Listen to my latest podcast episode:

TMHS 769: The Surprising Truth About Menopause & Lifestyle Changes for Menopause Symptoms – with Dr. Lisa Mosconi

TMHS 645: Cracking the Cardio Code, Family Health, & Building Better Glutes – with Don Saladino

With the New Year upon us, a lot of people are gearing up to make monumental shifts in their nutrition and fitness habits. But statistics show that most folks don’t sustain their resolutions for longer than a few months. What can we do to improve our habits without setting goals that are destined to fail? My friend, Don Saladino, knows a thing or two about transforming physiques and getting in the right mindset to improve your health.

Don Saladino is a coach and fitness and entrepreneur who has worked with numerous celebrities and professional athletes to take their fitness to the next level. What I love about Don is that although he knows what it takes to train like a superhero, he is also a big believer in consistent and sustainable habits for everyday people. On today’s show, Don is sharing how to maximize your results and change your habits in a real, accessible manner.

In this interview, Don is sharing so many useful tips on topics like the right way to incorporate cardio into your routine, building a culture of health and fitness in your family, and the best exercises for building stronger glutes. We’re going to talk about the connection between exercise and aging, the basic tenets of a healthy diet framework, and a whole lot more. I hope this episode inspires you to create change in a realistic way and to set goals that you can approach no matter the date on the calendar. Enjoy!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How many steps you should aim to take per day.
  • Three different types of cardio, and when to utilize each.
  • How your stress levels should influence your training methods.
  • What one of the top causes of injuries during workouts is.
  • The importance of earning the right to do certain movements.
  • What a rest day looks like for Don.
  • How to take a minimalistic approach to training.
  • Why consistency trumps intensity.
  • The crucial lifestyle factors that impact your results.
  • How to empower your children to make healthy choices.
  • Why strength and resiliency are important goals as we age.
  • The foundational tenets of a healthy diet.
  • Why strength training is essential for women.
  • The best foundational movements for glute development.

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, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in for me today. Another new year is upon us, and you know what that means a lot of people are going to be looking to improve their health and fitness. Now the best idea is to get a jumpstart on that right now at least Mentally at least being able to start to strategize What are the right implements for me moving forward to take on and take advantage of this opportunity to get in the best shape of my life.


And to help to present us with the coming attractions and somebody again if we're talking about coming attractions, you know the movie trailers Nobody on this planet has put more star studded physiques on the big screen than our guest today Alright he's the man behind so many of the superhero physiques we see in these incredible blockbuster superhero films Working with folks like Ryan Reynolds aka Deadpool working with folks like Hugh Jackman Wolverine working with Sebastian Stan the winter soldier the list goes on and on and on And also working with leading actresses like Emily Blunt like Ryan Reynolds wife and also her high performance roles as well Blake Lively and the list goes on and on that direction as well so really having such a breadth of experience and insight. And really what levers to pull for each person that he's working with, and he's come to bring for us today What are some of the tenets that are true throughout and in particular we're going to be talking about the subject of cardio.


Alright cardio can definitely get a bad name today but also there's a lot of misconception about cardio. And cardio if we extend that out it stands for cardiovascular based exercise and we tend to forget that That's for the primary benefit is cardiovascular health but we in our culture today we get this very interesting perspective to where we think cardio is the road to fat loss alright and as we talked about in many previous episodes including with our special guest today the science clearly indicates that it's focusing on the building of muscle and the improvement of our overall metabolic health right so the more muscle that we're carrying muscle is expensive for our bodies to carry, muscle is like a bougie thing to have on our frame alright because it's going to require a lot more energy. It's going to be expending more caloric energy just having more muscle on our frame alright and also as far as our body composition itself, muscle is going to enable us to express our bodies in the higher potential of our physique by building more high-quality muscle.


Now within that context I didn't say cardio one time especially in the vanilla perspective that we tend to see it as It's kind of steady state jogging as they say in Sweden shout out to everybody in Sweden, they don't say jogging alright I just made that up. But as far as jogging and cycling and just this kind of moderate pace phenomenon that we think that's the road to burning fat, when in reality the big movers truly are going to be focusing on building muscle and he's really going to articulate today the way to structure our exercise plate so that we can truly burn fat and have the physical health and functionality that we all are striving for.


So, and again this is coming from somebody who's got the results not only has my man been on every fitness cover you can name But he's also replicated it in his client base again and again and again and again so he knows what he's talking about And this is the gift of moments like this in history we get to hear directly from the best people in the world for free. We get access to this information it is so powerful so powerful but at the same time there's other things that we can be devoting our time and energy to instead of getting educated about stuff like this, this is why I'm so grateful for you and the person that you are for choosing to learn about things like this, to invest in your empowerment and education and employing these things in your life where you see fit.


It is just such a special thing you know so I really do admire and appreciate you and again you're going to learn some incredible insights today We're going to be talking about a wide range of subjects in fitness and also how this is impacting the people in our lives You know if you've got kids if you've got grandkids if you've got you know younger brothers and sisters how is fitness how can we implement and start to shift family culture. So lots of cool stuff we're going to be covering but listen speaking about family I just added a couple of new family members to my primal kettlebell collection.


All right I'm a big fan of having a couple of fitness tools at home so that no matter what's going on in the world if you can't get out and sneak away to the gym or a class or whatever the case might be You've got a couple of fitness tools so it pulls away that excuse and also you can add load and do a variety we're talking about adding in a hundred different exercises just by having a kettlebell or two to add to your repertoire of movements. And so I already had the howler monkey from the premier source of kettlebells and again creating these primal bells with these cool very primal faces on them So it just even every time I see him I just want to pick him up and just do something right so the howler monkey he's 18 pounder I often utilize this if I'm working out with my younger son He's 11 now and I'll have him do his exercises with the howler monkey and we name all of our primal bells as well so the howler monkey is named Howler. Then I had two of the chimps right these primal bells are 36 pounds each and I call them Salt and Pepper all right that's just the name and my youngest son actually painted these, so they look very like these warriors right so that's salt and pepper.


And we just added I got the orangutan primal bell and his name is a Orangle-tangle all right 54 pounder and I listen once I did that I was like I got to go all the way I got to get the big boy so I got the gorilla 72 pound primal bell and already doing some new movements with this and I'm loving it and the big fella's name has been dubbed Gorilla Grodd all right shout out to the DC universe So now I've got this family of kettlebells we've been doing cool workouts and again just having these tools this accessibility making it fun making it family it's just such a cool opportunity and we get access to these tools right now delivered to our door from again the premier the company that started this they've had partnerships with Marvel with Star Wars like these companies don't just mess with anybody Onnit was the ones who came in and changed the game with their fitness equipment.


All right, you might have even seen Dwayne the Rock Johnson working out with their gorilla kettlebell you know the gorilla primal bell. You can add these tools to your family's fitness repertoire go to and you get 10% off all of their incredible fitness equipment. That's forward slash model, you get 10% off of their primal bells, their kettlebells, steel clubs and maces I love those tools as well. They've also got cool like sandbags and hydro bag like so many cutting-edge tools but very simple takes up very minimal space at your house and you can just grab these tools and you can do offset squats. You can do presses; Turkish get ups of course kettlebell swings that the list goes on and on and on. I just did some walking lunges down my street with salt and pepper. All right, again, this is about their almost 40 pounds so adding that to my lunch like so cool. And again, go to for 10% off. And now let's get to the Apple podcast review of the week.


ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled “new listener” by so 292929. “Just started listening salad overall health info. I've been into healthy living food and exercise for a long time. So, some of the things are not new to me. However, he is talking about aspects I need to work more on like interpersonal work sleep and a few other items. He has great conversational style that keeps it interesting.”


SHAWN STEVENSON: Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us and joining this community. I appreciate you so much. Thank you for taking the time to leave this review over on Apple podcast as well. If you have to do so, please pop over to Apple podcast and leave review for the model health show. And on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day. Our guest today is coach leading actors, athletes, musicians and everyday folks for over two decades. And he's been tapped as the premier fitness expert in publications such as Muslim Fitness, Men's health, Women's Health, People, Cosmo, and Shape Magazine, just to name a few. And he's also renowned for getting some of the biggest names in Hollywood ready for the big screen, including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Leo Shriver, Jake Gyllenhaal and half the way the list goes on and on. But most importantly, he's somebody who's sharing his wisdom with everyone. He's an open book and a great human being. Let's jump into this conversation with the amazing Don Saladino. All right. One of my favorite people in this space by far.


DON SALADINO: Thank you, man.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Don Saladino, my guy. Welcome back.


