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I had the honor of joining my good friends Dr. Sue Kleiner and Erik Bustillo on the Your Food Matters podcast. We delve into the fascinating world of metabolic flexibility. I share my journey from academia to practical applications, revealing how metabolic flexibility can be a cornerstone of health and performance.

Tune in as we discuss the nuances of fat and carbohydrate metabolism, the dynamic nature of our body’s fuel systems, and the quest for optimal health span.

📗Episode Chapters:

  • (0:00:05) – Dr Mike T Nelson’s Academic Journey
  • (0:13:55) – Metabolic Flexibility and Health
  • (0:26:53) – Effect of Gender on Training Volume
  • (0:31:43) – Female Biology and Physiological Flexibility
  • (0:45:07) – Effectiveness of Wearable Fitness Devices
  • (0:50:38) – The Impact of Wearables on Athletes
  • (0:56:51) – Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Electrolytes
  • (1:03:25) – Nutrition and Performance Enhancement Breakthroughs

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Rock on!

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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0:00:05 – Speaker 1

Hello and welcome to the your Food Matters podcast. I’m Dr Sue Kleiner. I’m here, as always, with my great friend and colleague, eric Bustillo.

0:00:17 – Speaker 2

Hey Sue, hello everybody.

0:00:19 – Speaker 1

Hey there, eric, I hope you’re doing well. We have a special guest that we’ll be bringing in in a minute. I want to thank everyone for logging in, for listening to us. Please share us with your friend and colleagues and like us on all your social networks and social media. You can subscribe to the your Food Matters podcast. You keep us going and keep us in tune. So today, as I said, we have a very special guest. Well, I guess I always say that they’re always special. That’s true, they’re always great friends.

They’re always gracious people. Today we have the famous Dr Mike T Nelson, and I am going to let Eric bring him in.

0:01:09 – Speaker 2

Yeah, you guys are in for a real treat today. Dr Mike T Nelson. Mike, we’ve known each other now for maybe just as long as I’ve known you, sue. It’s been, I want to say, well over a decade now. Yeah, definitely. Yeah something along those lines. For sure, definitely yeah something along those lines.

And yeah, I gotta say mike is is definitely one of the the smart and active individuals out there. Uh, if you ever follow him on social media which I highly recommend you do you’ll see him lifting these insanely heavy like dumbbells, like the one inches and all these things. And and I had the opportunity to work out with Mike one time and it’s definitely challenging and he put me in the cold plunge and all those things. It was an awesome time. But before I just kind of keep on going on and on Mike, if you don’t mind, just kind of introducing yourself. And we also know that you’ve had a quite the road to get to where you’re at today. So, if you don’t mind, just sharing your story and going into as much detail as you can, because I think that your background is pretty cool.

0:02:19 – Speaker 1

And to quote the Beatles. It’s been a long and winding road. So, I’m really you need to share it for all those people who think they need to be straight arrows.

0:02:29 – Speaker 4

Yeah, thank you guys so much. I really appreciate it. And yeah, I mean I ended up doing 18 years of college full time, which, again, I would not recommend people do that it took about 22-ish years to do.

So I started and did my undergrad at St Scholastica in Duluth, minnesota, bachelor of Arts in Natural Science, minor in Chemistry and Mathematics, and I was going to do a dual degree program but then go to Michigan Tech and get a master’s or an undergrad, at least in engineering. And my first year I just I started, you know, loving anatomy and physiology, and so at St Scholastica you could take anatomy and physiology. You didn’t have to necessarily be in the physical therapy program or any program, and they actually got new cadavers every quarter, which was kind of unheard of because a lot of programs, especially for undergrad like if you even had cadavers, it was a cadaver that had been there for like five years. It was like just beat to crap, you don’t even know what the hell you’re looking at, and so I thought, well, this is a perfect opportunity to just take this as one of my electives.

So I took anatomy and physiology for a year. It was probably like the only class that I didn’t really study for and did pretty good, like everything else just wasn’t very easy. Math was just ungodly difficult. And so I’m like, oh, that’s interesting. And then when I went to Michigan Tech, I was just going to do a bachelor’s and when I got there they said, hey, well, if you have a bachelor’s already, you can do two and a half years and then you can go on to graduate school. You won’t get another bachelor’s, but you know, in four or four and a half years you can get a master’s instead. So I’m like, oh, ok, that sounds good, you know. And then I did that. But what they didn’t tell me is that, oh, and, by the way, to do that you have to take 90 percent of your engineering requirements in two years, not four.

0:04:23 – Speaker 1

And I was like oh and so that?

0:04:25 – Speaker 4

took a while For the guy who didn’t like math? For me who didn’t like math. I also realized oh, by the way, like I thought math ended at calc 4, like I thought there’s no more math after calc 4, it turns out there is.

There’s a whole bunch of shit I didn’t know anything about and I had to take two more of those classes, so I ended up taking like a I think it was a linear algebra 2 and a advanced differential equations class, I think, which both of them I barely passed um. But the good part was because they were not departmental classes it didn’t really count towards my gpa to get into grad school so that actually counted towards my gpa because they only counted uh engineering classes.

I probably would have not qualified for grad school. Uh, so I got into grad school and initially did biomechanics. It was more solid mechanics, so the advanced study of how crap breaks. I was going to do internal bone fixation and movement related stuff. I couldn’t find any research. So I ended up going to the biomed department and got a project on heat transfer in monkeys. So they said, hey, we’ve got this new project. It’s, you know, it’s. We can’t tell you what it’s for, but it’s for collision avoidance systems on cars. They’re using this gigahertz microwave range. We want you to create a computer generated program to see if there’s any deep tissue heating effects. And so I did that, got it published and then, like three people I never met in my life from Brooks Air Force Base in Texas were on the publication and I asked my advisor about this and he’s like oh yeah, don’t worry about that, you know no big deal. And.

I’m like, ok. And so five years later he sends me a little picture from the paper that says military declassifies work on new ray gun and he’s like, oh yeah, and by the way, this was your research.

Wow it was one of those deals where it’s like it’s so classified, we won’t tell you it’s classified type thing. Yeah, and so the military wanted to make a microwave transmitter that hits in the gigahertz range, so it would be like your skin is being burnt by a light bulb. But they wanted to make sure there was no deep tissue heating effects.

And what they ended up using it for was for like non-lethal crowd dispersion or you can look up something called active denial system. Yeah, and the interesting part about that is that later on a buddy of mine I talked to him about this because it was all declassified after that and he’s like, yeah, I actually got tested on that when we were in the military. One of his units that was deployed over in Iraq. Some other unit was there testing it out and I said, well, how was it? He’s like when you’re in the beam, he’s like it hurts, like there’s no tomorrow. But he’s like the second you’re out of the beam, it’s like perfectly fine, he’s like it was the weirdest thing like he’s ever felt.

And then also around that same year I did a presentation for DARPA on some metabolic flexibility stuff and I was talking to one of the guys there about you know, projects we had done whatever, and it turns out he was one of the operators of that system and I asked him I’m like I said, you know, what do you? What do you do? Like in a military situation, if somebody is in the beam and they’re still, you know, coming at you, he’s like, oh, we shoot them because they’re clearly a threat. Then I was like, oh well, he’s like anyone who stays in that beam for any length of time, who’s still, you know, coming towards you against all other warnings. He’s like they’re clearly going to want to do some damage to you so just for the listeners who don’t know what DARPA is, it’s?


0:07:47 – Speaker 1

I don’t remember it’s Department of Defense Research Program yeah, what does it mean?

