Primal Endurance Podcast

Welcome to The Primal Endurance Podcast, where we challenge the ineffective, overly stressful conventional approach to endurance training and provide a refreshing, sensible, healthy, fun alternative. Going primal frees you from carbohydrate dependency and turns you into a fat burning beast! Enjoy interviews from elite athletes, coaches, authors and scientists on the cutting edge of endurance training and performance.
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Primal Endurance Podcast




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Feb 26, 2016

Host Brad Kearns sits down with Endurance Planet Podcast host Tawnee Prazak, for a lively talk on the importance of taking a holistic approach to training. 

Feb 20, 2016

Andrew and Brad discuss how to “solve the puzzle” of transitioning gracefully through major shifts in career or life. In the athletic world, many struggle on the occasion of retirement because the intensity of competition and attention is difficult or impossible to match in more traditional career pursuits. A process-oriented mindset is urged, so that self-esteem is not attached to results or one’s identity as an athlete, or a career achiever as well. Another suggestion is finding new passions—they don’t necessarily have to be competitive—but something that lights you up and engages you deeply. More discussion of how to balance career, family, fitness/health, and personal goals, and how sometimes we look at health and fitness pursuits as “sacrifices” when in fact not doing healthy behaviors is the real sacrifice. Enjoy a thoughtful show full of practical tips from Andrew and Brad.

Feb 12, 2016

Hi folks, today will wrap up our chapter-by-chapter summary series on Primal Endurance, finishing with Chapters 8 and 9!

Chapter 8 goes over complimentary movement practices and Chapter 9 will rundown the best-of-the-best recovery techniques. So we’re talking about all the peripheral stuff that goes outside the core workouts that prepare you for endurance competitions. Things like yoga, pilates, foam rolling, getting adequate sleep and making sure you engage in sufficient everyday general movement. We’ll also cover cold water therapy, compression, and some of the latest and greatest advanced recovery techniques.

Releasing Primal Endurance has been a dream come true and it's been a pleasure getting you acquainted with the ins and outs of it! Tune in next week as we get back to our regular interview schedule.

Feb 5, 2016

On today’s special show, hosts Brad Kearns and Andrew MacNaughton connect with retired triathlon legend Simon Whitfield from Victoria, B.C., Canada. Simon details his remarkable victory in the inaugural Olympic triathlon in Sydney, Australia in 2000, along with other memories and perspectives gained from his lengthy career at the top of the sport. Simon is an extremely thoughtful, introspective athlete whose insights can provide great value to whatever peak performance or life goals you pursue. “If you love your pursuits, you’ll find a way to success. If you succumb to your fears and insecurities, your results will suffer accordingly,” says Simon. With refreshing candor, Simon mentions the dangers of drifting into a prima donna perspective and how to recalibrate to focus on the journey; especially having a strong and authentic support team. “Hard truths come with sharp edges, but they are the source of the greatest learning,” Simon offers. Simon updates us about his recent doings, including epic standup paddling adventures in Victoria. Enjoy this deeply revealing and impactful discussion with triathlon’s most thoughtful coach, Andrew MacNaughton, and most thoughtful elite athlete, Simon Whitfield.

Jan 29, 2016

Hi folks! We're back this week with our chapter-by-chapter summary of Primal Endurance. Today we're taking a look at Chapter 6: Sprinting. Learn how to properly integrate these high intensity workouts into your endurance training schedule and the assorted benefits you'll get from doing occasional sprints, which teach your body to perform at maximum intensity when you need it the most.

Jan 22, 2016

Happy Friday, listeners! We're back to our chapter-by-chapter breakdown of Primal Endurance. This week, we're taking a look at Chapter 5: Strength Training.

Learn how to properly (and safely) integrate high-intensity strength training workouts into your endurance training program. Be your own gym by incorporating full body functional movements such as; push-ups, planks, and squats.

