In this episode of the Super Strength Show, Dr. Mike Israetel takes us on his journey to becoming a professor of Exercise Science, Sports Psychologist, Coach, author, and the head consultant for Renaissance Periodization. During this interview, Mike and I dive deep into a number of topics including fitness fads, macronutrients, bulking vs. cutting, and the essential principles for better nutrition and health.
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[00:00:18] RT: What’s up Strength Maniacs? And thanks for tuning in. I’m pleased to welcome back today’s guest, Dr. Mike Israetel. If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to Episode 50 with Mike, it’s well worth the listen. It’s loaded with solid information about all kinds of stuff including his science-backed approach to training and nutrition, along with some really solid advice on overhead pressing, aka, the red headed stepchild of compound lifts.
The lift that basically, back in the day when somebody said how much you can press. That’s what they meant, they meant how much can you put overhead, not how much can you benchpress? Definitely a lift I think a lot of us can benefit from and improve upon man, because it gives you a pile of benefits. So that’s Episode 50. Definitely go back and check that out.
Now before diving into today’s interview, here’s a quick recap of our guest. Dr. Mike Israetel is a professor of exercise science at Temple University in Philadelphia and was previously a professor at the University of Central Missouri where he taught exercise physiology, personal training, and advanced programming for sports and fitness. Mike’s PhD is in Sport Physiology and he has been consulting on Sports Nutrition to the US Olympic training site in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Mike has coached numerous powerlifters, weightlifters, bodybuilders and other individuals in both diet and weight training. Originally from Moscow, Russia — that’s right, he’s an expat Ruski. Mike used to be, he’s prior competitive powerlifter, but he is a competitive bodybuilder and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grappler. That’s actually something I want to talk to him about; how does he manage to kind of balance all of these things without over doing it?
Mike is also the head science consultant for Renaissance Periodization, and the author of The Renaissance Diet, which he created as a guide to help effectively answer your nutrition questions with scientifically sound principles. He’s also part of the Juggernaut Training team, which is a testament to the knowledge and experience that he brings to the industry. He’s also written quite a few other books and we’re gonna probably touch on those as well. Because some of those, there’s one he recently released a few months back now, how was it described to me? It was described as a simplified version, or as the super training for the common man. And to take complex notions and make them easy enough so the average person who doesn’t have this crazy science background can comprehend it, that is an achievement and that’s something that he did with his co-authors, so definitely gonna talk about that.
[00:02:38] RT: Mike, welcome back to the show. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you here my man, and let’s get into this.
[00:02:44] MI: Well thank you so much for having me.
[00:02:46] RT: It’s good to have you here man. That first go around that we had you, you gave a bit of a workshop, a bit of a clinic on overhead pressing, which was great. We had some good feedback on that. And I look forward to getting into some more interesting topics. Your wealth of information, and knowledge, and wisdom, and experience, I can keep listing it off and on, and on, and on.
But the beautiful thing is, you’re not just in the ivory tower, but you’re the guy that can probably carry that thing around on your shoulder if you chose to as well. So that’s a good combination to have.
[00:03:15] MI: Well thank you so much.
[00:03:16] RT: No problem. Well Mike, before we get into this too far, is there anything you wanna add? The bio there, we covered quite a bit of stuff, but for those who haven’t had a chance to listen to the first go around, anything you think you’d like to add before we get into it?
[00:03:27] MI: Oh I dunno. As far as contact, you can check me out on Facebook. I have a public profile, come follow me and troll me. It’ll be a lot of fun. So I’m Mike Israetel on Facebook.
[00:03:38] RT: Okay. All right, cool. All right Mike, let’s get into it man. Prior to starting off the call you and I were talking and you mentioned something that kind of peaked my interest. And that is the idea of health as it pertains to nutrition, and nutrition as it pertains to health. The myths, the misconceptions, all of this stuff that’s out there, especially when you get into the world of training, bodybuilding, whatever you wanna call it, it gets pretty funky at that point in time. I’m wondering, how about we jump into that one.
[00:04:07] MI: For sure. Yeah, there’s lots to be said, but quite simply there’s — people are always on the lookout for very brief, very short, very straight to the point trick or shortcut as to what kind of things to eat and/or not eat in order to enhance their health. And you can see those reflected in the kinds of article titles you see on these very spammy websites. You know, “Five Foods to Avoid, Six Foods That Will Make Your Health Excellent.”
And a lot of times, this kind of sort of heightened desire to, maybe not oversimplify things, but certainly go in the direction of shortcuts gets people to miss the big picture. And in addition to that, you’ve got a variety of folks at organizations with ideological axes to grind, they all present their version of reality as they see it with nutrition and health.
And lot of that is very much tainted and not only does it go against the big picture, a lot of times it flatly contradicts the reality of nutrition and health, and I can give some pretty good examples of that that are particularly pernicious in the recent media climate.
[00:05:13] RT: Yes please, I think that’d be great. I mean considering it is kind of top of mind right now at this point, you know, there’s probably some people listening right now wondering.
[00:05:23] MI: Yeah, so you know one easy one is the idea that calories don’t matter much or at all for health. There’s another idea that calories don’t matter much at all for weight loss, which is pretty close to the definition of insanity. But there are people saying that, “You know, you really shouldn’t be counting calories, you shouldn’t be watching calories. Calories don’t matter. Hormones matter, food quality matters, some other things might matter.”
And/or, “It’s just particular kinds of foods that really make you fat. You know, junk food versus healthy food,” or just particular macro nutritionist, to say, “Oh that’s too much sugar, that’s too much fat. Or it’s not enough of one of these.” And that’s really the reason why people are unhealthy, that’s why people are obese. And of course that’s wrong in a number of ways.
A lot of times all of these claims have some small element of truth to them, but it is a very big difference to propose a large truth with some small elements that are also true, versus proposing that these small elements are in fact the only thing that’s true and large elements are not. And that really, if you take a percentage basis, if you say that, “Yes this 50% thing is good and this 10% is also good,” you’re up at positive 60% on influence of health.
If you say like, “Look, this positive 10%,” which in reality is just positive 10, “is really a positive 50%. But this positive 50 is really a minus 50 ’cause it doesn’t matter a lot, it could even screw you over.” That balance, you end up at like minus 40 or something like that. So the advice you give, if you think the big things don’t matter but the little things matter much more than they do, it ends up being net negative.
And drives a lot of people into pursuing, for a long time, techniques and strategies for weight reduction, fat reduction, and health enhancement, which simply don’t work. Often times making them even more unhealthy, and that’s very unfortunate. So I think it’s always good to possibly review some of the basic concepts as to what is it exactly about our diets that determines health and kind of get our bearings straight before we fall for these kinds of fads.
[00:07:11] RT: Yeah. We had a guest on recently who was talking just in general about training, how quite a few people will major in the minors.
[00:07:18] MI: Sure.
[00:07:19] RT: And it’s interesting you bring up the concept of hormones versus calories. What do you think? Do you think this has something to do with marketing at times, where somebody takes a kernel of truth and they try to blow it out of proportion? Supplement companies are sometimes bad for this, where a certain vitamin or a certain branch chain amino acids may have a certain affect.
And then they will take that and they will just blow it way out of proportion. Then the worst part of all is, even if it is effective, they normally don’t even have the effective dose in there. But anyway, that’s another story all on it’s own.
[00:07:49] MI: For sure.
[00:07:50] RT: But where do you think this is coming from? I mean I can imagine there’s probably a variety of sources, but what do you think is the cause of this and how can we avoid some of these pitfalls or falling into them?
[00:07:59] MI: Yeah. You know, so I very much am of the opinion that media and information in general usually works like everything else in the economy, on supply and demand function. Because we live in a free, highly competitive economy, most produce of any kind, including products services, including information services, are really demand driven.
So not much is gonna be said that doesn’t have a good ear to fall on. And it is said, you know, people have these zany ideas all the time that don’t really resonate with people, you just don’t hear about them for very much time or much at all. Imagine saying something that’s just radically unappealing to almost all people. That kind of article, if you write about it, it just won’t get the kind of Facebook shares. It won’t stick, right?
