I had the honor of joining Matthew DesRoches on the Oxidative Potential Podcast. Check it out!

>>>Listen Here<<<

We discuss:

  • My early research on heat transfer
  • How I got into researching metabolic flexibility and heart rate variability
  • The concept of physiologic flexibility
  • Blood glucose
  • Temperature changes
  • When to pull the physiologic levers
  • pH
  • Fuel systems
  • eustress/distress
  • lactate

Links to Dr. Mike



Physiological Flexibility Course

Metabolic Flexibility Course

Oxidative Potential Podcast Links

Phil Batterson Instagram

Resilience HPC Instagram

Youtube Link

Website Link

Rock on!

Dr. Mike T Nelson

Dr. Mike T Nelson

Dr. Mike T Nelson

PhD, MSME, CISSN, CSCS Carrick Institute Adjunct Professor Dr. Mike T. Nelson has spent 18 years of his life learning how the human body works, specifically focusing on how to properly condition it to burn fat and become stronger, more flexible, and healthier. He’s has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, a BA in Natural Science, and an MS in Biomechanics. He’s an adjunct professor and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He’s been called in to share his techniques with top government agencies. The techniques he’s developed and the results Mike gets for his clients have been featured in international magazines, in scientific publications, and on websites across the globe.

  • PhD in Exercise Physiology
  • BA in Natural Science
  • MS in Biomechanics
  • Adjunct Professor in Human
  • Performance for Carrick Institute for Functional Neurology
  • Adjunct Professor and Member of American College of Sports Medicine
  • Instructor at Broadview University
  • Professional Nutritional
  • Member of the American Society for Nutrition
  • Professional Sports Nutrition
  • Member of the International Society for Sports Nutrition
  • Professional NSCA Member

Oxidative Potential Guest Podcast

Matthew DesRoches:

Hey folks. On today’s episode, I have Dr. Mike T. Nelson, such a huge fan of this guy. He’s really digging into some of the areas I’m really fascinated in which you know, stem around hormesis and, uh, Rio stasis, homeostatic regulators. So one of the things that always fascinates me is when people like Mike continuously just put out great content for years and years and years on end.

Um, every time I listen to the guy talk, there’s always these new corners of, of physiology. Yeah, it’s just great. Mike and Mike also does a really great job in making things accessible. Um, you know, he’s, that’s probably one of his best skill sets is like, he can take some of these very complex topics and break them down into a way for basically anyone to have a grasp on them.

And also not just providing the information, but also giving useful, um, whether it’s protocols, whether it’s, um, you know, takeaways, things that are actually, um, you’re able to incorporate into your daily practice. So there’s tons of that stuff. In, in this episode today, we really dig into, you know, the four big homeostatic regulators, which is kind of the basis for Mike’s, uh, physiological flexibility course.

So I’ll link that stuff in the show notes. Um, and I, I hope you guys check out, you know, everything he has to offer. I’ll link all his Instagram, his website, everything there. Uh, this is a guy that is very well respected in the community. Like the amount of nice things I hear people say about this guy is, is just, yeah.

It’s, it’s awesome. So I was really happy to have him on the episode. Hope you guys enjoy and we’ll catch you later. Very, very excited to dig into today’s conversation here with you, with you, Mike it’s. Um, one of those things that it’s the central piece to what I would call like some of these pillars, um, that people strive for, whether it’s performance, whether it’s health and longevity, um, you know, whether it’s, uh, disease, reversal, um, whatever, whatever path it is that you’re, you’re, you’re trying to, um, you know, put your efforts into this.

This concept of physiological flexibility, I think is a, is a, is a huge. Concept that I think could be brought to the forefront. Um, more cuz I don’t hear, hear too much being talked about it. So this is actually a, a, a term coin by you. So I was wondering if you just give folks an understanding of how you got to this point of, ah, this is an important thing we should look at.

Like this is something cool that we should dig into.

Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. So how I got there was for my PhD, I started looking at metabolic flexibility and heart rate variability, and how I ended up there was I did a undergrad at bachelor of arts, natural science. I did a master’s in mechanical engineering. Uh, did a research primarily for the center of biomedical engineering, looking at heat transfer.

So I created a computer generated model of the military, zing the shit out of monkey heads. so literally like a big microwave transmitter pointed at a monkey head. And they wanted to see if there’s any deep tissue heating effects, uh, from it. So the microwave transmitter is in what they call the gigahertz range.

Mm-hmm . So at the time this is like mid nineties. They’re like, oh, it’s for collision avoidance systems on cars. I’m like, why does Brooks air force base in Texas give any two hoots about like collision avoidance systems on cars, but I’m like, whatever, I’ll do it. I need to graduate. Give me the money. And so I generate this computer generate model of heat transfer, uh, do that, publish it, finish that.

And then about five years later, my advisor, uh, sends me this little clip from the paper in a corner. It says, uh, military declassified Raygun project. And he goes, yeah, this was your research. I was like, it was he’s like, yeah, it was, was so classified. We couldn’t tell you it was classified so the military ended up making what they call, uh, you can look it up called active denial system.

And it’s this huge microwave transmitter on the back of a truck. And you point at a crowd of people and it feels like your skin is being burnt by a light bulb. As you go up in, uh, frequency range, your penetration depth gets real small. So if you’re at high power and you’re at the gigahertz range, your penetration’s like a couple millimeters mm-hmm

So I tell people like, if you had a. A microwave in the gigahertz range, it would just burn the crap outta the [00:05:00] outside of the food. And the inside would be just like completely frozen. Yeah. And then after nine 11, like every branch of the military wanted one for non-lethal crowd dispersal. Um, but it never really took off for that reason.

Uh, probably because it, it just sounds horrible. Right. You know, the headline would be, you know, cops use Ray gun on, you know, protesters or , you know, whatever. So it sounds bad. And then funny enough, a, a buddy of mine who was in the military, we got talking one night after drinking and he is like, he’s like, oh yeah, they used that on us.

I’m like, they did like, yeah, they were testing this thing out. And I’m like, how did it feel? He’s like, holy fuck. Like you’re in the middle of that thing. He’s like, you do not want to be there. Yeah. But he is like, the second you get out and you’re out of the beam, he’s like completely gone. Yeah. And few years after that, I was, I did a presentation for DARPA.

I was talking to a guy there and he’s like, oh yeah. He’s like, I was one of the operators of one of those. I was like, really? He’s like, [00:06:00] yeah. I was like, well, did the military ever use them much? And he is like, well, not really. Cause he’s like, the military is not so good with like non-lethal methods. We don’t really know what to do with them really.

And I said, well, he’s like, they did use it for a little bit. He said, and I’m like, well, what do you do? Like if, if someone is in the beam and they’re still coming at you, he goes, oh, we shoot him. Cuz they’re clearly a threat then I was like, oh yeah, I guess that makes sense. He’s like, no one in the right.

Mind’s gonna stay in that beam. He’s like, if they’re coming at you still he’s like, there’s something wrong with them. And they, they are a hundred percent gonna do damage to you. It’s like, oh, okay. That , that makes sense. That

Matthew DesRoches: actually sounds like something I’ve heard, uh, used in Cuba. Cause I know some Canadian diplomats have actually, um, put forth for compensation cuz they’ve had long term effects from.

Well, they, they CLA like, if you look in into the, uh, the article clippings for it, it was, it was considered a Raygun, but I thought it had to do with, uh, um, audio was a Sonic weapon, I think. Yeah. Sonic, sorry. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Mm-hmm yeah. So, um, um, that’s crazy. I’m sure someone probably siphoned some of the research from Russia and they’re probably using it plenty.

And in some of

Dr Mike T Nelson: these, oh, I’m sure it’s being used in other countries and who knows what, but, um, yeah, so I finished that and then I went back, I worked for med tech company for a couple years in cardiovascular research and I decided I’m like, well, I should go back and get my PhD. So I enrolled in the biomedical program at the university of Minnesota.

Got, got five years into that, just doing classwork, almost finished all my classwork. But I realized I didn’t wanna do any more math. I just, I, I remember walking into a class one day that was a class on MRIs. Cause I had to take an electrical engineering elective or physics, elective mm-hmm . And so the guys like the professor was like, Hey, you’re gonna learn all about MRIs and we’re gonna derive all the equations used in MRIs and starts writing stuff on the a board.

And I’m sitting there and I’m like looking around, I’m in there with, you know, PhDs and electrical engineering physics. I’m like the only mechanical engineer in there. I poke the guy next to me like, Hey man, do you even know what he’s writing on the board? And he’s like, no, and he’s just like frantically copying stuff down.

So I’m like, uh, I’m outta here. So I left there. Go over to the physiology department. And the first day in fall, I get in there. My advisor walks into the room. He is like, Hey, it’s our first day back. He’s like, we got two brand new projects. One’s on heart rate variability. One’s on metabolic flexibility.

And they both involve a lot of math. I’m thinked. You gotta be shit me. And so he looks around the table and he points at me at the end. He’s like, Hey, you new math boy, whatever your name is like, these are your projects. Now it’s like, oh shit. Okay. Um, but it turns out the math wasn’t, wasn’t really too bad in them.

Mm-hmm . And so for my PhD, we were, we were trying to figure out how do you quantify fine scale variability [00:09:00] across different physiologic systems. Right? So if you like at heart rate, your heart rate, shouldn’t be like an, like a metronome. If it’s like a metronome, like you’re, you’re screwed, like you’re in a world of hurt.

There should be this little bit of variability. If we monitored your heart at rest during this conversation, it might be like 61.5, you know, 59.8 60.4. It’s gonna oscillate a little bit up and down and that’s heart rate variability. It’s just fine scale variability across heart rate. And it turns out most physiologic systems we’ve studied actually have some fine skill variability, whether it’s, uh, sway gait, uh, there’s some stuff with eye position, depending on what eye function you look at.

Mm-hmm . And so I was trying to do this with metabolism. So we took people, we hooked ’em up to a metabolic cart and we put ’em on steady state exercise after we baseline them and all this stuff. And if you’ve ever done enough metabolic testing at steady state, you just get kind of bored, right? So you’re watching numbers like the R R kind of bop around.

So the R R is this little number that tells you a percentage of fat percentage of carbohydrates. And if you pick up any physiology textbook, it says, if you’re doing steady state exercise, then. This number is fixed at whatever it is for that person. So if it’s low level, you would expect like 0.7, five.

And because they’re at steady state exercise, they can go for a long period of time. There’s not a lot of accumulated fatigue. The number shouldn’t change, but for a shit, when you watch it, it’s like 0.7, 2.7, 3.7, 6.74. It oscillates, but it oscillates around this number and I’m like, Hmm. And at first you’re thinking, oh, it’s just a machine error.

The machine’s not working well. But then, you know, you’re grad students, you’re doing frigging hundreds of these things and you see it happen on most people, but then you’d have people that walked in where you didn’t see it happen. You’re like, whoa, that’s weird. So we’re like, Hey, maybe there’s something there.

Maybe there’s variability in this R. is a marker for metabolic flexibility. So just like every other physiologic [00:11:00] system, if we put you in steady state, we should see some fine level oscillation mm-hmm . And could this be an indicator of metabolic flexibility? And if it is, we would then have a low intensity exercise test we could do, um, instead of some of the other methods that had been used.

