Increasing all forms of general everyday movement is a critical element of the endurance athlete’s lifestyle. There are adverse metabolic and cognitive consequences from prolonged periods of sitting - you become more insulin resistant, dysregulate critical appetite and metabolic hormones, and suffer from assorted musculoskeletal problems, such as weakened glutes and tight hamstrings and hip flexors. Being more generally active makes you better at burning fat, more energetic, and more focused.
Dr. Tommy Wood On Optimizing Performance and Diet
Host Brad Kearns talks to Dr. Tommy Wood, Chief Medical Officer of Nourish, Balance, Thrive, an online-based company using advanced biochemical testing to optimize performance in athletes. Tommy is big-time, with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, a medical degree from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in physiology and neuroscience from the University of Oslo. He is also Chief Scientific Officer and President-elect for Physicians for Ancestral Health, and a Director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine.
Tommy has put some 1,000 athletes through his comprehensive testing protocol, featuring blood and stool testing and lifestyle evaluations. Tommy hits some hot topics for primal enthusiasts, including:
This fast moving conversation covers many other interesting topics for peak performers including:
Dr. Tommy Wood, the Chief Medical Officer at Nourish, Balance, Thrive talks his background. [00:02:14]
If one has excess body fat is restricting carbs the path to reducing that body fat or is it not so simple? [00:04:45]
What is the difference between subcutaneous fat and visceral fat? [00:06:57]
What about the high risk for heart disease, even in athletes as a result of their training regimen? [00:11:50]
What do they do at Nourish, Balance, Thrive? [00:15:21]
What do folks misunderstand about fasting and proteins and all the other health information that is out there? [00:17:27]
How does a person know if they are getting the most out of their body? [00:23:38]
If you have excess body fat, you should first ask yourself, "What is it about my body fat that makes me think it's in excess?" [00:24:46]
How does "calories in/calories out" come into play here when we are talking about body fat? [00:27:55]
What happens if you have a high protein diet? [00:33:42]
Even if you are fat and keto-adapted, you run the risk of depleting lean muscle tissue to perform. [00:37:55]
What about fasting after a peak performance? [00:38:15]
Will my appetite hormones guide me to know when I can get benefits fasting and when I should eat? [00:41:29]
Can the pursuit of peak performance in the advancing decades somehow compromise longevity? [00:43:33]
Host Brad Kearns covers the complementary benefits of deliberate movement practices like yoga to balance the repetitive, fight or flight stimulation of endurance training. Pursuing assorted forms of play and toning down your linear, Type-A mentality to endurance goals will help ease the stress and increase enjoyment.
Andrew MacNaughton on the ideal coach-athlete relationship
Host Brad Kearns and Andrew MacNaughton talk about the most important dynamics of a successful and enjoyable coach-athlete relationship. In particular, the personal and intuitive elements differ from the common dynamic of the coach as a workout programmer. Andrew’s coaching operation, The Athlete’s Potential (TAP), embodies this evolved approach based on authentic interpersonal relationships looking at the big picture view of succeeding in life and endurance sports in tandem.
The process starts with a mutual interview to determine a good fit. Expectations, goals, and life stress matters are all presented so an action plan can take shape with mutual input. Andrew helps his athletes escape from the “falling behind” trap by programming sequences of workouts instead of days. If you miss a day of training, you just strive to complete recommended workouts the next day. This is a huge difference from applying workout patterns to a calendar. Andrew also recommends a cafeteria-style workout schedule where the athlete knows its a recovery day, and can choose from an assortment of actual workouts that meet the recovery objective—or the race preparation key workout objective if the case may be. If you are a coach, are looking for a coach, or wondering how you can improve your relationship with your existing coach, check out this episode. Oh yeah, Andrew reminds coaches and athletes alike that this stuff should be fun, not drudgery. Enjoy, and check out more at theathletespotential.com
Andrew MacNaughton discusses coaching techniques keeping the long-term view in focus. [00:01:01]
What are the good characteristics of a coach? [00:02:51]
What does a good coaching relationship look like? [00:04:40]
What is the best way to tune the relationship? Is there a budget concern? [00:08:20]
What are the important things you are stressing on this day-to-day coaching contact? [00:10:19]
Health before endurance aspects are all in the package of Andrew's style. [00:11:57]
What are the patterns that he sees recurring in his athletes? [00:12:25]
Do athletes often look to the coach as an authority figure that they are just to follow submissively? [00:15:07]
What is the ratio of time spent on discussions of physical training workouts and the bigger picture of life, behavior, and attitude? [00:18:42]
How does diet and personal stress play into the endurance athlete's overall performance? [00:20:20]
Why is the person seeking help? What is the best way to bring in the knowledge and training principles? [00:23:20]
Do people still over train? What is this "fun" theory? [00:26:53]
How does one lose that magic of having fun? [00:28:57]
What does Andrew think it would be like it if he could take this "have fun" attitude back twenty-five years to his professional racing career? [00:32:03]
If you are an athlete and thinking about getting coached, what should you be looking for? [00:34:11]
Get some “movement nutrition” as Katy Bowman says and ditch that lazy endurance athlete’s mentality that gives you a hall pass to sit around all day just because you did an impressive workout. Remember there are 168 hours in a week and that increasing all forms of daily movement will give you cardiovascular health, as opposed to the cardiovascular fitness for a narrowly focused task of endurance performance—a fitness that can actually compromise your health when you overdo it.
