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On today’s episode of the Flex Diet Podcast, strength and nutrition coach Adam Grigorian and I break through dieting myths and scientific research to explain what it really takes to drive progress for your clients.

The Flex Diet Certification will open for enrollment on June 5 and close on June 12, 2023. In the course, I cover eight interventions to increase your performance and to have better body composition. Go to to sign up for the waitlist. You’ll be the first to know when the course opens.

Listen to hear:

[8:01] Allowing for discomfort

  • [10:26] Aram’s problem with academia
  • [17:26] Disseminating research down to what matters for your client
  • [21:18] Metabolic flexibility
  • [27:49] Context in dieting
  • [32:34] Variety in food choices
  • [39:40] Compliance and human psychology
  • [49:04] Fat as a fuel source
  • [53:59] The flaws in tracking input and output
  • [1:08:36] Humans are robust
  • [1:18:40] Coach as a translator

Connect with Aram:

Referenced link:

Rock on!

Dr. Mike T Nelson

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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


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[00:00:00] Dr Mike T Nelson:

Welcome back to the Flex Diet Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Mike T. Nelson, and on the podcast we talk about all things to increase muscle performance, metabolic health, and improve your body composition, all within a flexible framework that you can apply and actually do. Today’s guest on the podcast is my good buddy, Aram.

You may have recognized him from his website Four Weeks to the Beach, and he was also the organizer of the Great Real Coaches Summit in Vegas this past year, and it was awesome. I was honored to present there, got to hang out with a lot of cool people. I heard a rumor that he is planning on doing it next year, so we’ll put a link where you can check out the information there.

And this topic, I guess discussion ranges, everything from how to design studies for the average Joe or Jane. What is useful nutrition advice? You talk about metabolic flexibility, some health parameters, our rants about coaching in general, just a wide ranging conversation of me asking him questions and him asking me a lot of questions which is great.

And the podcast today is brought to you by the Flex Diet Certification. It’s coming up very soon. It opens June 5th, 2023, and it’ll be open until June 12th at midnight 2023. If you’re listening outside of that period, or this is afterwards. You can still go to and you can get onto the wait list.

If you’re listening now before it opens, I would highly recommend you join the wait list. I’ll have some exclusive bonus items there for you. And if you happen to listen while it’s open, you can go to the same site and it’ll bring you directly into the page to learn more information. So go to flex and this will be your one stop certification for everything innutrition and recovery. Everything from protein to fats, carbohydrates, neat sleep, and much more. The cool part is it’s all set up in a complete system so that you’ll understand the big picture and the context of the framework, which is based on flexible diet and the metabolic flexibility. If you don’t understand either one of those, that’s fine, we’ll explain them to you, and then each one of the eight interventions, Has a one hour technical video, so everything you wanted to know about protein on more of the technical side.

And then each one has five action items so that you’ll know within the system we show you how to apply each one to each person. So you don’t necessarily have to count macros in order to do it. It’s a little bit more on the habit based side of the house. And the nice part is you’ll have literally the complete system that I put together over the last, oh man, 15 plus years now of researching metabolic flexibility. That was a topic of my PhD dissertation in exercise physiology. And I’ve also used this through various programs and with clients for that, literally that entire time. So you can get all that condensed knowledge down into less than 30 hour certification. And then we also have great expert interviews, everybody from Dr. Stu Phillips on protein, Dr. Jose Antonio. Dr. Eric Helms on flexible dieting, a Dr. Hunter Walman, talking about metabolic flexibility Dr. Steven Gui a about the neuro regulation of nutrition and appetite Dr. Dan Pardi about sleep and many others. So there’s lots of experts there. You can learn even more from if you want to take a deeper dive.

So go to for all of the information there. And enjoy this wide-ranging conversation. My good buddy Aam, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Huge thanks to Iamm for listening and being here on the podcast and all the work that he’s been doing, especially with The Real Coaches Summit.

You can go to the link below. We’ll have here to get on the wait list to be notified of more information. So far, depending upon the date we are. Planning to be there next year. Looks as of this recording, it’ll be in March, but he may have announced some information there. So enter the email there and you’ll be updated with all the information.

I look forward to seeing you there. Also check out his website four weeks to the beach. We’ll have that link down below here. And if you wanna learn more about nutrition and recovery, but you want it in a complete system. Not just piecemeal that you’re never really sure what is actually the next thing to do, or why the heck you’re doing it.

Go to the flex It’s actually The Flex Diet certification opens again a June 5th, 2023. It’ll only be open for seven days until June 12th. So go to the site. You’ll be able to sign up on the wait list. You’ll get all the information as soon as it re is released.

This is mainly for coaches. About 60% of the people that have gone through the certification. Our coaches are trainers in some fashion, and 40% are actually just really interested fitness enthusiasts who want to learn more about nutrition and apply the system to themselves. So go to

[00:05:46] Dr Mike T Nelson: Hey, welcome back to the Flex Diet podcast, and I’m here with my buddy Aram who did the presentations and all the conference fun stuff. We did real coaches seminar in Vegas a couple weeks ago. How’s it going, man?

[00:06:01] Aram Grigorian: We’re here, man. We’re recovered.

[00:06:03] Dr Mike T Nelson: I kept sending you my sleep data. I was like sleeping forever for two weeks after that. I still don’t, I still dunno how it’s pos. You hibernate like a bear.

Oh, totally. A hundred percent.

[00:06:13] Aram Grigorian: That’s what happens when you live in the northern part of the most miserable part of America.

[00:06:17] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. That’s why I left. I’m in South Padre right now, Texas, so yeah, we leave for the seasons.

I talked to my sister today when we’re recording. She’s yeah, it snowed a foot. Last night again. Oh, what in April? It’s so crazy. I’m like, oh, I’m not there.

[00:06:30] Aram Grigorian: Utah. Have you seen Utah? Utah is getting destroyed. It’s like they’re 30 to 20 to 30 inches a day, some days. And it’s covering houses.

It’s covering restaurants like people can’t get anywhere. Yeah, I’m sorry. Like I’m from Russia, man, I don’t ever, I don’t wanna see a drop of snow in front of me ever again. It just makes life so much more inconvenient. You add 45 minutes. I agree with that. It’s like I gotta get up in the morning.

Cool. Now I gotta wake up at four to shovel off my car and get it started. The dogs don’t want to go and pee outside. Like it’s just, everything sucks. And then the snow, these snow enthusiasts are like, but it’s so magical and it’s so beautiful. I’m like, great when you don’t have to do anything. But when you’re a nine year old kid who got class canceled because of snow, it’s amazing.

Yeah. When you’re a 39 year old adult who has to go to work and get places, it sucks ass.

[00:07:21] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. I don’t miss those days in Minnesota of driving around in snow and what I grew up like. I did not even have a front wheel drive car until seven, no, eight years ago now. I didn’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle until the one we have now, which I bought when we get this two, three years ago.

I remember like driving back home, I was working at a co-working place and it snowed maybe six inches. I wasn’t paying attention and I’m like, this is probably gonna suck, but I’ll make it. And I forgot we had a four-wheel drive, s u v, and I get out there and I’m just like, I’m like, oh, I see why people have four-wheel drive in the winter.

This is amazing.

[00:08:01] Aram Grigorian: You’re like me, man. You have these like technological revelations that make your life slightly more comfortable. Yeah. But I think when you and this is such a great segue into talking what we’re gonna talk about, but human beings need to relearn how to be uncomfortable to some extent.

[00:08:16] Dr Mike T Nelson: Oh, a hundred percent.

[00:08:16] Aram Grigorian: Like we’ve been so conditioned to be pampered, to have everything catered to us to have zero discomfort, zero expectation of pain. And I never grew up like that. Like I had. I was an immigrant from Russia. I came here with literally nothing. Like I watched my parents work, three jobs a piece.

I cooked my own lunch. When I got home from school, I did my own homework. I cleaned the house. There was no there was no allowance, there was no like, what’s on the dinner table. It was like, you figure this shit out yourself. We’ll be home at nine o’clock tonight. And now it’s like something is something as simple as just making your own food is now a problem.

Yeah. Like the amount of adults that I have to teach how to brown beef in a pan and I’m like, why am I teaching you this when you’re almost 50 years old? Where, what have you been doing for the last 30 years?

[00:09:04] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, I, for years of coaching, I like refused to believe that. And then it struck me like maybe five, six years ago, like pretty late that Oh, like you don’t even know how to grill a chicken breast.

Like you have no cl Cause you go through the thing, you keep making it simpler. Simpler, okay. And I’m like okay, so why didn’t you make your pro? I don’t really know what to do. What do you mean you don’t know what to do? You it up. How long do I heat it? Do I bake it? Do I what do you have access to?

I only have an oven. Okay. Put in a glass pan, throw some tinfoil over it, put it in the oven and make sure it’s not raw. Don’t kill yourself. And they’re like, but I’ve never done this before. I’m like, what? It’s like just. Mind blowing at times, but you know what?

[00:09:46] Aram Grigorian: And that’s why I think it’s a godsend that our career exists.

Oh yeah. You’re not coaching people anymore as much, or are you coaching people at all anymore, or?

[00:09:54] Dr Mike T Nelson: No, I limited it to 12 people, so I have 12 online people just got it. Yeah. Just due to other projects and stuff. But I always say that I’m gonna phase that out and I haven’t even opened it to the public for two and a half years, to be honest.

Just people have graduated, get a few referrals, but I, yeah, I, from a time perspective, it’s not the best use of my time. I also don’t wanna be one of these dickheads that’s never coached anyone and talk about it either. So I always feel like I have to keep some people around just to run experiments and shit on.

[00:10:26] Aram Grigorian: I respect that though, man, because, and this is, and maybe you and I can have a little bit of a con, a sidebar conversation on this, because there’s a problem that I have with academia. I respect the shit out of people that have PhDs that are doing the research that are in the trenches of that kind of stuff, but like this idea that there’s no such thing as an inflammatory food because no pub bad articles ever said to drugs.

Or there’s no such thing as reverse dieting. It doesn’t work because there’s no literature on it. I’m so tired of this narrative that unless there’s literature on it, it’s not real. Like anecdotal evidence carries power in my opinion. Like work with 500 people and tell me that an abundance of processed foods doesn’t fuck people up.

Oh yeah. You know what I mean? And tell me, of course. Maybe it’s not pinpointed down to seed oils or Omega’s six polyunsaturated fatty acids, but there’s probably a pretty good likelihood that when somebody cleans up their eating and then they go out to eat at a restaurant and that food is cooked in a vegetable oil versus an olive oil and they’re getting some type of a reaction from it.