DON SALADINO: Love you, man. Thank you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: I love you, too, man. And listen, I don't think we see each other enough. I love hearing from you. I love your perspective. I love your authenticity. And, you know, one of the things that we haven't talked about on the show, again, you've created helped to sculpt some of the most impressive physiques on film, documented period end of story. We've talked about building muscle. We've talked about training strategies. We really haven't talked about this. What can be a dirty word? We haven't talked about cardio. We haven't talked about cardio. Yeah. Much if at all. And I want to talk about this subject with you. Somebody again, boots on the ground. What works? What doesn't? Let's talk about cardio in regard to fat loss and in regards to health, what are your general like, let's talk about foundational, what do you like for cardio?


DON SALADINO: Well, I love starting with foundational, right? I'm going to give you a quick story. I've got a gentleman I'm working with. His name's John. He started at five hundred and twenty-five pounds and, you know, I met him in May.


Water was down to about a glass of two glasses a day, probably 400 steps a day. So, for him, cardio is your walking. It's your call what you want. People are saying that using these terms, neat now or, you know, non-exercise activity thermogenesis, just activity moving around is neat was so low because his energy was so low. So, here's a guy getting two meals a day that now is of high quality, higher quality. We're starting to increase meal frequency and now he's able to get steps. So proud to say that six months later, whatever the math is, seven months later, he's up around six thousand a day. All right. He's able to walk, no more crutches. You know, he's got his water consumption up to 200 ounces a day. Now we have him doing things like the skier because most treadmills aren't going to hold them. I have to talk about this. This is like the low barrier of entry here, right? Now we got him on a hammer strength motorless treadmill walking and holding on. We've got these things that, you know, specific modalities can't host his situation. So, I think at the very least, we got to start with just movement.


We got to start with our steps. If you're someone that's not, as you said, getting that 8 to 12K a day in that range, which I think is fascinating. What did you say the math on that earlier? 10% testosterone increase. These are things, these are like, these are low apples that we got to just pull down and we got to start, you know, taking some ownership over. And then I like, you know, at that period of time, it's unless we're training for an Olympic sport or we're a professional athlete where there is a task at hand.


I think cardio is very misunderstood. I think people are just doing and they're not really assessing what they're putting into their program, et cetera. I think people do not really truly understand the difference between hit training, right? High intensity interval training opposed to medium state, intervals opposed to steady state. Like there's three ways I like to really break cardio down. And when I went into the high intensity, most classes out there, right? Like I'm not going to mention their names, but these hit classes, they're not hit classes. Like your track guy, like, you know what it's like to run a 400.


When you run a 400 to me, like, okay, that's not a 10 second burst. That's a hopefully 60 plus second, less than 60 second burst, right? And after you're done at a hundred percent, you are not going again in 20, 30 seconds. It's not. So, I refer to hit as maximal output to the point where like dogs are chasing you. Someone's trying to run after you with a knife type of thing. You're on the air bike racing the person next to you for 10 seconds, five seconds, 20, 30 seconds. But you need a lot of rest to get that recovery down so we can repeat that bout. That's how I generalize hit training. Medium state intervals, I think is more of like what we, most of the people out there like doing. That's your 30 on 30 off your one minute one on one minute off your tempo training. You know, heart rates getting up there, et cetera, et cetera. And then I break it down into steady state, which I think is the most common. And I think it's the most applicable to most people because we really don't know where someone's stress levels are.


Right. And you've talked, spoken about this more than anyone on podcast. It's what are we dealing with in our with our family, our jobs, our everyday life? What type of toxic environment are we in? How much training are we doing? What's your commute like every day? What's your diet like? All these things can contribute to stress in your body. So, for me to turn around and say high intensity interval training is the best modality. It's the best approach to burning fat. I find it would be irresponsible on my part because now I'm taking something and I'm generalizing it for everyone.


And I'm just telling them that this is what you should do where the reality is. No, maybe you need more of that steady state. Maybe you need your heart rate in that zone one or zone two that, whatever the range is, 110 to 150 range where you're able to have a conversation a little out of breath. But you're holding that for 30 plus minutes. Then we're working on helping the body to recover, which I think is magical. Right. What's the idea? You and I want to wake up every day feeling good.


We want to work on our physiques. We want to have good cardiovascular health, but we want to wake up feeling good. So, I feel like that is something that can be mixed in more and more. But I'm going to steal the line and I'll pass it over to you from my buddy Ben Bruno, who's an exceptional West Coast trainer. I don't know if you've ever met him, but he said resistance training is the entree and cardio is a side dish. And I love cardio. I play hockey three days a week. I do tempo runs one day a week. I do it because I love it. But when I'm prepping for the cover of muscle and fitness, I don't up my cardio to get leaner. I don't. I probably may keep the cardio around the same. I just make sure that I'm not burning myself out. I make sure my calories are right where they need to be from a macronutrient standpoint. I try and mix in a lot of micronutrients so my body's powerful, which is what I do differently than most people who get on magazine covers. But and then I allow my body to perform like an athlete.


And I think I ran with that a little bit. But that's kind of how I like to generalize it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: It's so, so perfect and the thing is, your generalizing was the opposite because it was still individual. Right. That's what it really boils down to. And this is what personal training really is about the person. And we are we are also a personal trainer for ourselves. And so, I love this so much because here's the cool thing, too. Even with that side dish, there are so many different things you can have for sides.


DON SALADINO: It's fun. It can be fun. Right. I mean, I'm not expecting everyone to love what you love or what I love. But, you know, right there in my gym, I mentioned John's doing the skier now because he can stand and he's walking. But we have the bike. We have the rower. We have the stair mill. We have kettlebells. You know, you have the track. You have the sled. You have all these different modalities. And I'm a believer that you got to love what you're doing. You should love what you're doing.


But you also have a responsibility to your own body where if you're training, you're like, you know what? I'm consistent, but elbows been hurting me. Knees have been hurting me, like we got to assess what you're doing, you might be loading dysfunction. There might be a specific way that you're moving or not moving in life. Right. Could be something as simple as your mattress. I don't you know, I don't know. I switched my mattress last week to a mattress I love, but I tried adjusting it to a very soft firmness. Not used to that. I pulled my back on an RDL. Never done that in my life. Two days after I did it. And I was like, wait a second. It's at a 15% right now. And I really need to be in an 80, 90. Like, I know better. Like, things happen. And like a NASCAR, you got to adjust the car. You got to fine tune, going for some PT and I'm back and I'm doing it. But, you know, the human body's complex. You just got to pay attention to it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: That's the gift to over time of being able to self-assess and ask questions because there's causality always. You know, a thing doesn't just happen. And so, yeah, our time in that recovery can be disrupted because of a mattress or because of overheating or because of a variety of things. Right. So, it's like but also taking away, the what tends to happen, we can become we can get trapped in that thing like this thing happened and going through it in our minds. I love this statement from Kelly Starrett. Share this with me.


DON SALADINO: Oh, I love Kelly. I was just with him over in Munich.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course, you were.


DON SALADINO: Great guy. The first time I met him. I love him.


SHAWN STEVENSON: But we, we tend to have this, you know, especially when something happens. Right. And we get frustrated. And if we're on the path to recovery and then we make a mistake. He shared with me this powerful this line, I think about almost every day, you know, health isn't a straight line, or your recovery isn't a straight line. There's always going to be twists and turns and obstacles and things to overcome. And the less time we spend beating ourselves up, the less time we spend going over the thing in our minds over and over again, replaying it. Or if I would have done this, if I would. This is what tends to happen when we make a mistake or, we especially if we injure ourselves.


And this is a great point because a friend of mine, he was having some tightness in the back of his leg, calf. It would happen predominantly when he sits down. And I told him he needs to go get an MRI.


And there were some other symptom clusters as well that he shared with me. Sure enough, herniated disc or bulging disc, L5-S1. And the number one treatment protocol that I advise. Well, of course, I wanted him to work with somebody who can get boots on the ground to do an assessment to kind of physical therapy exercise because it's not he still he hasn't doesn't have loss of function. He doesn't have, you know, pain. It's just like tightness. It was just a nuisance. And until then, until we got somebody boots on the ground, number one form of therapy physically. Number one thing is the worst thing we could do is to do nothing. Yeah. Right. And unless it's acute, like we literally are in chronic pain, we can't really move. And even that, it kind of tamper down with the inflammation, tamper down as soon as you could do something, do something. Number one treatment protocol. Get these steps in. Just walk. It's so it's so rejuvenative and healing for certain things. Bring in hydration to the disc. The list goes on and on. So, with that personal, like the side dish. One side dish that I think we all need to put onto our plate, at least occasionally, is walking because we're designed to do it.