You’ll be fascinated by the details on how maximum sustained power workouts tie into your endurance performance and how to enjoy maximum power output even as you fatigue, so make sure to tune in today!

Jan 15, 2016

Hi folks, we're back this week with a breakdown of Primal Endurance, Chapters 3 and 4: The Primal Blueprint Eating Strategy. Learn how to modify your diet, once and for all, to escape the tragic outcome of carbohydrate dependency for endurance athletes.

Jan 8, 2016

Today, Brad dives into Chapter 2 of Primal Endurance, which tackles the flaws in the traditional regimented and methodical approach to training. Learn the importance of balancing stress and rest, by aligning the difficulty of your workouts with your daily level of energy, motivation, and general health.

Dec 25, 2015

Tune in today for a very special rundown of the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Primal Endurance - arguably the most critical parts of the book, as they really set the stage for what the Primal Endurance approach and philosophy is all about.

Dec 11, 2015

Tune into this special preview of Mark Sisson’s newest book, Primal Endurance. Show host and co-author, Brad Kearns, details 115 things you’ll need to know as a Primal Endurance Athlete, including: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Primal Endurance Athletes, what your training schedule should look like per season, over the course over the entire year, and the importance of strict rest and recovery periods.

Get better, faster, and stronger than ever before with the help of this groundbreaking release!

Nov 27, 2015

Brad talks about maybe the most important element of a successful endurance program--emphasizing aerobic base building at the proper heart rates. This fast paced narration will give you the straight scoop about how to train aerobically, and help you avoid the egregious mistakes that endurance athletes of all ability levels make when they drift into slightly too difficult intensity zone during workouts - training in the Black Hole! Brad dispenses Dr. Phil Maffetone's secret formula of "180-age" heart rate training, and details the burnout he experienced early in 2015 by mistakenly training at too elevated of an aerobic heart rate. Get your training straight by listening to this quick, informative podcast!

Nov 20, 2015

Host Brad Kearns talks with Los Angeles-based author, diet coach and Ironman triathlete Nell Stephenson. Nell, the author of Paleoista, is on the cutting edge of fat adapted endurance training. She details her gradual transition from carb-dependent endurance athlete to being fully fat adapted. She started by ditching gluten, ditching other grains, then trying to exercise while fasted. She gradually extended her abilities here, but still relied on gels to fuel extended workouts and races. The final breakthrough came for Nell when she bested the field at 70.3 triathlons in Honu, Hawaii and Vineman, California while fasted beforehand and consuming minimal calories during. A ketone burning beast on the podium. Nell is a wealth of knowledge about nutritional coaching and details the services she offers to clients to help them improve health, reduce inflammation and perform better with endurance goals.

Nov 14, 2015

Host Elle Russ turns the tables on host Brad Kearns and makes him an interview guest. Brad discusses his athletic background, including his unlikely ascent into the elite professional triathlete ranks with arguably the greatest upset in the history of the sport as a rookie triathlete; his early coach/athlete relationship with Mark Sisson and how it transformed his career and led to multiple national championships and a #3 world ranking, and his eventual journey into the world of Primal Blueprint with Mark that began in 2006. Toward the end of the show, Elle grills Brad about the benefits of being a fat adapted Primal Endurance athlete, foreshadowing the release of Mark and Brad’s new book, Primal Endurance.

Nov 7, 2015

Host Brad Kearns talks to testosterone expert Christopher Walker, who details a remarkable story of self-healing from serious endocrine problems. Don’t flinch at the title—Chris’ approach is the opposite of the magic supplement obsessed blather you typically hear on the topic of testosterone enhancement. Chris was a college student at Duke and a hardcore triathlete when he first experienced some debilitating symptoms of low testosterone. When tested he was found to have a hideously low serum level of 11 ng/dl, where the normal range for his age group would be 400-1000 ng/dl. He was also discovered to have a pituitary tumor, which in addition to adverse lifestyle practices, was the cause of his serious disorder.


