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When it comes down to it, performance is a key aspect of everything we do. Whether it’s in our relationships, jobs, or physical fitness, the ability to perform at a high level is what creates incredible results.
Sharpening that ability begins with building a strong foundation. Many people want to jump to achieving an end result, while not realizing the importance of putting in the work and mastering the basics. Physically, this can manifest in a whole host of problems. Without a strong foundation in place, we can develop faulty patterns that negatively affect our movement, posture, and strength.
My guest on today’s show is Peter Park, former Ironman triathlete, ultramarathon runner, and strength and conditioning coach. Peter has 28 years of experience training everyone from elite athletes to everyday folks. On today’s show, Peter is sharing the guiding principles from his proven methods, sharing what it means to go slow to go fast, and discussing the importance of ensuring your body is functional, no matter your current skill level.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How making connections can help you reach your potential.
- What inspired Peter to pivot from focusing on himself to training others.
- The importance of finding balance in the way you approach training.
- How helping others reach their goals can be enlightening.
- The difference between outworking and overworking.
- Why using fat as a primary energy source changed Peter’s training.
- How building a strong aerobic base can help you recover faster.
- What it means to “go slow to go fast.”
- Why you have to earn the right to lift weights.
- The importance of acting as a safety net for your children.
- How to appropriately and safely implement interval training.
- Why listening to what your body needs throughout time is the key to success.
- Why so many professional athletes are missing basic functional patterns.
- The most important fundamental movements we all need to master.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
* Download The Transcript
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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.
Listen, a big part of our lives is having the ability to perform. Performance is a huge part of our lives, whether it's in our physical fitness, whether it's in our jobs, whether it's in our relationships, we need to be able to perform at the highest level possible, and that's what we're really striving for here with The Model Health Show.
But one of the things that kind of holds us back are these faulty patterns that our body can take on, alright?
So some of the greatest athletes in the world have all of these compensation patterns that their bodies are creating because of blocks, because of different hinges and different things that are being off with their system.
For me, for example, I had an issue with my SI joint, and so my body began to compensate, and so I started to have pain on the other side of my body as my body was trying to sort out being able to do basic movements.
And so our guest today is somebody who's helping folks to fix those faulty patterns by getting a great foundation for fitness so that we're not building a shaky foundation and everything comes crumbling down.
And he's done this at the highest level. He's worked with some of the top people walking around on the planet, but he's also worked with everyday folks too, you know? So like literally world champions in major sports to the moms and pops out there that are just trying to get fit, you know? And he's done it all, and he's done it at the highest level, and he's one of the kind of best kept secrets here in fitness, and today it's really going to be something that is a great introduction, but also some insights and strategies to help you to take your performance to another level.
Now before we do that, listen, today let me tell you about my performance and what I'm fueled on. I'm fueled on that mushroom coffee, alright?
I'm fueled on Four Sigmatic Lion's Mane. Listen, University of Malaya found that lion's mane is clinically proven- lion's mane mushroom is clinically proven to stimulate something called neurogenesis.
That's literally the creation of new brain cells. Alright? I promise you- I promise Pop Tarts can't do that, alright? Pop Tarts cannot create new brain cells. They can kill some, but lion's mane seriously speaking is one of the very few things that's ever been discovered that has that kind of ability.
And specifically it's being studied now for helping folks to recover from traumatic brain injuries and it's showing some very, very inspiring science that's coming about that as well.
So listen, so number one for brain focus, but also just for a little kick to your metabolism. You know, statistically we see about a 10% increase in your metabolic activity when you consume caffeine.
Now caffeine, there's different forms and different sources, alright? Let's be clear about that. We want to make sure that if you are utilizing caffeine, we're getting it from a viable natural source ideally, and coffee is obviously one of the kind of highly touted sources of caffeine.
But it can be a little bit of a- it's a nervous system stimulant, so we want to keep it balanced. And the medicinal mushrooms being such an alkaline substance really helps to balance the acidity of the coffee and not get that big spike in energy, and then you crash.
And plus with Four Sigmatic, you're going to see a reduction in the overall caffeine as well. It's really high quality coffee. So this is organic, so you're not dealing with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides. Cide means to kill, guys. Alright?
We're not trying to kill our brain, we're not trying to kill our cells. We want to be aware of that stuff and get high quality coffee. That's what you're going to have in Four Sigmatic.
And we're seeing statistically about a 10% to 12% in your metabolic rate. So literally-and specifically researchers have found it's from oxidation of actual fat by utilizing caffeine. Alright?
But let's get it in a natural source, from organic coffee, and not some random company X, whatever crazy supplement, alright? Crunk Juice, or whatever some kind of crazy stuff people put in their body. Alright?
And plus it helps to balance out with this kind of strong nervous system stimulant that caffeine can be with coffee. We've got the alkaline nature of the medicinal mushroom that really helps to give that consistent energy and consistent feeling.
So Cordyceps is another coffee blend that they have, Cordyceps and Chaga. So that's the one I really use pre-workout. Cordyceps is clinically proven to increase oxygenation of your cells, and also just increase overall stamina. Again, this is clinically proven.
So I don't know what you're waiting for if you're not utilizing Four Sigmatic. So head over, check them out. It's www.FourSigmatic.com/model. Alright? That's www.FourSigmatic.com/model, 15% off all their coffee blends, mushroom blends, mushroom elixirs.
They've got the rishi, lion's mane, chaga, all the good stuff. Dual extracted so you're getting all the terpene compounds, and all the beta glucan compounds, all married together in one delicious sippable cup.
And by the way, I like it with almond milk- with a splash of almond milk, maybe a little bit of grass-fed butter, or coconut oil, or MCT oil, whatever you're into. Alright? Dress it up. Make it pretty, alright?
So head over, check them out, www.FourSigmatic.com/model. And now let's get to the iTunes review of the week.
ITunes Review: Another five-star review titled, 'Absolutely Love It,' by KPatrick1.
