January 20, 2018
[07:18] About Brad Kearns
[09:40] How Speed Golf Works, and How Brad Gets His Heart Rate Down Quickly After Sprinting
[14:05] How a Typical Training Session Works to Train the Body to Get the Heart Rate Down Quickly After Hard Efforts
[23:30] How Brad Trained his Slow-Twitch Muscles from Triathlon to go to Fast-Twitch Muscles for High Jumping
[30:45] – How Brad Uses the Concept of Slow Down to go Faster, and How it Differs from How he Would Normally Have Trained as a Pro Triathlete
[34:00]-The Best Way to Perform a Maximum Aerobic Function Test
[40:39] HumanCharger/Daily Harvest
[43:45] -The Strategies Brad Used to More Than Double his Free Testosterone
[1:04:55] The Goal and Intent of The Primal Endurance Mastery Course
[1:14:30] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, this is Ben Greenfield and I usually don’t really mention this but I had a thought the other day because I was looking at my own app. I’m pretty narcissistic, I was actually scrolling through, I believe I was on the toilet, scrolling through the Ben Greenfield Fitness App which is free. And I realize that app has freaking all the show notes, all the links, all the discounts, everything. So you actually can just like be a complete idiot and not have to remember any of the links that I mention on the show if you have the app on your phone or I mean if you go to the freaking show notes that I mention too, I spend a copious amount of time on the show notes. It takes me like an hour to put them together after I talk to a guest, just keeping track of everything I talked about. So use the app and use the show notes if you’re not already because it will vastly improve your experience with the podcast. It’ll step it up, otherwise the podcast kinda sucks, honestly. Well it’s not that bad if I don’t say so myself. Today I’m talking about doubling your testosterone levels and primal endurance and tactics from the world of all things speed golf with Brad Kearns, pretty cool dude.
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Anyways, you get 10% off, go to getkion, GET K-I-O-N.com, getkion.com and use code BEN10. BEN10 gets you 10% off and like I mentioned, I’ll also put this in the app and you can find the app for free in the iTunes or the android store or Google Play or whatever they call it nowadays. It’s just the Ben Greenfield app or the Ben Greenfield Fitness app or something like that. But it’s handy, I was going through it the other day, I’m like “damn, I forgot how handy my own app is.” And then also you can go to getkion.com and use code BEN10 to save 10% off that Lean stuff or anything over there, getkion, GET-K-I-O-N.com. Alright let’s go talk to Brad Kearns, baby.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“So I was taking the heartrate down from 145 to 130, and about six months later, my testosterone doubled and it came up to the 99th percentile of males age 20-29.” “When you’re metabolically efficient, you have a nice range where you don’t have to obsess on your daily dietary patterns. So some days, I might have a big omelette for breakfast and I might even have some chocolate at 10:30 and a big salad for lunch. And other days I might not eat anything ‘til 2 PM.”
Ben: Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and my guest on today’s podcast is a guy I don’t think I’ve hung out with since I was swimming last with him down in a pool in Mexico at a special retreat down there put on by our mutual buddy Mark Sisson. One of these PrimalCon retreats, where was that at, Brad? Was that Tulum, Mexico?
Brad: The Dreams Resort in Tulum. It was my favorite of all the nine PrimalCons because for the first time I didn’t have to worry about feeding everyone three times a day. And so the previous events, all I did and all our staff did was make smoothies in the morning, clean up, get ready for lunch, serve lunch, clean up, get ready for dinner. And eating was a big part of PrimalCon so when you go to these resorts all-inclusive, I remember going to the sushi place, I don’t know if we hung out there but we went in, we ordered a sashimi plate and they served it and we ate it and we’re like “can we have another one?” and they were like “sure.” And they just kept serving us fish all night, everything included. It was like I think we wore out our welcome by the end because we ate more than we paid.
Ben: I think we’re one of the few groups there though who was like between the meals just basically hanging out on the beach, playing, lifting rocks and sprinting. So, we were practicing what we preach, eating copious amounts of food and training, and I actually want to get into like diet because I know you’ve done some new things with your own training. But I need to give you a formal introduction though, because a lot of you who are listening may not know that Brad’s kinda like one of the masterminds behind the Primal books that come out from marksdailyapple.com. They’ve got a whole publishing company that Brad is involved with, he co-authored the “Keto Reset Diet” with Mark Sisson. If you’re listening in, you may have heard me interview Mark about that wildly popular ketogenic eating strategy. We talked about PrimalCon, the health fitness retreats around the world that he helped to put on and he does a lot in terms of online multimedia educational courses, too. He’s even got the one on endurance that we’ll talk about later.
But he also, this is where Brad and I kind of have crossed paths or at least have similar histories, he was one of the world’s top ranked professionals in triathlon. He had like 30 wins around the world on the pro circuit, he competed for nine years as a pro-triathlete. He won the world duathlon series championships, he won two national triathlon championships, he was one of the last American pro males to place in the top five in the ITU world championships, he holds the world record still for Hawaii Ironman for the 24 and underage divisions. So the dude has a pretty intense history as an endurance athlete and now he competes in speed golf and we’re gonna talk about that a little bit, but you basically play golf as fast as possible and he’s killing it there. He’s winning a bunch of pro golf tournaments, he’s one of the top competitors in the world, he’s also a high jumper now. He moved being a triathlete to a high jumper which I find crazy coz I used to be able to dunk a basketball before I competed in triathlon. I totally lost my vertical so I wanna hear how you got it back, Brad, so we’ll delve into that. So now he’s a top rank high jumper too, so dude’s got it going on. Brad, welcome to the show man.
Brad: Oh my gosh, I think you just set the record for the most glowing and spectacular introduction. And most people will just read the bio that I wrote very cleverly and I’d fall asleep in the middle of it.
Ben: Uhuh, I get it.
Brad: What an honor to be on the show, man. I appreciate it and we have so many topics to talk about, we’re just gonna hit this thing hard.
Ben: Dude, I’m actually stoked. So you gotta tell me and everybody listening, how the heck does speed golf work?
Brad: Oh, my favorite subject, dude. You light me up right out the gate. It’s such a wonderful sport, it’s very underground, grass roots sport, not many people know about it but it’s pretty simple. They have a tournament competition where you time yourself on the course, you’re running from shot to shot carrying just a handful of clubs and they count each minute and each stroke and they add them together to get a speed golf score. So my best performance in my life on the pro circuit was 3rd in the California Speed Golf Championships early this year and I shot a 78 and it took me 47 minutes, so you add those together and that’s a 125 is my speed golf score so…
Ben: And what would be a normal score on that course if you weren’t playing it super quickly, what would be good score?
Brad: Well, that’s the crazy thing is that the speed golf gets you into this Zen-like blissful state where you’re just reacting to what’s in front of you. You’re not thinking and getting overly analytical like so many golfers where they sit there and they look at the wind direction and they model these pro players on TV who are so good and have such precision and they get too much in to their head and they make mistakes. So when I’m running through the course, I actually play just as good or just maybe a little bit worse than if I’m taking four hours with all my clubs. I only carry five clubs and I’m running at a pretty aggressive pace around the course to finish in 45 minutes for a regulation championship 18 hole course, but that day that I went out there and shot 78, I can’t do a whole lot better than that even on a good day of a regular golf round. So that’s the beauty of it that most people that participate, they find their just free swinging and the tension is gone and they step up to a long putt which you can’t prepare or rehearse very well for a long putt, you just have to feel it in your body and stroke the ball and that’s where it’s so much fun. And you also get a great workout unlike the sport of golf is no workout, so I like to go out there right before sunset.