Okay. Maybe we could start to extrapolate some shit, but Yeah. It’s just this blatant. Narrative that just exists. If you’re either like on the evidence-based side or you’re on this like influencer side and there’s just no middle ground anymore, just like everything else in our country.

[00:11:44] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. That’s my pet peeve. So I get, let’s see, hate mail from clinicians, practitioners, and researchers. Imagine that, because this happened to years ago, I won’t say his name, but he’s a pretty popular coach. He’s you’re just a blogger. You don’t work with anyone. I’ve worked with people for 20 more years than you have.

And I’m like, yeah, you have. And guess what? In 10 years from now, you’ll still have worked with more people for 20 more years than I will. Like I don’t know what you want me to do about that. And then you’ve got the whole academic side that’s oh, you’ve only published, 12 research studies and that’s not enough.

I’ve got hundreds and I’m like, But the interesting stuff is the interface, right? Yeah. Because research doesn’t have all the answers, and then there’s a lot of anecdotal stuff that sometimes does turn out a hundred percent to be true and is five, 10 years ahead of the research. And there’s sometimes that it was just stupid and we shouldn’t have done it anyway, but it seemed like it worked, and the answer is not perfect. And if you, I feel like it, especially now, like if you live in any point in the applied realm, like I’ll never have, like for some of the shit I do, I’ll never have enough PubMed re research to, appease the research people. But it’s some and it’s a direction, and I’ll probably never have enough, direct experience for the, the hardcore coaches who live in a gym, for 40, 60, 70 hours a week, which is great.

I don’t have any disrespect to either side, but it’s, I don’t know I think both sides get over glamorized. And now it’s almost my pet peeve with some academics is. Yeah. Your interpretation of the research is correct, but I can tell by your recommendations you’ve never coached a single person because what you just recommended for repeated tabatas for 12 rounds, did you do Elite athletes didn’t complete the damn Tabata study, 170% VO two max.

They didn’t even complete it. So I can, in theory, yes. That’s great. That’s awesome. But I can tell you never applied this with a normal human, because you would learn within two people that’s a really dumb idea.

[00:13:49] Aram Grigorian: And that’s the other part is how do we create studies that are gonna capture Mr.

And Mrs. Jones, who’s 45 years old Yeah. Who’s got a full-time job and three kids, and a high percentage of body fat and a low percentage of muscle mass and a low training acumen and a low cooking acumen and poor mental health. Like that person is not subjecting themselves to research.

[00:14:11] Dr Mike T Nelson: No, it’s, it is the same argument with elite athletes.

If I went to Cal Dietz when I was at the University of Minnesota, I’m like, Hey man, you know what? Give me your high level athletes. I want him to do this program for eight weeks, and then this other control program for eight weeks. At the same time. He’d be like, fuck you. There’s no way I’m letting you do that.

His job is, he gets paid a lot of money to get the highest level of performance he can from his athletes. He’s not paid to get, let me finish and do a research study with him, but everyone’s oh, you need more Elite athletes, and they’re not even like general population. A lot of times it’s not representative in the people that were studied.

No, of course it isn’t, but it probably is never gonna be represented to the level that we would like to see it. It’s just not gonna happen unfortunately.

[00:14:56] Aram Grigorian: We have to be able to, as people in this field, we have to be able to water this information down because the elite athletes don’t need our fucking help.

[00:15:03] Dr Mike T Nelson: Not usually like only easies a coach.

[00:15:06] Aram Grigorian: Correct. Like you give me, you gimme somebody who’s got 16 weeks out of pre. That’s why I don’t coach bodybuilders cuz it would be boring to me. Like you, you give me a woman with an eating disorder and a lifetime of body dysmorphia who’s never set foot into a gym who’s never picked up a dumbbell.

That’s coaching, that’s a challenge. Yeah. That’s somebody that you have to fight tooth and nail to convince them that they’re not gonna get bulky, that they should be eating some carbs, that they need to be able to strength train, that they need to go to bed at nine o’clock at night. That’s not an easy case, but that’s the people who need our help.

We don’t need to be, we don’t need to be focusing on the gym rats who are already sourcing this information on their own. If they fuck themselves up because they read the wrong blog, so be it. That’s not my responsibility. I don’t. I don’t feel personally irresponsible to, or that I delivered the wrong information to them.

What I am responsible for is making sure that the layperson who is the statistic of obesity that we’re trying to fight is the person who’s getting this information, because that stuff is still not common knowledge by any stretch of the imagination.

[00:16:06] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. No I agree. The only counterargument I would make is that there, there is some stuff you can learn by working with elite athletes that does transfer down to general population, right?

[00:16:15] Aram Grigorian: So like when I did engineering, why does Ford and all these high-end motor companies race F1 cars and do all this high-end stuff? Yeah it’s brand promotion, it’s all that kind of stuff. But they also realized that they had to solve hard problems there to come up with new technology and within 5, 10, 15 years would, just be in your average, grocery getter.

[00:16:36] Dr Mike T Nelson: But I think we do a hard time or bad time. Translating that also, and the industry itself, it’s looked upon if, oh, I could rattle off like a bunch of, N F L and NHL athletes I’ve worked with. Great people are like, oh wow, you must really know what’s going on. I’m like, eh, if you’ve seen some of the coaches at some of these organizations, granted it’s much better now in, it was 15 years ago.

Hey, and like teaching an elite athlete to squat or Becky, who’s never squatted in her life what’s harder to do, like Becky is way harder to teach how to do a squat. The elite athlete, you’re like, ah, bring your butt back further. Boom. They figured it out. Yeah. Don Becky’s oh, where’s the chair?

[00:17:16] Aram Grigorian: But and that’s why I think it’s so important for us to be able to disseminate this stuff and put it together in an organiz organized, digestible manner. That makes sense. And then and now we’re being, and now it’s just information from a fire hose on Instagram. It’s oh yeah, fasting, keto.

This is wrong. That’s right. Carnivore vegan. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. A quick story, like I have a client who’s started with me. She’s early 30 school teacher. Her religion has nothing to do with it, but as somebody who’s from the Jewish community, I don’t know a ton of Jewish moms who want their daughters deadlifting 75 pound dumbbells because it’s immediately like this, all you gonna get, your back’s gonna get blown out.

That’s, you know what I mean? It’s no different than, like, when I showed my parents powerlifting videos when I was in my early twenties, they’re like, why are you lifted so heavy? You’re gonna get hurt? Because that’s this old school narrative that still exists. It’s first of all, women shouldn’t be lifting weights and why?

If you are, they should be very light and you should be doing a million reps with them or else you’re gonna break. So she’s in her she’s in her family house in Florida celebrating Passover, and she’s excited about her progress and she’s showing her videos off to her family. And she’s talking about the amount of protein she’s eating and how she’s feeling so good and they’re just immediately start ripping her apart.

Oh yeah. And it’s an alienating feeling. And I feel bad because like I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with like-minded individuals, connect with people that I can communicate with. I don’t talk about this shit with my family. They don’t fucking know. Like my father’s 75 years old, he starts every day off with a shot of Oculus pepper in it, a quarter stick of butter, melted into some milk and that’s what he starts his day off with.

Now granted, he’ll probably outlive me somehow, I don’t know how, but his blood work is perfect. His A H D L D L is great. His liver and kidney functions are probably better than mine. His blood pressure’s decent. Like he’s not in poor health, but it’s just that this phenomenon you can’t even explain.

And then you got guys like me who are like sitting there testing blood glucose and like getting H R V and like tracking their macros and then they die of 55 of a fucking coronary disease. And there’s just no way to explain it.

[00:19:23] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. There’s always random effects that are gonna happen or you get taken out by a school bus or, whatever.

Bad shit’s gonna happen to you. But that’s what I’m hoping for. Just, yeah. Back. Put one in the back of the head when I’m not looking. Yeah. My wife and I said, hopefully die in a skydiving accident when we’re a hundred, oh, that’d be fun. Yeah, that’d be good. Flat, don’t even pull the shoot.

[00:19:45] Aram Grigorian: Just, have you ever sky, have you ever worn skydiving before?

[00:19:47] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yes. The most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Cause I really irf fly to heights. Petrify to heights.

[00:19:54] Aram Grigorian: Oh, okay. See I felt like I didn’t feel like I was falling. The free fall from like that 60 seconds coming out of the plane, you feel like you’re falling, but then when you’re like parachuting around, you just feel like you’re floating.

[00:20:06] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, I felt better when I did it as a tandem because I knew I wasn’t driving the damn thing. The first time I did it as a static line, which I think was only legal in the up of Michigan. And this plane was just a heap of trash that I would’ve never gotten in without a shoot. I think they were out there duct taping the wing on.

I literally heard the pilot say, oh, we only filled the gas tank on the right side. Cuz I think the one on the left is like just leaking gas all over the runway. We’ll be fine. Oh my God. If you had to, hang from a pull-up bar off of the wing of the plane to be stable cause you’re only at 3000 feet, so you have to get all the way out to the pull-up bar off the edge of the wing of the plane and hang there.

Oh my God. And I asked the instructor guy, I said, What happens if I get out there and I can’t let go? And he is I crawl out there and pull your fingers off one by one until you drop. Because once you get on the bar, you can’t get your ass back in the plane, so you’re going down. I was like, oh, okay.

That’s how we should start coaching people. Sink or swim, maybe Let’s go. Time to fly out of the nest. You go. Good luck. Learn to fly the way down.

[00:21:18] Aram Grigorian: No, I think the work that you’re doing with the metabolic flexibility thing I think is so important because I think this is such a misunderstood topic.

Like I just had this con, I have a, one of my clients is a ER doctor. Really smart guy, cuz he’s actually very curious about, out about the disciplines outside of his scope. Nice. Something like, he reads a lot of literature. He is, he’s reading up on different dieting protocols and how they apply to certain populations.

So he’s very much immersed in the wellness, health, and fitness space on top of also being a great ER doctor. But the stuff as an ER doctor, it’s not they’re dealing with shit that’s very acute, immediate. We need to get this thing wrapped up, figured out. Right now he is, he’s not dealing with long-term chronic right illness.

He’s not dealing with, body transformation stuff. So it’s not a world that he’s real well versed in. But he started reading, I forgot, which, I forgot who the author was, but the guy who talks about Being like fat adapted versus being carb adapted. Oh, okay. I don’t, you probably know more than I do.

Oh, it’s a bunch of them doing that now. But Peter something, not Peter at Tia, but somebody else, whatever it is. But he basically, he was basically saying he’s, he started eating less carbs because you wanted to be fat adapted. I said, yeah. If you take the word that they say and that’s what your understanding of it is, then sure.

