acid blend, mineral blend, creatine.
What do you do to relax? My favorite way to relax and recharge is to hike in the woods. So I try to do that at least once a week in the spring/summer/fall.
Check Out What Others Are Saying on iTunes!
- Awesome PodcastApril 21, 2017 by Brooke Craven from United States
Ray, host of Super Strength Show, highlights all aspects of fitness and nutrition in this can't miss podcast. Ray and his expert guests offer insightful and inspirational advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle!
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Un canal con contenido muy completo e interesante. Gracias ppr toda la info!
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That Frank Zane interview!
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Really glad I found this. Lots of care into each podcast, Ray walks the walk and really understands what is being discussed. I really just have one request- stop the Delorean story.
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I used to lift heavy in my late teens and into my 30s and then other thinks like kids,job, house etc took over and I lost motivation. I'm 52 now and starting to show the signs of aging so I thought I better get back at it. It was real tough. Slower gains, easy injuries, slower recovery. Tough to get back into the grove. While searching for some motivating pod casts I came across the SSS pod casts. I listen daily and I can honestly say that it has changed my life. It's more motivating that a gym full of people. I have learned more in 2 months than I learned in 20 years. The host is great to listen to, is very knowledgeable and keeps me wanting more. The guests are great. I look forward to listening. We have a wellness committee at my work and I think I have the entire group as fans of the SSS. Please don't ever stop!
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Ryan inspires me to change my fitness mindset from just doing more reps to creating a body to live the life I want.
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Stumbled upon this podcast and very glad I did, fantastic guests with tons of evidence based information, highly recommended.
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Truly a great pod cast very informative and 100% applicable.
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Ray has some very interesting guests on here and does a good job of getting some useful information out of them.
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Impressed by the content and guest - keep up the great work!
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I came across this podcast through another great podcast (the RDella Podcast) and I must say I'm hooked. I like the action items that are revealed for us to do rather than just taking in more info. I especially like that is simple but not simplistic. I'm 58 years young and shows like this reafirm that I'm doing the right thing. I use Kettlebells, Sandbags, Barbells, Indian Clubs and body weight in my training. I don't look like a fitness model but I feel pretty good. Knowing more and refining techinque has been very important for me. The idea is not to just listen but to do something with the information. The format allows that. Thanks for your hard work.
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- Highly recommend this showNovember 30, 2015 by Altruistic? from United States
I love this show. Thoughtful host. Interesting guests. Since listening it, I have been giving more consideration to the mental side of training. It's a very encouraging show.
- Great show!November 14, 2015 by Rmolson from United States
I started training at the age of 41 obese and intimidated. The guests are an inspiration and encouragement toto keep moving forward on this journey.
- Amazing ContentNovember 13, 2015 by MattTucker93 from Canada
Love listening to this podcast. Amazing information and I always learn something from all the great guests. Thank you!
- Great showSeptember 15, 2015 by unadjective from United States
Some really cool guests that I wouldn't otherwise come across and Ray does a great job getting into their expertise. Almost always wish the show was longer.
- I love thisSeptember 12, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before. I listen to it while working out or driving etc. Just wanted to tell you to keep doing what you are doing. And would love to see more of people like Mike Israetel etc. Such as Brad Schoenfeld. Anyways love the show, thanks for making it.
- Very professionalSeptember 7, 2015 by Ayrshire Lad from United Kingdom
Always learning something new from Ray and his well selected line up of guests. Sometimes feels a little repetitive as Ray asks all the tried and tested questions to ensure the listener always has a takeaway..its laid back but focused and very professional !!
- I love thisSeptember 3, 2015 by Mvecdi from Canada
Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before
- The best podcast in the strength/ fitness industry!August 28, 2015 by Powerlifting101 from Canada
I recommend this podcast to anyone that trying to physically and mental better them self in every aspect.