Ben: Yeah, I get bored during golf. That’s what I was gonna ask you, when do you actually hit the course to where you’re not annoying people and just playing through the whole time?
Brad: [laughs] Yeah that’s the thing, it’s not a very social sport coz you gotta play basically by yourself coz you don’t want to hit your partner in the head because you’re going at a high rate of speed. And then you have to wait until the course is empty, so what I do is I go like half an hour before dark and most of the people are gone and that’s when I’ll go off the first tee and I’ll shuffle along and I’ll make a quick nine holes in 30 minutes and then it gets darker. In the tournaments, we go off obviously first thing in the morning, and so once your launched up the first hole, the regular players can tee off all day long. But we’re done and having breakfast in under an hour so that’s like one of the best parts about it.
Ben: And you still pay the normal course fees, right? If you show up and you play just as quickly as you’re playing it, you will still pay your full 18-hole fee but you just kind of show up by there before everybody else does or as everybody else is finishing?
Brad: Correct and you’re also taking care of the course coz it’s not like crazy, hockey puck golf. Remember that each stroke counts the same as the minute on the course so in minute I can run 325 yards which is the length of an entire hole, so if I miss a short putt by being careless or rushing, I just lost myself a massive amount of time that I can’t hardly make up running. So you really have to play good golf, you have to get shooting near par to compete against these guys that are top on world circuit and that’s what makes it a really fun challenge is you gotta have that fitness base and to be able to not fall apart on the 13th hole from your legs caving in. But you also have to be strategic, hit the ball straight and then use only five clubs so work on these in between shots that are so difficult.
Ben: How do you get your heart rate down before you shoot cause I do this bow hunting competitions or rather it’s called trained to hunt, and it’s very similar, actually. You’re doing an obstacle course race with your weapon and then you’re stopping at certain points on the course after you’ve been barbed wire crawling and sandbag carrying and climbing up mountains to stop and shoot at different targets. And it’s actually, again, kind of similar like your total score is the time you took to complete the course but also your accuracy or how well you did hitting the animal on the vitals versus missing versus a wound, et cetera, and it’s hard to get the heart rate down. What are your secrets for getting heart rate down after you’ve been running at that fast of a phase before you hit?
Brad: Oh my gosh, that sounds like such a fun sport, that’s incredible. And just like in biathlon, people are familiar with the Olympics where they cross country ski and then they stop and shoot a target and if they miss they ski a penalty lap and they’re trying to stay calm for that thing. Really, my heart rate’s not dropping much and the funny thing is Ben, in practice, I will keep my heart rate on to make sure I’m doing an aerobic workout. You can’t race around the course everyday so a lot of times I’m just jogging and I’ll notice that I’ll jog up to the ball, I’ll be under my maximum aerobic heart rate, I’m sure we’ll talk about that fun stuff later. So I’m under 130 and then I’ll stop, get my club, swing and hit the ball, and my beat will go off. In other words, the act of swinging and hitting a golf ball elevates my heart rate higher than it was when I was jogging the 250 yards to go get my shot.
Ben: Oh wow.
Brad: So basically, for me anyway, it’s pretty much anaerobic threshold effort there for 45 minutes and some of the guys that are better players than I that are true par golfers, they will take that little extra beat of time because they know that they can hit that chip within 3 feet instead of 6 feet.
Ben: Yeah, that’s what we do for the Train To Hunt competition. You take the extra 15 seconds to let the heart rate get down slightly and get your aim to the point where the pin’s not moving around too much and usually the time it takes to do that is well worth compared to taking a poor shot. So when you’re training though, are you doing a lot of like on/off training? Because for example I’ve been doing some workouts that Mike Salemi, who’s the world’s top competitor in kettlebell clean and jerk has given me. Kettlebell clean and jerk, it’s crazy dude, you do 10 minutes of as many clean and jerks as you can do and his got like two 72 pound kettlebells and he does something like 58 reps, something like that 10 minutes, it’s nuts. Mike Salemi is his name and I asked him, I’m like “hey, I wanna try out some of your workouts and see how you work.” And it’s very interesting, he’ll do like high intensity kettlebell swings or kettlebell snatches or kettlebell clean and jerks and he calls that the working out but then he does working in in between each where he’ll step away from the kettlebell after like a 20 to 30 second explosive work session and he’ll do some really slow tai chi or qigong type of movements. Like pushing hands or really slow squats where he’ll draw an imaginary light orb in the air. It’s this kind of like eastern fusion of hardcore western training, so it’s on-off-on-off and I’m curious if when you’re training for something like speed golf, are you just out there golfing or do you have certain sessions at the gym where you’re training in a certain manner like that?
Brad: Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean it’s such a question for athletes in a variety of sports to ponder and how to put the pieces together to make really the sum of the parts in training better than the whole. And I remember back in my triathlon days, I started so long ago and I’m not even sure if those results still count like can I still call myself a triathlete. It was a distant memory now, I don’t feel like a triathlete but I’m glad that you recited those because the older I get, the faster I was. That’s one of my mottos but anyway, when you’re training for that daunting challenge of three sports, we have this mentality that the more mileage we can accumulate, that would be the secret to getting the highest performance level. And now were getting a little more sophisticated, rethinking some of these things in how we train and particularly I think the importance of recovery and just taking time where you’re not actually swinging the club every single day because the nervous system sometimes copes with information during rest periods. And so you’re actually becoming a better golfer on those three days that you didn’t touch the club because you’re coming off of a binge of playing a lot or hitting a lot of balls then it rains or it snows and you’re sidelined.
And then I find many times, they come back and I have this refreshing kind of perspective and my body is working better than it ever has and the things that I was working on before and stuck on like I wasn’t getting my hits through quickly enough and then everything was just grooving because of the ups and downs of the general training patterns. I’m a big fan of that, same as swimming. I remember there are guys on the circuit like Kengo who swore that if he missed one day of swimming, he would lose his feel for the water and I found sort of the opposite. It might be an individual thing but I’d find that I jumped in the water after taking a weekend away from the pool and just have little more spark in my steps, same with high jumping which you mentioned in passing. And I’ve discovered that the harder I train for high jump at my age, I’m 52 now, the worse I’ll do. And I’ll pull a muscle or I’ll just start to regress in my performance if I look over a 4 week period where I’m getting out the pits with more frequency because of the proper weather or whatever. And the explosive that’s required to jump and leap over a bar where it’s a single, it’s a one rep max to get off the ground and clear a bar that’s near height of my head. It requires so much downtime where I’m just taking care of my body and perhaps jogging or doing these basic fitness routines where I’m not torching my legs with heavy squats or that stuff.
Ben: Yeah, that makes sense to me. That’s just like basic periodization really, but like I’m curious about the actual training session itself, like when you’re training. I don’t know if you do train aside from just playing golf, but when you do train do you have like any special ways you’re training your body in terms of like on-off or intervals or rests or special tactics or breathing techniques that you use to kind of get your body to go hard and stop and recover quickly and go hard and stop and recover quickly?