People will just either ignore it, or say it’s stupid and berate the person for saying it and you’ll almost never hear about it. A real fad needs to work on the demand side. There needs to be a demand from individuals to want to believe certain kinds of things. The general category of fads that I think run very easily and flow very easily through our information society are demands that purvey this illusion that it’s one weird trick, one simple thing, this demon that isn’t your fault and you won’t have to exert much willpower to fight it.
As opposed to the harsh, straight forward realities that people want to avoid. So when people are exposed to information that’s correct but maybe boring or just harsh, they’re like, “Ah you know okay, yeah. Fine that’s true,” or whatever. And then they see this other like, “Wait, no, no. We’ve hacked biology. It’s this one little tiny error, and if you fix it, just this one error, and it was never your fault to begin with, you’re just gonna drop weight and everything’s gonna be great. You’re gonna get healthy.”
People want that, and every single day there will be someone who is willing to give it to them. Whether or not that person, most of the time, actually believes what they’re staying. And I believe that true sort of criminal intent is actually very low in most industries, most of the time the people that sell the stuff that doesn’t work, really think it works from their own personal anecdotes and people they’ve talked to, etc.
And some people will sell stuff that doesn’t work even though they know it doesn’t work. So someone will provide it if people wanna hear it. So I would say, when people talk about, “Oh you know, who’s to blame?” People are to blame. People want shortcuts, and they will get them. I have this kind of analogy I use when I’m teaching my personal training class about shopping at a GNC for supplements.
GNC is a wonderful corporation, I’m sure — by the way, no financial ties to GNC, right? But just like any other capitalist enterprise, or for the most part, they’ll sell you anything you say you want and if you say you want something bad enough that doesn’t really work, they’re gonna sell it to you because who are they to doubt your judgement?
If you show up to a General Motors dealership and you look at a blue car and you say, “That’s a nice red car.” If enough people do that they’ll be like, “Yes, isn’t it nice and red? Do you want to buy a red car?” And they’ll say, “Yes.” “Great.” And they’ll sell you a blue car as a red car, not because they’re evil or anything, because that’s really what you wanted, right?
If we ask for fads and we really demand them by really becoming interested in them when we see articles about them, by falling for them, by trying them out, by telling our friends how great they are, we’re gonna get what we, not so much deserve, but what we want. As soon as we want the hard realities, there will be plenty of people to supply us the hard realities. It all comes back to individual desires of what kind of world we wanna see.
[00:11:34] RT: Yeah. I mean at the end of the day it’s personal responsibility. Now how much of this is conscious or unconscious on the part of the person who is looking to do this, or who is asking for this? Do you think people are actually aware of the fact that they’re asking for something that in reality is, this is not gonna give you really what you want in the long term.
[00:11:52] MI: Most of it I’d say is unconscious. There is some conscious elements to it, particularly within the concept of hope. People hope that it’s true, and any time somebody’s hopeful you can ask them. You say, “Okay, on the down low, do you really think this is gonna work? What if you had to take out another mortgage on your house to bet money that it’s gonna work?” They’d say, “Ah, you know, I don’t think so, but I’m hopeful.”
And the harsh realities are always there for us to face. “Eating a lower calories diet and choosing lower palatability, more healthy foods, that’s always there for us whenever we want. That we can try later, but hold on a second, Dr. Oz says that this miracle cure works. Let me try this first because I hope it’s true.” And on the real, do they really believe it’s true? A lot of people do, but some people don’t but they’ll try it anyway.
Because man, imagine Ray if you were just gonna save a ton of time, a ton of money, a ton of hassle, a ton of suffering getting away from your favorite foods, having to exercise, most people consider exercise a nuisance and rightfully so. It hurst often times, literally. You know, lactate accumulation, heavy breathing, it’s uncomfortable. If somebody was to tell you there’s a way around all of this, man, you know, most people would wanna listen to that. So we’re kind of falling for our own temptations at that point.
[00:13:04] RT: How do you think somebody can kind of be weary of this, or be aware and side step them? It’s almost as if — it’s interesting, it’s like if you reach a certain level of awareness, you realize that that little voice in your head that’s asking you to do something or is convincing you that this is good or this is bad, you will notice almost that you can observe that voice and it’s either — it’s a good chance it’s doing what you’re saying.
Trying to do you a favor, trying to minimize pain in your life and that subconscious aspect of you, I don’t think it’s trying to make you waste time and get frustrated by following a path that really just ends in failure more or less. But how do you think someone can get aware to the point where they catch themselves, “Okay, I’m having this thought, I’m having this desire to go down this path to pursue this diet plan, whatever it may be.”
And although I feel as though this is really what I wanna do, the reality is, “No, no, this is not what I wanna do. This is like just subconsciously this part of my brain, this ancient part of my brain that’s trying to look out for me. Although the reality is, this is not what I need to do, and I’ve got to side step this.” How do you think people can become aware of that and catch themselves from doing that?
[00:14:10] MI: It’s a two part solution I’d say. So number one — I’ll say number two first because number two comes in handy usually only after number one is employed. So number two is knowledge of the very basics of the subject with which you are dealing. In this case, nutrition for health, if you know the very basic concepts you don’t have to have a PhD from Harvard.
But if you know the very basics and somebody says something to you that sounds like it violates them, you’ve got to discount their statement in terms of probability that you think it is correct. When someone says, “Now I tell you what, it doesn’t matter how much food you eat,” as soon as whatever they say after that should sound like, “[inaudible noises]”.
Should be gibberish to you because you stopped listening because something is very wrong with what they’re saying. And you don’t have to know a lot for that, you can just read a couple of articles, basic nutrition blog or two and come to the realization that, “Oh my god, yeah this is making a huge mistake.” So that’s part two is knowledge, right?
Part one is actually something that we continuously fall for our whole lives, we shouldn’t. And this requires, what I would say, is some life experience for sure but not much in the way of formalized knowledge. It definitely doesn’t really involve a need for schooling of any kind. It is the idea that difficult things can be made incredibly easy. You have to be very skeptical of that idea.
That idea is sometimes correct, but not often correct and when you’re approaching something new and somebody claims, “Look, I know this thing is super tough, and I know a lot of people don’t succeed with it, but I’ve got a super simple, easy way to get it fixed.” That is when your skeptical baloney detector, so to speak, has to start firing on all cylinders because all you need is life experience.
How many times have you and I, for example, run into claims like that in our lives ever since we were barely sentient children all the way up to our current ages? Probably every other day something. And you learn from bitter experience if nothing else, that most of these sorts of claims just aren’t true. Now is it possible that some claims are true? Yes.
Usually that means there’s a lot of work that’s been done on the back end, so it’s not like this thing was easy. It was hard for someone else, easy for you, based on their experience. For example, how can you collate and sort every piece of information about your office life? Well Microsoft Excel. It’s unbelievable. The program is like some kind of miracle, it’s like some kind of sick joke for the office environment of the 1980’s.
Now can you imagine going back with Microsoft Excel to 1985 and being like, “Check this out, I just tripled your productivity right now.” They’d be like, “Oh my god. How is this possible?” “Well you see, a team of engineers took five years to develop this, right? They were paid exorbitant amounts of money, they failed numerous times, that you are on the end of that really bitter experience.”
That work has been put in for you and you pay a pretty price tag of several hundred dollars to use that program, right? Of course Bill Gates, as he should, gets very wealthy off that sort of thing. So the work’s been done somewhere for these miraculous seems. But when the work seemingly hasn’t been done anywhere, and someone’s like, “All you gotta do is this really simple thing, it’s super easy, one little trick,” or five little, or whatever they are.
“It’s gonna cost you no effort, very little time, just remember these little things and you’re gonna get on your way to health, you’re gonna lose weight.” Or in any field. If I’m like an auto mechanic, you’ve been to three mechanics and they say, “Look, your exhaust system is just completely fried. We’re gonna have to take the whole thing out and put a new one in. It’s gonna cost you $2,000.”
