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TMHS 768: What’s Causing Our Epidemic of Sleep & Health Problems?

TMHS 211: The Great Cardio Myth with Craig Ballantyne

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a professor, a trainer, a coach, a well-meaning gym buddy, a special news report, or a random passerby say that you need to do more cardio to burn more fat, I’d have Scrooge McDuck level cash in my account.

If so many people say it, then it must be true, right? Scratch that… if so many intelligent and well-meaning people say it, then it must be true, right?

And therein lies one of the problems…

If you take really smart, well-meaning people and teach them the wrong thing, they can become world-class at doing the wrong thing. So good at doing the wrong thing, in fact, that they create compelling arguments as to why they should continue doing it (even if it’s not working).

When it comes to doing hours of cardio each week, and still not seeing the weight budge, we can justify and say… “Ah, I just need to sneak another hour in each week.” Or “I just need to cut back on the calories even more.” Or “I’m just not good at this.” Or, and this is the worst, “I’m obviously not trying hard enough.”

So, we try to beat our metabolism into submission. Or, we develop a condition of learned helplessness… where we believe that no matter how much dieting and cardio we do, we’ll never be able to change.

But, what if all along it was the tactics, and not the ability of the person, that was not working to begin with? Cardio being the ideal form of exercise for fat loss was something that was largely just assumed and not proven. Sort of like when people believed that the earth was flat (this was even taught in universities!), until the assumption was finally disproved.

That busted myth took centuries to happen. The Great Cardio Myth is getting busted in just one episode of The Model Health Show.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why cardio machines are lying to us.
  • The impact that conventional cardio exercise has on appetite.
  • How basic dieting compares to doing hours of cardio.
  • Where the idea of doing more aerobic exercise for better health originated.
  • How low-fat, high-carb diets got advocated along with conventional cardio.
  • Whether or not you can outrun a pizza.
  • The truth about how overuse injuries occur.
  • Why the treadmill creates abnormal walking and running movements.
  • The shocking influence that conventional cardio can have on heart health.
  • How high intensity interval training compares to strict cardio in clinical trials.
  • What to do if you’ve only got 3 days a week (and less than 30 minutes) to exercise each week.
  • How to train if you want to build muscle mass and if you DON’T want to build muscle mass.
  • The real reason so many people gravitate towards cardio for exercise (truth bomb!).


Items mentioned in this episode include:

