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Exercise Frequency, Carb Back Loading, and Endurance Training

JONATHAN: Welcome to the Smarter Science of Slim, the scientifically proven program where you eat more and exercise less to burn fat and boost health.

CARRIE: Eat smarter. Exercise smarter. Live better. I am so ready for that!

Hello, everyone! This is Carrie Brown welcoming you to the Sane Show and with me I have Jonathan Bailor.

JONATHAN: What is up, Carrie and wonderful viewers, listeners, and readers?

CARRIE: Yes, readers. We have questions.

JONATHAN: Continuing questions.

CARRIE: Continuing questions. So the question was posed, over on the Facebook Community, “If you had a chance to sit with Jonathan, what would you ask him?” So all of these questions — that was the question that I posed to them and here are some of the questions that came up.

Jim Story says, “I’d ask Jonathan about the evolution of his own thoughts concerning exercise duration and frequency towards less and less. We know studies are starting to confirm this, but it’s still a fairly radical concept to the conventional exercise crowd.”

JONATHAN: Jim, first of all you are the man because you have been around for many years and I think it’s awesome that you are in the Facebook Community, so thank you so much for sticking with us probably since… Jim is a sane, a senior Sane member of the community. So what is up, Jim? The duration/frequency.

This might go on a little bit long so I’ll try to make it quick. As you know, I used to be very into let’s call it bodybuilding but not technically because I always wanted to be a little bit more cut up than just gigantic. So I used to train in high school — I am not exaggerating — I would train 21 times a week. We had weight lifts in class. We would, because I played pretty intense sports, we would lift before school. We had a weight lifting class, and then we would lift again after school. We’d literally lift — I’m not kidding you — “Today we’re doing right bicep.” That’s how neurotic we were about exercise frequency.

This also ties back to previous podcasts where we talked about Means Versus Ends/Goals. At that time, my mindset was the point, my goal (which this is wrong) was to go to the gym. My goal is to exercise, go to the gym. The point is to go to the gym; the point is to exercise.

We now know, everyone here in the Sane Community knows that exercise is a means to an end. The end is the hormonal, neurological and gastrointestinal change that enables us to be slim, happy and healthy for our entire lives. Exercise is just a technique we can use to cause those changes to happen. So once you’re able to make that mental shift, meaning that the point of exercise is not, in our world, to exercise, the point of exercise is to trigger a response by your body, then you just start to say, “Well, what is it that causes the most significant response to happen in the body?”

Well the research is incredibly clear that the hormonal response of exercise is directly related to the intensity of exercise, aka the muscles, muscle fibers that are recruited. We also know unambiguously that there is an inverse relationship between the intensity of exercise and the frequency and duration that you can do it. So for example going for a walk, you can walk for many hours every day of the week, no problem. Low intensity means high duration and frequency. Low intensity also means low hormonal impact on the body.

On the other end of the spectrum is E-centric exercise. There is no question, in the research community, that E-centric exercise is the most potent stimulus for muscle fibers available. In fact, in certain circles where, for example, frequent training is fun, like Cross Fit.

People who do Cross Fit do it because they really, really like it and they want to do a lot of it. They want to have high duration and high frequency. They want to work out for a long time and work out frequently.

They would actively never do E-centrics. In fact, they might do an explosive lift and then just drop the weight simply because they don’t want to work their muscle fibers as intensely because if they did, they wouldn’t be able to do their frequent Cross Fit workouts.

So what are my own thoughts? Personally, I had a period in time in my life where I had to eliminate everything I could. This is the period of time where I was working at Microsoft fulltime and also doing all this research and writing, and it was just like, “Look. I cannot go to the gym any more than once per week and,” because of that, I said, “I am reducing my duration, I’m reducing my frequency, so I have to increase my intensity.” And fortunately, that worked out really well.

Now if an individual has more time to go to the gym, that might change. If they like going to the gym, that might change. It’s really about, again, what are you after? Is what you’re after the most results in the least amount of time? If so, then we’ve got an app for that.

If your goal is to spend a lot of time with your friends doing physical activity, then we’ve got an app for that, too. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the science is quite clear but how you maximize your happiness and your results is going to be dependent on your circumstances and your goals. Carrie, what do you think?