It’s a very one-to-one ratio. I eat less carbs, my body burns more fat, but it’s also because you’re just eating less carbs. So now your body doesn’t need to burn the carbs. So your body will burn whatever the prevalent fuel source is that’s coming in. If you’re eating more fat than carbs, you’re gonna burn more fat.

If you’re burning more. Yeah. Especially if you’re healthy. Yeah. So it’s not that your body is taking fat out of tissue and prefer it to burn as fuel. That still requires you to be an energy deficit.

[00:22:59] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And that’s the confusing thing. And I get interesting emails on this too, of they’re like, oh, but you’re talking about your body.

You’re trying to train it to be better able to use fat. And I’m like, yes. And they’re like, oh, but you didn’t say from dietary fat or body fat, and you didn’t talk about body composition. I said, no, I was just trying to explain the basics of metabolic flexibility. Anytime you’d say, use fat as a fuel or burn fat, people automatically assume that, oh, my body cop must be getting better.

And then, all the evidence based people lose their mind because you didn’t clarify that, oh, you could be burning, fat that you took in from food. I’m like yeah you could, depends on if you’re measured it fasted or if you measure it after a meal, but it, yeah.

And even a lot of the people in the industry who have, books and stuff like that are, oh, you’re a car burner or You should be a fat burner. It’s like they make you pick one or the other. They make it sound like being a car burner is like this horrible thing. You want to be using fat. It’s yeah, but if you ever tried to do a ketogenic diet and do any like speed and power stuff, it sucks.

It’s horrible. And if you wanna live your life like that, cool man, that’s great. I don’t care. There’s a cost associated to that too.

[00:24:10] Aram Grigorian: And there’s no toggle. It’s not like you’re, it’s not like you can like flick this thing on the side of your head and be like, okay, today I’m gonna be burning mostly carbs and then tomorrow I’m gonna burn mostly fat.

It’s gonna be like, no, and like this idea that the metabolism is broken or it’s like this plate glass window that we could just throw a brick through and it just shatters as we get older. It’s also bullshit. Like it adapts and reacts to the actions that you take throughout your lifetime. If you feed it a certain way, it does a certain thing.

If you don’t feed it a certain way, it doesn’t do a certain, like it’s all it is. And I think human beings love finding the silver bullet point in everything. It’s oh, this is the reason why I’m not improving my body composition. This is, this must be the thing. It’s I’m 50. My metabolism is just completely shut down.

I just can’t eat any food anymore whatsoever. What’s the point? So it’s, I will, and what I always try to do is I try to explain to people like, There’s always hope. You’re not broken, you’re not beyond repair. You still can change your habits. Like this idea of an old dog, new tricks. Like it doesn’t. Yes, you can have, if you want to change, it’s gonna be fucking uncomfortable.

I’m sorry. Oh yeah. You’ve lived a certain way and you believe certain things that you’ve had in your head for 40 years. It’s going to be very difficult to undo those belief systems and to install new habits. But I promise you there’s plenty of 75 year old body builders who get on stage for the first time ever because they decided to do it at 70.

There’s plenty of people that are power athletes who decided to start deadlifting at 65 when most of their orthopedic surgeons told them they should never deadlifting cause it’s bad for their back. So the amount of misinformation that exists is think, I think is the reason why so many lay people are so lost when it comes to this stuff.

And then when you even dive further into the coaching world and the professionals that are talking about this information, they read the abstracts of studies. And they don’t ever deep dive into any of the actual literature, so they don’t really understand how to interpret it properly. So for me, like I know I don’t wanna waste my time with that.

I’m just, it’s, you read research, it’s fucking dry. Yeah. It’s boring. It takes forever. Oh, it bores me. I like it. I like reading the research because I like getting the information, but I’ve been to it, conferences, experimental biology where they’re drone on about some genetic changes and the fricking fruit fly or whatever, and it’s dark and I’m almost asleep and I like this shit, but it’s you could not make stuff more dry and unappealing to the masses, but I get it. That’s just kinda the way it’s evolved. But there are people that are out there that are professionally have businesses set up to read, interpret, and then regurgitate that research in a more lay way.

Yeah. So why Eric Drexler and those guys. Yeah. I love, yeah love guys. There’s people out there that are doing this work, like Brett Contreras, Le Norton, these guys are doing this type of research and then they’re spitting it out. I’ll get it secondhand.

I don’t mind admitting that. I don’t wanna read this stuff. I don’t mind. Yeah. It doesn’t make me any less of a professional. I just know, like you said, my time is better spent working with my people, so totally half, half the time they don’t need to be explained this level of nuance. Oh God no. Like Jesus you’re just gonna make their head spin off their shoulders.

If you start bringing up the idea that you can be fat versus carb adapted to Mrs. Jones, and if you eat less carbs that your body will burn more fat. That woman will never put a carb inside of her body ever. And that and think about how dangerous that can actually be. Or if it’s the other way.

And that’s the problem is like there’s we take these super biologically complex processes and we try to dumb them down and narrow them to this little point that your normal four year old can understand it. And then it gets completely misunderstood and misused as a protocol. I don’t think keto and fasting and all these things are bad things, I just think they need to be deployed appropriately.

[00:27:49] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. It’s the context, right? Nobody wants to talk about context. And it, like I’m not a big fan of keto for general population, but I’ve coached clients and we’ve used a keto approach and they’ve liked it. It’s been good. If you tell me your favorite foods are, like you put butter on everything and you could eat bacon all day, hey, keto might be pretty good for you.

If your favorite food is, pasta, English muffins and donuts, ketos probably gonna suck really bad for you. Like maybe you shouldn’t start there, but again, I have a whole program on a ketogenic diet and ketones for concussion and potentially T B I through the care institute. Again, that’s a pathology though.

And in that case, I could make, oh God, I did a nine hour thing on it. So I think there’s some pretty good data in that area. But again, people see that and they’re like, oh, so I’m healthy. This is the thing for me. No, this is whacked in the head and your glucose metabolism isn’t a work worth of shit.

It is not the same context that you’re dealing with, but nobody wants to hear context. They just want to hear keto is great. That’s what I do. Oh, okay.

[00:28:47] Aram Grigorian: It’s also this desire to belong to a camp. Oh, for sure. And I think tribal thing, I think the one thing that diets did well was put a framework into somebody’s life that they didn’t have before.

Like most people, if you walk down the street in any, I don’t care if even San Diego, Miami, wherever you want to go and ask somebody, like just a random person off the street, how many grams of protein do you eat in a day? They don’t. They don’t fucking know. No. One of the, one of the questions I ask in all my intake forms is, like I said, can you name me five carb, five fat, and five protein sources?

Ooh, that’s a good one. And that’s just, that’s literally like my first five questions out of the gate when I’m talking to somebody. This is after they’ve already signed up. Like they’ve been reading my content on Instagram, like they know all about me. First five, first qu, what are five fat carbon protein sources and the amount of people that get through two and then can’t name anymore, or the people that don’t understand the carbs and fruits or fruits and vegetables or carbs or the amount of people that are telling me that viable sources of protein are peanut butter.

It’s cheese. Yeah. Cheese. Cheese and peanut butter. There’s two answers I constantly get. I’m like, sure, but like, how many grams of fat are you ingesting for every gram of protein? It’s probably not at a very efficient, like even an egg, if you think about it like an egg is not a great source of protein.

If you’re thinking about it just from a numbers perspective like egg. Sure. Yeah. Like egg whites out of a carton. Sure. Pure protein. Yeah. But an egg in itself is higher in fat than it is in protein. So is it a better fat source than it is a co protein source? I would argue that it’s probably a better fat source if you scramble two eggs together with 200 grams of egg whites, now you have an abundance of protein.

Now we can call it a protein source. Sure. But that’s the stuff that like, like just putting, do you eat about the same 20 foods on a weekly basis or are you just all over the map? Do you eat at about the same time? So what a diet has done is it’s taken somebody with no structure whatsoever and applied some framework to them, and then just by default they start losing weight because they’re controlling calories more.

So it’s not like this hedonistic fucking free for all that we all love. And listen, we’re all, Lord knows I, I put three puffs of a joint in my mouth. All my nutrition coaching goes out the window. Just if you put a bag of Stacy’s peanut chips in me, that’s a carb source.

And that’s coming, that’s just getting destroyed. Yeah. There’s no self-regulation, there’s no stopping. It’s just and my finger needs to hit the bottom of the bag.

[00:31:08] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. That’s why I don’t keep like Reese’s peanut butter cups around. I had a guy shout out to Trevor Coach Catalyst. I did some stuff with him and he asked, what’s your favorite candy?

And so he sent me a bunch of Reese’s Peanut butter cups and I think they lasted two days. I was like, Trevor, that bastard. He did it on purpose. I know. Probably, yeah.

[00:31:28] Aram Grigorian: He’s let’s fatten Mike T up a little bit for the winter.

[00:31:31] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. But the other experiment we used to do with clients was not even related to calories was, okay, we know you’re probably eating the same 12 to 20 foods, whether you lie to me or not, or whatever.

So your whole thing now is you’re gonna go to the grocery store. You’re gonna walk around the outside of the grocery store and I want you to pick something that you have not eaten, ideally, ever. But I’ll even settle for in the last year. I don’t even care what it is. And they’re like oh my God.

Like how do I decide? I don’t know. Just look at shit and go, does this sound good? Does, you’re just doing anything to try to get them out of the habit of like getting the same things. And I’ve had some clients that were so resistant to that. I’m like, okay, so you like Greek yogurt? I want you to buy, you can even have the same macros in your yogurt and I want you to buy a different brand this time.

Like, why? This makes no sense. I’m like, It’s the same macros, but you realize I’m trying to get you to do something a little bit different. Ideally, I would have you pick a different food, but that’s not gonna work for you cuz you gave me a shit fit already about it. So I’m trying to get you to get a different brand now to just try to get some more expansion into your life or right out loud.

[00:32:34] Aram Grigorian: Now, are you somebody who believes in the idea of and obviously this is a rabbit hole that could be so deep, it’s ridiculous, but the idea of having a wide array of foods from a digestive capability standpoint?

[00:32:45] Dr Mike T Nelson: I would say overall, yes. The caveat being you need to live there all the time.

Probably not. Yeah. So what I look at it is in my bias opinion, you want the highest capacity to digest food and make food sources out of it and not have any digestion issues. So for example, like some of the special forces people I’ve worked with, we had, this one guy was so funny. He comes in, he is super regiment.