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


Shawn Stevenson:  Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, here with my beautiful, amazing, famous- world famous producer of The Model Health Show and my co-host, Jade Harrell. What's up, Jade?  
Jade Harrell:  What's happening, Shawn?  
Shawn Stevenson:  What's happening? How are you today? 
Jade Harrell:  Today I am victoriected. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Victoriected. It sounds like something is- just tell me, just tell me. I don't want to jump to conclusions. 
Jade Harrell:  Can't wait to hear what your translation was. But my mind is directed and focused on my victory. Victoriected. Directed towards my victory. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Directed to victory. I like that.  
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  I like it a lot.  
Jade Harrell:  Pointed, activated, and directed. 
Shawn Stevenson:  So right before the show you was telling me it looked like my heart was jumping out of my chest. 
Jade Harrell:  It did.  
Shawn Stevenson:  Like it makes me think about a cartoon, but then I told you that I actually- when I was a kid I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Little fun facts about Shawn. That my heart is too big. Right? I've got this big heart.  
Jade Harrell:  Exactly. This is why you're in this work so you can do something with the extra large heart. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Ironically. But that could be a health problem. But that's when I 
was younger and everything kind of adjusted. It's just inflammation. I was on the- we'll call it the Saturday morning cartoon diet. Alright I was on the Mr. T cereal.  
And again, I didn't eat a salad until my mid-twenties, which is crazy that I even made it that far without breaking down and having the so-called incurable disease diagnosis, and these things.  
But that's why we have this show today, is showing people what's possible. That no matter what you've been through, no matter the struggles beforehand, there is room for improvement. You can always get better. If you're here breathing, you can always get better. 
Jade Harrell:  That's a message I needed to hear today. 
Shawn Stevenson:  For certain. For certain. Well everybody, thank you so much for tuning into the show today. Very, very excited to have you.  
We've got a special guest, we've got- he's a living legend, alright? He's a literal living legend, and we're going to talk about the cardio myth. 
Jade Harrell:  Oh boy. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Alright? We're going to talk about the cardio myth. And I don't know if you see some of these memes out there, but there's a lot of memes about doing cardio. People are like, 'If you don't think an hour is a long time, you haven't been on a treadmill,' or whatever. 
Jade Harrell:  Exactly. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And there was one- actually I think I actually had it pulled up. Is this kind of big kind of buff guy. He's like Macaulay Bulkin. He's like Forrest Pumped. 
He's like a big guy and the meme says, 'Cardio? That's any set over five reps.'  
Jade Harrell:  Right! 
Shawn Stevenson:  Right? So many people- here's another one. It's that one super cool guy, he's like the older guy, like super just gee. And it says, 'I don't always do cardio, but when I do, it's called sex.'  
Jade Harrell:  Okay! 
Shawn Stevenson:  So some people have different definitions of cardio, but today the cardio has really been pressed into our culture and into our consciousness that this is the thing we need to do if we want to lose weight. 
Jade Harrell:  For long periods of time. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And we're going to break that whole thing apart and really give the truth about it. Because there are some benefits, but there are also some important things that you need to be aware of.  
And before we do that though, I'm going to give a quick shout-out to what I had this morning. My daily thing, every morning I have my Four Sigmatic Elixirs.  
Alright and today, because of course we're doing The Model Health Show, so I had the Lion's Mane.  
Jade Harrell:  That's the one. 
Shawn Stevenson:  This is for the brain. This is one of the few things that we know about that's clinically proven to be neuroprotective. Right? To help you to really fortify all those different synaptic connections in your brain, right? Those neurons; make sure they're firing, make sure they're protected. 
So it's neuroprotective and it also encourages neurogenesis.  
Jade Harrell:  I like that. 
Shawn Stevenson:  The creation of new brain cells. What? How? How is that possible?  
Well Lion's Mane has been around for a very long time, and that's just one of the amazing elixirs. I switch them out. Really been into Rishi lately which is one of those things that's about 300% increase in your NK cell activity, so these are natural killer cells, your immune system weapons.  
It's like training. It's like Ninjago training for your immune system. 
Jade Harrell:  It's like showing up with your posse, you know? 
Shawn Stevenson:  It's like Sensei Wu training those immune system cells. So shout-out to Ninjago and the parents out there that know about this.  
Jade Harrell:  That's right. 
Shawn Stevenson:  But just really making it so that your immune system is welltrained and really acclimated to adapting to any kind of nefarious thing that you're around.  
And I feel that especially people who are working in- and I just had somebody message me. I'm pretty active on Instagram with my Instalive, so make sure you're following me there. It's @ShawnModel.  
But she's a teacher, she was like the mushrooms- game changer. When she got the medicinal mushrooms in there, the Rishi, the Chaga. Because these kids are carriers. Little smugglers for sicknesses.  
Jade is pointing to herself.  
Jade Harrell:  Right. 
Shawn Stevenson:  I know, I do understand. And so make sure that you're utilizing these, and also the mushroom coffee. My wife is a huge, huge fan, it's her daily thing.  
She does cycle in some other things as well, but I never knew her to be a coffee drinker until she started using Four Sigmatic coffee. Because she loves the way it makes her feel, she also doesn't get that weird crash, and no symptoms of withdrawal when she doesn't have it, which is so important. 
Jade Harrell:  We used to tolerate that. We used to just let that happen because that was a trade-off. But it's so much nicer not to have it at all. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Exactly. And also- but coffee, it can be great for some people, but we need to make sure that we're getting high quality coffees, right? Organic.  
You're not having like a hot cup of pesticides. Right? Pesticide coffee beans. You don't want to have that, you want to have the high quality stuff, and that's what Four Sigmatic is providing. 
Plus the alkalinity of the medicinal mushrooms that are in there helps to really buffer the acidity of the coffee, which is another really interesting component. 
So make sure to head over, check them out. That's And they're going to give you 15% off your entire purchase. So make sure to check them out. And on that note, let's get to the iTunes review of the week. 
Jade Harrell:  Well here's a nice one. 'Forever a grateful soul.' Five stars. 'Words cannot express my gratitude towards Shawn and Jade and everyone behind The Model Health Show.  
In September of 2015 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer sixteen days after my 25th birthday. My previous life as I knew it was forever gone. During one of my chemotherapy treatments I came across The Model Health Show. Little did I know that my life would be forever transformed.  
Fast-forward seventeen months later to February, 2017 I can honestly say that I wouldn't have changed anything. Without my cancer diagnosis I would have never found The Model Health Show, and would have never been able to share my wealth of knowledge with friends, family members, and people I don't even know.  
Shawn I hope one day I can meet you to express my gratitude for forever changing my life.' #Dallas2017 Preston D. 
Shawn Stevenson:  That just took a turn for me, like a big shift in my energy. I'm kind of overwhelmed right now. Thank you so much for sharing that, and for being you, and for allowing us to be a part of your life, and I truly do appreciate the fact that you took action, and I'm happy that you are here and healthy and thriving, because that's what it's really all about.  
Because now you have the opportunity to share your story with so many other people. And what you went through was for that purpose.  
It wasn't to defeat you, it was to make you better, and now you are in that position, and I'm very, very grateful to be a part of your story. So thank you for sharing that.  
And everybody, thank you for leaving those reviews over in iTunes. Some of these can really get me, but just keep them coming. Some of them are super funny, some of them are so just giving and enlightening, so thank you for sharing those. And on that note let's get to our special guest and our topic of the day.  
Today, again like I said, we're having on a living legend, alright guys? We're talking about he's like the New Edition of fitness- online fitness specifically. We have on the one and only Craig Ballantyne. And he's often called the World's Most Disciplined Man, and this is by his friends and coaching clients.  
He's the author of two books including 'The Great Cardio Myth' and 'The Perfect Day Formula,' which is what he was on for prior to this episode. We'll put that in the show notes as well.  
And Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health Magazine for over seventeen years, and in 2001 he created the world famous fat burning workout system, Turbulence Training. 2001 he was rocking it on the Internet helping people.  
Craig also helps busy people get more done every day, and achieve extraordinary results in every area of their life.  
His biggest obstacle in his life was overcoming crippling anxiety attacks in 2006 and he beat them using his Five Pillars of Transformation, and that's what we talked about the last time that he was here on The Model Health Show.  