Chris boldly chose to forego the medically advised approach of either surgery or hormone replacement therapy and embark on a holistic lifestyle transformation. In a short time, he cured his condition and his testosterone level skyrocketed to 1192 ng/dl! Chris’s key to recovery included an assortment of holistic methods, including adopting a new empowering mindset and a diet full of primal-aligned foods.


Christopher offers these and other actionable tips for males to naturally elevate testosterone in today’s episode. Furthermore, offers details about Christopher’s full program, including an excellent free print book (just pay S&H and he’ll mail you an actual book!) to get you started. So tune in to get a jump start on a common problem that may have a simpler (and more painless) solution than you might have thought!

Nov 7, 2015
The dynamic duo of Brad and Brock do another “all host, no guest” format for this show. They tee up the exciting topic of low carb endurance training, and how to transition away from the carb dependency paradigm that frames the conventional approach to endurance training. Brock and Brad describe the numerous health, body composition, and performance benefits that come to athletes eating a more nutritious diet and ditching the toxic refined carbs (and high polyunsaturated vegetable oils) that damage the health of even the fittest endurance machines.

Carb dependency is a two-fold problem: First, chronic training patterns causing frequent depletion and consequent disturbance in appetite and fat storage hormones. Second, consuming too many processed carbs causes insulin spikes, fat storage patterns, and cravings for more carbs. In determining the optimal amount of carbs, the first question to ask is: do you have excess body fat or not? The primal approach never discounts the importance of recovering from training (and choosing the most nutritious carbs for this purpose), but is an attractive solution to finally, once and for all, solving that puzzle of carrying excess body fat despite a big devotion to endurance training.
Oct 23, 2015

Host Brad Kearns welcomes the red-hot author David Epstein to the show, on the heels of his whirlwind global tour to promote his bestselling book, The Sports Gene: Inside the science of extraordinary athletic performance. This is widely regarded as the seminal book on the topic of genetics in sports, and in it Dave dispels many widely held misconceptions and prejudices that people harbor relating to how genetics affects athletic performance.

 In this conversation, Epstein discusses the pop culture of the “10,000 Hour Rule” (first presented by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Ph.D, and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in the book Outliers.) Epstein dispels the accuracy of science behind the concept and the practical application of the concept. Basically, it’s BS! Genetic factors are relevant, as illustrated by the amazing “Tale of Two High Jumpers” featured in Chapter 2 in the book. Besides great physical attributes, there are genetic elements to the all-important athletic success factor of “desire to train.” People (like phenomenal ultra-athlete Pam Reed) have different dopamine response systems.

When it comes to stereotyping, for example, “Jamaicans are fast sprinters,” one must not overlook cultural factors. In Jamaica, youth track and field is king—there is no falling through the cracks or diverting to other sports. Epstein also writes for the progressive journalism nonprofit called, which preserves the tradition of long-form investigative journalism. He had a huge impact with his recent article on the doping suspicions surrounding top track field coach Alberto Salazar. Enjoy the show and grab the book on!

Show Notes:

  • David did some research on the "ten thousand hour "rule that simply says: "If you put in enough time to anything, you'll become a master."   What did he find? [00:03:17]
  • Does repetitive practice help you improve? [00:06:38]
  • What’s the importance of practice variability? [00:10:44]
  • What part does genetics play in the field of high-level athletics? [00:13:05]
  • One surprising thing, when looking at the compulsion to train, involves the dopamine system. [00:18:35]
  • What is the secret of the longevity aspect of training? [00:22:35]
  • What about the belief that athletes from certain cultures are just born that way? [00:25:49]
  • Individualization (peoples' genetic differences) has been the thing to look at regarding training plans. [00:31:24]
  • Brad and David discuss medicines and medical exemptions as regards doping in sports. [00:34:38] 

Selected Links from the Episode:

Usain Bolt

David Epstein

Pam Reed


The Sports Gene

Tale of Two High Jumpers

The Sports Gene: Inside the science of extraordinary athletic performance

Oct 17, 2015

Description: The hosts with the most, Brad and Brock, return for another ridiculously interesting, free-flowing conversation on all matters of endurance training. First, they discuss how physically demanding jobs might impact training for endurance events—like nurses doing shift work or construction workers trying to train alongside the office workers. There are benefits to “moving frequently” in an active job, but the training schedule of highly physically demanding careers must be flexible and dynamic. When it comes to coaching people with busy lives, the transition away from robotic pre-programmed coaching schedules could alter the current business model, with coaches going from workout programmers to strategists.