- Excellent ResourceJuly 25, 2015 by J. Steinmann from United States
Some great interviews with a wide variety of people. I've listened to a number of episodes, and there's always some great information in every interview. If you're serious about strength training, health and fitness, or just want some good life philosophy, this podcast is worth a listen.
- Must subscribe!July 9, 2015 by Roddygo from United States
This is one of the best fitness podcasts. A lot of big names from various backgrounds and Ray asks good questions. He also knows when to ask follow up questions without getting too out of subject and having the guests share some more secrets
- Great Show!July 8, 2015 by Wes Kennedy from Canada
Ray is a great host and has a wide range of quality and professional coaches that have a TON of experience to share with you. Check it out!
- Excellent interviews!July 8, 2015 by another anatomy geek from United States
Ray does a fantastic job of asking articulate and interesting questions. I always really enjoy his podcasts and learn useful info! Keep up the good work!
- has become the best Strength podcastJune 21, 2015 by SuperHuman YYZ from Canada
I think its overtaken superhuman radio and motivation + muscle as the top podcast for those who love physical culture and the iron game. Ray does a great job interviewing, just the right amount of interjecting his ideas and opinions. The guest list is incredible, the who's who, past and present.
- The fountain of youth.June 10, 2015 by rroxanne from Canada
Very good . I love the article. I listened to it 3 times to write everything down. Lol. Bad memory. Oh and love Rays voice.
- just pure MEGA, Pig Iron all the wayMay 25, 2015 by Strongman1981 from United Kingdom
The Super Strength Show is an amazing and extremely informative resource for anyone involved in physical culture. With an enthusiastic and highly intelligent host and a who’s who’s line up of guests, a must for anyone to sit down, eat grapefruits and enjoy. great work chaps
- On another level! Once you hear one episode you will have to hear them all!May 22, 2015 by Chuck Osswald from United States
Super Strength Show starts with top performers/coaches/trainers from around the world and chunks down all the important pieces, directed towards any audience. Ray Toulany is unparalled in his ability to make information easy to understand as well as tease out the unspoken gems. You will be glued to your speakers for the entire episode and find yourself eagerly waiting for more. The care put into each episode is clear with a show notes page that helps the curious learn in any medium. Keep up the great work and thanks Ray!
- A fountain of Strength and training knowledgeMay 14, 2015 by HCF82 from United Kingdom
After searching for an age to find a good strength podcast I discovered the super strength show through Chris Duffins interview and have been hooked since. The format is excellent with some of the best voices in the world of strength and conditioning appearing. No nonsense straight talking, this really should be one of your first resources to go to if you are a coach or an average joe looking to improve in the weight room.
- fantasticMay 10, 2015 by gena_wallis from Australia
i enjoyed your session.looking forward to more staff.Victor from the Youngpreneurs Podcast!
- Well structured, interesting, and informative.May 2, 2015 by TEEJ888888 from Canada
I just listened to the first two episodes of the podcast. It's really good. The questions are solid, there is lots of good advice for lifting and for life, and Ray does a good job at interacting with the guest but keeping things on track and flowing. Ray is articulate and the guests seem professional and smart. Overall, I'm very impressed.
- My top 5 favorite show!April 16, 2015 by mrcdmag from United States
Great show with lots of valuable information! I always have my notebook open and writing.
- Top strength showApril 16, 2015 by Alastair7890 from United Kingdom
Very informative. Top guests
- Great Show!April 10, 2015 by SloneStrength from United States
Well prepared show. Amazing professionalism! Keep up the great work.
- AWESOMENESS CONTAINTEDMarch 4, 2015 by jamie729 from United Kingdom
This is an awesome podcast the format, the guests & the topics disscussed are all truely infomative. No BS contained the show always opens up new schools of thoughts and ideas to the listeners. keep up the good work.
- Subscribe, instantly addictiveMarch 2, 2015 by thebroadkaz from Canada
This show is amazing to listen to it motivates you not only for the gym but for setting and achieving goals in your every day life. Very motivating and positive. Truly helps to get you in the right frame of mind for life and for the gym.