All the other flavors of what we can put as a side dish. You mentioned a few and I want to talk more about this. Mention the ski erg, mention the stepper. Can you for people that might not know what a ski erg is? Let's talk about that.


DON SALADINO: Yeah, it's like a standing rower. Is it but it's it emulates cross-country skiing. So, you're going to grab these handles and you're basically going to pull vertically. You're going to pull high to low and you're going to motion what a cross-country skier does. And for someone like John, I thought it was, I actually think it's a pretty decent machine. I personally don't use it a lot. I have one. I just I do specific things. Right. I love I love running. I love I love sprinting. I love middle distance running. Nothing really long that beats the body up. I like that elasticity work. I like, you know, background contact. Right. And I know you're big into that also. But sometimes I need some steady state work and I'll get on the on the stair mill. Life Fitness makes a great stair mill and I'll put my music on. I'm not holding on and I'll maintain a certain heart rate for 30 minutes just to get that sweat. It's mindless. I still enjoy things like that. It's a nice reset. Right. Wake up on a Saturday morning or Sunday morning.


Got a little bit of a recovery day. You focus on 20 minutes of mobility, get 30 minutes on the stairs, not too taxing. You take a shower, you're off with the family. It's a nice way to start the day. Right. But, you know, you know, some people, they choose modalities that they really enjoy that I personally am not the hugest fan of. And it's my opinion. You know, it's not, you know, do I prefer people to sit when they're doing their cardio? Not really. I think we sit enough. Right. But if someone's turning to me and they're like, well, I love spinning and I haven't been able to get off the couch. And this class, this instructor, then I'm like, go for it. Then it's my job to help develop a resilient body that could withstand that bike five days a week. You're going to be in that kyphotic position, that flex spine position. You know, I want to make sure you're the best athlete possible to be able to withstand that. So, we know, sport isn't always necessarily the best thing for us. Right. You know, I played baseball in college.


I played club ice hockey, like certain movements, golf. Like I've worked a lot with professional golfers, these asymmetries, this torquing, you know, it's not necessarily the best thing for the body. So, this word resiliency is very big in my vocabulary because we enjoy these things. But I want people to be able to do them longer with higher levels of energy.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that, man. And where would we place these into our protocol? Right. So, if we if we got cardio, if somebody's working with you, the thing is, as I'm asking you this question, I know it's still going to be based on the individual and the mission at hand. But if we can have a general guidance as to where we put our cardio in our program.


DON SALADINO: Well, I like I like ending up. I like ending a session with it. I like doing our energy systems work towards the end because I never want anyone fatigued for their strength training session. Like one of the number one causes of injury during workouts is from fatigue. Fatigue causes movement to break down. Right. So, it wasn't that CrossFit got a really bad rap for years. CrossFit's cross training. Right. It's a form of cross training. When someone asks me, do you like CrossFit? It's like me asking you, well, do you like restaurants? Like, it's such a general question. It's like, well, yeah, I like good ones, healthy ones from to table. Can I order what I want to order there? Or are we going to a restaurant with low quality food? So, I think when we talk about things like CrossFit cross training, what bothers me about these is I don't want to say communities, but approaches to fitness is that we're taking very high, highly complex movements and we're doing them for high repetition or we're doing them for time. And they're being done by people who don't have those tools in their toolbox, meaning they're sitting at a desk a lot.


They may not have moved like this since college. They can't externally rotate their arm, or they have no thoracic extension. Yet they're trying to jerk a weight overhead for 20 times. And we start loading dysfunction and then that's when bad things happen. So, I just think as a coach and as in program design and trust me, I build programs for the masses. I have to think about movements like there's movements I've never put into my programs. Like I don't have any one Olympic snatch. Like I'm not how it's too technical like kettlebell programs. And I'm a big I've always loved the kettlebell. Maybe it's a general like kettlebell one on one, like teaching you the principles of the swing and the press and the squat, like basic movements that I want you just to learn and take time. They're very instructional, but mixing things, you got to be like, go, go, go, go, go.


It can get very difficult, and it can become irresponsible from the coach. Yet this is how people are quantifying success in a workout about how much they sweat or how tired they are. Not always the case in my opinion.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. And I love, years ago, man. You said this line that stuck with me as well, which is you need to be qualified to do certain exercises.


DON SALADINO: Yeah. Yeah. You got to earn the right to it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. It's so brilliant. So brilliant.


DON SALADINO: I love that, thank you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And it just makes sense. It's like with anything in life, anything in life. It shouldn't be any different with our training protocols.


DON SALADINO: I’m not going to jump into a NASCAR and then just say, hey, you know how to drive like let's race. Let's race. Go around. We're at Daytona. Like this car can do 200 miles an hour. OK, great. Like I'm going to have a problem. I know how to drive, but I don't know how to turn four handles. I don't know how that car handles. I know nothing about it. Like that's in a way what starts happening when people jump into these group classes. Like I haven't worked out. I'm going to go do a specific boot camp. And the next thing you know, they're sprinting on a treadmill at 10 miles an hour. It's like, no, after a period as a child, my 15-year-old, 14-year-old, different story. Like their bodies are rubber bands. They can handle that stuff. Right. But or most of the time. But as it as adults, when you when you start shutting it down and you're not moving that way, you've got to earn the right to do this stuff again. You got to put some time into earning that movement back.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. Another thing you mentioned earlier was on the threat of intensity. Right. So, when you talked about high intensity interval training, even qualifying ourselves for that. So, you're out doing sprints. I love sprints as well. It's something that I've become acclimated to do over time. And the reason I'm bringing this back up is there's a lot of metabolic benefit to be found in intensity. Right. In true intensity. But that sphere, if we're doing it on a track, for example, or doing sprints versus like you just said, hey, if we're not in a place where we've got all these other functional parts working, you can jump on a recumbent bike or stationary bike. Or an airdyne. And just see it's safe. And put in some intensity, get those metabolic benefits. So doing something that fits for you. Now, you mentioned post lifting, right. The entree, then having the side afterwards with the cardio. And you also mentioned earlier on your off day. Right. So, your off day, you're deloading, you're in recovery, but still getting some activity in and start the day. Why would you do that?


DON SALADINO: Well, and most of the time, on my off days, I like to shut down and I like to get steps in. That's basically my, I mean, an ideal off day for me would be taking the dogs for a walk, going out, doing something with my wife, my kids, playing, having fun, nothing structured, nothing organized. Sometimes if I'm prepping for something or if I have a client prepping for a movie and we got to get, you know, we got to get those minutes in because the window is short. I'm not too worried about burning them out in three, four weeks if we're prepping them for a movie. So yeah, we might on an off day, it's slow, steady state cardio. It's nothing intense. Helps speed the recovery process up, which it can. But I really think psychologically, we need at least that day off, depending on your intensity also. Right. If it's, if you're someone like John, the one I was talking about earlier, this guy in the beginning, it was really six days a week because the intensity was so low and we had a monitor how his joints were feeling, how his feet are feeling.


When you're working with someone of that size, people aren't taking into consideration the inflammation going on in the body. Well, my knees are getting sore. Well, how do they feel today? They're getting better. All right, we're good. Don, the last three days, my knees have been getting more and more sore. All right, John, we need to back off a little bit. Let's focus a little bit more on upper body. Let's get off the treadmill a little bit. Let's, we'll stay away from the stairs or the TRX squats, which he's able to do now. So yeah, it is an individualistic. I'll never use the word prescription as I'm not a doctor, but like assignment. Right. And, you know, some people can just train all the time and not take time off and feel fine. I know with my intensity; I need at least a day. And in full honesty, the more time I take off, the more rest I get my body, the better my body feels.


I'm not doing this all the time because it's, I got to look a certain way. I'm doing this because this is a drug for my mind. This is one of the one things in my life that just, it's that immediate reset.


If I have a problem in business or family or someone sick, I can get in there. I can do something for 30 minutes. I can move. I can change my physiology. I can come back, you know, minutes later. Think about that, to have the power to come back 30 minutes later, feeling like a different person waking up in the morning and feeling sluggish. And then you go do some work and you meditate and get a sweat in. You get a nice meal with your, you know, your family, maybe a little, if you're in a coffee, tea, whatever it is, you shower, you get out of that. You know that feeling. That's what you and I chase every day. It's not how big our biceps are. It's not how fast we're running the hundred. It's this feeling. And I feel like people who become really great at this, it's a feeling. All the billionaires I've worked with, they're not sitting there saying, I'm going to be worth $50 billion. No, they start at the finish. They have a plan in mind, and they focus on being exceptional every day. They surround themselves with a team. They do their homework.


