Jade: Hey you guys! I’m here with Jonathan Bailor of The Smarter Science of Slim and my man, Dr. Ray Hanish from Cut The Fat podcast. I’m really excited because these two guys are good friends of mine. We always like to get together and always do this, but they’re also two brilliant guys so we just love to touch base and go through questions. This is really something that we do just to get caught up with on the latest research and we also like to sort of kind of hear what our respective followers are sort of asking. How you guys doing?
Ray: I’m doing well. How about yourself?
Jade: Doing good man, doing good.
Jonathan: Doing good over here as well.
Jade: Jonathan’s over..me and Ray on the East coast and Jonathan’s over there on the West coast but, it’s good to connect with you guys. One of the first thing I want to do if it’s cool with you guys is go through, I always like to kind of get your insight on what’s going on in your world? What are your followers talking about? What are the big questions you are getting, that kind of stuff. Jonathan, do you want to fill us in on any new stuff, any new interesting research, client cases etc.
Jonathan: The two most fascinating research studies I have just been enamored with and my fans have been looking at is the research done with the Hasadda tribe if I am describing it correctly, where they actually tested the hypothesis that our hunter gatherer ancestors were more active than us and the reason we are suffering from all the obesity related maladies we have today is because we are less active.
Actually performing the first ever study to actually look at the amount of calories burnt by a modern hunter gatherer tribe. Shockingly, to find that they’re burning the same amount of calories we all are, so that is not the reason we’re overweight. To me, it’s just incredible because that just objectively proves that this dogma we’ve heard of, that if we could just be more active you’d be slim just throws it out the window.
Jade: I thought that was just an interesting article as well, so go ahead Ray.
Ray: When you think about it, never before in history have we been exercising as much as we do today and we still have the biggest problem with weight and obesity, so is exercise, this is a big question that needs to be answered.
Just how important these exercise? I’m pretty sure that we all can say that exercise plays an important role on some level, but we have to figure out how does it fit in to the program. What is the importance of it? Is it more important for maintenance? Is it important for fat loss? And exactly how to apply that in our lives.
Jade: Yeah, I agree with you guys, to me, I think for our listeners, it’s probably really confusing to me because obviously they love the idea that, I’ve got something I can do and exercise is usually that thing that they can do. The three of us know, they would much rather be doing exercise it seems and really trying to control their diet. If you’re going to have somebody who wants to go on a plan, normally they choose over exercising first and I continually see in the research lately and actually just posted for you guys in the chat section of this article I just read today. Ironically, it came out August 1st.
Basically, what it look at the discrepancy between the predicted and observed weight loss with exercise, so basically, if we had a group of people exercising for 30 minutes doing aerobic exercises first, 60 minutes a day, the old model tells you that those people doing 60 minutes per day should burn twice the amount of calories, should lose twice the amount of fat, and what this study shows, as many has shown, is actually not the case at all.
This was a 13 week study, and one group did 30 minutes of exercise daily, the other group did 60 minutes of exercise daily. The calories were doubled in the group that did the 60 minute obviously, but the weight loss and the fat loss was exactly the same. I think it speaks to what you are saying Jonathan, and what Ray’s saying. There seems to be at least part of the diminishing returns when it comes to exercise and we need to sort of understand what is going on.
Obviously, this is aerobic exercise and a lot of the studies are aerobic exercise heavy and not so much focus on weight training. I think this huge and something that absolutely we need be looking at. I think part of it is that when you exercise, obviously it makes you hungry, so there’s compensatory actions and I think what you’re speaking about Jonathan too in that particular study you are talking about is that these people didn’t’ have resting energy expenditures.
The amount of calories they burn at rest is a little different than the average American today, despite the movement that they do and despite the way they’re living. This stuff is something that has come up with my followers as well, it’s a bit confusing, so…
Jonathan: Well let me throw something out there and see what you guys are thinking. It’s a little bit radical. Ray, I’ll use your term here which I love is this Vampire myth term. I think theres…Jay you hit on this…there’s this vampire myth that exercise is the antidote for eating low quality foods and it’s almost like indulgences back in the middle ages, where you can sin, but if you went and paid the church a certain amount of money, your sins will be forgiven.
You could cancel one out with the another and to me, a mem I would like to start, just like it would seem ridiculous to say like ‘I’m going to smoke these two packs of cigarette, then I’m going to go for a 60 minute jog, because jogging canceled out smoking cigarettes.’ We know that’s not true that’s not how the body works but, we will say I exercise for two hours today so I can absolutely have a piece of cake because it’s the antidote and I think that that vampire myth is really somewhat at the core of this. What do you guys think?
Ray: Well in Psychology, they actually have a term for that. It’s called the Halo effect, which you’re describing, which is you do something good, for example, they may have a salad at the restaurant, and because they had salad, they think that now I can order dessert. It’s an actual phenomena that we see in the research literature, we can actually measure this. We’ve discovered that people do do this.
When they went into a restaurant, the only thing that they changed was they added to the menu a healthy selection. They just changed the menu. When people saw that there was salad, a group of salads that they could order, just having that on the menu was enough to actually cause them to order more food and higher caloric food, just seeing it on the menu.
That’s why, in McDonald’s put on, this is what they believe. McDonald’s put on the menu a bunch of really healthy options because they realize that when there were healthy options on the menu, people bought more food. They eat the salad and because they eat the salad, research has prove and the people believe that once you eat the salad that that makes the meal a lower calorie meal. They don’t realize that they ate the salad and the calories that they got from that salad on top of the calories they got from the burger and so the same thing happens with the exercise.
They think ‘Well I spent 30 minutes in the gym’ and something that goes on in the brain that happens beneath the surface. That’s the key point here, that it happens beneath the surface. We can think, we can walk in there thinking that I’m going to exercise, I’m going to do myself something good by exercising and I’m not going to go and eat a treat in response to that. What happens when people do the exercise, this mechanism go off in the brain that says you deserve it and because of that, they seek out other things and it’s a proved phenomena, they call it a Halo effect.