Brad: Umm, not really. I’m gonna give you my Lance Armstrong answer when I asked him about his mental training techniques and he said “nah, I just go out there and hit it hard and I prepare and that’s my mental training.” And the same for me, I go out there and I play speed golf but the one thing that’s I think relevant and important to everyone is that when you’re training, you want to have it to simulate your competitive experience, so you want to be kind of associating with what you’re doing rather than solving work problems. And so when I go and play golf and I have a 1 foot putt to kick in which most golfers just give it to the players they say that’s good and you pick it up. That 1 foot putt, I realized and learned over time that I have to take that very seriously and pretend that I’m in a competitive tournament for the world championship because if you don’t allow your nervous system to have significance and consequence, your practice will not translate into a results. And Christopher Smith, my speed golf guru up in Portland, Oregon, one of the top golf teachers in the world and also one of the greatest speed golfers of all time if not the number one speed golfer in history, he is really big on this concept called” context specificity.”
So that means if you’re out there with your bow and your calling it a practice session and you’re indiscriminately firing at things and playing with different finger positions, that’s not really is stimulated competitive experience and they’ve even done studies like on the practice putting green on the golf course where a guy who’s trying to make ten 3-footers in a row, let’s say thinking that’s a really relevant practice session. Different parts of the brain will light up from when he’s on the 18th hole trying to sink that 3-footer to win the 20 dollar bet. It’s a completely different nervous system experience because you’re giving yourself no consequence and allowing your mind to wander or whatnot, so I take every single putt and every single shot really seriously on the golf course. And of course on the range you’re working on stuff or you’re looking at your left wrist and listening to what the pro told you, but the golf course is like as scared place so I don’t give myself any putts or hit any goofy shots for the sake of entertainment value.
Ben: Right, every shot counts. That’s like what I do with the trained on stuff when I’m in season is I only take 10 shots a day. A lot of people shooting like 40, 50, 100 times a day, but every single shot I’d pretend it’s an actual live animal that will suffer if I don’t kill it, right? So, I go straight for the vitals every time, every shot I breathe beforehand, I focus. And it’s kind of like what you just eluded to, right? You paint actual consequences for yourself when you have to combine things like accuracy and fitness and some of that too comes form having been a tennis player. And also I want to talk to you about coz when I was in college, dude, I was a tennis player, I could dunk a basketball, I powerlifted, I did body building and then I got into Ironman and as you know, it’s super slow twitch sport, you lose a lot of the power in the fast twitch muscle. But I noticed that you, as I mentioned you got into high jumping, and I’m curious how do you found that process going from being an endurance athlete with a lot of slow twitch muscle to being able to get your vertical. Did you have to work hard to get your vertical back after being a slow twitch athlete for so long or is that just natural for you?
Brad: Yeah, here’s what’s really weird and I think it opens up a couple interesting points. One of them was the DNA testing that’s now so popular, I did DNAFit and I came out to a ratio of like 56% strength power and 44% endurance. And it was absolutely shocking because I made my living for 9 years doing what would anyone should be properly classified as an extreme ultra endurance event. Anything from 2 hours up to 9 hours.
Ben: Yeah, well Brad I did that test and I was at 85% power.
Brad: Oh my goodness.
Brad: That’s amazing. And so having, I wish I’d known that starting out because it would have informed my training patterns to be even more fluctuating with stress and rest rather than the test out as a mule where they’re 85% endurance and they just get on their bike every day and ride for 5 hours and they’re no worse for the wear. And that’s actually the best protocol for them, so I always find myself requiring more recovery time than the next person, getting sore and things of that nature which indicate that you have preponderance of fast twitch instead of a slow twitch which doesn’t get that stiff or sore. And so I had some lingering fast twitch abilities that basically are muted out when you’re doing that endurance training, but it would be nicer to honor that genetic predisposition and choose accordant workouts even if you’re training for endurance events. I mean that the jumping up and down the box, cross fit endurance premise that you can kind of hack the long hours with some intensity stuff and get a relevant benefit to running a marathon. If you go weight a squat bar and do some heavy squats, it’s kind of like what’s happening at my old 20’s is the theory of the way I think of it. And so that’s probably a good idea for certain people, to mix it up.
Ben: I’ll put a link in the show notes for people to this paper and then this DNAFit website but they publish a really interesting genetic based algorithm for personalized resistance training where they found that when you get your fast twitch-slow twitch muscle fiber tested you and you train based on that, meaning if you’re slow twitch you do higher rep lower resistance more endurance and aerobic work and if you’re fast twitch you do more power and fast twitch base work. Training according to your genetics results in a shockingly higher fitness response particularly for strength and power meaning if you’re a high fast twitch muscle athlete, this influence me, right, coz I was at that time that I got the test I lift weights I do like things that 10 to 15 rep range and now I’m all creatine phosphagenic probably like 10 to 30 seconds, 4-6 reps, in and out super quickly unless I’m trying to put on a bunch of mass and hypertrophy. And there is a really significant effect when you train based on your genetic propensity for fast twitch versus slow twitch.
Brad: Yeah, it’s fascinating and Andrew Steele ,the guy who got me involved with DNAFit ,he’s one of their principals and he actually was an Olympic 400 meter runner. He made the semi-finals in Beijing running for 44 seconds for 400 meters but he tested out with a high percentage of endurance fibers also and the interesting thing for him was he made the semi-finals in Beijing within 44 something and then decided that to breakthrough and go for the gold in his home Olympics in London, he would start adding more explosive training because that’s kind of where he was falling short, was out of the blocks in the first 100. And he was known as the guy with a great kick during the home straight because he had that amazing endurance and all he did was destroy his body with adding on the explosive training that the next athlete might benefit from. And that’s when he found DNAFit and they said “dude, look at this.” And so even at 400 meters, which is an extremely high intensity, rapid-fire event, guys with endurance genetic can excel but they have to adapt their training accordingly. So to answer your question, I’m not doing a good job so far, I’m more rambling and having fun. But my high jumping, first of all I don’t have many hops, so if you search YouTube and look at “Brad Kearns high jump”, you will see a guy with I think pretty darn good form. I can bend over that bar but I don’t have that explosive jump, I can never dunk a basketball nor a golf ball.
But it was such a fascinating event to try to gain competency in and prove that technique with whatever jumping ability I had. So I’m mostly relying on the timing and the rhythm of getting a proper run-up because it is probably the most complex event in track and field because you have an angled run-up and you’re transferring out of a vortex and trying to jump over a bar. It’s a fascinating challenge and I was never good at it. In high school I was probably good for a girl’s varsity athlete but not for guy’s coz I was a skinny…
Ben: So for you, it was more about just form more than it was some special tactic to increase your fast twitch muscle fiber after finishing a triathlon?