Escaping the Type-A struggle and suffer approach to training
Host Brad Kearns welcomes favored recurring guest Andrew MacNaughton to present a landmark show about developing the proper mindset and decision-making strategy for endurance training. This podcast might have a important influence on your big picture approach to training and should be listened to repeatedly. Some topics discussed: The advantages of an intuitive, less stressful training schedule over regimented workout programming. How high intensity training indeed delivers quick and impressive results, but comes with increased risk of injury and burnout. Best to integrate high intensity strategically and conservatively, building your base and protecting your health in pursuit of fitness.
The flawed “struggle and suffer” mentality of the endurance athlete is exposed, with speculation that Type-A endurance performers aren’t truly satisfied unless they are exhausted. To escape from the peer pressure and overly stressful ethos of the endurance community, as yourself important questions about your highest ideals and goals, and align your behavior accordingly. Take Olympic gold and silver medalist Simon Whitfield’s comment to heart, “Today, I’m coached by my 80-year-old self.” Andrew mentions the benefits of training with slower athletes, because it’s “easy to go hard, but hard to go easy.” As discussed on many shows, you can benefit greatly from training at way below MAF heart rate. Andrew used to spin his pedals on the flatlands at 100 bpm (his aerobic max was 155 then). Many hours of this easy effort each week built a phenomenal base from which to launch racing time trial efforts. Don't bother yourself with justifications to increase your MAF heart rate for whatever reason. Slow down, enjoy the journey, and get faster!
Andrew MacNaughton is the guest today discussing the coach/athlete relationship and how they can best relate. Brad and Andrew compare and contrast the training styles. [00:01:40]
Does high intensity training deliver the best results? [00:03:13]
Is it true that endurance athletes, in general, are uncomfortable unless they are in a state of overtraining? That is what they think feels normal. [00:07:53]
What are you doing this for and what are you all about? Is this fun for you? [00:10:14]
How does one balance rest and stress? [00:17:25]
If you train below your aerobic heart rate, how can that help a performance? [00:23:39]
Do you need to train your anaerobic muscle fibers? [00:27:34]
Once in a while training is okay. [00:29:26]
Athletes who aspire to a top level of performance their whole life can learn from this “slowing down” coaching style. [00:29:50]
For part two of the sleep chapter, Host Brad Kearns focuses on the benefits of napping and how you can target sleep deficiencies—either deep sleep or REM sleep—and how naps actually don’t mess up your evening sleep. Then we pull it all together and get marching orders to cultivate excellent sleeping habits and a calm, mellow, dark sleeping environment.
Brad Kearns tackles more interesting Q&A from Primal Endurance podcast listeners and book readers. Submit your questions at www.primalblueprint.com/endurance and they will get covered on the air.
Listen and enjoy learning about the challenges and successes of your endurance peers, and come away with plenty of practical tips to help improve your training and competitive results.
Shane is 44 year old. He keeps his heart rate low on runs so he is not worn out when he's finished like he used to be. He asks should I increase the distance and the frequency? [00:02:27]
Katie is asking: I am wondering about all the theories emerging about high intensity interval training. Do I throw this out the window since now the emphasis is on aerobic? Is total calories burned at high intensity now trumped by low intensity exercise emphasizing fat? [00:07:02]
Laura has thoroughly covered the Maffetone books, podcasts, and blogs. Six weeks into this lifestyle change but one area I can't find much information on is racing. She is a marathoner at a pace of 3:38. Her MAF tests have dropped her from 9:50 to 9:00 minute miles. What does she do for the next marathon? [00:11:54]
What should she use for fueling? Should she ever use sugar in races? [00:17:44]
Mike is asking about maximum sustained power workouts (those high intensity training sessions) we talk about in the book. Should we weigh these primal essential movements with a weighted vest or something? What sort of exercises can he do? [00:20:18]
How do I schedule my high intensity phase related to my races? [00:28:21]
Mike who is 59 years old is wondering about lifting heavy things? This questioner has such a schedule routine of sprinting, strength session, kettle balls etc. and wants to know if this is too much? [00:31:13]
Tune in as Host Brad Kearns discusses how sleep is more important to endurance athletes than anyone! If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, you shouldn’t even be training. Minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.