Jade: Yeah I love that…the idea of the Halo effect. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Kelly McGonagall’s work. She wrote a book called the Will Power Instinct and it goes through that research and other things like that. It really is important to kind of understand and once you start getting really into that stuff, you see that a lot of this, we tend to love to talk about diet and exercise and the three of us love that but the psychology of change and that research is really interesting when you start getting into this but then again, it begs the question for all three of us, and our followers…
Essentially we teach diet and exercise for body change. So I guess the question is, in your guy’s opinion. So Jonathan I’d ask you, in your opinion, what would you say to that if someone says, “Alright well that means, Jonathan, I don’t want to exercise at all.” What’s your answer?
Jonathan: I’d personally like to classify exercise a bit more precisely. I put it into a three buckets. One is not exercise. It’s activity, it’s walking, gardening, going for a leisurely bike ride, throwing the ball with your kids or with your dog, whoever you like to play fetch with, be it a canine or human. That is not exercise, that’s just being active and we should all be active because if we’re not active, our bones disintegrate and we can’t function. There is a little bit of exaggeration there but you get my point?
Jonathan: Then there is “exercise.” What we’ve all been taught in traditional literature, jogging things like that. That is exercise in the middle. Then there is high quality exercise or intervals or eccentric training or the metabolic effect type of exercise Jade, you talked about in your research. The first, being active, we should not just talk about that. Of course, people are designed to move. Moving is good for you, absolutely move, keep doing that. The middle one I would argue do not do that.
I do not thing it is necessary in fact, I think it causes more harm than good.
The only reason I would tell someone to do it is if they enjoy it, but if they enjoy it, they should think of it as a hobby, not as something that they are doing to burn fat. If you just enjoy jogging because it gives you joy, hey that’s good! Do it! Have an enjoyable life, but if you are doing it for the intention of health or fat loss, your time would be better spent elsewhere. The latter category of very targeted short duration, safe, high intensity, hormonal exercise, that is absolutely key.
That is absolutely key but it is such, in terms of the amount of time in a week, it is such a teeny, tiny fraction of that time. Man it’s a small portion of the equation from a time perspective, so all of this attention that’s dedicated to exercise, I actually think it is much, much too high. That would be my opinion.
Jade: Yeah, how about you Ray?
Ray: It’s funny that you say that. There’s an interesting story in Jon Gabriel’s book, The Gabriel Method. He talks about his cat and I can’t remember the name of the cat but he titled the chapter after his cat. He was telling a story about how his cat would like to, it was an outdoor cat, it would go out, it would hang outside and his neighbor had this very enormous dog. And the cat would kind of stroll on up to the door and kind of irritate the dog and he just sit there and stare as the dog barked and going crazy and the neighbor was getting angry. One day, by the way, this cat, this is important too, the cat was a very overweight cat. One day, the neighbor gets so angry that he, that the cat was bothering the dog, that he opens the door and the dog takes off after the cat and the cat runs off into the woods being chased by the dog. For a couple of days he doesn’t see the cat, so he figures that the cat met its end.
Eventually, the cat comes back and it’s limping and it’s injured because the dog did get a hold of it, but the cat was still alive, so he takes the cat in and what he starts to notice is that for no apparent reason, the cat starts to lose weight, it starts to get skinnier. Eventually, the cat lost basically all the extra weight and it wasn’t that he wasn’t giving him food, the food was there, the cat just didn’t eat as much food, and the cat’s metabolism was burning through the fat.
It was that one instant of, or that one kind of episode, where there was this, this fear of death, and the fear of being eaten by the animal, that caused the body the chemistry of that cat to change. Essentially, that’s what we are trying to do with high intense interval training. Is we’re mimicking having to run away from a lion and because of that, the body gets a signal that it wants you to be more aerodynamic. Carry around less weight, so that the next time you get chased by a lion or a big dog in this circumstance, you’re able to better flee and survive.
That’s kind of a theory behind, how high intensity interval training works and in this situation, it took one episode, one intense episode for that cat’s chemistry to change in such a way that the cat now became a lean animal.
Jade: Yeah I really love that, it taps right into what my opinion would be on this as well is that hearing you two guys talk. The way I look at it is I say to myself and actually this is summed up in a story about Africans who visited Central Park back in the 1980s for Earth day and they brought some, I forgot, Ethiopians or Africans over to…some plainsmen who were essentially hunter gatherer tribes and brought them over the Central Park to celebrate Earth day.
They saw these people jogging around in Central Park and they asked the interpreter what are these people doing? He tried to explain the concept of exercise to these people and they burst out laughing because they could not understand the concept of just going out running for no reason. I think when we look at it that way, when you look at the concept of aerobic exercise it is sort of… I don’t think any of us are aerobic exercise haters, I think we just try to put it in context but it is sort of odd to think about.
You’re essentially, we were built for walking long periods of time, hiking up mountains, looking for food, and then, short bursts of intense of activity, hauling, lifting, things like that. So when I think about exercise and all the things that we sort of preach, I tend to kind of put it in that bucket of, when I think of prescribing exercise to my clients, it is do the things that we did naturally, that we are built to do hauling, lifting, lots of walking, sort of intense burst of activity and then rest.
Ray: There is new term, well it’s not really new but it’s newer in the fitness world and that’s the ‘skinny fat’. We have a lot of people who are talking about how, we talked about on our podcast, we have a lot of people that said, “you know what, that’s me, I am the skinny fat. I look skinny, people think I don’t have, they look at me in clothes and they think that I am fine, I don’t need to burn fat. I don’t have to lose weight but when I look at myself without clothes, they don’t see what I see and what I see is a body that looks soft” and that’s the skinny fat and that’s…we have an epidemic of that in the society.
If you want proof of that, just go to any beach in Florida, take a look out there and you’ll see that nine out of ten people are either blatantly obese, overweight or their bodies are soft. I’m not really talking about that from the perspective of personal character judgment. I’m talking about it from a health perspective. Healthy bodies have tone to them. Unhealthy bodies do not have tone to them and that’s what we have to consider when we are talking about the impact of various types of exercise and activity.
