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Today, I’m chatting with Zach Even-Esh about youth athletic development and the pros and cons of training and nutrition for younger athletes.

Listen in to hear:

  • [14:40] How Zach instructs high school athletes to eat

  • [19:53] Why are young kids looking so unhealthy?
  • [20:44] How parents are confused about nutrition
  • [25:55] Knowing where you food comes from
  • [33:00] Building the right environment for kids
  • [37:45] Functional training and bodybuilding for teens
  • [45:11] National High School Coaches Association
  • [50:26] Promoting what’s good for you

Connect with Zach:

About Zach:

Zach Even-Esh is one of the leading authorities in the strength & conditioning field today. Zach started The Underground Strength Gym in 2002 and has been coaching & consulting with Adults to Tier 1 Military, Youth Athletes to D1 Athletes and Garage Gym lifters from all around the world. Zach is also the Author of The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength.

Flex Diet Sponsor:

This podcast is brought to you by the Flex Diet Certification. Go to for 8 interventions on nutrition and recovery and to join the waitlist to be notified when enrollment opens.

Rock on!

Dr. Mike T Nelson

Download the transcript


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 today on the program I’ve got the one and only Zach Even-Esh, and I’m super excited to talk to him. I’ve had the honor and the privilege of knowing Zach for. Man going on decades now. I’ve been able to meet him in person a few times at some of Ryan Lee’s seminars.

And today we talked with him all about youth athletic development and just all the pros of training and nutrition for younger athletes. About what are some of the basics that appear to be missing? Zach is in the trenches, still training and coaching a ton of youth athletes as we speak. If you’re watching this on video, you may notice the background looks a little bit different.

I was up at my parents’ place, so was actually recording it from their basement. But it was great to talk to Zach. Highly recommend you check out all of his products. We’ll put some links and everything down below. I do enjoy his newsletter. It’s one of the very few newsletters that I still subscribe to.

This podcast, it’s brought to you by the Flex Diet Certification. If you wanna learn all about eight different interventions to maximize performance, body composition, and adding lean muscle, all without destroying your health in the process, go to, where you’ll learn the eight different interventions.

In a complete flexible system it probably is on a wait list, so you can add your name to the wait list there. You’ll be the first to be notified as soon as it opens again. So go to and enjoy this interview with Zach Even-Esh.

[00:02:14] Dr Mike T Nelson: So we’re on here with the one and only Zach, Even-Esh. How’s it going man? We’re both in basements. It looks like I’m in my parents’ basement. Literally. Cause we’re up here doing the fall stuff. .

[00:02:25] Zach Even-Eshe: This is my office. I would pull it around. But I got, books everywhere.

And I always say I wanna be in office where I get natural sunlight. I don’t like when it’s gets gloomed up yes. We’ve had rain. This is three days in a row of rain cuz of the storm. Oh. I’m no weather, I’m no meteorologist, but I guess the storm just keeps looping because it will not stop raining.

And I’m like, Dude, if I don’t get some sunshine, I will drive my ass down south. I’ll figure it out.

[00:02:55] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. That’s actually what we’re doing. We’re leaving for Texas on the 14th of October, so we’ll be And

[00:03:01] Zach Even-Eshe: where are you now? Where do you live?

[00:03:03] Dr Mike T Nelson: I’m in Minnesota, so I’m in White Pearl Lake.

[00:03:05] Zach Even-Eshe: Oh yeah, dude. Minnesota is crazy cold .

[00:03:08] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, it gets cold in the winter. The nice part is it’s relatively sunny, so it, I grew up here so I’m used to it and I have a, cold water emergent thing I do in my garage and all sorts of crazy stuff. But there’s still a few days where we had a while I think it was.

Less than 10 days where it would never got above zero by like day eight of that, you’re just like, Okay this is a little crazy .

[00:03:32] Zach Even-Eshe: Yeah. I think I heard Cal Diets mention when he was doing graduate school, he’d be like walking to campus or from wherever he was staying. He said there were times it was like negative 30 degrees.

Oh yeah. And do you know Brad Gillingham strongly?

[00:03:48] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. Brad, awesome. Dude. I met Brad couple years back. Marty Gallagher organizes a team of guys to work with the SEAL teams, and he was talking about when it gets so cold that like the farmers start lighting, hay on fire to keep to keep the animals alive.

[00:04:06] Zach Even-Eshe: Oh. I was like, man, that is, And I feel like it the cold weather’s like pretty tough on the body, especially as we get older.

[00:04:16] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. It’s one of those interesting things where it’s now it’s almost become popular. But if you think about I don’t know. And you’re, I know you’re a big fan of this too, like some of the strongest like gyms and like coolest environments, were never like perfect.

Like I still love like lifting my garage. Yes. We did finally put into heater, just so my wife is very happy now, I don’t have all the bars hanging out in the kitchen because the hardest part was you couldn’t get the cold out of a two inch axle. Yeah. Like you put your hands on it and it’s just horrible.

So once the bars are like not 32 degrees it’s not so bad. Yeah. But I think there’s something cool about that.

[00:04:53] Zach Even-Eshe: I’ve seen videos, there’s all these kind of home gym, garage gym, YouTube channels, but I saw somebody. Storing barbells in the kitchen. Somebody else had a, it almost looked like a blow dryer.