They're very targeted about things. So, I can talk to a billionaire, and they take a specific approach to something they've been so successful with, but then their health and wellness, well, what are you doing tomorrow? I don't know. I'm just going to wake up and maybe do some chest and, you know, what's your deal with your meals? You know, I go to the deli, and I pick this up. I'm like, dude, you're not like, imagine approaching your business like this. You would never have been as successful. So, I really think we make it out to be much harder than it needs to be. Start with a minimalistic approach. If you can't do it, start with 10 minutes. Is it enough? It's enough. 10 minutes a day, five, six days a week from someone who's never done anything.


That's, you know what? Maybe they make a better food choice. Maybe their energy level becomes a little bit better. Maybe suddenly there's a little bit of this positivity and consistency rolling over. And I really think we have to start with that consistency trumps intensity approach.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. I'm on a mission to help to reframe our perception of exercise.


DON SALADINO: I love it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Because and you just said it, man, it's therapeutic. It's therapeutic. And this is clinically, we've got so many peer-reviewed, randomized, all longitudinal, you name it, affirming this point. And we just had in one of the leading psychiatrists in the world. You know, he's the head of director of the top facility in the world for psychiatric care. And what was he primarily really leaning into? Exercise as therapy. It's like, but it's not getting prescribed. You hesitated on saying prescription. I say that sh** for you, Duh, because truly, if we can start to prescribe it, like prescribe 5000 steps a day for a person that's, you know, this. And here's the thing, again, not only do we have a lot of peer reviewed data on this, we know it experientially, how it bleeds over in a positive way in other areas of our lives. And you just mentioned this dichotomy with the billionaires doing this particular thing so well versus this thing. And it's just really for me, what comes to mind immediately is how you do anything is how you do everything.


And bringing that same mindset, you know, holistically, because we become a one dimensional human being. But the thing that unites all of us and unites the life period is movement. Life is movement. What is death? Death is a cease of activity. Biological movement is done. Right. So, while you're alive, it is the thing your genes request and expect of you more than anything else.


DON SALADINO: 100%. I mean, you couldn't have said it better myself. You know, it's something that has to be practiced over time, I believe, though. I think sometimes even with nutrition, we dive into these things, and we just expect to do what Sean's doing. And these things have to be built up. It's even like nutritionally. How many times have you heard people, well, I'm not a breakfast person in the morning. Like, I'm full. You know, I can't. Well, you haven't eaten breakfast in five years. Like, just because Dr. Perlmutter is doing intermittent fasting, I'm just making that name up. Like, I just threw it out there. It doesn't mean that's something you need to be doing and your energy level is low or you're trying to put muscle on. And now, we've got to look at just because something's good or works for someone doesn't mean we generalize that and say, like, I will never bash a diet.


Well, maybe that's not true. But most diets, most of you, but seriously, like the ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting or the vegan diet or pescatarian, to each his own. You know, do what, do if something's working for you. I am not someone to turn around and say, don't do that because I believe in animal protein and highest quality proteins and carbs. And if you try it, experiment with it and then, you know, we'll talk later on. But I think there's this generalization out there with social media. This is how he's doing it or she's doing it. So, we all have to do it that way. Find a coach, talk to someone, figure out a game plan. But in the beginning, start something as simple as just getting those steps in. It's enjoyable to think about it. Like, how much better do you feel after you have a meal, and you go for a walk? Like you digest better, you sleep better. It's just, you know, this is something that a lot of us have gotten away from. Something that simple.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. One of the guys is in my mastermind. Every Monday I have a mastermind group with this group of great people. We're very diverse in our backgrounds and also what fields we work in. And I gifted my mastermind group, and it's five of us, with continuous glucose monitors from my guys at Levels.


DON SALADINO: Yeah, I used their glucose monitor. I actually loved it. That was great.


SHAWN STEVENSON: So, shout out to my guys at Levels.


DON SALADINO: Two weeks, right? I think I used it for, it was a two-week measurement, right? Which is bizarre because it goes into your tricep and you think it's, you don't feel it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, it disappears.


DON SALADINO: You don't feel it. No, they sent me one and I appreciate that.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. So, my guy has been utilizing it and he found the most remarkable thing is him walking after he eats. He's just like, it nullifies his glucose response for something that he might have had a big spike in. And it's just like giving this data back to people, right? To affirm stuff that we know already. And another thing though, mentioning this kind of therapeutic track with exercise and this kind of all uniting together. Part of the issue though, and you've contributed to this, is seeing fitness. Right. And we see that the way to that fitness is sweating it out in the gym, grinding, throwing the weights around, all the things. Now, this is what's unique about you as well is you do, yeah, you're about that life, but it's more than that.




SHAWN STEVENSON: Right? So, stretching from outside of the gym, what you do in the gym is part of it. And that's a stress. You're putting your body through a stressor.




SHAWN STEVENSON: But it's the things you do outside the gym that really help to make this transformation.


DON SALADINO: Yeah. And it starts with things like nutrition and rest and hydration. And I've written thousands of training programs, right? And some better than others. But it's not the training program is important, obviously. But it's all these other factors in those 23 hours a day that we're putting our bodies through, which I think are so important. I just don't want people like it's my mission to show them they don't have to do it all at once. We're about to start a new year. Resolutions are going to... They're going to be flowing. People are going to be it's their opportunity to start fresh and they're going to jump into it way too hard. They're going to set expectations that you didn't do it last year. You didn't do it the year before. Why do you think you're going to do it now? And I don't mean to be negative there. Take a different approach, if there's 12 things in your life you want to change, take the next year to do it. Take one thing a month. It could be something as simple as, you know what Shawn, we're going to start with hydration. Well, is that enough? It's enough for now.


Let's just start with hydration. I mean, the next four weeks, I want you to nail your hydration. I want you to get so comfortable. I want it to become so monotonous. I want you not even to think twice about it. You know, we get through January. All right, what's next? No, we're going to start spending some time trying to wake up a little bit earlier. Why do you want me waking up earlier? You don't want me going to bed late. Well, because you go to bed at two in the morning, three in the morning and you can't go to bed earlier because you're up at 11, 12 in the next day. So, if we get up early and retire yourself out, maybe we could start getting you to bed at 10 o'clock at night.


And then it's and then we spend the next month or two months working on that. Like, I just think that we're throwing too much at people that, you know, they can't attack that at once. It's like it's like looking at an employee and saying, all right, we've got 100 things to do right now.


And then they're half-assing it. They're not really executing anything to the fullest rather than being like, all right, this next week, this is your responsibility. We have a meeting Friday. I need this done. And it's just suddenly like, you know, they're able to focus and however many weeks it takes. I just gave it one week as an example. But, you know, now it's one thing that we're trying to be great at. And I feel like that sticks a little bit more. Now, there are type A's out there that I've worked with where it's like here. Thanks, D. I'm heading out to California. I'm like, all right, man, I'll talk to you in a week. And it's literally like that simple. Right. And but that's not the reality. And that's not how people are. And there's things in life I'm great at. There's things in life I'm not good at. When I'm not good at someone, I find someone who's exceptional at it. Could be an accountant. Could be a money manager. Just could be someone. Right. And I'm trying to learn from them or at least have them come in and help me out. And that's what putting together a team is.


You know, I did it in business. I did not do any of that stuff on my own. It's I had help. I am not self-made. I had to go to people for funding. I had to have lucky breaks. I had to surround myself with great salespeople and great marketing people and incredible coaches that were a lot older than me that I learned from for years to this day. I still learn from coaches. I still sit and speak with coaches. I still hire coaches. I still learn from nutritionists. Sit with doctors. Sit with you. It's like this is part of what I want to do. But that's my life's work in a way. Right. So, I just that's really what I want to change. I want people to relax about this and take that one thing for the new year and nail it in the first month.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. It reminds me of the story you're sharing with your client, John. Just, you know, meeting him where he's at, employing certain things and then being able to build upon that. It's just a logical approach. But also, when you mentioned John, I immediately thought about one of your other superstar clients, John Krasinski.


DON SALADINO: Oh, my God. The best.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And also, his wife, Emily Blunt.


DON SALADINO: Emily Blunt, yeah.


SHAWN STEVENSON: You worked with her as well.


DON SALADINO: Yeah. I worked with them all the time when I owned Drive. I've been out of my club for three years now and we still communicate via text. And he's a guy's a rock star. I know he just, I think, directed, and produced a movie that his buddy and my client, Ryan Reynolds, was in. And Ryan said he did an incredible job and it's going to be a great movie.




DON SALADINO: Those people I just named, incredibly successful, but even more important, just better people.