When, I have done metabolic testing in the office using indirect colorimetrically. What I’ve discovered is that some of the people who have the worst metabolism are not even the senior citizens, they’re the marathon runners. They are the people that are running six days a week and they have horrible metabolisms because they basically eroded away their muscle and guess how they describe themselves, the skinny fat.
Jade: Ultimately, if you want optimal body composition, if you want to get lean and toned and you might know a runner or you might be a runner who is lean and toned and you might say what are these three guys talking about? They don’t know what they are talking about but trust me, you are in the minority. You’re talking to three guys who probably between them have tens of thousands of client contacts and obviously, a ton of research that we’ve all done and I would absolutely agree with what you are guys saying.
I see runners coming into my office all the time, they get on, I do skin caliber testing. I do ultrasound body comp testing. I do biological impediments testing and they always have higher body fat percent than you could imagine compared to the people who are really focusing on high quality exercise, which is the stuff we’re talking about, weight training, and that kind of stuff. I think it’s not a matter of saying that aerobic exercises is evil. I think what the three of us are saying is that it is not the most efficient way to achieve the goals that most people are trying to achieve and in fact, in many people, if not most it’s actually working against them.
I think that essentially what the three of us are saying. I think the take home here is that, you guys sort of correct me if I’m misstating what the three of us are saying but I think what we are saying is look, we are not saying the cardio is going to kill, what we’re saying is that it’s not the end all, be all of heart protection that we all think it is. We’re not saying cardio makes you fat but we are certainly saying that for most people, it is not going to get you a body that you want.
Essentially, what we are saying I think is that we have got to really, for those of you who are listening who want to change your body. You really need to change your way of approaching exercise away from aerobic exercise into more efficient types of exercise and we are going to talk about that a little bit more tonight but let’s go to the next question and see what we have here.
So the here’s a question for you guys. This is really, just to kind of get people an idea based on the conversation we are having. If, we don’t tend to do a ton of aerobic exercise because of what the three of us know about it, then what do we do?
Jonathan I’ll start with you. What do you do? What does a typical week look like for you in terms of your fitness regime?
Jonathan: The only exercise I get, to be clear, I live a very sedentary life. I am in front of a computer, the vast majority of most of my days. I exercise eccentrically once a week, generally on Saturdays. I am sore for at least six days afterwards. In fact, the 48 hours following my eccentric work out, I can at times have trouble sleeping, because my muscles are so exhausted but that’s because of the physical activity I do, aside from walking around.
Jade: Yeah, give us an idea so they are clear, Jonathan, and even for Ray and me, especially for me. I am curious to know what…your eccentric…what’s a typical day? What does that eccentric workout look like? Walk us through it real quick.
Jonathan: It’s generally four exercises. One for legs, one for back, one for chest and one for shoulders and to be very clear, I didn’t always work out this way. Back when I was a trainer, I exercised compulsively. In fact, I would actually at times exercise up to three individual times per day. I’m talking 18 exercise sessions in a week. I’m not kidding that myself and my training partner would literally train like left biceps.
Today, we’re training the left biceps. It was absurd and I get better results now and I am training for accumulative total. I have exercise induced asthma so I have to take a little additional rest between my sets, about an hour per week. I’ll generally start with a leg press or a split squat or at times I do dead lifts and I practice, doing eccentric techniques on that. If it’s something like a dead lift where I cannot lower more weight than I’m lifting, I will just lower the weight very, very slowly and do a more of a power explosive movement up.
If it’s something like a leg press or a smith machine split squat, it is very easy for me to lower the weight with one leg and raise it with two. That enables me to handle much more weight than I would otherwise be able to. Then I do for back, either row movements or a pullup, which is actually more like a letdown because I usually strap between 90 and 115 pounds around my waist and will just try to hold the top position of a pullup for 10 seconds and I can’t. Gravity brings me down and then I help myself back up and I repeat that.
It’s not a complete absence of concentric movements. Focus, however, is on the eccentric movements. Then for chests it’s generally a press or a fly. Again, just perform eccentrically, so either going upwards with two arms lower than one or using fly movement down and a press movement up, because you’re stronger on the press movement.
For shoulder, I generally do eccentric hand stand push-ups. I get up on this top position of a hand stand push-up and then I slowly lower myself down. I also do yoga because I love the flexibility. I love the injury prevention. I think we undersell those types of exercise in our culture. I think if you focus on doing strength training and then you focus on things like Pilates or yoga or these more core flexibility other forms of fitness, I think that’s such a yin and yang complimentary duo. That’s pretty much my routine.
Jade: For those of you listening, when you listen to what Jonathan’s talking about, hopefully you can get the sense of the intensity of the work he is doing and some of you might be wondering, how does that work? Part of the reason it works is because he is putting so much stress on his body during that time that his body has to then take a ton of energy to recover and then it has to take a ton of energy to repair. Then it’s going to use a ton of energy to help Jonathan adapt and get stronger because the body knows it’s going to be stressed like that again. You can imagine he does this very intense exercise and then his body is reacting almost the rest of the week it sounds like, and he is able to stay in shape. Jonathan is a very fit guy and that really what’s it’s about. You’re talking about the epitome of efficient exercise. I’m curious what you do Ray?
Ray: Well I walk 8 to 12 miles a day and that would be because I own a walking desk, a tread desk and usually you just walk two miles per hour. Usually, for about six hours a day, anywhere between four and six, depending upon the day. That’s, kind of my foundation for the day, I do two primary strength training workouts per week. One’s an upper body, one’s a lower body and they’re work, probably not to the intensity of Jonathan because, that style of training is extremely intense but I do a standard split.
I do upper body, push/pull activities/exercises, lower push/pull exercises as well on a separate day. I will do a 4-4 kit. I will do four counts up, four counts down on the exercises and I will work between six to eight repetitions per set. I’ll do interval training twice a week, generally. Sometimes it’s on the trail, sometimes it’s on the tread mill and if I am, if I come home or if I work a little late or I have to do an emergency work out meaning that I didn’t make it out to the gym, then I usually go to something like Insanity or I will do a home kind of metabolic set work out with some home equipment that I have here. That’s pretty much my program.