"I absolutely love this show. I have been going two weeks now listening to this podcast, and each episode is better than the last. It has drastically changed the way I see health, fitness, and nutrition, and help me to improve my overall health.
I really loved and appreciated the segment on cancer. Having personally been through this myself at the age of seventeen, and doctors telling me I needed chemo, and there was no natural alternative, I did not listen and decided to change my lifestyle by exercising more, eating healthier, and sleeping better.
I'm hitting twenty-six this year and it has not returned. People should be aware that there are alternatives. I appreciate everything you're doing."
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, that was an incredible, incredible message, and I'm so very happy for you, and thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your story. That just means everything.
And everybody, thank you for heading over to iTunes and leaving me these reviews, please keep them coming. If you've yet to do so, let's go. Get over there, leave us a review for the show. Let everybody know what you think.
Alright, on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day.
Our guest today is Peter Park, and Peter Park is a three-time winner of the world's toughest Ironman and current record holder of several endurance competitions including the Catalina fifty mile ultra-marathon.
And as a strength and conditioning coach, Peter has twenty-eight years of experience training elite athletes, big screen celebrities, top touring musicians, and common citizens that are serious about their fitness, mobility, and longevity.
Among Peter's athlete clientele are 2017 National League MVP, Giancarlo Stanton, 2017 World Series Champion, Justin Verlander, and let's take a look at- don't forget WNBA star, Diana Taurasi, as well. Which I've been a huge fan of hers since college.
And a couple of actors he's working with, Harry Styles. Shout-out One Direction with different directions, but Harry is the man.
And also actor Rob Lowe, Don Johnson, and Peter is also the author of two books. 'Rebound,' which guys, I'm telling you this is a must-have in your library for sure. And also his book 'Foundation,' where you define your core, conquer back pain, and move with confidence.
Peter owns Platinum Fitness, and this is his Santa Barbara gym, and he lives in Montecido with his wife, Kelly, and two sons, Aidan and Carter.
And now he's on The Model Health Show. I'd like to welcome Mr. Peter Park. How are you doing today, Peter?
Peter Park: Good, how are you? I'm so happy to be on there.
Shawn Stevenson: I'm doing great. Very, very happy to talk to you, and I'm loving your book. I'm loving your story, and I would love to share it with everybody. So you're a superhero, man. I mean clearly, like you're one of those elite people that it's just like your story is incredible.
So let's talk about your superhero origin story. What got you kind of interested in health and fitness in the first place?
Peter Park: Ever since I can remember, I've been really into health and fitness. When I was young, I started out with surfing when I was a kid. I seemed to be influenced by- I have twelve brothers and sisters, so I'm one of twelve.
Shawn Stevenson: Where are you in that rank?
Peter Park: I'm at the spoiled end, the tenth, at the bottom. So I had tons of sisters and brothers to look up to. My older brother made surfboards and was a pretty prominent surfboard maker, so I started surfing when I was like two or three.
I mean, I could stand up when I was young. And I surfed for- that was my passion, then my sister ended up marrying one of the best pro beach volleyball players, and in sixth grade I turned to volleyball and I wanted to know everything about how these guys train.
From a young age, it was kind of weird, I was really into the fitness part of it. Like why is this guy better than the other? Why can this guy jump higher? Just little things before I even knew what was going on.
From volleyball I turned to triathlons, which went- it's just a whole endurance component where I learned about energy systems, and eating, and mistakes, and injuries. Because I always went from zero to 100.
Shawn Stevenson: I see.
Peter Park: And made every mistake and every injury in the world.
Shawn Stevenson: But that was a huge pivot. I want to ask you about this, because this is something that jumped out in the book was that pivot, because I was like, "How did he get from like volleyball and this competitive kind of fast twitch intense and then to ultra-marathons?"
And I think it was sparked by your sister, and you doing a race with her. Can you tell us a little bit about that story?
Peter Park: Yeah. She was a bunny. I mean she ended up being in a winning NCAA in the 10,000 meter. Her name is Jamie, and she went to Arkansas.
So one day when she was back, I was probably- after volleyball, I went through- I've worked at a gym since I've been like in seventh or eighth grade, you know? I worked in a really big power lifting gym where really big power lifters worked out.
After volleyball, I got into the big bodybuilding type phase. I was like 200 pounds, and I was squatting huge weights, and I was into that phase.
But my sister came home, she said- I'm like, "I can beat you in a 10k." So we went down to the beach, and she beat me by five minutes. I mean literally I remember I came home and I go, "Okay, I'm going to do an Ironman."
I had seen Ironman on TV with people crawling over the finish lane, barely able to move, and it was just- of course that was my mentality of, "Okay, well why not do the hardest thing there is?"
So I ended up doing my first one a year later from that date.
Shawn Stevenson: That is nuts. Yeah, that's not what I feel when I see somebody crawling across the finish line. You know? But I think that this is sparked by something a little bit deeper that you go into in the book, and I think people can identify with this, you know?
There was like an addictive kind of atmosphere in your household. So can you talk a little bit about that? And how your dad kind of influenced you?
Peter Park: Oh yeah. You know, growing up- my dad retired really young, and I think that was a big mistake of his when he was around. He was only like fifty, sold his company, and we moved up to Santa Barbara when I was really young.
And he just was bored, and he drank, and I just saw- he wasn't one of those violent drunks, but it was just he was drunk in the morning, and he would embarrass me at volleyball games, and working out was just a huge escape for me.
I mean I would go to the beach- everyone still says, "What drove you to do what you did?" I mean I would ride my bike when I was twelve years old, ten miles to the beach, play until- would be down at the beach until 6:00 at night, ride home, and then go to the gym.
It was my way of escaping instead of turning to drugs, what a lot of kids do, mine turned to more of a- I don't know if I would call it a healthy addiction, because it was pretty far to the right.
And I learned a lot of lessons, and I still struggle with overdoing stuff, and that's been a big part of my maturity in the last five years. It was learning to have a little more balance.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, that's huge. That's an incredible evolution as a person. Because I think a lot of people that kind of embrace and get into endurance sports like that, they have a similar thing, you know?