Brad mentions how both Dr. Maffetone and Dave Scott agree that going relatively hard and going extremely hard have the same training effect. What if you backed off a bit on your high-intensity workouts? Would you lose mental toughness? Or would you recover faster, have less risk of setbacks (injury, illness, burnout) and thus get even faster? Maffetone thinks so in the premise of his book, 1:59 Marathon.

Brock recites “10 Myths About Elite Runners,” published in a Canadian running magazine, and the two banter about the assorted myths in hopes that recreational competitors can take to heart some of the misnomers about elites that compromise good decision making. This show offers an assortment of valuable tidbits to help you balance your training optimally with your important everyday life responsibilities.

Show Notes:

  • Brock talks about coaching his own partner who works irregular 12-hour shifts and how she is able to train for marathons while dealing with her crazy schedule. [00:01:39]
  • What is the most optimal training schedule? [00:06:41]
  • What if you backed off a bit on your high-intensity workouts? [00:11:59]
  • The biggest mistake that endurance athletes make is overtraining in an overstressed pattern. [00:16:43]
  • They talk about an article Brock read in a Canadian publication about the top ten myths about elite runners. One is that they "kill it" every workout. [00:19:10]
  • One of the other myths is: They never take a sip of booze. [00:23:57]
  • Is it true that the elite athletes eat healthy all the time? Can one "undo" years of poor dietary habits? [00:25:21]
  • Can a blood test show you enough to get you to turn around your poor dietary habits? Is there metabolic damage? [00:31:15]
  • Brad talks about how our bodies are constantly rejuvenating themselves to repair damage. [00:32:50]
  • What can we do to live longer? Avoiding stupid mistakes is a good idea. [00:34:21]
  • They talk about some more myths about the elite athlete. Do they give up their social life? [00:38:27]
  • Myth number 5 is that they all head to the US for university. [00:39:49]
  • Do they always get up early to run? [00:42:43]
  • Some of the ideas about how to train have been blown away by some examples that Brad shares. [00:45:35] 
  • Do the elite athletes ignore injuries? [00:48:08]
  • Myth number 9: They never get nervous. [00:56:25]
  • Myth number 10 is that they are never hurting during races. [01:00:10] 

Selected Links from the Episode:

Ageless Body, Timeless Mind
Dr. Deepak Chopra
How Lance Does It
I’m Here to Win
Dr. Phil Maffetone
Dr. Doug McGuff: Primal Prescription
Dave Scott

Oct 9, 2015
Recurring guest Andrew MacNaughton joins host Brad Kearns to get into the technique matters such as:
  • Swimming: Turnover rate vs stroke length
  • Cycling: determining optimal cadence
  • Running: determining optimal technique and stride patterns
As usual, Brad and Andrew go off on interesting and informative tangents. At the end of the show, Andrew drops the most controversial bomb perhaps ever on the podcast: common recovery aids and practices could be counterproductive! That's right, no icing, no massage, no compression! Instead, let the body heal thyself without interference. This provocative concept has gained some traction among today's top triathletes.
Sep 26, 2015

Host Brad Kearns catches up with Host Brock Armstrong -- that's right, the main hosts catch up with each other and hit it hard on an assortment of interesting topics. They debate the pros and cons of various coaching models, stressing the importance of having a wide-ranging personal relationship with athletes to help training sync with other life variables. Brock FIRES clients who refuse to take time off!