And one guy says, “Look, all you need to do is replace this tiny little part and it’s gonna cost you $20 bucks and I can just do this right now,” you’re gonna have to be a little skeptical because it seems like when your car, let’s say, is making these crazy noises as if it’s dying, you know a broken exhaust system noise, and you think to yourself, “Really? Just one little tiny part did all that?” Maybe.
The answer’s maybe, but you should be much more skeptical than most people are so when they watch a show or something, you know, I’m gonna pick on Dr. Oz. I have no problem doing that. So they watch Dr. Oz and he’s got some guy on there that says, “You know this supplement, you take it every day, it’s just 50 cents a day and it’s gonna zap your hunger, it’s gonna go away and you can eat still whatever you want, it’s gonna make you lose a bunch of weight.”
I mean my god, do you really think it works like that? And then all you have to do is check reality. Just go anywhere in the United States and see tons and tons of obese people and be like, “Well if this really works, why isn’t the FDA recommending it? Why aren’t people just all over it?” You know what I mean? “What’s going on?” So it’s one of those things where that comes before, I don’t think that’s much related to the process of formal education.
That realization that if it’s too good to be true and it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And then on top of that, some knowledge of the field. Those two combined, numbers one and two, they can get you out of probably 90% of falling for all kinds of claims.
[00:18:55] RT: Yeah. Yeah I mean it’s that all saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” right?
[00:19:01] MI: And so many people just miss that. I have a bunch of, you know, I’m from Russia and a bunch of my friends are just like me, Russian Americans. And our Russian parents and siblings and things like that will ask us, you know, sometimes you go back home and you visit and you’re at a dinner party and you know there’s all kinds of relatives and friends.
And they hear I’m the exercise and eating expert, then they come up to me with hope in their eyes and go, “Now I heard about this new diet that,” and then they say something that is incredibly unlikely to be true. And they’re like, “Do you think it works?” And I know I can tell what they’re feeling. They’re feeling, “Please say yes.”
[00:19:34] RT: Yes.
[00:19:34] MI: Because it sounds so easy. And I just wanna belike, “You still fall for this stuff all these years later? Really? Really? Have you ever done a simple and easy fix for anything that was really difficult?” Can you imagine somebody showed up to a peace conference and said, “Guys, we have a really easy fix for this war between these two countries that have been at war for 10 years.” “Really? You really think that’s how it works?”
Can you imagine these guys, presidents of two countries, being like, “Oh my god, what is it? Let us know.” Of course they’re gonna be like, “Get the hell out of here. Who is this person? Get them out of the room,” right? But for fitness and health stuff we tend to be like, “Oh wow, what is it?” Not all of us, but some of us just do that too dang much.
We have to come to the realization that things that are difficult to do, things that are uphill battles, they’re gonna require a lot of work and that’s okay and there’s intelligent ways, faster ways to do the work. But if we just think it’s gonna be in and out, easy quick, one or two tips and it’s never our fault then we’re in for a tough — a rude awakening.
[00:20:31] RT: Yeah, and the sooner we realize that, the better.
[00:20:33] MI: Oh you bet. A lot of people never realize that.
[00:20:35] RT: Yeah. In all areas of life. Say again, sorry?
[00:20:38] MI: A lot of people never realize that and they go fad to fad, fad to fad. And then as far as health, there’s people that want to lose weight all the time with various things. There are other people, and I’ve talked about this before and this is a concept that absolutely mesmerizes me. There are people in the fitness side of the health which are very healthy people. They eat very healthy, they’re very lean, they exercise a lot.
You know, our kind of people so to speak, in our fitness community, and they seem to fall for every single fitness fad, even though they do the basics very well, right? They add these little fitness fads seemingly every single one of them. For example: I knew folks that in the 1990’s were, just swore by the Atkins diet. I mean you had to be insane to be eating carbohydrates.
In the early 2000’s, they thought that avocado in anything turned into a health food. In the late 2000’s they were eating bacon and whole eggs like the world was coming to an end and then in just 2013-2015 coconut oil was gonna allow us to do a manned mission to Mars because if you put enough of it on your body you can survive outer space, right? So it’s just gonna make you immortal and coconut oil is the greatest thing ever.
These people as vociferously as they embrace the new fad, they reject the old fad that they were flag waving for just years ago. It’s just baffling to me how people can go from one crazy claim to the next and not realize that none of them pan out. That just — holy crap! I don’t even, it’s difficult to begin having a conversation with someone like that.
[00:22:12] RT: Yeah. The question becomes, “What are you looking for?” Are you looking for true there, are you looking for the end result or are you just looking for a “quick fix” more so than the end result? That’s what people seem to sometimes get fixated on that and the frustrating thing is looking at it from the outside is that if you put that thinking aside and we just focus on doing the work that has to be done intelligently, like you said.
Yes it may not be as comfortable as the “quick fix” at first thought, but the reality is it will be much better off because at least you’re gonna get somewhere and you’re gonna reach your goal at some point as long as you’re doing things correctly and what not and your goal is realistic. It’s not like, “I want to go into outer space with just coconut oil on me and be able to survive with no space suit on just the coconut.” Okay, that — now we’re getting crazy.
[00:23:05] MI: Ray, you must not be a coconut oil lover because your skepticism was very misplaced. If you eat enough coconut oil, anything is possible.
[00:23:12] RT: I’m slathered in it right now from head to toe.
[00:23:13] MI: Good.
[00:23:14] RT: I have a trampoline outside, I was climbing up to the roof and I was going up to see one of your — I’m pretty sure on the space station up there, I’m probably sure maybe is a distant relative or something. I was gonna jump up there, but I dunno? I guess it’s not gonna be the case now with all this.
[00:23:28] MI: For sure, for sure. You just need to eat more coconut oil and I think you’ll get there very soon.
[00:23:31] RT: Okay so here we go, we’re coming up on the break. Before we get to the break, how about you shatter some of these kind of misconceptions that are going on right now. Old ones, new ones, go for it.
[00:23:39] MI: How about I give a basic outline of what the basic principles are of nutrition for health and then maybe later we can challenge some of the particular claims if you’d like to bring some up? Or I could do a quick round of claims?
[00:23:50] RT: Let’s come back and do something a little bit more in depth. How about that?
[00:23:55] MI: Sounds great.
[00:23:56] RT: Yeah I think, let’s do this justice. We just kind of beat up on the false thinking that’s out there, and then we’ll come back and give some good info.
[00:24:04] MI: Great. I have more to say on that for sure.
[00:24:07] RT: Okay beautiful. All right guys, you’re listening to the Super Strength Show. We’ve got the good doctor on, Mike Israetel and we’re gonna be right back with him. Just hold onto your dumbbells.
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[00:25:23] RT: All right guys, we’re back with our guest, Dr. Mike Israetel, professor of exercise science at Temple University. That’s right, class is back in session. So here we go. All right, so we’ve ripped down some fallacies, some inaccurate thinking, some false paradigms. We’ve shattered them, broke them down. Okay, now time to build people up. Okay, what do you got for us?
[00:25:43] MI: Totally. So this is a topic of, very likely, a book I’ll be co-authoring with several other very qualified people in the future. But first it turns out that just like for dieting for body composition, there is a priority structure of principles that are very important. Principles that are a little bit less important and principles that are very much details when it comes to nutrition for health.
So I’ll just very, very broadly kind of summarize the state of the evidence as I see it currently. Probably something like 60% of the total magnitude of any nutritional change on health comes down to calorie balance. That is, if you eat a diet that is hyper-caloric, too many calories, that raises your body weight to unhealthy levels, that is the absolute worst thing you could do. And even if that diet is incredibly healthy, it’s gonna make very little difference.
Most of the problem with nutrition and health comes from over consuming calories for most people. Now of course, if you’re one of those rare individuals that’s very underweight, or for example bulimic or an anorexic or something in that nature, then you’re under consuming calories and that is the predominant factor for your poor health. Calories are king. And I would say account for more than half of all the variants in nutrition and health.