In a way, you even kind of mentioned, like running from something, you know? In essence. There is definitely joy to be found there, in accomplishing things, but it can also be like a psychological thing where it can be unhealthy.
You know? But you found some balance in the way that you approach your training, and also just how you live your life, and it's kind of highlighted in 'Rebound.'
So what I want to ask you about now is- okay so you're competing, and you're like doing stuff at this high level. Like you're actually winning some of the toughest races out there.
What inspired you to start training other people though? Like where did that come about?
Peter Park: I think it started when I had kids. You know? My wife was an elite athlete, too. She was a runner and a mountain bike racer.
So you know, when we were first married, and we didn't have kids, it was like we're both very independent. We had great times together, but we were also able to go do our thing.
So when the kids came, it was like I wanted to be there for the kids, and I'd say the first couple years I had my best races. When my second son was born, that's where I raced my fastest running race.
It was a slow progression because I stopped doing Ironmans. There's no way to be balanced when you're training for an elite Ironman. There's no way.
I mean you can finish one, but to finish in the top, I mean it's a full-time job and you can't- I knew when I had kids, that was not going to be.
So that's when I switched to ultra-running and I had some of my best races when the kids were young. That's when I first started training Lance.
You know? Lance has always been a good friend. I knew him during the triathlon years, and whenever he came to town with his team, they trained here every winter, I would work with him and his team a little bit at the gym.
But then during his comeback, I started training him full time. I traveled to his house almost every other week for a couple months, and through Lance I met a lot of heavy hitters.
I mean he called me like, "You're like the secret that no one knows about." And so-
Shawn Stevenson: This is Lance Armstrong. So this is after he retired, then you guys got connected, and then you were working with him for his comeback.
Peter Park: Yeah, right he came to Santa Barbara and he was very out of shape. He might not like me saying this, but I could beat him in everything we did. I mean running, even on the mountain bike I could, but within a few weeks Lance- the real Lance came out, and that was when the Olympics was going on, and there were some swimmers who were over forty, and he was watching the Tour like, "These guys are soft. I could come back."
So quickly he was- very quickly, once he decided to come back, he's got sponsors, there's no turning back. So he came back, and then that's where I started meeting a lot of people in L.A.
And I got kind of- it's those connections everyone kind of looks for. You can be very good, but if you're not connected, it's hard to make it sometimes. To get to that next level.
I was fine in Santa Barbara training- there was a lot of wealthy people, but to go to that next level where I'm working with pro basketball, baseball, it was taking- I had to go to L.A. and do a little more.
And I just wanted to go to that next level, and that's when- there was no- that's when I decided- and I just started enjoying working with kids, and it- then it kind of switched over to my wanting to help others more than myself.
And that was a big transition for me because then it was letting go of- when you're an athlete, a lot of times, you're very selfish.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Peter Park: Once you make that change, it's like if it's between me making a workout and me getting one of my CEO guys in shape, I'd pick them, which before was not the case.
Shawn Stevenson: Man, that's powerful.
Peter Park: It's that long transition I was lucky enough and smart enough to make.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. Man, I was not expecting you to say that. That's a really profound statement, and that's so funny because we're just getting connected recently, so I'm very similar.
It's kind of weird even talking about it now, and I posted on Instagram maybe a couple months ago just about this, and the first sentence was like, "I was really selfish." I used to be very selfish and self-centered. But I didn't know because you're like in your own world, like you're in your own head. You don't realize that your actions are very self-centered.
It's kind of a natural progression, like kids for example, they're really about themselves. Like they want to be happy, and they don't have any kind of holding back on the fact that they want what they want.
But as we evolve and grow, I think we go through phases. But for me, I was very self- centered, but my life ended up- after going through a tragedy with my own health, and getting myself healthy, somehow I transitioned over to caring about other people so much more, and just wanting them to experience what I had to the degree that like I'm okay, so I started to focus on people.
And even today, this is a true story, this morning when I woke up, the first thing I asked was, "How can I serve today?" And I just kind of replay that thought in my mind whenever I even think about it. Like if there's some space there, I ask, and just let my brain ruminate on that.
And so hearing you say that is why you're great at what you do, and that's so powerful, man. I was not expecting you to say that.
Peter Park: Yeah what you just said was 100% almost the same transition I went through exactly. It was just caring about, and wanting to reach more people than I could.
Because that's my goal now, is like I want to do stuff like these podcasts, and books, and other things to reach as many people as I can to help them.
Because I'm the type that will walk down the street and see someone and be like, "I can fix that girl. I can fix her. I know exactly what's wrong with her."
And I want to go up to her and go, "Oh just do this," you know? But you know, you can't help everyone, and I've got to get out- because I tend to take on too much, and then that's when I have problems where I have to have a little balance here. I can't grab at everything I want.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, man that's so crazy. Same thing. Like I went through-especially when I was a strength and conditioning coach and working at a university, and seeing people all the time, just like I wanted to- and some people would probably be like, "Why didn't you say something?"
Because number one, I really am more so like if you ask me, because I've had people say stuff to me before, like I might be doing something, and they come over like they've got the cure. They're the whole expert in this particular lift.
Like man, I'm doing my thing. Like I don't need you telling me. You know? So having that aspect but also being willing to share when somebody asks you. I think that's where I was really at, but I had my eye out just like, "Man if they would just do this," or like watching that kind of thing and seeing the same kind of thing, like I can help fix it. Same thing.
So quick thing is you mentioned earlier with growing your career as a trainer, how big connections were, and I just want to highlight that because that's something else that I didn't believe in. Like I was very much lone wolf syndrome, and just like I'm going to do this on my merit, on my own.
I'm just going to be great, world-renowned, top nutritionist on the planet just on my own accord. And it just doesn't work like that. I had to get over that because really if we're going to do anything of great substance in the world, it's going to be with and through other people, and that's okay. You know?
