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TMHS 488: 8 Fitness Tips & Mindset Shifts To Create A Stronger, Healthier Body
Did you know that only 23% of Americans get enough exercise? One of the biggest misconceptions about incorporating an exercise routine is that it has to be complicated. The opposite is actually true: some of the most essential and effective movement practices are the most basic.
This is true no matter what your goals are. Functional exercises like walking are beneficial for folks of all ages, skills, and fitness levels. Incorporating functional training can help enhance your performance in other exercises, improve the structure and strength of your body, and add to your healthspan.
On this compilation episode of The Model Health Show, you’re going to hear from some of the world’s top experts in the fitness industry. This episode contains eight powerful insights about creating a sustainable and effective exercise routine. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, you can always build habits that support your functionality and overall health. Enjoy!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The different variations and attributes of strength.
- Why the basics of fitness have stood the test of time.
- The importance of being strong in multiple ways.
- How gaining muscle mass improves the metabolism.
- The mechanics of deadlifting.
- How to know how much weight you should be lifting.
- What it means to adopt unconventional training methods.
- Ways to avoid muscle imbalances.
- How mobility ties into fitness and functionality.
- Why fundamental movement is important for all ages, bodies, and fitness levels.
- The power of incorporating mindfulness into your movement practice.
- What a nutrient dense movement is.
- How and why to add a movement practice into your transportation time.
- What it means to earn the right to do certain exercises.
- How to get a better understanding of your form.
- The benefits of hanging exercises.
- How your muscles secrete hormones that affect your organ systems.
- What hope molecules are.
- The number one exercise for therapeutic benefits.
- What mechanotransduction is.
- The best exercise for back pain.
- Why it’s critical to find an exercise routine that you love.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Onnit.com/model — Get your optimal health supplements at 10% off!
- Foursigmatic.com/model — Get an exclusive discount on your daily health elixirs!
- How to Improve Your Strength & Performance with Mark Bell – Episode 363
- Super Nutrition & Total Human Optimization with Aubrey Marcus – Episode 69
- Boost Performance & Upgrade Your Movement with Dr. Kelly Starrett – Episode 281
- How Clothing & Culture Controls Our Movement with Katy Bowman – Episode 478
- Exercise Secrets & Building Superhero Bodies with Don Saladino – Episode 280
- The Stress-Movement Connection with Aaron Alexander – Episode 438
- Exercise, Joy, & Human Connection with Dr. Kelly McGonigal – Episode 393
- Movement Skills & The Importance of Community with Dr. Kelly Starrett – Episode 310
- Burn More Fat & Become Metabolically Flexible with Mark Sisson – Episode 257
- Becoming a Supple Leopard with Dr. Kelly Starrett
- Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman
- Dynamic Aging by Katy Bowman
- Whole Body Barefoot by Katy Bowman
- Don’t Just Sit There by Katy Bowman
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 with me today. Summer is upon us. You know what that means, it means a lot of folks are making a shift to focusing on fitness, especially during this time when a lot of folks have been dealing with the Quarantine 15, with the COVID-19 pound gain. Fitness is on a lot of people's minds. It's been a lot of a different kind of fitness like, fitness whole sandwich in my mouth, and so now to upgrade things and really make a shift, of course, our nutrition matters a tremendous amount, but what about our movement practices? What about exercise? What are the inputs that we can give our bodies to help to make some shifts and to create new dynamics, new functionality, new mobility, new levels of fitness, right? We want to be the best version of ourselves. So, I want to put together a compilation of some of the top experts in the world in the domain of fitness to get some key insights, some nuggets of wisdom, and some things that we can do right now proactively to bring about that level of fitness.
The first person you're going to hear from, and you're going to hear from a wide diverse group of fitness experts in many different domains of fitness, the very first person you're going to hear from is ranked as one of the top 10 all-time power lifters with a total of 2628 pounds, lifted combined, squat, bench, deadlift. He has squatted over 1000 pounds. Bench-pressed almost 900 pounds and deadlifted almost 800 pounds. His name is Mark Bell, and he trains at his elite gym in Sacramento, California, Super Training Gym. And by the way, it's open to the public on weekends for free. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by and see Mark. He is a ton of fun. He is a character to say the least, but here in this clip, he's getting serious, he's rarely serious, but he's serious about training and empowering folks, and he's going to talk to you about keeping the basics in mind.
Because not only is he this elite performer himself, but he's had the impact and ability to train some of the most high-performing athletes in the world today, as well. And just being able to hear from him giving his insights is incredibly valuable, so he's going to talk about keeping the basics in mind and some insights on muscle, powerlifting, and more. So, let's jump into this clip from the amazing Mark Bell.
MARK BELL: There's so many different attributes of strength, I mean, you'll even hear somebody say, hey, stay strong. When somebody's fighting an illness or somebody who has something to happen in their life, they go through a divorce, some will say stay strong. There's so many different variations of strength and will power. And even just in terms of gymnastics, like, is a smaller gymnastics guy or girl, who's holding themselves up on those rings, are they not as strong as I am? I can't hold myself up like that, so they're demonstrating just a different level of strength. And then someone like Usain Bolt. You might not think like that, he's powerful, but that's one of the most powerful people ever walked the face of the earth. Nobody has ever demonstrated to be able to produce more force than somebody like that.
He's on the ground less time than anybody in history, because he's able to produce so much force, he's able to basically projectile himself through the air faster than anybody can fathom, right? And so, there's many different forms of strength, and I think for that reason, you do want to be able to demonstrate your strength in some different ways. I mean, it would be nice to be able to bench squat deadlift something, because they have great value in terms of kind of like getting your money's worth type of thing. Those are kind of the exercises you're going to get the most bang for your buck out of. Not a lot has changed in fitness when it comes to that kind of thing, so you got to bench, you've a squat, you have a deadlift, you have an overhead press, you have a bent over row, you got pull-ups, you got push-ups, and then you kind of start running out of exercises that are super effective than... From there, it's not that a clean and jerk is not effective, all those are super effective, but those are variations of squats; a clean and jerk and a snatch, and the Olympic lifts and stuff, those are all still...
It just becomes a giant variation. And then there's machines and they all have their place. But to answer the question very directly, yes, you should be strong in a bunch of different ways, and I think you should be able to demonstrate some strength through your upper body, you should be all to demonstrate some strength through your lower body. You might hear somebody say like, you should be able to hip hinge, or you should be able to do like a knee bend, a knee bend is a squat. Hip hinge is a deadlift. Upper body strength demonstration could be pull-ups, it could be a bench press, could be push-ups, but yeah, it is great to be able to demonstrate some sort of strength in all these different avenues. If you try to pursue towards one thing too heavily, whether it's to be leaner or whether it's to be stronger then other things will fall apart. So, if you're trying to be really, really strong, you're not going to be great at tying your shoes. If you're trying to get really, really super lean, you most likely will not be very strong, and then you can try to find a happy medium between the two, and that's again, the kind of...
Bench squat, deadlift are going to be great, because they're going to work so many different muscles at one time. Barbell exercises are amazing because they're barbell exercises and barbell exercises are detrimental because they're barbell exercises. So, bench squat and deadlift are amazing, because you can use so much weight in them. And normally when I do a strength training seminar, I'll say, you know, "Who in the room has lifted 400 pounds?" A couple of hands will go up, I'll say 500 pounds, and eventually, usually it stops at like 600 pounds. And I'll say, "Okay, what lift was that done in?" And they'll say, a deadlift. And I'll say, "Okay, does everybody kind of understand that this is going to be one of the better ways that we can overload the body?" Everybody kind of agrees, so we can kind of move forward, 'cause overloading the body is going to give us a great stimulus, it's going to help with bone density, going to help with increased muscle mass, going to give us the most bang for our buck. It's going to be really hard to get big and strong, if all we're doing is overhead squats.