Um, so that was a basis for my PhD. So we did publish a study on that, doing engage R and. We did show that it is repeatable. You know, if you bring people in the lab, they’ll repeatedly show the same patterns. Um, unfortunately, no, one’s followed up to see if that actually means they’re metabolically flexible or not.

So if any research goons are listening, you want a project to do. I’ve been trying to sell this. I dunno how many people for coming up on seven years now, and everyone thinks I’m a lunatic. Um, but hopefully someone will see if it means anything or not. So I got interested in physiologic systems and how did they change?

Because we’re sort of taught from exercise physiology that there’s this men and there’s this max and that’s kind of our capacity and that’s just kind of the end of the story. I’m like, oh, okay. Well, what about other systems where the men in the max are like highly regulated, like blood glucose, right?

Your, your body can’t tolerate big changes in blood glucose that well, especially chronically mm-hmm right. So chronic level of blood glucose in your blood at any one point for a normal persons, like one teaspoon of sugar, mm-hmm like, it’s not a lot. And it’s extremely tightly regulated. Granted disease processes type two diabetics.

It gets all squirrly. Um, but then you look at things like pH pH is incredibly tightly regulated, uh, temperature, tightly regulated, and for physiologic flexibility, after I got done looking at metabolic flexibility, I was like, oh, well, that’s kind of cool. How much of your body can you use carbohydrates?

How much can you use fat? And then how well, and how fast can you switch back and forth? Oh, so it’s a dynamic system. Oh, cool. Well, what if we take. That concept and just apply it to all the physiology. So what systems then is your body holding steady that it has to hold constant, but yet each one of those has a massive capacity that could be trained, right?

So these is examples, temperature, right? Your body can’t really go too many degrees higher or lower. If we look at actual core body temperature, if it goes either direction, you’re, you know, in heat stroke or you’re dying of hypothermia. However, I mean, humans have been in crazy environments, even without technology.

Uh, granted not for long periods of time, but, uh, for, you know, several minutes, several hours, depending on the conditions. And what’s cool is we all know like physiology 1 0 1 that’s that’s trainable, right? Heat, acclimation, you know, altitude, all these things. So it’s not. We want to try to change your core temperature.

We want your body to get better at defending that core temperature in the face of other adversity or other stimulus. And to me, that was like the thing that I think is kind of missed.

And then once you get that, then you can look to see what systems does a body hold constant. So for physiology flexibility, can you train both cold and heat in order to get better at temperature regulation?

And then you can go on to different systems from, from there? Yeah,

Matthew DesRoches: that was a, that was a very interesting path, actually. Like, you know, because a lot of people that, that get into, I would have to guess, um, you know, homeostatic regulators, uh, Rio stasis, allostasis, mm-hmm, all these different things they’re coming from strange places, cuz no one just goes into.

Nobody does. Yeah, no one comes in from undergrad to be like, oh yeah, I’m gonna study. But it’s like, you know, if you look at the pathway, these toxicologists coming to find like, oh yeah, these plants respond differently. And you know, all these different things where, you know, the whole, um, you know, hormetic, uh, response, like the hormetic response to, you know, phytochemicals and supplements that people take.

Like that’s a lot of these things are really the basis of how a lot of the things that we, uh, you know, engage in work, right. Whether it’s, you know, curcumin and some of these other things that we, that we, uh, experience are anti, um, uh, sorry. Yeah. Like, uh, what was I gonna say? Antioxidants antioxidants, and some of these things, um, also like exercise, right?

Like all this, this kind of all shapes into, we’re trying to make a more resilient human being. We’re all trying to make a more, um, anti-fragile I guess you would say too, like we seem to lab, um, and, you know, the, the more we can acutely kind of put stress on these things, um, there seems to be some benefit to that.

And there seems to be also some cross tolerance too. Like, um, I got a really good textbook, uh, it’s called hormesis and health and longevity. It’s a who? It’s a great, great textbook. I’ll have to read

Dr Mike T Nelson: that one. I haven’t sent

Matthew DesRoches: that. Yeah, no, I’ll, I’ll send a, I’ll send a link to you of yeah. Where you can get it.

And you know, some of the stuff I’ve read in there, I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about cuz people would literally throw you out for a co like low dose radiation. Um, but if you actually look through the research on it, it’s, it’s quite convincing and there’s actually these fairly intricate, uh, dose responses that if you’re actually playing within the right ranges, you can get great benefits to a lot of things out there.

Um, yeah, Lithium’s that. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Right. Like the, the low dose lithium orate or mm-hmm or, um, um, yeah. So what are, what, like, where do you start with trying to pull the, pull these levers with folks? Because what I found is, you know, trying to pull some of these levers with people can be really difficult if they don’t, you know, really have a basis to work from.

So when do you start trying to pull these levers with people? When is it that you say, Hey, this would be something to look at?

Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. So the. You can do ’em at any point, but for me, my baseline is, you know, what’s your exercise look like, let’s get that dialed in. Yeah. Let’s make sure your nutrition is, you know, halfway decent, just I’m biased.

Cause I designed the flex diet cert for nutrition, recovery mm-hmm and then, you know, do the best you can with sleep. Right. You know, it’s not gonna be perfect and I don’t expect it to be perfect and have some moderate idea of your outside stressors, you know? So once you got the basics down, pretty good, you know, 80, 90% of what you think you can do with, you know, your constraints at that point and your job, your life, et cetera.

Mm-hmm um, then I would say. Adding these other things are beneficial. And then also depends on what your goals are to me. My bias is if you’re looking for real longevity benefits, I would hedge my bets pretty hard in this direction. Mm-hmm right. We know that most people listening to this, not surprised that, you know, lower body strength, muscle mass is number one or top three for longevity, uh, VO two max massive effect, and then grip strength.

Mm-hmm , uh, grip strength probably is more of a correlate of total body strength, but mm-hmm my guess is it’s probably a two way street. Um, so those are gonna be your top three, but then after that, I mean, God, you could go on the internet and spend years just finding who knows whatever stuff. Um, I think if you’re looking at longevity through the eye of function, I think the body is survival based and it’s gonna do whatever it can in order to survive.

So my bias is I’m gonna hedge my bets towards what’s gonna make it function better and function over a wider dynamic range. Right. And we can look at as people age, what do they lose if they don’t do anything? Right. So my grandma passed away about two years ago. Now she was 101 I believe. But when we went to visit her in the nursing home, man, that place was like 76 degrees Fahrenheit all the time, hot as balls in there all the time.

And these poor people are in there, like freezing, you know? And you realize [00:19:00] that, oh my gosh, like they, they can’t regulate their temperature. Mm-hmm like they have a very hard time regulating temperature. And she had, you know, some issues with pH. She had some different urinary tract infections. And when, you know, at the end, she wasn’t able to move a whole lot.

But when she was able to move, she would go for walk. She would have her Walker, like you could set a clock that after about 30 seconds, like that was her max mm-hmm and you can see like the drop off in some of the different energy systems where the sort of higher intensity energy systems were still kind of there, but all aerobic base was like completely gone.

Yeah. Um, so it’s just fascinating to look and say, okay. So if we think it’s these things, do these things then degrade over time. If there’s no stimulus they appear to, um, can we train them? Cause if we can’t train ’em, we can’t make any changes to ’em then it doesn’t matter either. Right. You know, right now we can’t really change genetics and some other things then probably in the future.

But eh, maybe we can, now it depends on where you go and what country you’re in, but yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, and most people [00:20:00] can, you know, train temperature, for example. Mm-hmm um, the good part too, that I usually try to sell to clients in terms of getting ’em to do it is. If you haven’t done it a lot, you’re probably one gonna suck at it.

And two, you don’t need much. Yeah. Right. Like if you’ve never exercised much, like you could probably get bigger biceps by lifting soup cans, if you’re really weak. Yeah. Right. You know, you don’t need to do a whole lot when you’re new. Um, most people it’s just like, eh, if you go for a run and a warm day, you know, don’t give yourself heat, stroke, start easy, but exercise outside shocker, you know, turn your shower at the end to cold for 10 seconds.

Right. There’s things you can do even with just temperature and you probably don’t need a whole lot of exposure. Like we don’t have a lot of really good dose response studies with it. Mm-hmm . Um, but I don’t think you need a huge dose of it to start. And if anything, I found that. Actually detrimental. Um, so when, when COVID happened, I stopped traveling and stopped, you know, teaching in different locations and countries.

And I had just gotten a 15.6 cubic inch freezer and had sealed everything off. So I made my own cold water immersion. So I used my bike and my rower, and I’m like, Hey, this would be a good time to do some aerobic based training, which I hadn’t done for a while, since I’m at home for God knows how long mm-hmm.

And I just started at 50 degrees and just said, I’m gonna do 30 seconds. And then once I can slowly over time, usually a couple months, I get up to doing five minutes, pretty easy at 50 degrees, then I’m gonna go down to 49 degrees again. So I had the luxury of controlling the duration and the, the temperature.

Yeah. So it took about two years and I was able to get down to, you know, 43 degrees, relatively easy. Um, and then we started traveling again, went down to Costa Rica a little bit, you know, took three weeks off of doing it, came back and I had left the freezer at, it was probably around 42, 43 degrees. And I’m like, eh, I don’t wanna warm the water up again.

It was like my was cold. And like, I’ll just, I’ll just start at 43 and one, it sucked horribly. It sucked worse than normal. And two, what I realized was it was really hard for me to add time easily. Mm-hmm now again, I could sit there and I could white knuckle my way through it a hundred percent, but. To make it easy.

It was, I just couldn’t really make a lot of progress. Yeah. And I think it’s because it was probably a little bit too much of a stimulus I was trying to force on my body. So I do think that a easier kind of UREs approach is needed. And if it’s a novel stimulus, you can start with something that’s pretty easy.

Cuz you don’t it’s like training. Right. You don’t need the fancy, you know, red secret squirrel, Russian 17 period eyes, the nuts program. Yeah. But you have never trained before, right? yeah. Just go to the gym and pick something up and put it down.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. Yeah. No that that’s it’s, it’s so vital for people to take.

It’s funny. I was just having this conversation with my dad today and he was talking about like, you know, I go in and I do my 1200 reps every day. And I’m like, and, and he is like talking about this cycle of like getting outta shape, getting in shape. And I’m like, well, you know, there’s your problem, right?

Yeah. You’re reaching way too high. Um, and it’s just not sustainable and trying to wrap the conversation around, you know, what’s the most sustainable path from here and, and it’s right. Like whenever I first got into, um, you know, cold immersion and stuff like that, you get into it from this point of like, oh, I wanna challenge myself and, oh, I wanna, you know what I mean?

Like it’s just, and then it, you quickly learn that, you know, that’s just not sustainable or if you are gonna sustain that, it’s going to cause you problems. Uh, uh, and, um, yeah, no, that that’s, that, that was that’s really, you know, interesting to hear, like, you know, this. This is the way that I found, like trying to add time, because that is what I try and, and tell people with these things, you know, it’s, it’s kind of the minimum effective dose because you know, obviously more [00:24:00] sustainable, but also like, you know, these regulators, whenever you it’s this vicious cycle, like when allostatic load increases the energy cost to try and maintain homeostasis back again, just gets increased.