He was going through selection, so he hadn’t been through yet. Oh, he’s just, oh, green Beret he was doing for Rangers. Oh wow. Nice. So he was gonna go into the selection process and so I was working with him for six months before and I get his nutrition list and all his supplements and, organic this and Kale that.

And he’s got everything detailed to the ninth. And I’m like how do you feel? He’s oh, pretty good. And I’m like, okay, now you realize when you go through selection and if you make it through selection and let’s say you’re doing the job later, there’s no whole foods on the corner that you’re gonna get all this shit at.

And he is oh. So we actually went through a whole process to basically dirty his diet up to get him to survive on Twinkies and Poptarts and God knows whatever else he could find. Because the mistake I made with those guys five years earlier is I didn’t do that and none of ’em made it. They just got destroyed by like the change in food distress, everything else.

And it’s so funny that you’ll talk to people who’ve been doing it for a while. Like a new guy will make it through selection somehow. And he’ll show up with all this like super, detailed stuff. And they’re like yeah, he is gotta learn. He is not gonna make it so well. Another buddy of mine went, got deployed in, he didn’t say where somewhere in Southeast Asia years ago.

And I said, how did the mission go? He’s I was the only one who was actually functional. Thank god it was a training mission. I said what happened? He’s the other four guys, since we’re in the middle of nowhere, we ate office. Some of the street carts and other food that’s, potentially a little suspect.

He’s they were in the shitter for three days. He’s I’m used to this shit. I had no problems. I’m eating anything I could find. It was great.

[00:34:46] Aram Grigorian: It’s almost like reinoculating your stomach again. It’s and I, and it sucks because my, like I have a really sensitive stomach.

There’s definitely stuff that I just stay away from and it sucks not having that flexibility, but I think when we’re talking about people in lay terms, just because you’re married to something and that’s the modality or the structure that you think you have to have. Even just something as simple as like people naming their meals.

Oh true. Like we have this idea that it has to be breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there’s certain kinds of breakfast foods that are specific for breakfast and lunch has its own type of cuisine and dinner is its own. It’s like dogs don’t do that. They just need meal one, two, and three and they’re happy as clams and they’re in pretty good fucking shape.

So I try to tell people like it’s meal one through whatever the last one is, and it could be fish and broccoli for breakfast. Then it could be eggs and toast for dinner. It doesn’t fucking matter. Like just is calorically and digestively. As long as you’re feeling where you need to feel and things are going well, let’s not pigeon holes our ourselves into thinking that you have to eat certain types of foods at certain times.

I’m happy that you at least are already thinking about the time of eating. But even that for most people, like meal timing for your average individual doesn’t really fucking matter.

[00:35:58] Dr Mike T Nelson: No. Even at high level meal timing doesn’t make a huge difference for most people. But I agree. Like you’re. Any little things you can do like that to try to get ’em out of their normal conventions.

I just find this is so much better, right? Because my biosimilar to yours is I’m not thinking about restriction unless I absolutely have to. I’m thinking about expansion and even if restriction is the goal, can I expand something else so that you purposely restrict the other thing, right? So I may go super high on protein to try to get you to stop putting cheese doodles in your face all day, right?

Because if I tell you, stop eating cheese doodles, and I made this mistake early on with the Oreo cookies. Guy comes in and look at his nutrition thing is like one of my first clients eons ago, and he’s eating like a sleeve of Oreos a day. Is his nutrition coaching stuff so hard? This is so simple, bro.

Stop eating Oreos. It’s oh yeah, I know, man. I eating way too many Oreos. I’m like, okay, cool. Comes back two weeks later. Still eating a sleeve of Oreos a day. He said, bro, we talked about the Oreos, right? He’s I know. I feel bad now this goes on. Cause I’m not very bright for six weeks. And finally I just got so disgusted that I’m just like, okay, whatever.

I don’t care. Eat as many damn Oreos as you want. Doesn’t matter to me, but I want you to eat protein first and then you can eat Oreos. He’s oh okay, I can do that. So 40 grams of protein, eat as many Oreos as you want. After he comes back, he’s only eating like half a sleeve of Oreos a day. And then I realized, I’m like, oh shit, I’m an idiot.

Because like how is the brain wired? Your brain is wired visually, right? So if I ask you like, like how tall are the windows in your living room? What would you say? How tall? The wood. I don’t have any windows in my living room. Oh, okay. How tall is your doorway to your bedroom? Six feet.

Okay. And how did you figure that? I walk through it. Yeah. You imagine yourself standing there, you’re about six feet tall relative to the doorway, right? So we store everything visually. So when I’m telling this poor guy like, stop eating Oreos, like all he is thinking of is Oreos. It’s don’t think of a pink elephant.

Shit. I thought of a pink elephant, right? So I’m, and then you have the psychological thing on top of it where he feels bad that he is still doing the thing that I told him not to do, but I’m subconsciously reminding him about Orioles all the damn time. So once I increased his protein and didn’t mention Orioles and just tracked it, oh, he all of a sudden ate less of them.

I was like, oh, so it, cause if it was as simple as like just here’s your list of naughty versus nice foods, then nobody would need coaching. They’d buy a diet book and they would never hear from ’em again. But it doesn’t work that way.

[00:38:37] Aram Grigorian: We have to remember that there’s still this really large.

Portion of this, that’s human psychology. That is so very important. Oh, yeah. And so individual and the amount of trauma and the amount of misconception and the amount of social learning and conditioning and every the rabbit hole on that is so far and vast that I meal plans. To me, the fact that they’re still being prescribed on like an hourly basis to people.

Who I was like, I just started with a coach two weeks ago. Oh, cool. I just started, with with Jace Lopez, who was Oh, speakers. Yeah. Awesome. Cool dude. So I wanna do a photo shoot for my 40th birthday, which is, there you go. Not until next year, February. So I figured let me just get my shit together for a year.

I haven’t really had anybody look at my stuff ever. And I like him. I think he’s a good dude. I think, I think he’s a he’s definitely a body building coach, so it’s a little bit hard. Oh yeah. But so he gives me a meal plan and I basically told him like, okay what type of compliance are you expecting here?

And he is a hundred percent, ah. I’m like, Jason, I love you, man, but Yeah. Yeah. You’re getting. You’re getting 90, 95 yeah.

[00:39:36] Dr Mike T Nelson: Oh, that’s good. If somebody can do 90%, I do that shit all day. That’s great.

[00:39:40] Aram Grigorian: But I’ve been tracking my food for 10 years now. Granted, am I perfect?

When I made salads at night was I tracking vegetables? No, but God, the way that I, the way that I think about it is like if anybody’s if you’re getting to if you, sure. If you’re getting down to 3% body fat Sure. Track every piece of Yeah. Food that goes into your face.

But if you’re like, if you’re just trying to feel and look a little bit better there, there is not one person on this planet that’s had a body fat issue because they overrate vegetables or fruit. No. I can’t imagine that okay, fine. Maybe if somebody like my mother who loves grapes can probably eat, can probably over consume grapes at night.

But even then, there’s just this like natural. It’s almost if you ate something sweet that was processed, you have no filter and no off switch for it. But then like naturally, like how many oranges can you eat with the same appetite after each one? It’s almost like your appetite for it decreases with every morsel of food, when it’s real.

Yeah. Especially if you’ve got to work for it and peel it and fiber, all that stuff. And like I think with the highly palatable processed foods, they’re intended for you to over consume. Like they’re, that’s a goal, right? Literally designed for you to just eat as much of it as humanly possible and never stop.

So I don’t know if, and then this is probably something you more, you can speak to more than I can, but is it because of the chemical composition of it? Is it because of the way our brain is wired? Is it because the way of our sat society and hunger hormones are structured? Like I don’t have an answer for that.

[00:41:02] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. The best book on that is Stephen Gui A The Hunger Brain. Yep. Yeah. Love that dude. Like his book so awesome in that area, but. My understanding is we’re basically cavemen with cell phones, right? Like we’re still wired for like food to be like unavailable and scarce and hard to get to. Like our physiology hasn’t changed that much.

No. And I’m guilty of this too. In the past I’d be like, oh God, why did that client go through the drive-through at Burger King? What are they doing? Don’t they know that’s not very good? And then I realize, I’m like, to their physiology, that’s actually efficiency. That even now, like I can take my phone and punch two things on it and food shows up at my door.

That’s efficiency. Like you are literally wired to be as efficient as possible. Now, unfortunately in our environment, that goes against it because in the past, you gotta, hunt wild game, which maybe took 1, 2, 3 days, run around, pounding the ground for a couple tubers. Woo. Like food wasn’t easy to get.

And now it is, but our wiring hasn’t changed. Like we’re still. We’re still driven to be like, okay, this is an efficiency thing, if I can get more calories cheaper with less effort, ooh, I lived longer a couple hundred years ago now, not so much because the effort put in to do that is like minimal.

And like you’re talking about at the beginning to be uncomfortable and unbalanced, like you have to go against kind of what society is going because all these companies, they just wanna make more money. And if they figure out a way to get you to eat more cheese doodles by putting more salt and more fat and whatever else in it, and they actually have if you look at the food science and stuff it’s crazy.

Like they have this thing that’ll measure like the factor of crunch. And, that gets into, a lot of clients store tension in their jaw instead of trying to relieve it by, not chewing on crunchy vegetables, but crunchy things. And yeah it’s pretty crazy.

[00:42:58] Aram Grigorian: Now, what’s your view?

And I’m curious about this you have a lot of people right now talking about this whole ancestral living thing, right? Don’t if it didn’t exist a hundred years ago, don’t put it in your mouth. Yeah. It’s a really cute narrative. I think it’s romantic and I think it’s really it would be great, but even the food that we source ourselves that we perceive to be healthy, we have no idea what it’s being made with.

I don’t, if you get unless you’re the person who’s slaughtering the cow yourself, and you’ve raised it since it was a calf, how the fuck do you know? Unless you’re the one who’s pulling the beets out of the ground yourself and you know that soil has never been chemically processed, there’s been no B p A or D, whatever it is, d h t put it like, we don’t know.

And that’s the, like when I start, you start going down this rabbit hole of like organic. And I do think there’s merit to stuff like grass fed, grass finished, pasture raised, wild cot. Just because if you are gonna eat an abundance of protein, You might as well make sure that’s the highest quality possible, like dollars to donuts.

If you’re eating the 40% of your diet is protein. Let’s make it like at least good. But aside from that, is it possible to even try to do this like ancestral thing and like actually abide by it? And is there really any benefit to it?

[00:44:11] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah it’s one of those things where, like you said, I think it’s a nice idea.