Overhead squats are... It's a great exercise. How much weight can you use in overhead a squat? Probably not that much. So, if we're trying to actually add muscle mass, which by the way should be everyone's goal... I'll repeat that again, which by the way, should be everyone's goal, because the muscle pays for the party, you don't have to look like me and be stuck together and have trouble scratching your own knee or something like that, you can have more mobility than that, you don't have to get that muscle bound, but it is important to have muscle because the muscle is going to help shift your metabolism, it's going to help you to be able to eat more for those of you love to eat. And I see a lot of people spending countless hours on a row, or countless hours on a treadmill or something like that. And those can be effective ways to burn some calories, but it's nice when your body is actually working for you and you're not a slave to your own body. When it comes to deadlifting... Or when it comes to any of these lifts, but when it comes to a deadlift like, let's just try to break it down a little bit.
What do we need? Well, we need a strong grip. And in order to have a strong grip, you're going to need strong biceps and a strong forearm, because the body is so intelligent and so smart that if there's a weak link, your hands will no longer be able to hold on to it anymore. Your biceps are like... Even though you're not trying to curl the weight, you're trying to let your arms be extended as much as you can, your body is going to say, this is not a good idea. You need to drop this. And same thing happens when your back rounds over. A lot of times your back will round over and then the weights kind of go into your fingertips and your body is just sending this message like, "Dude, you need to let go of that, like, you're too rounded over, you're going to get hurt," and so, you usually kind of drop the bar. The best way to get strong and the best way to improve on something like a deadlift is to only go to a technical limit. So, you want to lift and you want to push it and you want to work hard, but you don't want to go so hard that you're failing all the time, you don't want to...
You'll hear a bodybuilder say you want to go to failure and sometimes train through failure, and they'll do like spotted lifts; we don't really do that in powerlifting. In fact, a lot of great powerlifters, the best powerlifters I've ever seen, they'll go to do a lift, and they'll pull on the weight and then they'll just kind of shake their head and they'll stop. And they might restart, and they might lift it again, or they might even decrease the weight, and that's really hard to do, because our ego gets in the way. We want to always lift more.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
MARK BELL: But it's not necessarily about lifting more, it's about lifting better.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
MARK BELL: And the definition of what powerlifting truly is, it's you're trying to move throughout an entire range of motion while maintaining position. And when you start to see people do that in person, when you go to a powerlifting meet and you see a female do it with 400 pounds or 500 pounds, or you see a guy deadlift 700, 800, 900 pounds and their back is still flat, you're... To me, it's like magical, you're like, this guy and this girl, these are geniuses. Because who else can figure out way to organize their body in that fashion and be able to demonstrate that amount of strength and their ability to recruit that many muscle fibers at one time? It's just insane, and it doesn't always get enough credit, but the only way that those people are able to actually get anywhere is if they always are training through the absolute limit, they're not going to recover from their workouts. And this is where you and I line up really well with the sleep. I feel like I have powerlifted everything in my entire life. Powerlifting is you do a lift, you go at it really hard, and then you recover...
Shawn Stevenson: Right.
MARK BELL: Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, sometimes 10 minutes in between. It says the harder the lift, the longer the rest is. When we're in competition, it starts out with the squat, and you have three attempts on the squat, three attempts on a bench and three attempts on a deadlift. And depending on how big the competition is, is how long it will be until your next turn, it's almost always like 12 minutes in between each set that you do. Think about that, you know, for some of your listeners, some of the people listening right now, to have 12 minutes in between set, that's excessive, but that's what happens a lot of times in the powerlifting meets, because they want to see those athletes have the absolute best opportunity to make that weight again, so you're not going to be able to make the weight unless you recover. The recovery aspect of it though, all starts with... 'Cause people ask me all the time, what do you do for recovery? What do you do for treatment? What do you do for this?
I don't do much, because I try to train the best that I possibly can, I try to train optimally, I find weights that are optimal and not maximal, that's the biggest issues, people are lifting too heavy. So they think, I'm going to go to the gym... Alright, Mark Bell said I need to deadlift. And so, they'll go to the gym and they're going to try three plates and they're going to barely make three plates and it's going to be really crappy for them. The next week they're going to try it again, next week they're going to try it again. They're not allowing themselves any room to really make any progress, because the body is only learning how to do the lift improperly, not really ever learning how to do it the right way. And so, a great way to know what amount of weight you need on the bar, you should be able to talk to yourself while you're doing it.
So, if you're someone that lifts around 300 pounds, try talking yourself through 225 and try five reps and say, "Okay, I'm going to try to keep my chest up, try to keep my back flat, going to try to keep my stomach tight, and I'm going to try to continue this form all the way up until I lock the weight out and all the way back down to the ground, and I'm going to do all five reps that way, and I'm going to have perfect reps on every single thing that I do for the day." That's how you want to strength train.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, up next in our fitness compilation/retaliation from COVID-19, we've got New York Times best-selling author and creator of one of the most incredible world-class gyms in the world today; Onnit Academy. And in this clip, we've got Aubrey Marcus sharing some of the potential pitfalls with conventional training methods. Now this is very important, he's also going to share some really cool things that we can do to make sure that our body stay in balance using more unconventional training methods. Let's dive into this clip from the incredible Aubrey Marcus.
Aubrey Marcus: Unconventional training is really taking a fresh look at how to adapt the body to the conditions of real-world utilization; so durability, longevity, performance, all of these things, and I think at a certain point, we got away from those fundamental principles and started going straight for aesthetics. You know, like, how can I build these muscles really strong by contracting them in really linear patterns on these fancy machines with weight stacks and all of these different ways that we've started to do it with Arnold Schwarzenegger being our model, let's get big, or let's lose weight. And we're not really looking at, are we doing something that's healthy for the body? Is this actually helping performance? And I think unconventional training really was something I learned from all the pro athletes I started to come in contact with. Like, the ones who were performing at the peak level realized that you can't get stronger just pushing a bench press, like you have to adjust, and you have to make adaptations.
Even if you're a football player, there's never going to be a time where you have equal weight on your left hand and your right hand. And a lot of us think we're pretty strong, and you have a good bench. Alright, put a 45-pound plate on one side and nothing on the other side, and then try to press it and then see how strong you are, see how strong your core is at adapting to different weight conditions, which exactly mimic life. And I think knowing the MMA fighters who are in a constantly evolving environment, they couldn't train with these linear weight systems and these linear patterns, they had to go back in some cases, to some of the older methodologies that used to train warriors and soldiers of the past, like the steel mace, the steel club, the kettle bells, which used to be dock weights in Russia that they would throw around, that allow you to move the body in kind of complex movement patterns with offset weight, which mimics... You know, reality mimics life, and also mimics how the body was trained to adapt, you know, back.
If you're doing real world things and the body is making adaptations, that's really what we're designed to do, and these unconventional training methodologies more mimic a real-world condition and so, assist with longevity, prevents muscle imbalances from developing that can really short circuit your athletic abilities and career.