And it’s just this vicious cycle. It’s kind of like, for example, with this forward head posture, we see all the time. Now it’s a text neck. Like every inch you put that head forward. Now your body’s expending so much energy to try and get back to, to relatively neutral, whatever that is for whoever. Um, so whenever these things get outta balance and it’s, it’s hard to try and sell it to someone where, you know, they’re at that tipping point of like 35, you know, 45 where they’re.

Starting to lose that ability to regulate temperature fairly well. It’s like, Hey, go get in cold water now, you know, it’s it’s, even though they it’s, you’re not 16 anymore. Like it’s hard to try and sell that to someone, um, and say, Hey, this is, this is going to benefit you in the future. Um, but it’s, there’s a disconnect there because people don’t think of regulating temperature as this huge metabolic cost mm-hmm

Um, until you’ve ever been in a situation where you are trying to like, whether it’s ultra-marathons and, and your ability, you know, later in the later stages where it’s just like, I can’t regulate my temperature. I was talking about this with someone the other day. Um, and he was saying like, I could just physically feel the amount of energy and calories I was burning, just trying to stay, um, in that range.

So, oh yeah. Yeah. So it it’s interesting, like it’s, um, you know, Let’s let’s talk a little bit about pH, like where do you go? Cause I know we, everyone for everyone out there, you know, 7.3, five, 7.45, there’s this very finite range you wanna stay in when you’re to, to be in, um, you know, homeostasis we’ll call it.

Um, but what, what do you try and, and, and kind of put forth to folks to help challenge that system and its ability to buffer [00:26:00] in these things.

Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. So pH you, your options are make something more acidic or more basic, right? You’re either gonna go sort of up or you’re gonna go down, um, with up the easiest way to do that.

And something you have the most control over is gonna be like legit high intensity exercise. Mm-hmm , you know, there, you’re looking at the typical, my air quotes here, you know, lactic acid training, lactic acid bugs of shit outta me, cuz it doesn’t really stay around for more than like two seconds and literally disassociates into lactate and hydrogen ions.

And lactate actually gets recycled as a fuel and does lots of beneficial things. But the hydrogen ions are literally an acid. Like you are literally dumping acid from the muscle into the muscle and then consequently into the bloodstream. So hydrogen ions, right? pH mm-hmm more hydrogen ions is more of an acidic load.

Um, the catch with that is for people who are new, you have to do some pretty [00:27:00] crazy high output stuff. Um, in the lab we used to do wind gates. Uh, for people are not familiar. We had these old, they still use ’em now called Monarch bikes. It was kind of an old analog way of being able to drop super high Watts on someone instantly.

So you would come in, you’d get on the bike, you’d pot, all you’d warm up. And then we like, all right, then you would say, And then have to start peddling as fast as they possibly could with just like 50 Watts. So very little load. And then when it was ready, you hit this little lever that drops load onto this wheel that compresses it.

And so what happens is you go from like 50 Watts, you’re peddling as fast as you can to, you know, sometimes 400 or more Watts like instantly. And then your goal is to pedal as hard as you can against that super high resistance for, you know, 20 or 30 seconds. And if you’ve ever done it, it, you know, the first 10 seconds, you’re like, ah, I don’t know.

Everyone thinks this is so bad. This isn’t so bad. Yeah. Yeah. And then like 15 seconds, you’re like, yeah, this is starting to suck. The last, like, you know, 10 or 15 seconds last five seconds are just absolutely like excruciating. Yeah. It feels like someone just dumped concrete into your legs and people would get off and, you know, walking like a baby giraffe that just stood up and we would have a running total of how many puckers you’d have, cuz people would run to the bathroom and throw up and all sorts of crazy things.

Would. Um, but that, when that happens while your muscles have that sensation, that literally feel like they’re burning, or if you’re doing, you know, 20, 30 reps of like a leg extension where you have that burning sensation, that’s, that’s literally an acid that’s being dumped into your body. And then your body has to find a way to buffer and compensate for that.

So you’re putting more acid into the system. The body has to deal with that because pH can’t really get that dysregulated and healthy people in, you know, other pathologies, it can definitely get dysregulated and they get septic and all sorts of things. Um, and the two main ways, at least from a muscle physiology way, you’re gonna try to buffer that is in the muscle, [00:29:00] the main muscle buffer or something that compound called Carine mm-hmm

Um, so biochemically, you can get more Carine by potentially taking Carine as a supplement. Although that turned out to be quite expensive. Uh, the main way is by taking a supplement called Beal, which people I’m sure, probably heard of. Bed alanine combines with AAL, histamine and forms. Intramuscular Carine turns out beta alanine is the right limiter of that process.

So depending on what you read, you know, six, maybe nine grams of beta alanine per day, or four to six, maybe eight weeks, you have better buffering of intramuscular Carine. That is the buffer that can now go around and eat up some of those hydrogen ions. So what you’ve done is you’ve actually increased the buffering capacity exercise itself obviously is gonna help the buffering capacity, um, in the blood.

The main one you could use as a supplement would be just old school baking soda. Yeah. So baking soda is a blood buffer. The downside of it is you have to be very careful with the dosage. Cuz if you use too high of a dose, you will literally shit yourself which is not fun. Yeah. At very minimal you’ll have massive GI upset because it’s disrupting, you know, the acid in your stomach along the way.

Um, years ago I read all the studies on that and I used it with a Danish, uh, top level kayaker mm-hmm and I was reading all his studies and he was doing pretty good. He had this threshold, we just couldn’t quite get him across. So I’m like, oh yeah, this is like, you know, two, three, maybe 4%, depending on what you read, what you believe again, not a huge benefit, but to someone who’s a elite athlete, I mean, shit, a 1% is for taking a supplement.

That’s that’s a pretty big benefit. Yeah. So we had to do it in a few practice runs and then. It went well till I upped the dose a little bit too high, and I was watching his flip times and I said, said, Hey man, like what happened to that, that race? He’s like, oh, he’s like, I was so afraid. I was gonna shit myself in my boat that I couldn’t concentrate on.

Anything was like, it didn’t happen. He didn’t, but we just stopped using it then, because just the thought of you, me even mentioning him taking it again, he just got so tweaked out about it. That, yeah, like his performance just went off the cliff. Um, but if you can handle it and you start the small dose and you spread it out and you do all these things and, and some people can handle it better than other people too.

Yeah. Um, but those would be two ways, at least from a biochemical standpoint, you can increase it. Obviously doing exercise repeats are gonna be, uh, beneficial for that too. Uh, I dunno if you have any questions on that part, we can give the other end of the pH yeah,

Matthew DesRoches: no, that was great. Like, I’m a, I’m a huge fan of, uh, Sodium by carbonate, but it is, it is a very finicky supplement, like, um, me and Phil were actually talking about that today on the podcast.

And, um, there’s some, there’s some new research going on with David Bishop and it was all proposed by some Australian. Um, she was an Australian endurance coach who just kind of said, youknow, um, lactate isn’t, uh, lactic acid. Isn’t good for the mitochondria. And he’s like trying to wrap his head around.

Like, I don’t think she kind of is putting it together. And then he actually investigated, um, you know, what, what, what does lactate and lactic acid right in, in quotes? Um, what, what happens there with, with signaling in the mitochondria and then he got into, you know, sodium by carbonate, um, and some of the stuff he’s he’s he’s coming out with now is super interesting.

Like it’s, it’s a completely different framework of, you know, the whole 0.3 per, uh, 0.3 grams per kilogram and, you know, buffering high intensity. There’s some like, I mean, obviously MNA, singling is not, is not optimal, but some of what he’s putting out is actually quite interesting. Um Hmm. But yeah, that’s um,

Dr Mike T Nelson: what was his main thesis?

Matthew DesRoches: Do you remember? Uh, he was just trying to investigate, um, essentially mitochondrial biogenesis in, in different, uh, pH environments. Hmm. So essentially saying that, you know, if we can create a, a in the blood and potentially, you know, anyways, yeah. I have to dig that up again because I haven’t, I haven’t looked at in a long time.

It’s super interesting. Um, but yeah, that, that is, it is like, it’s funny because , you know, there is, there’s this, uh, humor man calls it like limbic, friction. Yeah. Um, I like that. Where it’s, you know, anything that is going to move the needle on any of these regulators is going to take a little bit of, uh, you know, pushing past resistance.

It’s not as easy as just, you know, going on the machine and just kind of like lollygagging around mindlessly. It’s gonna take a little bit of, of mental effort to try and engage in the process. Um, so yeah, like that that’s really, um, you know, I think it’ll be good for folks to hear like, Hey, you know, um, going out there and getting after it is going to show some benefit and, and, and some of these, [00:34:00] these regulators, and I think too, this is something that I’d like to get your take on before we move into kind of, some of the other ones is like, as an, as an athlete, um, you know, the way way, the way I look at it is if, if your body can spend more energy and spend, and we’re talking about adaptation, right, there needs to be some energy there to adapt to, right.

Because. Obviously know if we’re in a calorically restricted state, we’re not going to adapt to certain things as well as we could be if we’re in a surplus. Um, so if we can, you know, kind of stave some of this energy, um, instead of putting it to the homeostatic regulators where we’re trying to like catch this, you know, chaos that’s going on and put it more towards adapting to what we’re trying to get after.

Um, do you kind of look at it that way, because I see some athletes that, you know, whether it’s blood glucose, um, whether it’s, uh, temperature regulation, I’m like, I can’t believe that you [00:35:00] can’t, you know, kind of maintain in this environment. And I think that if you could enhance these, you’d probably be much better served.

Do you kind of see it the same way or do you see, think it’s not as, yeah.

Dr Mike T Nelson: In higher level athletes. I actually want those things to literally be a non-issue. Right. Meaning that if they’re a baseball player and they’re competing out in the heat in a perfect world, I want them to be so heat adapted that it doesn’t matter.

Like, oh, it’s hot out today in human. Ah, no big deal. Like I’ve done this a hundred times. Like their body can, you know, regulate and do fine. So that one, their performance is better. Two mentally it’s easier. And three, you know, hypothetically, like you said, from a resource standpoint, it’s like, you already have all those adaptations there.

You’re not creating anything new. So you don’t have to, I don’t think dedicate much resource to hold onto it. Mm-hmm , it’s just. [00:36:00] Trying to get stronger or get more muscle versus maintaining it. Yeah. Like you can, you don’t really have to do a whole lot to maintain, you know, but the higher level you go, you gotta have to do more stress in order to get that positive adaptation, because it’s just gonna take more overload and you have to do something you haven’t done before.

So for higher level athletes at the end, I would want it to be almost like a, a non-issue. Yeah. Like, am I really worried about them trying to balance their pH? Nah, no. I mean, again, if you get into some, you know, sprint intervals or some, you know, races, it’s still always gonna be an issue, but yeah. For most of them you’d want to have such a high capacity or what’s what I think of like as a buffer zone that they’re not even getting close to it.

Yeah. But amazingly enough, a lot of athletes have like never, never thought about it. Mm-hmm like you watch their performance on. A day, it’s just a little warmer, not horrible. And it’s just, yeah. Then you ask them like, Hey, have you ever done [00:37:00] any heat exposure? Like what? Like, you know, especially if they travel, right.

I mean, how many athletes go to compete in Kona and just get blasted by the heat and humidity? Yeah. You know, obviously it’s, it’s well known that people train for that now, but you’d be amazed how many people are like, yeah. I just thought it’d be a little warm. I didn’t think it’d be that bad. It’s like, no, in a perfect world, you have to train for that.