Yeah. I do think looking at stuff from an ancestral health standpoint as a lens to view things is useful, but at the same point then you have to look at what does the actual data say. When we have data a. Because just because they did it a hundred years ago doesn’t mean that we should do that now.

Go back a couple hundred years like penicillin didn’t exist. Ooh, should I not use penicillin? Because they didn’t have it a couple hundred years ago. It’s no, you’re stupid. Like use penicillin. Like it’ll probably save your life if something really bad happens. But I do think that an ancestral living is a good lens to try to figure out, should I take the stairs of the escalator?

They didn’t have escalators a hundred years ago. Okay, stairs might be a little bit better, but I think you can think your way through that. And even like the fruit we have now was not like the fruit they had even 200 years ago. All that stuff has been, cross crossbred and done all this stuff to produce more fruits and everything else.

And again, that doesn’t mean that it’s automatically bad though, right? Because now people are like, oh, it’s been gene genetic engineer, then it’s horrible. It’s eh maybe not. I don’t know. But yeah, even with like beef, like you, Like my bias, what I do is if I’m going out or I’m gonna order something and it’s a steak, okay, I’ll order the steak.

If it’s a hamburger, actually I tend to pass because I’m just a weirdo and I don’t know how many animals went into that hamburger. So yeah, we’re lucky, like in must Minnesota, we usually get half a Grasso cow from, the farmers we know in Wisconsin. Nice. And we get to process it and the reality is we can get it for almost the same price as what we were to buy, conventional meat off the store.

Wow. So at least then I know all that hamburger came from, one specific cow. So stuff like that I’ll do, but again, you have to pick your battles. The other thing you can look up is the dirty dozen for foods that tend to have a lot more pesticides in them. If you can reduce those, you’re probably gonna be better.

But then it’s how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? If you have an organic farm next to a conventional farm, they don’t put like walls up around it to prevent stuff from potentially. Crossing over some of the soils or transitional soils, how long do you have to have it to be considered organic?

Some organic pesticides are probably not that good either. Do you want to go biodynamics now we gotta get the Beatles in to kill this thing, to kill that thing. And it’s nice. And I think if more people went to more, local permaculture type things, I think, yeah, I think everything would be better.

This kind of mono agriculture thing is not super sustainable, but you have to deal with what you’re living in now too. And again, pick your battles of what you think is going to be useful versus not useful, where you’re gonna spend your money, et cetera. I think it’s unrealistic to assume that Betty is gonna switch to all organic food and go to Whole Foods or wherever and get, grass raised, cow.

And yeah, if you can need higher quality stuff, I think that’s good. But. You can’t use that as a thing to be like I can’t get, grass fed cows that I know their first name, so I’m just not eating protein. It’s you gotta make a concession somewhere.

[00:47:21] Aram Grigorian: I don’t need to be intimately involved with my meat that much like that.

Have you ever heard, have you ever heard of the Wagyu cows in Japan? Like when you Oh yeah. Where they they give you like a pamphlet on the cow’s life? Yeah. I would have such a problem with that. It’s like killing a, it’s like killing a pet and then eating it. I don’t wanna know how well it was living prior to me murdering it and then eating it.

Like I have zero problem with e eating animals at all. But when you give me like a biography of this thing and tell me like all of its family members and like what its hobbies were and what it enjoyed doing on a daily basis and what its favorite song was, now we have a problem.

[00:47:56] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. My, my friends of ours, they have a small hobby farm, and so they have a kid when she was younger, they said, Hey, yo, you can name the cows. What do you wanna name ’em? She’s dinner and lunch. That’s a badass, like under no illusion of what was gonna happen to the animals. Yeah. This isn’t gonna be a, this is not a family pet.

[00:48:16] Aram Grigorian: Yeah. I wanted to chat a little better if you still have a couple minutes. Yeah. I wanted to chat with you about so just the conversation I was having with my er doctor client this morning who had read a book and then it was basically like, if you eat less carbs, you start to become more fat adapted.

Let’s chat about this idea of burning fat that we’re eating as dietary fat versus expelling fat. Breaking it down from triglycerides into free fatty acids. Yeah. Releasing it into the bloodstream and then using it as energy. These are distinctly different things. If there’s a way. It’s almost like I’m interviewing you for your own podcast.

Yeah, whatever. But it’s fun. I think this is all yeah. Audiences will enjoy this. What is like the 30,000 foot view of how that would be explained to like my father who could barely speak English?

[00:49:04] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. So how I explain it to people is there’s two things. So one, fat is a fuel that your body can use.

Ideally, we want that to be as high as possible because it’s one of the main fuel sources. It’s also a super efficient fuel source. Like athletes could run multiple back-to-back marathons, even lean athletes because they have such a enough body fat to do that. So fat is a very efficient form of energy, which is a good thing.

[00:49:33] Aram Grigorian: But now rabbit hole number one. You just said that, right? So if I’m a client, and I’m considering keto, but I’m super athletic and I run a lot, I wanna be on keto because of what you just said.

[00:49:45] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And my next question would be, do you wanna win or do you wanna finish?

If you just want to compete, like I’ve worked with clients who wanted to do a marathon and did a keto, like for some of them it was actually easier. Great. That’s good. Because you don’t have to worry about fuel stations, you don’t have to worry about other carbohydrates. I can guarantee you’re not gonna win and you’ll never win.

But if you just want to finish, cool. Yeah. Hey, context, what do you wanna do?

[00:50:10] Aram Grigorian: And I think that’s such an important point because I think so many people are like I, I did keto and I ran a marathon. It’s okay, sure. And I ate like shit and walked the marathon.

You, you and I both finished. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:50:22] Dr Mike T Nelson: And again, to context, I’m working with a guy who’s working to be the first solo person to ever cross Antarctica. Unsupported Jesus. Yeah. Super crazy guy. Super, super wonderful dude. And, part of our discussion was I’m helping with his nutrition. So we’re considering a high keto amount, maybe some carbohydrates.

When would we replace him? What are the mechanics of, like heating water to make even oatmeal? Like all this stuff goes into it. But the reality is because he’s carrying all of his own fuel with him, that is a much better fuel source for him because his goal is endurance for long periods of time and efficiency of moving food with him.

But yeah, but back to your question, fat is a good source of fuel. The next question is where does it come from? So it can come from food, but it literally gets broken down into the same components, free fatty acids, or it can become from wherever it’s stored on your body, right? The different locations of where fat is stored, but it’s broken down and it still, shows up again.

So the question then is, what is actually present will determine what usually gets burned. So you’re always using some amount of fat. And then you’ve got, so the analogy I use is like a bathtub. So imagine I’ve got water coming into the bathtub, I’ve got a certain level of water, and then I’ve got a drain in the bathtub.

So there’s always water coming in and water going out, right? And that’s gonna keep a certain level in the bathtub if I want that level to go down. So I want my body fat to go down. I can either put less water in and have the drain be the same, or I can make a bigger drain. So I wanna burn more calories if I can do that preferentially from fat, which is a whole different discussion.

Ideally, yes, I would do that. Physiology doesn’t work quite that way, but I still want a lot of energy going out through the bottom of the drain. I wanna limit how much is coming in, right? So it is true that if you limit the amount of fat coming in via dietary sources, you will tend to use more of your own body fat.

Now the caveat is that doesn’t mean that’s automatically gonna make you leaner just because you cut down the amount of fat that you’re eating. And that’s where you get back to, the calories and the total amounts and what other fuels are actually showing up and you’re putting in at the same time.

And that’s where people get hung up, right? Because they’re like, oh, I thought it was all just about like fat balance. And then you tell ’em that, yeah, you could potentially convert carbohydrates even into fab via process called D N L, right? Novo Lipogenesis in the liver. They’re like, oh shit.

And then you tell ’em that that only happens at probably single digit percentage. They’re like, oh, nothing makes sense. I hate you.

[00:53:00] Aram Grigorian: And then I think with that, like when people start to and I think it’s always carbs that are this demonized evil food and it’s also because I think people, a by and large people suck at tracking.

Yep. That’s a pretty, I think that’s a relatively safe assumption to make. A lot of people are guesstimating when they track, which to me is. Better than nothing, but not much. Sometimes does a cop stand on the, imagine a police officer pulled you over and had no system of actually measuring your speed and was like, I think you were going about 90.

No. Who’s your ticket? Yeah. No, it’s not like they have a machine for that thing. Like you have a food scale. Now granted nutrition labels are what they’re allowed to be like X percentage amount off. Yeah. We’re allowed to round up and down. None of this is a perce, this is a precise science.

Unless you’re in a controlled setting. No, in a lab, like in a vacuum where they’re like literally actually burning food to see how much, to see at what level it burns out. Like you have no fucking clue. No.

[00:53:56] Dr Mike T Nelson: And your output side is almost impossible to measure.

[00:53:59] Aram Grigorian: That’s, forget about output, like any, like these stupid fucking things that are telling you like, you burn 3,800 calories today.

It’s okay. Explain to me, did my watch know that every single muscle fiber in my bicep was burning at the same time? Like they have no idea. Like steps, heart rate. Sure. Great. Yeah. Like some level of accuracy, but like a food scale and a nutrition label and some acumen. There actually is relatively accurate.

It’s not, but if you use it consistently, like you sitting in a restaurant and saying I had about 17 tortilla chips and the salsa and the cheese made was maybe 25 grand. You don’t know. No. And this is why like when people go out to eat, they’re like I think, I think I was pretty spot on when I logged my food out when I was out.

I’m like, okay, cool. So do that five times a week and then tell me that you were accurate and then we wonder why the scale isn’t moving in the right direction for you. But you’re still eating five meals uncontrolled out. Now granted, you’re making good choices. But you have no idea how much oil they use.

You have no idea what they’re cooking stuff in. You have no idea what the portion sizes are, even if you know how to eyeball them. You’re not accounting for every single bite, lick and taste. So you can’t tell me that. If you’re, and if your body is naturally maintaining weight at 14 or 1500 calories, you have a pretty sensitive metabolism that if you go 10 or 20% over, that’s a surplus.

And it’s not hard to run a surplus when you’re, when your maintenance calories are 1500.

[00:55:26] Dr Mike T Nelson: Oh, yeah. And if you’ve ever spent any time in kitchens, like I guarantee 99% of the chefs are not back. They’re going, half tablespoon of oil on this. Of course.

[00:55:36] Aram Grigorian: No, but this is why I think the case to be made for muscle mass is so important.