The pair gets into one of their favorite subjects, Heart Rate Variability, referencing the Primal Endurance Podcast episode 6 with Sweetbeat Life CEO Ronda Collier. They talk about how monitoring HRV and basing training decisions off of variation from baseline values brings a critical objective element to the challenge of making smart training decisions. For example, when you are running on fight or flight chemicals, it's hard to tell if you are actually stressed because the hectic pace of modern life is so familiar that it seems normal to the brain. Get to know your Primal Endurance Podcast hosts Brad and Brock through this lively and informative show!

Sep 18, 2015

Host Brad Kearns welcomes Aaron Olson, the popular host of the Paleo Runner Podcast, to the show to discuss Aaron’s new book, Low Mileage Running. The book is “a short guide to running faster, injury free.” Aaron details his injury-riddled running career as a high school and college competitor, as he struggled to thrive doing the traditional high mileage programs.



Frustrated with repeated injuries, Aaron tried cutting out junk mileage but keeping high intensity workouts and including extra rest in his schedule. He discovered that his injuries went away and he ran even faster than before. Aaron believes in an intuitive approach instead of following a rigid schedule. Perform those intense workouts when you feel strong and you skip them if other stressors are present in your life or you simply don’t feel your best during the session.



Aaron’s Paleo Runner podcast expertly blends the worlds of endurance running and paleo eating and living. Aaron became a convert to paleo after a lifelong struggle with IBS that subsided almost as soon as he started to ditch toxic modern foods and adopt a paleo eating strategy. Check out his podcast on iTunes or through his blog


Show notes:


  • The book Low-Mileage Running came about after Aaron sustained some injuries. [00:01:31] 


  • Most often we read that injuries come from intensity. Is this true?  [00:02:41] 


  • How does the intuitive approach after workouts help in recovery? [00:07:05] 


  • Aaron, who has had years of experience as a runner, has talked about his own training. What about the novice runner? [00:08:05] 


  • How does one decide what kind of workout to do? [00:12:57] 


  • What’s the focus of Aaron’s podcast? [00:16:32] 


  • How are the endurance and paleo communities blending together? [00:18:03] 


  • What about body composition? [00:21:20] 


  • What are safe starches? How do you determine which carbs are okay? [00:22:55] 


  • How do you select guests for your podcasts? [00:24:13] 


  • What is Brad and Mark's solution to doing too much training or not enough? [00:26:59] 


  • What happens to one’s training schedule during the off-season? [00:28:49] 



Selected Links from the Episode:


Low-Mileage Running Book 



Tim Noakes



Paleo Runner Podcast 



Primal Endurance Approach 


Sep 11, 2015

Host Brad Kearns records this fast paced essay on the importance of adequate sleep (especially for endurance athletes), in response to a recent episode of the Freakonomics  Podcast.

Brad has always maintained a busy lifestyle balancing roles as a father, writer, and former triathlete, and discovered long ago that “sleep is everything.” Tune into today’s show for some quick tips and a personal sleep success story.

Sep 4, 2015

Host Brad Kearns welcomes popular guest Dr. Phil Maffetone to the show for the third time. Dr. Maffetone brings along both his insightful commentary and his ultimate endurance wisdom about balancing stress and rest while emphasizing aerobically-paced training. In this conversation, Phil talks about his incredible new smartphone app—called the MAF App—that does an assortment of evaluations to help you track health, fitness, disease risk factors, and stress levels.



Brad also challenges Phil on his profound assertion that endurance athletes need not ever exceed 90 percent of their maximum heart rate. Phil explains that the additional stress of going up to a maximum level does not deliver a sufficient return on investment. A healthy athlete can dig deep on race day and give a respectable 100 percent effort. Phil details the metabolic and endocrine effects of the stress response, and how to guard against the overtraining syndrome. “The game is how to moderate stress while training hard enough to perform your best,” Phil explains. Phil mentions how, for tracking aerobic improvement, time trials and other performance trackers are inferior to using a sub-maximal MAF test on a regular basis. Enjoy another lovely and informative show with Dr. Maffetone!