And even then you’re, you’re screwed, but yeah, yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: No, it’s, it’s, it’s funny because like, um, that, that’s the one thing I do see, especially when we’re talking about whether it’s endurance athletes or, or CrossFit athletes in particular, um, environment is a really big, big player in the game, right? Yeah.

Because trying to, for example, um, you know, you miss your water bottle. On on the, on the aid station or whatever it is. Um, you know, I was always a big proponent and I used to hear people talk about this and I couldn’t I’m like, [00:38:00] is there something there to be gained? Um, killing Jordanne I don’t know if you know who that is, but he’s a, he’s a famous ultra runner.

He’s probably one of the best in the world. He’s he’s legendary. And Camille Herron, she’s an ultra runner as well. She’s yep. I know her. Yeah. So I remember both of them talking about, you know, doing these, some of these longer duration efforts, um, with no water and, you know, my background was like, oh, the stroke falling, ah, what are you doing?

You’re gonna, you know what I mean? Yeah. Make sense. You’re not gonna get the, yeah. And then when I started, you know, reading into some of these journals in extreme and human performance in extreme environment, it. Oh, yeah, no, that makes sense. There, there probably is some adaptations to be, to, to be yielded there from going in slight dehydration for a short period of time.

Um, and we see them kind of akin to some of the same ones that, and that’s why they’re used with heat adaptation, um, you know, plasma volume, all these other things. Um, so yeah, that, that is interesting. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s true because like, you know, any little [00:39:00] monkey in the wrench, you know, if that’s gonna throw off your whole game, well, if you’re in a, uh, in a sport where you’re competing with the elements, you know, you probably want to have those lock, um, whether it’s cold heat, um, yeah.

Dr Mike T Nelson: And you’d want on a train and what’s, to me is the worst case scenario. Yes. Right? What is the, you know, most of these events are public, right? You can pull all the records and see if you wanna look at Kona, you can see what the humidity was, what the average temperature was, what the surface temperature was.

And. I get it. If you’re not a high enough level athlete where it’s just a resource limited thing and you’re gonna do the best you can got it. Totally cool. But if you have the resources to do it a lot, not a lot, but some of ’em are just, the thoughts never entered their head. Mm-hmm and like, you talked about going some distance without water.

So I’ve had some people do runs long runs without carbohydrates, without water. Mm-hmm again, you’re not being an idiot. To me, the framework then is it’s a, a UREs or a distress [00:40:00] model. Yeah. So UREs EU stress stress, you can generally recover from in a reasonable timeframe. Mm-hmm yeah. My bias is, you know, probably 90, 90 plus percent of your training’s gonna be a U stress.

Your goal is gonna be acute performance on that day. Get the adaptations you want. You’re gonna match what I call macro matching. You’re gonna match the fuel to what you’re burning. So if it’s a high output event, you’re probably gonna have more carbohydrates, et cetera, but there’s a time and a place for distress training.

Mm, so distress where adaptations are gonna take you much longer to see on the back end mm-hmm and your goal, there is not necessarily acute performance. Your goal is the molecular adaptations that you hopefully will, you know, translate trans mutate, whatever system you want to use into a higher level performance.

You know, 1, 2, 3 weeks later, or you’re doing some type of, you know, mental training. So going for a long run without fluid or any food, depending on the athlete to me would be almost more of a distress session. Yeah. Um, you’re, you’re trying to get some of these adaptations that you may not get. Otherwise, the caveat is you can’t do a whole lot of it because you will literally kill your performance.

yeah, you’ll right. And that’s what I see with, with athletes. They’re like, you know, you don’t find too many that are all like UREs, where you have to throw more distress. You normally find. Their training is all distress. Like they’ve got Goggins on repeat and they’re snorting pre-workouts and they’re gonna go do a eight mile run, like with no food and no water and like stupid humidity, just to say they did it and stick fucking Legos in their shoes to make it harder.

And you’re like, bro, like, get you’re mentally tough. That’s cool. But you’re performance is just going down and then they get injured and they can’t figure out what happened. And then, then they double down on what they were doing before and they completely blow up. And yeah, no,

Matthew DesRoches: it’s so true because there’s, I feel sometimes uncomfortable talking about some of these things because you know, I, I inherently understand the way people run with them because I was a, I was young in, or, you know, immature in some of these things too.

And I, you know, go off and chase these things when I was a, you know, teenager being like, sure. Oh, here’s the, here’s the golden. Um, and drive myself into the ground. Um, but yeah, no, I think there is, you know, there’s a place to be held for, for a lot of these things. And that’s a, a really cool model that I, that, I mean, the tress distress, I mean, obviously that, but I’ve never heard it, uh, put in, in those terms when regards to training.

So I think that’s, that’s pretty cool, uh, perspective to look through

Dr Mike T Nelson: and, and the model fits a lot of the research we have with carbohydrates too. Yeah. Right. So carbohydrates people are like, oh, you have the low car people, the high car people. And I’m like, you, you’re both kind of right. It’s just, you both threw out context and wanna like.

Pin your hopes on like the single factor and the reality is it it’s both, right? It’s like metabolic flexibility. You want the highest potential. You can possibly be able to use fat and you want the highest potential possibility to use carbohydrates. Yeah. You want to use both? You don’t wanna just go, well, I’m gonna use, you know, fat at the expense of carbohydrates and lose speed and power.

Yeah. You probably don’t wanna go a hundred percent on carbohydrates either. Cuz if, like you said, you miss a feeling station, you have GI issues, all these other things that show up and you have no backup fuel, like you’re, you’re done for sure. Yeah. Um, and if you look at carbohydrates with, uh, some of the, you know, methods of training on low glycogen and low liver stores and then repeating those things again, mm-hmm we see molecular adaptations are, are quite a bit higher now it’s debatable.

Does that translate into performance or not? You know, one of the studies from Marca and med size showed. Massive changes in performance. Uh, some other people tried to replicate that didn’t really see these big changes in performance. They’re a little bit more on endurance type strength and power events.

Um, but if you just think about it and you’re like, okay, so off season, we’ve got these athletes at a pretty good level. Maybe it’s worth doing three weeks of a distress training where their sport is primarily a carbohydrate fueled sport. So we’re gonna pull back carbohydrates. We’re gonna deplete them out of the liver, out of the muscle and have ’em repeat again on that, or, you know, the sleep low and train low and high and all these different methods.

Mm-hmm and we’re gonna monitor their stress. We don’t blow ’em up. And then hopefully in a few weeks they’ll be better. First case scenario, like you kind of maybe cost yourself five weeks if it doesn’t work out so well, but if they’re already at a pretty high level, they probably need that intense stress to potentially push them to the next level.

The caveat though, is some coaches will read that and be like, oh, that sounds like this crazy advanced technique to do. Let’s do it in season. It’s like, no, that is a horrible idea. And you potentially will cost people a career by doing that. Yeah. Right. Because the in season model is the UREs model. Like you’re literally doing everything [00:45:00] you can because you have to perform at your next, you know, week or the next day, or depending upon your sport.

And you’ve got time legs and all these other stuff. So you’ll do whatever you can to ensure a steady performance, even at the cost of adaptations. Right. You’re probably gonna pull back on some weight training. You’re probably gonna pull back on some of these other methods because the goal is to perform at the highest level.

Yeah. Um, so again, I think if you use like a use stress distress model and you put it into context, it allows you to kind of sort these things out and see the, the pros and the cons of, of both sides.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. I actually like that. And there is, it’s funny because I talked with Phil Skiba about this and, you know, in his book, he goes into depth on, you know, carbohydrate.

Restriction versus carbohydrate. Which book is that organization? Um, it is the scientific, uh, it’s one of it’s one of my favorite books. It’s scientific training, uh, endurance training for, for triathlon or something like that. You’ll find if you look at Phil Skiba on, um, Amazon, it shouldbe there. Or if you go to the Twitter, he has a link to it.

For sure. It’s awesome. It’s I, I refer to it all the time and, um, you know, he talks, you know, big about the difference between carbohydrate restriction versus carbohydrate periodization. Yes. And also the context of what the athlete that we’re talking about, you know, are we talking about someone that’s an Ironman athlete that’s spending, you know, six hours training a day.

Yeah. Already glycogen de. Most likely. Yes, exactly. You know, so for them just to get enough carbohydrates in, there’s still gonna be depleted. So if you want to go and they’re, and they’re like, oh, well, we’re racing at this low level. We want to defend, you know, glycogen. And we want to be able to run off fats very well.

Cause it’s long period, but it’s like, you know, it’s a context. Um, and not, I like what I like what you say, because everything you say comes in context. Um, I’m not good at that. Sometimes I’m like, uh, I just say things and I forget to provide context behind it. Oh. And if

Dr Mike T Nelson: you know what I mean, people yell at me.

no, I know, but I, or the context is assumed is a different one. Yes. Like anytime I mention using FA for fuel, like I’ll get people emailed me and they’re like, but that’s not always true for body comp. It’s like, I wasn’t even talking about body. I’m just saying like you’re as an energy source, but yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: yeah. It’s just, it’s one of those things you have to kind of just learn to accept it and just try your best to do better at providing context for, for myself anyways. Um, So, yeah, that, that was a good kind of tangent off there. Let’s let’s get into, um,

Dr Mike T Nelson: uh, I was just gonna mention if, if you wanna drop pH the other way.

Okay. So if you wanna become more basic, you can do like a, a whim H like super ventilation method, right? So if you’re just breathing in and out really, really fast, what are you doing? You whim is actually correct. You are making the blood a little bit more basic because you’re exhaling more CO2. So CO2, when it’s in the blood combines with water form, something [00:48:00] called carbonic acid.

And so you’re relieving more of that. So temporarily you do make your body more basic. Now the problem with that is. If you go a little bit too hard, you can see all sorts of funny things and potentially pass out too. So there , there’s a downside of it. And you know, I’ve had people here, you know, practicing it.

So we take yoga mats out and we go lay in the lawn outside. And I, I purposely have them lay down because if you go really, you know, bad it crazy into it and you pass out, well, you’re already laying down in the lawn. You’re fine. You know, you’re not near water. You’re not gonna drown. Yeah. Um, but I, for the certification I did look at, would I have anyone do like a super ventilation technique before doing exercise and the data on that, at least for strength training is, is pretty mixed aerobic performance.

Maybe if you’re doing like a wind gate, maybe, but even then, like the risk you run of. Hosing up [00:49:00] other things is probably too high mm-hmm . So I haven’t noticed in terms of an exercise performance thing that it’s been beneficial. Um, but I do think there, again, driving that down temporarily again, to challenge that system, I do think is beneficial.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah, no, that, that was a good one. I’ve heard one of the, I’ve read some of the research too on, you know, respiratory AOSIS and, and endurance and stuff like that. But one person that I did hear bring up and, you know, obviously there’s no research behind it, but I, I, it did kind of make sense. Was Brian Kozak, when he was talking about hockey players coming off their shift, he had them do, you know, some, some off gassing essentially.

And, um, just blowing off some CO2. And he said, you know, it did help them try and, and, and, or, sorry. It did help them get back to, um, just being able to relax and, and engage in what’s going on in the play again much quicker. Um, is that

Dr Mike T Nelson: yeah, because CO2 is, uh, a crazy stressor. Right. So you look at some of the studies, James nester talks about it in the book read like blinking on the guy’s research it’s in Oklahoma.