I do do maybe once a week I may do what might be labeled as standard aerobic activities. I’ll run a standard 5K with my intentions to try to beat my previous score. I use the Nike Plus system on my iPhone which kind of keeps track. You can set it for a 5K and just try to beat your score each and every time and that’s what I try to do.
Jade: That’s interesting. For me, it’s really, I wake up every morning, I grab my cup of coffee and I go for an hour walk and it is literally a slow walk drinking coffee, talking with my wife half the time when she is there with me and that to me gets my day started and it’s, this is not power walking, this is leisure walking, like walking your dog, I’m drinking coffee and talking.
Three days a week I do a full body, you know, metabolic, what I call metabolic physique conditioning work out, so those of you who understand what body building is, where it’s sort of this high repetition, moderate weight and then combine that with intervals, carrying weights around, that’s essentially what I do. That work out will last 30 minutes. I do that three times a week and then on Saturday or Sunday morning, I do 10 100 meter sprints and that is basically a 100 meter run. Actually it’s probably a 10 minute warm up, 10 minutes cool down then 100 meter sprint. I walk back and that is intense enough and it takes me about five minutes to six minutes to recover to do my next one. Sometimes I don’t even get all 10 because the intensity of that and sometimes I’ll stick with just five depending on how I feel and that’s pretty much my exercise for the week.
Sometimes I’ll go back out in the evening and do another leisure walk, so I am sort of big on walking. I also, although I don’t get to do it much, like Jonathan says, I do love the sort of restorative type stuff, Tai Chi, restorative yoga, not the power stuff but sort of the restorative stretching type yoga. I think what you can kind of take away from hearing the three of us talk is you see, what three guys all stay pretty fit, who have varying regimes that they do but it sounds like…
I always like to tell my clients, look the best kind exercise program, and even the best diet program is the one you love, will stick to, and can be consistent with. This is the program and gets you results. For me, it’s all about being as efficient as possible and I find that I tend to put on fat a little easier. I also put on muscle well and this is the regime that sort of helps me maintain.
Now, if I want to, you know, sort get in even better shape, I don’t do much different with my exercise, I instead focus on diet. That kind of, is me sort of in a nutshell. I don’t know if you guys have anything more to add on that but I do think it’s interesting to go through, the three of us and our regimes.
Jonathan: Actually, just real quick Ray, I will say I love hearing that we all are, we have sort of similar beliefs and research. We all have very different exercise regimens and I think it shows, and it speaks to the fact that none of us are saying there is this one right way to exercise. What we are saying is there is, there are forms of exercise that objectively has been shown to be not as effective as other forms.
It doesn’t mean there is one right way or one wrong way but it does mean whatever you’re doing is not giving you the results you would hope for, don’t just keep doing it. There are smarter ways and more efficient ways to exercise and not everyone is going to respond the same way. And Jade, you communicate this so well, but don’t just keep trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Jade: Yeah, I totally agree with that. What I took away from that discussion is number one, that intensity seems to be a recurring motif in all of our programs. I think that, that needs to take center stage. Is when you’re exercising, if your goal is to exercise, try to make those exercise sessions as intense as possible. I have these principles called the Fourteen Guiding Principles.
One of them is exercise and eat to change your hormones, not to manage calories. We all get caught up in how many calories did I burn in this exercise session and that is, in my book, it’s a totally wrong approach to viewing exercise. What we want to know is how this is to going to impact my metabolism over the coming 24- 36 hours and that’s the key question. What’s the best exercise that is going to give me most bang for my buck and I think these types of intense activities is very pretty clear are the answer, are the winner in this case.
Jonathan: Let me add one thing, Ray. I love what you said there and also came through in our conversation in terms of a common thread and that’s sustainability. One of the reasons I exercise one day a week eccentrically is because for seven years of my life, I trained horribly unsustainably. I was very much into athletics, I exercised obsessively. I would be on vacation and not enjoy able my vacation because I was so preoccupied with finding a gym so that I could go exercise but I don’t like exercise. I don’t.
I absolutely do not like exercising, so I have chosen an exercise routine where I can go intense as infrequently as possible and get the results I want because I was stupid and picked a for of exercise earlier in my life that was unsustainable, both because it burned me out and I got injured, all the time. If I wanted to go run a 5K, I couldn’t because I have no ACL nor meniscus in my right leg because the exercise choices I made in my life. So, in addition to the common thread of intensity, I would also draw the common thread of sustainability and safety, so you avoid injuries, you avoid burning out and you avoid just quitting exercise entirely.
Jade: Yeah, and you do what works too, that’s the interesting thing about, from our conversations Jonathon, you tend to be, leaner just naturally anyway. Correct?
Jonathan: That’s correct. It’s very difficult for me to gain muscles, but I’m generally lean.
Jade: When I have those conversations, I love these kind of conversations because I know from conversations with Ray, he and I tend to be potentially a little more anabolic, in that we, I gain both muscle and fat pretty easily, so you can see that when you’re thinking about the people who are listening who are thinking about how do I design an exercise program me, they have to also look at that. Obviously, Jonathan can hold onto his muscle and remain lean with his regime, so it is about results. Let me see what else we’ve got here.
Ray: The truth is, you put on muscle and fat easily. I just put on fat easily. [crosstalk 33:25]. Damn you Jonathan and your skinny jeans!
Jade: Yeah, Jonathan’s the one we all hate for sure.
Ray: Oh yeah. Hey Jade, can I put on a final period on this discussion?
Jade: Yeah, absolutely.
Ray: I was reading through one of the chapters of a project that you and have been working on and this one section, I wrote a blog post on it and posted it on the blog post. I’d like to read this brief blog post for you, because I think it really does drive the point home. Let me just read it quickly. It says: “I editing an article that I wrote a couple of months ago, when I came across a section that caught my attention. As weird as it sounds, today these paragraphs spoke to me and I was moved. It was as if the me of two months ago was speaking to the me of today and giving me some tough love.