So if you look at anyone on the street and they’re unhealthy, we just give them a spot medical exam and they’re unhealthy and their diet is poor, you can bet very highly and win lots of money if you just say, “They’re probably eating too many calories.” Yes, that’s probably the biggest reason why they’re unhealthy.
[00:27:10] RT: Okay hold on, before you go the next point, very quickly, what’s considered unhealthy levels of bodyweight? Like what are we talking?
[00:27:16] MI: Yeah well so, you know, anything — so it’s really after you exit the healthy range for your body mass index, your weight to height ratio, anything to the far left or far right or that on the distribution, so too low or too high. This conversation will be about too high. Too low is very rare in the United States as is in full evidence. It’s actually very low in the Western World. So anything over a BMI of, from what I understand, 30 to 35 starts to get into a for sure health danger.
Now are there exceptions to that rule? Yes. If you’re muscular, can you be healthier at a higher body weight? Yes. But on average, the heavier we get, the worse it is for your health. So if an adult male who’s probably about five foot 10, let’s say in good physical structure, good bone structure, average kind of bone structure. If he weighs anywhere between — anywhere around 175 lbs or so, anywhere between 150 and 200 is probably healthy.
When that man starts weighing 225 lbs plus anything north of that, it starts to become incrementally less healthy up to the point where if you weight something like five or 600 lbs, at any one time during your life the doctors estimate how many years you have to live, it’s probably less than five, right? That’s how bad it is. So it gets exponentially worse and worse the heavier you get and there’s a very.
And I don’t want to say this the wrong way, there’s a very broad range probably between 30 and 50 lbs for most individuals within which they very much don’t have to worry about their weight, right? But a lot of us have exited that 30 or 50 lbs comfort window outside of our normal range. We have a lot of visible visceral fat, a lot of visible subcutaneous fat. If you look over fat, you’re probably over fat and it’s probably bad for your health.
[00:28:49] RT: Okay so again, you mentioned it very quickly, but the audience that’s listening right now is guys and gals who train. So they obviously have added muscle mass. Do they have BMI’s that take that into consideration?
[00:29:02] MI: Yeah. So unless they’re pro bodybuilders, it probably isn’t much of an issue because the kind of muscle mass you need to have to really, really throw off your BMI is pretty extreme. And at that point you’re so heavy that even that muscle mass taxes your physiology to some extent. So I would say that muscle mass, a little bit, thwarts that equation but not by much.
[00:29:21] RT: Okay.
[00:29:22] MI: So I’ll make it actually very simple for viewers, unless you are well over six foot five, anyone weighing an excess of 250 lbs needs to seriously consider the affects on their health, period.
[00:29:33] RT: Interesting. Okay.
[00:29:35] MI: And for any females under five six or five eight or so, anyone over 200 lbs is almost certainly in a condition at which their health is significantly degraded. And of course the primary way to get back to good health is to reduce calorie intake in some kind of structured way to make sure that a healthy bodyweight is obtained one more time.
[00:29:54] RT: Okay I think this is important for people who are listening who are in the “bulk phase”, right? A lot of guys, a lot of younger guys, we get to training and we just wanna be big — big, big, big — at almost all costs. And even if that means we get some flab blanket wrapped around our body, we don’t care. We just wanna get big and then we’ll deal with that stuff later. And you’re saying, “Be careful. Don’t get to the point where your body fat is so out of whack that you are looking for trouble.
[00:30:15] MI: Totally.
[00:30:16] RT: Okay.
[00:30:17] MI: Yeah if you don’t look like you train with weights anymore because you’re so fat, then you’re probably overdid the bulk, right? You should always look like a lifter. You should always have some semblance of abdominal musculature if you’re a male. If you’ve completely eliminated all detail in your abs you’re probably too over weight. If you’re female and you have stuff hanging off now, you’re probably over weight and that’s probably gonna cost you.
[00:30:39] RT: Yeah. Again, just to be clear, because females they tend to carry more body fat than males, hence this is why females are not gonna obviously have that etched ab look, mid section that guys do, okay? It’s just something to keep in mind guys, especially when you’re putting on size. Okay, I don’t wanna take you too far off the list you were just going through. I wanna make sure we get back to that very quickly.
But what I do wanna ask is, when guys are bulking and they’re putting on size, there should be a limit to how far “overweight” they get in terms of fat accumulation. At which point they should say, “Okay, I put on too much fat, I gotta do something here to reduce the fat.” At that point should they “end the bulk” or should they modify it somewhat so they reduce their overall maybe caloric intake, maybe increase some cardio to try to reduce the body fat on their frame to a reasonable level?
[00:31:28] MI: Well you can’t reduce any body fat when you’re still bulking. So you have to stop the bulk and you have to probably enter a maintenance phase for several months where that new muscle is gonna take root a little bit in your body so that you don’t lose it right away when you start cutting. After several months of that you probably should start cutting again, get back down to a lower body fat level. Your body will be more primed to gain muscle when you’re leaner again and you can go back through the cycle.
[00:31:48] RT: Okay so — okay see, so many questions I could ask you from just what you just said there. Okay, if we could just answer these quickly and I apologize trying to force you to…
[00:31:54] MI: Sure, no worries.
[00:31:55] RT: Okay, what do you mean by “your muscle take root”, in other words, so it sticks around longer? Like why will it do that if you stick in maintenance mode for a while?
[00:32:03] MI: Yeah so it’s been the experience of very man y coaches and bodybuilding and Strongmen and powerlifting that if you get up to a new weight that you’ve never been at before and you put on a lot of new muscle that you’ve never been at before, if you start cutting right away your body seems to not really try to save that muscle much. It kind of doesn’t really recognize it as it’s own. It’s, under the grand architecture of what’s called Set Point Theory.
Same thing happens with body fat. If you gain a lot of fat and then you drop a lot of fat really quick, it’s really not that big of a deal. If you’re fat for a while, your body thinks it’s supposed to be that fat. It’ll fight you tooth and nail when you try to drop that fat. So someone who’s been 300 lbs for 10 years, they’re gonna have a really hard time losing that weight.
Someone who’s been 250 for 10 years and then just really ballooned up to 300 over the course of a year, if they start dropping it right away, they’re really probably — their body still thinks, “I’m supposed to weight 250, it’s no big deal.” It’s not gonna fight that hard to get it off. Very likely the same thing applies with muscle tissue.
So if you can train heavy, add a new [indaudible] so you’re up to 225 lbs for the first time in your life. Stay there for a couple of months. Train heavy, train hard, and your body will very likely save a little bit more of that muscle when you start cutting. If not, a lot of what you put on you’ll just lose on your way down.
[00:33:15] RT: Yeah. And a lot of guys that have been training for a while, they will say, “I barely have to do anything now to maintain this size whereas when I first started I had to kill myself to add any weight.
[00:33:23] MI: Exactly.
[00:33:24] RT: And now that I’m at this size and I’ve been at this size for a while, I mean I could almost, I’m not gonna say that this is the 100% truth, but they could almost eat less than when they began and have a much heavier bodyweight and it sticks around.
[00:33:36] MI: That’s very much the case, that’s very true. Yeah very true. And they can take a week off of lifting, come back and put that muscle back on no problem. But if you just got to that new place, you’re not gonna put any new muscle back on because your body didn’t think you had that muscle anymore, or it doesn’t think you deserve that muscle yet. It doesn’t really label it as it’s own.
[00:33:52] RT: Okay. Next point then is, when you are at a leaner bodyweight, your body’s more primed to put on size. What’s going on there? Put on muscle, I should make that distinction.
[00:34:00] MI: Totally, for sure. So there’s a lot of interactions there with influence sensitivity particularly. So when you are eating a certain amount of food, if you’re very over fat and under muscled, then a lot of that nutrition that you consume, a lot of those calories end up going to feed the fat and not many to feed the muscle.