Host Brad Kearns covers more Q&A, particularly the importance of having a flexible, intuitive approach instead of trying to adhere to a robotic schedule. It’s fine to plan and schedule important workouts around other life responsibilities, but your workouts must always be subject to adjustment on the fly. We also talk about fueling strategies in the race, particularly the dilemma for fat-adapted athletes to stay with high fat fuels like nut butters or turn to sugar on race day. Brad surprisingly says it’s okay to slam a Coke, but also that the best fueling strategy is to get in good shape so you don’t live or die by your nutrition particulars.
We pick up the Interval Show series covering the content of the Primal Endurance book with part 2 of Chapter 7 - Sprinting. Pick the ideal training period/time of year, the ideal day, workout type (weight bearing is the best, but low or no impact works if necessary). Warm-up properly, choose the proper sprint duration, recovery periods, and reps. Brad says you need not do much more than 6 x 100m or 2 x 200m + 4 x 100m. Brief, explosive, and consistent quality efforts!
Host Brad Kearns covers a few questions, going deep into some of the most important themes of successful endurance training, including: not stressing about how slow your aerobic pace is! It’s all about becoming more efficient at the low heart rates. Yes, going below aerobic max is just fine and develops those important aerobic energy producing enzymes and muscle fibers. Regarding dietary macronutrients, it’s a great idea to do a little bit of food journaling and entering into online macronutrient calculator so you can then ballpark your daily totals on the fly over the long haul.
Submit your questions at www.primalblueprint.com/endurance and they will get covered on the air.
Host Brad Kearns picks up the Interval Show series covering the content of the Primal Endurance book with part 1 of Chapter 7 - Sprinting. Pick the ideal training period/time of year, the ideal day, workout type (weight bearing is the best, but low or no impact works if necessary). Warm-up properly, choose the proper sprint duration, recovery periods, and reps. Brad says you need not do much more than 6 x 100m or 2 x 200m + 4 x 100m. Brief, explosive, and consistent quality efforts!
Host Brad Kearns returns to the series of Interval shows covering content in the Primal Endurance book. Here we review Chapter 7 on strength training, detailing the Primal Essential Movements, Maximum Sustained Power workouts, and the ideal strategies and guidelines to follow for endurance athletes. Specifically, avoiding the "blended" workouts that are too long, not intense enough, and deliver an unnecessary cardio effect that you are already good with; secondly, making brief explosive efforts that are functional and using many muscle groups
Host Brad Kearns tackles more interesting Q&A from Primal Endurance podcast listeners and book readers. Submit your questions at www.primalblueprint.com/endurance and they will get covered on the air. Some recurring themes are coming through with many questioners. While the questions relate to the specific needs of the individual, the answers are presented in a manner that applies to a broad audience. Listen and enjoy learning about the challenges and successes of your endurance peers, and come away with plenty of practical tips to help improve your training and competitive results.
How do you calculate the aerobic heart rate according to my tempo and age? [00:02:12]
Mike asks if bouldering and the local rock climbing gym is a good form of cross training? [00:04:02]
Mike asks about running cadence and how important that is. [00:06:35]
What happens when low frequency predominates over high frequency? What is the ideal LF to HF ratio? [00:09:05]
29-year old female is asking about her over training and working above her maximum aerobic heart rate. [00:15:23]
53-year old female who has been performing at a high level in Ironman used to carbo load and now has gone sugar free, gluten free and low carbs. What should she think about when she is racing? [00:20:22]
What fuels should I use in my races now that I am keto adapted? [00:22:49]
Gabo from Slovakia asks why she often feels not ready for a race now that she is on a low carb, high fat diet? [00:26:30]
Host Brad Kearns returns to the series of Interval shows covering content in the Primal Endurance book. Here we review Chapter 7 on strength training, discussing the rationale and benefits of strength training for endurance athletes: preserving good form while fatigued and reducing injury risk, getting a desirable pulse of adaptive, anti-aging hormones into the bloodstream, and delaying the aging process.