Sure. If you wanna buy yourself some caloric and metabolic flexibility, just spend a lifetime building it and keeping it. That’s, you’re never gonna have a f a get outta jail free card when it comes to food ever. Unless you want to be like one of these complete psychopaths who like brings our food scale to the restaurant and do all that shit.

But if you wanna at least be able to mitigate damage and give yourself some flex just strength train and build tissue as frequently and as much as possible, you’ll never get too big. It’s relatively, shit, I’m on fucking 180 milligrams of test a week before. I use a growth a week and I can’t grow.

And I’m eating 3,500 calories. So if I can’t do it, I promise most normal people can’t do it either. You’re gonna get, you’re gonna get some newbie gains, which is awesome. Congratulations, you’re doing something I wish I could still do. But the idea that like when you’re, and most, the overeating thing I think is such a menacing thing, is people, when they start tracking food, they’re like, oh my God, I’m doing something so good that I’d never done before.

This is gonna ex, this is gonna impact me. So positively, almost immediately. No, like tracking food is not a automatic fat loss tool. It’s an awareness tool. It’s a G P S system for what’s happening, but you have no every so step out of that environment for five minutes and now all that data is now gone and you have no idea how much you just ate.

And if you were living on 14 or 15 or, and that’s the thing is the other point of like maintenance calories, it’s not a pinpoint number. No. Like it’s not if I’m at 1500 but I ate 1506, I’m just gonna put on fat. Or if I ate 1497, I’m just gonna start losing fat at this rapid rate. Like it’s probably a two or 300 calorie range that you could live with it.

[00:57:20] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And you’re dealing with the complex dynamic system. And that’s the hard part. People forget is that as you eat more and eat less, your metabolism and the amount of energy you spend just total, right? So total daily energy expenditure. Shocker also changes, right? Because like, how many people have you added food to their macros and they start losing weight, right?

And then their head spins around and they go, whoa, physics sucks. It doesn’t work. It’s but some people, when you overfeed them a little bit more like Levine’s done this like cool study at Mayo, like one of my favorite studies ever done, eight week study. They said, okay, we’re gonna take these general population people, we’re gonna overfeed them a legit thousand calories per day.

Wow. Where I think it was eight weeks. And their estimation was they’re gonna gain about 15 pounds of fat. And they run the study. They did not change exercise. They said, just don’t do any diff different. Don’t change your lifestyle. Eat these extra calories was monitored. Most of the people I think gained like eight pounds was the average.

Some people only gained two or three pounds and some people gained like 16 pounds. And they’re like, what the hell? This makes no sense. And then they realized some people, when you overfeed them, they unconsciously move more. They start walking, they start twitching, they tap in their knee.

They’re doing all these things to try to burn off some of those excess calories. But it was an unconscious thing that they were doing. They didn’t know per se, they were doing it. And some other people were just like a sea slug on your couch. Fuck, they didn’t move anymore at all.

[00:58:53] Aram Grigorian: Ah, but how do you measure that, right?

Like, how do you account for that need that increase in need?

[00:58:59] Dr Mike T Nelson: So that’s the tricky part, right? That was their theory. So some other studies have supported this. You can look up thrifty versus non thrifty metabolism and in, it’s debated but I’ve seen this happen in practice, right?

You’ve had the classic old school lean gainer, like the, the eel shaped rake, who can’t, gain any. And then you look at what they’re actually eating. They’re not even eating remotely enough calories, but there are some of those people where they eat more. It does take quite a while. I remember asking John Barardi this years ago.

I said, yeah, I got this kid, he’s had 3000 calories and we just can’t get him to gain weight. What do I do? He’s keep having to eat more calories. He is he will not out eat his metabolism forever. It’s oh yeah, good point. That’s true. Cause at some point it’s gonna change and going down is the same way, right?

You’ve got some people who appear to rapidly adapt to a lower caloric level and like one guy worked with, now he lost 30 pounds. I didn’t change his macros once. Now granted he was probably off on his estimates he was exercising, but I’m primarily looking like you probably do the same thing at the output indicator and the input.

So I look at more at like the output. So in his case, his performance of the gym was going up, his cardiovascular performance was going up, and his body weight just by scale, weight, get on the scale every day. We’re slowly trending down over time. So each week I was like, eh, just keep doing what you’re doing.

We’ll tweak your exercise a little bit, eh, keep doing what you’re doing. It runs in a few issues. We’ll work through ’em, some social stuff, some counting, nothing too major. But again, I’m looking at the outcome metric. Like his macros are probably all over the thing, but I’m not gonna berate him and be like, Hey, bro, you’re losing like one to two pounds a week.

Better tighten up those macros. It’s fuck no. Like he’s doing the thing that he needs to it was enough oversight for him to get the result where other people, yeah, you have to tell him like, okay. We’re gonna do a video call and I’m gonna actually watch you weigh your chicken breast cuz none of this shit’s adding up and I don’t know what’s going on and none of it makes any sense.

[01:00:56] Aram Grigorian: I’ve had that happen and it’s a tough conversation to have because it’s basically saying, oh yeah, I don’t trust you. Which, but I say that to everybody. That’s exactly why I wanna see you. I wanna see videos of you in the gym. Yes. Like I, I wanna see what you perceive to be a hard set. Show me what a hard set is and when we start watching people’s training.

And I think this is why, not that I think that reverse dieting is a farce. It’s that I think it needs to be applied to people who are actually fucking earning those calories. And I talked to you about this before, like if you’re walking into the gym and and leaving 10 reps in every set in the tank you have zero need for a surplus or even probably maintenance calories.

You could do that on a deficit and be just fine. Yeah. You’re not gonna build any lean tissue probably. You’re probably just gonna stay where you’re at. And you’re just gonna prevent any atrophy or any muscle loss, but you’re not gonna gain anything. But if you’re truly walking in there and two out of three sets are being brought to failure, like sure, yeah, we have a case to be made that you probably need some more fuel.

And then you start to become a little bit more energy balanced, where the energy hit, matches the energy out. And that’s a really nice place to be because then we can actually pivot in some directions that get really fun. But that can take people years to get to, like even me, like I thought I was a calculator, I realized very recently, I’m fucking not a calculator.

Like I’m not I thought I was so efficient because of the years of data that I’ve collected and how much I’ve tracked and how diligent I was. But even now I realize that like I can have days where I eat and I’ve, I have data for it. I track every single few piece of food that go, if I eat a bag of chips, it gets tracked.

If I eat a five guy’s burger, it gets tracked. And there was times where on Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes on Sunday nights, I would be putting down. 5,500, 6,000 calories of dog shit. Food. Just complete garbage food? No, no Meaningful change in physique. A lot, a lot of digestive issues. A lot of sleep problems.

The quality of life generally just went down. But nothing changed. I didn’t put on the way that I ate. If my clients ate the way that I ate, there would be such massive fluctuations and scale weight that they would probably kill themselves. Like for me, I don’t, I, I step on a scale once a week and the number rarely ever changes.

Like I’m trending down like a quarter to a half a pound a week right now because I’ve really tightened things up and I’m actually like, I’m only eating one meal out a week. And even that’s relatively good. Like I had sushi one time, I had Mediterranean the other time. No desserts, nothing like, no overeating after dinner.

But like most people don’t live like that. No.

And the question is, do you want to live like that? What is the cost? How uncomfortable do you want to be to get to your goal? And that’s something I figured out. Like I haven’t tracked anything in probably three years. You haven’t.

But I know if somebody said, Hey, you have a photo shoot in a year, I’m probably gonna make some changes, right? It depends on what is the cost of also being leaner, right? And right now it’s eh, probably like the highest I want to be in terms of body fat. So I’m gonna slowly start going down, but I’m just monitoring my, exercise, doing more walks, I’m down on cell powder, I’m gonna kite board more, bump my protein up.

I don’t necessarily track those things, but I know historically because I think once you’ve controlled your weight, you know the set of actions to do, to get it to go up, the set of actions to do, to go down. And a lot of times those people are the ones that just don’t care. I don’t get, for me, myself, like I don’t get that.

[01:04:23] Dr Mike T Nelson: I’m worried about it because I know if somebody, if it became a high priority I know what I need to do to get there. I just don’t want to do it right now with everything else that have going on, to be honest. And before I was leaving, like I wanted to hit some strength goals that I had, man, it was just easier to do it when you’re eating more calories.

That’s just how thermodynamics works. And since all my lifts were going up, I’m just like, nah, fuck it. I’ll just, see what ends up and got close to 2 39. I was like, Ooh, I didn’t expect to go that high, but whatever. My tr all my lifts were going in the right direction, so it’s fine.

I’ll, scale back down a little bit and don’t worry about it, but it’s the clients who have never either gone up or down that are really hard to work with because they get stuck in the mindset of the past of everything I’ve tried hasn’t ever worked, which is why I’m, working with you this time and it’s hard to.

Get them to see the success. And sometimes in those clients, I paradoxically had them go up before they go down. I’m like, our goal is like the stuck car in Minnesota. If you put the car in the ditch, you don’t just push hard on the car the whole time. You have to rock the car back and forth, so like I wanna get momentum and variability into the system first, and then we’ll worry about the direction. So when someone gets super stuck now and they don’t change at all, all paradoxically go up and then they’ll go back down again. So if you ever looked at people’s like weight trends, just scale weight, what do you don’t see a linear line that goes straight down, never.

It goes up, down, up, down. There’s this variability in it and part of that is going up before it goes down. I think that’s just the system. But it’s so hard with clients who don’t understand that and have never experienced it, because like you said, they get on the scale. They’re like, oh my God, I went out last night.

I’m two pounds up. Ah fat. I screwed fat diet up fat. It’s like I You probably didn’t gain two pounds of fat overnight. I can almost guarantee you did it. Now, did you scale weight and say two pounds? Yes, it does. And we have to have this conversation, but yeah, I get it. It’s, it is hard because they don’t have the control because they’ve never demonstrated it to themselves that they could do it and be successful.

[01:06:35] Aram Grigorian: I’ve had to explain to women I think Eric Drexler was on Danny Meranga podcast and he, and they and they recited some research that he had done, and it was like 9,700 or 9,200 calories to put on a kilogram of body fat. It could be like, you’d have to, you’d have to be in that much of a surplus, which I, if you break that, what is it?

97? 9,200 divided by 2.2. So I guess that would be what, about 4,000? Something over? Yeah, 3,500 is usually what it’s but over, yes. Surplus, chronic chronically over your maintenance calories like. I’m sorry, Mrs. Jones, there is no universe unless you’re just com. If you do what I do, sure.