SHAWN STEVENSON: This also is circling back to the superhero universe because he popped in there and made an appearance as Mr. Fantastic in the latest Doctor Strange movie. And the fans have been wanting him. They've been wanting him. They've been wanting Emily as his wife, Mrs. Fantastic, aka Sue Storm, invisibility powers. It's what the fans want, I'm not saying that that's what's going to happen, but for them to drop that into that movie was pretty cool.


DON SALADINO: It was fun, right? Awesome.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. But you keep finding your way into this superhero world.


DON SALADINO: It's been an interesting run for me. I didn't expect it. Early on, I opened a golf fitness training facility. I started as a strength coach. I worked with golfers, and we were doing corporate entertaining. And then I met, like I said, Hugh Jackman, I think I told you the story. Then like these doors opened for me and then your business plan changes and suddenly a golf fitness club is becoming a place to house, you know, Hollywood's finest. And it wasn't about ego. It wasn't about the flash of it. I come from a catering background, so I love taking care of people. I love seeing people feeling protected and feeling happy and getting what they want out of the product they're coming to you for. So, in a way, I kind of felt like Papa Bear in there when they were coming in. It sounds corny, but are they going to leave here feeling better than they did when they showed up?


Are they going to feel protected? Actually, funny story I could tell this. Dwayne Johnson, the Rock, who I met on the Red Notice set with Ryan Reynolds, who by the way, was one of the nicest actors I met. He was like, started, was like, Don, like came over to me, started talking. We had like a 10-minute conversation. Monster tail. He's just incredible. But when he came into my club, you know, we have a policy at the time. There were no pictures, no autographs, so I don't think he was really used to it, right? And then he saw one of my trainers. He's like, let's take a picture. And my trainer's like, uh-uh. He's like, come on, let's take a picture. And my trainer reached out to me like, boss, I'm sorry. I'm like, no, it's cool. It's DJ. It's totally fine. But it was that I enjoyed. I enjoyed, you know, a lot of these people coming in and just feeling protected and them walking in with their kids as we were training. And then, we're watching their kids at the front desk, whatever it is, stuff like that. A really family environment.


That's that's one of the main things I will miss out of having that place. But it's been so many doors open since. It's been amazing.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, so many incredible stories like that.


DON SALADINO: Yeah, tons.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back.


More than ever, because of our environmental stressors, we need key nutrients that help our bodies to modulate and manage and process stress. A lot of those have to do with micronutrients. Key minerals are essential in running processes to help to even modulate, like shifting our nervous system from the sympathetic fight or flight dominance over to parasympathetic rest and digest recovery. We need certain key micronutrients to do that. Historically, in the last few decades, unfortunately, we turn to these sh*tty multivitamins that are coming from synthetic sources. That's what I was given.


My grandma gave me Flintstone vitamins. I am biting off the head of Fred and Barney and Dino. And what that really is, its sugar, synthetic micronutrients, artificial flavors, artificial colors, all of these things that are terrible for a growing, developing human brain and body.


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And so, again, synthetic versions of this. So, these are artificially concocted versus the whole food form and also whole food concentrates, so food-based supplementations. Now, all of my family, my kids in particular, I make sure that they're getting in a concentration of whole food-based micronutrients several times a week at minimum, most of the time every day. And for me, especially for my kids and in particular with my youngest, I love the formulation of red juice and these kind of red blended red and blue hued superfoods in the Organifi Red Juice.


Because he loves the way that it tastes, and it's just packed with real food nutrition. So, in particular, we've got Acai that's in there in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that Acai actually not just theoretically, it actually raises participants antioxidant levels, demonstrating how effectively it's absorbed by our gut, by the human digestive system. We actually do absorb the antioxidants. It's not theoretical. There's a resonance here. And Acai actually has an ORAC value of one hundred and three thousand. This means that it's about 10 times the antioxidants of most fruits that you're going to see in your produce aisle. So, it's again, getting our kids growing bodies, the antioxidants in a concentrated source. But it's kid tested, parent approved, tasty. Another ingredient that red juice blend is actually blueberry. And researchers at the University of Michigan published data finding that blueberry intake can potentially affect genes related to fat burning against stacking conditions for healthy metabolism. Head over to and get 20% off their red juice blend and also their green juice blend, the incredible gold, everything they carry. Actually, it's a really, really special thing that they have going on. Go to


That's You get 20% off. Again, kid tested, parent approved. Definitely for our kids. Red juice is a huge winner. Now back to the show.


You just mentioned something that I had written down that I wanted to talk to you about, which is our kids. Oh, yeah. And, you know, since 1980, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the United States. And, you know, the thing is we are so diverse, in the different outpicturings of what health could look like. And we swing to this other pendulum of acceptance and this other pendulum of shaming people. Right. And so, this is not about pointing out we all need to be this kind of superficial image of what health is supposed to be based on societal prescriptions. We're talking about just creating a healthy template for our kids. To be happy, healthy, to be functional, to decrease their risk of chronic diseases, infectious diseases, the onset of mental health issues. All of these things that I just mentioned, all of those things have skyrocketed specifically in children.


And so, with that being said, you being in this universe and having kids as well and your kids are getting older now, and same here. What are some of the things that because also I think having kids in general, but also in this world today, there's so many different inputs and impressions. What are some of the things that you're doing to kind of cultivate an environment of health, but also not being dogmatic and crazy?


DON SALADINO: Oh, yeah. I mean, listen, I'm not going to tell you I figured parenting out yet. Like, I've got a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old and you're throwing with challenges every day. Right. If I figured it out, well, they'd be making their bed every day and doing the dishes and taking out the garbage, which are part of their requirements. And you battle them on this stuff. Right. But as a parent, you got to keep coming back and you got to keep, parenting. I think for most parents out there, you got to start leading by example first. And I was in a situation where I could have created monsters, meaning, here's here.


I'm someone who enjoys this. I love eating clean and I love doing these things and I love to eat, live a certain lifestyle. So, imagine if I woke up every day and was like, Donny, Amelia, get to the gym, Donny, Amelia, got to have our eggs with grass fed butter and this and that.


I made a decision early on, 15 years ago, that I'm going to do me. And when we were having a family dinner, yeah, they're going to be eating hamburgers or grass-fed meat. They're not even going to know the difference. So, they'll be having air baked French fries and they love that stuff. And but I'm not going to sit there and I'm not going to shove things down their throat. I feel like that they need to be able to make decisions and they need to see how they feel. And it's been fun for me because my kids are into it. Like they're into it. Like we went, I was telling a story earlier that we went to a mall recently where they had a food court. There was Wendy's and McDonald's and pizza. And I was like, guys, go get whatever you want. My wife and I were on a line to get these healthy bowls at this farm to table spot. My kids just stayed on line. I was like, okay. They were drinking water. And I was like, OK, interesting. And I didn't tell them to do that. I didn't ask them to do that.


My daughter, she's a pescatarian. She eats salmon and vegetables and, healthy grains. And she's seen incredible improvements in how she feels and how she looks over the years. And it wasn't from me. I just I backed off and I let her I let her go through all that. My son the other day was very funny. He turned to me. He's like, Dad, I'm doing a new workout program. And I'm like, where do get program? He's like, this Brazilian guy on TikTok. He shows me the picture. The guy looked amazing. I'm sitting there and I'm like, my son won’t listen to me. He's going to listen to some guy who doesn't know. And you know what I did? Could you look at it? Tell me if it's good. And I looked at it. I was like, Donny, it's fine. Yeah, it's totally fine. Would I have tweaked a few things in there? Yeah, I'm not going to tell you. But like, is the juice worth the squeeze? Is it like why am I going to discourage my kid? There was nothing and there was nothing offensive in there. There was nothing that I was worried about.


He was going to get hurt. I wanted him to take some ownership over something. So, I let him run with it. And you know, he's doing fine with it. So, it can get tricky sometimes. I think most parents out there, they're trying to push their kids in a direction when it's not what they want to do. It doesn't make sense to me. Well, what should my children eat? Well, what do you eat? Well, you know, I got to start taking better care of myself. How much alcohol do you drink? Probably drink a little bit too much. Well, do your kids see you doing that? They're like, yeah. I was like, okay. Like, you know, it's tough for a child to go a different path than what your parents do. I'm not saying it's impossible. It's difficult. A lot of us do, right? But start with, I think the parents need to start with themselves. They need to clean their side of the street. They need to lead by example. They need to let the kids be kids. But I think when you're home, like, do we leave chips and ice cream and all this stuff in the house?