0:07:52 – Speaker 4

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency? That’s it, they’re a funding group yeah, so, like you’re.

the ARPANET, the internet, was originally a DARPA-ish project. Cell phone technology, gps, a lot of stuff that we have now was originally funded as DARPA projects. So DARPA exists in the private sector but is funded by the government. And when I was there I asked him, I said well, this is weird, why is it not like an official government agency? And they said well, if we relied on the government to provide us all the technology and then try to do advancements off of that, he’s like we would never be ahead. So what we do is the private sector has to be up to date on whatever the latest technology is, because they have to stay in business. So we leverage them because they’re up to speed on the technology and then try to get them to do stuff that’s 5, 10, 15 years out from there as separate projects, which I thought, was kind of fascinating.

0:08:50 – Speaker 1

That is, that is.

0:08:51 – Speaker 4


So I did that and then graduated so I was never going back to school again. After about eight, eight and a half years Started working for a med tech company. So I worked in cardiology products, pacemakers, defibrillators, things of that nature. Started going back to school again because I realized, oh hey, I can take more advanced physiology classes and they’ll pay for them, realized I probably don’t need another master’s. So I enrolled in the PhD program in biomedical engineering.

I did all the classwork for that for four and a half years and decided I didn’t want to do any more math. I just funding was hard because I was in the industry, so people didn’t want to fund me because a lot of the labs are supported by other competitors and I ended up dropping out, going over to physiology. So I show up physiology, exercise, phys the first day and my advisor at the time he’s like all right, just come to this meeting. And he’s like, hey, we got come to this meeting. And he’s like, hey, we got two new projects and they both involve math, one’s on heart rate variability and one’s on metabolic flexibility. And there’s only like six of us in the department and he looks around the table and he points at me and he’s like you new math boy, whatever your name is like. These are your projects now.

So I went over there to actually avoid doing math and got more math. But the good part was the math wasn’t. I mean, compared to what people take in exercise phys. It was definitely more advanced because unless you’re doing motor learning or some other stuff, it’s just not math isn’t like a huge requirement of most exercise phys programs. Um, so I ended up doing those programs, took seven years to finish my PhD and, yeah, started working training clients since 2006. And right now I work as an associate professor for the Kerrigan Institute. They do a lot of clinical neuroscience work. I’m a scientific advisor to Tecton. They make an exogenous ketone beverage. So I have my own clients that I train online and some certifications like the Flex Diet Cert, the Phys Flex Cert. I teach part-time for Rocky Mountain University and then I also work part-time for the guys over at Rapid Health Optimization.

0:10:58 – Speaker 1

And most of the well, maybe half the time you were working full-time and in school.

0:11:03 – Speaker 4

The time you were working full-time and in school. Yeah, so don’t do that. That is horrible. I was working and then I was taking classes. I would take my vacation time to take classes and then I realized my classes started overlapping with the time that I had to be at work. So I got permission to work 32 hours a week and then 24 hours a week, so I had to swap everything around that way and then I ended up doing my PhD while I was still working part time, which the hardest part was the scheduling of classes, and just the scheduling of times, because, as you know, you have to be a grad student, you have to be in the lab. Your research is funded. So I had to be in the lab like 20 hours a week on, only from eight to five. Only eight to five times counted. You know, sometimes I’d be there till 10 or midnight, but those times don’t count because it’s out of the working hours.

Yeah, so I did that. That overlapped for almost four years and then idiot me thought I was going to finish my PhD in five years. So I went and hired a business coach to wrap up my online business and then realized my PhD took another two years. So it was about a two and a half year period where I literally don’t remember much of anything. It sounds horrible Like I don’t. I literally don’t have many memories of that time period.

I was sleeping like four to five hours a night and taking caffeine power naps in the back of my car at nine in the morning, which, again, I don’t recommend. Any of that.

0:12:29 – Speaker 1

And here we are. So you know there were two things that you’ve now become well known for. That I think sort of most listeners probably know what heart rate variability is, but let’s do a quick, quick description of that. But really, I think you’re I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong your claim to fame is metabolic flexibility.

I, I know in my career I I understood that that was a thing and I certainly treated and fed people like that always, from the very beginning. I always had sort of you know, a cyclical diet that people were on as they moved through their training, their, you know, their, in-season, off-season training season. Are you trying to gain, are you cutting All of that? But you really put not just a term to it, but you actually gave a strategy and a system to not just going through your regular athletic paces but how to elevate the body. I think for almost anybody and we talk about now, you know, not just length span but health span. So let’s you know quick, a quick few sentences on heart rate flexibility, on heart rate variability, and then into metabolic flexibility.

0:14:06 – Speaker 4

Yeah, so simply, heart rate variability is just a way to measure the status of your autonomic nervous system. We can take an average of heart rate and that’ll give us some info. But if we do a variability analysis of it so we see how much difference there is from one heartbeat to the next, that’ll tell us the status of the autonomic nervous system. Are you more parasympathetic, kind of rest and digest branch, like the brake on your car, or are you more on the sympathetic, the gas pedal, the fight or flight, more stress side of the equation? And then, yeah, for metabolic flexibility. I just sort of walked into it and I remember the first conversation I had with the there’s. I had two advisors. The second advisor was mainly his topic. I remember thinking I’m like okay, well, duh, like isn’t this how the body works? Like, and my thought was initially was you can’t change these things, so it doesn’t matter. And it turns out I was like completely wrong on that. Like you can change how well your body uses fats, you can change how well your body uses carbohydrates. I didn’t understand that. Both these systems are dynamic, meaning they’re constantly changing. So metabolic flexibility was originally coined by Dr David Kelly in about the year 2000,. Was based off of some previous work, probably from Brooks and Merci mercier, which was a crossover effect and that can even go back further in time before that. But how well your body uses fats is one end of the spectrum. How well your body uses carbohydrates is the other end and the third component is how well you can switch back and forth between those two and to me, me it was like oh, that makes a lot more sense because my background was engineering, looking at dynamic systems like how the body works and you can change all three of those. And it turns out like we’ll talk about as you get closer to a disease state or you want to try to maintain higher level performance but you don’t want your health to go to shit. Like these concepts kind of all overlap into metabolic flexibility and when I got into more publicizing that.

So the first talk I did on it was 2011 at the ISSN, which was great. Joey had me come in and do a talk on metabolic flexibility. I realized, in a world of becoming social media and shorter clips, I could say, hey, all my stuff is about metabolic flexibility and it’s one sentence. It’s one thing, but within that allows me to talk about fat metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, all these other things. So, from a marketing standpoint, it was one of the things I felt like I could honestly say and put out into the world is like a one sentence, one niche thing. That was still actually true, right? Because, as you guys know, like if you’re like fat is the best fuel, it’s the only fuel we ever use, it’s like well, that’s not really true, and that’s not true about carbohydrates either, you know. So how do you say something that people understand it’s kind of one term, one thing, but is still actually correct via the physiology?

0:17:08 – Speaker 2

Still kind of all encompassing, if you will.

0:17:10 – Speaker 4


0:17:15 – Speaker 2

So then, something like metabolic flexibility, um, is there, like, would you recommend? Excuse me, do you think that, like, everybody should practice metabolic flexibility, or are there certain individuals that would benefit from it more or less? And I guess the third part is how does someone know if they are metabolically flexible?

0:17:38 – Speaker 4

Yeah, I mean, obviously my bias is I think everybody should do it and that’s how I view it is. That’s kind of the baseline healthy state of your body If you’re very healthy. So imagine, like a barbell, right, you’ve got not much in the middle, you’ve got heavy plates on the end. So, like we said, on one end, right side, you’ve got carbohydrate metabolism. For vast majority of people, the better your carbohydrate metabolism works, the better you’re going to be from both performance and health. Up to a point, if you’re talking about elite, elite level athletics, that’s a little bit different. But for 99% of the cases, on the other end of the barbell, you’ve got the use of fat, and I do believe there’s more and more data coming out now that the better your body is able to oxidize, fats could be dietary fats, could be body fat and you’re able to use that as a fuel source. That’s also another marker for health. That has some athletic implications, depending upon what you’re doing. That gets a little bit more nuance, specific, and then how well you can switch back and forth between those. I think those are all markers of health and that should be the state, the healthy baseline state.