Brad Kearns tackles more interesting Q&A from Primal Endurance podcast listeners and book readers. Submit your questions at www.primalblueprint.com/endurance and they will get covered on the air. Some recurring themes are coming through with many questioners. While the questions relate to the specific needs of the individual, the answers are presented in a manner that applies to a broad audience. Listen and enjoy learning about the challenges and successes of your endurance peers, and come away with plenty of practical tips to help improve your training and competitive results.
Peter's question is about nose breathing and about integrating strength training into endurance training protocol. How important is the heart rate monitor? [00:02:48]
Peter also asks about maximum sustained power works. How do you integrate those into a marathon training program? [00:06:32]
Do maximum aerobic function training benefit young runners, ages 12 to 13? [00:13:12]
Explaining the difference between the MAF 180-age formula and other calculations. [00:15:43]
What happens with MAF test versus cardiac drift? [00:19:58]
How long can one drift above maximum aerobic heart rate before you negate the training session? [00:21:39]
Could I train exclusively at maximum aerobic plus strength training and count my races for anaerobic training? [00:25:35]
What is happening when my hands seem to be much colder since I have been eating primally? [00:26:40]
Can strength training and sprint workouts be done on the same day? [00:27:09]
Are longer single aerobic sessions more effective than the same volume over multiple workouts in a week? [00:32:44]
This question is from Ryan in Tennessee who asks about long strength training sessions. What is MSP pattern mean? [00:35:35]
In episode no. 37 in the Primal Blueprint podcasts, you mention a stretch you did with plantar fasciitis. What was it? [00:38:04]
Host Brad Kearns welcomes back Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., for part two of their meeting together. Enjoy today's show as they discuss many common questions among endurance athletes, such as, how to maximize training without being too stressed, the importance of genetics, and how to achieve the best time.
Does all the new technology out there really help our performance? [00:01:58]
How can one maximize training without being too stressed? [00:04:18]
Is it necessary to struggle and suffer to become a good athlete? [00:09:14]
Does living in this modern time bring us more information, more expectations, more pressure to perform and keep up with others? [00:13:35]
What if others have more than I do or do better than I do? How would that change things? [00:19:16]
How important are genetics? Is this all I can give? [00:24:23]
How is the best way to go forward and have the best time? How do I know when it's too much? [00:29:42]
Brad Kearns joins Foreigner on stage for a bit of Cold as Ice, then talks about his typical daily eating patterns during his nutritional keto journey: Fasting in the morning until experiencing feelings of true hunger; using an assortment of ketone supplements - especially before workouts (these products are the real deal, and deliver drug-level anti-inflammatory benefits); enjoying nutrient-dense dietary centerpieces of eggs, nuts, quality meats, and abundant servings of a variety of vegetables; snacking on 85% dark chocolate and coconut butter. Brad advocates a casual approach where you see how things go each day. Use your intuition to guide your eating decisions, but make a commitment to log many hours of fasting or keto aligned meals in order to experience the profound health, immune function, fat loss, cognitive performance, athletic performance and recovery, and disease protection benefits of being fat- and keto-adapted.
Host Brad Kearns welcomes back Primal Blueprint Publishing's own Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D. to discuss the controversy surrounding aerobic heart rate, how to compete in races when we've been training so slowly, and whether we should ever incorporate cross-over point workouts into our regimen.
What is the controversy about aerobic heart rate? What does aerobic threshold mean? [00:02:22]
What does it mean "cross-over point?" [00:08:32]
How are we going to compete in races when we have been training so slowly? [00:22:02]
So what about anaerobic training? [00:25:16]
Should we never do cross-over point workouts? [00:29:42]
When is it time to go hard? What is the best thing to do? [00:30:12]
How important is scheduling? [00:33:16]
Summarizing: Fat max vs. crossover point [00:38:35]
If the crossover point occurs at a higher heart rate it is good. [00:38:58]
We are not recommending high intensity workouts every day. [00:39:12]
Brad Kearns honors Tupac with a long serving of memorized rap lyrics and then talks about going keto. Maffetone suggests you restrict more carbs as you age, since we become more insulin resistant as we get older. Brad discusses his first effort at nutritional ketosis, which lasted only 3 weeks until he bombed out and had a week-long bout of fatigue. This was likely due to a prolonged fight or flight response making glucose to fuel energy since he was not fully fat- and keto-adapted, but had restricted carbs from historical patterns. Dr. D’Agostino says many people bomb out after three weeks because this is the toughest period to adapt, but the full benefits have not kicked in yet. Brad then relates how his second foray into keto, 126 days and counting at the time of recording, has been much more successful.