As you become larger in muscle and lower in body fat, your muscle actually becomes more nutrient sensitive so that any time you try to eat, train hard, and eat food, you’re more likely to feed that muscle instead of feed that fat. So this has been demonstrated in scientific studies several times pretty reliably now. Folks who are leaner when they start in mass gaining phase, gain more muscle and less fat as a percentage of their weight gain than folks who start off fatter.
And I can do much better than that. I can give you numbers. If you are starting a mass phase, you can be anywhere under 15% fat and put on some really good muscle size. If you’re over 15% fat, you’re probably gonna put on way too much fat as you gain. So before you decide, “I’m gonna gain a bunch of muscle,” get your body fat tested or just try to estimate it as best as you can.
If you know you’re in that 15% plus range, try to get to about 10% body fat, maybe a little under 10, and then slowly work your way back up to 15. You’ll see a lot of muscle growth there, right? If you start over 15% body fat, you can gain 30 or 40 lbs, maybe two or three pounds of that will end up being muscle. It’s a really, really bad deal.
[00:35:27] RT: Yeah okay, so here we go, law of diminishing returns. As you enter the bulk and you commence the bulk, and time starts to pass by, you start accumulating more and more fat ’cause you’re trying to put more and more calories into your face, into your system. This can become a problem, now it’s backfiring.
And a lot of us probably thing, “Well that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to up the calories, up the calories.” But if that results in the body fat percentage getting too high, then you’re actually doing the reverse of really what you want to do.
[00:35:57] MI: It really just puts a time stamp and limit on how long you can mass for if you’re bulking or massing for longer than about three months. A certain gain rate, or basically I’ll put it this way; no matter what weight you’re at, as soon as you get much above 15% fat, let’s call it 20%, it’s probably time to stop bulking because your efforts could be much better spent cutting out the fat and getting those really high levels of sensitivity again.
[00:36:20] RT: Oh and hold on, “cutting out the fat” you mean body fat, not [inaudible] fat.
[00:36:23] MI: Sorry, cutting out body fat. Correct.
[00:36:26] RT: Okay, all right. So at that point you went enter — okay so this term that I’ve heard, “lean bulking”, does that somewhat relate to what we’re talking about right now?
[00:36:35] MI: I’m not really so sure what that means, to be honest.
[00:36:36] RT: Yeah, neither do I. “Lean bulking dirty bulking,” I think dirty bulking just means seafood diet and just being a big at the dinner table.
[00:36:42] MI: Yeah, pretty much. Dirty bulking is like, “I wanna eat crap,” and that’s fine. You know, it all comes down to mostly the calories and macro nutrients. If you get your calories and macro nutrients right you can have junk food every now and again on a mass phase and it’s not gonna affect your health much, it’s not gonna affect your size much.
But if you’re supposed to be 50, you know, 500 to 1,000 calories over your maintenance when you’re bulking and you’re 1,500 or 2,000 calories over your maintenance every day, then you’re just gonna get super fat really fast, and that’s not gonna pay out. The lean bulk, it’s good to eat good quality foods, that’s most of the food. But if you take that too far, a lot of times you just don’t generate the kind of calorie surplus that you need.
A lot of these people that say, “Oh, I’m lean bulking.” So a lot of these people say I’m dirty bulking. They’re just lazy and they’re gonna get fat. On the other hand, too many of the people that say, “I’m lean bulking,” are just fat phobic. They don’t ever wanna see body fat on their physiques, they’re addicted to looking good year round, and there are the people you see that never put on any muscle size.
They’re the same year, after year, after year. They go, “Oh, I’m lean bulking bro. I’m gonna gain two pounds over the next six months. Like, “Okay, good luck. You can’t even measure that on a scale. These people look the same all the time, you’re gonna have to accept that there’s some level of fat you’re gonna have to gain with muscle and you have time to cut it out. But there’s a middle ground there, right?
You’re not gonna say cause you’re gonna say, “Oh, I’m gonna gain some fat, whatever, I don’t care bro. I wanna be huge.” And then gain like 15 pounds of extra fat that you do’t have to. But on the other hand, if you don’t wanna gain any extra fat you’re just never gonna get big.
[00:38:01] RT: Okay. Okay, all right. Yeah so you need to be a little bit more measure and not just your food intake, but just your overall game plan. You can’t just blindly go into things and just…
[00:38:11] MI: When does that ever work?
[00:38:13] RT: Well never. I mean that’s the thing, right? I mean this is essentially what we’re talking about here, applies in all areas of life, which is really the way the majority of these conversations go and the bits of advice and experience and wisdom we get from our guest. It applies everywhere. So if your idea of bulking is becoming a buffet molester, no, that’s not really what you should be doing. That’s not gonna be very smart.
If anything, that’s going to short circuit the bulk in that it shortens it like you mentioned a moment ago. And you’re not gonna get, yea as much quality muscle gain out of it as you could potentially have. Okay.
[00:38:42] MI: Totally.
[00:38:43] RT: All right, you had a second point and I took you way off track. Do you remember what the second point was?
[00:38:49] MI: Well so calorie balance is king, and then here are further details for f=dieting for health that we could look into. Now mind you, this is not body composition, this is health. As you died for body competition, the things you eat can alter your health to a variety of extents. Mostly it comes down calories as the biggest influence on diet and health. Probably in second place is food composition.
What the sources are of the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and calories that you eat — and there’s a couple of broad categories. I’ll just cover them really quick. For protein, high quality animal protein sources are best, and you have to have enough essential amino acids to make sure that you’re healthy. Ir you’re really, don’t a really crappy version of the vegan or vegetarian diet and you don’t eat enough complimentary protein sources or essential sources, you’re gonna be in put health even if you are getting enough protein because you’re not going to be able to get enough essential enough amino acids.
For carbohydrates, sources of carbohydrates tend to be, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They tend to have lots of phytochemical, fibre, minerals, and vitamins, all right? Those big general classes of very health-enhancing compounds. If you consume all of your carbohydrates from Gatorade of sweet tarts candy that’s got nothing in there except carbohydrates and none of those other good things. So the sources of food, if they tend to be whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you’re gonna be much healthier. I’d say about 20% or so for that whole category of food composition. It’s gonna make a meaningful difference.
Lastly, our fast sources. The healthiest kinds of fats to eat in a large number seem to be monounsaturated heavy fat sources. Olive oil, canola oil, nuts, nut butters, and avocados are good examples of these. They are the kinds of fats you wanna eat for the most of your fat intake. Some other kind of polyunsaturated fats are okay, even some saturated fats are okay in moderation, but excess amounts of saturated fast and trans fats are really, really bad. So we wanna stay away from those.
So now that we’ve handled calories, where those calories are coming from should be lean proteins, like usually if you’re vegan or vegetarian that’s totally cool. You have to make sure they’re complete and/or complimentary. So something like soy, quinoa, etc. Or you can compliment your proteins, beans and rice together. If you’re not vegan/vegetarian, you get your proteins from lean protein sources; fish, chicken, etc.
That gets you off to a good start for health as opposed to you know, for example, getting all your protein from like protein powder or something like that, right? So you start there and then for the carbohydrates, base most of your carbohydrate intake on whole grains, fruits, and veggies to get that phytochemicals, fibre, minerals, and vitamins. And in addition to that, your fat sources should mostly come from those healthy fat source column or for that healthy fat sources, and should not come from too many saturated fats or too many trans saturated fats.
That whole thing right there probably counts for about 20% of health. So is it enormous? No. But is it significantly different? Yes. So there is such a thing as “healthy food”. I just described it. So if you’re eating a bunch of Pop-Tarts and you’re eating a bunch of just weird stuff and a bunch of saturated fats, bacon and Pop-Tarts all day long, but your calories are in order, look, I can’t lie, you’re probably on your way to pretty good health, but not the best health you could be.
If you focus on healthy foods then it’s really, really good because now you’re up to 60 with the calories percent, 20 with the healthy foods, and now you’re up to 80% of doing everything you can to be as healthy as you can in your diet and you’re well on your way. And there’s just a couple other really quick details left and you can have a very healthy approach.