Because I didn't like the idea of other people getting advantages because of who they knew, but the reality is you creating yourself to be valuable, and people knowing about you is like the biggest leverage point that you've got.
Peter Park: Yeah, I have to say, when I was younger and I first started getting some success- I mean I'm one of the most competitive people you know, and I would go- if I learned something at a seminar, I wouldn't want people to know, or I'd get kind of irritated if they would do it.
But now, I mean I surround myself with mentors, and any trainer that comes, I'll show them. I've matured so much that I want to see other people succeed now, where before it was like I was almost jealous if someone had success.
I looked at it as almost like a- I was feeling like they were better than me. And now it's like people come to the gym and watch me all the time, other trainers, big trainers, and big mentors now.
Like Pablo has become one of my good friends, and I just love how balanced- I'm surrounding myself with people who I respect and I see how they live their lives how I want to be.
And I see the young guys in L.A., and I'm like- and I understand like, "I was there, I know why you got where you are."
So I think I'm just older now, and I just can see the whole thing, and I see where I want to go, but I'm also happy- I want to bring other people up, and get them- I love to see other people's success, and that was a big maturity thing for me, and it's enlightened my life 100%.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow. Also, of course it's who you surround yourself with, and beginning of your career, and having that trainer partner early on, and kind of that transition for connections, you mentioned Lance Armstrong, and you also mentioned the book.
Say what you will about him with the stories, with the behind-the-scenes stuff, with the PEDs. But what was it about his mentality that regardless of any of that stuff it was something to really behold?
Peter Park: To this day, it's hard for me because I see an athlete- any endurance athlete, any athlete, and I'm like no one compares to him. I mean he left no stone unturned. I mean he worked harder than anyone I know.
He would go to the wind tunnel, he would weigh his food, and he knew- he was smart. He never over-trained, he just knew when to push, when not to.
For me being able to go see his physiologist work on him, and the threshold stuff, the training programs, I mean I got like a PhD in endurance training working with him. And he just out-works anybody.
But the thing is, there's out-working and there's over-working, as you know. Some people can have all the talent in the world, but if they've got some stuff going on in their life where they're using that as an escape, like I was a little bit, I mean you know, in my career especially early, I was always on the verge of over-training. Always.
I would have a few good races, but you know, a lot of the times I was always struggling, over-training and coming back, and I think a lot of people are still that way in a lot of stuff they do in their life. There just is so much in the high intensity, and this and that, they forget the rest is just as important as the actual training, if not more.
So he just was smart, and just no one could out-work that guy. I mean of course he had the genetics to go with it. So that's why I was spoiled, because so far no one I've had has even come close to what his work ethic and what he does.
Shawn Stevenson: So what I want to ask you about is- you know, you've been in the game for about three decades now, you know? Which is just like out of this world. So you just automatically would have a level of wisdom and insight and experimentation that other folks just don't have.
And so it was really interesting and refreshing to see that you had met Dr. Philip Maffetone.
Peter Park: Maffetone, yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And he kind of changed your paradigm. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Peter Park: To this day, yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Well this was 1991, by the way.
Peter Park: Yeah, this was early. This was early, and you know, a lot of- at this time I was getting top ten in Ironmans, traveling all over, but again I was always going up, and then I got mono, and then I got this, I got every injury in the book. I'd have great races but then I'd crash and burn.
Same with my diet, I mean I lived off sugar. It was just sugar, sugar, sugar. I thought, "Oh I work out eight hours a day, I can just eat whatever I want."
Then I started reading some of the top guys were working with Phil Maffetone, and he had this idea- I mean his basic thing was you've got to go slow to get fast. So it was you've got to build an aerobic base, keep your heart rate low, build a very strong aerobic foundation, and along with it instead of using sugar for your main source, use fat.
So that- I mean he was one of the early pioneers of low carb, good fats. He was the first ones, this was in the late '80s, early 90's. So I changed over and it was very weird to go from like eating Frosted Flakes and oatmeal.
I remember many times getting down to the seven hour ride, having a huge banana pancakes, and just not being able to pry myself off the couch. Like literally connected to the couch, can't get up.
So then it was the 40/30/30 back then, which is pretty similar to a lot of ways people eat now, the 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. I mean that was like the Zone type diet.
So that changed my whole world because I started to go on six hour rides with hardly any sugar, I was burning a different fuel for energy, and that changed my world in the long distance stuff because when I first started, I remember starting and saying, "Okay 180 minus your age is the heart rate."
So say if you're fifty, you have to go 130 or so. And I remember going at first like, "There's no way I can do it this slow. I mean this is ridiculous."
I still follow this with my clients today, and people just- the patience it takes to do this is a lot. So then quickly I see within seven weeks I was running 550 pace at 130 heartrate, 140 heartrate, which is phenomenal.
So you know, I still use these things with every athlete I have. I mean I think no matter if you're a power athlete, you're a golfer, anything, if you build that aerobic base you're going to recover quicker and if you learn to burn fat for fuel, you're just going to be better off.
The carb thing, there's a big controversy with carbs. I'm always go by your output. If you're a baseball player and not burning that many carbs, you can probably keep it 100 grams, 150 grams. And you know, as long as they're good.
And then with endurance athletes, add some quinoa. And I've been playing with the UCAN starch a lot. Just I'm always a guinea pig with my diet stuff. So right now I've been eating pretty almost ketone but then I just add a little of this UCAN starch and it has no influence on your blood sugar.
And I've had- I mean right now, I've only been doing this for like- I've been testing this five weeks and I haven't felt- I've never felt better as far as- I'm the one that will tell people, "I don't want you to go hard year round. Let's pick a few little sections here, maybe three weeks and go hard, but then let's build your base and go back."
Because I just don't think it's good for you to go high intensity stuff year round. You can't stay lean year round, you've got to give your body a break and kind of wave it, and that's kind of how I train all my clients.
"Okay let's pick a race, let's pick something that challenges you a little bit. Let's climb this mountain. Let's do something to challenge you, and let's train for it, and let's start with- I'll train you like an athlete."