But anyway, he was one of the only researchers at the time was doing studies on just what happens when you inhale CO2 gas. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. And if you think about one of the things that happens with exercise is you have a massive build up of CO2. Mm-hmm that’s one of the reasons why you’re trying to exhale so hard.

You’re literally trying to exhale this CO2 and that is a stressor and it turns out we’re wired neurologically for that also because CO2 is the main regulator of breathing. Right. People think it’s oxygen and it’s actually CO2. So as CO2 levels go up, that is the main driver for you to breathe. Um, there’s a handful of people where it’s suspected that oxygen might be their main driver.

And the theory is that those are people who do, um, like free diving and just push it really hard and just like have blackouts, like for no apparent reason. yeah. Yeah. Um, a lot of those people have blackouts for all sorts of reasons, but, um, yeah, so CO2 is the main driver and if you’ve ever held your breath and you, you [00:51:00] just have that sensation of, ah, that happens at a high intensity exercise too.

So that would, you know, make sense to me why you would have players do that. Yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: And I don’t, I wouldn’t see the, uh, rationale there for, for oxygen, because I mean of that, I know of the only chemo receptors that are, you know, uh, focused on oxygen are in the AOR aortic arch. There’s only a few of them.

Right. So I, I couldn’t see, you know, why the system would be so reversed, um, and biased towards CO2. But yeah, I don’t, I don’t see

Dr Mike T Nelson: where, yeah, it appears there are some, if I’m correct, I think there is some sensors, I think in some circuits of the brain that do look at oxygen levels. Okay. I think they’re like a well backup distance to like CO2.

It’s sort of like the, the backup system. Okay. Which it makes sense. Like most of physiology is like redundant backup system to backup system. And yeah, if we’re primarily running on oxygen, we’ll probably have more sensors for oxygen that we just don’t know about would be my guess.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. And it’s actually, I don’t know if you’ve ever gone into the whole, uh, mitochondrial, like Nick lane, uh, power sex, suicide, like, you know, where the, the mitochondria came from.

It’s like super interesting when you start to frame it from that reference too.

Dr Mike T Nelson: Right. And yeah, and I, I think it was always said that what mitochondrial was from your mom and then someone else was telling me that, that Doug Wallace is not necessarily true anymore. So really, I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’m updated on that anymore.

Cause that’s what I was classically taught. Yeah. I might Wallace, if that’s not true, then that kind of throw a monkey wrench. Much of other stuff I

Matthew DesRoches: learned. I would be interested to hear that though, actually, cuz I mean I’m not set on it. I just know that, you know, back in, I think it was the seventies that Doug Wallace figured that out.

Yeah. Um, but. Yeah. Uh, that’d be interesting. I’ll have to look into that.

Dr Mike T Nelson: See what the, yeah. I’ll have to bug my buddy. Like he went deep down the mitochondria thing for quite a while, so I’ll have to bug him, like I tried on all honesty and I’m probably too much of a systems guy and I don’t know, man. I get so confused.

it’s, it’s so

Matthew DesRoches: overwhelming. Like you’re like, okay, they’ll try to understand the mial genome, all this stuff. So let’s, uh, so let’s move in now to, um, uh, you know, blood glucose, right. Or, or mm-hmm or energy substrates. Um, and, and maintaining, you know, this, this, this regulation of, of having, uh, appropriate amount of, of glucose in, in the system.

Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. So one of the other ones, so one we’ve got temperature, uh, two we’ve got pH and then three would be fuel systems. Mm-hmm . If you look at the markers on the endpoints of fuel systems, Probably carbohydrates lactate on one end and keytones and fat on the other end. Mm-hmm um, so like metabolic flexibility again, in my opinion, you want to upregulate both the caveat is that I don’t think most people realize how they’re allinterlinked into each other.

And I think this is kind of a default of how, how Biogens has been classically taught. So classically you’re like, oh, carbohydrates here. And then you run a lot of carbs through glycolysis and you spin off lactic acid, which is evil and all this stuff. And then, oh, oh, on this other whole other processes that are not related at all is fat.

And if you drive insulin really low and you run lots of fat, you get keytones as a starvation mechanism. And that’s kind of correct, but. They’re both linked to each other. So for example, like for guy, quite a while ago, I was looking I’m like, huh? Like I wonder if you could see like an ultra-marathon runner do use keytones and at some point, would that be an advantage?

And then I started thinking I’m like, okay. Ah, but they can’t produce quite enough power compared to, you know, carbohydrates. I was like, ah, I’m like, what if you take the keto person and then you carve [00:55:00] the shit up out of him for like three days before his big event. Right? Cause I’m thinking, ah, metabolic flexibility.

He’ll be able to maybe use some keytones. So he’ll use a lot of fat, he’ll have full, you know, muscle levels of glycogen and liver glycogen will be high. And they look at the studies and they poke the people and they do the biopsies and they’re like, yep. They ate enough carbohydrates, but their performance wasn’t better.

I was like, well, wait a minute. They had enough glycogen on board. So it wasn’t a substrate issue. And then what you realize is that period of, you know, 4, 5, 6 months or seven years or whatever, they did keto, this enzyme called PD Dease, which is sort of like the gatekeeper to glycolysis actually starts down regulating.

Right. It’s just simply you, you know, use it or lose it. Yeah. Like you’ve been running mostly on keytones so yeah. You see a massive upregulation that study, you know, look at Jeff Folick, faster study, et cetera. Mm-hmm but you start losing carbohydrate metabolism on the other end mm-hmm . And so then I [00:56:00] started wondering I’m like, oh, Well, marathon runners, like, are they really using carbohydrates are fat because again, you’re classically taught, you know, crossover fat worked to Mercer in 1992 that, you know, as exercise intensity comes up, you’re gonna transition from fat to carbohydrates, which is true.

Um, but there’s a study done where they took pretty high level, elite, half marathoners, and they just chemically blocked their body’s ability to use fat, like at all. And it didn’t affect their performance. One IOT you’re like, oh shit. So at an elite level, right. Kipchoge’s not running on fats, right? Yeah.

He was running on God. What has he had was like 120 or 130 grams per hour or something. I think they were giving him which he had specifically trained to do that. So you’re like, oh, so on the elite level, even a marathon that we think is a long distance. Those people are running ridiculously fast. Yeah. So again, you’re back to context.

It’s like, oh, are you, you know, Bob, that’s trying to [00:57:00] finish a marathon in under four hours or are you trying to finish it under two hours? Yeah. Like those are completely different worlds apart. Yeah. Um, so you can regulate fat use and not mess with carbohydrate use ironically, by using intermittent fasting.

So then I started looking, I went, oh, well we have this problem with the keytones. We don’t know how long that’s gonna mess up PD. I’m like, well, how else could we upregulate fat? Obviously exercise is the main one, but is there anything else outside of drugs that we could. It’s like, oh, if you don’t eat for a period of time, you drive in insulin levels lower, right?

You wake up in the morning, liver glycogen is gonna be relatively low. Glycogen will hang around just depending on how much work is being done. And it turns out that the next day you could come back with a huge amount of carbohydrates and you would not lose any speed and power. So for some athletes I’d have like Monday, Wednesday, Friday was, you know, weight training or speed, high intensity work.

And their body comp was kind of a goal. And we wanted to help regulate their use of fat. So they would do like a longer, fast on Tuesday. And because the fast didn’t change the P enzyme, like it literally have like 450 grams or carbohydrates on Wednesday, do a speed and power session and be okay. So you could actually upregulate both ends of the spectrum, you know, at the same time, as opposed to.

Going off and doing keto for six months and then having like a, you know, however many month transition back to trying to be able to use carbohydrates again. I think you just lose too much in that process for most people. Yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. Like I, and I’ve seen that too with people getting on these kicks of, you know, car restriction, um, low carpi fat, and then coming to the, you know, raise time, trying to utilize carbs again.

And they’re, you know, months on carbs and it’s like, it should realistically be a better balance because further you dig into one system. The further you’re gonna have to dig back [00:59:00] out. Right. And it just kind of makes a mess. Um, but that does bring up something that I, I can’t remember the case study that I, I read on this.

It was ultra, I think it might have been in Japan, but, um, ultra-marathon, it was two ultra-marathon runners. One was keto adopted versus one, um, high carb and watching their glucose, um, response and pacing throughout the event. And I think the pace was much more even for, for the keto adopted athlete and also their blood sugar levels were completely rock solid throughout that whole, I wanna say was 20 hours plus, um, whereas the, uh, carbohydrate, you know, it was just complete.

The pace was all over the place. Um, and, um, you know, positive splitted also yeah. Was, was, had some boning throughout there and it, you know, and I’m not saying keto is the way to go for ultra-marathon and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying. Um, you know, to have these systems in balance, um, you know, I hear [01:00:00] about, you know, uh, Zach bitter, like people just think he’s all, you know, he doesn’t eat any carbs.

It’s not the case whatsoever. It’s like, he’s no very adamant that whenever he is doing his high intensity work, he, he adds carbohydrates in and bigger workouts. One guy, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this guy, Mike McKnight, have you ever heard of this guy? I have not. So he, he actually, I think he’s done two now where he is done 200 miles.

I think one was 120 miles completely fasted. Oh, wow. Yeah. So, so super interesting. I, I want to get him on the podcast to talk

Dr Mike T Nelson: about that. How far off were his times from someone who is like the elite of the elite?

Matthew DesRoches: And I wanna say, so this was the impressive thing for the first one. It was a hundred miles and he stayed within, uh, VT one under VT one.

Okay. Basically the whole time. And I want to say he did it in sub 20. So, I mean, that’s pretty impressive. Yeah. And it, and I don’t think it was a, it was a flat course by any means. So the fact that he stayed under [01:01:00] VT one, the fact that he was fasted the fact that he did that and what was the real interesting thing to me, which he stated after he is like, I’ve never recovered so fast after a hundred mile race.

He said literally within that week I was back out. I felt freshest, could be within three days. And I’m trying to think all the stuff I know about, you know, carbohydrate lowering, creatine, kinase levels after exercise. I’m trying to think like what, what is the mechanism there that he would

Dr Mike T Nelson: anyways? I just wonder if it’s pace.

So I would love if he would do a race like using KEYone nesters. I mean, I don’t know how much that would cost. Maybe I can’t quite pay for that yet, but yeah. Do like an esters or keto supplement and then do like a high carb race. Yeah. Yeah. Um, We, we did this, I teach for the care Institute. So we had a whole human performance course we designed.

And so I did the nutrition part. And so I was super interested in, uh, KEYone esters mm-hmm . And so we’ve done this twice now in the us, and we did it in my taught in Sweden. So over [01:02:00] three days they come in and they would, these are, people are pretty good at rowing. They’ve gone through all the, you know, their co by this point.

Um, so they know what all their, their two K times are. So we said, okay, so on one day, you’re gonna do it fasted. One day, we’re gonna give you was the HVM N keytones at that time. And then one day you’re just gonna need a shit ton of carbohydrates the day before. And then we did performance testing, heart rate RPE.

We had ’em do a strop test and some cognitive stuff. And unfortunately the data’s not published because there’s so many other, you know, co-factors and that kind of thing. But in general, it was interesting that I don’t think we had a single person set a PR using the KEYone esters, however, their cognition after it was noticeably better.