Today he's back to blow our minds, and to help us unmask the cardio myth, and I'd like to welcome my friend, the legendary Craig Ballantyne. How are you doing today, man? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Oh so good, thank you so much, Shawn. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Oh I'm always stoked to talk to you, man. You're one of the smartest people I know, and I want to dive in and talk about this cardio myth, man. Just kind of jump right in. So you reveal some pretty shocking statistics about cardio in your book when it comes to weight loss.  
And all the magazines tell us to do thirty minutes of exercise per day, specifically cardio per day, and a huge percentage of the population I had no idea are actually doing it, but it's not working. Why? What is going on? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Well there's three big factors here. First of all, we don't burn as many calories as we think we do when we go on a machine. And second of all, those machines are lying to us. And then third of all, and worst of all, cardio makes people hungry.  
So there's a research study from the UK, from England, that found when people did cardio, some of these people ended up eating 300 extra calories per day. They were called compensators and they gained weight over a twelve week program using cardio. 
So it just is not working for so many people. So many people go out there, and they run a little bit, or they use an elliptical machine, and they see 400 calories burned on the machine, and they go home and they eat 800 calories to reward themselves. And that's really unfortunate and that's holding a lot of people back. 
Jade Harrell:  I always suspected those machines were lying. I knew they were perpetrators. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's a study that was published in Shape Magazine that found the elliptical machine is the worst.  
Jade Harrell:  Really?  
Craig Ballantyne:  42% over-estimation in the number of calories you burn. So if you go on an elliptical machine, it tells you that you burn 400 calories in a long workout, you really probably only burned about 275 or 300 calories.  
Do that every single day, and you're eating more because you think that you burned calories, and you're eating more because cardio makes you hungry, it's a recipe for disaster. 
Jade Harrell:  Well I thought it was under-estimating. I sure felt like I was working a lot harder than the numbers were showing. 
Shawn Stevenson:  That's really what it is, too. I've got to highlight this here in your book, and this is right in the kind of first pages here. There was a study that was done in 1998 that showed the addition of 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at 78% max heart rate five days a week- five days a week for twelve weeks had no effect over dieting alone.  
Okay so just dieting, right? You get the same benefit of all of this work five days a week. Five days a week, 45 minutes a day.  
Jade Harrell:  All for naught. What for?  
Shawn Stevenson:  Craig, break this down for us. What's going on behind the scenes?  
Craig Ballantyne:  That's a really god way of looking at it. It truly is behind the scenes because it's inside your body. When you do long, slow cardio, there's changes in your hormonal system that slows down your metabolic rate. You can lose muscle mass which slows down your metabolic rate.  
And so the study that shocked me the most in addition to that one, Shawn, was one from the University of Kansas that was published in 2007. And they had men and women do an hour of cardio six days a week for an entire year, and they lost an average of five pounds.  
So that's fifty hours of cardio in order to lose a pound of weight. That is crazy! No one would want to work fifty hours to lose one pound.  
And so that was one of the ones that just got me riled up to get out there and tell people about the cardio myth, and to show them a better way.  
And to go back to what you were saying, to focus on how diet is far more important than exercise for fat loss.  
Shawn Stevenson:  For people that couldn't see me, that's not watching this on YouTube, I did a facepalm. Like a legit facepalm because it makes no sense whatsoever, and we're trying so hard, spending so much time doing traditional cardio.  
I know we kind of had the same kind of conventional education that you also need to be doing the cardio about twenty minutes to get to your 'fat burning zone' before you even start to get the benefit.  
Craig Ballantyne:  It's so ridiculous. 
Shawn Stevenson:  It makes zero sense. But this is perpetuated by some really poor science, and it started with Dr. Cooper, right? So let's talk a little bit about that. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah so Dr. Cooper came up with the idea of aerobic exercise back in the sixties because JFK actually accused America of being soft, of going soft in one of his presidential speeches, which I thought was interesting. I mean he'd hate to see the way things are now, unfortunately. 
And so people got into this aerobic exercise, and then here's where it went really, really wrong, Shawn. Is that a whole bunch of researchers in the academic world, all these university professors, they were really interested in running marathons, and they started doing all this research on cardio training for marathons, and that led to these long cardio workout recommendations. 
And worst of all- the recommendation that had the worst effect on all of us here in the weight loss world was they moved into this eat lots of carbs, eat low fat diet approach. Because yeah that works for running a marathon, but it's terrible advice for weight loss, and that led to the entire 1990's being focused on high carb diets.  
And the only good thing that came out of that was a really funny Seinfeld episode, but other than that it was a total waste of time.  
Shawn Stevenson:  Tell us about that episode.  
Craig Ballantyne:  That was the one they were eating the Snackwells, and they just kept on eating them. Then there was the low-fat yogurt, but it was high-fat yogurt. That was another classic Jerry episode. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And basically shows about nothing. Crushed it. But these are nothing things that we all do every. And I know that I was definitely guilty of that act, which was, 'This is low-calorie, this is low-fat. I'm just going to eat two bags.' 
Craig Ballantyne:  Right. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Low-fat cookies or whatever. It's a cookie, man! It's a cookie. Wondering why I'm not getting those results. And it wasn't until I really started to understand some of these principles, and also starting off with really trying to recover my own health, I started off doing 'cardio,' but very quickly I transitioned over into picking up the weights again which I know helped me a tremendous amount.  
But really understanding the idea that you can't out-train a bad diet, right? And I think you're one of the first people that I've heard really push that into the public consciousness.  
And you actually did a video where you were- just tell them about the video where you were actually proving this. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah so I was running on a treadmill, and my friend Brad Pilon who's famous for an intermittent fasting book called, 'Eat Stop Eat' was eating a giant slice of pizza and drinking a soda. And so in the four minutes that I ran on the treadmill, he consumed over 1,200 calories.  
And I ran pretty hard, and I burned about forty calories in four minutes. And so that just goes to show you, you can't out-run a bad diet because 1,200 calories is going to take a normal person about ninety minutes to burn off with an accurate calorie reading.  
So not your machine telling you that you burned 1,000 calories in thirty minutes of elliptical, because that's not happening. But you really have to work very hard.  
About 160-pound man would have to run at nine miles an hour for over an hour in order to burn 1,000 calories, and that is a hard, hard workout.  
So we just can't out-run it, and there's a funny- you were talking about the cardio memes before. There's a funny one that I found which is a guy on a treadmill, and it says, 'Cardio Confessional.'  
And that's what most people go to on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, or the day after Christmas, or New Year's Day. They're going to the Cardio Confessional thinking that thirty minutes on a treadmill is going to make up for the 2,000 calorie appetizer at Applebees last night. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Right. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Not going to happen. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Please forgive me for this Nacho Bell Grande. 
Jade Harrell:  Let me pay my penance. 
Shawn Stevenson:  It doesn't make any logical sense, and I've seen this over the years working at the university, and helping people with their fitness as a strength and conditioning coach. And I would see these same faces coming in- not my clients, but especially after the holidays.  
And I'm thinking about this one particular woman, and she looked the same for the four years that I was there, every day trying to get there where she wanted to be, because she was constantly trying to run off the calories she ate.  
She was like, "Oh I had to bake the chocolate cake. I had to!" I'm like, "Okay that's fine, but why don't you try some different things?"  
And eventually I did toward the end of my- before I opened my clinic, I did see her start to basically copy some of the things that I was having my clients do.  
She was one of those people that are kind of peeking over, 'Oh what's that?' Like I'm kind of busy, but this is this. I'd let her know, so she started to add some of that stuff in. I don't know where she is today, but hopefully she got the memo.  
And that's no way for us to live, and I'm so glad that Craig is on today to talk about this where we're constantly trying to run off our life, and just being able to enjoy life, and enjoy the foods that we love without trying to constantly literally beat ourselves down.  