[00:42:13] RT: When you said the whole Pop-Tarts/Bacons as long as it fits the caloric needs and it’s within those limits or parameters, or maybe think of it, if it fits your macros.
[00:42:22] MI: Correct.
[00:42:23] RT: Input on that? Opinion on that?
[00:42:25] MI: Yeah it’s great as far as understanding nutrition. It’s great for body composition but all of the people who, literally I know the people personally that made up the term “if it fits your macros”. They are the first people like, “Yes, a couple of foods here and there are totally cool, if they fit your macros, but most of your intake should be what I just described, especially as it concerns health.”
So “if it fits your macros is great”, as long as you have a diet fundamentally based in health. Can you eat a little brownie here, some pizza there? Totally. But if you eat only brownies and pizza and fit your macros with them, you’re gonna be off to okay health, but certainly not as good as you could.
[00:42:57] RT: Fair enough. I mean again, if it’s too good to be true, I mean come on guys. I mean if we’re pounding like cheese cake into our face and greasy food, even if it fits your macros, it’s just too god to be true. We just go back to saying that again. I mean a little bit here or there, I mean this isn’t rocket science.
What you’re describing here is not rocket science. You’ve got to eat healthy, whole foods. A little bit of junk food here or there is fine. I mean this is like advice that people hear, and it’s been around for a while.
[00:43:21] MI: A long time.
[00:43:22] RT: But just we want something different. Maybe because we just like change, maybe easier. Who knows?
[00:43:28] MI: For sure.
[00:43:29] RT: So that 60% of the health factor is calories, that you’re getting the appropriate amount of calories, they’re not out of whack. Not too little, not too much. The other one is eating “healthy foods” is the other 20%. So that gets us up to 80%. What do we got left?
[00:43:44] MI: So we’ve got two fives and one 10. The first ten that’s left is macro nutrient amounts. So are you getting enough protein? Are you getting enough fat for essential health and survival? And, are you getting enough carbohydrates to be active throughout the day and to have high physical activity rates and thus as well, carbohydrates are the primary sources, high carbohydrate foods, whole grains, fruits, veggies are primary sources for phytochemicals, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
So in that way we have to have some minimum of carbohydrate and so the huge thing I wanna emphasize about macro nutrient amounts is their minimums and when the minimums are met, we can fit the rest in with a broad range of foods. I’ll make a very good example, if you get enough healthy fats in, essential fats, and you get enough essential carbohydrates in, which s a very, very small amounts for people of average size, maybe 30 to 50 grams of those nutrients per day.
The rest of your diet can come from protein and you’ll be very, very healthy. On the other hand, if you really like carbohydrates, vegans and vegetarians do this all the time, they’ll consume a minimum amount of protein, enough to make sure they’re healthy, a minimum amount of fat, and consumer 80 or something percent of their diet through carbohydrates, as healthy as they can be.
So if we have this idea that carbohydrates are bad, we’re gonna have to dumb that immediately because every single vegan or vegetarian walking around is a gigantic disproval of that idea. Lastly, if you really love fats, as long as you’re getting a minimum amount of protein, as long as you get a minimum amount of carbs to get those phytochemicals, micronutrients, etc.
Then what ends up happening is, you can eat 80% of your calories or something from healthy fat sources and be clean as a whistle, super healthy. So if we’re gonna demonize any particular macronutrient, we’re gonna be off to a really bad start because there’s no data to support that. As a matter of fact, there’s lots of data do say that if you have the minimums of those three micronutrients in place, you can eat a very “unbalanced diet” so to speak.
Very heavy in one or two macronutrients, very low in the other. As long as you meet those minimum, there’s a huge diversity of diets we can eat. Case and point, if you eat tons of protein, as long as you meet those minimum and everything else is good, you are as healthy as could be. If you eat lots of carbohydrates, healthy as can be. If you eat lots of fats, healthy as could be.
As long as your calories are in order, as long as those are coming from healthy sources and meeting those minima for macronutrient amounts.
[00:46:11] RT: So so much for fad diets.
[00:46:13] MI: Yeah I mean, so the thing is a lot of fad diets fit into one of those and say, “Look you have to eat lots of fats, carbs are really bad for you, proteins are okay, but we’re gonna use super high fat diets ’cause fats burn fat. They’re super healthy, blah, blah.” What ends up happening is people eat very few carbs, but enough of them to meet those minima, very few proteins, but enough, and lots of fats and they get healthy ’cause their calories are in order and their food composition is in order because they’re eating healthy fats.
And they say, “Look what this diet did for me. It made me super healthy.” But vegans or vegetarians or something like that, can eat a crap load of carbohydrates and people say, “Oh you know,” you’ve got 10 books a day now coming out saying, “Carbs are the devil, carbs cause obesity.” There are vegans and vegetarians that consume 80% of their calories in carbohydrates but, from mostly healthy sources.
And their calories are in order and they’re making sure that they’re consuming enough protein and fat. They’re some of the healthiest people in the world. They’re damn near immortal as far as we can tell, right? So if it is your goal to demonize a certain nutrient and say, “Now this fat is why we’re fat. Carbs are why we’re fat. Proteins are why we’re dying of cancer,” and all these other diseases. You are going to be flatly wrong.
And the really good news, there’s a huge diversity of macronutrient types that you can take in and still be incredibly healthy. So you’re never gonna look at someone’s plate and be like, “Now, you nee to be eating more protein or else.” Bull crap. That’s not true as long as they’re getting those minima and they’re going healthy sources and their calories are in order, you can eat a huge variety of different macronutrient compositions.
[00:47:31] ST: Okay. Is there certain varieties of macronutrient compositions that lend themselves to certain goals in terms of endurance or bodybuilding or powerlifting?
[00:47:41] MI: You bet. You bet. At that point the carbohydrate minimum becomes much higher and the protein minimum becomes much higher and you fill the rest of everything with fat. so when you have fitness goals, you still stay within the general arc of that health. Cause remember the health is jus really bare minimum for those. So almost every fitness goal will still meet the minima for health.
But the particular ratios start to become more specific, especially if you’ve picked a sport that’s specific. Bodybuilders have a higher level of specificity, endurance athletes have different needs, but none the less, a higher level of specificity and you can’t exit out one way or the other from that.
[00:48:13] RT: Okay. Now is it possible to maintain health as you, I guess, become more advanced in, I guess a variety of endeavors. Whether it’s endurance running, if it’s bodybuilding, is it possible to become, let’s say a bodybuilder, advanced levels of muscle mass, decreased levels of body fat? I mean that essentially describes you. Is that possible to do that and maintain health?
[00:48:38] MI: Yeah, you know so there are a couple of sports in which most sports, high levels of performance and health go pretty much hand in hand. There are a couple of sports that are a very big exceptions to that. Endurance sports, pretty much all of them, the people who are very high level are usually very healthy because they have very healthy body weights, very low levels of body fat, very high levels of physical activity, and they eat a diet primarily of good foods. They’re very healthy.
So all high level endurance runners in the world, cyclists and stuff, they’re very healthy people, simply pursuing their performance. The problem we get into are sports in which the heavier it is, the heavier you can be, the better. Being lean is not actually very bad for your health. The process of getting lean can be stressful, but being lean itself isn’t very bad for you. As a matter of fact, it’s very good. Bodybuilders, often times pre-contest, have incredibly good blood work.
Very low resting heart rates, very low blood pressures because they’re so lean. If you get lean enough it’s very hard to be unhealthy, even if you have a lot of muscle. However, on the other side, when you’re massing, when you’re bulking, when you’re carrying a little bit of extra body fat, and especially if you’re in a sport like the super heavyweight powerlifting, or Strongman.
As you start to weigh 3-350-400 lbs, you are making distinct tradeoffs for health. Strongmen, Sumo wrestling is an extreme version of a sport like that, is not good for your health. It is not possible to be the the best possible Strongman and be as healthy as you could be. You’re distinctly trading off your health and longevity to be as good as you can.