They were like heating the barbell Yeah. before, before they would train and yeah. What’s interesting is when I first started, you, when I stopped going to local gyms and I said, I’m just gonna create my own gym, I trained outta my parents’ garage, but it got so cold in there. I think I got sick. Who knows?

Probably, being a teacher, being around kids lock got me sick. But I remember the electric was old in the house that I got a second space heater and I turned on the second one. The whole house shorted. I heard my dad like, scream my name. I was like, Damn, there goes that. I’ll be just using one space heater and I’d put it like right near me.

And so I would train outta my parents’ garage, multiple layers, gloves, winter hat, like the way I would run when I would wrestle I’d put on like shorts, sweatpants, double socks, then it was a t-shirt sweatshirt, and then a double Excel sweatshirt and to keep myself warm.

Then on the weekend I’d go to a gym just so I could have heat, to be in like a warm environment. But you are right that many of the. Training environments or training locations come from these poor they just don’t have a great setup. The Cuban wrestling team, some of the best wrestlers in the world, their weight room looks worse than like a prison weight pile.

And there’s a book, I, man, I’m forgetting the name of the book, but it was about like the guy did a lot of research on where successful athletes were coming from. And there’s a place in Russia where they have the most like junior national world tennis champions and it’s called Spartic.

And they train in a non, heated warehouse and they don’t have a tennis ball for every kid. And I’m like it’s, as a dad myself, we sometimes get so worried Oh my God, it’s cold, it’s hot. And I’m like, Oh, they’re trained too much. Like I, I pedald my bike for eight to 10 hours a day every day in the summer, 70 days in a row you ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast, Reese’s peanut butter cup for lunch.

We were fine. And so now it’s I think we’ve convinced ourselves that we are not capable of, working hard or being in a cold or too hot or any of that stuff. And I think it’s hurt us as a society. We don’t wanna be uncomfortable. We want everything perfect and it’s, that’s actually not good.

[00:07:32] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And you’ve been up to Matt Nichols gym in Canada. I know he is. Been on your podcast.

[00:07:37] Zach Even-Eshe: I know. I haven’t been there. I knew you’ve been there. Yeah, I was there several years ago, right after the Swiss conference and, did some work with him and he is awesome. And he’s got like these, elite NHL players and it’s like almost like a broom closet in the corner of a stadium.

He’s in Asia now. Oh, does he have a new one? Nice. So now he’s spoiled. Yeah. .

[00:07:58] Dr Mike T Nelson: It was crazy. Like you watched it’s mess with him. You’re like, wow. And, not knowing his background or if he didn’t know him at all, you’d be like, Who’s this crazy guy in the broom closet of the ice arena storage closet?

[00:08:10] Zach Even-Eshe: Yeah, he said storage closet. No heat, no air conditioning. Yeah. No windows. And he said they would sell, they would always their registration would sell out for the number of hockey players who would have to sign on for like training for the preseason or something. And he’s They didn’t, they, he’s they liked it.

Now if you look at his video, He’s got a new beautiful setup. And I gotta tell you like that sometime is hard for a coach to transition when you’re, when your setup looks like Rocky three tough gym, and then you go and you have, the Ivan Drago gym, you’re like, ah, you struggle mentally making that switch.

And the thing for me, I’ll say this as I’ve gotten older, my gym in town, it doesn’t have air conditioning, which is not a big deal, but we don’t get airflow. I’m a mile from the beach, but my gym is situated in this alleyway of warehouse buildings. And I’m like, Man, if I was like two buildings over the ocean, breeze would go down the road and through my building.

But in the summer it like beats me up cuz my gym will get to 92 degrees. And I’m only in there for three hours, but I’m like, Oh this is like kicking my ass. But then I try to like Jedi mind trick myself and be like, it’s like a three hour sauna session. . Yeah. I try to lie to myself about it.

[00:09:36] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. I do the same thing in Minnesota because it can get pretty warm in the summer and it can get pretty humid and so I obviously don’t have any air conditioned in my garage gym that I don’t even really have a fan, cuz I’m like, at some point I can just walk outside if I have to, but it’s the humidity.

And for years I kept looking at my training thing and I’m like, why does my training just tank for two weeks in the spring? And this is especially before I was traveling a lot, I couldn’t figure it. And then I looked back and I correlated it with the temperature and humidity because sometimes it would go from, relatively cold and not so cold.

And then we’d get, these days it’d be super warm and humid for a period of time. Like we didn’t really have a spring, some seasons. Yeah. And it was that transition to the humidity one, not using enough salt or sodium or fluid. Yes. And then two, just that adaptation period, because I just, I didn’t do sauna.

I wasn’t used to it at all. And it just seemed like there was a two to sometimes three week period of acclimation of getting used to lifting on that environment to go from one extreme to the

next. Yeah, you have to adjust your nutrition and I never salted my foods, but I would, I started salting my eggs in the morning.

I don’t know, some months ago. I don’t even, I don’t even think it was a half a year ago. And I started just like feeling noticeable differences. As we get older, we’re so in tune with our body cuz you’re training for decades. When I’m young. When I was young I remember this story like I called up Diamond Jim and I speak with Jason a who at the time was a national level bodybuilder.

He became a pro. Yeah. And I remember calling him up, like asking him, Hey, some days I just don’t get a pump. And he must be thinking, who the f is this weirdo? Like calling me talking about a pump. So he starts asking me how I’m eating and I’m like for breakfast, I can’t remember why. I would think I would eat two, two pieces of toast, put a piece of cheese on and an egg.