- An absolutely ace show everytimeFebruary 24, 2015 by Tommy Eggleton from United Kingdom
This show is phenomenal! The format and repeated questions for each episode keep the show driving forward, the guests have had ample time to prepare excellent and considered opinions and yet the show never feels like anything but no-BS conversations on building seuperhuman strength and mighty bodies. The host, Ray Toulany, consistently does a marvellous job of drawing out even more from his guests than the material they've prepared and some of the stories that are teased out are superb. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody that trains, thinks about training, or simply admires strength sports and bodybuilding in general.
- Great ResourceFebruary 4, 2015 by Velvet Jones81 from United States
For someone new to the strength sports like myself this show has been a great resource. Thanks for doing this show. It has helped a lot.
- Paul McIlroyFebruary 2, 2015 by Paul McIlroy from United Kingdom
I've been an avid aficionado of all things strength and physical culture related for the vast majority of my entire life. As a former world champion powerlifter and trainer of world champions in different strength sports I can honestly say that Ray Toulany's Super Strength Show is an absolutely INVALUABLE resource for those wishing/needing to maximise their holistic understanding of strength, what it is to be strong, why that is important and how to best achieve it! The list of guests reads like a star studded "who's who" of strength and conditioning ROYALTY! Plus, more than anything the interviews are a ton of fun and provide a fascinating insight into the very best in the business and what makes them tick. It was my complete pleasure and privilege to be a guest on this amazing show (episode 37). If YOU claim to be serious about strength training and are not currently subscribed to THIS show, my honest advice is do so immediately...if not sooner!
- Super Strength ShowJanuary 26, 2015 by Joeino from United States
I love this podcast as I seem to pick up valuable information from each guest. Listing to this is a fun and productive use of my time
- Excellent InformationJanuary 26, 2015 by TaylorrrrNB from United States
These guys obviously do their homework, work hard to create an excellent show and know who to interview in the world of strength and fitness! I’m very impressed by what they have created and the quality of what they do. You need to subscribe! TODAY!!
- by Brandon RicheyJanuary 22, 2015 by Great Work SSS from United States
The Super Strength Show is a fantastic resource for all things concerning strength, fitness, and life. The multitude of guests provides tons of information and perspectives that every listener will appreciate. If you’re serious about strength and the physical culture this is a resource that you just can’t pass up!
- Very glad I stumbled across this podcast!January 22, 2015 by rk102 from United States
Great info from big-time guests in the strength and conditioning world. Keep up the great work, Ray!
- Awesome showJanuary 13, 2015 by Bonjower from Canada
The Podcast is the best I’ve encountered in the fitness/bodybuilding sector. The host has a great ability to pull the pertinent information out of his guests. The topics are great and you seem to be able to get useful information out of every interview! Awesome podcast!!
- Do yourself a favour and subscribeJanuary 1, 2015 by GameOverBoss from Canada
The amount of info and resources in the SuperStrengthShow is just incredible. All of this coming from guests that are the best of the best in their fields. Great questions are asked to these guys and some really insightful answers given (along with a few laughs). I hate wasting time and i'm always looking to evolve and refine my training. This podcast has saved me hours of digging through the crazy crap on the internet to find valid info. It has also introduced me to things i would have never thought to look up. Really can’t recommend enough.
- Master SFGDecember 24, 2014 by X-Fab69 from Italy
Awesome Podcast! A whole lot of great and useful information provided by very accomplished athletes and coaches with an extended experience on the ground!
- Charles CDecember 22, 2014 by CharlieConnely from Canada
Very impressed with the quality guests that the Super Strength Show is interviewing. Loaded with with actionable and inspiring information. Great production quality and daily episodes!
- Well done RayDecember 19, 2014 by Matt McWilliams from United States
Wow…Super Strenght Show Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Ray. Keep bringing it.
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