Shawn Stevenson: So, let's talk about something that the first time I had the opportunity to use this tool was here at... On an HQ a couple of years ago, which is the steel club, right? So, what's the story behind that?
Aubrey Marcus: The steel club and steel mace were adapted from ancient Persia actually, and they mimicked... Originally, they were designed to mimic some of the weaponry that the Persian warrior elite were using, 'cause they were using a mace in battle and using swords and things single-handedly like these clubs, and what they realized was that to train to be able to swing their lighter weapons faster, if they train with heavier weapons and heavy... Not, heavier tools in the similar movement patterns, then of course they would perform better when they had the lighter move... Lighter weapons to move. So they developed these training methodologies to strengthen the shoulder girdle in these areas where imagine yourself swinging a mace or swinging... I guess the closest thing we have is a baseball, but that's a very singular motion, right? Like, if you were a warrior and all you had was a baseball swing, you'd be really predictable, you know? People would...
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, right, exactly.
Aubrey Marcus: So, you have to swing from all angles, upper cuts, back cuts, straight up and down, all over the place, and really moving these tools in an intelligent way, and that's really where the mace and the club training developed is, how to get your shoulder and all of the finite muscles in your armpit and all of these things that you don't do with macro movements and get to really strengthen those. And so, obviously, we don't have warrior swinging swords and stuff anymore, but we all do these different types of movements. So, imagine a golf swing, like, if you're taking a golf swing, you're only really swinging from one side to the other, and of course, you're going to develop muscle and balance, the same with baseball. Unless you're a great switch hitter, or if you're the forehand to backhand in tennis, you want to pattern different movements and practices, then the club is a great way to get these multi-directional re-programming of the other side of your body and strengthen things in ways that you normally wouldn't be able to do.
So, they look kind of like giant juggling pins and they're heavy, and I really, really highly recommend, especially anybody who's a golfer out there, get one of these steel clubs and do the swing the other way of your golf swing and start working that side of your core muscles and that side of your hip snap and your legs, so that your body doesn't, over time, get so imbalanced that ultimately it breaks down. This is trying to restore muscular endurance, balance, longevity, durability. As for most of us, the amount of pleasure we get out of our bodies is going to be a factor of the amount of time we're able to use it with the amount of fun we have while it's going. And so, we got to stay durable. We don't want to give this up, we don't want to be one of those people that used to be able to do the fun things and used to be able to play games with our kids or whatever, but we can't anymore 'cause our body won't let us.
And the corrective steps can start now in training, and the great thing too is these tools are fun to use, because you're learning new skills, like, the Mace 360 is a really challenging skill where...
Shawn Stevenson: Yes.
Aubrey Marcus: You're swinging the mace back and forth, and then you pattern the Mace 360, then we get what's called the Infinity Flow, which is back behind your head, down in front of your body, back behind your head, down in front of your body, and it's swinging in the seemingly effortless motion. But then, you get one of your friends to try and it's like, how the heck did you do that? And also, it's really fun to learn these new skills and test your body to adapt to these different changing conditions.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, it was so humbling, the first time I did the Mace, the 360, I was blown away. Because I saw it, I'm like, "Okay, piece of cake."
Aubrey Marcus: Yeah. No.
Shawn Stevenson: No, it was definitely humbling, and it's something, it's a skill, you actually learn a skill, and plus there are a muscles firing that have had no experience, or anything...
Aubrey Marcus: Yeah, they've been hibernating like a bear.
Shawn Stevenson: Yes.
Aubrey Marcus: And all of a sudden waking up like, "Oh, you're using me now, here you are." Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: But it's having these tools, and today... And also, they look cool, it's part of it too, they're pretty fun. And this is just another tool that you guys have, but... So, you got the steel clubs, steel maces, what's the mace? Tell everybody.
Aubrey Marcus: Yeah, the mace. So, the mace is a... Was traditionally called a Gada, and it's from the same kind of origin, but it's a long shaft, long steel shaft with a heavy weighted ball, so it's naturally one of the most offset levers that you have. So, by sheer nature, remember what I was saying about the bench press with a 45-pound plate on one side and nothing on the other...
Shawn Stevenson: Right, it's just like that.
Aubrey Marcus: It's like that, but in a smaller, more portable version, you can't exactly swing around a barbell unless you're Hulk. But this allows you to utilize your core in almost every movement. And with all of these tools, you can get a complete body workout depending on the movement patterns that you do, but you're always working that compensation to deal with the fact that the weight is going to be on one side and there's going to be lightness on the other. So even holding it straight, even just pressing it out in front of your body, you're adapting, the heavy side is trying to keep you, keep pushing forward and holding it up, and then the other side is trying to keep your body stable and trying to keep yourself in line. So, a very simple movement becomes a complex pattern where your proprio receptors are firing the things that keep your balance, and everything is working at the same time. The small muscles in your feet are adapting and figuring out how to keep you in line, and so your whole body just gets lit up, whereas if you're doing something simpler, maybe you're just isolating.
Go back to one of those machines with a weight stack, they'll show you exactly the muscles that it's working, you'll look, there'll be a little diagram, it'll be like, "This one is pec and triceps." And you're like, "Okay, great." That's not like that with unconventional training, your whole body would be lit up from the top of your head if you're holding the right head position and tucking your chin, to the pelvis that you're keeping in the right spot, all the way down to the small muscles in your feet that are grabbing onto the ground to keep you balanced. And so, it's really lighting up your whole body and strengthening all of these fibers that keep our disks in line and keep our joints loose and mobile. So, I really can't more highly, at least recommend supplementing unconventional training in there, if nothing else, for the durability, longevity, balance effect of it, and I think you'll find too that some days that's really what your body wants, is just to get in there and swing some of these ancient tools around and get back to your more primal roots.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, now as Aubrey mentioned, this is a time to be more functional, this is a time to utilize unconventional training methods to get our bodies back in balance from these very static push-pull things that just don't match up with how reality really works, which everything has its place, but implementing some of these tools and some of these exercises can literally be a game changer, can help to rejuvenate and heal our bodies; I just can't speak highly enough of these things. So Onnit is the company that really impressed upon culture and brought these things into the market in a big way, the steel maces, the steel clubs. Not just the kettlebells, but the primal kettlebells with the cool designs, they had a partnership with Marvel, so they had an Iron Man kettlebell, it's out of stock right now. They had a partnership with Star Wars, do you know how difficult it is to collab with these organizations, but Onnit is doing things at such an incredible level, making such a big impact on culture that these big, big brands partnered up with them.
So highly, highly recommend at least get one of these tools. I'm a big fan of the steel mace. Now, you've got to come in at a lower weight than what you would think though. Alright, you might think I'm a big strapping individual, alright. Let me get this 20-pound mace, let me get this 15-pound mace, and it'll surprise you. When you try to do some of the flows, you try to do some of the movements, you really got to build your way up. But they've got maces from, I believe, seven pounds and on up. So, you might want to start around seven to 10 pounds, and just get some of these skills done, and I'm telling you what happens is you just have this attraction. In mace, our workout's more fun, it brings some joy back into it. Because it's so different, you could do so many different things with it. The same with the steel clubs as well, and definitely, they are the elite spot to get some really, really cool kettlebells, high quality, and also, oh, here's the best part, you also get a 10% discount off of everything they carry, because you listen to The Model Health Show.