Show Notes:


  • Phil describes his exciting new app (MAF App) that can monitor amazing things about your health and fitness. [00:00:55]
  • How does this app work and what does it track? [00:04:22]
  • One of the big red flags is the reduced desire to train. [00:07:07]
  • What is the best way to evaluate an athlete? [00:09:42]
  • When doing an anaerobic workout, how much should you exceed your maximum heart rate? [00:14:05]
  • What is the cost of training too hard? [00:22:10]
  • Can you rely on performance to gauge where you are by doing time trials? [00:24:32]
  • Even if you have been training at a slow rate, don't worry about not knowing what to do when you go to a race. You'll be surprised at your performance. [00:28:08] 
  • In Maffetone 's book, 1:59, he speculates that the ability to run a marathon under two minutes will not come from more training miles, nor from more intensity, but a reduction in both. [00:31:48]
  • From a health standpoint, are there some athletes who would have been better off staying couch potatoes? [00:35:46]
  • There are more overweight athletes these days. Is the main reason they are in poor health because of their dietary habits? [00:40:15]
  • What is the two-week test? What role does diet play? [00:41:56] 



Selected Links from the Episode:


Phil Maffetone

Maffetone Music


1:59 (Book)



Aug 28, 2015

In today’s show, Brock Armstrong sits down with Graeme Turner, a nationally accredited triathlon coach, qualified sports nutritionist, and strength and conditioning coach. To boot, Graeme is a Retül Certified Bike Fitter, a fourth-degree black belt in karate, and WKA certified coach for kickboxers and MMA fighters. Graeme, a former IT wiz who left the tech world to pursue his passion for helping individuals reach their fitness goals, talks about his race history, including his qualifications for the New York and Boston Marathons along with an Ironman 70.3 he conducted without fuel. 

He and Brock go in depth about his specialized coaching philosophy, which is based on a minimalist program emphasizing power and strength over long distance. They also discuss Graeme’s techniques for fasting and how to schedule training sessions for optimal benefit.

Aug 21, 2015

Host Brad Kearns talks to old friend Tyler Curley, one of the famous caveman Curley twins who have had a legendary role at PrimalCon over the years. Tyler is a huge devotee of primal living and has pushed the edges of peak performance in ultra distance running, CrossFit, and power lifting. Tyler offers some interesting commentary about how his disparate athletic goals have made him an all around primal athlete. He mentions possible benefits to endurance performance from strength training, and how to do it correctly instead of getting exhausted and injured.

Tyler is a world traveler who has done everything from cutting trails in high mountain camps for the forest service, to leading tourists on mountain bike adventures in Turkey, to bolting civilized life for extended excursions like surfing in Costa Rica, trekking in Thailand, or studying art in Europe with MacKenzie.

Spend a little time with a real primal guy and get the straight scoop from Tyler Curley. 


Aug 14, 2015

Host Brad Kearns talks with Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and President of TD Athletes Edge, where he provides fitness, recovery and nutrition guidance to aspiring and professional athletes. Tim is a primal enthusiast and a progressive minded expert in all aspects of athletic peak performance. His role with the Lakers is to do everything possible to have players performing at their peak, minimizing injury risk, and also optimizing their health while they’re at it.

Tim supports Dr. Cate Shanahan’s effort to plan nutritious meals for the players, and encourages players in a sensitive and inspiring manner to adopt healthy lifestyle habits like; minimizing screen use at night and getting quality afternoon naps to account for their grueling travel and game schedule. Tim talks about the importance of a well-balanced strength and mobility program for all athletes, not just basketball players. Tim is constantly seeking new and innovative health information and training techniques to up his game and that of his players. Check out his informative blog at and follow him on Twitter: @tdathletesedge.

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