[00:50:03] RT: Yeah, because at this point, you are going so above the BMI level that you should be at, it’s way out of whack, both in muscle mass and in fat mass.
[00:50:10] MI: Totally, totally.
[00:50:12] RT: A natural trainer, is there is a chance for a natural trainer to put on the amount of muscle required to put themselves out of the healthy range? You kind of addressed this earlier. I just wanna ask it directly.
[00:50:21] MI: Yes it is, but not as far as somebody who’s using drugs. And drugs independently hurt your health too, so it’s kind of a double whammy, right? The drugs you took hurt your health and where they got you hurt your health. So it’s kind of a two-pronged sword. Bodybuilder, most bodybuilders that are natural will be some of the healthiest people you know. Bodybuilders that are on drugs, most of them will be some of the healthiest people you know.
The really, really, really big ones, they’re gonna make some serious health trade offs. And some of the biggest ones, they have unfortunate health problems that are actually pretty clear in media and every now and again you hear about them. So if you start to be north of 250-270 lbs on your mass phases, you’re probably using compounds and being of a body weight level that is not very healthy.
[00:51:03] RT: Yeah there’s a lot of people who come up, you know, they surface whenever you hear reports in the media, somebody has let’s say died because of steroid use of something. There’s a lot of people that’ll come out and say, “Well there’s no studies that directly prove that. There’s no studies that directly prove deaths or they link steroids to deaths.” Is there any truth to that?
[00:51:22] MI: Yeah of course. Cause you can’t get huge cohorts of bodybuilders to follow for their entire lives. That kind of study is almost impossible to do, and certain news media in general has wildly exaggerated the health costs of steroids to the point where some of the kind of claims that they’ll have, just five minutes of Googling will prove them wrong.
For example, they’ll say, “Steroids are harmful to the liver.” Well it’s really only oral steroids that are harmful to the liver first of all. And second of all, it’s only their harmful very reversibly in a no permanent way to the liver if they’re used in any sort of rational fashion. Just knowing that, automatically, oral steroids really you can’t really say they’re bad for your liver because there’s not much — if you really screwed up, right?
So just the same way, detergent bleach is bad for your health if you choose to drink it. But not it’s not a good idea to drink it, right? So if you abuse a variety of substances they can be bad. Proper informed use of a variety of anabolic steroids and all sorts of other such drugs, results yes in some negative effect on your health.
But it’s not enormous, unless you take volumes of these drugs, durations of these drugs, and to get your body weight up to crazy high levels, then you start paying incrementally more of a price. so if you tok every drug under the sun, but you’re a lean 200 lbs, and you only took a ton of drugs maybe for five years of your life, you might die at age 75 instead of 80 like you were supposed to.
However, if you are 315 lbs in your off season, you’ve taken every single drug for as long as you can remember, you’re gonna be paying a price that maybe 15 or 20 years of reduced longevity and sometimes even more if you really play your cards wrong. So there’s definitely some degrees and some measures there.
[00:52:54] RT: Okay. So for those of us, even who are natural who are just focused on “let’s get as big as possible”, you’ve gotta pay attention, you gotta be careful.
[00:53:02] MI: So you gotta pay attention, stay as lean as you can during the process, don’t get much over 15% fat, make wise life choices, keep your stress under control, eat healthy, and you have almost nothing to worry about. But of course, stay in contact with your medical professional, get physicals, get blood work done, especially as you get older, to make sure you’re on the right side of things.
[00:53:20] RT: Okay, well I was just gonna ask you, we’re pretty much at the end of the show, what you can give us for parting advice. That basically sounds like that’s the parting advice. Is there anything else you wanna add to that for parting advice?
[00:53:30] MI: That’s about it. Just really super quick mention, nutrient timing, how many meals you eat a day, how you split that up, only 5% of a variance in health if you wanna eat two meals a day but they’re all very good meals and your calories are in order, that’s totally fine. If you wanna eat six meals a day, that’s totally fine. As far as health, it’s minimal impact.
Body composition has more of an impact, you want to spread your meals out a little further, but for health it’s not a big deal. Supplements are the last 5%, a multivitamin, multi mineral. Sometimes a vitamin D supplement and maybe just a couple of other things I won’t even mention, have a tiny impact on your health that’s positive. But look, if you keep your calories in order, if you’re not at an unhealthy weight, if you eat primarily good, high quality, mostly unprocessed foods.
If you get at least a minimum of protein, carbs, and fats and you do sensible timing and you take maybe a multivitamin every day and you make sure that you that you stay in contact with your medical professional and do a yearly physical, you are doing everything you can for your health. No fads, no crazy pills, no potions, and no need to eliminate one nutrient required.
[00:54:28] RT: Alright, there you go. I mean that’s fairly straightforward stuff, which is good because — go for it.
[00:54:34] MI: Maybe too straightforward for most people to wanna internalize as the truth, you know? Some things that are very straightforwards it’s like, “Ah dang it, isn’t there anything cooler?”
[00:54:42] RT: Well what I was gonna say is the beauty with that is, it’s actually something that you can do. It’s actionable. It’s not like you need a massive support team to help you actually pull this stuff off.
[00:54:49] MI: Totally.
[00:54:50] RT: Okay Mike, at this point, you’ve got a couple of books man that you’ve written. You’ve written books on nutrition, on training, let’s just go down the list very quickly and let us know where we can find out more about you.
[00:55:01] MI: Totally. So I’ve written Renaissance Diet, Scientific Principles of Strength Training. I helped co-author Renaissance Women, which is a female diet book that we have at Renaissance, a company that I work for. And RenaissancePeriodization.com, you can find all these books and more. We sell diet templates, we sell training templates, we sell advanced coaching services, the company that I work for, Renaissance Periodization, that I helped to start.
We have currently nine PhD’s in employment, so these are some of the most qualified people in the world. A lot of them are world champions or very high level athletes in their sports. If you want advanced personal coaching and dieter training, Renaissance, we’re never gonna say, “We’re the best,” but damn we’re good. So come see us if you’re into a very high level of information. I can promise you really good stuff, I can’t promise you any fads or any BS ’cause we don’t deal in that stuff.
[00:55:49] RT: Yeah. What you promise is results man.
[00:55:52] MI: Yeah, unfortunately that’s all we have. No magic potions, but we’re working on it.
[00:55:57] RT: I say “promise results”, but there’s a caveat. I mean obviously you’ve got to put in the effort obviously and follow the…
[00:56:02] MI: That’s right. If you’re not motivated to do the work, don’t bother emailing us, because we have nothing to say.
[00:56:07] RT: Yeah. Exactly. Okay well, that’s that. Guys, I’ve got to highly recommend Mike’s stuff. I mean Chad Wesley Smith, you heart that Mike’s affiliated with JTS strength. Chad Wesley Smith is a great guy. His whole camp over there is fantastic. Dr. Quinn Henoch, we recently had him on the show. Great, great guy.
For them to be willing to team up with Mike and vice versa, that says something, okay? Mike’s work is excellent stuff. As you heard him give that example a little earlier with Excel, you know, these guys spent 5 years trying to figure out this thing sand, “Boom! Wow, what’d ,you know? Three times, productivity all of a sudden. You know, you can increase it by 300% or 3,0005, whatever it may be.
That’s on the back of a lot of hard work and Mike, what he’s done is take a bunch of different works, studies, complicated scientific stuff, his own experience and he’s taken that and he’s basically distilled it down in a manner that’s very actionable and you can put it to use and not get caught up in all the extra stuff that, for somebody like us who’s just looking to train and get benefit from the information, we don’t need to know all this stuff, right?
Essentially what he’s done is he’s taken all these complicated feedback and whatnot and has simplified it to like what you see in a dash of a car. You’ve got your speedometer, you’ve got your oil gauge, you’ve got your volt meter, and I mean that’s about it. I mean you don’t really have much more than that because you don’t need much more than that to actually operate the vehicle and get the full use of out of it that you need.