Brad: Yeah, and all I noticed was not being a guy who’s competent with fast twitch training or explosive training, I made that mistake. Kind of the endurance athlete mentality applied over to high jump where I can take 20 jumps in a practice session no problem, and even sometimes I’ve had my 20th jump be my best. And if you talk to a real high jumper, get a real high jumper on the show, they’ll say “oh, seven jumps and that’s it for a practice session and then your legs are trashed” and that might be a really explosive athlete that can jump 7 feet. It might be true for them, but I realized applying that endurance mentality to a peak performance goal that was high intensity in nature, you really have to be patient and just not hit it hard very often and allow those workouts to absorb and benefit over time. But Usain Bolt talks, in his autobiography, about being lazy and flaking on workouts and all this commentary, self-reported commentary, and I remember Malcolm Gladwell brought this up too. It’s like “okay wait a second, this is the greatest human athletic specimen that we’ve ever seen in our lifetime, the fastest human being to ever walk on the planet Earth, and he’s reporting that he flakes on workouts and he’s lazy, maybe he’s on to something.” In other words, maybe most of the athletes in the world are perpetually overtraining in most every sport including track, and maybe this is the guy who’s reached the highest level of human performance ever by just picking and choosing his spots and most of the time cruising or just dialing it back a little bit until he gets to the big stage.
Ben: Right, it’s that concept of slowing down to go faster, and I know that’s kinda part of the way that you train, you and Mark actually preach. And for you, you talk about speed golf as just like balls out for 45 minutes, are you really for most of your training sessions just going out and going slow? And if so, kind of a two part question here, how are you quantifying how slow to go?
Brad: Yeah, good one. If you’re an endurance athlete, pay special attention, shoot it down from 1.5 speed down to regular speed coz it’s a really important concept for everybody to learn. When you’re in this game for a long time, you realize that type A competitive instinct, the willingness to suffer and all these things that we bring to the table as endurance athletes, coz who the heck is attracted to a crazy event like an obstacle race or an Ironman or a marathon than someone who’s got that predetermined sort of suffer gene. And I was willing to do, as a young man, whatever it took to compete on the circuit and to be the best I could be and to challenge the top guys.
And so I had no problem going out there every day and just suffering and upping the pace if it was necessary or attacking the hills and doing all these things. And I realize that it hit a very disturbing and unfortunate dead end, relating to illness, injury, breakdown and burnout, and so halfway through my career, I had to have sort of a revelation and a come to the mirror moment and say “look, you can’t work any harder, you can’t try any harder, you can’t sleep any longer.” I was sleeping half my life Ben, for the 9 years that I was on the pro circuit. I slept 10 hours every night, faithfully, and I had a 2 hour nap every single afternoon and if I missed my nap, I was cranky and my swim workout suffered in the evening accordingly.
And so it was an all in proposition, but I had to learn the hard way that slowing down is a gateway to improving your aerobic development, improving your ability to metabolize fat for energy out there on the course and all the things that you’ve been a pioneer and a leader in in recent years and calling attention to the importance of that. But when you slow down, you allow your body to progress with fitness without the interruption of the stress response and the high stress of workouts that are even a little bit too hard. And I talked to Dave Scott on my Primal Endurance podcast recently, and he made this great quote of “kinda hard.” And so think of that in your head when you’re going out and doing these “kinda hard” workouts, those are the ones that over time will bury you because they’re just stimulating the stress hormones, they’re exceeding your aerobic limit so that you’re burning a greater percentage of glucose rather than fatty acids. And all these things contribute to a high risk of decline and regression in fitness or immune response, and then secondly, you don’t become as competent at burning fat, so over time if you’re out there for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, whatever, you’re gonna get beat by an athlete who has a superior engine that can burn that abundant fuel source rather than the precious fuel source that’s glucose.
Ben: Yeah. So how are you quantifying it? How do you know which heart rate is kinda like your money zone to train at in order for you to go slow to get faster?
Brad: Well, we’ve been talking about this, debating it for 30 years now since I got my first Polar heart rate monitor which was the size of today’s mini iPad, I think.
Ben: I’ve seen those, they’re like dictionaries, yeah.
Brad: Rectangle-shaped and we’re really strong on the pioneering work of Dr. Phil Maffetone and his very, very simple 180 minus age formula which is 180, subtract your age, and that’s your aerobic limit in beats per minute. So I’m let’s say 50, I’m lying if you listen to the show carefully but for argument’s sake, 180 minus 50 is 130 beats per minute. And somewhere around there, it’s not an exact science but it’s important to respect this and be conservative instead of aggressive here. Somewhere around 130, if I start to drift above that, it’s not difficult, there’s not at all that strain of when you hit your anaerobic threshold, all of a sudden you can’t breathe very well and you feel it in your muscles. It’s really inperceptible that somewhere around there you start kicking into a greater percentage of glucose being burned so you’re spiking glucose metabolism and your fatty acid oxidation has peaked around there and then it drops on the graph if you’re envisioning a bell curve.
So you’re burning more calories per hour the faster you go, obviously, but you’re changing over from predominantly fat to more and more glucose. You’re drifting in a little bit of stress hormones into the blood stream coz even a workout that’s “kinda hard” ends up at 137 or 142 or 148. I’m still not suffering of any nature, but I’m doing something different metabolically and over a 6 week or a 6 month or a 6 year window, this is where you’re gonna struggle and suffer because of your competitive instinct that wants to have that sensation of getting a decent workout every time rather than understanding what it’s like to build your aerobic system at a comfortable pace where you’re just trotting along, you don’t feel like you’re getting a workout but what’s going on inside is a wonderful sensation.
And then here’s the funny thing – people hate it because it means they have to walk instead of jog or it means they have to jog instead of run at their usual speed, but if you’re driving around Portland, Oregon and you’re lucky enough to see Galen Rupp running on the shoulder of the road, which my aforementioned Christopher did recently. And he’s like “that guy’s got good form” and then he drives up to him and there he is, one of the greatest distance runners in the history of America, bronze medal on the marathon, but when he’s running on aerobic heart rates, he’s running 5:30 miles so he looks like he’s flying. So we have this image of the elite athlete pushing themselves really hard every single day and running 5 minutes and 30 seconds per mile, but for him, that’s the same as a jog walk for the average person who’s out there pursuing these competitive goals. So you have to get in your mind that it’s all relative and your maximum aerobic heart rate, whatever it is, if it means that you have to brisk walk instead of jog for a while, that’s your ideal training point to build your aerobic system without the interruption and risk of breakdown.
Ben: Yeah, it’s very similar to what I talk about in my book, this concept of polarized training that you see most of the top, especially endurance, athletes in the world doing which is about 80% of their training done at this very low frequency. And then about 20% done at a very high intensity, and that’s actually where I think, Brad, most people listen to stuff like this, they make the mistake of their easy sessions actually dialing that in, figuring the 180 minus your age. None of that is too hard to figure out, but then what they do is they don’t go deep enough into the pain cave during the 20%. People just don’t go, I think, hard enough during the high intensity training. For example, in many cases I’ll be walking during the day on my walking treadmill, I’ll be getting chores done outside. I’ll be just doing all this low level stuff to count as my aerobic training, coz frankly I don’t have much time to train, right? So my aerobic stuff is just life and then when I hit it for 20 minutes or 40 minutes or whatever my workout is for the day, I hit it friggin’ hard.
And what I find, coz I coach some people, I look over their data, they’ll do their aerobic stuff pretty well, they’ll do a decent job staying in that zone, staying conversational aerobic, playing by the rules. But then when it’s time to do the interval training session or the harder stuff, they’ll maybe hit their lactic acid threshold, where the muscles are burning and your breathing but you’re not deep in the pain cave. Or they’ll be what we might call a zone 3 or a zone 4 heart rate versus a zone 5 or a zone 6. Have you found this to be the case, the inability or the mistake of not going hard enough when it is time to go hard?