Maybe you’ll get there. But like I, I mean I, I have women who like, who tell me that they’re overeating and like I look at their food Now, granted again, this is always like you have to take measuring with a grain of salt. Yeah. Like they’re so worried about this concept of overeating. It’s if you’re chronically doing this every single night and you’re upset with yourself, that’s a psychological problem.

That’s not a physiological issue. Oh, a hundred percent. But if you’re you’d have to do this egregiously for two, three weeks straight to notice a meaningful scale weight change that’s actually accumulated body fat. And if you’re in the presence of strength training with relative intensity, you may also finally be putting on some muscle mass too.

Yeah. Which, if you’re putting out a quarter pound of muscle mass and a quarter pound of fat, we have no fucking way to measure that. No. And like body circumference measurements, like even when I do them, I see variability and I’m pretty accurate. Yeah. Still the, where you hold the tape on your body, what state you’re in, how much fluid you had the night, like all of the, like I’m actually having a Zoom call with my clients at six o’clock tonight after this.

And the amount of like panic that I have to just like subdue on a weekly basis. I’m like, guys, I wish it was linear. I wish it was perfect. I wish all of you were calculators and metabolic calculators. I wish all of your physiologists were as responsive as I had 16 beers and I put on 16 pounds. It doesn’t work like that.

And if it did, the human race would be wiped out. Oh, a hundred percent. We would’ve been dead eons ago.

[01:08:36] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, the, I tried to explain to clients as I, I should write this article, I’ve been meaning to do it for years. It’s the title is you’re just not that fragile. Humans are like extremely robust.

Like my, the words I’ve used is like human physiology has every bad engineering word associated with it. It’s anti tropic, it’s non-linear, it’s chaotic. It is multiple redundant backup systems, which is good because it’s all 100% survival based. Like your body is doing everything possible in order to survive.

That is priority number one. Not any more muscle. It’s not body comp, it’s not any of those things. No. So if you want more of those things, like how do you teach your body to survive better and the fact that you can do those, to me it’s like fascinating. If I put a sugar in the gas tank in my car, I’m probably not making it around the block.

The fact that some clients can survive on seemingly seven-eleven Slurpees with no ice for years on end. And they’re still upright. Like they’re not the epitome of health and body comp, but they’re still walking around. They’re not pushing up daisies. No. That’s fascinating. Like, how the hell does that?

Like just literally eat trash and you’re still here?

[01:09:48] Aram Grigorian: Oh, I a bu a buddy of mine, mind blowing, a buddy of mine drinks three handles of vodka a week. Oof. Smokes two, two to three packs of cigarettes a week. Probably does two to three grams of cocaine a week. Weighs about 340 pounds. And that’s not muscle.

Doesn’t exercise. Drives 90% of his life sit like his 90% of his life is seated and eats out two to three meals a day. Probably more than that cuz he travels for work. The fact that he’s still on both feet. Yeah. And is alive. Like it’s astonish. If he can handle that type of abuse to his system, like you having a dinner out with your husband on a Saturday night is not the reason why you’re, why you’ve put on 50 pounds in two weeks.

No. Like it has gotta be, it has to be perpetual neglect or just the lack of attention to detail or the lack of a framework. This is why I think it’s like there’s no such thing as fat loss, and there’s no such thing as fat weight lo fast weight gain. And if it was that fucking rapid, the chemistry set is so off that we need to start doing some pretty deep done.

That’s, and I get it, like we have hormones and we have gut health issues that Oh sure. When you’ve done, when you’ve done everything right for six months and we still have no answers. Maybe we start going down the Dr. House route, but like nine outta 10 times, it’s probably a compliance problem. Oh yeah.

[01:11:17] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. I remember talking about Ben. He was at a conference and the sky is this is years ago when the Dutch test first came out. Yeah. He’s Hey man, what do you think of the Dutch test? It’s oh what are you trying to do? He’s ah, Ben’s do you exercise? No. How many hours do you sleep?

He’s five. He’s do you log any of your nutrition? Or what’s your nutrition plans? I don’t really have one. He’s you don’t need a Dutch test. You just need to hire a coach and do some simple stuff. He’s no, but I think the Dutch test will tell me everything I need to know. He is no, save like your $700 or whatever.

Hire a coach. And eventually it left with them. Like the guy’s I think I’m still gonna do a Dutch test. Oh, it’s but again, it propaganda. He probably read that he’s broken somehow. This is gonna give him the answer and he’ll give you answers, but it potentially can spin you off in the wrong direction too.

And what are you gonna, how many people major in minors? Yeah.

[01:12:04] Aram Grigorian: But what do you like what? Like people ask me about like body fat percent. Who gives a fuck? Yeah, like who gives a fuck? If you’re 38 versus 28, does your life change at all? No. Like you don’t know the difference. May, if you’re a stage competitor and you wanna see like striations in your glutes, yeah, sure, go get a DEXA scan.

But if you’re, if you have like literally visible hanging fat in places that you can grab with both hands, you don’t need a fucking body fat test. No. Just start moving your body and eating food that’s real in a decent quantity and just lay off the shit that makes you feel like crap. That’s it. Do that for the next 10 years.

You’ll be okay. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

[01:12:42] Dr Mike T Nelson: And you’d be amazed too, like I, when I did labs at the University of Minnesota’s, part of my PhD, we did, one of the things I did was I, okay, can I take a week period of time and see how many different ways I can get my body fat tested?

So I had skin cas, I had thousand dollars BIA machines, like the expensive ones with the pads and everything. I had a dxa, I had underwater lane and I had BOD Pod Jesus. And literally in body fat percentage numbers, I was either, Hey, I’m pretty leaner. Oh my God, I am like catastrophically obese. Like it varied by up to 12 to 13% body fat, not percent variability, percent in fat, body.

Fat, fat. Wow. And it was mind blowing. And we did body fat analysis underwater, Wayne and BOD pods on, hundreds, probably thousands of students by the time I left. And so you get bored doing it, right? Cuz I’m the one operating the machine. You’re like, so we play the game of let’s guess everyone’s body fat, right?

When they come in, which you probably shouldn’t do this, but yay, we’re bored. We didn’t tell anyone. We didn’t publish it. And if the machines were accurate, it was crazy how far off we would be on some people. And I think the machines were still calibrated because just the way people hold, fat and that kind of stuff.

And like I’ve seen like some female competitors like very lean abs, but a fair amount of, fat in their lower body. So everybody holds it in different places. They can look very different and have literally the same body fat percentage also. Cuz there’s a perception of, and yeah, at some point, yes, if you do get lean enough, yes the numbers all merged together.

But I think people would be shocked at what someone looks like and what their percentage really is. And it’s not what they think. And the, and again that’s one we had was a female competitor, mixed martial art competitor who competed at the ufc. She was five five. And if you saw her in street cos you’d be like, yeah, she works out but not super, super big.

But you would see her at a weigh in and you’re wow. She’s pretty shredded. That has a lot of muscle. And so we played this game in the lab with the female competitors and she was totally fine with it. We’re like, okay, guess how much do you think she weighs? Like all the females in class were like, 1 20, 1 10.

She weighed 1 56. Oh my God. And if you saw her, you, there’s no one in general population would’ve guessed that she weighed that much, but she had a lot of muscle mass. She was just, bigger and had been training for most of her life. But again, most of the women would be like, oh my God I could never weigh that weight.

W would you wanna look like her? Oh yeah. Of course. You realize she legit weighs 1 56 because that was her weight. Add an official weigh in on tv, right? They’re like, but I don’t wanna weigh that much. Oh my God. Yeah.

[01:15:34] Aram Grigorian: And that’s, we could literally end it right there and just say, psychology is the reason why we have problems.

Like we don’t have a body, we have an obesity issue because we have a mental health problem. If you haven’t seen the movie, the Whale, I’ll watch it. What is it? The Whale. Okay. It’s with Brendan Frazier. It got all, I got all sorts of hype because it’s a mo it was getting a lot of controversy cuz it was basically like, they were calling it like fat shaming porn.

Oh, okay. Basically, it’s a, it’s about a guy who’s sedentary in his house. He’s a professor, an online school professor. And he just, he does, has his camera on because he is so morbidly obese. But it goes into the psychology of like, why he got obese and how he punishes himself with food. But it’s an amazing movie.

But it wasn’t by accident. Yeah. It’s not because his hormones were broken or because he he couldn’t digest seed oil. It was because he just fucking overate and and basically sometimes on purpose because he was a coping mechanism. Sure. Which is what most of us do. We’re stressed out.

We, some of us eat too much. Some of us eat too little. It’s not like the I’ve had to say this so many times and people still don’t understand what thermodynamics is, but I’m like, the thermodynamics law is real. Yeah. Calories matter. Yes. Composition of calories also matters. Yes, EV The problem is everything matters.

And you can’t just, you can’t just pick one thing out of a hat and say, this is the reason, or this is not the reason. You just have to understand how to tie it all together. And luckily that’s why we exist.

[01:16:58] Dr Mike T Nelson: And my last comment on that is that for quite a while, I had, a years ago I had a client who was not happy with her self-esteem, wanted to lose 30 pounds.

Long story short, we did it. She got to her weight goal and she was still unhappy. And that was like scary for me cause I’m like, uhoh, I screwed up. I went along for the ride thinking that this was gonna solve her issues and that she would magically feel better once she hit her goal and she didn’t.

And then she was completely confused because she thought that was the thing and it wasn’t. And so I’m like you can’t just hate yourself lean, right? Yeah. You might get there, but you’re still not gonna change psychologically wise either. So it’s if you don’t like yourself and you’ve got self-esteem, you’ve got some other issues going on, then yeah, you should see a psychologist if you wanna improve your body composition, do some performance, whatever it is, cool.

Great. Hire a coach. But it, so often those get just completely put together, and I understand why. But it’s, yeah, it’s a lot more psychology mindset than anything else by, Yeah. The science is, that’s why I love stand efforting and I, and what he always says. Yeah the science, the compliance is science.

[01:18:17] Aram Grigorian: What is it? The compliance is a science. Yeah, exactly. And it’s so well said. That’s all it is. Like we don’t need the, your average person doesn’t need to know about nutrient partitioning and real timing and gluco neogenesis and glute four receptors. They would be boards of tears. They have habit based issues that need help.

And that’s, thankfully, we at least are trying to be on the forefront of that.

[01:18:40] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And I do think I, there is a time and a place to understand physiology as a coach. Sure. But again, your job is just a glorified translator. I don’t mean that in any disrespect at all. I couldn’t agree with you more. You translated into actions a client understands, right?