Alright, go to onnit.com/model. That's O-N-N-I-T dot com/model, you get 10% off all of their fitness equipment. And of course, they're world class with their earth-grown nutrients, their supplements based on earth-grown nutrients, their incredible recovery protein snacks. The list goes on and on. But truly, pop over there, grab yourself one of these new tools and expand your physical literacy, expand your physical literacy, address the imbalances, be more functional and dynamic so that we can live, not just a long life, extending that life span, but extending the health span, because what we want to do is to be able to have a body that we feel good in, for the decades that we have remaining, alright. Onnit.com/model. And now, our next clip is coming from, for me, he is the Jedi master. This guy is truly one of the smartest people that I've ever met, and he has such an intelligence about movement in the human body, and his ability to understand movement and dynamics and how things fit together is just world class.
New York Times best-selling author of The Supple Leopard. Supple Leopard is like a mandatory manual in the physical therapist office all around the world. I can't tell you how many times I've been to people's offices and seen Supple Leopard sitting there. Now, you might be like, what the hell is this Supple Leopard? Well, it's just really making the analogy that when you see the discovery channel, you see those clips with the leopard taking off and tracking down its food, you don't see the leopard like sitting over in the corner giving a nice stretch, working on the hamstrings, doing a foam roll out, it just goes, it stays ready.
So how could we create conditions in our life to be more like a Supple Leopard, not that any of those things are not good, the foam rolling and the massage therapy, all those stuff. We don't live in the same kind of format that we once did, so these tools are there to help to supplement our abnormal behavior, but how can we get our bodies to a place we're more like that primal blueprint that we all really carry, where we're capable at any given moment to do what is necessary. So in this clip, particularly, he's going to talk about what mobility really means from the creator of the most popular mobility series in the world, the Mobility WOD, and his name is Dr. Kelly Starrett. And it's a big deal, the Mobility WOD is a big deal. Most watched mobility series in the world, he really impressed upon culture this term Mobility Workout Of the Day, and he's going to share some insights about mobility and position that push this in a different stratosphere of importance. So check out this clip from Dr. Kelly Starrett.
DR. KELLY STARRETT: The idea here is that WOD is a shorthand for workout of the day, and when we started, we used the word mobility work out of the day. First of all is that the word mobility wasn't used at all, there was a reference to Eric Cressey, and I think he made a DVD called magnificent mobility a long time ago? And as a physical therapist, I mobilize tissues. And so, what we found was that I wanted a word that didn't mean stretching, 'cause stretching had really come to mean something else, and what I'll tell you today is that mobility is a word that's now been convoluted a little, it means like, it's like the word extreme or core. "What are you doing?" "I'm working on my mobility." I'm like, "Okay." So let me define mobility first. First of all, mobility means that I have the requisite base range of motion that all of my tissues should be able to have. This means that the physiology, the structure and geometry of the body suggests what normal range of motion is for each of us, and what turns out is that if you go into the experts, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Academy of Family Practitioners, physical therapists, Bible, Norkin and White's.
If you look at all of these people who've studied range of motion, we have basically all agreed within a few degrees of what a normal baseline function should look like in each joint, joint based. So that's well and good, and in Physical Therapy school, I had to memorize all those things. Well, it turns out, what no one had done for me was compare what my body should do with what I was doing when I squatted, what I was doing when I got into a pistol. So, it turns out for the average person, we don't have to memorize those body range of motions, because we have a language called push-up, air squat, squatting all the way down with your heels on the ground, getting into a lunge, running, putting your arms over your head effectively. And what's nice is that gives us real benchmarks around what we're supposed to be able to do in terms of just straight raw tissues, there's also this software component to it, and what we know is that your practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.
That's how your brain is wired, that's why we practice skills, that's why you did all those crazy skill drills over and over again in sports, so that you can ingrain a pattern, so that those neurons could literally wire together, the Oligodendrocytes, the Schwann cells would come in and lay the Myelin in, reinforce that neuro pattern so that it would be easier to do it. It's why habits are so hard to break, it's so difficult to wire together to create a habit, it's also even more difficult to fire and wire apart, because we have to physically break down those Myelin sheaths and create a new pathway. So, mobility is not only, "Do I have the joint capsule range of motion, or is my interstitial tissue, my interstitium, the fascia, does that slide, are my muscles stiff, but I also have this software that says, does my brain know how to put me into stable positions? Does my brain know how to organize the body and have the control that it needs, which means that's 50% of the score is skill, that's why we teach fundamental movements to kids, and they continue to build on?
So, like I said, one of the things that we ask about is, as we're having this conversation about mobility, one thing is, "Hey, do you... Can your tissues get there, and then do you have control of your tissues?" And what we'll see is that, when we look at skills, we want to make sure that skills and training leads to open positions, that those skills and ability scale from kids to Olympic athletes, from children and youth athletes all the way up to my geriatric patients, that the principles are the same for our adaptive athletes, as they are for my MMA fighters. It is the same principles, and when we suddenly can't derive consilience, when you're saying one thing and it doesn't jive with the principles with what I'm saying, someone has a problem in their thinking, because what's happening now is that there are lots of ways to get to the end.
We know that all roads lead to Rome, and it's okay to have styles, you're... The swoledier from Onnit, you're all about the kettlebells, and great. And there's a lot of ways to be working on those, get you to those shapes and positions, but the principles and the physiology remains constant, the environmental considerations remain constant, we just turn them up, turn down. So when you suddenly get to mobility, what we've found more and more now, in the work out of the day is that, hey, we want position to be part of the conversation of the modern physical practice, and when I say physical practice, I'm not talking about just training for now; I'm talking about, your physical practice starts when you go to bed and how well you sleep and how dense you sleep, that's part of your physical practice, what you do first thing in the morning and how you prime yourself, the foods you eat, how much non-exercise activity you have during the day, your ability to down regulate.
Did you breathe hard? All of those things, and then we can talk about training, all of those things constitute your physical practice, but what we've tried to say is, hey, look, the issue is that a lot of times, we can buffer poor positions for a long time until all of a sudden you're like, "What do you mean I can't squat all the way down? What do you mean I can't put my arms over my head or take a full breath? What do you mean my shoulder comes forward in Kimura?" And so, what we've done then is said, hey, let's put position and value position as much as we value strength, as much as we value speed, as much as we value cardiorespiratory conditioning, and really position is a hallmark of efficiency and ultimately, the way we train and think is that we say, hey, look, here are your positions, you've got it, you're solid, we're working on it, it's a moving target. It changes day-to-day based on who you are and what's going on, but can you maintain that shape and position under load, under a little stress, when you're breathing hard, when you're going fast, when you got to do more than five in a row.
What do you look like at the end of your 5K race, do you look like the beginning? Well, there's a really interesting diagnostic around your position, and what we've said forever is as long as you went faster, that was good enough, and now we know that that's short-term thinking. And so what we can really say is the skilled athlete can transfer the positions between sports, between training modalities faster and faster and faster, and suddenly what you have is what someone else, and I'm blanking on the name, calls repetition, without repetition, and that's it. So that I never... When I'm snowboarding down some steep face, I never want to be thinking about my feet, or my breathing, I want to be thinking about where the board is going, what's coming next, the inputs. I got to get back to no mind, that's why training is so important and why we need to take, sometimes take the high intensity out, now, because we're here, and put the skill and mindfulness back in.