Because a big thing that I want to impress upon public consciousness is that suffering does not equal health, right? And we should not have to beat ourselves down and suffer our way to having the body that we want.  
Definitely it does require some intention, and some work for sure, sometimes you're going to work really hard, but our definition of what that is needs to be changed because this whole idea of cardio- traditional cardio in the way that we've been taught does not work in the way that we thought. 
And I've got to put one more little sidebar before I ask this next question. This is not- for everybody who's- somebody might be running right now listening to this episode.  
I'm not saying to stop running, alright? But running- if we're going to run- sometimes you just feel like running. You know? Sometimes you just do, and I know Craig, you agree, sometimes you just feel like just going.  
But if you're doing that for the purpose of weight loss, there are far better methods of getting there. He shared that study I believe from Kansas a little bit earlier, this 2008 or 2007 study, where we looked at a year six days a week losing about five pounds.  
That doesn't make any sense, but so many people are doing that and there are far better ways to go about that.  
Jade Harrell:  I'm glad that you brought up the point about if you're running for the purpose of weight loss, then there are other methods. But when you're running so hard to make up for something, or make penance, I see it as symptoms of the same problem.  
Sometimes the way we consume is a way of either punishing or dealing with something that we need to address, and then the response with the over-training and the heavy running and the heavy exercise as well.  
So there's something deeper that we do have to address, but know that if it's for weight loss, then great. Let's do it the smart way. But maybe take a closer look to see why. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah if it's for self-love, if it's for the love of running, if it's for- I don't know why Forrest Gump was running in the movie. If it's just like- I guess he ran back and forth across the country or whatever.  
If you just want to run and just go, if this is something that's meditative, that is something that you just enjoy doing, that is for the love of the game, for the love of just running, and it feels good to you, it's something you really enjoy, please continue to do that. 
But with these caveats and understanding that there are better ways about going and making sure that you're fit and healthy. So I want to actually shift gears now and talk about health, Craig. So let's talk about some of the dangers of traditional cardio. Let's dive in. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Well I mean first of all, most people who have done any amount of cardio know that they're going to get sore knees, sore hips, sore back, they're going to get overuse injuries.  
And it makes total sense, too because if you think about it, you're doing the same movement thousands and thousands of times in a workout, probably 3,600 times in an hour of a running session, you would actually do that many steps.  
And so I like to use this analogy Shawn, that you've probably seen this little image of somebody putting a microscope, and then the little toy soldier, and then they concentrate the heat of the sun on it, and the toy soldier melts. 
Now you're doing the same thing. If you have like a little bit of an injury, a little bit of a biomechanical problem and you do that 3,600 times, it magnifies that injury so that you end up with more of an injury, but you also have your body compensating, and so you end up with an injury on the other side of your body.  
So if you have a sore calf on your right leg, you end up with a sore hip on your left leg because you're compensating in that running.  
So it's that overuse injury is the biggest problem that people are going to come up with. Doesn't matter if you're on an elliptical, on a treadmill, running on the streets which is really bad for you, or if you're even using a stationary bike.  
So you have to dial it in, and making sure that you're doing all the right types of training to support the cardio that you do want to do. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah so you're telling me that my Nike Free Runs won't save my knees and my ankles. Is that what you're saying? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Not if you're running on concrete, no. 
Jade Harrell:  Or your budget. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Right. 
Jade Harrell:  Because that's the idea, is that- 
Shawn Stevenson:  We've got to keep in mind that how we're designed, and what humans have been doing the longest amount of time, when I do just feel like running, generally it's going to be on a road. And it's on concrete, and that's just kind of the nature of the beast of where many of us live.  
And of course there's trails and things like that that you can get to, but for a lot of people that's where they are going to hit the trail, or the dreadmill- I mean sorry, the treadmill. That came out wrong! 
Jade Harrell:  It was great. 
Shawn Stevenson:  But there are some issues also with the treadmill that- and by the way, so again some exercise is definitely better than nothing, and he talks about that in the book as opposed to different sedentary populations for many things.  
So I definitely don't want to dishearten somebody who has a treadmill at their house and that's a means of exercise. But for many people- 
Jade Harrell:  Especially if it's a new purchase. 
Shawn Stevenson:  I mean yeah, exactly because a lot of people, that's where you keep your laundry, like you hang your laundry up on that bad boy. But it's because the treadmill pulls out a part of your natural gait because the ground is essentially moving under you, right?  
So there's a part of that press-off motion, it's not a normal thing. And this can create- and I know people who have had this experience where they run on the treadmill and they can go maybe- they can do a 25-minute jog no problem, then they get out and try to do this in the 'real world' and they're so much more exhausted, and it's because all of their different muscles are firing differently, and it can be really taxing because they have not incorporated those normal movements if that makes sense. 
Jade Harrell:  Yes it does. 
Shawn Stevenson:  So Craig, let's talk about heart health. This was something that was really sobering for me when I read the book. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Right, right so you know originally Dr. Cooper is putting together the exercise program for heart health, and like you said, a little bit of exercise is better than none by far. But as the research keeps coming in, the amount of exercise you need to do in order to improve your heart health is very, very low.  
I've seen estimates as little as a few times per week of running for seven minutes. And unfortunately people have taken this to extremes where they're running for hours outside. 
And now here's another thing that we haven't talked about, Shawn. You go outside, what's the air quality like in your hometown, right? And you're running, and research has shown that people that run beside the road end up with so many toxins in their lungs that it's much- they had much more exposure to pollution than someone who stays inside all day.  
And so we're not even thinking about that, we're not thinking about the people that are getting skin cancer from running for hours outside. So there's things, but you know with the heart health more doesn't equal better.  
And I'm a 41-year-old guy right now, I had to do the math there for a second, but I know that every year there are guys my age dropping dead in marathons. 
And there was one study that showed me that the worst age for marathon running was 39 years old- being a male, 39 years old, and pushing yourself really hard in those final miles.  
Because if you think about it this way, in a marathon, what you've done is you've just worked your heart muscle, and your heart is a muscle just like your- similar to your legs, not the exact same type of muscle fibers. But imagine you went and did four hours of bicep curls. Your arms would be killed, right? 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah. 
Craig Ballantyne:  But people don't think there's any problems with going and exercising your heart for four hours in a marathon. But it's that 39-year-old guy after four hours of pumping his heart really hard, there's so much damage, so much inflammation, and then he pushes in those final two miles, and then that is where we're seeing fathers of two, fathers of three, fathers of four, good healthy young men dying in pursuit of these marathons.  
And it breaks my heart because I know that this little recreation that they had led to the death, and their kids are going to grow up without a father just because they wanted to push hard for personal best.  
So there's a whole lot of things to consider when you're taking into account how much cardio you should do. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Okay this is a spot for PSA, public service announcement in the fact that this might be bumping up against your belief system right now. And you might be feeling uncomfortable, you might be like, "Oh that's malarkey." I don't know if anybody says 'malarkey.' 
Jade Harrell:  I do. 
Shawn Stevenson:  That's baloney. You sure do, don't you? 
Jade Harrell:  I do say malarkey. 
Shawn Stevenson:  That's wack sauce. 
Jade Harrell:  That's malarkey. 
Shawn Stevenson:  It's kind of wack sauce. But it's okay. So it's understanding that we need to be open. This is what this is about. Our continuous learning is about being open, and continuing to be a lifetime student.  
And just looking at the research, taking it all in, and weighing things for yourself because this is something- I was like a little bit, 'I don't know if I want to talk about this' because it's so paradigm shattering for some people.  
But also not to just affirm my beliefs, but I'm going off of what I've seen to be effective for myself and the clients I've worked with, the thousands of people I've worked with over the years.  
And so this gets back to- and I've got friends who are like ultra marathon runners. 