Host Brad Kearns goes back to the mailbag with some great Q&A submissions. Can I do strength training during the aerobic base building phase? What if my endurance goals are not competitive, but rather to have fun and get some thrills on a mountain bike (even if this means elevated heart rates?)? How do you reconcile the Primal Blueprint fitness approach of move frequently, lift heavy things, and sprint, with the Primal Endurance approach of periodization?
Brian asks how to tell if chronic cardio problems are due to diet or exercise? [00:00:28]
If I go a long time without doing the strength work while I am training for high intensity, won't I lose some of my strength? [00:06:25]
Can I train exclusively Maff plus strength training and count my races for anaerobic training? [00:16:03]
Can you mix anaerobic with aerobic in the same session? [00:23:24]
Are longer single aerobic sessions more effective than the same volume of multiple workouts in a week? [00:23:23]
I've been using the Maff method of aerobic heart rate monitoring and was wondering when I should alter the "180 minus your age" as I get older. [00:25:32]
From Blake: I want to balance health and fun in getting in as much mountain biking as possible which would mean I am going over my aerobic heart rate. What do you think? [00:27:26]
Brad Kearns warms up his voice with Tupac and then covers a topic that hasn’t been mentioned much - how to taper for a peak competitive event. Here’s what NOT to do: don’t training chronically for weeks on end and then crash on the couch for the final couple weeks before the event. Instead, pretend the race is a week earlier than actual and be chomping at the bit as the clock counts down. Maintain intensity, high blood volume, and an active lifestyle, but dramatically cut back on volume - you don’t need a 20-mile run two weeks before your marathon because it takes two weeks to recover from a 20-mile run! For diet, you best be eating optimally at all times instead of pondering some magic regimen to give you a competition boost. Finally, get over yourself and the importance of your event so you don’t waste mental energy stressing.
Host Brad Kearns connects with Peter Defty, promoter of Optimized Fat Metabolism and Vespa energy food: Vespapower.com. Peter is a very early promoter of fat adapted training, and is a successful ultra distance athlete, with many marathons and a Western States 100-mile Endurance Run finish. Since the early 2000s, Peter has coached other athletes to optimize their fat metabolism, including some world-class performers like Zach Bitter, Nell Stephenson, and many others.
This is a lively show with an analysis of some contentious issues in the current fat adapted training scene. Defty is promoting a “MMAF” - Modified Maximum Aerobic Function. Basically, the idea is that fat adapted athletes can increase their aerobic training heart rate by some 20 beats, because of their optimized fat metabolism and improved cardiovascular system function. This is a pretty big deal because MAF is being promoted as the end-all for aerobic conditioning.
Defty suggests that fat-adapted training improves cardiovascular function to the extent that athletes might even see an increase in maximum heart rate. This is some provocative stuff that will be interesting food for thought for endurance athletes out there who are dedicated to aerobic training and fat-adapted eating.
Who is Peter Defty and what is his Optimized Fat Metabolism and Vespa food promotion? [00:00:40]
Do carbs have a place in this endurance world? [00:05:56]
Using the Vespa supplement in races has what effect? [00:08:46]
People are meant to be fat burners so what happened when the carbs came into the mix? [00:11:08]
What is Modified Maximum Aerobic Function? [00:14:23]
When we look at the some of the greatest athletes in the past and know that their diets were different, what happened to their hearts that they were able to perform like they did? [00:20:42]
If you are fat-adapted and you are getting better performance from your cardio-vascular system does it increase your maximum heartbeat? [00:25:19]
What about the idea of bumping up your heart rate increasing the stress level of training? [00:29:00]
Isn't it confusing to think that the diet can increase the heart rate? [00:34:19]
What are the strength athletes getting from this high fat diet? [00:37:54]
How does insulin come into play? [00:42:41]
What is a strategic inclusion of carbohydrates into the diet to optimize performance? [00:46:05]
Brad Kearns raps with Ludacris and Bieber and then discusses concepts relating to maximum aerobic heart rate and how to escape carb dependency and become a fat burning beast. Brad reflects on Peter Defty’s recent appearance on the show and his suggestion of increasing your maximum aerobic heart rate if you are fat adapted; how Dr. Phil Maffetone reminds us that even slow paced aerobic workouts support peak performance at all speeds; and his propensity during his professional triathlon career to train very slowly in order to moderate the overall training program stress, but still support peak endurance performance in races. Bottom line: Slow down, eat primal-style, make your easy workouts easier and occasionally hit it really hard with what Mark Sisson calls, “Breakthrough workouts.”