Lunch would be two sandwiches. And he’s like, All right, that’s pretty good. But then as I started getting older, you can’t eat sandwiches and still get lean. All right, I’m gonna have eggs and oatmeal, I’m gonna have chicken and rice, steak, potatoes. And I noticed that when I had like a good carb feeding potatoes, rice, like my pump was crazy.

And so as you get older, you [start like learning, Oh, the way I ate in my teens cannot continue into my twenties. The way I ate in my twenties has to adjust a little bit. And it brought me to another thought this morning I’m driving home, listen to a podcast. They’re on nutrition and I’m thinking, and they’re talking about all these different, quote unquote fat diets.

You and I have seen ’em all. It used to be just eat like a bodybuilder. Yeah. Low fat. And then this moderate protein, moderate carbs. And just have frequent eating throughout the day. We would call that almost like you’re eating like normal. Then it was intermittent fasting, Oreo meckler before that was the Atkins diet, which was the high protein, high fat, which would, that was marketed much better than Dr.

Mor Depa, Squalls anabolic diet, right? Yeah. Anabolic diet was like an underground diet that you only knew about if you were a serious bodybuilder. But I think about it what’s tends to have done really well, like Matt Wing, Stan Efforting, the vertical diet. Essentially what they’re doing is eating protein and carbs every three to four hours.

Yeah. Just meat and rice, beef and rice. And it’s. It’s just a normal, eating. And I think that is what, it’s just tuned, quote unquote normal, you know what I’m saying? Nobody responds to that anymore because of the internet. The internet like has everything is like some sort of extreme, Hey, start, do a five day fast, do intermittent fast.

Like it’s not good. We just can’t eat, every three to four hours. No, that’s not cool enough. ,

I think that’s no, because that’s is too high and your AEs is gonna be ruined. And then you look at all these studies and you’re like, Okay, that might apply if you’re an earthworm or a mouse.

And then as scale up to actual humans, like the data is it’s a thing, but I don’t know. And so I looked at it once and the biggest increase in a toph I could find was actually doing a heavy. Interval day session after being glycogen depleted. So they brought these poor people into the lab.

They just beat the snot out of them with like multiple wind gates, multiple repeats, Like just all this heinous work. Yep. They give ’em like protein overnight. They come back into the lab the next day on the low muscle glycogen and they do almost the same thing again. They just beat the snot out of it Sounds like

Yeah. And what they found was like, markers of atophogy were upregulated for four to five days, but there’s a time and place where some of that, But again it’s sexier just to say, just don’t eat for a period of time. Oh,

[00:14:40] Zach Even-Eshe: okay. And you know what’s I think gonna screw up the future is parents who now do, I’m doing keto, I’m doing paleo.

They have their kids do that. So I was just at the high school. I’m a full-time strength coach at this high school, and I’m looking at some of these kids and they do not put on muscle. And a couple weeks ago, our school was like two weeks ago, had back to school night and I always give the spiel about what I talk to the kids about nutrition.

You gotta eat your breakfast, you gotta pack a lunch, don’t buy the lunch, and then you’re gonna eat a sandwich before practice, right? You’re not gonna eat your lunch. School lunch is like 10:30 AM You’re not gonna just eat the school lunch and then dinner’s at six 30. You’re not gonna go eight hours without eating and expect to build muscle.

So mom comes up to me and she’s Oh, you’re coach ane she’s My kid talks about you all the time. She’s But you don’t have to tell me anything. I’m a certified personal trainer. I do keto, eat organic. We do all that stuff. Then she walks away and I’m thinking to myself, This is why your son weighs 135 pounds and he’s 16 years old, Which to me, When you’re a football player, that’s dangerous to be, Oh yeah.

so small. Okay, he wrestles, he’s gonna be in a weight class, but we have football players that weigh 275 pounds and all right, maybe you’re not on the varsity team, but you must, These young kids have to build a suit of armor. They have to build muscle, but you wanna know why they don’t do it? Cuz breakfast is nothing, or it’s just a granola bar.

They think that is breakfast. lunch is purchased from school, which as is like mass produced low quality, processed junk. I don’t even call it processed food. Then they don’t eat after school. Then dinner might be just high carbs, pasta type stuff. Not too many kids are getting.

The way I explain it in simple terms is your kid should eat, like he or she lives on a farm and works on a farm. Breakfast in my house is gonna be some sort of eggs and toast with butter. It might be french toast once a week, pancakes and bacon on the weekend. Lunch is packed the night before.

My son eats more than my daughter, so I told my son, I go, Listen, you start getting hungry. Let’s not have one sandwich and a granola bar and this and bunch of snack foods. Let’s just go with a one sandwich and then I’ll pack you a half sandwich and then it becomes two sandwiches so I can make you Turkey and cheese or roast beef lettuce or Turkey bacon on a sandwich, feeding them food.

That’s, I get it that my kid is not gonna have chicken and rice at lunch, but, When they come home from school, they eat at early dinner, so they’ll eat dinner leftovers. So they’ve already got three meals by three 30. And I actually took my son to the gym. We had a power outage in my town on Monday.

He comes to the gym, he’s 14. He was gonna train. Power goes out. So I have to send everybody home. And I say to my son, I was like, Ethan, you want me to take you to like a gym, like a body building gym? He’s Yeah, sure. That’s cool. I wanted to train. So I take him to the gym. I take him to a body building workout, a lot of body part volume stuff.