You know like Rich Roll, he's killing the game, he's been doing that stuff for awhile. But that's one way of being, but also you have to understand his lifestyle. That's what he does. That's it. 
He doesn't have the work stress like other people do. He creates his own schedule, he has his show, he kind of- 
Jade Harrell:  And the nutrition is dialed in. 
Shawn Stevenson:  He does some speaking, that kind of thing. Right and you've got to stack a lot of conditions in your favor, but also I want to talk about the experts out there who have actually passed away during the runs.  
Like you talk about these guys in the book, and one of them is Jim Fixx, and he wrote the bestselling book, 'The Complete Book of Running,' and he ran himself right into a heart attack. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah. Yeah that was way back in the day, and back when I think some of these runners were still smoking cigarettes. I know there were still professional hockey players smoking cigarettes between shifts back in the seventies, so these guys didn't have that education. But there's a lot to it.  
And so if you compare Rich, who probably has genetics on his side in terms of recovery, in terms of biomechanics, and you compare someone who goes out and has a heart attack, or has a problem, or even has a lot of injuries from running, there's going to be a huge spectrum of response in individuals. 
But we can't force ourselves. We can't take a square peg and put it into a round hold. If we're 220 pounds naturally and six feet tall, we probably shouldn't be running marathons. It's just too much stress on our joints. And there are other things that we can do. 
Shawn Stevenson:  For sure, for sure. You know when we talked with Dr. Gibala we talked about this as well, Craig. The fact that many of the elite athletes out there that are even doing middle distance running, some marathons, they're using high intensity interval training as their training.  
They're not just going out for like a twenty mile run, and they save that kind of for game day. 
And some of these people are like the top people in the game that are doing this, and they're kind of shifting- it's like a new wave coming in where a lot more people are shifting their training because the human psyche is always looking for going to the next level. It's a part of us and it's a beautiful thing.  
Like what can I do? How far can I push the limits? What is this body able to accomplish? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah and you know what's really cool, Shawn? Is some people are now running on the treadmills in water to reduce the impact. I don't know if you've ever seen that, that's kind of cool. 
Shawn Stevenson:  No, I have not. 
Craig Ballantyne:  But Marty has some really great stuff, and I've known Marty since 1999 because I went to the same school where he's a professor now. 
Shawn Stevenson:  I saw that! McMaster's University. Yeah, shout-out. Shout-out to them and you guys are just doing incredible work.  
And also, just taking all of this in that we do need to continue to challenge ourselves and to see what we can accomplish. But in our day-to-day lives we also- it depends on what you're doing this for. You want to be very clear in your goals.  
Because if this is for fitness, if this is for longevity, then we need to change our perspective, right? And you put a chart in the book here, and this was Sports Related Sudden Deaths, and this was in France and they tracked this by age from 2005 to 2010. So this is recent stuff.  
And you look at the comparison of people dying, like literally dying during the sport. Cycling is at the top and jogging. Right?  
And then like rugby and tennis, they're so small in comparison. Like tiny, tiny numbers, and it's just like I just need to take a look at that.  
Now also I want to be clear that the correlation and causation factor, and Craig mentioned this too. Like some of these guys might be smoking- and some of these studies he puts in here, that's taken into account though.  
But sometimes they're smoking, sometimes we're not looking at their diet, we're not looking at family history, all those kinds of things.  
Jade Harrell:  Sleep. 
Shawn Stevenson:  So we don't want to just say- right their sleep quality, all of these things. So if you're going to perform in these sports and make long distance cardio a part of your life on a regular basis, you need to stack everything else in your favor. 
So with that said, don't we have to do some cardio though? Craig, let's talk about that. Do we have to do a little bit for our health?  
Craig Ballantyne:  It's a great question, and you know going back to what you said before, sometimes you just want to go for a run.  
And I know for me, there's nothing better than going for a trail run, for a nice stress reduction, and you get your mind flowing, you get some great ideas when you're out doing a trail run in the fresh air, but I don't do that a lot.  
And so if we take a look at what are called the blue zones, and we've heard about it, we've maybe read the book, the blue zones are areas in the world where people are living to 100 years old regularly. And you know it's like Okinawa, and there's a place in Italy, and then there's some Mediterranean stuff, and some Greek places. 
You know what? Those people have never seen a treadmill, let alone used a treadmill. They're just going out and they're staying active, and they're reducing their stress, and they're eating the right diet.  
There are so many other factors involved in longevity, and it doesn't just come down to pounding away on the treadmill.  
Because if you pound away on the treadmill and then you go to Carl Junior's and get fries and a burger, you're not going to end up in a good place like that at all.  
So there's a lot of factors, and as I mentioned with the weight loss, and as you've mentioned already, diet is more important than exercise for weight loss, but diet is also more important for cardiovascular health than exercise.  
As much as I love exercise, I mean I'm a trainer, that's how I made my bones, that's what I did and helped people for so long, but diet is the key. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Awesome, awesome. 
Jade Harrell:  And unfortunately if you are pounding away, then you can create a vicious cycle if that kicks up that hunger. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Absolutely. Actually you made a great point before about people punishing themselves. And Shawn, one of the greatest things that CrossFit has delivered the world, and it's delivered a few good things like knee high socks on girls all the time, that is a beautiful thing.  
But the second best thing it's delivered is that it's totally shifted women's and a lot of guys' mindsets towards exercise.  
Yeah they're going out and really putting themselves through training, but they've shifted that mindset from 'I'm going to go and punish myself for what I ate,' to 'I'm going to go out there and perform. I'm going to perform because of what I ate.'  
So it went from punishment to performance, and I'm so glad that you brought that up before.  
Jade Harrell:  That's awesome. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah and it's tied into the culture as well. A lot more focus on nutrition as well, the sleep component. Like Dr. Kelly Starrett who was on the show, one of my favorite episodes, he's a big proponent of 'Sleep Smarter,' and he actually encouraged one of the specific chapters in the book when I combined and worked with Rodale to put the big version out, and that was the body work aspect.  
He was like talking about the vagus nerve, it just like blew my mind. I was like, 'I need to know more about it.' And so it's something that they push into the culture there as well.  
So it's really- it's basically we can start to create our own blue zones. Little CrossFit box blue zones. Alright?  
Now with that said, within anything there are going to be extremists. There are going to be people who are going seven days a week. You don't need to do that.  
And there are also this category of people who get into adrenal fatigue, that get into immune issues by just going too hard, doing too much. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah and just one big article in the New York Times last year 
Shawn, was about one of America's top marathon runners who said, "I quit. I quit." Because his testosterone is in the toilet from long endurance training and he can't have a family, and that's what happens when you do too much endurance training.  
Your sex hormones get messed up because they don't have the reserve capacity to continue staying at a normal level.  
So you actually see men who have active lives but not hardcore training actually have better testosterone levels than guys who train too hard. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah, you know what? I just- yesterday I talked to a Navy Seal, Mark Divine. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Oh wow. 
Shawn Stevenson:  He had me on his show yesterday and he was telling me about how he would see- they came in, they actually were working with these Seals, and they tested their testosterone after their training, and they had the testosterone levels of like teenage girls, right?  
And they were just like these big, strong, tough guys and they were like, 'What is going one?' But it's that mindset.  
They kept pushing through, push through, push through, push through; but the long term damage they were looking to find ways to stave that off, and to help them to be as healthy as possible. And a big part of that was focusing on getting them better sleep quality. That was a big key.  
And so of course we talked about that on the show as well. So do we have to do cardio for health? Let's talk about some other ways, kind of unconventional thinking that we're actually getting those cardiovascular benefits from different forms of exercise. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Right. So there was a study that came out in 2012 that just made my day, and it was from a university up in Canada called Queens University where my sister actually went to school, and it was a bodyweight training program compared to forty minutes of cardio.  