Yeah. So we could have a, probably a two day conversation about the deadlift and ray coating and muscle recruitment and optimal form and whatever. But your coach is not gonna give you a lecture on fucking ray coating. They’re gonna be like, Push your big toe on the ground, okay, stand up, do this, squeeze oranges in your armpits, whatever the cues are, they’re gonna give you probably one cue and then watch you do it again.

And if that wasn’t right, they might want to understand all that complex stuff. But the goal is to give you the next better action item. And the action item is a thing that’s like super simple and that’s what drives progress. But you do, everybody gets so hung up on, oh, but I gotta look smart. It’s no, you just have to get your client the result like that that, that’s like the goal.

And the simpler you can do that with less words, even better.

[01:19:39] Aram Grigorian: It’s like that scene in have you ever seen forgetting Sarah Marshall? No, I haven’t. There’s a scene where Paul Rudd is playing a surf instructor and he is just fucking stoned all day long. And Jason Siegel shows up and he wants to get a surfing lesson cause he’s all depressed cuz his girlfriend left him and he just keeps flopping down onto the board.

And then Paul Rhodes pop up. He’s no, you gotta go faster than that. Pa he’s yeah, don’t worry about it. We’ll figure it out. It’s like he just gave up out of immediately. Cuz he is yeah, that, but that’s what it is. Half the time, nutrition and fitness is just figuring it out.

Like you ha it’s trial and error. I don’t give a shit how good of a coach you are and how many PhDs you have, how many certifications you’ve achieved. You’re te you’re guessing, checking on 95% of clients because there is not one person that I’ve ever worked with who was like immediately responsive to anything.

[01:20:25] Dr Mike T Nelson: Oh no. And then the way is, do you set up the experiment that they’re doing so that if this is not correct, then you know what direction to go. Once I figured that out, then it was much better because I’m like, okay, I think you’re gonna go this direction with this program. I think, based on what I know, I think this is gonna work, but there’s no way to know a hundred percent.

If that doesn’t work, then I know we need to go more in this direction. As opposed to like, when you’re new, you’re just like, try all sorts of shit. You don’t just empty out the toolbox. You can’t take the feedback from one to get you closer to the next thing. And that’s where, experience, knowledge, all that stuff comes in.

[01:21:00] Aram Grigorian: Yeah. Man I, cool man. That was fun. I appreciate it, man. That was awesome. I could talk about this shit all day long. It’s, I have this session coming up in 30 minutes where we’re, the topic tonight is compliance as it relates to results. I like that. And the subset of that was psychology of eating.

It’s gonna be I usually what I do is I usually do a writeup on Tuesdays, which is what, it’s funny cuz you said start a newsletter and I’m like, I’ve been trying new, you should newsletters. But this is I just send it to my group of clients and it’s basically just, okay, this is the topic, this is what my views on it are.

Some of it’s anecdotes, some of it’s science. Cause I don’t wanna like really bore people. And then they read it and then on Thursday night on Zoom, we discuss it and then they have like as much q and a as they need. But it’s always interesting to me how many people are struggling with results that don’t show up to these things.

Oh yeah. That’s, I’m like you, I have 72 clients. I’m averaging like nine to 10 people on these zooms. And the 72 and the nine people that are showing up are the ones who are actually doing really well. Yeah. Soccer and then the 68 people that aren’t showing up are the ones who are bitching and moaning on a weekly basis that this isn’t working.

I’m like, okay. Cool. So I guess your involvement in the process doesn’t matter.

[01:22:11] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. That was the thing John Barr said to me years ago though, helpful is okay. So I either gave you the exact right action items to do and you didn’t do it. So now I don’t know. Or you did it with 90% compliance, even if it’s not correct.

Cool. I know then I gave you not the best information, so let’s go over here. But if you don’t do it at 90, 80, whatever your compliance cutoff is, you don’t know the answer to either one. The only way to figure that out is to do it at a high enough rate where we can be sure that wasn’t the thing, so we can find the thing.

Yeah, and I’ve lost track of how many clients, sometimes I have to explain that too, of like they. Oh, that doesn’t automatically work. But usually it gets a little further down the path.

[01:23:03] Aram Grigorian: I can’t wait till this episode comes out cause I’m gonna blast this. So many people need this information cuz it’s so basic.

Cuz I think people are just running around, run, running around thinking it’s gotta be this insane e that unlocks the door. It’s no, just keep doing the shit for the next 25, 30 years until it just becomes habit. If you really cared about your aesthetics, you would not have let them go 30 years ago.

If it was that much of a priority. And that’s a shitty thing to hear and say, oh yeah, but’s true. But I’m sorry. I started lifting weights at 15 cuz I was vain and insecure. I’m 39 and I’m still vain insecure. And I’m still lifting weights, but I’ve never, but like I’ve never, I didn’t have to start as a 43 year old person who’s never done it.

Yeah. And I have to empathize with that. And I get it. Like it’s gonna be a, but understand where the fuck you’re starting from. Like you’re starting from scratch. If I walked into Goldman Sachs and asked for a job when I had a fucking culinary degree, they’d be like, Absolutely not. And that’s o but that’s okay.

That’s not a disordered way of thinking. Like you’re just an idiot. But the fact that people are, have this misconception of I could start tomorrow in a 90 days, everything will change. No. Absolutely not. Add, multiply that by another nine maybe. And if you just what, why would just take the timeline completely off the table.

It gives a shit about the timeline. You’re gonna you’re gonna, you’re here anyway, time’s passing. You could either feel like shit while it passes or you can feel great. And fat is a symptom of poor health. That’s all it is. Just simplify it that way. Like you’re not fat because you weren’t, you didn’t come out of the womb fat 90% of the time.

It was acquired over time based on behavior.

[01:24:33] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. It’s like the old saying, the body you have is a body you earned. Whatever direction you’re going. And that’s, and once people even realize that, but again, you’re back to. Accountability and all that kind of stuff, and no one wants to hear that in today’s society.

It’s Nope. But that’s kinda the beauty of like strength training and everything else. It’s like no matter where you started, like you, the joke I’ve often made is that, why did Oprah Winfrey have such a hard time getting leaner? You visibly see each as a public figure. Weight’s gone up and down.

She has enough money, she has a busy schedule, I get it. But she could hire someone to be your chef. She could hire someone to watch every single rep she’s doing. But the reality is, even in that best case scenario, She still has to do all the work. There’s no way you’re gonna ever outsource all of the work.

You, it’s just not possible. Yeah. And once you realize that, you realize I can do things to make it easier. I can do things to set up habits, I can do things to rearrange my life so that I’m getting closer. I still gotta lift the weight. I still gotta eat the food. I, there’s no way that you’re ever gonna get around that.

And the good part is that once you achieve it, no matter what scenario you were in, you, you still did the work, right? Yeah. And you can be proud that, okay, I did the work and I got to this point. So it’s not good or bad, it’s just how you look at it. That’s a great point. Cool man. We’re gonna be able to find out more about you.

I have a newsletter coming outta.

[01:26:00] Aram Grigorian: Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ll start mass producing. I do have an email list now though. Thank you for that. Hey, there we go. That’s awesome. I’m on four weeks to the beach. The number four, the number two weeks to the beach on Instagram. My website’s not really much to look at other than just a landing page, but most of my idiosyncrasies are on Instagram.

If you have questions, you could DM me. There’s nothing that you would ever ask me that you can’t ask Mike, so I don’t, I think the only reason why you would ask me anything is just because Mike wasn’t on his computer for five minutes because I’m on my phone all, all, goddamn, you’ll probably get back to him infinitely faster than I ever.

Yeah. Oh I’m the, I pe people are actually like the dot, still present when I’m responding to people. That is true. I have emailed and texted you, I dunno how many times and you got back to me right away and I’m like, it freaks me out. I may not be the best coach in the business, but I have the most responsive, I will promise you that.

Yeah. Hey, listen, it destroys relationships and it makes me very reliant on this thing. So yeah. Pros and cons. If anything you need, I will answer immediately.

[01:26:58] Dr Mike T Nelson: Awesome. And then seminars coming up for coaches and everything.

[01:27:01] Aram Grigorian: Yeah. So we’re planning 2024 Coaching Summit the Real Coaches Summit now.

It’s in the works, but there is a mailing list you can get on. If what I’ll do is I’ll just either email you the the link to, yeah, we’ll put it below. That way at least the people want to get on that mailing list. The price is the price is gonna be relatively inexpensive and the offering is gonna be a little bit more robust this year than last year or next year than LA this year, because we’re gonna be offering all meals included.

Oh, damn. Yeah. So now it’ll be dinner during the happy hours as well. And it’s gonna be, the format will change from three speakers at a time, to two speakers at a time with 60 minute time slots just to keep nice, just to get people more content, more information, less decision fatigue, and a little bit of less logistical issues.

So we’ve learned our lesson and we’re gonna try to do a little bit better this year.

[01:27:50] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And I can say I’m, obviously, I’m biased cause I was speaking there, but it was awesome. Like even everything from the food to the delivery, the time between the speakers, everybody who showed up, like all the attendees, it was, yeah, it was really good.

Especially for the first year, which, yeah, first year conferences. I don’t honestly do a lot of ’em because they can go really well and when they go bad they’re such a disaster. And this one went really well and it was super fun. And yeah, I highly recommend people show up next year.

[01:28:18] Aram Grigorian: Yeah. I’m praying hopefully this year I don’t lose $40,000 doing it.

Yeah, whatever. Dude. It’s money. We’ll make it back. I’m not worried about it. No, it’s only money you’ll make more. That’s it. Tell myself that a lot lately. Yeah. And that. Yeah, they just raised my rent by 200 bucks. Oh, yikes. Whatever, California. Welcome to the state. Welcome to the beach. Cool, man.

Thank you so much for all your time. Highly encourage people to check out your Instagram there and all your information and hopefully they’ll see you at the conference next year. Thanks, Mike. Cool. Thanks buddy. Thank you. Yeah.

[01:28:55] Dr Mike T Nelson: Thank you to Aram for all of the great information, and chatting with him is always a good time. As of this recording, we will both also be at the International Society of Sports Nutrition. It’ll be down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ll be giving a talk there on a primer on psychedelics, our psychedelic supplements.

Next that’ll be June 15th through the 17th. We’ll put a little link. Down there for that also. Hope to see you in the flex side certification and hope to potentially see you in person at the ISSN Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thank you as always for listening to the podcast.

Really appreciate it. If you could place a very short review here or whatever stars you feel are appropriate, that really helps us out in the algorithm to keep the show going and to get a wider audience. If you have someone who wants to listen to this, you think would enjoy it, please forward it to them or share it on social media and tag us so we can say thank you.

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