Brad: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up because first of all, the routine you described sounds so freakin’ fun and so much more exciting and inspiring than going out there and going “kinda hard” day after day and just beating up your body and torturing yourselves. The concept that just walking around and living an active life can get you fit has now scientifically validated that your aerobic system is getting developed even when you’re at a walking pace even if you’re a fit athlete. So it totally counts toward your score as an athlete, and then having to summon that competitive intensity and know that you’re gonna hit it hard but it’s not gonna last forever, it’s gonna be 18 minutes of good stuff and then you’re done. To me it’s just so much more easy to motivate for and celebrate after rather than the image of struggling, so I find that’s the case with a lot of people. Andrew McNaughton talks about this too on our podcast a lot where he’s coaching people and saying “okay it’s time to step on it now” and they’re actually, I’m speculating but, it’s like they’re scared to go that hard because they have in the back of their mind that they’re used to getting up the next day and going “kinda” hard.
Brad: [laughs] It’s like…
Ben: Right, so you have to play on both ends of the spectrum to be able to dig deep enough to go hard. You have to be well recovered. It’s the way you feel if you’ve got a busy Saturday and Sunday and you don’t get any training and you wake up on Monday and you’re like “dude, I wanna crush it.” That’s how you should feel for those high intensity training sessions and you only feel that way if you really, truly go aerobic when it’s time to go aerobic and you go hard when it’s time to go heard.
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Ben: And one thing that I noticed, Brad, that I think Mark talked about this, was how you noticed a pretty significant increase in testosterone when you kind like sucked it up and lowered your training intensity and did a lot more of this aerobic training. Is that true?
Brad: Yeah, it was wild. I mean it was a trip and I think now I can give a plug for a little blog that I don’t pay much attention to, but I did write an important article about testing and coming out below the normal level of free testosterone, the important one, the circulating testosterone. And I was below the range, so I was a clinical hypo-testosterone person that was a candidate for replacement therapy and all that crazy stuff. And this came on the heels of a training period where I was doing speed golf and coming out from having not really trained for 20 years any significant amount in aerobic work, and all of a sudden I was putting in some pretty good miles running the course a lot and my heart rate was indiscriminate and getting up there into the 140s coz I was calculating off percentage of max heart rate which we now frowned upon because of this example. You can get too high of a heart rate if you have a high max heart rate and you’re an old guy like me. So what happened was I dug myself a nice little hole over a period of several months and decided to switch gears and return with much slower paced workouts, so I was taking the heart rate down from 145 to 130. And about April to October, what’s that, 6 months later, my testosterone doubled and it came up to the 99th percentile of males age 20-29.
Ben: Do you remember what your numbers were? Like what you were at?
Brad: Yeah, my free testosterone was 1015 or something, and then my serum… Every time I test, a different lab gives me different range of numbers.
Brad: But I remember it was like 14.8 or something with the range being 5 or 6 or 7 up to 20, something like that. I’m not doing precision but it did double, I remember that.
Brad: And that in 5 months time, going from a guy who could be a candidate to a guy who’s 50 years old and putting up teenagers numbers, it was like a miracle. And all I did was slow down and possibly add a couple other things like maybe lowering the carbs in my diet and drifting more toward keto which we’ve had such a fascination with now, Mark and I with the recent book. But there’s things you can do that are so powerful and have such an instant effect, that really it should be the central focus of if you’re thinking that you’re doing everything.
Brad: Try slowing down and see how that works.
Ben: Yeah, I’ll link to that article in the show notes. By the way, for those of you listening in, everything that Brad and I talk about including the new endurance course that he’s teaching online, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kearns. That’s K-E-A-R-N-S, bengreenfieldfitness.com/kearns and you can access the show notes. So you like that Brad? I actually named an entire webpage after you. I love you that much.
Brad: It’s incredible. Basically, world famous over the things created equal: world wide web.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. So I know that the keto diet has been kinda a horse that’s been kicked to death. You and I were talking about this before we started recording how a lot of what’s gonna be said about the ketogenic diet has kinda been said. But at the same time, I’m curious, in terms of things that haven’t been said or anything novel or groundbreaking that you did, from a dietary standpoint or have done to see the success that you’ve seen in speed golf to high jumping, what have you learned and what have you done when it comes to any nutrition or supplementation modifications that you’ve made that you think people should know about if they’re already up to date on becoming a fat burning machine or eating a ketogenic diet for example?
Brad: Yeah, now we’re getting into some fun stuff. We spent so much time obsessing on this, Mark and I, working on the keto reset diet project and I know before we got on the air you said “I’m so sick of talking about the ins and outs of diet, let’s talk about other things.”
Ben: Right, yeah I mean don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it but for me, if I’m listening to a podcast, I hate to hear the same things that I’ve heard in about ten other podcasts, right?
Brad: Yeah, and you know what, I went to the first ever KetoCon. It was a nice effort in Austin Texas by Bryan Williamson to pull together a conference of great speakers talking about keto. But by the midway point of the weekend after we’ve had 12 speakers talk about the particulars of the ketogenic diet, I almost lost my lid. It was so informative and such excellent work, but at a certain point it’s like you have the concepts down, you’re either gonna implement them or not. I gave a motivational talk called “Get Over Yourself” and how we suffer from obsessive self-importance. You can look for it on YouTube coz I was just trying to shake up the room a little bit, but there’s some important points there that you can definitely get too deep into this. You can get too obsessed with it, you can create psychological stress on the idea that you’re not adhering to your stated goals and we don’t even know what the relevance is.
But back to the topic of your question, one of the things that’s really hot on our minds right now is “are there different paths to follow based on your answer to some overarching questions?” One of them is “do you have excess body fat that you’d like to remove or not?” And if you answer yes, we’re gonna sort of take your hand and lead you down a different path than if you say “no, I’m good, I just wanna delay aging, jump over the high jump bar and kick some butt in speed golf.” There’s a possibly a totally different set of questions and answers and trials and errors that you’re gonna go through. In my case, my blood works’ great, my triglycerides are half that of my HDL and all those other fun things. My testosterone was coming along form good to great in that range as I test and retest all the time. And I wanna continue to pursue peak performance goals and delay aging, and so I experimented with deep immersion into keto for 140 days while we were writing the book and testing my finger to the extent that I got scar tissue on my bloody index finger. And writing down these numbers and going “alright keto, what does this really mean” and I feel fine but I also feel fine when I kind of depart from that strict adherence to keto and allow my carb into what Mark Sisson is now calling the keto zone. He probably put that sound bite in the show but when you’re metabolically flexible, when you’re metabolically efficient, you have a nice range where you don’t have to obsess on your daily dietary patterns.
So some days, I might have a big omelette for breakfast and I might even have some chocolate at 10:30 and a big salad for lunch. And other days I might not eat anything ‘til 2 PM, so there’s not a lot of regimentation to it, and I can thrive under both circumstances because I’ve done that hard work to escape carbohydrate dependency which is kinda the first and foremost goal. So I think if we’re sitting down with a listener and asking these questions like (a) “ Are you carrying excess body fat?”, (b) “Can you skip breakfast and feel functional and cognitively sharp and actually maybe do a workout even and then sit down to a nice lunch without feeling famished and tired and hungry and cranky?” And if you’re having some indications that you’re metabolically inflexible, that you’re carbohydrate dependent, then the keto reset journey is probably a bucket list item for everybody to just fine tune and improve your ability to burn stored energy rather than rely on ingested calories.