CARRIE: I think everything you just said was true.

JONATHAN: And also, Jim, you mentioned in your question — which is great phrasing — you said, I’m quoting, “Fairly radical concept to the conventional exercise crowd.” The other thing to keep in mind about the “conventional exercise crowd”. Often people who would consider themselves part of the “conventional exercise crowd” are people that like exercising. Right? So if your job is to be a personal trainer, you likely enjoy being in a gym and you likely enjoy exercising.

So the “conventional exercise crowd” that really likes exercise — and there are some monetary incentives for people to exercise more frequently — you can remember we’re all biased. Right? No human is completely unbiased.

So research that sort of furthers doing a lot of exercise, doing frequent exercise, taking a lot of supplements after exercise, doing complicated exercise, inventing new machines and gizmos and gadgets that can help you do more exercise — there’s just more to spend your time and money on there. So if someone is interested in this, there’s a lot more to explore there than saying…

And it’s not new. Right? People like you know the classic body building world, these high intensity trainers — Arthur Murray, people like that back in the ‘50s and ‘40s — were talking about doing single workouts per week, extremely high intensity, resting more.

But for the people who are interested, then Joe Weider came out. Joe Weider was much more of a savvy business person. He said there’s no money to be made on people exercising infrequently and very simply, so they added some things to it. Not to say that everything Joe Weider said is wrong, but again, take a step back; look where the money is; look where the time is, and that may help to scope why conventional wisdom is what it is.

CARRIE: Right. Now we have a question and I’m going to apologize in advance for butchering your name and I feel very badly about this because this lady has been around a long time, too, and she’s regularly on Twitter and Facebook and she makes a lot of very valuable contributions to the community.

JONATHAN: And she’s also…

CARRIE: And she’s also… But her name is, I’m going to say [?sp?]-Tylesit Dow. I know I’ve got the last name right, but I’m sorry for the first name. Anyway, she wants to know how the same lifestyle can be combined or reconciled with D. H. Keifer’s work, Carb Back-loading and Carb Nite. She’s a fan of D. H. Keifer’s work, too. She said he was on Jonathan’s podcast last year, but they only talked about resistance training and cardio.

JONATHAN: I’m a big fan of D. H. Keifer as well, a big fan. I think he’s a great guy. In terms of my personal understanding of his program, it is embarrassingly low, so my apologies, Keifer. I know we’ve had a lot of great conversations. The thing that I would imagine Keifer would agree with is that, again, sane eating is just about maximizing essential things, minimizing non-essential things.

I believe what Keifer’s work looks into — and this is very common in the body building and elite athletic performance communities — using traditionally insane foods like certain starches, sweet potatoes for example, oats and certain sugars like fruit juices to turbo-charge athletic performance, glycogen levels and like a bunch of really advanced stuff.

What I’ll say is using traditionally insane food in a very precise, almost like under a physician’s guidance type of thing, is absolutely… I mean there’s no question that that approach works, this intermediate carb-loading and yada yada yada… When I say “works”, it works for the people who are willing to do that 100% correctly and are in a position in their lives where they need to do that.

Aka, if you are trying to be just the freaking, ripped or just the best person at your Cross Fit gym ever, or you’re not about just being healthy and achieving nutritional serenity, but you’re about “I want to see my six-pack abs and this is fun for me. It’s my hobby and I want to just do this all in.” Then absolutely. If you want to be a competitive bodybuilder, you’re going to absolutely do the types of things that involve carb back-loading and other techniques like that.

For the audience here, our goal is very much more around ending the obesity and diabetes epidemics. A shortage of carb back-loading is not really relevant to that community. So Keifer’s work is great. He’s all about nutrient density; he’s all about nutritional quality. And I bet that his program is already sane and just takes it to a level for — I think Keifer’s brand is like dangerously hardcore or something like — not that it’s dangerous, but his branding is literally dangerously hardcore. He is hardcore.

We are more mainstream. So if you want to go hardcore, I bet Keifer’s work is like hardcore sanity, just based on my personal interaction with him and he’s a great dude. So…hopefully that’s helpful.

CARRIE: And I have nothing to say. I don’t know D. H. Keifer, but now I kind of want to get to because I feel stupid.