It gives them purpose. "Let's start with almost like a really low carb and go really low intensity, build your strength, get you to burn fat and then we'll start adding carbs, we'll do some intensity, and do your race and then go back."
It's just a good way to train people. It keeps them engaged and it gives people breaks, and it's just- like I said, I've learned so much from all these people, and what I've done so many years, that I've kind of formed my own kind of philosophy and brand that goes with a lot of different people.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, now this is- I'm really excited to have you on and to share your story with everybody because there's a big shift that's taking place, and you've kind of been ahead of this curve, and looking at- when we're talking about people running ultra-marathons and Ironman competitions, and being fueled on conventional methods, and seeing people crash and burn, like you said.
And so this is in your book, 'Rebound: Regain Strength, Move Effortlessly, Live Without Limits at Any Age.' Alright? Again, this is from the book 'Rebound.'
Let me read this part from your story. So this is after you took on - reluctantly, a little bit - this approach of having a higher fat protocol.
"So this was on the day of the 2,000 Catalina Ultra. I was excited to see how I'd perform. During the race I fueled only with electrolyte replacement and a higher fat, lower sugar drink to power me through.
Over the five hours and forty-five minutes it took me to finish, I never felt the highs and lows of that energy roller coaster I had encountered in the past, and I broke the course record by twenty minutes.
My experiment of using fat as my primary fuel for racing was a rousing success."
Wow, that is crazy. Crazy.
Peter Park: Yeah, that was a bit 'what the hell' effect right there. And that was 2001, I still go to that today. I mean of course there's always science, and tweaks, and I got ketogenic maybe two or three times a year just to get my metabolism.
I can't live in ketogenic, I tried, things just didn't feel great, you know? If I wanted to go hard or I wanted to do some high intensity stuff, it didn't work.
When I'm doing my low intensity stuff, I'm absolutely fine with it. And my strength stuff seems to be fine on ketogenic.
But when I want to- I still like- like you talk about Ironman. I personally don't think it's a healthy lifestyle if you do them for twenty years.
If someone has, "Okay, I want to do one Ironman," I'm like, "Great, go for it." But as a lifestyle to do it thirty years, I mean it's not- I would say that's not healthy, you know?
That's like you might as well smoke cigarettes almost because of what it's going to do to your body.
But I always want everyone to have some sort of challenge, and that's why I try to get my clients to have some sort of goal other than just going in the gym. People don't plan enough. It's so mechanical that people don't crawl on the ground, they don't get up, they don't play.
They just go in the gym like, "Okay we're doing three sets of this." It's like, "Let's do something outside. Like let's find something you're a little uncomfortable with, and do it."
And just because people- I find all my clients are so much better off that way when they get out of their comfort zones and kind of challenge themselves. It gives them something a little more in their life to look for, and I think the physical- as you know with everyone, the physical can change your whole- I mean that's what I love about the CEO guys.
I can change the athletes, they're looking for that little 2% change, but I love when I take a CEO guy that has everything but nothing, he doesn't have his health, I mean it changes their life 100% around. It's like that's why I do what I do, because I can completely change someone's life, and I know that.
And everyone- like you said, everyone's different. Someone can go really strict, "Okay all we're going to do is get up, swings, and heavy farmer walks. That's all we're doing." Some guys can go, "Yes, that's it."
Then you've got another person. If I did that with everyone, I wouldn't have that many clients because there are some guys you've got to trick- I mean not trick, but you've got to find what kind of makes them, and still put your philosophy, but you can't do the same thing. You can't be strict in your output because you've got to be able to read the person and decide what's going to drive them.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. That's what great trainers do, great nutritionists, great physicians. They cater things to the person, and pay attention, you know? And so that's real words of wisdom.
I want to just take a quick step back. I wanted to highlight your approach in using a higher fat protocol just to let everybody know. We've talked about this on past episodes. It's not necessarily something that I subscribe to 100% for sure myself, but just know that it's possible, and it might be something that's ideal for you.
And versus carbohydrates, fueling yourself on all the gels, and all this different stuff, and all the sugar, it's kind of a dirtier burning fuel in a way, you know? We can look at what happens with advanced glycation end products, and issues with your blood sugar.
Like there are some definitely big questions there, so if you are competing doing these- which share with everybody, it's kind of an extreme sport if you're talking about doing Ironman competitions, doing ultra-marathons.
Think about maybe fueling yourself differently, and even training differently, which is what we're going to talk about next. So with that said, I want to talk about your training, and we're going to do that right after this quick break. So sit tight, we'll be right back.
Alright, we are back and we're talking with superstar trainer, Peter Park. And before we went to break, we were talking about nutrition, and fueling yourself possibly with a higher fat protocol doing even endurance related sports, and how like Peter was able to crush it doing that, you know?
But he doesn't subscribe to this 100%, and I think this is why he's so good at what he does, because even mentioning some cycling of carbohydrates, bringing in carbs especially when you're doing a higher intensity day, for example.
It's really about doing things that are appropriate for the time, for you, for where you are right now, right? And that can change, and just being aware that it's okay to change and adjust things, alright? So just keep that in mind.
So also before the break we mentioned fitness, and this is what you're really known for.
So you named the book 'Rebound,' alright? You named the book 'Rebound.' What does that mean in regards to fitness for folks?
Peter Park: The 'Rebound' came from in the gym in Santa Barbara in L.A. It's the clients, it's the people had kids, went to work, and they were athletes or maybe they weren't, and then they don't know where to start. And they're sitting, they're typing, they're inflamed from eating bad, they're overweight, and it's like they don't know where to start.
I've had many people go to get Insanity or whatever those things are and get hurt within a week. So what I want to do is, "Okay let's rebound you. Here's a healthy way to do it, here's the whole program, here's how to move, here's some cardio, here's some mobility stuff. Just follow this program and then it will give you the steps, then you can pretty much- you could go to these things and be a lot safer.