And that’s essentially what he’s done with the multitude of books that he’s worked on. So if any of this is resonating with you, I highly, highly recommend that you check out his stuff. You’ve heard me say this many time, we kind of touched on it during the episode, during this interview here, there’s no real short cut in life man. The closest thing to a short cut is doing it right the first and I sound like a broken record and that’s on purpose because I just cannot emphasize this enough.
And the only way you’re gonna get anywhere near to doing it right the first time is to have somebody who’s been there, done that before guide you through the process. And there’s a couple of ways you can do that. You either purchase somebody’s book, video course, whatever it may be. Find somebody that you can work with, you know, maybe somebody at your local gym. Or hire somebody to work with you.
And you heard Mike, he has the products, books and whatnot, and they also have the coaching as well. I highly recommend, if any of this stuff resonated with you, to take a look, check it out. Trust me, the money that you spend on this quality type of information, as long as you understand it and apply it the way it’s supposed to be applied, the results you will get will far overshadow the few bucks you had to spend on it.
And more importantly, the amount of time that you save from avoiding wasting effort on stuff that just doesn’t make sense or isn’t really what you need, I mean you can’t buy back time. That’s just, you know again, I’m not trying to hawk his wares by any means, but it’s just something that I just — I know what it’s like to be out there, to be training, doing your thing, not really knowing what you’re doing and then when you finally figure it out, if you figure it out, you look back and it’s like a double whammy.
It’s like, “Yes! I figured it out.” But then you look back and go, “Oh my god, all that wasted time and effort. Holy moly. If only I’d have been doing this correctly from the get-go.” So again, if anything Mike said or any of the other guests say resonate with you, go check their stuff out guys. I just — I’m not getting paid anything for this, I’m not getting any commissions, none of that stuff.
I just truly believe in that; find the wise men to learn from and this is one of them right here, you’re listening to him right now. Just take a look at some of the photos of Mike and some of his feats and abilities, it goes to show you. And he’s not just guy that just got, you know, he just lucked out. This guy’s spent a lot of time under the bar and with his nose in between books, studying and working away and doing his thing. So, can’t recommend it enough.
Okay so SuperStrengthShow.com, you put in Mike’s name. It’s Mike, real easy, Israetel. And the show notes page will come up. We’ve got two episodes, Episode 50 is the first one, this one here obviously will be the second one. You could listen to it, you could download it, you could share it on social media. We really appreciate that. There will be links to the various podcasting platforms we’re on, and if you can obviously go there to listen to them, but if you can actually sign up it would be better.
Cause that way there the shows come directly to you. That’s probably the best way to do it so you’re not constantly having to remember to check in and see, “New episode?” ‘Cause they’re coming out all the time. Also, five star reviews; if what we’re doing here, you think it deserves it, we truly appreciate the five star reviews. Everybody who’s done that for us so far, thank you so much. They mean a lot to us, they allow the show to come up higher in the rankings, more people get to see them, they get introduced to the show, they get to benefit benefit from the show.
It’s good for us at the show obviously, but more importantly, it’s good for you because amazing guests like Mike here, you know, this guy’s busy. Okay, this guy’s got his own training, he’s got his own work, he’s also a professor at a university. I mean the guy’s got a full plate. He’s got his personal life. For him to carve out some time to come here to share for free what he’s learned and help us benefit from that, says a lot.
And he’s not gonna do that if he’s just coming just to talk to me. As much as I’m sure he loves listening to me, I mean at the end of the day…
[01:01:00] MI: It is great.
[01:01:02] RT: Yeah it is, isn’t it? At the end of the day he wants to make sure this is a platform that’s worth his time, same with the other guests as well. So five star reviews guys, if you can give them to us we really appreciate them. Thank you. Feedback — good, bad, or fugly. Send them over at email@example.com, don’t hold anything back.
Also training fotos, maybe your garage gym or home gym setups, before and after photos, even if you’ve got some videos you wanna share, links to YouTube. Send them over, firstname.lastname@example.org, we love sharing them. Sign up for the free report, it shows you how to maximize your strength while minimizing your risk for injury, very important.
You’ll also get some tips with the newsletter and you just sign up for that whenever you’re on the web page, or on the website. All the pages have ways to sign up for it. So one last time, thanks a lot Mike. I really appreciate you coming on. I would love to have you come back on. As you could tell, this one topic alone spins off into so many other ones.
I mean we could talk about supplements, we could talk about — there’s so many things that we could talk about. The amount of protein that’s required, do you really need a gram per pound? Is it a gram per kilo? I mean what is it? There’s so many of these questions man that are out there and misconceptions and that could easily fill probably a few dozen episodes in of itself. So thanks a lot for coming on. Would love to have you back on.
[01:02:08] MI: Thank you so much for having me. Always a pleasure.
[01:02:10] RT: All right guys. Again, make sure you go check him out guys. It’s real easy to find him. His book is The Renaissance Diet so that’s really easy to find. JTSStrength.com is where you could find some of his articles and whatnot that he’s written. And RenaissancePeriodization.com, that’s where you find him also. We will have links to all that in the show notes pages. So there you go.
As we always say guys, put this stuff to use, and until next time, train smart, train hard, talk to you then.
More Specifically in this Episode You’ll Learn About
- Why you may be missing the big picture
- Avoiding the diet fads and determining what’s really good for your health
- How the demand for real fads is pushing you further away from reality
- Eliminating the desire for shortcuts and the hopeful mindset
- The importance of having knowledge for the basics
- The realization that difficult work isn’t easy
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is
- Stop falling for the quick fixes
- Mike outlines the basic nutrition principles for better health
- Why calorie balance is king
- The truth about healthy body fat
- Why it’s super important to let your muscles take root
- Helpful tips for bulking and cutting
- Lean and Dirty Bulking
- Understanding food composition and healthy sources of carbs, fats, and calories
- Understanding macronutrient amounts and minimums
- Distinct trade offs between health and performance
- What affect do steroids have on your overall health?
- Nutrient timing tips
About Dr. Mike Israetel
Dr. Mike Israetel is a professor of Exercise Science at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and was previously a professor at the University of Central Missouri, where he taught Exercise Physiology, Personal Training, and Advanced Programming for sports and fitness.
Mike’s PhD is in Sport Physiology, and he has been a consultant on sports nutrition to the U.S. Olympic Training Site in Johnson City, TN. Mike has coached numerous powerlifters, weightlifters, bodybuilders, and other individuals in both diet and weight training.
Originally from Moscow, Russia, Mike is a bodybuilder, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler and former powerlifter.
Mike is the head science consultant for Renaissance Periodization, and the Author of “The Renaissance Diet” which he created as a guide to help effectively answer your nutrition questions with scientifically sound principles. He’s also a part of the Juggernaut Training team, which is a testament to the knowledge and experience that he brings to the industry.
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
Basics of Training and Nutrition for Soldiers
Strength and Conditioning Coaching Pitfalls
Training Frequency; A Brief Discussion
Connect With Dr. Mike Israetel
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- 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.
- 51 and going strongJune 22, 2016 by Canvas back from Canada
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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Really. Smart guys.
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Ray puts out a really great show—every episode is top quality!
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Impressed by the content and guest - keep up the great work!
- THE Super Strength ShowDecember 14, 2015 by Oastorga from United States
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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I listened to the entire interview with Danny Kavadlo while I was cooking dinner. VERY good podcast! I give it a ?!!
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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.
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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.
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Love listening to this podcast. Amazing information and I always learn something from all the great guests. Thank you!
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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.
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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.
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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 !!
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Please don’t ever stop,i really enjoy it. Wish i found it before
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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
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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.
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Very good . I love the article. I listened to it 3 times to write everything down. Lol. Bad memory. Oh and love Rays voice.
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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.
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Great show with lots of valuable information! I always have my notebook open and writing.
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Very informative. Top guests
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Well prepared show. Amazing professionalism! Keep up the great work.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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!!
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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!!
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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.
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Awesome Podcast! A whole lot of great and useful information provided by very accomplished athletes and coaches with an extended experience on the ground!
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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!
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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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