If you look at diabetics, for example, take a type two diabetic. What I was classically taught, and what you guys were taught, is that that is an air quotes carbohydrate disease, which is kind of true. Like you do have issues using carbohydrates, it has a whole bunch of other implications. But what I learned later is that, as you start losing the ability to use carbohydrates, one of the main compensations not the only one, one of the main compensations is your body secretes more and more insulin. So your body says, hey, we got this carbohydrate issue. Aha, we have a solution.

0:19:12 – Speaker 1

We’ll just put on more insulin, and this is just to double down. This is type 2 diabetes.

0:19:16 – Speaker 4

Type 2 diabetics. Correct, yes, type 2. Thank you. So we’re going to put on more and more insulin and that’s going to temporarily solve our carbohydrate issue. Going to put out more and more insulin and that’s going to temporarily solve our carbohydrate issue, which is kind of true. However, when your insulin levels get really, really high, it starts impairing your body’s ability to downregulate and use fats as a fuel. So, instead of losing carbohydrate metabolism, you’re getting squished from both ends of the spectrum, and that’s something I didn’t realize until later.

And some of the newer research is even showing that fatty acid metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism are way more connected than we were ever taught. Like I was taught, these are two separate things. Here’s all your metabolic pathways and that’s just the way it goes. So I think that’s a state of health. When you lose that, you become more metabolically inflexible and your health goes down, and we know that that also impairs performance, right? So if you just can’t physically run as many carbohydrates through your system, your speed, your power, your output on the high end is going to be impaired. Yes, you can kind of make up for it by not having as much run through fat, but it’s harder for you to downregulate, it’s harder for you to go through periods of time where you don’t have calories coming in. It’s harder for you to be just more efficient at moderate levels of activity, et cetera. So that’s kind of how I view how they all sort of fit together.

0:20:40 – Speaker 1

So, as we’re applying more of the science and understanding of female biology, sure, how does that impact the approach to training for metabolic flexibility, the, you know, the standards and maybe measurements and then, ultimately, the outcomes? What are you looking for?

0:21:08 – Speaker 4

then, ultimately, the outcomes. What are you looking for? Yeah, I’d say the answer is we don’t know, because most of the studies as you well know there’s very few studies that have been done on female Like you can find studies where they were mixed. They may have controlled for menstruation periods. They may not have. What I’ve seen so far is, I don’t think there’s as big a difference as what we might believe that there is, but that’s based on so little data. It’s hard to say right. So it’d be awesome, and I know these studies are underway.

Nih has spent a lot more money encouraging people to study women, which is awesome. We definitely need it. It’d be nice to have a study comparing males and females in the same study, doing the same parameters, doing the same thing. Maybe you control for parts or cycle, maybe you don’t right, so we don’t have a lot of these kind of nice head-to-head studies to see what the differences are. There is some difference in how your body will use fats. My biggest question with that, though, is that if you standardize that for the relative VO2 max and you standardize that as a VO2 max with a body weight as an equation part of it, a lot of those kind of go away. So there’s a lot of other factors I think that are important too, factors I think that are important too.

Ironically, most of my writing is to like guys and probably for the last 16 years, like 78% of my clients are actually women, which is kind of a weird, interesting thing. And I have noticed difference in women with, like, longer periods of fasting. Like I find that in general for females it was much harder for them to do longer periods of fasting. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with estrogen or other hormones, cause I’ve also noticed that females on their HRV scores tend to be a lot higher stressed too, I’ve noticed if you’re a lot higher, stressed like just periods of fasting is just way more difficult for people period. So there’s a new study from phil stew phillips group where I can’t remember the lead author on it, but she went back and did kind of a short meta-analysis of you know, should you train per your cycle? The data from that study, even though it was limited on studies, would say probably not. Um, I know pretty high level strength coaches and professional and athletics and college who train. You know obviously all, all females. I can’t name a single one right now that will change their training per where women are in their cycle? Um, so I don’t know. I would say we don’t know right now. I’m not convinced there’s enough data to go down that rabbit hole. Um, athletes I’ve worked with, I did try it for a while.

I tried for about a two-year period and anecdotally I can’t say I got any better results. But I can say that every conversation we had was about it then and I don’t know if that was beneficial. And some female clients, we female clients, we would just know like, hey, you know, this time of the month the scale is going to go up a little bit, you’re going to feel a little bit more tired, we’re going to adjust your training because of that. 100%, was that the same for all female clients In my experience? No, like some didn’t make any damn bit of difference at all, like some were very sensitive to it. So again, I think it probably just comes down to we don’t have a lot of data yet. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more data in the future, which is definitely needed a hundred percent, and I just still treat it as an individual basis.

0:24:32 – Speaker 1

You know, some people.

0:24:33 – Speaker 4

I find it is a little bit more sensitive. We do make changes around that time period. Other athletes like it never even shows up as an issue.

0:24:41 – Speaker 1

I’m wondering if, if women are just by nature of our biology more metabolically flexible.

0:24:48 – Speaker 4

My guess would be yes. If I were to guess Now that was based off some really early data showing that you guys have probably seen this data too that women are better at using fat metabolism. Again, I’m on my many lists of stuff to pull and read again, is all the original studies that that was based on, cause I I have some doubts on it and I don’t know, it might be one of those things where, yes, in the studies it’s true, but in practice, a couple of grams per hour, does it matter?

0:25:20 – Speaker 1

Well, I think that my what what I’ve come to understand a little bit from talking to folks in the little better you have to measure the right things we’re measuring is relative to what we’ve learned to measure on men and we have to learn in a whole new paradigm, for what actually should we be measuring on women? And maybe we’ve been missing stuff on men. But I think where the sort of a you know, a grok of the mother load of data and an observation is on the resilience side, on the recovery side, that maybe that’s, yes, we use a little bit more fat, the advantage that that gives in endurance exercise, yes, it makes sense, but it’s also the recovery and maybe, maybe that’s something to be measuring and that, how much does that matter? That seems to matter a lot.

0:26:52 – Speaker 4

Yeah, and I would agree with that. Just my anecdotal experience is, if you gave me, if I compare all the groups of men I’ve trained, compared to the groups of women, like I can generally push women harder than men, which may upset some people.

0:27:07 – Speaker 1


0:27:08 – Speaker 4

I the highest volume total of anyone who’s always being pushed. Yeah, like they just handle more training volume, better than guys Like just what I’ve noticed.

0:27:17 – Speaker 1

It’s so interesting yeah.

0:27:19 – Speaker 4

Again, the caveat is, if their HRV scores are good, cause a lot of times their stress is worse. In those cases that doesn’t apply. The record for the highest amount of volume I’ve ever had any training do is held by a female as a female physique competitor. So shout out to Erin for that. Yeah, so I don’t know. The other caveat, the counter argument I could make, is that in general females are also moving less load than the males.

So is it a load thing. But again you could argue percentage to what they are capable of it’s maybe the same. So again it goes down the rabbit hole and it’s hard to say when you don’t have a lot of formal data to base any of these things on either.

0:28:02 – Speaker 1

Right, Someday we’ll have really personalized programming. But we’re not there.

0:28:06 – Speaker 4

We’re getting there. It’s getting closer, but we’re definitely not there yet, yeah, yeah For sure.

0:28:12 – Speaker 2

And it does seem like if women tend to recover a little bit faster than men do, and I even see that in my CrossFit gym, if you kind of equate for intensity and load and all those sorts of things. Yeah, you just see, you know now everyone can perform, you know, decent, as long as they’re consistent with their training, yada, yada, yada and all of that. But it does seem like women almost recover, recover faster.

0:28:43 – Speaker 4

Yeah, and CrossFit’s interesting because I worked with some crossfit females and a couple guys and most of the crossfit females would destroy all the guys I trained easily. Crossfit also was one of the very first competitions where males and females were basically equal right like there really wasn’t any difference.