And so it was only four minutes of bodyweight exercises done in the- what's known as the tabata style, which is twenty seconds of hard work, ten seconds of recovery.  
And these people- they were young women, young college age women, and they trained for twelve weeks, and they either did four minutes of bodyweight training four times a week or they did forty minutes of cardio four times per week, and at the end they compared their aerobic fitness improvements, and both groups made the same improvement.  
One group- actually it was thirty minutes, I apologize. It was thirty minutes of cardio because I remember doing the math, it was seven times more effective.  
So four minutes of cardio versus thirty minutes of- or sorry, four minutes of bodyweight exercises versus thirty minutes of cardio, four times a week, and over that period of time both groups increased their aerobic fitness the exact same. 
But the bodyweight group also improved performance in muscular endurance such as pushups to failure, situps, all those bodyweight exercises, those life applicable movements.  
And so that was like a big 'aha' moment for me. It showed my clients and my readers that, 'Hey we can just do these bodyweight exercises.'  
And so I've pumped out a whole bunch of bodyweight videos, there's lots on YouTube that you can see. Some have been watched over a million times of my four minute workouts that give people an amazing workout seven times faster than doing long term cardio.  
No equipment, no money spent on gyms, no money spent on a dreadmill, and away you go. 
Jade Harrell:  Dreadmill! 
Shawn Stevenson:  You know some people would give away one of their fingers to get a million views on their YouTube videos, but like I've been telling you guys, he is a legend. He's been putting it down, and getting this information out there. And he might be like your favorite trainer's favorite trainer. You know?  
Because it's not rocket science. It kind of is, but it's so simple. And also if you just look at the research.  
Like he gave that wonderful example that you can- and that's one of the biggest kind of barriers to entry for people to work out. Is like, 'I don't have that kind of time.' 
And today more than ever really, like that's an issue. So what if we can incorporate this four minutes of exercise plus focusing on our nutrition, getting great sleep. What if we could put that extra time spent running getting great sleep? 
Jade Harrell:  Man, oh man great sleep. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Isn't that perfect? You get four minute workouts, and you use Shawn's 'Sleep Smarter,' and you stay in bed longer, you can get up and just work out in your PJs at home. Think of the time that you're saving people here with this advice, Shawn. It's amazing. 
Jade Harrell:  Oh man. 
Shawn Stevenson:  It is for sure.  
Jade Harrell:  We love you both for that. Both for that. And then one of the questions that we did get when we were on the road was, 'Do I need a gym membership in order to participate? Do I need to get new equipment?'  
And the woman was concerned that that might be something that would make it prohibitive. And so this is very freeing. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Absolutely and there's so many things that we can do with our bodies. I mean I'm in hotels all the time, Shawn. I don't know if I travel as much as you, but I travel a lot.  
And sometimes the hotel gym isn't open, sometimes there's no hotel gym especially when you go to Europe, and so I've had to come up with probably about 120 bodyweight exercises that I can do anytime, anywhere, no equipment, and still work out every muscle in my body, and it's just really a great relief to know that I can do that and still get in my workout, and not feel like a slug because I haven't had that blood flowing through my body nice and fast. 
Jade Harrell:  Did you say 120? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah, yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Probably got like 25 different pushup versions. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah. 
Craig Ballantyne:  But there's a lot of really neat stuff that you can do with your bodyweight. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And he's got a bunch of them in the book, and we're going to talk about the specific- like if you've got this amount of time each week, what should we be doing? So we're going to dive in and talk about that right after this quick break. We'll be right back. 
Okay we are back and we're talking to the one and only legendary, walking talking superstar, Craig Ballantyne who is the creator of Turbulence Training, and the book that really took things to the next level for me, 'The Perfect Day Formula.' Alright? So not just mastering our bodies but actually mastering our life.  
And now- so we're going to talk about what if somebody had thirty minutes three times a week to exercise, Craig? What should we be doing? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Oh this is going to be great. If you want to build a little muscle, lose a lot of body fat, you've got thirty minutes three times a week, you can do amazing things and improve your cardiovascular health by doing basically what I call the Turbulence Training program which I put together all the way back in 2001 when I was a student at McMaster.  
And that was essentially we're going to do three or four exercises for our body and strength training whether they're bodyweight or whether they're with dumbbells, or if you're hardcore and you use barbells, or you can use the TRX.  
You can use anything, but we want to get a total body strength training workout in about fifteen to twenty minutes, and then we want to finish with ten minutes of either interval training, which could be classic interval training, you could be running hills, could be even running on the dreadmill for a minute at a time and a minute off.  
Or it could be bodyweight exercises like burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers. Those bodyweight exercises that were used in the four minute workout study that I mentioned before. 
So we can really get this all done in a home gym, and the whole thing comes back to my experience with Men's Health Magazine. I was lucky to start writing for them in 2000, and these were the questions I was getting, Shawn.  
"What can I do in thirty minutes? What can I do at home in the basement? What can I do with rusty old dumbbells?" And you know, that's what I had too. And so I was able to put together these programs. 
So in thirty minutes, do that three times per week, a total body workout with some interval type, metabolic type training, and away you go. You are going to be fit and look great on the beach in the summertime with this type of program. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Perfect, I love it! I want to actually- let's construct something for people. Let's give an example because one of the things that I've also seen you do is these super sets or monster sets and combining these different exercises.  
So give us a sample workout for we're going to hit the gym on Monday, we're going to do a total body exercise program, we're going to do it under thirty minutes. Walk us through what it would look like.  
Craig Ballantyne:  Perfect, love this question. So we're going to do this first exercise called a goblet squat. So you're going to have one dumbbell held like this, like you're holding a goblet, and then you do squats because that is going to use the biggest muscles in your body; your quadriceps, your glutes, your hamstrings. That's a great exercise to start with.  
Then we're going to use that super set mentality which means we're going to go back to back with the exercises, or we might do an entire circuit here. We're going to go and use what I call noncompeting muscles.  
So we just worked our legs, now we're going to go and work our upper body pushing muscles. So we might go and do a pushup, or a decline pushup, or we might get the dumbbells and do dumbbell chest presses, or we might do TRX pushups. But that's your second exercise, is the pushing movement. 
Then we're going to go and do a single leg exercise. And what I really like people to do is not do lunges, and people listening are going to be going, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying I don't have to do lunges." Because most people, unfortunately they don't have very good lunge form. 
So there's an exercise called a split squat which is a stationary lunge, it's still pretty difficult, but it doesn't require you stepping forward and losing your balance. So we can do a split squat, of if you're a beginner you can lie down and do a one leg hip extension. Or you can do step-ups onto a small box. But we're going to do single leg exercises.  
Then we're going to go into an upper body pulling exercise. So we might do a dumbbell row, or a TRX row, or something like that. So we go lower, upper, lower, upper, and in those four exercises we've really hit our entire body, and then we can move into that metabolic circuit at the end which might be something like bodyweight squats, mountain climbers, and then something like- 
Shawn Stevenson:  Burpees? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Jumping jacks or burpees if you're advanced, and then finish off with something called a rocking plank or a regular plank to work your abdominals and your core for endurance.  
Boom, just like that you've had an amazing workout, and then we would just- in the next two days of the week, the second and third workouts, we would come up with new exercises, variations on what we've used, not the same exercises so there's variety, and that way- man you keep yourself entertained, and getting results, and putting a stimulus on your body which is what training is all about.  
Just put enough stimulus on your body to make a change. And I mean I could talk about that all day long, but most people do too much cardio, they overstimulate their body, and end up with overuse.  
But those are the three workouts Shawn, and then on the off days just stay active. Go for a walk, do yoga, do pilates, take your kids out and play with them.  