Shawn Stevenson: Up next in our fitness compilation is another Jedi Master; we've got the one and only Katy Bowman, best-selling author of such books as Move Your DNA, game changer, culture changer. And also her other books include, Dynamic Aging, Whole Body Barefoot and Don't Just Sit There, and many others. She is a writer, writer, but she's also a world-class biomechanist, and understanding this really deep and powerful interaction between our environment and how it shapes our bodies. So it's literally our environment is shaping our physical appearance, and it's super fascinating stuff. And in this clip, she's going to be sharing some insights about the most essential form of exercise and how it's been lost over time and how to incorporate it back into our lives. So check out this clip from the one and only, Katy Bowman.
Katy Bowman: Stop telling people just to walk more, period. Instead, I'll try to approach... You can actually get more done in many cases, if you choose to walk, because walking... Well, let's go with first, why it's a nutrient dense movement, it really uses a lot of your body, it loads the bones. So if you were to compare it with cycling, for example, walking, you are weight-bearing on your body, where cycling, you're not. Your weight is really put upon your seat, which is put upon the frame. So, it's you carrying your weight around. A good thing to do, is we talk about body weight exercise, walking is a body weight exercise, it's where your limbs get to feel how much you move. They're also moving through a really big range of motion, your arms are swinging front to back, much different than the computer position or even your arms affixed to a bicycle position, where your arms are still sort of in a computer position.
So, you get the shoulder movement, your legs are getting behind you, perhaps for the first time that day, even if you're cycling, your thigh bone never goes behind you, yes, it's moving a lot, but it's not... It's moving through a very narrow range of its potential. So walking again, it moves a lot of body parts, and when you carry something too at the same time, there's a lot of core work, coordination, glute work, that goes into walking. As simple as it is, and as slow and boring as it can seem, your body doesn't feel that way, your mind feels that way, but your body doesn't necessarily feel that way, especially if you can figure out if walking hurts, and there's different ranges of ability, but if walking is bugging you in your knees or your hips or your feet, you want to sort that out because for this other reason why I recommend walking, walking really facilitates lots of experiences and transportation.
Getting from point A to point B is a thing that humans do, moving around, and it's a really... It's kind of hard to explain it now because we've become so car-centric recently that unless you are a walker, which I am a walker, meaning I choose that as transportation, you don't really realize that we've given up most of the walkways for car ways. I've been walking and hanging off the side of a freeway before because there's no other way to get to a place anymore without a car, without a motorized transportation. And so, it's just... One of the reasons that people don't move, it has a lot to do with their economical reasons, because time and economical reasons really go hand-in-hand, this exercise move more requires often times that you have free time, and so what they really understand is a lot of people don't have free time. And so, if you use an economical model, which is... It's called sloth. Have you ever heard of it? So, it says that all... That humans are really... And it's an American model I believe, you're spending your time sleeping, leisure, occupation, travel and home.
That those are... That's the times that you're in, and they all relate to the economy of your time, but also that's relating to the overall economy of how much you're having to work to survive really financially. So transportation is one of those places that it's very easy to add movement to getting to some other place where you need to do a task. So, walking and even cycling, if you can't walk or other forms of rolling, allow you to add more movement into the transportation time, which because everything is sort of parsed and separated now, we spend a lot of time getting to a place to do a thing. How much of your time is not doing a thing, but getting to a place to do the thing, economically, it's a huge, wasted period of time. We try to fill it with podcasts, to better yourself, for learning. Thanks everyone for listening. And then you try to fill it with maybe some reading, maybe some talking, maybe some relaxing, but movement can go in there too, so this idea that active transport is a way that can really be a viable solution, and walking to be such a whole body one requires no gear, has a pretty low carbon footprint, it's got actual footprints. That's why I'm in favor of it. I'm not going to tell you to do it, but I am going to tell you all the benefits that come from doing it and where it can fit in.
Shawn Stevenson: Up next in our fitness compilation, we've got the man behind some of the most sought after bodies in the world, the ones that we see on the big screen, the ones that we see in these superhero movies. Alright. His clients include people like Ryan Reynolds, aka Deadpool, Sebastian Stan, aka The Winter Soldier, and the list goes on and on and on. I'm talking about Don Saladino. And in this clip, Don is going to be talking about knowing that you have permission to change things up if it doesn't feel right for your body, getting more in tune with your own inner dialogue and paying attention to what you need, and also earning the right to do certain exercises, and whether or not you should be training to muscle failure, right, so let's dive into this clip from the incredible superhero himself, Don Saladino.
Don Saladino: Yeah, I call them fluffy work outs. Listen, I love the bench press, I mean, I still bench and I still think it's a valuable exercise, but I think the problem that I have is so many people will get so pigeon-holed into one training approach, and they don't start paying attention to how their body is moving or the inefficiency, or thinking back squats aren't bad for you, it might be bad for you, but there's no reason why you can't squat or do a goblet squat. So I think it's important if you can, to get an understanding, and this may sound complex, but at my club here, everyone comes in and they go through a really basic screening, it's like a 10 minute screening, and in their warm-up, we find out how they're moving and then we're able to educate them a little bit on what exercises they need to be doing or not, if they're not working with a coach, if they're with a coach, they have nothing to worry about. But a lot of people out there aren't going to have that luxury.
So, my first ounce of advice is, start videoing yourself doing exercises. I don't think this... This is something that I always do, is I'll still to this day, video myself doing kettlebell swings or squats, and I might show it to a... Show it to a trainer in your gym or if it just doesn't feel right... Our bodies are smart, if you're sitting their squat and your heels are raising up and your hips hurt you every day, it's probably the fact that you're either doing squats incorrectly, or your body hasn't earned that right for you to be squatting with a bar on your back, or whatever that might be. So I just think a lot of times people are just, they're so intrigued on the program. "Oh, that's Ryan's program, give it to me," and they'll... They just start jumping into it, not realizing that you know what Ryan's doing is good for Ryan, it might not be good for you.
Shawn Stevenson: I love that, man. First time I've ever heard that your body hasn't earned the right to do it, that's powerful, really, really powerful.
Don Saladino: And that's the problem, that's the problem with a lot of these group training components, and I'm not going to sit here and bash CrossFit. People... Someone asked me the other day, "What do you think about CrossFit?" And I was like, "You know what, I've seen some good CrossFit boxes, and I've seen some good coaches, but just the problem that I have is when someone's coming into the gym, that has been sitting in a chair for the last 20 years, 10 hours a day, and now you have them doing jerks overhead, and they have no thoracic mobility or they have no external rotation in their shoulders, and you have them doing an exercise that they have not earned the right to do." So I think there's still an easy way to give them that training effect that they're looking for, but there's no reason why they have to come into a one-size-fits-all exercise. I can get the same effect out of a med ball slam for someone that I would be doing with an Olympic barbell.
Is it really going to matter? The answer is no, but a lot of fitness professionals out there want to own the process, and it's their methodology like they created it, and I think as fitness professionals, we have to do a much better job of educating people. I think there's a lot of low grades, there's a lot of low-grade coaches out there, and it's making the jobs for us a little bit more difficult, 'cause we have to sit there and tell people relax, let's take a step back and so we can move forward. I think there's a time and place for everything. Again, these are boring answers right now, and I really apologize, but I think it depends on the individual, and I think if you have someone coming in, or let's take some of your listeners who might be sleeping five hours a night or four hours a night, and they're under a lot of stress from work or relationships or not getting the nutrition that they want or that they need, I would say that muscle failure is probably the worst thing for them to do for themselves, I think it's going to be way too tasking on their central nervous system.