So, like I would, I used to go to a lot of crossfit gyms in the past and teach and stuff. You didn’t see any differentiation based off of, you know, male versus female. You saw it based off of capacity, of what they were able to do, which makes sense. You want to scale the right workouts, but to me it was a fascinating culture where that at least my opinion it didn’t seem to be a factor at all. It was just based on what output could you do?

0:29:28 – Speaker 2

Yeah, for sure, and there was a, there was a couple of things that that you had mentioned there. That just kind of made me think like um, I know some people might, especially now you know how it is on the internet, right, somebody, somebody like, if I could sell you something, I’m going to do it and I’m going to make it sound like it makes sense. Excuse me, but when they talk about cycle syncing your workouts and all those things, I’m just like you know, learn how to use RPE, right, you know the rate of perceived exertion and you know, kind of go off of that Like your cycle doesn’t necessarily have to tell you what to do. There’s still how, how I’m feeling there’s still that component to it, right.

0:30:12 – Speaker 4

Yeah, that’s what I do. I mean, I I used to ask female clients what their cycle was, but now I actually don’t at all, cause I I don’t want that to be like this self-fulfilling prophecy, and if it comes out in the wash, it comes out in the wash, right? So the reality is I’m gonna use RPE, we’re gonna use percentages, we’re gonna see your baseline, we’re gonna do VO two max tests, we’re gonna do some breath tests, we’re gonna do movement tests, we’re gonna look at resting heart rate, hrv, your outputs, all the same things I, shockingly, I do with. Like you said, it’ll come out in the wash and we’ll account for that anyway. Now, if I want to go mechanistically, could I say that was from their cycle or not? I don’t know, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Right now I’m not convinced by that data, but again, I think it comes down to mechanistically. Is there something there? I think there is. Does that transfer to a thing that you would coach people specifically on? I kind of have my doubts on that.

0:31:18 – Speaker 1

I think of it more. You know, from the opportunity standpoint, that hopefully we’ll start to get more data and we’ll start to see how we can capitalize on the cycle and are there times in the cycle where we can take advantage of elevated hormones and what can we do with those in a growth phase and that sort of thing? I remember when I very first learned as I came into this was probably it may have been my introduction to biology I had a female professor who was a hardcore feminist and this was in. You know I shouldn’t even say what year it was, but she taught a really serious section on reproduction and went deep into female biology and I just remember her saying there was already a recognition of bone loss in women as we aged. And she said when you get pregnant, you can gain bone because you’re in a growth phase.

And so do everything that you can to extend sort of that peak bone mass period, because if peak bone mass is achieved at somewhere between 26, 27, something like that, and if you have a, you know, if you’re pregnant, what’s considered socially later, past that time, you could capitalize on that pregnancy and continue to place more bone mineral density. And I remember thinking, oh my God, what a twist to the story, because we just think of these moments in the female life cycle as when you’re held back or everything stops. And here she’s saying, oh my God, this is a great opportunity to enhance your own personal health while you’re also growing a baby. And I’ve approached the menstrual cycle and everything in female biology kind of in the same way and everything in female biology kind of in the same way. And I’ve already told my story more than enough times on this podcast that at my age now, way post-menopause, I am still growing bone because I’m not dead.

And so I went from osteopenia to no longer osteopenic when I had that first measurement and I did everything I could. You just have to be patient. It’s not going to go quite as fast. It may have taken me two years, but or a year and then and now subsequently, but the the opportunity of understanding where you are in your cycle and using it to your advantage? I think might be. I hope that’s where we end up. But the other side, as you’re saying and we had Dr Stacey Sims on a little while ago and what she said was you know, the downside of tracking and talking about all of this is this fear that you put into a female athlete. Oh my God, my competition is going to come up at the wrong time in my cycle. And she said the data are abundantly clear that for an athlete, none of this matters when you go into competition that it.

It really is all the training, all of the work hard work that you’ve done and the impact of where you’re on in your cycle is way down at the bottom of the impactful things that will happen at a race or a competition.

0:35:01 – Speaker 4

Yeah, I mean, like I said, I know pretty high level coaches who have a fair amount of autonomy. I don’t know a single one, both male or female, that train female athletes that have tried to line up their cycle with a competition date, and I would imagine if there was a huge advantage, they probably would. The only thing I can point to is there’s rumors of what the Russians used to do many, many years ago is that they would get their female athletes, in theory, pregnant, so I think it was after they delivered their endurance race was two or three months after because of the heightened blood volume and stuff like that.

So there’s who knows if that’s true or not, but I’ve just heard that rumor from several people. Yeah. You got to be dedicated. Yeah, it’s a whole nother thing, that’s for sure.

0:35:49 – Speaker 2

Different game right there. The ultimate endurance event of pregnancy. Yeah, Mike, when we talk about metabolic flexibility and this talk about RPE, it just kind of made me think. Can someone feel or know when they are more or less metabolically flexible, you know, without having access to like a metabolic cart to measure if they’re using more carb or more fat and those things?

0:36:15 – Speaker 4

yeah, the two field tests that I use because it’s a good question. So that’s one of the things I was trying to figure out for years of okay, you have zero technology, like how do you know? And so what I came up with is, on the carbohydrate end of the spectrum, I call it the two pop tart test. If you could eat two pop tarts for breakfast, and how do you feel for a couple hours after, if you want to take a insulin induced nap under your table, maybe you’re, maybe you’re not the best there. Again, this doesn’t mean people need to eat pop tarts for breakfast every day. I was just trying to pick a common food. That’s literally almost the same as a, you know, oral glucose tolerance test with about 75 grams of highly processed carbohydrates. That’ll survive probably a nuclear holocaust. The frosting doesn’t even melt in your freaking toaster, you know.

And then, on the other end, on the fat metabolism end, how long can you go without eating? You know, can you go without eating. You know, can you go 12 hours, 24 hours. You know my bias is people should be able to go 19 to 24 hours. Yes, you’re probably going to be a little bit hungry, but cognitively, like, function wise, you should, you know, be be pretty good to go. Again, that doesn’t mean everyone needs to fast every single day or not eat or do one meal a day or all this other crazy stuff. Those are just kind of what I use as markers of the two extremes to give you somewhat of an idea, gotcha well, thanks for sharing that.

0:37:41 – Speaker 2

It’s uh definitely good for for folks to know um. And you you had mentioned earlier, you mentioned uh, uh, your physiology, physiologic flex cert, right? So one of the certifications that you have, what exactly is that? Physiologic flexibility?

0:37:59 – Speaker 4

I started metabolic flexibility. Looking at it, god, probably 14-ish years ago now and about three to four years after into that, I was like, okay, this is kind of cool, but did we take the same concept and extend it to you as a human organism? Right, can we make you more resilient and more robust? So Nassim Taleb’s word would be more anti-fragile over time. If we can because I think we can because of training and all the other stuff that’s clearly been demonstrated in physiology over the years cool, okay, but how do we do it then? Like, what’s the framework? Like, if your nutrition is pretty good, your sleep’s pretty good and your exercise is pretty good, what’s like the next level? Do I biohack myself with red light or crazy ass supplements or do more zone two training? Or like, like, could I set up some framework that I think is accurate to guide people on what to do next? So what I came up with is that there’s four main homeostatic regulators. These are things your body, absolutely 100%, has to maintain the same level or you’re dead Cause.

My bias is that your, your physiology is arranged via survival. If you want a higher level of performance, you just probably need to figure out how to survive better under those circumstances. Number one would be temperature. You can, you know, I have a cold water immersion in my garage which Eric’s been in. It’s just a converted freezer and you can survive for a few minutes. It’s, as Eric can attest to, not real fun. Feels great when you’re done.