And I’m looking at his physique while he’s doing push downs and cable rows. And I’m like, Man, my son’s actually jacked . And I’m just, it just comes together where I said to myself By no accident. We’ve been feeding him the right way since he was a kid. He’s been involved in strength training since he was a kid and he’s 162 pounds.

That’s the weight class I wrestled senior year in high school, so Oh wow. He is eighth grade. Oh, okay. So when I was 17, he’s three years, 14, I was his size as a 17 year old, now I see kids, they just don’t build muscle, now I’ve been at this high school for three years and I tell ’em, I go, look, I could see it a mile away that you’re not eating properly and or not enough cuz you’re the same size as last.

I think a teenager should grow even if they don’t lift weights, right? Like your hormones are primed. You can get big just looking at the weights when you’re like 15, 16. Yeah. I’m I really, it’s interesting to think about where we will be this younger generation as a society.

So you and I think we’re about same age, this younger generation. If you look like, you look around, the boys have boobs, they have wide hips and they have beer bellies, yet they don’t drink beer. So their body is just filled with processed. I call it poison. It’s all crap. And that’s why we hear that phrase.

We will outlive that generation. Like we are gonna be the first generation ever to outlive the younger generation. And boys should not have boob. Or big bellies. So it’s scary times in my opinion.

[00:19:53] Dr Mike T Nelson: Do you think a lot of that is, What would you do to change it? Do you think it’s more on the nutrition? Do you think it’s environmental?

Do you think it’s some type of training or just general lack of movement, lack of energy, expenditure?

[00:20:05] Zach Even-Eshe: All the above. It’s a blend of everything. The majority of time for a kid is spent in school and then the other majority of their time is spent on the phone. And you and I both started in this business before the internet exploded.

Yeah. And we’ve seen how there’s so much information now. There’s so much information, but we still have people training incorrectly. Unsafely when you and I met online in the early two thousands, we never heard of a death from training.

[00:20:39] Dr Mike T Nelson: Am I right? Very rare, especially weight training.

A few marathoners once in a while, but that was about

[00:20:44] Zach Even-Eshe: it really. But now you’ve heard about it in the college sector, in football, kids being hospitalized, so more knowledge is not fixing things. So I think the parents are confused with nutrition information. I think the schools do a bad job of really giving the kids knowledge that they can relate to.

Meaning you’re in a classroom, maybe you’re researching stuff on the internet, but how about we go and visit a hospital and we go and visit people who are being treated for eating disorders whether they’re overeating or undereating. We get people that they could really relate to. We experiment and say, Okay we’re gonna actually go shopping this week.

You guys go shopping. Here’s a hundred dollars as a class or in small groups. Go shopping, come up with a shopping list, and then the teacher does his or her shopping. And then we compare and say, Okay, look at what you guys are eating. Here’s what I’m eating. Now let’s research and figure out why one is better than the other.

And then here’s the other thing, another thing not the end be is we have no balls, no guts to tell people the truth. , you know how I just said boys have boobs, oh he’s said Boys have boobs. Like he body shame me. He fat shamed me. He’s fired. Listen, I’m telling you the truth about something that’s damaging your health.

How you’re eating now can ruin and cause disease in your future. And we’re afraid to say those things. We’re afraid to give people the truth about why it is they’re unhealthy, excuse me, or why they look a certain way. And we shouldn’t tell people, Yeah, it’s okay that you’re fat and obese. It’s not okay, but let me show you how to fix that.

Let’s just, give me, take a photo of everything. You eat these next two to three days. All right, let’s take a look at it. Let’s make one change. Okay? Talk to me about exercise. How should we exercise? They’re doing anything that’s extreme, nothing that’s quote unquote common sense is gonna get a lot of views.

For example, my YouTube channel somebody posted like, I can’t believe, this only has so many views or so many thousands of subscribers. And somebody commented like, that’s cuz he’s telling you, things that are actually make sense, things that are healthy for you. There’s nothing extreme.

He’s not squatting a thousand pounds. He’s not a shirtless with, 3% body fat. So it doesn’t attract people. The other day I posted on my YouTube two videos. One video was like keg curls for biceps. We have all these different kegs at my gym. Yeah, the other video was posted a month ago and it was like upper slash lower body split versus full body routine, which is better.

So the one that’s like an educational video, the upper lower, the split training had 700 or 800 views in one month. The keg video in two days had 2000. Cause it was like keg girls for biceps. And that’s not if I’m going to teach these, if I want to educate and empower this younger generation in my experience, not my opinion, my experience of decades.

We need to teach them basic body building, how to build muscle, how to strength train and body building is the fountain of youth building muscle is going to give them a better chance of changing their metabolism. A lot of people think about, Hey, I gotta lose 10 pounds. Kids will ask me, I want to get ripped for the summer, I want to get cut

And I’m like, What you should focus on is actually putting on 10 pounds of muscle, not losing 10 pounds because I look at the physique and they’re got that like flat look. They’re not building muscle. When I was looking at my son training on Monday, I see veins in his biceps. I see, shape to the muscle and I think to myself, what did we eat last night?

Gluten-free pasta with chicken. What’s another meal? Chicken. And. Steak and potatoes, hamburger patties. If you wanna put bread, lettuce, go for it. We get predominantly our meats from a Mennonite farmer in Pennsylvania. Oh, nice. That’s awesome, dude. It has been awesome. Yeah. And a much different taste.