I wanted to give you an excerpt from the section with hopes that you guys would be moved as well, and here it is.” This is what I had in that section and it says, “’Look, life is short! You shouldn’t spend it trotting away on a treadmill. Live out loud, enjoy the wondrous adventures that life has in store for you. Get out there and make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. I know far too many people who waste their precious breaths on hours and hours of elliptical machines, stair steppers and treadmills.
What a waste? Give yourself the gift of getting into the gym for 30 to 40 hardcore minutes per day. During each of these workouts, prove to yourself how much heart you have. Make them count. Leave with a sense of accomplishment, with the sense that you proved to yourself that you’re stronger than you thought, then after you leave your heart on the floor for those 30 to 40 minutes, depart the gym and don’t look back until the next workout. You did your time, now enjoy life! Fill the rest of your life with leisure exercise activities that you enjoy.
The key word being ‘activities,’ not TV and movies. Try new things like dancing, martial arts, Frisbee, hiking, yoga, just become the person who loves to be active. That’s the secret. You can’t quit the habit of watching four hours of TV every night by just giving it up. You have to crowd it out with something more worthwhile. Become so active so that you have no time to sit in front of the TV. Become so adventurous that you have stories to tell your friends and family at the next holiday party.
Live in such a way that has your friends and family thinking, I want a life like that, not because you want to be envied by them, but because you want to inspire them. Look, your life would either be an example, or a warning to the people that you care about. Be the example, not the warning!’”
I think that spoke to me because I, like Jonathan, had that same experience. I went out there and I, and there were times when I would spend two hours in the gym. I remember getting my heart rate monitor and working out for two hours in the treadmill, it was pure suffering and what kind of results did I get with fat loss?
None. I got no results from fat loss. I remember scratching my head, thinking, “How is that even possible?” I think so many people spend their lives on the treadmill, trotting away, wasting that precious lifetime that they’ll never get back and I think the type of information we’re giving here, gives them what they need to break the shackles of the treadmill, get out there and just enjoy life and be active. Know what I mean?
Jade: Yeah, I definitely know what you mean and I think to sum it up even more, based on what we said. It’s like, “Look, just go and enjoy yourself but do what works.” That’s the whole thing, enjoy yourself and do what works. If you’re out there doing two hours a day at cardio, and it’s not working for you, you’re not getting the goals you want, then you have to do something different. I like the way that sort of sum things up. Intense exercise, get out there and move, become an active person, do the leisure activities, and I’m thinking one of the things that, and this will sort of segway us into sort of this next question.
One of the things we have to look at is with exercise is that the body is this beautiful machine and when you push it in one direction, it pushes back on you and the type of exercise you do, the type of exercise you chose is going to have a direct impact on how hungry you are, what you choose to eat, the mood that you’re in, the quality of sleep you get, and that’s because as the three of us were talking about. Exercise is one of the prime movers of our hormonal metabolism and of course, the other one is diet. These two things go hand in hand.
Of course, one of the questions I know that you guys get, I get all the time is, how do you merge the two? I’m curious for you guys, so before we get in what we necessarily would recommend. What do you guys eat before you exercise, do you eat? What do you eat? How about it, Jonathan?
Jonathan: I’ll go first. One think I’ll note since I hope I don’t sound like the ant-exercise guy on this call. “Oh I only exercise one day a week and whatever,” Anyway, some people really enjoy exercise and to me, I just can’t even imagine that. I can’t imagine enjoying exercises, anymore. However, I am, I would [indiscernible 38:48] more precise about my eating than most people are. In fact, I actually enjoy that. I see it as ways that I refine what I eat. Even since I was little, I’ve seen food as this cool way I can change in my body and change in my mood on a day to day basis.
There’s only so much time you can spend exercising, but you have a lot of opportunities to make choices around food consumption. While I may be the exercise fuddy-duddy on the call, I’m very, very into and excited by being a bit more precise and deliberate around what I eat. I might not have a huge amount to add for this question because I’m only exercising one day a week, so what I eat before, during, and after that is not a huge issue for me but I will just note that it’s not just ‘Jonathan has wonderful genetics.’ I’m very, very deliberate about what I eat and that’s where I’ve seen my results, by manipulating my diet more. I’ve seen results that no amount of exercise has ever been able to provide for me. Anyway, sorry, I know it’s a little off track, but…
Jade: No, I think that’s great, because what it really reinforces is for everyone and I say, I know Ray would agree with this, I agree with this. For those listening to this call, to the three of us talking, to me, if you really want to change your body, you can do it, with very, very little exercise, just pick up walking, and a little more activity, but get your diet right and your body’s going to change, no question about it.
Ray: The research pretty much is clear that exercise has a whole lot less of an impact on your fat loss results than diet does. That’s pretty clear but what the research literature does support is the fact that being active and performing even just conventional exercise does seem to act as one line of defense against putting that weight back on. When we start to look at maintaining the results that we have, then exercise seems to play a little bit more of a crucial role.
One way we also can look at it is, the more overweight you are, and the more out of shape and the longer you’ve gone without being on any particular program, the less important exercise is. If we were to give it a number, for example, we have somebody who is 300 pounds, who is just getting started, then we can say that 95 percent of your situation is diet, five percent would be activity and exercise, then, as they get closer and closer to their goal weight, then exercise begins to take on more and more of an importance, so, it move all the way up to 20 percent exercise, 80 percent diet and that certainly is one way of looking at it. [crosstalk 41:38]
Jonathan: Ray, just to dig into that real quick. This might be a place that we can be a place where we can violently agree and it’d be great. You said, the upper bound for exercise is important is 20 percent of the equation. Do you intentionally mean that? Did you consciously say that, like the most exercise can matter, is probably 20 percent of the equation?
Ray: That’s right. That’s accurate.
Jonathan: I would absolutely agree with that but most it can contribute is 20 percent. Jade, what say you?