Their RPE generally was lower. Like the report, which is anecdotal was, I just felt like I could go at a pretty high pace and it wasn’t as horrible, but I just couldn’t do my best time, which I thought was interesting. And then we had a couple of people did hit it fasted and [01:03:00] vast majority of people hit it after high amounts of carbohydrates.

Yeah. Although their RPE was actually worse. They felt that it was absolutely just horrible, but that would make sense because they did, they went faster. right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it’s like, I, I wonder if it’s, uh, if there’s something with the key tones or because he is fasted or whatever, or is it just because you’re, you’re just under that pace where even just that little bit more pushes you over the edge, right.

I mean, I’ve done this on the rower where I can go pretty hard at an RP of like a 9.5. It’s miserable. It sucks like a two K. Yeah. It’s horrible. I’m, I’m kind of worthless for about 20 to 30 minutes, but I’m okay. The next day I could probably even train the next day. Yeah. But if you told me like, dude, it has to be a 10, like an all out absolute, you know, bar none 10.

Yeah. I’m worthless for like two or three days after. Yeah. You know, and there’s, and for me again, I’m not a high level RO by any [01:04:00] means. My time difference. Isn’t really that much, but it’s just an exponential, like recovery thing too. Like I just think when you’re getting towards what your absolute limit is, like the amount of resources and stuff, your body spends just you’re on that, you know, sort of inflection point of the curve, I guess.

I don’t know. That’s just my guess.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. Yeah. There there’s so much, and that’s funny cuz I could see the facet, maybe the cortisol levels. I don’t, I don’t know like that. I could see it, but yeah, the keytones that’s interesting. I’m gonna have to, I’m gonna have to, yeah, I’m gonna have to talk to him and I’m gonna have to see cuz I don’t know why people aren’t studying these people.

Like I just feel

Dr Mike T Nelson: like this should be like, well that’s what I don’t understand. Right. I mean, to me again, you know, I’m like the, I, I don’t remember who said this quote you’ll probably know like the extremes inform the means. Yeah. Like the means do not inform the extremes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know which, which I do like about, you know, Jeff Willeck faster study.

I don’t think it’s. The BL end all, but the fact that they got some pretty high end, you know, athletes to come into the study and to do [01:05:00] it and, you know, to get on a treadmill and run it 67% of VO, two max and get poked with needles and mean Zach was in that study. Um, you know, that’s pretty cool. Like, I think that’s interesting.

And of course, anytime you talk about studying outliers, people are like, oh, but you won’t have statistical significance. You can’t get all the people in there. And I’m like, it does at some point, it almost doesn’t matter. Yeah. Because like, it, you literally like Naim tole has talked about this, like was the black Swan, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, like for, for research, like, you know, the story is this guy’s running around over the world and his theory is, you know, all swans are white. He’s taking pictures in Africa and Eurasia and wherever of like all these white swans for like a decade, you know, and then some guy like rolls out of his, you know, backyard in his underwear in the morning goes, Hey look, a black Swan and like takes a picture of it.

And like, all of his research is now like completely invalidated. by like one single data point. Yeah. So he, he should have been looking for the black swans, the purple ones, like anything, [01:06:00] that’s not the white Swan. So to me, like the extreme athletes, those are like the black swans. Like if you can legitimately show that they did whatever it was, even if it’s the single person now it’s possible.

Right? Doesn’t mean everybody could do it. Maybe they’re just an outlier. Maybe they’re just genetic freak, who knows. Um, but if you can show something is now possible that we didn’t even think was possible before. I think that does more to kind of move the needle and, and give people different ideas than, oh, here’s another study in recreational athletes and I, you know, a hundred percent guilty.

I publish study and recreational athletes. I totally get why it’s done, but yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah. Where it’s not like Russia where we can just say, Hey, you’re gonna be part of this study.

Dr Mike T Nelson: Well, that’s, that’s the issue, right? Yeah. Cause people came to me and they’re like, well, well, why didn’t you do a study on elite athletes with like energy drinks?

And I’m like, even in acute study, like if I went over to my buddy, Cal deets was at the university of Minnesota, good friends with, and I went over to him and said, Hey. I wanna, uh, steal like your top level athletes for like eight weeks. And I wanna do this program that I did. And then also I want this control group to do something else.

That’s kind of stupid. Yeah. Um, and I wanna wash out period, and I want both groups to flip, so it’s gonna be like a 20 week study. So it’s like half of your year, you like to go after yourself. Like, what do you, there’s no way. Right. Cause his job is literally dependent upon getting results for his athletes, you know, however he can, his job does not depend upon giving me subjects to study in my research study.

Yeah. You know, so he would rightfully tell me to get lost and I totally understand why yeah,

Matthew DesRoches: no, that’s a hard thing it’s like, you know, is trying to, you know, figure out. And to be honest, a lot of the research that I read is actually in disease patients, whether it’s cardiovascular disease, trying to find the fringe right on one side or the other, I do read a lot of Russian research as well because there’s just an endless supply of just absolute.

Fascinating, uh, experiments because really they have unlimited access to athletes. They have unlimited access to, to basically whatever they wanna, um, methods and, and, and, um, protocols. So you get to see some of these things play out that you’re just not gonna get to see here. Um, but let’s, um, let’s shift into, um, uh, CO2 and, and oh, two balance mm-hmm because, um, this is, you know, we kind of touched not really too much on it before, but why is this, um, something that’s I important for, for athletes everyday folks, to understand like how, how can we enhance the ability to, to keep this

Dr Mike T Nelson: regulated?

Yeah. And one last thing too, on the, on the keytones I had this hypothesis a while ago. A race where you had to carry all of your own food, like an endurance type race. Yeah. I think keto is probably a huge advantage because now you have an [01:09:00] efficiency of fat is super dense and doesn’t weigh as much. Yeah.

So I think there may be an efficiency to that. Yeah. And interestingly enough, uh, Zach bidder was helping with this too, was a guy named Ash. Kay. Who’s working to do the first solo expedition across Antarctica. Oh, nice. And like, unsupport like, he’s bringing all of his gear, all his food, like everything. Uh, so Zach and myself have been, you know, kind of helping him with just working through different ideas.

And he’s currently testing a bunch of different stuff, you know, right now. And even just the whole mental side of like, he’s the only one it’s a completely solo, you know? So now you have all those other things in of. , you know, how often can you nod a brick of like, you know, fiber and frozen fat before you want to, you know, shoot your toe off you know, so you have all these, you know, mental things going on too.

But anyway, I think in, in some cases like that, because there’s an efficiency thing thrown into it, I think you could make a case that a, a ketogenic type approach might be beneficial in that time.

Matthew DesRoches: So I, I actually, I wanted to, that’s funny, cuz that’s I wanted to bring that kind of up when we, we were talking with ultra endurance cycling at one point, uh, between me and a friend of mine, I, I thought like, you know, for these unsupported races, right.

Um, you know, it, I mean the volume that these athletes have to do to get, to be able to physically complete this thing is, you know, it’s an immense amount of volume. So the adding the stress stressor of restriction before the race is like, how do you manage that? How do you manage that? It’s just a complete, and these guys are putting down.

It’s like, You know, I, I just had Abdula on the podcast and he, I wanna say he is putting like 500 kilometers a day and sleeping, like, you know, two hours for 16 days, you know, two to four hours. And it’s just like, just physically doing that, um, training for that is just such a demand. But, um, my thought would be, you know, I feel like you, if, if [01:11:00] you could get away with, um, you know, somehow becoming more, uh, adapted to, to fat, you would gain in some sort there.

Right. Because yeah. Carbs is hard

Dr Mike T Nelson: to, but yeah. And then you, then you’re also faced with the reality. Like, so years ago I was, uh, an assistant on the REM race. So the race across America, so people don’t know started in San Diego, California. We ended up in Atlantic city, New Jersey. So I was one of the crew.

People was a team of four riders. Mm-hmm . And so at any one point in time, Somebody’s riding. Right? So yes, it’s, it’s a kind of a relay thing. We would’ve, people go out, they have one rider and then they would exchange, they had to do a flying exchange. Mm-hmm so we’d have two people kind of ride back and forth.

You know, one guy would kind of rest in the van. They would go for maybe like a three, four hour shift. They would come off course and then two other people would, would go out. Um, and what you found was like, I had all this stuff planned out for nutrition. You spent all this time ahead of time. And this is like back before we had GPS on phone.

So we literally had a book that we’re trying to the car in front would tell, you know, the riders, which way to go. Yeah. Those little arrows painted on the road, but it was super easy to get lost. So that was the first thing I was freaking out over. Cuz I didn’t wanna be the one responsible having to pour bastard ride an extra 50 miles off course because I can’t, I can’t read a book.

Yeah. Uh, that would not be cool. Uh, one guy had almost like basically Frank heatstroke, we looked at his urine, it looked like maple syrup and we’re like, dude, you gotta drink some water. We put electrolytes in it. And I look and it’s like, literally five minutes after he drank it, he’s like pissing clear.

Wow. And I’m like, what? I was like, oh fuck. Like your kidneys are not, you’re not absorbing anything. Like we gotta get you outta here. So we take him an hour and a half off course to the ER, where they put him fluids back in and by IV he’s like, yeah, don’t do any exercise for three days. He’s like, yeah, whatever, like leave leaves.

they give him back on course again. Yeah. Yeah. And it was about [01:13:00] like day three. And we had all these like kind of prepackaged nutrition we had brought with I’m like, you know, probably some fat, you know, some carbohydrates. And so I go into the, the other kind of camper. We had one of the riders in, I said, Hey man, do you want me to mix you a drink?

And I show him the picture of the contain. And he just turned green. He’s like, I never wanna see that container again. He’s like, you show that to me. I am going to vomit all over you and then I’m going to throw you off the moving camper. I’m like, okay. And it’s in my head. I’m thinking, oh shit, best case scenario.

We have like four days left. Yeah. And I asked him, I’m like, okay. Um, like what do you want to eat? You know? , I’m just like, he’s like fig Newton’s I’m like fig Newton’s. He’s like, yes, fig Newton’s I’m like, okay. So the next time we, you know, stop at a grocery store, I think he lived on sleeves, the fig Newton’s for like the next four days.

And we ended


Matthew DesRoches: getting third, the pallet fatigue, the mental fatigue. That’s real. It’s yeah. It’s a huge thing. When you’re talking ultra endurance. It’s like, there, it is like when you’re trying to think it’s, it’s so funny cuz to try, that’s why I find ultra endurance so interesting because it’s, you know, it’s one of the most.

It’s one of the frontiers I call like CrossFit, you know, ultra endurance. Yeah. They’re in the frontiers of like, okay, we don’t really have these problems solved yet. And to try and solve for them. It’s almost like, ah, there’s too much variables at all points of time it’s in. But, um, that’s interesting. I, I never know you were a part of Ram that’s that’s like that would’ve been a crazy experience.

Just a sleep deprivation alone,

Matthew DesRoches: probably. Oh my God. It and I was an idiot. I, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I mean, it was funny at the end of it. We all got together and the, the head guys, like, he was like, yes, we’re gonna do this next year. Are you doing it? I’m like, hell no, no way. Like, you know, it’s a volunteer position, which I knew going into it.