When we want it, we go get it. Do I still have that stuff? Absolutely. But I don't leave it in the house, because I don't want it'll all be gone. The kids will, so, we have our little boundaries, but all in all, I think it's so far so good. Knock on wood.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Man, I love it. We're so much in alignment with that. I think that I cracked a code that shouldn't have to be cracked, which is, number one, it's a culture, right? You're coming into it with a culture of wellness, of support, little things, eating together, you know, having higher quality food, higher quality versions of conventional American foods, like just creating a culture of health so that they have a foundation of health. And when they make a decision to eat, say, fill in the blank, they notice. They biologically feel the feelings of like, oh, well, this doesn't necessarily feel right, especially when I go too hard in that. I've never had to tell my kids, they're like, you shouldn't be doing that. Right. They've seen it experientially. I might point back to it when the thing happens, like and just have a conversation. But especially in the moment when it's happening, nobody wants to be told that they created their own doom or feeling bad or got sick or whatever the case might be. But just like finding graceful places to cognitively attach that poor feeling or illness to decisions that were happening in that small moment like my older son.


Maybe he has been, out kicking in this and that, not getting to sleep, but still getting up at 4 AM and training all the things. And then, you know, he might get sick and it's just like, you know, this thing, I could see it coming and so and again because they're kids, they might take a few times, but that foundation and the inner intelligence gets turned on where your kids, for example, they stayed in that line because they didn't really, it's not worth it. You know, it's just that's really the best place to be now.


You also said something that is another I want to talk to you about this. You said the juice being worth the squeeze.


DON SALADINO: The juice ain't worth the squeeze.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Juice for right now. All right. The juice has never been more readily available out there. And especially, again, younger demographics leaning on the juice. All right. We're talking about PEDs. We're talking about testosterone. We're talking about HE There's so much stuff today, by the way. There's so much stuff.


DON SALADINO: I can't even keep track.




DON SALADINO: I can't even. And I'm not. It's funny. Some people ask me about it. I'm not the guy to ask. There is a reason why I never became educated on the different types of performance enhancing substances. And, you know, you hear names, Anivar and all these other things. It's like, well, what do they do? I have no idea. I couldn't even tell you because I'm not a doctor. I'm not the person you should be speaking to. I'm not the person you should be coming to for advice. I'm a coach. I shouldn't even be handling physical therapy. Now, I worked a physical therapist for 20 plus years. I understand how the body runs really well. There's an injury. If there's pain, you're going to my team of PTs. But in reference to everything now, even with testosterone replacement therapy, et cetera. Do I believe there is a place in the future for these sort of things? Yes. I don't know when that is. I don't know if it's when you're 70 or 80 and the quality of life is declining and it's time to get a little boost. You know, it's all right, man. It's the fourth quarter. I want to ride out these last few years on a high note.


I just don't know what it's going to do to you if you get on this at 20 years old, 22 years old. The body's not developed. I'm still setting PRs at 45. I'm still doing things in the gym that I wasn't able to do at 22, 23. I'm still chasing it, man. I'm outlying. It's part of me. It's what I'm striving to do. But a young kid getting on that, you know, we don't know how our body's going to respond. We don't know if there's, you know, if cancer is going to get developed. We don't know. We don't know these things and it scares me. The one story was my friend who died back in 2010 and I saw him struggle for about five, probably closer to 10 years before he died. So, since 2000, I saw this guy struggling with abuse to testosterone and his body wasn't producing it anymore. And you know, like, what are you going to do? Like, you're just going to always throw a Band-Aid over something. And there's so many things in lifestyle, in our lifestyle that we can clean up that so many people don't want to clean up.


And I hear it. I have conversations all the time. I have clients call me. Well, my body's not producing X, so they're giving me Y. And I'm like, okay, just that simply? Like, are they taking you off it at a certain point? Are you going to be on it forever? Like, how is this? No, it's just a short boost for a couple of months and we're going to get me off of it. And I'm like, okay, your doctor's the pro here. I don't know. I don't know. But what I do know is that most people are using it as a Band-Aid. Most people are using it as a quick fix. It is literally that magic pill that you can take, or they think they can take and continue to live that poor lifestyle. It's the things that you and I have learned to do. And we're not experts at it. We're pretty good at it. And we're always trying to find ways to get better, right? That most people don't want to do. You know, it's changing your lifestyle or avoiding blue light in the evening or limiting. How about just getting out of a toxic environment?


I can't tell you how many people in my challenge community have been talking to me about bosses that are abusive or EMTs that are working overnight shifts for the last 10 years. Like you've been there for 10 years.


SHAWN STEVENSON: What do you think is going to happen?


DON SALADINO: Yeah, like what do you think is going to happen? You're putting on body fat. You're feeling terrible. Go to your boss. They're not going to want to lose you. Put your foot down. Stand up for yourself.


And at the cost of their quality of their life diminishing and in a way, it sounds extreme, but like you got to admit they're slowly dying. When these things start happening, it sounds dramatic. They're slowly dying. It's like, all right, body fat is increasing. Hormone production is decreasing. The aging process. You're getting sick more frequently. Like these are bad signs here. Something is wrong. Something has to be changed. But as a coach, I can't do all that work for people. You're not a miracle worker, right? You can't just snap your fingers and get these people to change. You got to put in a little bit of work. You got to start. You got to put your foot down.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. You just said several things that we know we've got biological markers now. We could tell with like telomeres, for example, all these things are shortening is basically pulling that finish line so much closer to when you're going to clock out. Right? So, when you said we're slowly, we're all technically slowly dying, but you're accelerating the rate at which you're going to get to that finish line by bringing it closer to you. By, you know, and here's the thing too, a lot of times when we find ourselves in these situations, like you just mentioned, working overnight as an EMT, we have these stories. Our identity is tied to the thing and it's like, I have to do this. You don't understand. And the reality is we need people to do certain jobs, right? We need that that person working, you know what I'm saying, that can come for a traffic accident at midnight, whatever the case might be. We also can have more helpful ways of structuring things in society where people can have a certain season that they're working that. Then they have three seasons where they can have a normal, right? There's so many different ways.


DON SALADINO: There's things we can do.


SHAWN STEVENSON: So, we have a system that's constructed in a way that's not advantageous to people who are often entrusted with helping us, right? Our healthcare profession. Oh my gosh. The field of nursing is one of the most hard hit as far as chronic diseases. Higher rates of breast cancer, higher rates of obesity, diabetes, depression, the list goes on and on and on. We're not taking care of our healthcare professionals because we have a system that cultivates that from the beginning, even when school starts. When I was working at the university gym, a nice percentage of my clients were in the nursing program, pre-med program. They were already f***ed up. You know, by the time they got to me, you know, doing their, you know, different residencies or doing their clinicals while being a full-time student. And while like stacked on top of all this stuff is like it's like a rite of passage to f*** yourself up, right? So, you're already sleep deprived. You're jumping from place to place. You're in a toxic environment. Literally, you're surrounded by sickness and burning the candle both ends the whole thing. And then they come to me to basically beat the s*** out of them in the gym, right? That's what their perception is.


DON SALADINO: It's the double negative.


SHAWN STEVENSON: To whip them into shape, right?


DON SALADINO: You're right. Exactly.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And then again, like I'm finding ways to work in to create more of an environment of health to try to stack conditions in their favor because they're choosing to go into a field that is part of the rite of passage is to beat yourself to a pulp. And if you can make it out the other side, right? Right. Then you get into the field. Now life takes over. And so, you've already got these habits.


DON SALADINO: But that's my point. It's, are we going to now assign training to someone going through that? Because we're reading that it's the best way to burn fat. What's the date on that? What percentage of an increase in fat burning are you getting? I'll never forget. There was a study that came out 20 years ago. The decline dumbbell bench press is going to recruit more muscle fibers than any other horizontal press. And I'm watching everyone do declines. And when you dove into the study, I think it was a PubMed study. It said like, yeah, by like 0.0001%. It was like a joke, right? So, people hear like, oh, this is the best way to do it and they want to run with it. Where the reality is, is that what is best for you? You reminded me of, you remember Jack Lalanne, right?


SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course. Yeah.




SHAWN STEVENSON: I got that juicer back in the day.


DON SALADINO: This guy was unbelievable. So, I think it was Gold's gym's like 100th anniversary or Jack Lalanne’s 90th birthday was something. I'm working out at Gold's gym on 54th Street. He comes walking in the gym and they have a camera crew there and they were celebrating some anniversary. And Jack sees me with, I'm 20, whatever, 23 years old. He points at me, and he comes over and they introduced me to Jack Lalanne. I'm like, oh, so nice to meet you. He's going to work out on camera. He'd like you to join him. And like, he's going to run you through a workout. So, I was like, all right, so much for my workout today. I'm going with Jack Lalanne. I saw this guy in his '90s and how he carried himself and how good he looked and his health.