JONATHAN: I think Keifer — and oh my God, I’m so sorry, man, if I’m getting this wrong — Keifer is a physicist who just got super-interested in this stuff and then read thousands and thousands of studies and applied his physicist hat to it. And it’s just… I think it’s cool when scientists do that. Obviously, similar to my story as well. So a good dude and his results speaks for itself. He does some great work, so I would recommend checking this stuff out.

CARRIE: All right. Now we have another non question, and this one comes from Elvira [?sp?]-Burzina who says, “I don’t have any outstanding questions. However I just wanted to say a massive thanks to Jonathan for all the hard work and effort he has put in over the years.”

JONATHAN: Is it Elvira?

CARRIE: Elvira.

JONATHAN: This is why Carrie reads the questions. Thank you very much. It’s absolutely my pleasure, and please know that we’re really just getting started. See the Calorie Myth Book as the cornerstone on which hopefully we will build a wonderful, Sane City and we will continue to make this better and easier and more implementable over the coming year. So thank you so much.

CARRIE: And next we have a couple of questions from Cody [?sp?]-Espadella. “Although running is not required, I would ask about eating sanely and what portion sizes should they be for someone who enjoys running and I mean a lot of running!”

And he would also ask how to eat sanely when there is not a lot of time to cook and weekends are spent with family, not food planning. “I’m trying to raise my four year old daughter with a healthy outlook on life, not an obsessive view of having to prep food instead of playing jump rope.”

JONATHAN: Cody, definitely hop onto the Internet right now and type in “The Art and Science (I think) of Low Carbohydrate Performance.” So I believe this is Volek and Phinney, two amazing researchers who are doing really great research around using fat — dietary fat, as also bodily fat, or body fat, excuse me — as the primary energy source for high, high endurance activities, which really makes a lot of sense when you think about it, because we can store, ball park, 2000 calories of sugar in our muscle tissue.

This is why people — probably yourself — carry those little gel packs, little glucose packs and such and it’s always about like fueling your… You have to drink these drinks and consistently take in sugar because your body doesn’t store sugar; your body stores fat. What their research looks into is if we could make our body more fat-adapted, make our body better at burning fat for fuel.

You can store a heck of a lot more energy on your body as body fat as we all know. So you can easily store hundreds of thousands of calories on your body as fat. So wouldn’t it be amazing if you could fuel your body during life or doing ultra endurance training from fat rather than from sugar? Wouldn’t that unlock untapped realms of human performance when it comes with endurance? And the research is suggesting, Yes.”

So please check out their work, because not only then can you achieve your endurance athletic goals but you can also avoid the gastrointestinal and diabetes-inducing challenges that can come from consuming a lot of sugar to fuel yourself.

And then the second question. So when there’s not a lot of time to cook on weekends and not on food planning, I would highly recommend and I know Carrie has some things to add here, is try to cook in bulk. We covered this in a lot of other shows, but I find that the number one cause of time spent on food is let’s call it “a la carte meals.” What’s for dinner tonight? What are we going to eat today? “I don’t know. Crap! We need to go to the store. We need to buy the ingredients for this recipe.”

If you take the let’s call it “cook by numbers” approach where it’s like pre prep a lot of non starchy vegetables, cut them up, wash them, have them in Tupperware containers. Get some protein ready whether they’re salmon patties or just fish, chicken meat, beef, whatever, have it ready and then have your nuts and seeds on hand and then just maybe add some different spices and add some different sauces. That sort of assemble by numbers approach is what I personally do and I know a lot of other folks have had success with. I don’t know, Carrie. What would you think for this one?

CARRIE: So I assume, Cody, that if you haven’t cooked before, now you’re eating sanely, that you were eating a lot of pre prepared packet food, because if you go Sane but you’re used to cooking, you’re not going to have to cook any more cooking sanely than insanely. The only difference will be if you think you have to cook now whereas before you were eating packaged food that you slung in the microwave. Then yes, there would be a difference.