Beyond that, I think it’s getting queued here on the cutting edge where there’s just so much talk about these sound bites that they come across. “If you ingest 15-20 grams of carbs right before a workout, you’ll get a performance boost.” I’m like “what about if you ingest Skid Row’s Slave to the grind from 1993 before a work out, you’ll definitely get a performance boost when you play that to it.” And it’s a little bit too much of a kind of, I don’t know what to call it, it just sort of self-indulgence, over-obsession, whatever.
Ben: Now how about things like fasting before a morning workout, those kind of things because some people have found that they experience like a decrease in testosterone from doing hard workouts while fasted. I know my friend, a guy who’s been on this podcast before, Dr. Michael Ruscio. He found that when he would do a lot of these workouts fasted or wait for a long time after a workout to eat, he did see better body composition but his testosterone went down, his drive went down. I’m curious what you do as far as fueling for somebody who works out when it comes to timing.
Brad: Yeah, that’s really interesting, and I read the rationale why and it makes sense. And then you hear Art De Vany and Mark and other talking about these amazing autophagy benefits of pairing workouts with fasting. So I think there’s some individuality here where you have to test things out and people like Dr. Cate Shanahan making really simple and large observations like when your glycogen is depleted from an intense workout, and those glycogen suitcases are open, the ingestion of carbohydrates during that time is gonna have a different effect on your body than if you slam them at your morning breakfast at the hotel with your oatmeal and orange juice and brown sugar and toast with jelly on it. So I think the timing is a big factor and when you’re around workouts, you have a little bit more flexibility to… either one is good for me, I can fast for several hours after my highest intensity sprint workout that I do, or I can come home and have a big recovery meal. And I’m not sure that there’s a huge disparity in the long term consequence, but one thing that we talked about offline is coming out of this strict keto period, just for no big reason I decided to loosen up the first strings and throw in the corn tortillas back into the mix and the occasional popcorn enjoyment and eating more dark chocolate and eating more nut butters and things that were probably taking me out of that strict keto limit of 50 grams a day.
Ben: Right, which I do every day, by the way.
Brad: Do what every day?
Ben: At the end of every day, I just eat whatever I want.
Brad: Oh, that’s nice.
Ben: Good, clean food.
Ben: But my body feels amazing, I sleep better, my testosterone stays elevated. So yeah, at the end of every day, unless it’s a super easy week or unless I’m traveling and sitting on a plane all day or whatever, whatever my wife puts on the table, if it’s like a freakin’ giant-ass grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup on a sourdough bread with some parsnip fries on the side and a big glass of wine. I’ll go total carbaholic in the evening, especially.
Brad: Yeah, I love that Ben. I’ve had similar sensation, I remember we were in Vegas a month ago and I went to the famous chef, what’s his name, the hamburger guy. Oh Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Brad: So a big hamburger and they have these sweet potato fries coming in that were dusted with powdered sugar. And they were so fantastic, I had two orders, and this was 11:15 at night after watching a show. And it tasted so good, I slept fantastically, I sprinted up the hotel stairs for a great workout the next morning, the enjoyment factor is also a part of the picture. And you’re talking about Jessa’s making something good for you, you enjoy it, you’re having good times, you’re watching a good show on Netflix to curb your enthusiasm. Sorry for the commercial.
Brad: But things work out fine. Now, if you’re frustrated and you can get this excess body fat off and you’ve tried everything or you say you do, maybe we have a different sort of experience for the next 90 days or whatever. But I think in general terms, I’ve actually gone on to this next phase where, inspired by Dr. Tommy Wood, NourishBalanceThrive.com and all the great stuff they’re doing. I have some shows with him on “Primal Endurance”.
Ben: Yeah, they’re super smart. He’s smart, he’s really cool. We were just hanging out in Iceland.
Brad: Oh great, yeah the conference there. But he said “look, you should probably eat more food. You should probably get more nutrition into your body due to your athletic training regimen and you’re trying to do crazy stuff as an old guy. And so he inspired me to get going on this morning green smoothie with all the powders that they sent me and the particular nutritional supplements that they identified for me, and the Primal fuel, the Great Meal Replacement, and then a whole bunch of frozen green produce. And so I’ve gone on to that kick instead of the fasting kick where I’m just waiting ‘til noon to eat anything.
Brad: And I didn’t have big complaints when I did the fasting kick, but at this point I feel like I can perform and recover, especially from intense workouts, a little better by upping my overall nutritional intake.
Ben: Yeah, that’s exactly what I found was doing that big [beep] morning smoothie versus the… I can’t get by with the whole cup of coffee and ketones thing unless I’m not training, right? But I hit it pretty hard and I like to have me a good sized breakfast, although this morning was an exception. I do a lot of these blood tracking tests and so I had a test this morning, I had to drive to Quest Labs to get it done, and so I was running tight on time for the podcast. What I’ll occasionally do is I’ll just make a cup of coffee, and I usually do decaffeinated coffee just coz I don’t really get too far down the caffeine bandwagon but this morning I blended up my coffee with some coconut mana and some almond butter and a couple of scoopfuls of this dark drinking chocolate and some chaga mushroom. And I just kinda sipped on that during my entire first podcast that I recorded this morning, so even if I’m not doing my big [beep] smoothie, I put a copious number of calories into a mug and sip it. So I’m right there with you, I feel a lot better when I take that approach.
And by the way, for those of you listening in, you should go listen to the podcast I’ve done with Tommy, I’ll link to it in the show notes where we talk about a lot of these kind of concepts.
Brad: Yeah, and I’m speaking of the other side when you’re enjoying yourself at night, I wanna put another plug in for that enjoyment factor. I know there’s some talk about not eating after dark, Dr. Panda’s work is so impressive and other people are making that same contention that carbs could have a more deleterious effect at night coz you’re not moving after that. But if you wanna enjoy yourself and you report no adverse circumstances or effects after, that’s great. But you do wanna be aware and see how things work for you, the old example of The Hangover, was it really worth it to overconsume a poison to the point that you have a hangover or could you wanna rewind the clock and stop at that second drink and have a lovely old time without the adverse side effects?
Ben: Yeah, absolutely agree. And for me, sitting down with my wife and my two little boys at dinner and not being that guy who shoves my plate away and turns up my nose because the macronutrient count is not ideal for me, it’s not worth it. I like to sit there and enjoy dinner with my family, and that’s the time of day where even though I dial everything in up to that point, I let myself go at dinner and I just hang out with the family and have fun.
One of the things I wanna talk about is we have a lot of listeners who are into gear and tools and biohacks and even different forms of exercise equipment. Whether it be kettlebells or vibration platforms or whatever. Do you have any little pieces of gear or tools or hacks that you use that you found to be really efficacious for you and your training?
Brad: Hmm, I don’t…
Ben: Aside from that little, how many golf clubs do you carry? Five golf clubs?
Brad: I’ve got my five golf club but other than those, I like to make sure the connotation is healthy when we use a term like hacks, which we can understand the meaning but when you try and apply that to mean a shortcut, I don’t like that type of thinking. So I’d like to think an advantage or a strategy that works.