I thought I died real fun, feels great when you’re done. But we can put I died, yeah, you did good. Um, we can put people in cold, we can put people in hot, but 98.6 it’s actually 97.7. Our body has to regulate that temperature within a couple degrees. The other three would be ph. Like tons of regulatory mechanisms, the body has to maintain ph very, very tight but you can do horrible acidic producing exercise and you can do other things to try to alter it. Three would be expanded fuels.

Looking at ketones and lactate, so you can think of lactate as a cousin of carbohydrate metabolism, ketones as a cousin of fat metabolism and the last one would just be breathing. So O2 and CO2 regulation. To me those are the four homeostatic regulators and if you do specific training within each one of those areas, you’re not looking to move the baseline, like I’m not looking to move my body temperature per se. I’m looking to expand the buffer zones around them so I can handle higher temperatures, I can handle colder temperatures, I can handle colder temperatures, I can handle periods of very low pH, I can do breath holds and super ventilation methods and maybe go for 48 hours without eating and use ketones or take in a whole bunch of carbohydrates and use lactate as a fuel. So I think, if you focus in those four areas, my bias belief is that that’ll make you a more robust and anti-fragile person.

0:40:55 – Speaker 1

You know it’s really interesting I’ve been, except for during COVID, I’ve been teaching in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam for about six or seven years, and I also am a lover of hot yoga Bikram yoga yeah. I did that for almost three years. And what I find is that when I go to Vietnam, I’m fine. Yeah, I’m perfectly comfortable when I’m going to land. I’m going next week, actually a week from today, but I the well the predicted temperature. When you look at the humidity and temperature, you know it will feel like 120 degrees. Oof.

Yeah, it’s humid as hell there. From what I’ve heard, it’s and it is. You know, climate is hitting the extreme parts of the world more intensely, or? I guess, because they were already extreme. They’re just becoming more extreme.

And so it never used. At this time of year it wasn’t quite that hot yet. This is, this is already pretty warm, and we’ll be there three weeks. Um, I’m curious to see how it feels now. Not, I haven’t been there since now, you know, for several years, and it will be interesting to see if I still have that.

Even though I’m older, I still have that response Because the whole rest of our group and everyone is pretty fit. They’re medical, you know, oriented professionals at all levels and I seem to just kind of float through my days with no problem and everyone else would suffer. So we’ll see what happens. But I definitely believe that when you repeatedly expose yourself to pushing these particular areas temperature now has been my personal experience I can last. I’m sure that if I didn’t drink and I didn’t eat and I was trying to fast and have a liquid fast through that, I wouldn’t survive. But as long as I’m doing what I know I need to do to take care of the other factors that are required, I’ve had that experience and it does, I think, make a difference.

0:43:19 – Speaker 4

Yeah, we know max heat acclimation probably takes around two weeks. I mean, yeah, if you really want to get into the increases in the single-digit percentages, it’s going to be a little bit longer than two weeks. But I’ve done the same thing. I used to teach a lot in Costa Rica and it would always be in March or June or December. You know June’s not so bad because it gets pretty warm in Minnesota by then. And the first year I went there probably six years ago now it was miserable. I was just like what the hell?

And then I realized oh yeah, because I don’t do any heat exposure during the winter. So the following year I did a lot more steam room, did a lot more sauna, those types of things, and the first two days were kind of bad, but after that wasn’t too bad. And then I realized I’m like, Ooh, once I have that max adaptation, if I can hold it by just doing one or two days of heat exposure per week, I was actually pretty good. So yeah, I would. I would agree with that.

0:44:13 – Speaker 2

For sure, and when I went to Vietnam, I felt right at home, thanks to Miami. Miami, you live in. Miami I had it nice. Oh yeah, now Mike, I um, uh there’s. There’s a couple more questions that. I had in mind for you and I definitely want to be respectful of your time.

0:44:34 – Speaker 4

Yeah, all good.

0:44:36 – Speaker 2

Now, one thing that has certainly become extremely popular, and I find myself asking smart individuals like yourself about this and their opinion, their personal opinion, what they’ve read on them. But it’s wearables and fitness trackers. They’re. They’re what they’ve read on them. Uh, but it’s wearables and fitness trackers, um, how, how do you think people can use them to their benefit, or should they even be using them at all?

0:45:03 – Speaker 4

yeah, I mean dr soon. I had a good chat about this too. Um, my bias is I’m actually a huge fan of wearables, but there’s also a big watch out portion to it and I primarily like them one if they’re accurate, which a lot of them are not. So you have to be careful what data you’re going to pull from and what data you’re actually going to bother looking at. So, for example, most wearables for total calories burned you might as well just throw them in the trash.

They’re pretty horrible for estimating total calories, HRV, heart rate, some other submetrics, step count. You know these things are. They’re they’re pretty good for. So I like using it for an awareness and then also, if the metric has been accurate and validated, to see a change. So if I have a new client and we do like an average of their seven day steps and they’re at 3000 steps per day cool Like we’re probably going to work on increasing that I know most devices are very accurate at measuring that we’re good. Again, I would not use that for total calories per se, or even like I love Garmin. I have a Garmin Phoenix and I did an upper body session at the gym last week. It was two hours and it told me I burned 1,200 calories and I even put a heart rate strap on and everything. Now I can guarantee that I did not burn 1,200 calories in that session.

Now the caveat you could argue is that that may be a way to look at changes from one session to the next. Maybe, but I’ve also realized, playing with it, it’s highly dependent upon heart rate. So the better condition I was, the more sleep I had, I actually burned less calories because I had a lower heart rate during that session. So people only went by calories burned and they’d be like freaking out, going oh my God, what is this Like? I’ve actually burned less calories but I’m better Right. So for those stuff I just do old school notebook, write all your reps, write all your sets down. You know that type of thing.

Um, for heart rate variability, some devices are good, some devices are horrible, most devices. If you want it to be accurate, you still have to measure it one time a day. Um, devices like I do a ton of sleep analysis using aura. For the guys over at rapid health Um, I think it’s good. But again, there’s caveats with it, like some stuff that I can get from it that I was never able to get before, like respiratory rate during sleep incredibly helpful, because you’ll see some athletes that are like 16, 17, 18 breaths a minute at sleep. I guarantee they’re over breathing. They’ve got some huge issues they need to work on, like brian mckenzie’s talked about, this andy galpin’s talked about this high tower, like we’ve just seen, getting the respiratory rate down.

Huge difference in their physiology trying to split hairs over. Hey bro, you got five more minutes of rem versus the previous night. Completely not worth it at all. Like it’s not even it’s not even worth talking about. So again, overall, I do like devices. You do have to do your homework. You have to make sure that metric you’re picking is accurate.

The last thing, then, which Dr Sue pointed out too, which I agree with, is you still have to take into account what is the mindset of the client and the person using it. Like, I’ve literally had some clients where I’m like you are not measuring shit, you are not even wearing a watch, you are doing nothing. You’re going to go for a run, you’re going to nasal breathe and you’re not even going to use a headset or bring your phone with you. Like, you are so obsessed about checking 18 different devices, you’re so confused that you’re not even doing the basic stuff. Well, so some people I’ve just said just throw them all in the trash for now, it’s just making you worse. Granted, that doesn’t happen all the time, because most of the clients I get, they don’t know about it, so they’re not using it yet, which is great. So I can tell them hey, use this device. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to look at this metric and this metric and this metric. Don’t worry about the rest of it.

Last final point there is some concern about, say, heart rate variability. You know, kind of like with the periods with females. Well, what if I’m training this athlete and they get a red or a bad HRV like before their big competition and they’re like mentally destroyed and in my opinion that’s just really shitty coaching Like, unless you’re like the person they’re calling the week before to try to help them with something you should have anticipated. This might be a real thing. That happens, it’s probably going to happen at some point if you work people long enough. So with that like, I’ll look at their average.