[00:25:13] Dr Mike T Nelson: It is different. Different. I like it.

[00:25:15] Zach Even-Eshe: Yeah. I love it and I love seeing where is my food coming from? Yes. Versus even the eggs. I pick up Mike, I go I did this by accident in New Jersey. We live in a beach town. 10 minutes away is like a lot of farm area. And so at my son’s baseball practice, in between games, my wife and I were gonna go to a Wawa on our way to Wawa.

I see literally a mile down the road from baseball, a big it looks like a big mailbox and it says free range eggs. And so I buy my eggs from this person’s house when they didn’t have eggs. One day I pulled up and they’ve got all these large, like chicken coops, but the gates are open and it’s like chickens running wild in front of their house.

[00:26:00] They don’t run away. They know where to go. And so when I buy eggs from them they’re different sizes. There’s some like feathers and a little poop left on it, but the egg yolk is like this bright orange. The eggs are different sizes. Many of them are like an extra large size egg. That you’d get from the supermarket.

Basically back to what I would do with this younger generation is our, kids during physical education, they l view like pushups and squats as like a punishment. They look around at their friends who may not be doing the exercise. So when it’s time to do squats, they squat halfway down.

You, we need to empower these kids. And also get them to understand like, Hey guys, working hard on your body and your health is the coolest thing you could do. And it also could change your mindset. I’m at this high school full time. I have one PhysEd class and I’ll pull kids out of that phys ed to do strength and conditioning, But I run the warmups.

And what I want to do as an experiment, especially with this weather starting to get like darker and gloomier, is Hey, how do you feel? What write down how you feel right now. Two, three sentences, whatever. Now let’s do 10 squat jumps, 10 pushups. Now tell me how you feel. And it immediately changes like your I guess like brain chemistry.

You feel better. So like I’ll train Monday through Friday in the morning I go to my gym. It to me is the ultimate way to start my day. I just feel awesome. But on the weekend, like if I’m not feeling like not in the best mood, I just do like pushups and squats, just doing one set makes me feel so much better.

And so we have more gyms than ever before. We have more information there. Before, I think Planet Fitness does free membership for kids in the summer. Gym memberships are $9 and 95 cents or they’re under 20 bucks a month, whereas when I was in high school, it was 35 to $45 a month. So stuff is more accessible, it’s cheaper, but I think we gotta connect with the kids on a much deeper level.

And then the parents, it’s up to them, they, the parents need to really take control of what’s in the house cuz a kid is not gonna go out and buy chicken and rice and steak potato kids don’t. Some high school kids don’t even know how to turn on a stove top. Oh, they don’t even know how to, fry up some eggs.

And so we’re lacking hard skills, whereas kids could, navigate through a computer, a phone, this and that. But Matt Wen said something he said in America, YouTube will push up like entertainment videos. That’s the algorithm stuff that makes you laugh. He said, where in places like China, they don’t push that stuff up.

They push up like educational content. So the algorithm, he said works differently. But it’s gonna be, to me, it’s up to the parents. Don’t rely on the school to save your kids. And ultimately comes down to decision making. Kids have to learn how to choose what kind of foods they want to eat.

And they gotta communicate to their parents about it. And if the parents are not into it, then it becomes very hard. What if you wanna be healthy as a kid, but your parents are overweight, obese, eat crap, don’t exercise now you think that’s normal? You know why my kids exercise, they saw it since they were babies.

They saw me lifting in the garage, carrying kettlebells. They thought that’s just normal activity that everybody should do.

[00:29:43] Dr Mike T Nelson: And yeah, and I think people, and especially kids, parents, forget that you can tell your kids a whole bunch of stuff and easy for me to say I don’t have kids. Yeah.

But knowing a bunch of people work in fitness and people whose kids grew up in the gym and they didn’t force it on the kids at. They just said, once they’re of a certain age, they, watch their dad or their mom lift and you see the kids mimicking what their parents are doing. That’s right.

And I think we sometimes as a society forget that what you do is probably more important to what kids see than what you say. Hundred percent. I think that gets lost in the

[00:30:20] Zach Even-Eshe: message. A hundred percent. And so yeah, your environment is gonna be clutch. Same thing with the kids. And like a buddy of mine was on Joe De Franco’s podcast a year ago, Craig Fitzgerald.

Craig works with the Giants. But before that he spent, he was with Houston Texans, he was at University of Tennessee. He’s been at all the major colleges, Penn State. So Joe was asking him like, Hey who’s one of the biggest freaks you ever trained? , in sports. So he mentions this guy, I Google him the kid played football in like one of the like, rough areas of dc And then I come across like some of weight room stuff, , and it’s, all the quote unquote wrong training to do.

Yeah. Their strength coaches, like a guy who looks like he’s in his mid sixties, he’s got like gloves on, but he’s got his sleeveless. And everybody was just working hard, they were benching, curling, bent over road. It was like a 1970s workout, but they were working hard. And I think like those kids that come from like those inner cities, they oftentimes have these like high level athletes because.

All day. The kids are playing football and whatever sport in the apartment complex. And so that’s their normal activity today, normal activity for most kids is they’re sitting down six hours a day in school. If they don’t have phys ed, now it’s seven hours of sitting, then they go home and then they sit on the phone.