Some people can live in the 'Rebound' program. It's got everything in it. Once you finish it, you will be better and you'll move better, you'll be stronger, you'll be eating better, and then if you want to go on to do CrossFit, a marathon, whatever else, you'll have the tools and the foundation of strength and cardio to pretty much do whatever you want.
That's where- I just saw so many variables out there for people that they couldn't- they didn't know where to go. There's CrossFit, there's Mumba Jumba or whatever. There are so many exercise programs out there that people don't know where to start, and there are so many variables that it's like you can't control them all.
So it was like I wanted to give a program that would be like, "Okay, cut all the BS out of it and just do- this is what works." You know? And I've done it for fifteen years, I've done it with a million clients. Just this is very easy to do, it's very easy to follow.
It's common sense, common sense nutrition, common sense exercise, and it gives you a program because I didn't see anything out there that did- put all the programs together.
There was something that talked about weight lifting, there was something that talked about food, there was something that talked about how important building a cardio base is, but they didn't put them- people didn't know how to put them all together in a package.
So that's what I- and I wanted to tell it through me kind of honest and open. Like I've made a million mistakes and I wanted to tell it through my story in fitness and not making it like a textbook.
I didn't want to preach at people, I wanted to go, "This is how- this is the mistakes I've made, and this is how I came up with this stuff."
And it's been a lot of practice and a lot of heartache and a lot of stuff that went through this to get this book to be- to fine tune this to make it to help a lot of people.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, man. And you did such a great job, and I'm even looking at the programs here in the book, and how you walk everybody through it.
One of the things that you do, whether it's an elite athlete- we're talking like you've got folks who are winning MVP in baseball, you've got top performers in the world on screen, singers, all this stuff.
It doesn't matter who it is, even folks who are like- you would think they're the best movers in the world because they're athletes, and they're doing this stuff at a high level.
When they come in, you'll have them go through very basic fundamental movements to check things out, and you'd be surprised how often they're missing some of these kinds of functional patterns, right?
Peter Park: 100%. I mean right now I have twelve draft picks of the NBA, I'm working with them for the combine for the drafts, and I've done this every year for the past six years, and these guys are usually one and done’rs, that really haven't had a lot of work at the college level, they're usually eighteen or nineteen, and it's unbelievable like what I see when they come in.
I watch them on the court and they look like magic, you know? It's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. But you get them to do a squat or any kind of basic movement we should all be able to do, it's like there's more problems than the New York Times.
I mean it's like ankles are inflexible, they have no- I mean hips are loose, I mean hips are immobile. Almost like people that have been sitting driving for twenty years.
I don't know if it's just as kids we sit more, we don't run around as much, but it seems that every year it gets a little more- I try to unwind them. You've got to unwind these guys, and go and get them- put chains on the bar.
But it's like the best thing they need is just to show them how to tension their bodies, get some mobility, and just bring back their basic patterns.
I mean these guys are some of the best athletes in the world, and they're as bad as almost some of the CEO guys that haven't trained in twenty years.
So it's everyone. I mean very rarely do I see someone that comes in that hasn't trained with a good trainer that moves well. I mean a lot of people lose these patterns across the board.
Shawn Stevenson: And what I'm now understanding is that world class athletes are actually the very best, we're talking world class, at compensation. Right?
Peter Park: Oh, 100%.
Shawn Stevenson: So can you talk a little bit about that?
Peter Park: Yeah, I mean the few guys I've seen, I went and watched- all the GMs came and I went and watched them play, and the guy that I see has the most problems got the most rave reviews at the combine. And I see this guy, he can't squat more than twenty degrees because he has no ankles.
I mean his shoulders- one of the shoulders is totally rounded forward. So for him, I mean I go to him, I go, "Look after this, you're coming back and we're going to fix these things because you're an accident waiting to happen."
But on the court of these GMs, these guys should hire someone like me or you to go see these guys and go, "Look you guys, these things need to be fixed first before-"
They're good now, they're eighteen, but get them to be twenty-two. You've seen the NBA, you saw how many injuries there were this year.
And it's hard because there's that pressure from, "I've got to get them in shape for these combines," but it comes back where I've got to- just for my own purpose, I've got guys that can't do this stuff yet. They can't even squat.
The GMs started and the agents have all started to trust me now, and so I think that's needed especially in young youth athletes. I train youth groups almost- I don't really charge, I do it for free, I just love mentoring kids because you can- not to make all the mistakes we made, and they've got so much pressure from club sports.
Just to give them that gift of just moving from when they're young. I mean I've got great video of these ten-year-olds moving like perfect robots after six weeks. And once those patterns are set, they've got them forever.
Once they learn how to move and how to tension their bodies, lock in, and be safe. I say, "You've got to earn the right to lift weights." I mean it's a skill. Like lifting and strength training is a skill. It's not just someone could just go in and pick up that deadlift off the floor.
As you know, there's a lot that goes on there. There's a lot of lock your lats, tension, push through the floor. There's a lot of things and people just think, "Just lift that off the floor."
It's a skill like a tennis forehand. That's what I try to- I can give the gift to these NBA kids is learn how to move and you're going to go to all these programs where you could get lost in the shuffle and you're going to be safe. That's kind of my goal there.
Shawn Stevenson: I love the statement from Kelly Starrett when he said that it's not practice makes perfect, it's practice makes permanent.
Peter Park: 100%.
Shawn Stevenson: And so as they're doing this stuff with low level skill, for example on the deadlift, and creating those grooves, literally creating so that they're laying down more and more myelin in their brain to do this incorrectly.
They're creating this dysfunctional movement pattern that translates over into so many other things.
So you mentioned like the guy not having the ankle mobility. You might end up seeing over-development with the quads, strain on the knees, the posterior chain isn't working right. And you said it, he's an accident waiting to happen.
But what if we focus on these foundational things for everybody? Just right out of the gate so they can not only- the thing is what I'm hearing is the issue, and I know this because of myself, it's being able to just take a step back to slow down a little bit to focus on the small things so that you can do the big things even better.
You know? But we just want the big things now, big things now, big things now.