If their average is good, their sleep was good, their hrv shows are really stressed. I’d be like hey, man, like today, instead I want you to take two top exercises, see if you can get a single rep PR or a triple PR, and they’re like wait a minute, you want me to do like a high output thing on a low, on a bad stress score? I’m like yes, because your volume is going to be limited. Your average is good, your sleep was good, you know, you’re just showing that you’re a little bit more sympathetically stressed that day. Most time they call back they’re like yeah, I got it, like this, this cool PR, great.

So now, if they get a red the day before a competition, it’s like well, hey, remember that training session we had, like six weeks ago. We purposely pulled back on your volume and what happened? Oh yeah, I got a new PR, cool. Like you’ll be fine, right. Because stress is an accumulative thing. The HRV is only telling the status of their nervous system at that point in time and many athletes especially, you know, amateurs and people who don’t have a lot of exposure they’re going to be nervous Like it’s a big game, it’s a big thing, and just the fact of them being nervous can give them a quote unquote red or poor HRV score give them a quote, unquote, red or poor HRV score.

0:50:38 – Speaker 1

I have a great story. I didn’t work with her on nutrition per se. I worked with her in a business sense with Dotsie Bausch. Dotsie was part of the US women’s indoor track cycling team. That was the first American team to win indoor track cycling. I think they were. I hate to say I think they were silver, I’m not sure.

Silver or bronze, like 16 years ago you know it’s a while ago they were given. It was the beginning of a lot of these wearables. In particular, it was the Massimo P lot of these wearables. In particular it was the Massimo pulse oximeter. Oh that’s old school. It’s super old school.

And Massimo gave them the pulse oximeter and said if your PO2 levels are below 98, you’re not breathing deep enough and you need to sit down and relax. You’re not ready to compete or train. There was an idea of I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t, yadda, yadda. All of that Nobody really knew, but the effect it had was they would check themselves and they would literally sit down and do some deep breathing and get their PO2 levels up. And she said at that time it was hugely helpful because you’re going into a race, whether you’re training or whatever, you’re just you’re anxious and you probably are doing a lot more shallow breathing and you know, and all of this, as you’re prepping and you’re taking care of a million things, and and she just I mean she went to work for them. She believed in it so much at that time.

I don’t know Now she’s she’s like probably the one of the most well-known vegan athletes and that’s her, that’s her purpose and her mission. But at that time, all those years ago, when I heard that story that there was something external to and an athlete loves numbers, something to trigger them to do a practice that otherwise, no matter how many times you said to them, you need to sit down and do a little deep breathing. It’s like I don’t have time for that. What are you talking about here? They had this demonstrative device that they trusted because it was used in operating rooms all over the world, so it was a really interesting introduction at that time for me. But, as I said, and we talked about I worry about you know some yes, the elite athletes, but they have coaches and hopefully good coaches. It’s more the average person and I’m particularly concerned about the continuous glucose monitor and the use of that, the idea that if my blood sugar goes up, I need to change my diet.

0:53:33 – Speaker 4

And it’s like no, no, no, it went over a hundred, uh-oh, and that’s how it’s being marketed.

0:53:40 – Speaker 1

And you know it and you know that there’s a lot of people with solid degrees who have turned into fraudsters and hucksters and I’m so dismayed because I’m really afraid of what it’s going to do. And it has done so much for the diabetic community. It’s been incredibly helpful for them and and like everybody isn’t sick and I mean there are a lot of people who are frankly but just speak to that for just a minute, mike a huge stress model E-U-S-T-R-E-S-S.

0:54:29 – Speaker 4

Anything I can do with the athlete to get them to do a higher quality output of work and repeat that for most of their training.

They’re going to get a huge amount of benefit from that. Again, it doesn’t mean their training is easy. Most training they start, they do more complete rest, like that example hey, I can go perform. I have to perform a very high output on this day. I’m in a better state physiologically great. There’s a distressed time where you know like the the rich train, or uh, rich ronin quote was the best he’s like in competition, or uh, in training, I listen to my body.

In competition, I tell my body to shut up you know, on a distressed day where, like today, you’ve got a powerlifting meet or you’ve’ve got a swim meet or you, whatever the thing is, it’s performance at pretty much all costs. Who cares if it takes you four or five, six days? You got the CrossFit Games, you’ve got a month to recover, nobody cares. So I think again goes back to coaching. Having a model working with a coach, taking the data the exact same data may result in two completely different outcomes depending upon where you are, the circumstances, the context, et cetera. Same thing with continuous glucose monitors, like in a shout out to Ben house in Costa Rica. We were sticking those things on guys down there for an experiment for a week five years ago and it was funny because these are all like mostly guys. They’re lifting guys healthy. One guy we call him Mr Rice Cakes because he could eat like six rice cakes. His blood glucose would never go above 120. We give him like half that amount in pineapple. He hits like 140, 150.

This is a very lean, healthy, individual, trains a lot, et cetera. And we just saw this massive amount of variability, with people there who were all very healthy, but again it was very isolated, it was only for certain foods and in every case it came back down. Also, it was just the peak was a little bit higher, but the clearance, the area under the curve, wasn’t really that bad right. And so people look at this peak number and they’re like, oh my God, whoa, what’s going on? And I’ve had people write to me and say, oh, I literally had this. Last week my coach said my glucose went over 110. I should stop eating grapes or whatever.

The hell it was and I’m like 110. What are you? What are you talking about? Like, if you had 120, 130 and it comes back down, I could give two shits less.

So, again the context of it. A quick story it was probably maybe five years ago, through a different group. A nurse in the Twin Cities got us all continuous glucose monitors and at the time you couldn’t pull any of your data. We only had one reader. It would keep it for two weeks. And she said, hey, is it okay if we all come back and meet together? It would keep it for two weeks. And she said, hey, is it okay if we all come back and meet together? We share all of our data. I’ll take the reader, I’ll give you all your data. At that point I’m like, yeah, cool, perfect. So I took one week, I just left it on, just did whatever I normally did, wrote down everything. And then next week I’m like, eh, you know how far we can go, and so I would have like two pop tarts for breakfast. I wouldn’t eat for like 36 hours. One day I had two pop tarts and two cookies. You know just. You know just to see what are the limits of where I’m at. So we get to the meeting.

The one person who will remain nameless, but we’ll say the word keto was part of her name. She’s looking at her thing and she’s like my blood glucose here is like 140. And the nurse is like, well, what did you have for breakfast? She’s like, well, I had some keto brownies somebody gave me and she’s all upset that her blood glucose was so high. And she looks at me and she’s like, well, what did you have for breakfast that day? And I looked at the thing and I’m like two Pop-Tarts and two cookies. And she’s like, well, what was your blood glucose? I’m like peak was 125. And she didn’t talk to me for like four months after that and I’m like, if you are on a ketogenic type diet, you are going to give up some end of the glucose metabolism. So if you have a bunch of glucose temporarily, you might have a little bit of issues with it. Again, it’s not a permanent thing. It doesn’t mean you have a disease, it’s just kind of how physiology works. So again, it goes all the way back to context.

If you understand it and I have used continuous glucose monitors with a fair amount of clients I think it can be useful. I don’t have them wear it for more than two weeks. Ideally I try to blind them from the data for at least a week we set out. We’ll look at the week data and we’ll go okay, like this was a little bit weird, this a little bit wonky. Let’s try this experiment next week, let’s try this, let’s try that, and again it’s. I use it more to show them like, hey, movement’s super important. Hey, look at this night you didn’t sleep. Like, look at your resting blood glucose. Oh, you did an aerobic session. Oh, wow, do you notice your blood glucose dropped? Hey, you just went for a walk, like to. To emphasize all the better things they’re doing, to show them that it’s actually under their control. Not for them to be like, oh, the sky is falling, my blood glucose hit 130. Once I’m gonna die. Yep, exactly thank you.

It’s more sexy just to give them a number and tell them never eat grapes again.