I think they might feel great for the first week or so out of the gate, and they might be like, "Wow, I'm sweating and I feel awesome," but in time they will no doubt about it, start seeing a decline in their strength and in their energy. So, I think it depends on the individual. I think for someone like myself who's pretty in tune with their body, do I train to muscle failure 365 days a year? Absolutely not. I might take a couple of blocks of my training or a few weeks of my training and decide to train to muscle failure, but I also understand that I have to scale off of that. So, I think it really comes down to, your body is really smart, and if you're coming into the gym on a day and you're not feeling great, whoever said you can't see good progress by going through the motions, and I think taking a little bit of an easier strength approach, I think this is something that... One of my favorite movies of all time is Rocky, I mean how do you not love Rocky?
But it was almost the worst movie ever for people when it came down to training, because they want to revert back success to the Rocky 3 training scene, him sprinting on the beach, him and Apollo, or climbing up the mountain in Rocky 4 till he's literally falling down. And it's really set a bad precedent for people, because they're under the assumption that unless they're killing themselves, they're not going to see progress, and I tell people now, "Don, I hate training more than 15 minutes," and I'm like, "We'll train for 10.", "Well, am I going to see progress on that?" I'm like, "Absolutely." If you don't train one day next year, but you train and break a sweat 10 minutes a day for 300, let's say 300 days, you don't think... Of course, you're going to see progress, you're going to sweat, your body is going to feel better, you're going to be more active.
So, this assumption that you need six days a week and 90 minutes a clip, it's insane, you're going to see progress doing... Do something, you're going to see progress, going to failure and taking the muscle to exhaustion is a very difficult thing to do, and yes, you might see a percentage increase on muscle stimulation, but the reality is, it's probably going to be so minute that you're not going to see the difference at the end of the year, but your body is going to feel a lot different, so I would urge more people to kind of throttle back, get through the workouts with some confidence, feel really good, and then come back the next day with a high energy level.
Shawn Stevenson: Moving on in our fitness compilation, we've got a true movement expert; he's a movement coach, bestselling author, fitness expert. And in this clip, he's going to be sharing some powerful insights on how we can reverse a lot of the kyphotic, closed-up posture that is so prevalent today with all of the time spent on our phones and computers, so this tip is incredibly important. Alright, so fitness is so much more than our body composition, it's our functionality, and this one is a game changer, and he walks the talk as well, the physical fitness is clear when you see our next guest, Aaron Alexander. And he's a walking example. But the thing that he incorporates the most is his movement practices, staying nimble, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. That's what my guy, Aaron Alexander is all about. And again, this clip is something that I can't even tell you how important it is. It's super simple. But the question is, are you doing it? Are you utilizing it on a regular basis, very important to open us back up, open our bodies back up again. Kyphosis is that closing up when your shoulders start to fold over, we start to get that little bit of that Quasimodo, a little bit of that hunchback of Notre Dame going. Alright, so how can we open our bodies back up so we can breathe, so we can be more of the stature that we're designed to be. So check out this clip from Aaron Alexander.
Aaron Alexander: That really simple thing that people could add into their daily worlds, which is one of the principles that we break down, is just the value of getting your arms up over your head each day, so just getting a pull-up bar in your house, please, if you don't already have a pull-up bar, get a pull-up bar in your house, and not even... I don't even care if you ever do a pull up, a lot of girls can't do a pull up, it's great, no problem. They are a lot better rock climbers typically because they're forced to use their lower body in order to climb, whereas guys that can grunt through and muscle through and use their upper bodies, they end up lacking form. So I don't even care if you can do a pull up, what I care about is that you get your arms up over your head and you just spend a little bit of time each day, in the book, I recommend 90 seconds total, so that could be like 15 seconds six times or whatever, hanging from that position, and you think of it as you're doing that, you're literally restructuring the shape of your shoulder girdle, which a common tendency is to go into impingement if you're always punching forward, cell phoning, carpal tunneling yourself and computer-ing and chairs and all that.
So just that simple practice of just, get long, create that space in there, hang for a total of 60 to 90 seconds. Whatever you'll do is what I want you to do, if what you'll do is 10 seconds, 10 seconds, whatever you'll do, whatever bite is good for you. And within that, literally think of it as like, visualize yourself, it's like, think, imagine if you had a wet blanket, and you left the wet blanket kind of crumpled up and it would start to kind of like fester and kind of get moldy and get all gross, you're like, "Oh, we might have to throw that blanket out, it's not going to work." That's your lungs and your ribs and your intercostals and all this precious tissue, if it's not being breathed and expanded and contracted with regularity, when you're doing that...
That opening up, imagine what you're doing is like you're taking that wet blanket and you're exposing it to the sun and you're kind of lifting it out and kind of letting that air blow through it. Now all of a sudden, that blanket's starting to heal. So, by having that relationship of your shoulder girdle and your neck and your ribs and all that, in a position that's most aligned, balanced, stacked, a really simple way to do that, like a shotgun approach is just spend some time hanging each day.
Another bullet point that would be supportive is recognizing we're talking about your central nervous system and gaining a relationship with your spine and your neck and your whole body really, but a continuation of your central nervous system is your eyeballs. So, if you are staring into screens all day long, that's literally putting your nervous system, your autonomic nervous system, which I would say is a misnomer, because your autonomic nervous system is continually responding to your environment that you're consciously choosing. So, when you are staring in that myopic vision, what do you do if you are in that fight-flight state, what do you do if a lion comes into the room right now, you go...
You focus in on it, right? Now we make action. So now we go in and we go through that whole, the adrenaline and the cortisols and other things come online, get you ready to move, and then what do your eyes do once you've defeated the lion or made it away, or go into like you're over there, you're in the savanna and you're kind of just like, "Oh," just taking it. You're probably not focusing in on a lion anymore, you're probably just kind of spacing out and saying, "Whoa, man! That was crazy."
So, your eyes, the continuation of your brain, your central nervous system are continually feeding information back into your physiology saying, "Okay, are we focused, are we executive function, fight flight, make it happen, are we more in that panoramic vision, where it's a calming, soothing, rest, digest, repair, type state." So, if you're staring into your phone all day and you're wondering why it's hard for you to wind down and go to sleep at night, well, you're essentially sending the signal to your brain, especially doing that right before going to bed. Think of it as like you're sending the signal to your brain that it's time to wake up, it's time to go into action, it's time to move, it's not time to be still, and so if you want to be calm, you're feeling stressed out, say before... And this... I'll just compound one little variable stack, if you're stressed out, you're going into a date with somebody you're nervous about, or a business thing or anything of the sort, and you're feeling like, "Oh my God, my shoulders are clenched up and I feel like I'm clenching my jaw, and I'm just like, oh, I'm like panicking." Emphasize calming your eyes.
Take the whole room in. So, when you walk in, utilize that panorama vision by really feeling the whole room. You could even visualize like, "Okay, what's the room feel like behind me, do I have a memory of what's going on back there? Can I kind of feel the people behind me, can I really take... " And anybody that's ever gone bow hunting, which I don't know people's beliefs around that, but whatever, the experience of hunting is really fascinating to have. Even if you don't ever actually kill an animal, just the experience of stalking an animal is one of the most unbelievable experiences, because your senses turn on in a way that will never happen in the whole foods, right? Unless it was like there was some sniper came in all of a sudden... And then all of a sudden...