However, I think what Jonathan says is very true. There’s a lot of things that you can cook in bulk. My soups are a great example. You can make 12 batches of soup just as easy as you can one. Make it; portion it out; put it in the freezer, and then you’ve got 12 meals ready right there. Just reach in, defrost it, heat it up and you’re ready to go. So yes, you need to spend an hour or two prepping that, but it will give you a lot of time back over the long term not doing that.

The other thing is the simplest things to do and particularly — I’m not sure if you’re in the States or not — but seriously one of the simplest ways to eat sane is to roll out the barbeque, get yourself some lean protein, grill it up and add some sautéed vegetables or some steamed vegetables or a huge old salad, and you’re good to go. That doesn’t take very long at all and I think that would be a very good lesson for your daughter: fresh, quality food quickly prepared, I mean I think that will be a great life lesson for her.

JONATHAN: And I’ll give you a very concrete personal example, Cody. I am traveling next week and my dear wife Angela is a tax manager/CPA in downtown Seattle and we’re recording this podcast on April 6th. You can imagine that she is just 100% focused on her upcoming tax deadline, so during her busy season, I cook everything. I do all of the cooking for both of us.

Since I’m going to be out of town for a week, I usually do most of my cooking on weekends, but I’m not going to be here the next weekend. This is literally what I did — and of course the compromise here is that my wife will be eating the same thing every day, but she likes it so it’s fine. I got a bunch of salmon, a bunch of it, cooked it all, so this is literally two weeks’ worth of salmon.

I then got greens like collards, Swiss chard, kale, sautéed them up, put them on top of the salmon. Interestingly enough my wife really likes coconut, raw coconut sprinkled on top. I literally have a freezer full of Tupperware containers that, on the base level is salmon topped with greens, topped with coconut. So you can see like super sanity. Right?

You’ve got an optimal nutrient that’s protein. You’ve got a nutrient-dense non-starchy vegetable. You’ve got a wonderful whole food fat. There are literally 14 of those just lined up in the freezer and she just takes them out 48 hours before she’s going to eat them. They’re like frozen dinners and she’s set for the next two weeks. So I think making your own frozen dinners in bulk is also a really fun — well fun might not be the right word — but another approach.

CARRIE: Yep. I think… I really do think that making in bulk and freezing or making in bulk things like our Kirkland turkey burgers that we love. You know, just sling ten in a pan, pop them in the oven, 15 minutes later you’ve got the protein for, depending on how many people in your family, two/three/four/five or in my case ten meals right there and it actually took me no time at all. And just add salad, add steamed vegetables.

And you’re good if you have to balance the time you have versus the amount you enjoy cooking and the kinds of foods you enjoy eating. Some people would go completely insane if they had grilled chicken and salad every day. They would go nuts.

So for them obviously it’s more value to spend more time cooking some different things. Like there’s loads of recipes over on my blog. But for you, obviously, if the time is more important, then just keep it really, really simple or make up a whole bunch of soups or recipes that you can freeze and then literally use as a freezer dinner.

JONATHAN: I love it. Well, Cody and everyone else, what have we got? We’ve got Cody; we’ve got Elvira; we’ve got how do you say…oh my God I’m so sorry [?sp?]-Tyliset Dow. Awesome! Thank you. Sorry for butchering your name. And Jim, thank you so much for your wonderful questions. And for all the other lovely listeners and viewers and readers out there, feel free to pop over to Facebook and post your questions.

But before doing so, please ask Google, meaning type in “Calorie Myth” or type in “Smarter Science of Slim” or type in “Sane” and then type in your question. For example, if you were wondering how to get vegan or good sources of protein for breakfast, you would type in “smarter science of slim AND breakfast protein.” And chances are Google would answer your questions for you because of all the amazing Q & A our lovely readers and listeners have done over the years. And we will be back next week with more awesome reader, viewer and listener Q & A.

So until then, remember to eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. We’ll chat with you soon.

CARRIE: See you.

JONATHAN: Wait! Wait! Don’t stop listening yet!

CARRIE: You can get Fabulous, Free, Sane Recipes over at carriebrown.com.

JONATHAN: And don’t forget your 100% Free Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program as well as free, fun, daily tips delivered right into your Inbox at bailorgroup.com. That’s B-A-I-L-O-R Group dot com.

This week: Exercise Frequency, Carb Back Loading, and Endurance Training