And it really made an incredible life changing impression on me. I was like, this guy looks better than most men in their 40s. This guy moves better than most men in their 40s. And then he ended up passing away years later and I got invited to a documentary that his wife, Elaine Lalanne, was hosting down.


SHAWN STEVENSON: What a risk she took. She must have loved his ass.


DON SALADINO: They were hosting down in Tribeca and they were told all the stories of Jack and how he pulled a barge, had it wrapped around. He swam a barge, whatever.


SHAWN STEVENSON: To Alcatraz or something.


DON SALADINO: Yeah, or something crazy, right? He's doing all this stuff. And I'm watching this documentary on it. I'm like in the crowd by myself. I'm like choked up. And Elaine Lalanne gets on stage at 90 plus years old, bangs out 20, perfect pushups. Dude, I'm standing up like it could have been my parent. I was literally like sobbing, like applauding. It made such an impression on me. And I think the main takeaway is we're all getting older, but don't give up. You know what I'm saying? Don't start making an excuse. Some people might think I'm a little crazy for the things I do or how I like to approach this stuff. I love it. This is part of who I am and I'm not expecting anyone else to go that route. But don't give up. We're all getting older. There's no reason why we can't do things to improve our overall wellness.


But it's going to take a little bit of thinking, right? What's changed in my fitness is that at 23, I was able just to throw in things. Oh, you're going for a 12-mile run. I'm going to join you. You know, after leg day and you just go do this stuff and you wake up the next day, your legs are killing you and the following day you're recovered. Now it's like, okay, the back might be aching, the hips might be aching, three hockey games a week, that stress on top of running, on top of lifting, on top of sitting on a desk, like these things add up and our bodies don't recover the same way. So that's where I've seen that I have to be more strategic. But otherwise, man, I'm putting my foot on the gas. I'm still going to go for it. I want to be that 90-year-old. And why? It's not about ego. It's not about flexing my arms. I want to live a quality of life. I want to feel good. I want set example for others. I want to help others. I want to ride life out and I want to it's time to go, man.


I want to be doing pull-ups. It's like, all right, he moved well, and he did a good job. He treated people great. And that's kind of how I want to be remembered.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, man, that's an incredible story, man. That's new to me. You touched history multiple times. That's so remarkable. So, to paraphrase a point here, we need, obviously, yes, we need systems changed. Awesome. But also most importantly is your agency, your self-sovereignty, your ability to make choices yourself, changing the story that you're carrying about what you can do, what's possible for you. And most importantly, circling back to what you said earlier, which is, you know, taking a step at a time, you know, focus on one thing. And, you know, people getting into your universe, obviously, is so helpful and the content that you share and making it easier for people, more accessible. Time is back with all of the incredible people that you've helped over the years, the celebrities, the fitness, the on-screen accomplishments. Food. Food matters so much. Earlier, he's like, you know, we're not going to be dogmatic about the diet choice for different people, except, you're like, well, hey, what about the baby food diet?


Do you remember they did the little Gerber baby? You don't even know that this existed. It did.


DON SALADINO: I remember the Pedialyte on the hangover thing. That's what I remember.


SHAWN STEVENSON: There is a baby food diet, Don. People are, you know, they're getting a little with the baby, the Gerber baby on there. Anyways, there are foundational tenets when it comes to nutrition. And let's get honest about the nutrition protocols that you're supporting with the clients that you're working with. Again, for the most radiant levels of health, performance, physique, what are the tenets for nutrition?


DON SALADINO: The majority of them, the majority of them, because I have, you know, people who come in, like I said, my daughter's pescatarian or they're vegans or vegetarians. And I understand how people have their specific route. I agree with Dr. Gabriel Lyon, where we're very this protein forward, this, you know, where is the quality of food coming from? What are our plates look like? I'm a big believer that like our plate, it's your protein, it's your carbohydrate and it's your vegetable. And we'll have our healthy fats mixed in there. I mean, it's that simple for me. Now, when we're trying to prep someone for the stage or a cover of something, we have to start manipulating foods. And I'm completely aware that I believe in metabolic flexibility. I believe in the ability to use fats and carbohydrates as our energy source. I think protein is probably one of our most important macronutrients. Right. I think protein is a building block to muscle. Muscle leads to body armor. Body armor is what's going to protect us as we age. You know, when my grandmother fell, she shattered her elbow. She had more body armor. Maybe she can withstand that.


You know, athletes, there is a reason why they put muscle on as adults, as we age. We want to have that body armor. We want to have that level of resiliency. And on top of it, with more body armor, our bodies are going to become more of a fat burning furnace. I think for those people out there are trying to get their metabolisms in check and they're trying to burn fat or change body composition. Don't neglect strength training because you're not going to build muscle through cardio training. Right. It's that's just that's just a fact. So, my nutrition guidelines are very simple. It's hydration. It's good food quality. I just started. You mentioned Food Matters. So, a woman by the name of Trish Williams was a chef and she started a company called Food Matters 12 years ago. And she was feeding everyone in my club. It was a non-scalable business model. It was metal tins and the highest quality food. And she figured out how to scale and I became partners in the company over the last year. And we've created an incredible meal plan. Most of my celebrities are on it. We've created these mud bowls, which are it's a funny name, but I think it's the ultimate pre-workout.


It's overnight oats with protein in it. And we add micronutrients to it to make it more powerful. There's things we're going to be doing with mushroom extract, etcetera from Vibe Mushrooms. Dr. Dwayne Jackson, phenomenal product. And this has been my pre-workout for the last several months. So, experimenting with it, 30 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs. These are foods that we're trying to bring to people right now to add convenience. And I'm not telling you to eat it all the time. I'm actually launching the plan as a supplement. They're like, what do you mean? You don't have to do it all the time. I'm like, five days a week, two meals a day. Start with 10 meals, supplement it in when life gets the best of you. Because what I find out is that when you do a meal delivery service and you're getting four meals a day, well, you go to dinner and then you go to breakfast or the weekend comes around and then we end up wasting three, four, five meals a week. And that's tough to swallow, right? You don't want to be wasting money. So, I like using this stuff as a supplement.


I like promoting to people, live your life, continue to go have dinner, do the things that you love, and be social. Just make good decisions. But when we're in an environment where things are getting a little bit tougher, you're running out of time, go into the fridge and pull a daily dose meal out and just feel better and love how it tastes. And it's that simple.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. And I've seen this with people very close to me, it's just like the time it takes and having the meals accessible and all the things. Yes, especially today, we've got a lot on our plate, literally, you know, and making this easier for people. And like you said, these celebrity clients are utilizing these meals and you're making it accessible for everybody. And you didn't know that I was going to talk about this.


DON SALADINO: I'm actually psyched.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Your team gave me a heads up. And so, I went and looked into everything. Man, this is awesome, and I love the fact that it's focusing on the most mighty macronutrient and the quality there. Just again, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, you were the icing on the cake for her and I to get connected. And she's been so grateful, man.


DON SALADINO: She's the best.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And again, at the end of the day, it's about the results. When people are following the protocol, they're getting results. Metabolism and metabolic health improvement, physique, all the things, where can people get access to these meals delivered to their door?


DON SALADINO: Well, we have a code for everyone, don't we?


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yep. Your team sent it over.


DON SALADINO: I love it. Fantastic. So, I'm excited to give everyone that. But Daily Dose Lifestyles is the website. You guys can DM me any questions if you have any. Like I said, a supplement. Like we're trying to make things convenient. And also, there's foods that I don't like to cook or maybe you don't like to cook. My wife goes crazy when I cook fish in the house. So, they deliver to me wild salmon, very high-quality salmon, and they're always mixing in different types of vegetables that I might not prepare. The starches for me are pretty basic, but it's nice to have that variety, that level of convenience at my fingertips. It's really allowed me to relax a lot more. Sometimes I'm rushing, I grab a meal, I take it with me. It's that simple. So, I'm excited for everyone to try it. I hope they love it half as much as I do.


SHAWN STEVENSON: So again, everybody go to That's That's Health expert designed, organic meal plans delivered right to your door, ready to eat, all the things, and 20% off.


Use the code SHAWN20. S-H-A-W-N. Easy. 20, number 20. All right? And you get 20% off and it's such a gift. Thank you so much for sharing that, man.


DON SALADINO: Oh my God. Thank you for talking about it. This is amazing.


SHAWN STEVENSON: It's so good. And again, it's just making it accessible and taking some of the valid excuses that we tend to have, you know, because this will be super helpful again. I'm just going to, my wife is complained about this, you know, just the accessibility issues. Like I'm trying to hit my protein needs, but I don't tend to have it on hand for me to go to, you know? So, we're going to get some of these meals.