You're on. So, when you're out there hunting, you're hearing every little stick, every little twig breaking, wind, you're noticing the directionality of the wind, 'cause that's going to determine the smell from me, you're taking distances. Okay, cool, that's 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, 50 yards. So, your physical environmental internal map of what's happening, goes...
Spans out and you become the forest. So, what is that at a neurological level? Is you coming alive, it's you engaging with your world.
Shawn Stevenson: When we're talking about fitness, we want to get the most out of the things that we do, our energy, our performance matters. A study published in Medicine and Science and Sports and Exercise, tested 30 healthy people for six weeks to record the effects of Cordyceps medicinal mushroom on their performance. The group that added Cordyceps to their daily regimen had twice the oxygen uptake of the control group. This oxygen is essential in supplying nutrients to the muscles, preventing fatigue and preventing the build-up of lactic acid. Basically, you can go further stronger, another study done by the same group also showed a 9% increase in aerobic activity from utilizing Cordyceps. Now, the key here is making sure that it has a dual extraction to actually get all of these nutrients, make sure they're in a bioavailable form from the Cordyceps, so you need a hot water extract and an alcohol extract all in one. Now, Cordyceps is one of my all-time favorite things. Huge fan of Cordyceps, have Cordyceps on almost a daily basis, depending on what I've got going on, sometimes I alternate Cordyceps and Lion's Mane, depending on the what I have on the agenda, but if I know that I'm going to be physically active, love having Cordyceps in those spots.
And so having that dual extraction, you can get a Cordyceps elixir from Four Sigmatic, but they also have Cordyceps combined with organic coffee. Now listen to this, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the caffeine that's found in coffee is able to increase our metabolic rate by three to upwards of 11%. And this is what they found in the study. Most of the increase in metabolism is caused by an increase in the burning of fat. So it's actually utilizing fat for fuel. Now, combine the Cordyceps along with the coffee, you've got a pretty good mixture or they also have the Cordyceps elixir as a stand-alone as well. And just to reiterate the value of Cordyceps, this was published in the American Journal of Chinese medicine, found that Cordyceps protects our mitochondria by scavenging reactive oxygen species. Fitness, when it really gets down to the heart of it is so much about the performance of our mitochondria. It's one of the ways that we can generate and create more of these energy power plants in ourselves is through doing exercise, so it's fueling and protecting the mitochondria and being able to do the exercise, perform and to create more of them, this is why developing muscle... Muscle is sort of like a reservoir for energy and anti-aging hormones, so cool.
So these things all feed into each other. And also several other additional human studies found that Cordyceps improves cardiovascular function, VO2 max and insulin sensitivity as well. Head over to foursigmatic.com/model, and you'll receive 10% off all of their incredible mushroom elixirs and mushroom blends. Again, that's foursigmatic.com/model. That's F-O-U-R-S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C.com/ model. And now moving on to our next expert here in our fitness compilation, we have somebody, she's such an inspiration for me, and her name is Kelly McGonigal, and she's a health psychologist, and what she's going to share here in this clip is something extremely unique and invaluable that happens when you contract your muscles through... And this is the key, through any type of exercise, so let's dive into this clip and this incredibly powerful insight from the amazing Kelly McGonigal.
Kelly McGonigal: I think this is the most fascinating research, so I'm interested in all psychology, all neuroscience, and this is, I think the most interesting finding of the last decade in all of science. And this is the insight that your muscles are basically an endocrine organ that secrete hormones into your bloodstream that affect every system of your body, and from a health point of view, your muscles will secrete hormones and other proteins that are good, that fight cancer cells and that are good for your heart health, the things that we know typical, why exercise is good for your health. But your muscles, they secrete chemicals and proteins when you exercise, that are also really good for your brain health, and one of the first papers almost 10 years ago, and that was published, explaining that when you contract your muscles, they literally secrete these proteins into your blood stream that make you resilient to stress and can protect you from depression. The scientists call them hope molecules; this idea that literally your muscles are manufacturing like anti-depressant molecules, and the only way to get them into your bloodstream where they can then travel to your brain is you have to contract your muscles.
That's it. But your muscles are... It's like a pharmacy in your muscles, and anything you do that contracts them, walking, hiking, running, dancing, weight-lifting, like swimming, anything, you are going to be dumping hope molecules into your bloodstream, that when they get to your brain, they work as an anti-depressant, and they also help people recover from trauma like that, that's like a miracle because of course, it's wonderful when medications work for you, but for so many people, medications don't work or they don't do the full job in terms of helping with mental health and the idea that your muscles could provide you with the equivalent of something like an antidepressant medication, that is... I think it's phenomenal. So if you think about this like an anthropologist, and you go back to when humans first started to behave like modern humans, where we were living in groups and we started to hunt and gather and forage, the way humans survived is they had to engage in a lot of physical labor, you had to go out and chase animals and scavenge for dead animals and collect all your berries and your fruit and your roots and all of that, that a couple hundred thousand years ago, humans really had to become more physically involved in order to survive as a species.
And what anthropologists believe now is that basically the modern human brain is a brain that has evolved and is adapted to find hard work, rewarding; that that's the only way humans could survive. There had to be a sense of pleasure and some kind of psychological benefit from using your body to do meaningful hard things, and one of the ways that this expresses itself is the runner's high, which is so interesting, and we think of the runner's high as like an endorphins rush that makes you feel good for running, but why? Why would your brain produce chemicals that makes it feel good to run long distances? And the idea is that... Well, that's an example of how the modern human brain is trying to reward us for engaging with life, that if you will get your heart rate up a little bit, you'll put in the effort that it might take to say, hunt an animal to feed your family, we'll make it feel good. And the neuro chemical that seems to underlie the runner's high also helps us connect with others, and that's why I think it's so interesting from the anthropological or the psychological side, is that something like the runner's high, it doesn't only make it feel good to engage with life and work hard, but it makes you a more social version of yourself, so endocannabinoids, they reduce anxiety, they make you feel good, and they also enhance the pleasure we get from cooperating, from sharing.
So, if I were to get a big kill and bring it back, instead of just being like, I got my food, get your own food... No, it's going to feel better to share. I'm going to feel good about myself for contributing to my family and to my community, and that the runner's high is basically creating the neurochemistry of making you that version of a human being, the kind of human being who's willing to do hard things, and it feels good, and I want to be the kind of person who contributes to my community and that that's going to feel good too. That's amazing. And it's not just running, we know about it 'cause people have studied it in runners, but that's the exercise high, and it gets back to this idea that movement is how we engage with life, and so we need systems in our brain that reward us for engaging with life and that functions not just like do physical things, but also be part of a community.
Shawn Stevenson: Alright, last up in our fitness compilation, I've got to hand the baton back off to the Jedi Master. Kelly Starrett has another important insight here. He's going to talk about maintaining and nourishing normal ranges of motion and the number one exercise for therapeutic benefits. Now, I'm leaning into this one again because truly, this is the thing that we're really designed to do, that is such a missing component of our movement nutrition, it's such a missing component of our movement diet today, and so again, hearing from the Jedi Master himself and adding another layer of importance, I think that this is something that we can all utilize moving forward, so check out this additional clip from the amazing doctor Kelly Starrett.