Jade: I agree 100 percent and I think that, people should, for people listening, that’s probably shocking to them to hear, because I think they see it exactly the opposite. They see is as it’s 80 percent, most people think it’s just 80 percent movement and 20 percent what I eat, and it’s not. It’s the other way around, if that, and that’s the thing, it’s probably not even that much for most people.
Ray: Yeah, I would agree with that. I put it up on our Facebook page, the question, “How much does it really matter?” I said, “Probably 85, 15 would be a good solid figure. Most people agree that it’s about 80-20”. A lot of our listeners has suggested the ratio is but let’s say 85 percent diet, 80 to 85, 15 percent exercise and activity, 15 to 20 because, Jade, all this, if we look at the research, the research is pretty clear. When we actually look at it in practice, when we’re focusing and I made this mistake in the first group weight loss program that I did.
I didn’t push exercise and activity and what ends up happening, is people have the tendency to really lose muscle mass. I think it would be a much faster rate than they would have if we would have studied them on a weight training program right from the start. I think it is important for a lot of people, 99 percent of people to incorporate some sort of resistance training right from the start of their program, even if it’s just a simple exercise program, just to maintain or hold on to that muscle mass as best they can when they go into a weight loss program.
Jonathan: [crosstalk 43:42] I was going to say, I will second that I believe resistance training is required, not even optional and until you die. If you’re 80 years old, in the nursing home, you can still resistance train. It is the single, safest and most sustainable form of activity you can ever do and I would argue that it is. It is mandatory, absolutely mandatory, everything else optional, well everything else, exercise perspective, resistance training, mandatory.
Jade: Most of the research, one of the things that people might be interested in, the three of us has read this research all the time, 99.9 percent of the research, perhaps not that much but it’s close, is aerobic based, if we take it from all the way from today to the beginning of them doing studies on exercise is aerobic exercise based. We may be having this discussion in five, 10 years from now and be saying it is exercise is much, much more important than what we just stated, but only resistance exercise.
I think that the three of us would suspect that that is the case and so for me, when I start people out, it really is walk and resistance training and because I know from a psychology of change perspective, that you don’t want to change two things at once, you don’t want to shake people up too much, you can start them out with walking, but resistance training is right after that. Usually if they get their diet right, that is all they need.
Ray: Yeah, that’s very true but there’s also, you have to give a little bit of respect to the interconnectivity of things as well. A lot of my listens have reported and a lot of clients have seen this that when they’re on a exercise program, for some reason, it causes them to stick to their dietary program in a more solid fashion. We may not see that phenomenon in the research because there’s a lot of controls that go on in research and often times, people are on a set diet anyway during those studies but we look at it in real life circumstances.
It really does seem to play a role to a lot of people, maybe not everybody but a lot of people find that when they do, do their exercise program, it causes something in their brain to shift and that they don’t want to ruin what they did in their exercise program by eating a very poor diet.
Jade: Yes, it’s sort of like the reverse Halo effect at what your talking about. On one hand, we’re talking about the Halo effect, this idea that some people exercise or they tend to eat a healthy item and then they compensate by eating worse or ruining it but there are other types of people who actually have what I think Ray is talking about it, and what I’ve termed, the reverse Halo effect. You see both of these things happening and then it tends to be certain types of people, but ultimately that’s where we want to get people, so I don’t know if that’s what you’ve seen as well.
Jonathan: Let me phrase it just slightly differently. Maybe people are beginning, once you see yourself as a healthy person or a fit person, having that self image permeates every aspect of your life. I think the more things you do that are consistent with whatever you characterize in your mind as a healthier, fit person, you want to then be consistent to avoid, another psychological term is cognitive dissonance.
If you see yourself as, this is kind of a silly example, but if you see yourself as someone who, well, we all, why don’t we steal, it’s easy shoplift but we don’t, because usually we see ourselves as moral people, so we avoid shoplifting. If we shoplift, we feel bad about ourselves because we experience cognitive dissonance. The same kind of thing, I think we may be discussing here, with more actions you can take, which are in your mind consistent with what a healthy person does. The more you see yourself as a healthy person and the more you get reinforced when you do these healthy activities.
Ray: There are other factors are come into play too. We know that exercise also increases circulation and blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex, which is a very important area of the brain for will-power. That also is another area where we’re seeing some good research come out. If we wanted to improve somebody’s insulin sensitivity, Jade, one way we can do that is through focusing on diet. If we were to put somebody on a ketogenic diet and start them on a very low carb diet, it would probably take two to three days before we really start to see an changes in their insulin sensitivity.
That being said, we can improve insulin sensitivity almost instantaneously by getting them and doing a metabolic effect style full body resistance based workout in 20 minutes. I can either wait two to three days to change the insulin sensitivity or I can change it literally in 20 minutes by doing a work out like the metabolic effect style work out. That’s an important factor, because that also allows us to map out what we eat at certain times of the day as well because we know that exercising, and this goes to your original question which we kind of went off of on a totally different tangent, which was, what do you eat before or after a workout?
It allows us to, in certain circumstances, be able to kind of control the damage, so to speak. When we look at ketogenic diets and we look at Atkins style diet and every single study that I know of, maybe Jonathan knows of a study where the results did last but in practically in every single study, within one to two years, everybody was off the diet. They couldn’t maintain that diet, so, carbohydrates on some level, probably are here to stay and so we have to work with that. Exercise may prove to be one way, or exercise done right, may prove to be one way in which we can incorporate some of those foods and still not do a lot of damage to the metabolism, or be able to mitigate some of that damage. You think that’s right Jonathan, or you think that there will never come a day or never come a point where that would be possible?
Jonathan: Well it’s interesting, it’s the type of exercise we use. So, this kind of goes, some listeners are maybe expecting me to violently disagree right now because I made the point earlier about using exercise as sort of an excuse to do other things. Atleast in my research, it doesn’t necessarily work that way, it depends what kind of exercise you’re using. If you’re using high intensity exercise, you’re using high intensity resistance training, absolutely, the hormonal changes you can cause in your body in a short amount of time can absolutely, in some ways, mitigate eating bad foods.