Brad: And one thing I’m getting into now is jumping into the cold tub because the research is fascinating. I’m looking for a way to wake up every single morning and feel really sharp and alert. I don’t like to have that 75% feeling that I get a lot of times especially at my age, so I’m looking for fun ways to do that and my high school buddy, Dr. Dave [1:01:23] ________, huge commitment to fitness, Southern California guy. And he has an ice machine set up at his master bedroom bathtub, so he dumps a couple of ice blocks in, he runs two miles at sunrise at a very slow aerobic pace, and then jumps into the tub for five minutes. And he reports that minimal fitness activity, not very time consuming, he feels like a million bucks the rest of the day. So I’m playing around with the cold soak, I know you’ve got the river there in your backyard or close by, right?
Ben: Yeah. I have the river and I have a 19 foot endless pool also.
Brad: Oh nice.
Ben: I had a crane drop it in a forest by my house, I jump in that.
Brad: [laughs] Oh beautiful.
Ben: I just don’t heat it at all but a lot of people don’t know, you can get these ice makers off freakin’ Amazon. They’re not quite as big as the commercial ones but you can have access to ice more readily than you would have if you were just swinging by the gas station, grab a couple of bags. And I love that approach, just having something cold that you jump into in the morning, although my strategy, call me a wimp for this, but I like to hit the sauna and then hit the cold soak. So I kinda get my sweat on and I’m nice and toasty warm, then I go jump in the cold pool. And I feel a lot better because I’m still pretty skinny, I got low body fat percentage. I’m not cold for so long after, I hate to shiver for half the morning. I instead like to get all the nitric oxide benefits and the blood flow benefits without actually suffering for hours and hours after my cold soak or my cold plunge.
Brad: Wow, that sounds fun. I wouldn’t mind trying that too. The shivering is definitely a concern for me, it’s happened a couple of times and I’m like “is this good for me, I can’t remember, I know there’s something about brown fat where you’re shivering and you’re doing this and that.”
Ben: It is but it’s annoying. It gets distracting when you’re trying to get work done, all you think about is staying warm. So I’ll occasionally throw in something, they make like vests, the company CoolFatBurner makes a vest that you can pack ice into that you can wear during the day. And you can take that on or off and then kind of warm yourself off after you’ve taken it off. But yeah, ultimately, I draw the line when it comes to just shivering for hours unless I’m getting ready for an event where I have to do that, like I did the Spartan race back east where it was 38° below zero for like three days in a row.
Ben: And I did like a full month of super cold stuff leading into that. I even got weird looks from my neighbors coz I’d go on these underwear runs through the snow with just my shoes on and my underwear and an old beanie cap and some gloves. But I don’t do stuff like that unless it’s sport specific, unless there’s an actual event coming where I need to use those skills.
Brad: Right, you’ve got those hormetic stressors that have a positive end benefit but if you’re in the cold too long, you have the opposite effect and you catch a cold, so it’s tricky fun stuff to play with. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that reheating on the other end, so if anyone listening is in the hot tub business and you wanna sponsor Ben and I.
Ben: Get a sauna, dude. I helped Mark get hooked up with one of these clear light saunas, so talk to him, go try his sauna out the next time you’re hanging.
Brad: Clear light saunas, alright.
Ben: It’s an infrared sauna, my wife and I were in it last night actually. It’s just perfect for toasty warmth in the morning or just chilling and relaxing in the evening and kinda activating the parasympathetic nervous system with some of the warmth and the light sweat. Hey, one other thing that I wanted to ask you about was something I eluded to, this online course that you’re doing. What’s it called, the Primal Endurance Mastery Course?
Ben: Okay. So is that just basically all these concepts that you talk about from ketosis to aerobic training, et cetera, laid out in a special curriculum or what exactly are you doing with that course?
Brad: Yeah, the goal here was to just broaden the learning experience that you get from a book, because reading a book’s great. Mark and I wrote this book called “Primal Endurance” and we put our heart and soul into it and talked about all our life experience in the endurance sports scene and tried to be completely comprehensive when we’re talking about the aerobic base building, the introduction of intensity in the proper manner, periodization to properly balance your year, all the complimentary things like recovery techniques and mobility-flexibility exercises. So the book is a nice journey for the endurance athlete of any sport in the endurance scene, to learn how to do it right and to preserve your health while you’re pursuing these ambitious endurance goals. Starting from the book to enhance that educational experience, we kinda brought the book to life with this huge library of instructional and informational videos that you can access online by enrolling in this course.
So I travelled around the continent for a year and talked to many of the world’s leading expert in endurance training, many of the great all-time athletes like Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield, two time Ironman champ Tim DeBoom, Olympic gold and silver medalist Michellie Jones, and we had some amazing insights just sitting down with these folks. I’m sorry I didn’t get up to Spokane, man. The next time, we’ll make that part of the plan, we’ll jump in the river, we’ll try not to shiver, we’ll freestyle rap at the end of the show. Yo, back to the topic.
Ben: I love it.
Brad: I didn’t wanna drop it, there we go. So when you do this Primal Endurance online course, you get insight from a couple of dozen of the world’s leading experts. Diet, training, we’ve got Maffetone in there, we got Cate Shanahan, people that I’ve mentioned during the podcast here. And then primarily me and also a little bit of Mark, but I walk you through every single topic in every chapter in the book. So if you’re too busy to read, I gotta admit, man, I got “Beyond Training” at my bedside and I’m like partway through it, but there’s so much information thrown at us each day that sometimes the video instructional/education experience is appealing to different types of learners. When you’re talking about improving your running form and having an explosive take off with the foot dorsiflexed as you leave the ground, just turn on the video and I’ll show you exactly what I’m talking about rather than trying to read the technique instruction in a book.
Ben: Yeah, I love it. And I looked through the curriculum and I’ll link to this in the show notes, you guys can check it out. But you guys have interviews like four different interviews with Phil Maffetone, a couple with Andrew McNaughton, Debbie Potts, Gordo Byrn, Mike Sisson, bunch of pro triathletes. It’s a pretty comprehensive program, it’s like an entire book programmed into multimedia and interviews. So very cool, you guys have everything on there. Self-myofascial release, holistic method, [1:08:14] ___________ on mindfulness and mindset, bunch of drills and techniques for swimming, this is a cool resource. Did this take a long time to put all this together?
Brad: Oh yeah, and it was so much fun and we totally over-delivered. It’s a bit of an investment, I think it’s 347 to sign up for the course but you have lifetime access to all this and we have ongoing support on Facebook and doing other programs for the students. But I wanted to kind of help people take this journey, in many ways do as the experts say not as some of us did. Because there’s a lot of pitfalls in the endurance scene from overdoing it, having an ill-advised approach, not understanding periodization, buying into these fraud cultural notions that endurance training should be about struggling and suffering. And all this stuff, we wanna clear the dex and say “look, you can balance a young, healthy family and a career and still do crazy endurance and feel the incredible achievements of doing something grueling and challenging, but you have to do it the right way.” You can’t fool around and have an indiscriminate approach here.