DR. KELLY STARRETT: There's a great concept in physical therapy called mechanotransduction, which is a fancy term that says I need mechanical input into my cells and tissues for those cells and tissues to be able to express normal function. That if I don't load my tendons, my tendons will become weaker. Okay, that makes sense. We told women forever and ever, "Hey look, you've got to walk and take calcium." Well, it turns out walking wasn't enough pounding to uptake the calcium. You had to load. Then when you loaded, the bones were like, "I know what this is, it's cueing to get stronger, give me that calcium."
One of our friends, Katy Bowman, who wrote a great book called 'Move Your DNA,' which is fabulous, talks about this example of the orcas that have the tall fin. And when you take an orca whale and put it in captivity, oftentimes that fin starts to droop, and what we can see and is called folded, fanned, or floppy fin syndrome, and it's a great example of two things, one is that because we've changed the environment of the orca, the orca is now spending more time at the surface, and because it's not being supported by water, that fin, not just when it breathes and comes down, it has higher forces on it. But secondarily... So that's us sitting, flying, not moving, not eating right, not sleeping, being a stress case, not being in loving relationships, not having community, but all the things that are important. But now because that orca isn't swimming very fast all the time, sprinting, and hunting, there's no force pushing on that fin very often. And guess what happens? The collagen of the base of the fin starts to degrade because it's not exposed and it's not reinforcing itself under normal forces and so it starts to fold over. So, your SI joint is really the same thing as that folded fin syndrome. And then what we can begin to say is, "Well what are the minimum requirements?" Well one of the first things you can do is you have back pain is to begin walking.
And that might be five minutes at a time, three minutes at a time. The first thing you want to do is restore your function. You're not going to make yourself worse walking, in fact we need to, to move your decongestive tissues, to put those loads in, and what we think is, what we're coming to understand is that that 10,000 steps everyone's heard of before, that's our minimum therapeutic dose. As you know in your book, one of the easiest ways to get people to start sleeping again, is to get them to move a little bit more during the day, so that if you're having a hard time sleeping, you have back pain, guess what? We're going to knock both those things out, and it's called walking, and that is what human beings are supposed to do. We're not supposed to drive to the mall, and drive to the grocery store, we're supposed to walk. So, see if you can kick that up to 10,000 steps on a low day, and that means when you get home and you've only walked 8,000, you need to go for a walk before you go to bed. Get your steps in. And I can't tell you the power of that. If you look at what's going on with Stan Efferding, or Mark Bell and some of these amazing coaches... Joe Kenn, strength coach for the Jaguars, what you'll see is they all have begun walking practices. They walk a little bit in the morning, they move around during the day.
You're standing right now which is the same thing as walking, right? Being active. And so, what we want to do is start to say, "Okay now we understand how that's an environmental pattern problem," and then we can say, "Well what's the minimum dose?" Because you don't need to squat 400 to have a healthy back, but I can tell you that the women in Africa who carry very large loads on their heads, they have the biggest discs in the group. They have the highest disc spaces, and it's counterintuitive. Because they load their spines all the time, their spines are solid, and rock steady, and I think one of the issues that we're going to confront, and especially as we're taking about chronic pain, and the fact that some of us are really struggling to sleep, and to feel good, and to want to have like a high sex drive, etcetera, etcetera, is that we need to get back to the principles that made us human, and then we can start to say, "This is the next." So, if you pin me now and you're like, "Kelly, I want a leap performance, what am I going to do?" I'm like, "Well you should probably read a book on sleep. I have a friend who's written one. I'm telling you that's the number one, and number two, you need to walk a little bit more during the day."
And when we start to move around a little bit more during the day, we start to sleep, then we can have the next conversation about eating vegetables, and then we can have the next conversation about which coffee and how much starch you should put in there. And the next conversation, should you swing kettlebells or deadlift? But let's get first principles first, and it's a shame that you and I are spending... This is like... You didn't want to lecture adults about sleeping. That wasn't your life dream as a child. It wasn't my dream as a child to lecture people about posture, yet it turns out we have to because we suddenly find ourselves as strangers in a strange land, and the conditions that make us human. Look, here's a challenge for you. If you have a little kid at home, and you have a Saturday, do everything your little kid does. Toddlers... Toddlers walk two and a half miles a day on average. Toddlers. You do not walk two and a half miles a day. Every time they get up and off the ground, do it. Every time they jump on land, do it. Every time they sprint somewhere, do it and you're going to be so cooked, and what you're going to realize is that you don't have to warm up as much, you don't have to activate your glutes as much, you don't have to do all these mobilizations or skill tissues or position transfer exercises because you are maintaining and nourishing that normal range of motion and healthy tissues just by the fact that you're being a human being.
Shawn Stevenson: Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. As time is going on, we really started to separate human health into all these different parts. We got fitness over here, we've got nutrition over here, we got sleep over here, but truly, these are a part of the dynamic of being human, these are the things that our genes expect us to do. Our genes expect us to move in order to express, because our genes really are instructions, and we know now that there can be hundreds, even thousands of different potential expressions of a particular gene and our environment, our environmental inputs, our moving practices help to aid in healthy gene expression. So, these are all aspects of being human, so when we're talking about fitness, this is just required, it's just a part... It's a part of the deal you sign when you get here, but we can also find immense joy in it, and I've said this many, many times before, but the number one form of exercise is the exercise that you'll actually do. That is the best form of exercise. Of course, we can pick up all these different dynamic insights from experts, and some of them might really speak to us and inspire us to add things in and to try and experiment and do different things, but what it really boils down to for longevity is finding and allowing ourselves to do something that we love.
So, if you just enjoy dancing, give yourself permission to dance more, that's a form of movement that you can extract many benefits that again, enable that healthy genetic expression, move your DNA leaning into the incredible insights from Katy Bowman, for example. Also, if you're super into competitive sports, and maybe you're not in a position, maybe you're at a place where you're not getting out and going up and down the basketball court anymore, have you ever played ultimate frisbee? Again, that could be super competitive. One of the most exceptional people who is really demonstrating what's possible in the senior years, Mark Sisson, who's been a guest on the show as well, big, big player of Ultimate Frisbee, where at one time he was a world class endurance athlete, now he's into a whole different ball game, but he's doing something that he loves, he found something that he loves. So, if you've yet to find what that thing is, because some people, a smaller amount of people, that's the thing that holds them back is like, I don't know what I love. Give yourself permission to experiment. Take some different classes, whether it's a Zumba class or whether it's a spinning class, whether it's some tennis lessons or whatever the case might be, find your thing, find your thing that really resonates, that you enjoy doing that you're just like, I can't believe that this is like... "Exercise" are good for me.
A big problem, I think today is our psychology tied into it, this is "exercise," we put that into the domain of something that we need to get in versus having it being built into the fabric of being human, which for some folks going to the gym and banging and clanging, banging and clanging the weights, they love doing that. I'm probably in that guild as well, but outside of that, some folks it's just not their... It's not their cup of Earl Grey, it's not their cup of tea. And so where do you find that joy? Maybe it's just walking, getting out in nature, maybe it's hiking with your family, maybe it's roller-skating, the list goes on and on, but just being physical, engaging with the world, engaging with our environment that's what it's really all about. I hope you got a lot of value out of this episode, if you did, please share it out with your friends and family on social media, you can tag me, I'm @shawnmodel on Instagram and Twitter, and at the Model Health Show on Facebook, and we've got some powerhouse epic guests coming your way very soon and epic masterclass episodes as well, so be ready. 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 themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you 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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