Today’s normal is different than decades ago. Normal. And that’s why we’re seeing what we see. Even with more information, easily accessed information, free information training is free, in the school or 10 bucks a month at Planet Fitness. So until things at home change with parents, it’s super hard for kids to when are they gonna change, they have to like now figure it out on their own.

Environment. Is clutch when we’ve been in this house and town for 12 and a half years. When I started training, here outta my house, I had rings a climbing rope and kettlebells. So my kids were like a year and a half, two years old, four years old. So I’d be doing like body weight exercises and then they would be out in front of the house with we had a gymnastics mat and they would be like trying to mimic pushups, it looked like yeah.

Crazy yoga activities. But I knew what they were doing. They were copying me because they saw me exercising. So they just thought, Oh, this is what we do. It’s cool. And in their now my kids are older. When they were like [00:33:00] I don’t know, six, seven years ago, my office here is in the basement.

I remember they would come down here. They wrote on a poster paper, like a workout , and that was like their flying. So it was like 50 couch jumps, , like 50 push up. It was all this like stuff. And I wasn’t, I’m not gonna say, Oh, you don’t do the, I let ’em do it because they viewed it as fun. And so kids, there’s a lot of things you could do to be fit, but I think strength training and building muscle has to have a strong aspect, right?

Some people, as they just do yoga, they just do Pilates. They just do biking or some form of aerobic activity if they’re, Oh, I’m a triathlete, so I just run bike and swim. When you build muscle, it has that 24 7 effect on your body. Building muscle always helps the body. I think it has the greatest impact over any of the other activities we could do.

And so I’m actually working on that at my school where right now I train athletes after school. I train two to three groups a day, large groups, so about 150 kids each day. I want it to be done during the school day, but it’s going to be like this personalized strength and conditioning. So I’m gonna have, here’s a program for those of you training for sport.

Here’s a program for those of you training for life. And I’m going to teach you how to train so that when you graduate high school, you could walk into any gym and know how to train or help others train. Or you could train out of your house if all you have is a dumbbell or a kettle bell or you just wanna do calisthenics and if we look at kids, now, this also just hit me, Mike.

When I was in high school, I think I remember one person being fat, right? You’d see one person that was like very obese. Now you see them everywhere. Lots of fat kids. Not just one fat kid because hey, it’s normal to be fat. I’m talking kids that way. Close to 300 pounds. Ooh, yeah, that’s bad girls.

That way. As much as me. 220 pounds. And here’s the other problem, is their parents will write them letters to get excused out of fied their doctors. Doctors will write them letters. So this is why I think strength training allows you to just work on your level. Hey, yes, totally. At fied hasn’t changed much in decades.

Kids are still playing basketball, football, this and that. But most kids don’t want that. They wanna try to figure it out. So we need to keep giving kids more options. And whoever’s in charge of physical education in the school has to get their phys ed teachers better educated on body building and strength training and technique because phys ed teachers still are not that knowledgeable about proper exercise.

They. Put you on a bunch of machines. We have a lot of work to do, and I I was looking at the council for the Presidential Fitness Council. Oh, yeah. It’s all celebrities. It’s no quote unquote normal expert like you or I who should be on there being relatable, Okay.

Herschel Walker’s on there. Most kids don’t even know who that is. But then, they’re, they’ll put like Kim Kardashian on the panel. We need legitimate relate. Or it’s a former NFL player. I, if those people are gonna be on the council, the President’s Fitness council, I want them to actually be putting out content that could get shared, to this younger generation.

But I think it’s just Political thing, it looks good and then it ends there. It’s not actually making an impact. And to me that’s heartbreaking cuz ranted here kids need the help.

[00:36:55] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. I the train for life thing too, because you’ll see some kids in athletics do well, but then once they’re no longer playing that sport, they’re completely lost.

Yes. Then you’ve got other kids, like myself included in high school where I thought it was normal to get hit in the face with balls like . I just thought that was, you suck at athletics and that’s the way it is. But at that time there was nothing for me to do. It was like, Oh, you’re not good at athletics then.

Yeah, I never mind. Or with weight training, like you said. Yeah. You can. You can scale it to wherever the person is at. That’s the beautiful thing about it. Like you don’t have to all be at the same level. But I think just something as simple as that, which is like a basic principle, just gets lost in the mess too.


[00:37:45] Zach Even-Eshe: if there’s, So I’m in this weight room at my school quite often. I go in there during lunch and like their study hall period, and I’ll train teams, shorter groups. One of the football players brought in a friend of his who’s pretty heavy kid and I have the football player show his friend two ex.

I’m like, Hey, show him these two exercises. Show him how to do farmer walk and curls. Simple. Yeah, let’s get three sets today. Kid starts feeling good about it. Comes in again. I’m like, Hey, show him how to do chest supported row and tricep push downs. But see, I get him like moving his body and I get him getting the pump and I get him building.

So I blend, that quote unquote functional training with some body building work. Cuz I know when you get the pump, it’s almost like a drug. You feel this Oh my God, that feels amazing. I knew that this generation, they need that feeling. They’ll want to come back. . But remember when you and I looking at the internet in the early two thousands Mark Twight, Jim Jones yeah, he’s killing people.

You, if that’s all your knowledge, you’re gonna scare 97% of the people away. 99% of the people, like most of these, newer kids, they need some real simple stuff. Hey, I’m gonna show you how to do a goblet. And incline dumbbell bench. And we’re gonna do that for, five sets of five real basic and simple.