Brad: It’s the same with listening to your podcast and getting into the great material you’ve prepared and written for them and also in multimedia. We have to get an education here and then go execute a focused plan. I wanna give people the ammunition and also the inspiration, like Mike says a lot, “I could tell you everything you need to know in a couple pages, slow the F down, limit your heart rate, take different periods of the year, and take some rest periods and then take some intensity periods, and then take some aerobic periods.” All this stuff is basic, but you need to be engaged and excited and enthusiastic so that’s why I got so many people on camera to talk about fun topics. Simon Whitfield gave me one of the greatest one liners. We’re sitting by the ocean in his home in Victoria BC, he’s done with his career, he’s got an Olympic gold and an Olympic silver on the wall or in the drawer. And I said to him “so what are you doing now, man? What are your goals and what’s your training regimen like?” And he goes “you know, today I’m coached by my 80 year old self.” And what he meant by that, he wants to honor his 80 year old self with his training decisions that he makes right now. He wants to promote longevity, he doesn’t wanna get injured, he doesn’t wanna overdo it, he doesn’t wanna get his mind warped by an overly stressful approach that he copped to when he was trying to go for the Olympic gold. He had 23 people on his entourage that were counting on him to bring the gold home for Canada. A lot of pressure, a lot of stress, a lot of false starts and step backs and now he just likes to get on his paddle board and paddle out into the shipping lanes near Victoria, British Columbia but the one liner right there was worth me taking the trip up there to interview him. Coz you gotta understand the importance of being coached by your 80 year old self right now whatever age you’re at.
Ben: Yeah, I’ll have to look him up sometime. He’s actually not too far from me, he reached out to me a while ago, wanted to get together and hang out and do a workout or chill. So I’ll have to reconnect with Simon, but in the meantime you had tons of solid guests on her.
So I’ll link to this for those of you listening in over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kearns. I will also link to Brad’s article about how he maximized his testosterone levels, my podcast with Mark on this Keto reset diet, my podcast with Mike Salemi about his kettlebell clean and jerk training, the DNAFit, the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast with Tommy Wood, a whole bunch more. And of course this Primal Endurance mastery course, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kearns, that’s K-E-A-R-N-S, to access all the goodies. Brad, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man. You’re a fascinating cat, everything from speed golfing to high jumping.
Brad: I gotta say Ben, that was one of the funnest podcasts and most engaging. I’m actually gonna go listen to it myself because we hit it hard.
Ben: That’s pretty narcissistic, dude.
Brad: We had a lot of great information coming out and I think it deserves a replay because you add so much to the game, especially in the endurance community where people have been trudging out to Hawaii or whatever these epic events for so many years, and you’re doing it with a completely refreshed approach and thinking in ways that we haven’t… we’re taking leaps now with thought leaders like you and I think it’s really healthy for people to see a different perspective and know what’s possible when they do things the right way and not get overly stressed and overly caught up in the overtraining notions.
Ben: Yeah, I love it man. You’re a wealth of knowledge, so thanks for coming on. And again folks, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kearns for all the show notes. And until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Mr. Brad Kearns, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Brad Kearns, at 52 years old, has doubled his testosterone levels in the past year. He has abandoned life as a pro triathlete and instead conquered the world of speed golf and high jumping. He has successfully trained his body to become a potent fat burning machine and has transitioned completely out of carbohydrate dependence. He’s a successful author, a noted speaker, and has been a coach in the health and fitness world for three decades. As the President of Primal Blueprint Publishing, Brad works with Mark Sisson to promote all aspects of primal living. He helped develop the Primal Health Coach certification program, has delivered dozens of Primal Transformation Seminars across the USA, and organized and presented at nine PrimalCon health and fitness retreats around the world from 2010-2014. He and Mark authored the 2015 release, Primal Endurance, a comprehensive guidebook on how to escape the carbohydrate-dependent, overly stressful conventional approach to endurance training in favor of a healthier, stress-balanced, fat-adapted primal approach. He and Mark authored the 2017 release, The Keto Reset Diet, the definitive guide to the wildly popular ketogenic eating strategy. Kearns is the host of comprehensive online multimedia educational courses that bring books like Primal Endurance, The Keto Reset Diet, and the 21-Day Total Body Transformation to life with a series of instructional videos and expert interviews that provide an immersive educational experience. During his nine-year career as a triathlete, Kearns was one of the world’s top-ranked professionals, amassing 30 wins worldwide on the pro circuit. Career highlights include a remarkable streak of seven victories in a row (’91-’92), a world duathlon series championship, two national triathlon championships, and a #3 world ranking in 1991. Kearns is the last American professional male to place in the top-5 in the ITU World Championships (1992) and still holds the Hawaii Ironman 24 & under age division American record at 8:57 (1989). Other books by Brad include Breakthrough Triathlon Training (2006), detailing a healthy, balanced approach to triathlon peak performance. His How Lance Does It (2007) and How Tiger Does It (2008) books detail the champion attitude and behavior qualities of the Tour de France legend and golfing great, helping you apply their methods in pursuit of your own peak performance goals. Brad’s current athletic passion is the offbeat sport of Speedgolf, where competitors play as fast as possible and total strokes and minutes to obtain a Speedgolf score. Brad is 3-time top-20 finisher in the world professional championships. He placed third in the 2017 California Professional Speedgolf Championships, shooting 78 on a championship course in 47 minutes for a Speedgolf score of 125. In 2016 at the age of 51, Brad cleared 5’5″ (1.65m) at a high jump practice session. This exceeds the All-American standard for 50-54 age group and matches a top-10 national rank performance. At 50, he ran a 400-meter effort in 59.8. – running in the 50s, in his 50s! Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Find out how in The Low Carb Athlete – 100% Free. Sign up now for instant access to the book! Email* I'm interested in…* YES, HOOK ME UP! During our discussion, you’ll discover: -How speed golf works, and how Brad gets his heart rate down quickly after sprinting…[9:40] -How a typical training session works to train the body to get the heart rate down quickly after hard efforts…[14:05] -How Brad trained his slow-twitch muscles from triathlon to go to fast-twitch muscles for high jumping…[23:30] -How Brad uses the concept of slow down to go faster for a sport like that, and how it differs from how he would normally have trained as a pro triathlete… [30:45] -The best way to perform a Maximum Aerobic Function test, which Brad describes as “the #1 most important fitness marker of them all”…[34:00] -The strategies Brad used to more than double his free testosterone simply by sucking it up and lowering his assumed aerobic base heart rate…[43:45] -The goal and intent of The Primal Endurance Mastery Course…[64:55] -And much more! Resource from this episode: –The Primal Endurance Mastery Course – Use Code “BEN” for an extra 10% off! –My podcast with Mike Salemi, kettlebell clean and jerk champion –My podcast on the Keto Reset Diet with Mark Sisson –DNAFit test for determining your slow and fast twitch muscle fiber capacity -Nourish Balance Thrive coaching program (follow this link to get a complimentary one-hour 1-on-1 video conference call with Tommy). –Brad’s article on testosterone optimization –Commercial ice maker –The CoolFatBurner vest Show Sponsors: -Kion Lean – Go to GetKion.com and use promo code BEN10 to save 10% on your purchase of the best supplement for longevity and fat loss, or any other Kion products! -HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 to receive a $150 voucher toward your HealthGAINS treatment. -Human Charger – Go to HumanCharger.com/ben and use the code BEN20 for 20% off. -Daily Harvest – Go to Daily-Harvest.com and use promo code BEN to get three items for free when you purchase your first box!
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