That doesn’t mean you should eat bad foods, however it would be absurd to say that it doesn’t help to mitigate them. However, to think that jogging or traditional aerobics exercise, in any way, gives you permission or mitigates eating inSANE starches or sweets, I would say that is the thing that we need to throw out the window. It’s smarter exercise, yes very, very helpful; traditional exercise, not so much.
One other thing thrown out there is, well yes many sort of Atkins induction phase type diets, where you’re looking at less than 20 grams of carbohydrates, certainly not sustainable but the idea, and not intended to be right. Atkins has three phases, the third phase is much different than the first. The idea that eating in a certain way or eliminating certain foods is not sustainable is not true. Many people have proven this, like look at vegetarians. Vegetarians do something that I personally would find nearly impossible, and that’s giving up all meat and look at Vegan, they give up all animal products in all context for the rest of their lives.
They don’t struggle, they don’t wake up in the morning like, “Dammit! I wish I could eat some bacon with breakfast.” They believe something and it permeates their entire life always, they don’t have cheat days where they eat steaks and it’s not a struggle for them. I actually like to think about those types of things or even diabetics where if you eat certain foods it could kill you. Miraculously, people no longer struggle to avoid those foods. So I like to think about how can we change our mindset to make it almost like being a vegetarian but for low quality food so that we don’t even desire them anymore.
I think that’s actually even more possible than some people give themselves credit for, as evidenced by people who restrict their diets for religious reasons or for moral reasons or for medical reasons. We just need to give ourselves enough reasons to make it sustainable.
Jade: Yeah, and as the culture shifts I think that’s going to be happening more as you look at the cultural aspects of food and people seeing other people, friends and family adapting these lifestyles, you’ll see that sort of come more into existence. You’re seeing already with the adaptation of things like the Paleo diet, people doing intermittent fasting and things that probably the three of us would never be talking about back in the 1980’s.
A lot of it is because of the cultural changes and new understandings but to go back to what we were talking about before about exercise and food, I do think that it’s really interesting. I would say it’s both the best time and worst time to have these processed junk foods and high carbohydrates or high starchy refined grain products. It’s the best time and the worst time to do it around exercise. It’s the best time because like Ray said, you’re mitigating some of the negative effects. It’s the worst time because you’re also mitigating some of the positive effects of the exercise.
That kind of how I tend to look at that, it kind of goes to what Jonathan has been saying, yes it will mitigate some of the negative effects but you’re also sort of undoing the positive benefits of the exercise and of course, different types of exercise are going to have a different effect. Moving the body in general, just going for a walk if you had just ate a chocolate cake or something like that is going to better than not going for a walk, going for a jog probably is going to have some effect as well but obviously I think we would say that “Look, what you want to be doing is sort of intense weight based lifting movements, and that’s going to have the most beneficial impact.”
Ray: Yeah, Dr. Paul Crib, who is probably on the same page as us on many fronts, he teaches what he calls a metabolic window which is this three hour period that occurs after exercise and his philosophy is that, as it pertains to carbs and activity, is that if within this three hour metabolic window that you can have faster absorbent or what many would label as less fat friendly carbohydrates, those would be things like some breads, some pastas, potatoes and things like that, sweet potatoes during that three hour period only.
The rule is no starchy carbs before exercise and only consume starchy carbs within this three hour metabolic window after the fact. He claims that in his research and in his experience that those carbohydrates will not be transferred into the fat cells. I haven’t had a chance to test this out myself but it is on my list of things to test within my own life. It is intriguing to me, there is good evidence that there is this such thing as a metabolic window where we can change the impact of even what would be labeled as fattening foods by consuming them within a period of time close to or in proximity of exercise.
Jade: Yeah and I can give you sort of my clinical experience with this is that is I found it absolutely to be true with myself and with people who, what I would describe as metabolically flexible, lean men and women who are relatively young and I certainly found that even people who are metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetic doing that. They don’t have as negative effect but I think we have to make the distinction at least I have in my clinical practice that if I had a young athletic male who is wanting to put on muscle mass and is doing heavy weight training, I do see that time is a free time.
However, if we have someone who is overweight, metabolically challenged and they obviously read these things too. We know people come in and say “Hey, I heard I can have my donut or whatever after my workout.” It doesn’t seem to have the same effect, yes it’s not as detrimental but in my clinical experience it’s not as beneficial as avoiding it as well. I don’t know if you guys have the same sort of clinical experience but I do agree and I think that’s absolutely the case, you are uniquely insulin sensitive and uniquely able to put on muscle and burn fat, even with some of these so called negative foods.
That happens to be in people who, in my clinical experience, tend to be lean already or metabolically efficient already and maybe not so much of a relevant topic for those who are metabolically challenged but I don’t know if you guys see that the same way.
Jonathan: I would tend to agree and I’ll just add one thing which I’m pretty sure we all agree on and that’s, if you’re mind set is ‘I’m gonna go exercise so that I can eat garbage and not feel bad about it,’ that’s not the right mindset to have. Another, just to be very specific, we could talk about insulin and carb absorption but we’re not talking about all the other toxic elements that are found in these types of food.
All the preservatives and chemical weirdness and no amount of exercise is probably going to mitigate the hydroxichoral carbon-blah-blah-blah that… Many of these food are toxic and they should not even be called food, so yes, they will do less damage if you consume them after exercise but please don’t have the mindset of “I exercise, so I can ingest these toxins.” That’s not good.
Ray: More of what I would speaking to and I know that Paul Crib would as well, is more like things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice and the actual starchy foods that I would consider what I call “prime foods,” which are foods that maybe starchy but almost identical to the way that they occur in nature minus the cooking aspect of it but Jade, you and I always talk about the one core kind of belief behind both metabolically effect and cut the fat podcast. I think it’s also the Smarter Science Slim is kind of your philosophy as well and it’s this.