Peter Park: Yeah, you said it right there. People want it now. It's like the American way, "I want it now," you know? It's like they don't have- I remember training a couple kids group and one of the parents came and was like, "Why aren't they doing box jumps, and ladders?" Because he's not ready yet, you know?
So it's that mentality of all these variables that kids want to do, that sometimes the simplest programs are by far. Luckily I have some credibility so people listen to me.
So if I can get anything out there, it's to preach this. It's not really that difficult. Do a few things really well and you're going to be better off than if you do a lot of things horrible.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. So let's go through and just kind of list off some of those basic movements that folks should target being able to do and do properly.
So you mentioned body weight squat. What are a few other ones?
Peter Park: The hinge is probably most important I would have to say. Everyone has to have a good hip hinge and be able to go from the hips, and keep the back locked in.
Picking up a plant, picking up anything. You know, if you can't hinge, everything from the gym comes from that; the deadlift, the squat, the kettlebell swing.
So a beautiful hinge is great and it helps everything, so that's the number one thing I like to see people get and be able to hinge very tightly, and with good technique, and have that flat back, everything's locked in, you're going through your hamstrings and butt. That's doing all the work and not your lower back. That's the best. That's number one for sure for me is the hip hinge.
Shawn Stevenson: Got it. So we've got hip hinge, we've got squat- body weight squat. What else? What are some other things you test?
Peter Park: A lunge. You know a lunge. You know, people should be able to move side to side like a side lunge and load their butt and not their knees.
Basic body weight stuff. Pushups. I like seeing a lot of people that can do great planks, but you put them in a dynamic mode and they just turn into London Bridge, you know? Their back just gives- they can't hold a stable spine in anything dynamic.
So you know, working on that, the core strength is huge for me. Getting people not only just in a normal plank but in dynamic motions and things like that.
So core strength, shoulder mobility. A lot of people get stuck rounded shoulders. Thoracic spine is another huge one for me. People's thoracic spines get very congested, and that a lot of times will clear up a lot of shoulder issues if you can just get that moving a little bit. Move their T spine a little bit.
Shawn Stevenson: That's great. And to do some of these things, in the book you have various hinges that you put people in to do different exercises in the hinge position, which is really fascinating.
So hip hinge rows, you've got the kettlebell, kettlebell hinges as well behind the back. Some really interesting stuff that some of this is even new, like I've not seen. Really, really cool stuff.
Peter Park: What I try to do is just start people with very basic body weight exercises, isometric like from the foundation program that Dr. Goodman created awhile ago.
And then once they've got those hinge patterns down, then this stuff just becomes very easy, you know? Once you've got the foundation exercises down, you take them to the gym, and it's just like magic.
I mean I have a video of my son when he did- he never had done- when he was ten years old he'd never done a hex bar deadlift. I put him under and it looked like he did it for ten years because he knew how to lock in, he knew how to lock his lats, he knew how to do everything.
And it was just that was almost like I had tears in my eyes. I was like, "Oh this is exactly what I wanted to see." These kids transitioning from all this body weight stuff to this, and just becoming a segue into a very natural thing.
To see these kids do it safely and get them out of high school. I mean, I still have kids that have their own kids now that still come back and see me. That mentorship.
And I love to get kids from freshman year all the way up until they're seniors. I like getting a group of kids and kind of seeing that shy little twelve, thirteen-year-old, when they turn into these confident men when they're seniors. There's no better feeling than that, than seeing- teaching them about nutrition.
I know from just doing my own kid, that I have to be that safety zone with my kid. I can't be that food police. And I tried training my son, but once he got to be like twelve, I'm like, "I can see the writing on the wall." I was like, "This isn't going to work."
I want to be like he finishes a game, he comes to me and wants to go get something to eat and leave. You know, I saw that because I've seen some relationships wreck with parents that are overbearing.
So I always have another one of my trainers mentor my kids because it's just I can't be that guy. I've learned the hard way, not for me, but watching other parents that just really destroy their kids with- it's their experience, it's not their kid's. Bottom line.
Most of them were parents that weren't elite athletes. It's mainly they're kind of living vicariously through their kids.
They love them, and they're hoping- they keep thinking it's the best, but it's not. You know? It's like kids need that safety net when they go home that they're not nervous that their mom or dad is going to grill them about why they didn't pitch this pitch in third inning. You know?
So I learned- you know, it comes with age. I didn't think like that when I was twenty-five or thirty, you know? And that's when they say with age comes wisdom, and I just feel like as I get older I can look back and just see, "Wow, I've learned a lot over these years," and the mistakes I've made in watching other people make mistakes.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, that is absolutely brilliant. That's awesome, thank you for sharing that. Last thing I want to ask you about is interval training. I'm seeing this huge trend, I know you are too, you probably helped start the trend, of more folks who are doing endurance sports, endurance training are implementing intervals now.
And it's like of course the science is just amazing behind it in and of itself, but you're somebody who has a lot more practical application of whether or not it really does work for improving cardiovascular health, improving overall fitness.
So let's talk a little bit about why you use interval training in your gym.
Peter Park: Okay. Of course interval training works 100%, but it can also kill at the same time. So I'll give you a typical example. Let's say I have a CEO guy, type A, wants to get fit.
First thing I'll do is make him build an aerobic base, get a heart rate monitor on him, keep it under whatever their level is. I'll usually test them on some metabolic tests, but usually it's 180 minus your age. So if they're fifty it's 130.
Make them go there for four or five weeks, build a base. And I'll start doing some alactic intervals, what I call, where they'll go seven second power sprints to get a little bit of power. Seven seconds on. I found ten seconds is too long, the heart rate goes too high. Seven seconds on, thirty seconds off, sets of four.
They can still get a little bit of that endorphins going with some sprints but they're not going to that sugar burning, they're not- because I'm restricting their carbs at this time.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Peter Park: So then I'll go, "Okay, let's have a goal. Let's do a 2,000 meter row." Okay, that's where intervals come into play. And if you're fit aerobically, like you've got the aerobic base, you only need two or three weeks of high intensity.