DON SALADINO: You guys, tell me what you think. I want feedback and we'll send you as much as you want. And you know, it's funny about food delivery, right? Most people, there's a cost. I can cook it at home. And I'm like, yeah, but you don't.


We can all cook it at home, right? Am I going to sit there and I'm going to spend a couple hours every week, preparing salmon or bison or whatever it is. I eat vegetables and yes, I've done that for decades.


My time is valuable. My time is, it's time prepping or time working my job or spending time with my kids or doing things that are productive. So, it's a decision I made. I fell in love with this company. Trisha has been a friend for 12 years. I really feel like it's a business, but I really feel like we have a mission and I feel like it's special. So, you know, hopefully it does well.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. I love that, man. Again, be honest with yourself. Who are you? You know, I think that's from Black Panther, but who are you? Think about that and, you know, utilize some of the things we have access to today. And I want to ask you one more thing, one more area of fitness. Because from gym to gym that I'm going to today, there's been a change that's happened. We're seeing more women taking action on strength training, which is amazing. All right. And the squat racks are now filled up. Right. So, like, there's been a transformation that's taken place. I don't know if you've noticed this. Right. So, now I go into the gym and once where the squat racks were pretty much available, people might do curls and squat rack.


Now folks are utilizing these things. And a lot of women in particular are focused on building them, building them cheeks, Don. All right. Let's talk about the cheeks.


DON SALADINO: I love it. I love it. Not because it's building the cheeks.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Sure. I love it. Sure, Don. I love it because.




SHAWN STEVENSON: Not because of the cheeks, but because of the cheeks.


DON SALADINO: Right, because of the cheeks. But we are, we're moving in the right direction there. I think for years it was, I don't want to get bigger. That was the first thing I would hear out of most women's mouths. And, you know, the women I've worked with, you know, the ones that have been really successful, they've, you know, the Blake Lively’s and the Emily Blunts like we talked about or, you know, Annie Hathaway. I just got ready for We Crashed, you know, the movie about WeWork. And these women understand what it's, they understand what it's like to be strong. They understand the importance of resiliency. Their moms, you know, they're working crazy jobs. Their time zone changes. They understand that that strength training is going to help burn body fat. Most people who just spin their wheels on cardio, I mean, you got to ask yourself a question.


You got to ask yourself a question in life is what I'm doing working. If you're coming to me and you're like, I'm on a vegetarian diet. My health markers have improved. I have never felt better. I've been able to put on muscle. I am happier. I love what I'm eating. I'm great. I keep knocking, keep doing what you're what you're doing. But if what you're doing is not working, you got to take a different approach. And if you're just doing cardio all the time, yeah, we're training for heart health. I get it. Like, I love that. Of course. So more important, right? But we need that resistance thrown in there and resistance can be wrapped in kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, bands, create tension. Like, that's what we're trying to do. I'm trying to create tension. I'm trying to create strength. Yeah. Women now doing this makes me happy. And, you know, I'm seeing I'm seeing a more drastic improvement, at least over the people that I've been around over the last couple of decades. I've seen them understand the importance of putting their foot on the gas here. Training smart but putting more focus into resistance training.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah. I love the message. Let's pivot back to the yams. All right. Yeah. Back to the cheeks. So, what are the three foundational exercises for the glutes?


DON SALADINO: Wow. Okay, so I think a Romanian deadlift or an RDL. I think those are fantastic. Very hip dominant movement. I think pending on the way that you squat, everyone says squats are great for glute development. Are you more of a knee dominant squatter? Are you more of a hip dominant squatter? So, all squats are, you know, can be good. But, you know, a front squat might be focusing more interior chain and quad back squat, box squat, something with a wide stance. More hip dominant is going to focus a lot on those glutes. And then we can go into things lunges, split squats. I would say less of a Bulgarian split squat with like the rear foot elevated because we're more knee dominant there. Still working glutes, but not my number one pick for it. Glute drive, you know, you see most people putting the bar across their hips and they're going into that, you know, where you go.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Hip thrust. Yeah, hip thrust.


DON SALADINO: Yeah, hip thrust. I have a great machine at the house now. I never thought I would have that, but I have one and they're fantastic. I actually love it technically from a low back resiliency standpoint because, you know, I've been sitting for the last hour right now.


Our glutes become inhibited. So, you're sleepy. Yeah. So sometimes even throwing that in early on to kind of wake things up and, you know, get that reciprocal inhibition where we're getting that front hip to release a little bit. Then getting into the squat position, we are allowed to move a lot freer. So, I know that was more than three. But kettlebell swings, hip dominance, good mornings, an old school movement, you know, maybe with a safety bar now. I like that a little bit better than the barbell because of the amount of mobility required out of our shoulders and our T-spine. So, I think a good morning's an oldie, but a goodie.


SHAWN STEVENSON: What about the mind muscle activation with those movements, like really focusing on the glutes? Yeah, some more like isolated work. No, just even through the exercise you just shared, thinking about those yams as you're doing exercise.


DON SALADINO: Arnold used to talk about this, right? He used to talk about visualization and he used to, and I think it's important when we're training, you know, ask yourself this question, not you in particular, but most people should ask themselves this question, are you looking at the sets and reps and are you rushing to get to that, what's his 12 reps, you know, three sets of 12? Are you just running through 12 reps or are you trying to create it one rep at a time? Are you really focused on position and positioning and tension and trying to really activate that area to its fullest?


And I think people who pay attention to that quality, I would way rather someone pay attention to that quality and lighten up a little bit and going as hard as they can. And the joints are taking over, positioning is out of place. Head fatigue can lead to injury once technique starts floundering a little bit, I think things can go wrong. But those are, I probably named five or six movements that I think are tremendous for glute development. And yeah, all the band work and all the specific stuff, I mean, that stuff's great. I mean, I'm fine with it, but I'm more of a big bang for your buck person. I like those compound movements. I like those exercises that are requiring grip strength and core work and the heart rate to just, man, talk about cardio. Like when you think about squatting, it's like is your heart rate really any higher during a workout when you're squatting and deadlifting. I mean, it goes through the roof. So, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck with those exercises. Granted, you earn the right to do them. You know, like it's back squats, like I back squat, 99% of the people I work with, I do not have back squat.


I can move a certain way. I'm comfortable in the position. I might get them front squatting or searcher squatting or Frankenstein squatting or, you know, probably the most common goblet squatting. It's probably the one I'll have people do most commonly and I'll get them squatting throughout their entire life. If I'm working with someone at 90, my goal is to get them squatting at least body weight. They're sitting on the toilet every day. I never understood why doctors would say, well, they should never squat. Well, how are they sitting on the toilet? How are they getting it out of a car? How are they sitting down at the dinner table? We need to figure out a way to get them in this position in a healthy fashion. We need to build resiliency so they can live a good quality of life.


SHAWN STEVENSON: I love it, man. We've covered a lot of ground today. We've covered cardio. We've covered kids’ nutrition. We've covered our nutrition. We covered yams, we've covered a lot of ground.


DON SALADINO: Yams. Candy yams.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Candy yams. That's my guy. Listen, man, where can people connect with you just to get into your universe? Thank you.


DON SALADINO: Don Saladino on Instagram or If you guys shoot me a message, more than happy to, I'm going to always answer them. And I just want to say, man, it's such a privilege being on here, man. It's been great. This is my second time you brought me on and it's an honor. It's just been great to connect with you and call you a friend, man.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Hey, feelings mutual.


DON SALADINO: Thank you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Definitely. as well. Use the code SHAWN20 for 20% off. Get the good meals sent to your house. And man, I just appreciate you so much, man.


DON SALADINO: Thank you, man. Appreciate it, brother.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Don Saladino, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. This is a great opportunity to start taking steps towards creating the health and fitness that we truly want. We don't have to wait to a certain day, to a certain mark, or the years changing, the calendar changing. We tend to be, you know, I'll start on Monday. Do something today. There's something to be said for speed of implementation. And take an action. We find something out, just do something.


Right? Just employ one strategy, one tip, and start working on that one thing. As Don shared earlier, we tend to overcomplicate things and start adding too many things to our plate or we have to, you know, do all of these things at one time. Just take on one thing, one thing that jumped out to you that spoke to your spirit and put that thing in action for yourself. And, you know, we can build upon that as we move along. And of course, we're going to build on this conversation. We've got some epic; I'm talking about epic guests coming up for you and powerful masterclasses that are going to change your life. So, make sure to stay tuned. And again, thank you so much for being a part of this powerful movement.


Take care. Have an amazing day. And I'll talk with you soon. And for more after the show, make sure to head over to That's where you can find all of the show notes. You can find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you've got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.


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