Shawn Stevenson:  Play, yeah. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Just do something, but you don't have to be in that, 'I've got to go to the gym' mindset. Because we don't need to be stressed out about exercise. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Got it, man. So refreshing. So just really quick to walk through this. Another example that came up in my mind literally just now is I would see so many people over the years, they would come in, they would fool around on the cardio machines for thirty minutes, 45 minutes, then they would come and tinker around with the weights, with the different machines.  
And that's really a backwards way if you're really looking for maximum results because number one, you're already fatigued and you're not possibly going to perform as well when you start to lift those weights and do the strength training stuff. That's just kind of common logic. 
But also if you even flip that around and do the strength training first, we're going to get that really powerful kind of anabolic hormone production. You're going to start to kind of break down stored fatty acids, and start to use them as fuel.  
And then if you do a little cardio afterwards, it's going to help your body to really kind of push that stuff out of your system if you think about it.  
So even flipping it upside down and doing it in this form like he has, so his super sets first, then do your metabolic training afterwards, I think it's really good. 
So just to clarify, so the goblet squat plus the press, what would we do? Maybe three sets of that? 
Craig Ballantyne:  If you're a beginner, just do one. If you're intermediate, do two. And if you're advanced and you want to build muscle, burn fat, then yes do three.  
So one thing Shawn- that's a really great question, is if someone feels like they have enough muscle mass, they just want to maintain muscle mass, they don't want to build a lot of muscle mass, just think like this.  
Muscle mass comes from volume, it comes from more sets and more reps, and it comes from more food. If you don't want to gain a lot of muscle, you don't do a whole lot of sets, and you don't eat a whole lot of food.  
And so that's really what it comes down to, and then we also use a little bit more bodyweight training for someone that doesn't want to gain a lot of muscle mass. So there's that way we can address people getting a little bit worried about that. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Got it. Now what about- this is a big issue too, coming into the game for this because there's an on ramp for everybody. Even if somebody thinks they can't do a pushup, I promise you, you can. It's learning how to do it properly, and also using on ramp exercises, progression exercise to get there.  
But let's talk a little bit about form, alright? So should we be doing burpees if we're all over the place, and it's just like we look like somebody's throwing soup up in the air?  
Jade Harrell:  Frogger? 
Craig Ballantyne:  Right, and then obviously some people with certain bodyweight shouldn't- if you're over 15% body fat, you probably shouldn't be doing burpees either because that's a lot of stress on your joints. I mean that one can lead to problems as well.  
So you know the best thing that somebody can do is treat themselves to one session at least with a good personal trainer that comes highly referred. That's what I always tell people. Go and see a personal trainer, get the proper technique, learn how to brace your core as you do exercises, learn how to use proper posture not only in your workouts but also in the course of the day.  
Learn how to pick up weights properly in the gym, because a lot of people will do perfect form on an exercise Shawn, and then it makes me laugh because they'll completely round their back over into a really dangerous position to put the weights back down on the floor. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yes! 
Craig Ballantyne:  So you always have to be thinking, and to be honest with you that's the reason that a lot of people gravitate towards cardio. It is so mindless. I can go and put one foot in front of the other so I can go and run on a treadmill, or jog on a treadmill, or use an elliptical machine.  
But to do strength training or metabolic work, it requires you to have focus, it requires planning, and it requires you to stay mindful of your body as you're going through it. 
But that's a great thing about my workouts is they're short so you're focused, you get in, you get out, and that way you can then do your fun activities on those other days. 
Jade Harrell:  I love it. 
Craig Ballantyne:  So really great questions about form. 
Jade Harrell:  Quick question. When you guys talk about sets, now is that three sets of goblet or one set of the entire cycle? 
Craig Ballantyne:  That's a really great question. So if I was training a beginner, I would have them come in and I would do one round of a four exercise circuit.  
Jade Harrell:  Got it. 
Craig Ballantyne:  So I would probably have a beginner do something like bodyweight squats, maybe pushups or kneeling pushups or wall pushups, then the lying one leg hip extension which is a very beginner exercise but still allows people to understand what muscles are working. A very nice targeted exercise.  
And then some type of upper back exercise, some type of rowing exercise, and we probably do about twelve to fifteen repetitions for each exercise, and we take a little bit longer rest in between, and then we would just stop there for day one.  
That's enough because if you haven't done something in a long time, you're going to feel it.  
So if you're coming back from two weeks off with the flu, and you used to be doing three or four sets, take it easy, do one or two sets, let your body get used to it, and then we go on into doing more sets.  
But again, we're not going to end up going to like five or ten sets because if you do one hard set, that's probably about 60% of the results as if you did three sets. So it's another time saving thing to keep in mind. 
Jade Harrell:  Well that's great to know that you don't have to go past the three but you can build up to that, and then get great results. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Absolutely. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And so like he said, you can change the stimulus, you can change small things, it's going to give you a totally different result. And so the way that I would do this personally, I would take the goblet squat- I'd do it heavier. I'd use heavier weights. 
Jade Harrell:  We see you on Instagram. 
Shawn Stevenson:  I'd do a heavy goblet squat and then a heavy press. 
Jade Harrell:  Okay. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Nice! 
Shawn Stevenson:  And then I would rest after that for maybe a minute, and then I'd do that super set again. So I go back to back, the squat right to the press, then I would rest, then I'd repeat. And I'd do maybe three, four sets of that, then I'd go to the next one.  
So it would be the split squat- maybe I'm doing the split squat with heavier weights, right? And then go right to the row, and then I'd rest one minute, then repeat.  
And then after I complete all my rounds of those, then get to the metabolic conditioning or the HIIT after that to wrap it all up. So there's a lot of different variations and I wanted to provide some frameworks, some examples for people today.  
But before we get to the end of the show I wanted to ask you about- in the book you actually highlight this, and we've been talking about this for quite some time.  
I'll mention that even talking with Jonathan Bailor, the author of 'The Calorie Myth,' before because he was working with one of the contestants- a former contestant of The Biggest Loser.  
And just seeing the tremendous amount of struggle that they had after the show, and they were working their butt off but they could not keep the weight off. 
So you mentioned that in the book, so let's talk a little bit about that. What's going on there when we see these television shows where people are losing massive amounts of weight? 
Craig Ballantyne:  So much change in the physiology. Again beautiful phrase you used before, 'behind the scenes.' We can't see what's going on to our sex hormones, to our cortisol levels, to all of these hormones in our body, we can't measure those like every single day.  
And so what happens is when you do long periods of fasting, and long periods of starvation diet, long periods of lots of work and cardio, your body just starts to shut down because it starts to use that energy and reserve it for vital functions.  
And so your sex organs are no longer putting out the sex hormones, and you just feel great fatigue, and then your body- because it's through evolution, we're meant to survive, and your body says, "I need calories and I need to hold onto what I have here because I'm going into some starvation thing, and who knows when it's all going to turn around." 
And then when it does all turn around, you can start eating normal again, your resting metabolic rate has come down, and you're still eating up here, and then the weight gain comes back.  
So you have to be very conservative, very cautious. Take a look at this as a lifestyle program when you want to improve your fitness or lose weight, and instead of trying to go Biggest Loser crazy on things, and just losing a ton of weight really fast.  
Now some people can, don't get me wrong, we've had people on our program lose 75 pounds in twelve weeks, but they were starting at 400 pounds.  
Shawn Stevenson:  Yeah. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Most people- you know what? If you can do one or two pounds per week with good diet, good nutrition, good exercise that you love to do and will do for the rest of your life whether it's dancing, or working out, whatever, just pick something you love.  
Shawn Stevenson:  Yes, thank you man. And even if you don't lose two to three pounds a week, and you're just losing inches, we want to celebrate that. 
Craig Ballantyne:  That's what matters. 
Shawn Stevenson:  You know? We want to celebrate that because we've got to get over this obsession with weight because we're all- it's like weight or wait. Right?  
You're just constantly waiting and checking in and trying to- and it can play tricks on your mind. And then some people are going the opposite. 