If you don't have that, if you're not fit aerobically, like if you're still going hard all the time and your heart rate is not coming down after a minute, if you've built a big base and you can- say your pace was seven minute pace and now at the end of these five weeks you're at 5:30 miles, you're good.
So then you're ready. Once you have that aerobic base, the intervals, it just takes very few high intensity intervals to go to a peak.
So when I'm trying to get people to go, there's great intervals, but not all the time. It can kill. So build a good base, have a goal, do some intervals for awhile, and then go easy again. Kind of wave it with your eating and everything else. It kind of goes hand in hand.
Shawn Stevenson: Love it. Thank you for sharing that because also the recovery, you know? Even when folks are- you know, they find out the science about interval training, and even doing sprint intervals whether it's on a track or on a bike.
Understanding like this isn't something you do every day, first of all. You have to let your nervous system recover, you have to let your muscles recover. It's a very intense change that's happening in your body hormonally, with your neurotransmitters, and so thank you for mentioning that because a lot of folks glance past it.
They find out something- especially in our culture, it's like more is better. Right?
Peter Park: Yeah, one more thing. You get guys that go to spinning, you know? And they go to these spinning classes five days a week, and they're in intervals all the time and they're burning sugar, and they're hungry, and they wonder why they don't lose weight.
It doesn't take a brain scientist to figure out like- that's why I've kind of reacquainted myself with Johnny G who started spinning in the nineties, and he lost his house here in the flood when we did.
And we're creating this new spinning program where it's actual training. It's not just workouts. It's like Monday you have this, Tuesday you have this. You have recovery, there's a lot of recovery in it, and then for twenty minutes you get off the bike and you do a bunch of leg rebound mobility stuff.
You know? So it's more of a- that's where I want to reach more people. Like okay, this is a sustainable program that you can- if you eat well- we'll have a little dietary guidelines, and if you do this, you're going to be good.
But people just think, "Okay, I'm going to do spinning five days a week," and they wonder why- it's not sustainable to do that all the time.
Shawn Stevenson: So this is the guy who created spinning?
Peter Park: Yeah, Johnny G.
Shawn Stevenson: So this is what I want people to understand. You are working with these guys, you know? Like I want everybody to really get it. Peter is the man, you know? He's been in this a very long time at a high level, and he's really put together a great treatise here, just packed full of knowledge and insights of somebody who's been working with top people in the game.
And he's just still scratching the surface. Like I feel like even just talking with you, you've still got a lot on your mind, a lot of stuff that you want to accomplish.
Peter Park: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And so it's really great to be around you and to learn from somebody like you. So I highly encourage people to pick up 'Rebound.'
And I've got one final question for you, man. This has been incredibly enlightening, and I'm just very grateful to be able to hang out with you, and to get to know you more, and to share your wisdom with everybody.
Final question, what is the model that you're setting for other people with the way that you live your life personally?
Peter Park: Hard work pays off and you'll learn by doing. That's my- I mean you've got to get in there, and put yourself out there, and get uncomfortable, and you'll figure out stuff.
Shawn Stevenson: Love it. Love it. Peter, thank you so much. Can you let everybody know where they can find your book and where they can connect with you online? Where is the best place for people to find you?
Peter Park: Twitter. On Twitter I'm @PlatinumFitness. On Instagram I'm @PlatinumFitSB. And then you can get my book on Amazon or on the website www.ReboundFitnessBook.com.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect. Everybody, Peter Park. Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. Again, Peter is one of the top people in the world, and he's done it all. The whole spectrum with the bodybuilding, competitive sports, ultra-endurance training.
Such a wide variety of experience and then working with people at the top level in athletics all the way to folks who are just everyday folks trying to just get off the couch and do something. Alright?
So again, I highly encourage you checking him out. Check out 'Rebound.'
And one of the big takeaways for me was go slow to go fast. Go slow to go fast. I think that's a big, big insight for many areas of our lives.
We so often want to jump right to the glitz and glamour thing, we want to jump right to the success without building that strong foundation, and once we get our hands on some of it, if you haven't built that foundation, we end up losing it because we don't really know how to handle success.
We don't know how to handle having great health. We haven't built that foundation so we find a creative way to mess it up, if that makes sense.
We need to build a strong foundation physically, is what we're talking about specifically, here today with Peter Park. Work on the small stuff.
See this is a confession from somebody who likes to- like I want to go and deadlift 400 or 500 pounds. I just want to do that. Alright? It feels good. I enjoy that very much.
But missing out on those small things, of taking care of- doing the foam rolling and doing the bodyweight exercises, really making sure that my body is functional.
That's what really enables me to be able to do this, go slow to go fast, and to lift the biggest deadlift possible for myself, alright? Without any negative consequences. Just me getting better, and better, and better. You know?
So instead of running up against these invisible walls because we haven't created that foundation.
So go slow to go fast, take care of the foundational stuff, you know? Make sure that you are able to do basic movements, you know? The hip hinge, bodyweight squat. Being able to sit in a resting squat. I highly encourage people to do that one to five minutes a day at minimum.
Just being able to sit in a resting squat that our ancestors would be able to do all day. Alright?
And by the way, if you can't get in a resting squat and you go camping, you're not going to be able to poop right, alright? You've got to be able to do that just for basic human function.
It's how humans evolved, by getting in that position to just go poop. And now we have our grandiose thrones today, which- so for a lot of people they never even get in that position, you know?
Especially once they get into their adult years, so just work on getting in that position is another valuable insight.
Last thing, learn through doing. That's what it's all about. So taking action, putting this stuff into play so we can really get the results ingrained into our mind, body, and spirit.
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. Please, if you got a lot of value out of this, make sure to share it out on social media, Instagram, Twitter, all that good stuff, and of course you can tag me, tag Peter, let him know what you thought about the show.
I appreciate you so much. We've got some incredible show topics and guests coming up for you, so be ready. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.
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