And who’s really taught me the most these past few years working at the school, has been working with the girls teams because they’re, they were scared at first, they were intimidated, and then all of a sudden you see them getting strong and it’s like the most you see how empowering it is for them.

And they got me better at coaching. So I trained girls soccer, girls volleyball with girls volleyball, a girls basketball with girls volleyball. This one girl showed up a few weeks ago. She’s a swimmer. The swim team doesn’t train with me. She was so scared. She sent me an email, then she came into the weight room during lunch.

I saw the nerves all over her, but she’s been coming in every week for the past two to three weeks, and she’s so excited to be there. And I could literally see how the training. Has this life changing impact on her because they feel that power of I’m stronger than last week. My muscles feel like toned and tighter.

Whereas boys, they just wanna die under the bench press, right? Hey, if you keep doing a one rep max every day on the bench, that’s the ultimate way to get injured and weak. I mess with kids. I’ll be like are you certified? Are you TikTok or YouTube certified? Like meaning, what dumb things are you going to do?

Or do you wanna listen to me on how to do common sense stuff? And Jim Wendler is doing this, like he does 5, 3, 1 with a barbell lift and then he’ll say, Now you gotta do 50 reps of pushups and recline row. I did that today with football. When they were done, I said, You gotta get 50 curls and 50 pushups.

Break it up however you want. Because if all I do is like performance based training, that doesn’t, these kids want their arms to work. I do arms with athletes at the end of every training session, girls wanna work abs. So I take ’em through an AB circuit. It’s about finding like what’s going on in their mind.

And I think as we get older, and quote unquote smarter, you’re just bombarded with so much fitness information that now the experts out there, Mike, that are have a big following, they’re just bullshitting through everything. A couple weeks ago, maybe a month ago, there was like a little clip on Twitter with I think Andrew Huberman Lab and Jeff Cavalier.

Massive followings. Jeff Cavalier’s talking about jumping rope, but they’re talking about it like it’s this amazing thing, Hey, you jump rope, you’re getting, And I’m like, we jump rope in first read with kids , stop. Don’t pretend like it’s this mind blowing activity so you can sell people on bullshit.

And I’ve got so like all here, I’ve got all these old books and oh, I have it on my desk. [00:42:00] One of the old books was like it’s called Basic Training with Herschel Walker. Oh yeah. It’s such a great book. And so Joe Gill Fedder, who’s the strength coach at Fordham, he’s like really into a lot of the vintage old stuff.

He’s Damn it Zach. He’s like, Whenever you post that stuff, I’m now scouring eBay. And all the, all Amazon used books to buy it. And he also, follows dr. Ken’s ER’s work. , the late great Dr. Ken. And he’s This stuff is amazing. He even went through my underground strength coach cert, which we don’t get too many college coaches going through it, but I saw him like post photos of the F freshman were like hand walking where you hold their ankles.

Oh yeah. I don’t know if you remember, but at re Lee’s event on one of the mornings I took coaches through like a body weight only training clinic. And it was a lot of stuff I learned from Juan Carlo Santana. Sure. Yeah. Do [00:43:00] you remember his body weight training VHS tape? Yeah.

[00:43:03] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. Dude, I used to have stuff on VHS tape

[00:43:06] Zach Even-Eshe: I know he recorded all of this training he did with a wrestling team in he’s in the Boca area, Florida, which we go to quite a lot. So people don’t even know who Juan Carl Santa is. But all that body weight training, it’s so powerful. And, we have football players in high school who can’t do a pushup.

Mike, I tell them that is a liability. You are in danger. You’re going to get hurt. And not, ironically, one of the kids who could not do any pushups, he’s a sophomore, he broke his wrist or hand, like just hitting a pad. Yep. Hitting a pad. And so I think to myself, As a dad, start doing pushups with your kids in elementary school.

Go to the park, get them on the monkey bars, play basketball, throw the, do physical activity [with your kids. Go bike riding with them. Get them to understand that being strong is awesome. Get them to fall in love with it. When my son and I went to the gym one, this was his first body building gym is a pretty cool gym.

A lot of old equipment, York and Avanco plates, old marvelous machines. It was, Oh yeah. And he says, he’s I, he’s I like that Jim. I like that. He’s I would go there with a friend. So I’m already realizing like that would be, I remember that was my hangout time. I’d go to the gym. I didn’t want to go.

Smoke cigarettes with anybody or hang, party. I wanted it to be at the gym on a Friday. I wanted to squat cuz I read about how Casey, Vate or would yeah, , he’s on, on Friday nights I could hear the football game going and he’s I would go to the gym and then I would like, after the football game was over, I’d run on the track.

That was me. I wanted that feeling. We need to introduce that in the younger years and look, some places are doing it, Mike, especially thanks to the have you heard of the National High School Strength

[00:45:11] Dr Mike T Nelson: Coaches Association? I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know much about it at all, to be honest.

[00:45:16] Zach Even-Eshe: Basically, they empower, educate, and give the tools to anybody running a high school weight room because that That area has exploded. I think the amount of full-time high school strength coaches in the past five years has increased. Something like seven or 800%. Oh wow. Yeah. And so inside high schools you have these massive weight rooms, or you have sport coaches just trying to make it work with a thousand square foot weight room.

We’re now seeing it in the middle school where they’re educating kids on how to strength train. But physical education used to do that. But now we have phys ed teachers that don’t even know how to exercise cuz they’re not even [00:46:00] into it themselves. And so it keeps coming back to you. What happens at home?