And, and myself, I’m like, this will be great. I’ll have all thisphysiology data. This will be wonderful. It’s like, no, it’s literally like day three. Just make sure nobody dies. They get back on their bike. The urine doesn’t look like maple syrup. Like, oh, well you need to get body weights from all these people.

It’s like. You realize at that point you have no leverage. Yeah. You can’t force anyone to do anything they don’t wanna do. And even trying to get an accurate weight on a camper, that’s going down the road. That’s like bouncing all over creation. You can’t even get one anyway. Yeah. And it’s like, you don’t wanna stop and then take time off court.

And yeah. So a lot of the stuff that you think is practical doesn’t work. And then I, I literally slept God, 17 hours in seven days. Like no joke because I had the first double shift. And then I was the only guy available to take the other guy off course in Arizona. So the first time I got asleep for an hour and a half was like 50 hours after I had started.

I had been up that whole time. So he’s in the ER room, getting fluids put back into him. [01:16:00] I’m in those like crappy plastic chairs in the waiting room. I took a Kleenex box and stuck it on my head and was trying to sleep in this chair as I was waiting an hour for him to get fluids put back in. So. Oh, man.

My last two stories on that, like at the end we finished and we ended up getting third, which was great. We’re like, oh, wow. You know, like the first non-professional team in the, the four person division. Okay. And the craziest part to me was, I wanna say the people behind us were a minute and a half still behind us.

I think really? So a seven day race, someone literally finishes within almost like 90 seconds of you. That’s it’s it’s like mind blowing. Yeah. And then I was so sleep private told the guy after we finished, I said, I can’t drive. Like, I feel like I am beyond drunk there. I am not safe to drive. I’ll walk, I’ll take a cab.

I don’t even care if I see you guys again at this point and said, I, I can’t drive. He’s like, oh man, I [01:17:00] got it. I can drive. I’m like, are you’re sure. You’re sure. He’s like, oh yeah, I I’m. I’m like, okay, so we finished, we’re going to the word ceremony. We pull into the ramp. And as we’re pulling into the ramp, we hear this, like this tearing of sheet metal.

And we’re like, what’s that like, oh shit, we left the bikes on. We put ’em on top of the vehicle, which we had never done during the whole race. Oh good. And we hit the ramp and hit the bike and it pulled the top part of the car off like a can opener. Oh, geez. Um, yeah, that wasn’t good. And then after that, after the award ceremony, everyone’s like cleaning stuff up inside in this like big convention center.

I literally curled up on the floor on the cement floor and fell asleep for like three hours. I guess like guys came over to try to wake me up because they thought I was dead.

Matthew DesRoches: you probably felt like after that point, the, uh, yeah. And I just, I I’m sure you probably had a lot of, uh, You know, epiphanies during the magnitude of what those guys were going through. Like, no, it’s crazy. The sleep deprivation you’re getting, you’re like trying to wrap your head around how, how are they?

Uh, but, um,

Dr Mike T Nelson: that’s super cool. The writers were great though. They were just like, I’m so glad we’re not wanting use support people. I’m like, what? I’m glad I’m not riding. What are you crazy? Like at least we get to get outside and do something I’m like, yeah, driven. I’ve been sitting in my ass in a vehicle like the, you know, the whole time.

Um, then we got lost once. So we told the guy I’m like, dude, just go ride. He’s like, what do you mean go ride? Like, anytime you’re not on course, like we are losing massive amounts of time. So just go ride. We’ll figure it out. Eh, I don’t know. We’ll find you. He’s like, okay. It’s I can’t imagine. Being in the middle of Nebraska somewhere.

And normally, you know how fast to go and when you’re gonna get switched out and you can kind of get an idea of how hard to push, et cetera. Um, so I think that would just be the worst feeling of like, I don’t know, it could be out here for, I don’t know how long . Yeah. And then the last one real quick is one guy on our team was literally like certifiably crazy.

Cuz we had, we went up the mountain passes in Colorado, so we decided, okay, we’re gonna have four people switch off, you know, just because it’s, it’s so heinous to do a hill climb. That’s just so long. Yeah. And we got to the other side and was starting to get dark. And before we started this guy, Greg was like, he was like, whatever happens, man.

I wanna be the guy to ride down the other side of the mountain when the other three riders are like, okay, whatever fine. And so we get up there and he starts going. It’s dark. Like it is a pitch black we’re like, dude, are you gonna be alright? He’s like, oh, I bought a special light. I can see up to like 50 miles an hour.

We’re like, oh, okay. So he starts going down the mountain at night. There’s a, a follow car that’s behind him. And we hear on the radio. We’re like, um, we lost the rider and I’m thinking, oh fuck. He rode off the side of the cliff. He’s dead. We’ll never find him. Like, what do you mean you [01:20:00] lost the rider? Did, did, what did something happen to him?

They’re like, well, we think he’s still okay, but we’re going 35 miles an hour. And we’re scared shitless to go faster. And he rode away from us. I’m like, so he’s at least doing over 35. They’re like, yeah. And I’m thinking, oh, we’re gonna get down to the bottom. We’re we’re never gonna find him. He’s gonna go off.

He’s gonna hit some gravel. God knows what’s gonna happen to him. Luckily he made it down to the end and. Like, how did it go? He’s like, oh, that was the most amazing thing I’ve ever doing in my entire life. He was like, so excited. He’s like, I had to slow down at one point. So I was doing like 53 miles an hour.

And I couldn’t see from my light anymore.

Matthew DesRoches: I couldn’t imagine doing that sleep deprived, like,

Dr Mike T Nelson: oh, this is Colorado’s in the middle of the course. You’re sleep deprived. It’s at night. Yeah. You’re not on a closed course. This is like a, a freaking road. , you know, I’m like, you’re crazy. Yeah.

Matthew DesRoches: Those guys are, are absolutely insane. Like some of the most insane stories.

I’ve, I’ve heard so many Ram stories over the years and they’re, they’re always, absolutely like just completely out there. And I think that’s a draw to it. Right. Is, is how out there it actually

Dr Mike T Nelson: is. Yeah. The old ones where they would take medical tubing and attach it to the back of their helmet to the back of their Jersey.

So when they got tired, their head would stay up and drop down like that. Yeah. Or the

Matthew DesRoches: Shermer’s neck, like everyone get the Shermer’s neck, right? Yeah. Like the loss of function. And then they would just have like broom sticks and weird apparatus and like trying to, oh,

Dr Mike T Nelson: so anyway, so steer

Matthew DesRoches: steering us back.

The, um, uh, the oh two CO2 is, is kind of like the, the last kind of, uh, tightly regulated, um, homeostatic regulator that we’re, we’re, we’re trying to solve for. And [01:22:00] what is it that, um, That you use with folks or is it already a part of their program? How, how does that go when we’re trying to,

Dr Mike T Nelson: again, I try to apply the.

The UREs distress model and the two CO2 part. I, I think I kind of understand, but I don’t know every day I’m still like, I don’t know if I know anything, you know, cause the, the thing that just completely messed me up for years was God, probably seven years ago. Now I saw a Roger who was a owner of Moi monitors.

So Moxi you stick over the muscle looks of muscle oxygenation. I was working for a medical device company. It was probably longer than that ago. Now, maybe 10 years ago, whenever he first started. Uh, so you had some of the prototypes. I went down there, I met him and I was like, wow, this is pretty cool.

We’re taking nearest technology. And we’re looking at, you know, actual blood flow markers through the muscle of something that, you know, consumers could buy. And like a couple years later, my buddy Aaron. Uh, train adapt, evolve. Uh, I dunno if it was in person or video, it showed, uh, somebody doing a row, a wind gate at like a 32nd wind gate and he showed the live, the Moxi monitor.

So we’re looking at oxygen status on a quad during, you know, a 20, 30, second wind gate. And you see it started about 85%. So it’s pretty well saturated. And then instantly you start seeing it go down. And at the end of the 30 seconds, it’s at like 10% and I’m like, duh, that’s wrong. Right? Because I was told my whole life, this is anaerobic exercise.

We’re not using oxygen. What is this? Yeah. He’s like, no, the muscle is pulling oxygen immediately. As soon as you start exercise, I was like, whoa, shit. And that just like messed me up for years. Yeah, because classically you’re taught, oh, it’s ATP C it’s, you know, one to 10 seconds. And then it’s the anaerobic cycle.

And you realize like, oh, maybe. That’s not it. And then he’d run into stuff like, you know, the glycogen shun theory where yeah. Maybe glycogen is all the intermediate. And then the, like Evan Evan’s been on here before is, you know, talked about this of the time course. It takes to replace, you know, each energy system.

And it’s a long story short. I ended up, you know, I bought a fricking, you know, metabolic card after I graduated, I bought like the full Moxy system. I’m like, I don’t know, I’m gonna start measuring shit. This makes no sense to me. And what you realize is that, oh, like almost everything is based off of oxygen and yes, you can kind of hold your breath and do like a hundred meter race maybe, but you, you can kind of borrow oxygen a little bit, but not as much as what we think and that if you’re aerobic performance, right.

So your metabolism to use oxygen is really shitty. Like you’re probably gonna, just gonna be a shitty athlete. Like maybe if your whole thing was to do one run ever in your life. Maybe, but even then, like the training volume you need to accumulate, you probably won’t be able to accumulate that training volume.

So I started realizing, oh, so if it’s all oxygen based and then it’s aerobics, then you get into, if you do a max exercise test the age old question, well, why did you stop? Like, what was the fatigue thing? Yeah. Right. And you go down that rabbit hole into, you know, Tim no’s stuff with central governor theory and, uh, Alex Hutchinson’s book endures, like by far like the best book on that topic for people listening, it’s a very easy read.

It’s very, very accurate. Um, and there’s, and that’s the book he talks about the crazy things they did with, you know, like blocking sensation and, you know, painkillers and local anesthetics and all this stuff. And yeah, it increased performance, but those people tend to direct themselves. Yeah. And you know, so all of that to say, I don’t really know.

Um, but I think there is something to increase in your aerobic level, as high as you can within reason. Right? So main marker. There is gonna be your VO, two max volume of oxygen. You can pull through the system. Um, after that, I would look at [01:26:00] along the way, breathing mechanics. So I think a lot of people forget that if you can increase breathing mechanics, you can pick up massive amounts of efficiency.

And that’s literally, it’s even better than free. It’s like you’re. It’s like, if I could take a miles per gallon in your car, go from 30 to 40 and get the same horsepower and the same output. You’re like, yeah, I do that all day. Right? Yeah. It’s kind of the same way with the breathing efficiency and that goes into mechanics.

Um, so primarily on that, I do a lot of RPR effects, the performance reset, and I’ve done a lot of stuff from Z health, uh, P I, a bunch of other, um, you know, hands on stuff. Tom Meyer is a bunch of other stuff too, so better breathing mechanics and then train it. And then there’s a lot of talk about CO2 retention.

And I don’t know, like I can’t for the life of me figure that out. Like if you talk to like, you know, Dempsey and Wisconsin who, you know, like, God, the guy’s done, I don’t know how many [01:27:00] decades of research on the breathing system. Uh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And you go, he goes, I don’t even know what that is.

And I’m like, if he doesn’t know what it is, I’m fucked you. Yeah. Yeah. So I think there’s something to it, but I think that could just be aerobic capacity in another metric. Yeah. Or there’s also this weird thing, which I’m sure you’ve had listeners have where like, if I’m doing a two K test on the rower, I’ve had times where mechanically and breathing and everything else, performance wise, I wasn’t that far off it wasn’t gonna be my best performance, but I was pretty close mm-hmm , but I hadn’t trained it specifically for, you know, a couple weeks, a couple months in some cases.