Craig Ballantyne:  I always say, Shawn, that nobody's like Flavor Flav walking around with a big scale and they're weighing. Like the only person that knows somebody's weight is almost always just that person.  
And so we really need to shut it out and forget about the weight. And like you said, focus on inches, and how we feel, and how our pants are fitting, and that energy we have all day. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Oh man, is this the first time we talked about Flavor Flav on The Model Health Show? 
Jade Harrell:  Especially like carrying the weight. I love that.  
Shawn Stevenson:  So right, check out this big old scale I got. I've got the biggest scale in the game. I know what the weight is, because you know he'd be like, "I know what time it is." 
Jade Harrell:  Way boy! 
Shawn Stevenson:  Okay, so listen. So this is actually- I'm just going to read directly from your book. So there was a recent study published the journal 'Obesity' that tracked a group of fourteen contestants from The Biggest Loser for up to six years after their appearance on the TV show.  
The study, backed by the National Institute of Health found that thirteen of the fourteen participants couldn't keep the weight off, and not for lack of trying. Season 8 winner, Danny Cahill I believe you pronounce his name, devoted hours a day to exercise and even quit his job trying to hold onto his victory.  
And it says he started his day with the treadmill at 5:00 AM, rode his bike to the gym where he did even more cardio, and ended his day with a night run. But as he told the New York Times, he battled increasingly fierce food cravings, and an everslowing metabolism.  
And according to the obesity study, he now burns 800 fewer calories per day than expected for a man his size, and that's really the big key. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Yeah I mean that is so hard for anybody to overcome. 800 calories is a lot of food. I mean that's almost a fast food meal, and we know how bad those are.  
So I mean you've got to feel bad for the guy that he's definitely started out in a tough situation already because his body allowed him to get that big, and then going through that program certainly didn't help. 
But that is an extreme case, and most people are going to have greater results with the diet and nutrition that we talked about because we see so many people that are able to do that and transform their lives.  
So it's unfortunate Shawn, but it is very good that you brought that up. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Yes, yes and the point that I want to close with with that story is the fact that now his body really is burning things slower, right? 800 fewer calories a day. And what happened? Well loss of muscle.  
Your muscle is your body's fat burning machinery, and if you're losing muscle while you're constantly banging away doing traditional cardio, your body is about survival first, as we've been talking about. And it could care less about- it really thinks like, 'I'm either running from something or I'm trying to catch my food' basically. Right?  
And either way it's just like, 'I don't know if he's going to make it, bro.' Muscle is expensive so it's going to get rid of it, it's going to start throwing it off, and it's going to retain more fat because your body can basically pinch off of that a little bit. 
And I'm like- I've got like a fake bag and I'm like pinching off a muffin in the bag. You know the people that like stab the hand inside the muffin bag? 
Jade Harrell:  Absolutely. You have to pinch so that it doesn't crumble. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Just take it out. 
Jade Harrell:  No. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Just take it out. 
Jade Harrell:  The same problem with cupcakes. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Anyway, so as I digress. But the bottom line is that is it losing muscle, number one.  
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And also just literally changing your hormonal cascade and getting your body deconditioned to have optimal levels of testosterone, the right ratios of estradiols, estrogen, the right ratios of human growth hormone. 
You can suppress these things or change the dynamics in how they're functioning in your body by doing these crash diets, and running, and running, and running. 
So just want to make that point and understand that there are better ways and better methods. That's why I invited Craig on the show today. 
So can you tell everybody where they can get connected with you, where they can find 'The Cardio Myth,' because it's a really, really great book and it's a great read. It's also kind of cool, the design. It's a different type of book in the way that it's laid out. So let everybody know where they can find it. 
Craig Ballantyne:  Well I'm very grateful for those kind words. I had an amazing coauthor. Chelsea Ratcliffe did a wonderful job of putting together the studies, and we can get this at Amazon of course,, if you're up in Canada like me- or from Canada like me.  
And so I really appreciate you sharing that, Shawn. And then if anybody wants to get ahold of me, you can find me on Facebook of course at or on Twitter at 
Shawn Stevenson:  Perfect! My man Craig, thank you so much for being on the show today, man. I do truly, truly appreciate it. 
Craig Ballantyne:  I love talking to you. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Everybody, thank you so much for tuning into the show today and joining us. It's really great having a good friend like Craig on who is so knowledgeable and he's been in the game for so long, he's helped so many people to learn from the best people doing it.  
He's been online sharing health and fitness programs for a long time. And there's a lot to be gleaned from that, and he's continuing to press himself to get better, and to put out information like- this book is a great consolidation. Like I literally read just little tiny pieces from the book, and it's just layered with information like that.  
It's just like 'aha' moment after 'aha' moment. Like wow, I cannot believe that.  
And so it ruffles those feathers. I was just like, "I didn't know it was like that bad." And so I had to really kind of come to grips with some things, and also be aware that everything is still on the table for us. It's just putting things in a proper perspective for yourself. What are your goals? 
If your goal is to complete the Boston Marathon, and that's your thing that is like something that's on your bucket list, then there's a way to go about training for that that actually can be a little bit healthier for you by incorporating high intensity interval training, for example. Or just understanding that that's the goal to do that thing, and then maybe move onto something else. 
But if your goal is fitness, and just being the fittest version of yourself, I promise you that spending time day after day running on the treadmill or on that elliptical machine is not going to get you there.  
So we might want to even jump back, and step off the treadmill, and just have a look at it. Just stand there and look over, and understand that this might be your- this might be your dark side. This might be the Darth Vader in your story that you're looking at. 
A lot of treadmills are black, by the way. That conveyer belt, it's just looking back at you. It's like- 
Jade Harrell:  Keep going. 
Shawn Stevenson:  'I'm going to keep you from losing weight,' and it's like talking to you like that and you're like, 'No, no, no it's not going to happen.'  
It's just really just taking a bigger global perspective and understanding we can use those things, they're great tools that our amazing creativity as humans have helped to create. Alright? So we can use those things but we need to keep them in the right perspective, alright? 
So treadmills are still- even though we were making fun of it a little bit, they're still on the table. Ellipticals, stationary bikes, regular bikes for cycling, your skateboard.  
Whatever it might be, these are all tools and great things for us to take advantage of, but if health and fitness is the biggest goal, we want to focus on being acclimated and literate with our own body. 
Jade Harrell:  That's it. 
Shawn Stevenson:  Being able to do bodyweight exercises, being able to do strength training programs where we're building muscle so that we can turn up that metabolic engine, and also that high intensity interval training, alright? By far the best form of exercise for really getting your body to burn the greatest amount of fat in the least amount of time. 
So make sure to head over and check out Craig's amazing book that I have right here in my hand for those on YouTube that can see it, 'The Great Cardio Myth.'  
One of the best books in my repertoire, loaded with incredible studies, and also programs that you can utilize in your own life. And again, a huge shout-out to Craig for doing all the work he has, and being a pioneer.  
I appreciate you. Everybody thank you for tuning in. We've got so many amazing shows coming up, some great guests, so stay tuned. Have an amazing day and I'll talk with you soon. 
And make sure for more after the show, you head over to, that's where you can find the show notes, and if you've got any questions or comments, make sure to let me know. And please head over to iTunes and give us a five star rating, and let everybody know that our show is awesome.  
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And you're loving it. 
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And I read all the comments, so please leave me a comment there, and take care everybody. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.  

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  1. Pingback: Weekly Podcast Recap: Week 5 – Ellie Mondelli
  2. Great show everyone! I love the message of doing what supports the body, not what breaks it down. I mean, we need our earth suits to work at our optimal levels to live well! So glad this message is coming to the mainstream!

  3. Did I hear that correct? If you have more than 15% body fat he does not recommend you do burpees?


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