0:59:30 – Speaker 2

For sure, most definitely, and I think some people were just like well, that’s easy, right, you know just tell me what not to do.

0:59:37 – Speaker 4

And it’s like no, no, no, no. Tell me, Eric, what do I don’t do? Like, what do I?

0:59:40 – Speaker 2

It’s like no, you got to live life outside of this.

0:59:44 – Speaker 1

I always say think about what you need to eat, not what you can’t eat.

0:59:47 – Speaker 4

next, Totally yes. Yes, emphasize all the things you can do. Not worry about all the things you can’t do.

0:59:53 – Speaker 2

Yeah, anyway, life is too short to not have Oreos anymore.

0:59:58 – Speaker 4

Yeah, oreos are good I like chocolate chip cookies better though.

1:00:02 – Speaker 2

Okay, you see I’m not going to hate on that, because I also love chocolate chip cookies, but just Oreos.

1:00:06 – Speaker 1

Guys, I’m sorry, I’m just into bread.

1:00:09 – Speaker 4

Bread’s good and pizza. Pizza’s very good and pizza yes.

1:00:13 – Speaker 1

And pizza for sure.

1:00:15 – Speaker 2

So all of that could be a complete meal. Okay, mike. So just to kind of wrap it up, I guess maybe like in five minutes, just to ask the final questions that we have on here. Yeah, ask the the final questions that we have on here. Yeah, um, so one of them, uh, uh, that I I think folks will be curious about, including myself, is, uh, electrolytes. You know, I love watching your story uh on on instagram and I see that every time you travel or you fly, you have electrolytes. Um, now, why is that? And also, why would you promote electrolytes in general? Because remember, back in the day, sodium is bad for you, right? And now there’s like have all the sodium in the world. So just kind of your thoughts on that.

1:00:57 – Speaker 4

Yeah, I mean it probably goes back to I met Rob Wolf at Paleo FX, was it four or five years ago? I’m losing track of time. He’s like hey man, you gotta stop by my booth booth. I’ve got this new electrolyte supplement. It’s high sodium. I stopped by the booth and I told them I’m like what are you doing? This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard in my life. Like high sodium, what are you out of your tree? Like I don’t. Like it didn’t make any sense to me because I’m thinking general population people get too much sodium, they’re not drinking enough water. Like what is this guy doing? And then I started thinking about it and started looking at clients I had. I went back and started pulling all their sodium, all their electrolytes, and I went oh shit, like most people who eat real food, not a lot of processed food, etc. Their sodium is actually pretty low.

1:01:45 – Speaker 1

Two to three grams for some people.

1:01:48 – Speaker 4

Yeah, I had one female competitor at 1500 milligrams, you know, and I started going, wait a minute, what if I’ve been wrong? So I just started playing around with just adding more sodium to my diet. Like, oh my God, I feel better, like my energy is more consistent, and I always did that in heat and extreme environments. But I didn’t, I didn’t do a day to day. So I went back the following year and told him like, hey, dude, like I, I so sorry, like this is like the best idea ever.

1:02:20 – Speaker 1

And then I.

1:02:21 – Speaker 4

I am biased, I am an affiliate for for element. But what I realized was, again, I was taking general population and assuming that was going to apply to athletes, which which, by that point, I should have known better. So most people, if you’re eating whole food, they probably do better with higher sodium. I even asked Andy Gelpin this last week. I said hey man, what do you see as a range in like total sodium intake? And I had written down like what I see, and he’s like two to eight grams a day.

I’m like, yeah, that’s about what I see you know some people do more with more, some people do more with less environment, et cetera but most people did better with more, which was crazy.

1:02:58 – Speaker 1

So only the sodium, or are you looking at potassium magnesium?

1:03:02 – Speaker 4

Yes, we do look at potassium and magnesium and make sure all the ratios are good, and a lot of people are just deficient in magnesium across the board period yeah it’s like go eat a green leafy thing that’s not a skittles or colored m&m, for god’s sake, you know.

But yeah, it was, sodium was the one that was the most by volume. But yes, I agree, you want to have the right amount of potassium, you want to have right amount of magnesium, etc. And when it just increased that people just felt better and I also realized on planes I would get off and not that the little. You know, the turgor test or the edema test or anything. That stuff is super accurate. But I’m like, why am I just so fatigued after flying, even not changing time zones? And I realized part of it, not all of it was.

I just was super dehydrated, so I just okay every time I get on a flight now, especially when I was traveling more before COVID. I have my little, you know trusty container, throw a thing of element in there and then just drink one liter of fluid with electrolytes per flight and I’m like, oh, I don’t feel 100% better, but I felt definitely quite a bit better.

1:04:02 – Speaker 3

So that’s why I just started doing that. That’s awesome, yeah, thank you for sharing that.

1:04:10 – Speaker 2

Okay, the, the, the, the last one before the last one. We have just some curiosity here. Are there any new breakthroughs like on the horizon for nutrition and performance enhancement that that you can tell the listeners about?

1:04:28 – Speaker 4

There’s a couple that are interesting. I think paroxanthine as a stimulant is interesting. Paroxanthine is a downstream metabolite of caffeine. I don’t like the current. I’m not hating on anyone per se, but I don’t like the current messaging because it follows the same thing in most supplements where you have to demonize something else to say that this is an equivalent replacement. And we’ve got tons of data on caffeine. Caffeine has a lot of benefits. It does have some negatives, but they’re all pretty well known. I’ve seen a couple of beverages now listed as caffeine free on the front part of the can and they use paroxanthine. But I’m like, wait a minute, like it’s technically caffeine free, I guess, but you just put the downstream metabolite.

1:05:13 – Speaker 1

It’s like your main ingredient.

1:05:16 – Speaker 4

So stuff like that really kind of bugs me and my fear is that if there’s a backlash, then you’re just going to stop all research and people are just going to get rid of it and not find out what it is really beneficial for.

Right now, surprisingly, there’s not many studies on it, but I think it’s interesting in and of itself. Um, also, probably because I’m biased, I think the use of exogenous ketones is interesting. So that’s something I’ve been interested in for probably six or seven years ago now. The fact that you could take a supplement and get into a high state of ketosis within 20 to 30 minutes, independent of a ketogenic diet, to me is just fascinating, because you can do that in the face of high carbohydrates, you can do in the face of high liver and muscle glycogen. There’s some super interesting research on ketones in areas of fatigue, so like cognition, post-exercise cognition under sleep, deprivation and again, full disclosure. I work as a scientific advisor for Tecton. They make an exogenous ketone beverage, but I was like super interested in these questions like well, before I started working for them. So yeah, so those two things I think are kind of top of mind to me well before I started working for them.

1:06:27 – Speaker 1

So yeah, so those two things I think are kind of top of mind to me. The question I have in that in the ketone area is you know the claims that are made and the difference in whether or not you get an efficacious dose and right and so, and and I’m still not, I’m, I have to be honest, I am not sold on it. I don’t know how I recommend it to a performance athlete and feel that it’s worth the money and the investment for them. You know so it’s. You know, for me it’s still walking on marbles. I’m not quite sure and I don’t, you know, I don’t see enough data, but really I think on the products out there, could you speak to that?

1:07:13 – Speaker 4

Yeah. So I agree actually with that because it’s so confusing. So, in a nutshell, the ketogenic salts originally proposed probably don’t do crap right. So we take a BHB molecule, we bond it to sodium, magnesium, whatever. Even if we do a quad salt, we put it across four. You just can’t get enough across the gut, like it probably doesn’t do much of anything. So they said, hey, let’s bind it to other ingredients via ester bond, because BHB, beta hydroxybutyrate the main ketone you can give free BHB. It does not cross the gut, it doesn’t do anything, you’re just gonna piss it out.