When I was in a black belt class one day, I remember the instructor was teaching us how to defend against a knife attack. I remember I had a question, I asked my instructor, I said when he comes at me, “Should I go to the left or should I go to the right here and block it this way?” and he said yes and then he went on teaching the class. And I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. I was like, “Should I go left or should I go right” and he said yes and he went back on teaching the class. I said, “I’m sorry Sir, I don’t understand” and he said “The answer is yes, depending upon the circumstance.”
In the case whenever with we’re dealing with anything in fat loss, sometimes we all kind of get caught in this, “This is the way to do it,” even you and I, Jade and Jonathan, we all kind of talk that way sometimes but the truth is there are some circumstances where the metabolic window concept would be a 100 percent effective for some people and there are circumstances where it would be totally ineffective for others and we offer these as tactics to people and ways that you can start thinking to test in your own life.
I think we can all agree that no matter what the “guru” says, it’s not real until it’s real in your own life. It’s not real until you’ve tested it in the only weight loss study that matters and it’s the only study that you run in your own life.
Jade: Yeah, I think that’s just probably the perfect place to kind of wrap this up cause we’re getting in to the hour but for me, the company metabolic effect, the acronym is ME and the acronym is ME because exactly what you’re saying. It’s basically saying, look, we can talk about this stuff all day long and the reason that it is so confusing for all of us is because it is human nature to some degree to want certainty. That’s what we want, we want someone to say, “Do it this way” and there’s nothing certain about fat loss or any of this stuff.
There’s too much we do not know and we are so very different in our metabolic expressions, in our personalities and in our preferences, and so what I would say to people who are basically listening to the three of us talking, being like “great guys, I still do not know what to do,” and the answer is exactly what they Ray, “Yes.” What that means is that you, have to stop being the dieter and start being the detective and I’ll tell you real quick and then I’ll let Jonathan and Ray jump in and tell you guys real quick the take home for them.
Here’s my take home that I would say. If you’re trying to figure this out, if you’re trying to say “Jade, what the hell do you mean by be the detective, not the dieter?” Here’s essentially what I mean. Your metabolism is different, your metabolism is speaking to you all the time, you don’t need fancy lab test and that kind of stuff, what you need is to listen to your hormonal biofeedback clues and I call them clues because they are speaking to you just like you being the detective and there are more than three but the three big ones that we use in metabolic effect are hunger, energy and cravings.
They tell you about the balance in your metabolism, the goal is to have low hunger, to have no cravings and to have high energy, and to also be losing fat. When you get those things in line, you know that you are the right thing for your body even if it 100 percent different than anything Jonathan told you or anything that Ray told you or anything that I told you. That means you are getting the effect you want, hunger, energy and cravings with fat loss, you’re doing exactly what you need to do.
Jonathan: Where do you want to go next?
Ray: How do you follow that piece of work of art Jonathan? I think I have a similar philosophy, I think that that’s right on. It all speaks to sustainability and how the, whatever you choose works within the culture of your life. I like to say the only two reasons why you’re not burning fat, either your program sucks or your follow through sucks and that’s it. Fat lose is science, your body runs by certain laws of nature.
There is a reason why the body stores fats and there is a reason why the body releases fats. Just because you haven’t figured it out how to burn fat doesn’t mean that reason doesn’t exist. It exists and the only way you’re going to figure it out is by piece-meal. It’s going through, in Cut The Fat, we have a similar kind of process Jade, we have what we call the Caaa formula, and it kind of speaks to, goes back to my martial arts days where in martial arts, a Cataa is a series of steps that you repeat over and over again in order to learn a particular defense against an attack, with the Cataa in fat sense which spells c-a-t-a-a and that stands for commit, which means commit to a particular system and then you run that system and then you assess and then you tweak and then you assess again and then you begin that cycle over and over again, the Cataa.
Commit to a philosophy, assess your results, tweak the program, don’t just jump ship like most people do, they jump ship and they go and find a totally new program. You just tweak the program that you have and you assess again. We also say that there are three things that the perfect weight loss program does. It improves body composition, it improves your health, and it improves your energy.
If one of those things is missing, then your program is not finished, your program is not perfect for you yet, it’s got to achieve all three roles, improving body composition, improving health, and improving energy. The way you put it, if you follow your hunger, your energy and your cravings, that kind of speaks to whether or not you’re achieving those things.
Jonathan: The only thing I’ll add is saying that certainly we have to custom tailor things to ourselves but that also shouldn’t leave us feeling like “Well, I’m just starting square one” because I think we would all agree and even people, pretty broadly, let’s look at someone like Atkins or Gary Taubs versus like a T. Campbell and Effstein where there are some, let’s call them truths. Penicillin does fundamentally the same things to everybody.
We’re all homosapiens, so there are common denominators, the more non starchy vegetables you consume, the more nutrition you consume, the better off you’re going to be. High intensity exercise is going to be a good option for pretty much everyone. It’s not going to be bad for anyone. There are these common threads, eating food rather than eating foods like products and once you can, I think, what a lot of people sometimes do, they become overwhelmed with minutia and they tend to focus on these little components, whereas if we look at these things which are pretty much universally accepted, right?
I don’t know of anyone who says eat more sugar and you’ll be more healthy or eat more white bread and you’ll be healthy or eat less vegetables and you’ll be healthy, even Atkins in phase one, says eat your greens. If we focus on these big rocks and we don’t let these things that are still being worked out to distract us.
I think we’d be not only healthier but also a lot happier with that sort of common denominator solidified in our mind and then doing the personal experimentation to fill in the blanks, rather than reading the newest headlines or the newest article in whatever magazine and letting it further confuse us. Take what’s pretty much established and then experiment, building off of that.
Welcome to another “bonus” episode of The Smarter Science of Slim podcast. A lot of readers and listeners have noticed that there’s quite a bit of Smarter Science of Slim activity going around the world and web, and have emailed asking for one place they could get all things Smarter Science of Slim…at least from an audio perspective.
So here we go!
Between “standard” SSoS podcast episodes I’ll share SSoS interviews etc. from all around the world and web. I hope these are helpful…and heck, if they’re not, or if they become repetitive (interviewers tend to ask me similar questions), feel free to skip them 🙂