And I realized that I’m just not good at, at going through the, the really shitty sucky part of it. Like there’s almost like a, an mental plasticity to it. Where if you do it more often, you [01:28:00] kind of know what to expect. You’re kind of a little bit more prepared for it. I don’t know. I think there’s some trainable mental toughness, even though I hate that works.

I don’t know really know what it is, but I do think there is something to that. Ability to, to suffer. And I think that does kind of go away when you, you move away from some of those efforts.

Matthew DesRoches: That’s, it’s funny because I’ve spent so long trying to wrap my head around, how do I test this? Um, that’s the thing, that’s the thing, because when you have an athlete in front of you and you ask them, you know, what, why did you stop the test?

Um, and you get your answer. You know, we obviously know that it’s, it’s hard for an individual to actually under understand the underlying physiological limit. Um, but the perception of what it was and how close was their perception to reality. Because one of the things I, I think of quite often is, um, you know, uh, uh, the model I kind of [01:29:00] think about it is you have these switches.

You know, in the, in these kind of sensors and essentially when the sensors kind of alert you at, at this point, you know, you flick the switch and, you know, training, I look at it as a lot of ways. You’re trying to break these switches, not necessarily break them, but you’re trying to push them further back in the system.


Dr Mike T Nelson: Hey, I think of it as a expanding their capacity, right? Yeah. I want a bigger buffer

Matthew DesRoches: zone. Exactly. Right. And part of me is wondering how much is it, you know, changing the actual physiological metrics. Like how much can we gain outta physiology, but how, how much can we just gain out of your, out of your, your, your cognitive ability essentially to push yourself further?

And it’s the, there’s no simple, like I’ve, I’ve thought about it. Maybe max, how long can they spend at max? It’s like, no, you can’t. There’s nothing that we can use out there at this point in time to actually measure, you know, the athletes, um, willingness to, to, to go there. Um, But [01:30:00] yeah, I, I do, I do. I do believe, like you were saying, there is an inherent ability to kind of train that, um, comfort level, right?

It’s just like rock climbing. Um, what people think they’re actually pumped out on versus what they’re actually pumped out on. Um, there’s a big factor there of fear of falling jagged rocks. Mm-hmm rock fall is my Blair gonna catch me. So they’re they’re if we were to stick a Moxi on there and see what’s happening, um, when, when they’re falling or, or they’re taking versus when they’re on a hang board and two feet off the ground, right.

I’d be interested to see like how much of that is, is psychological, how much of it, and everybody’s gonna be different. But, um, yeah, that, that is a, that is an interesting concept that just think about,

Dr Mike T Nelson: and I think that, and I don’t have much data on this, like guys, like Gavin and other people could probably speak more to it and Aaron, but.

I think if you bring an athlete in, I haven’t been able to do this on too many [01:31:00] people and you test them and they can get very, very close to their all out max performance. Mm-hmm , I’m not convinced that their limiter will be the same every day. Mm-hmm I think it’ll be slightly different. Yeah. Now, again, these are high level athletes who can hit a high level and repeat and do that again.

Mm-hmm like your average person. Yeah, I think it that’s probably, you’re probably gonna find what you’re gonna find. Yeah. Um, but at like an elite level, especially as an event is more aerobic lifting. I don’t know. Lifting seems to be relatively more consistent. Right. So looking at occlusion, that type of thing on, on Moxi with lifting, I don’t see that change a whole lot, but unlike a, a Rover or like an endurance, like A2 K or something that’s, you know, still kind of a lot of speed and power involved, you know, lead people are under probably six minutes easily.

Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve just seen some. I don’t know, maybe it’s my own data collection too. It’s just looks, it looks weird. I would say it’s this thing one day, and then two days later they got almost the same output. I would say it’s something different. So I don’t know on

Matthew DesRoches: that. Yeah, no, I I’ve definitely seen that.

And I’ve definitely seen that when we’re, we’re correlating different things. Like I was talking with Phil before this correlating lactate to, to Moxi and, and the break points first and second, uh, turn point of lactate and, and the first and second break point with, with nears. Um, which do you trust? Uh, I trust I with, with lactate and Moxi they’re equal it’s, uh, especially like, I think Moxi is actually, I think nearest is more SENSIT.

and I actually like nears better for day to day readiness. Um, I think it’s, it’s something akin to like, just like a heart rate versus HIV. Um, I think we’re getting a more sensitive signal to what’s going on. Um, and I think that’s valuable for today, uh, day to day decision making. Um, but if I’m looking for, you know, uh, you know, [01:33:00] more, more of a solid metric, I’m looking more of that lactate, but the thing with lactate, you have to be so precise in your.

A, you have to have two days off or, you know what I mean? Don’t trash yourself the day before don’t drink an or juice, some bagel before you come in. You know what I mean? Like it’s just, it’s just, it’s just so hard to get everything down, right. To get, you know, that first turn point where

Dr Mike T Nelson: you need it. And, and where do you pre ’em for lactate measurements?

Just finger.

Matthew DesRoches: It just depends how much they sweat. If they sweat a lot in the head, you know what I mean? Like, it depends generally if females I’ll go with the ear. Um, yeah. But if it’s, uh, you know, with males, I tend, they tend to sweat more. A lot of times I’ll just do the finger. Cause it’s easier sometimes.


Dr Mike T Nelson: have you done any local stuff?

Matthew DesRoches: Uh, no. No, I haven’t. Um, but that’s one,

Dr Mike T Nelson: sorry, go ahead. One thing I wanna try again. Yeah. Right. So do leg extension, and then someone’s gotta publish this study, but I freaking can’t find it. I thought I found it once, but I could have hallucinated the whole thing. that? So get on a leg extension, go like 30 reps, just all out burning sensation.

Directly poke the quad on the exercising leg and the non exercising leg at the same time. Okay. I think they’ll be different. Well, I think, I think one of the issues is blood flow is gonna carry lactate around and granted their exercise and it’s gonna be pretty high, but I think you’re gonna have sort of weird legs and we’re trying to take a general metabolite that we can measure and extrapolate, I think too much from it, but

Matthew DesRoches: no, I hear you.

Uh, and I had this discussion with, and Andre, uh, Feldman the other day. Um, and I do, I’m actually interested though to see continuous lactate monitors. I know they’ve been developing them and

Dr Mike T Nelson: they’re close supposedly, um, Abbott, is it Abbott? One of the people had a, a PR announcement about it, like six months ago or something really.

So yeah, usually they don’t announce it unless they’re pretty damn close. So they had a continuous lactate in keytones supposedly coming.

Matthew DesRoches: Okay. Like, I mean, and as much as, like yousaid, like lactate is, is, is lactate, but it’ll be interesting. It’ll be another piece in, in the, in the puzzle that we can just see more on.


Dr Mike T Nelson: do you use lactate as a supplement?

Matthew DesRoches: No, but I, I actually do have, I do buy a brand of, um, uh, kimchi or not kimchi, uh, sauerkraut that has lactate in it. Um, Hmm. So the, I mean, I, I know that it’s starting to come back cuz this was big in the body building days, right? Like back in the nineties, I think it was or something.


Dr Mike T Nelson: CytoSport had it. Yeah. Yeah. They had it under patent. Yeah. Ironically, if you read the patent, it appears that they used it to enhance electrolyte delivery, but good. Yeah. Interesting. Port lakes has one magnesium version which was off patent. Um, yeah. So anyway, I’m. Trying to get L as a supplement at this point, I don’t even give a shit if I make any money off it, I’ve been trying to tell people this for like eight years and they don’t think I’m a loony tune and now people are like, whoa,

And so now at the point where I’m actually probably gonna do something with it, I’ll probably get knocked off immediately and I’ll lose my ass. But whatever, like I just wanna know if it works or not. .

Matthew DesRoches: Yeah, no, I think that, I mean, that’s what people should be doing. Like I think if, if you were, if you were to crack that puzzle, man, I think a lot of things would change.

I, because I mean, we all know George Brooks is, you know, is stuff been out for a while, but I think if, if, uh, if someone is actually put it on, on the test for Ergen effects, I think,

Dr Mike T Nelson: I mean, so anyone’s listening, I’ve got a couple ideas. I just need money. So I, I think a couple of ’em can be patented and yeah, they’re.

They’re not that hard either. You know? I mean, like, I, I don’t know a little bit, I know, and a little bit of people I bounced ideas off of. So anyway, I mean, I, at the end of the day, I just wanna know, does it work or not? And the, I mean, there’s some research on it now and the research like is super mixed.

Um, but if anyone wants to do this, we’re in the process of doing it, [01:37:00] but no, one’s really done like a dose response study. Yeah. And like, just give people, LACT it as a supplement, we can measure lactate with a handheld frigging monitor. Yeah. Just see what happens. Like what are the kinetics? We know it generally makes it through digestion.

We have, the downside is if you take too much, you’ll probably shit yourself and not feel very good, which is probably the main limiter. Yeah. But a lot of the studies, there’s only a couple where they’ve actually even measured lactate in the blood. So we don’t even know like how much of that made it through digestion.

What was the appearance rate? And the, the silly part is we’ve had lactate testing for how long now. I mean, we have all the tools to do it. So anyway, I’ve only done just anecdotal stuff here and there. So, no, I’m just ranting away, like a crazy person.

Matthew DesRoches: no, but the stuff you see is what you see. And, and, uh, I think a lot of people just dismiss it right off the bat.

And I just think like me and me Andre were saying, like, I just think people, like, we both talked a about the cycle that we went through, you know, were like, yeah. Oh, locked to cool. You’re just getting [01:38:00] into it. And they’re like, oh, lactate. Oh, that’s huge. Yeah. And then you come back around, you’re like, oh, lactate.

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I could see it. Yeah. Now I’m seeing it. I’m seeing it. Um, yeah. So man, this was great conversation. Um, and, and I know like what we base this on was the physiological flexibility, and I know you have both certifications for, you know, your metabolic flexibility mm-hmm and, um, and now the physiological flexibility, so that stuff will all be linked in the show notes.

Um, and, um, also, is there, is there anything else that you want, want folks to know about, you know, how to get in touch with you or,

Dr Mike T Nelson: yeah, those are the main two. Uh, if they’re looking for nutrition and recovery information would be the flex diet certification, just flex diet.com. If they’re looking at the next level for physiologic flexibility, that’d be physiologic, flexibility.com.

Uh, the main site is just Mike nelson.com. I have some stuff every once in a while on Instagram. yeah, this is Dr. Mike Nelson. And then I do have a podcast which is the flex diet podcast. And most information I put out is actually through my newsletter, which I write for usually daily, like six outta seven days per week.

And it’s free. So you just go to Mikey nelson.com and there’ll be a way to get on the newsletter there. And that’s probably the best way to reach me too, cuz that’s. Those are people I prioritize, I, I try to keep up with other sources of messaging and stuff, but sometimes you just can’t yeah, that’s a lot like can sign for the newsletter.

It’s free. Hell. You could send me a message through there and unsubscribe and I won’t even know. So

Matthew DesRoches: there you go. All right. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed that conversation folks, and until next time we’ll catch you later.

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