Unfortunately, companies are trying to do that now. Because why it’s? As a raw ingredient, it’s dirt shape and you can put bhb on the label, doesn’t do jack. So then they said let’s bind it to other compounds. The most common one is something called uh one three butol. So you can buy 1,3-butanediol, which is the HVMN1 now as its own supplement. However, in the same market you can find it promoted as a performance boost and as an alternative to alcohol, which to me is weird. It’s like well, what is it? Does it increase performance? Does it make me feel like I went to the bar?

And what I’ve noticed with that. If you get above like one serving I definitely don’t want to do any high intensity exercise Like it doesn’t feel like I had three beers, but it feels more along those lines. It’s weird because at its baseline it is actually an alcohol, it’s a dial, right. So I’m not convinced that high doses with butaned dial are going to have any benefit. The data on that is mixed. So what are you left with? How do you get BHB across? With binding it to some other molecule, which has been done a little bit. Tecton uses BHB bound to glycerol. So glycerol, as you know, is the backbone of triglycerides that can just be burned or used or converted in the liver, and so you’re left with higher levels of BHP. So they’re currently doing tracer studies on that to see where does it go.

Because the next question is the brain can use ketones. Cardiac tissue loves ketones. Muscle loves ketones. My initial premises was that muscle would preferentially want to use ketones. Now Iones. My initial premises was that muscle would preferentially want to use ketones. Now I’m not so sure about that. I actually think it’s the brain and the cardiac tissue that may preferentially pull ketones, which is why most of the data for all out performance, like absolute speed and performance.

Ketones don’t really seem to be a benefit. That kind of makes sense, right. They’re just not that high in energy. They’re not going to compete with carbohydrates At high enough doses. They’re probably going to impair PDH enzyme. You’re going to probably have a reverse effect.

Where I do think they might be beneficial for is, like I said, cognition under fatigue or like what I call kind of game speed decisions. Like you’re in the third, you’re the fourth quarter. How can you make better decisions? Can you be in the right place at the right time? Can you stay focused without using something that’s a stimulant? If you go down the line of pathologies huge amount of data post TBI, post concussion, maybe post, you know, myocardial infarction, all the things that are going to throw glucose metabolism offline you get hit in the head. Your brain can still take ketones. They cross the blood-brain barrier. I did a whole program for this for the Keurig Institute. They’re anti-inflammatory, they serve to mitigate some of the energy crisis. So I think in all those areas there’s a lot of potential.

If we’re all out absolute speed and performance, there’s only a couple studies. The cox study from the uk was the main one which showed, I think, a three percent increase, uh, in cyclists also using high amounts of carbohydrates. Uh, that one hasn’t been replicated yet, but again, in high level cyclists a three percent increase is like friggin massive. So maybe on longer events I think we’ll find they might be more useful. And then the last thing too is, if you like, I’m working with a guy who is working to cross Antarctica by himself, actually solo, unassisted, the first guy ever to do it. So argument is that ketones might serve a role there for some high energy alternative that he can bring with to use along a trip, because he also has to justify all of the weight that he brings with right, and that becomes a consideration. So per weight you can just get the molecule down to a low amount. Then certain niche cases like that, it might be useful.

1:11:44 – Speaker 1

So I wonder is HVMN being funded by DARPA?

1:11:51 – Speaker 4

Well if you want the honest answer. Someone can do research on that and they can see. I won’t get in too much trouble for this, but I’ll just tell them to go look. It was originally under the original molecule which was licensed from Veach in the UK.

So, originally they did have one of the ketones that was a bonded ketone ester. Unfortunately, they did not renew. This is all public demand. I’m not trying to shit on them or anything. They did not renew the license because that lab said hey, we licensed this to you for a certain period of time. Your license is up, you owe us money, right? That’s how licensing works. They said no, we don’t want to pay the licensing fee, so we’re going to switch. We’re going to use. Our new version is going to be 1,3-butanediol, so I’m not so sure that that contract extends over to the molecule they’re currently using now.

Most of the researchers I know through the military have dropped research into that area because under a high doses cognition just goes off a cliff.

1:12:52 – Speaker 2

Wow, fascinating.

1:12:54 – Speaker 4

More info than anyone probably wants to know.

1:12:57 – Speaker 2

No, I’m just like I’m taking this all in.

1:12:59 – Speaker 1

I think it’s really important because right you see an influencer for a 30 second spot saying do this, it works. Let’s hear it from the expert. That’s great thanks, mike.

1:13:11 – Speaker 4

And all I would say is like, hey, just just show me the data on that molecule. Like right, yeah, send me, send me the research. Like yeah, I’m just not convinced by it yep yeah yeah, all right.

1:13:24 – Speaker 2

well, we’ve gotten to the final question and thank you very much for your time today, mike. It’s been awesome. It’s been insightful. I think people are going to learn a bunch like a crash course of a million things here today. So final question is if you could eat a meal with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat?

1:13:51 – Speaker 4

What would I eat? Would probably be a good pizza, and then I would say da vinci oh yeah, ultimate engineer, I mean engineering, physiology, just just all the the stuff he did, like the ideas he had that were literally just light years ahead of what anyone else was doing at that time. And yeah, yeah, just fascinating.

1:14:13 – Speaker 1

Did you read the most recent biography that was written about? I can’t think of who the author was. I should know it.

1:14:20 – Speaker 4

No, I didn’t. I’ll have to get it.

1:14:22 – Speaker 1

I’ll send you the link. And, and I mean what stands out to me is how he thought of himself. He did not think of himself as an artist, he was an engineer.

1:14:33 – Speaker 4

Yeah, he was an engineer first, is what he would, my understanding is that?

1:14:37 – Speaker 1

that’s what he would claim. Yes, yeah.

1:14:39 – Speaker 4

This is also why I really liked him Plus you get to go to Italy, so you know oh. Italy’s great. Plus, you get to go to Italy. So you know, oh, italy’s great, love Italy, nice place.

1:14:49 – Speaker 2

Yeah, it’s nice over there, that’s for sure.

1:14:52 – Speaker 1

Well, this has been awesome. Thank you so much, Dr.

1:14:55 – Speaker 4

Mike T Nelson. Yeah, thank you so much for all the great questions.

1:14:57 – Speaker 1

Tell us how people can find you and find your information.

1:15:02 – Speaker 4

Yeah, best place is probably the website. Just go to MikeTNelsoncom. At the top there’s a little spot for newsletter. I generally send out newsletters pretty much daily. Probably 80, 90% of my content now goes out to the newsletter, so you can sign up there, which is completely free. And then I do have the courses Flex Diet Certification, the PhysFlex Certification, which you can get information on my website or through the newsletter. And I do have some stuff that goes out a little bit on social media, primarily on Instagram, which is just Dr Mike T Nelson, and I do also have a podcast which I believe both of you guys have been on. Yes, on the Flex Diet podcast I’m at 260 some episodes, so sometimes I have to pause and think just to make sure that’s correct 260 some episodes.

1:15:48 – Speaker 1

So sometimes I have to pause and think just to make sure that’s correct. Well, you are a wealth of information and, for anyone who has not been following Dr Mike, it’s also fun and humorous. And, and you know, even on a little email that comes out about the newsletter, you’ll get a chuckle.

1:16:02 – Speaker 4

So Well, thank you, I try to make them interesting, for sure.

1:16:06 – Speaker 2

And from time to time you might even hear a little bit of, like you know, slipknot or Pantera in there which I get the metal tune of the week every Sunday there you go, there you go.

1:16:17 – Speaker 1

So for all of you out there, this has been the your Food Matters podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you’re enjoying what we are sending out to you, please share us with your friends and colleagues. We are on all the podcast platforms. You can watch us as well as listen to us on the Move Nutrition Network YouTube channel. Today you won’t see Eric. He was darked out in a secret place, but we can hear him. So thank you all. Thank you, dr Mike thank you.

I’m Dr Sue Kleiner, here with Eric Bustillo, and we’ll hear you next time. Bye, take care everyone.

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