Who’s going to influence the kids? First and foremost, it’s gotta be you. It’s gotta be you. Because I think the schools, even nutrition wise, are still talking about the food pyramid.

[00:46:15] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah it’s, And you have the whole political thing, and it’s obvious. Correct. A lot of it, at the end of the day, just some parents I’ve talked to is it just comes down to cost.

The school is limited by budget and so they’re gonna do this because it’s cheaper and they can then try to back justify the nutrition rationale for

[00:46:31] Zach Even-Eshe: you and I both know that healthy food is cheaper, so I could go buy a bag of potatoes for $6. That bag of potatoes could last my family a week.

, many potatoes am I going to eat a day? I’ll probably, maybe I’ll eat, two potatoes in a day. Maybe, I’ll take one to work, slice it all up, put some beef in there, or chicken or some sort of, And maybe I’ll have another potato later in the day. You’re gonna have 15 to 20 potatoes in a bag of potatoes.

[00:47:00] What if I wanna go and buy a thing of ground beef? That thing might cost me $12. I could make 25 hamburger patties. Now go to a restaurant and buy one cheeseburger. Guess what? My daughter doesn’t like to eat the bread. She’ll eat the, she’ll eat the hamburger patty. She’ll have a little bit of ketchup on it.

My son will eat a, a lettuce, cheese, do the whole thing on the sandwich. Then we might have some rice. My wife will make some sort of sound. It’s actually cheaper to eat healthy. But if I go into the aisle and start buying cookies and granola bars and chips due to bag of potato chips is like $3, right?

Yeah. And then, and I remember hearing long ago, like somebody said, Hey, eat a potato chip and try to stop. No, you’re gonna keep going and going, but how about eat a steak and you’ll be full. You’re never like, I want another steak. You’re full. You have this satisfied feeling. And junk has that addictive quality to it.

[00:48:00] And working in the school since 1998 has broke my heart because in the schools, you have people that are supposed to be in the, area of health. They’re selling muffins and Pop Tarts and blah, blah, blah. Oh, we’re raising money at the expense of our kids health. Yeah. I don’t give a crap how much money you make with that.

And so I need to go on body has those recipes. I need to do this with my son and daughter, make our own protein bars, get a quality way protein, get oats, almond butter, honey, and let’s make our own protein bars. It’s not that hard, but. Everybody wants to complicate things.

Kind of what we were saying earlier. Hey, did you just tell me to eat, a nice balance of protein, fats and carbs, four or five times a day? That sounds too easy. Yeah, I need to fast for five days, then I’m gonna do keto. Everything has to be organic. Then I’ll go paleo, then the summertime’s gonna come and I’ll do this and I’ll do that.[

You’re just like messing up your body. And common sense stuff is just not cool. So it doesn’t get done anymore. Hey, let’s strength train three to four days a week. Let’s walk and get our heart rate elevated almost every day, every day. And let’s eat a nice balance. Not too much of this. Not, not protein only, if you’re a competitor you’re gonna need the extremes.

I’m gonna need to train in an extreme, but for 90, three to 95% of us training three, what was great Body for Life?

[00:49:35] Dr Mike T Nelson: Oh yeah. Bill Phillips stuff. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:49:37] Zach Even-Eshe: Three, three days a week of strength training every day. 30 minutes cardio in the morning. He, he did it fasted and eating protein car, just eating healthy and taking some supplements back then, do you remember using, of course, phospho gen and designing protein? Yeah. Yeah. But creatine has been shown to be safe. It helps with focus, it helps build muscle. Okay. I’m gonna take vitamin C D magnesium. I’m gonna do basic stuff. But that stuff doesn’t win anymore. It’s, it breaks my heart, Mike, cuz this is our field where we know what works.

And so sometimes guys that are just guys, girls who are promoting what’s really good for you it won’t stand out because it’s not crazy, which stinks.

[00:50:26] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And that’s what’s really hard too. And even with creatine, right? You look at how many different forms have they tried to create. Yeah. And I can’t find a single study showing that one of those other forms is better than the old school.

Creatine Monohydrate. Yeah. But like even some younger kids, like if I just get random questions, they’re like, ah, this new form of cre. I’m like, No, look at all these studies. Trust me, just buy basic creatine monohydrate. It’s way cheaper. It works better. Oh, but that’s so boring. This is the pre-workout, right?

[00:50:57] Zach Even-Eshe: This was invented by a Navy seal. It’s gotta be

[00:51:00] Dr Mike T Nelson: better. I’m like, but this. Works, but they’re like I thought I already knew that. I’m like, But you’re not doing it . Yeah, they, it’s wanted my approval for the sexy thing. I’m like, Nope, sorry.

[00:51:14] Zach Even-Eshe: dude. And here’s what else is weird. So I’m listening to this, I’m listening to Power Athlete Podcast, my buddy John Wellborn.

Yeah. And they’re talking about a supplement that was a quote unquote pre-workout. And one of his nutritionist looks at it where they’re like promoting this thing and it has like a like a laxative in it. And cuz she’s she takes it and she’s her stomach is all like bubbling up. So she says to.

Guy who creates it. Hey, why did you create this? My wife used to take this to fall asleep at night. She’s then why are you promoting it as a pre-workout if she was going to sleep with it? Yeah. And then one, one of the ingredients was like a laxative. She’s and it’s like, how you gonna fall asleep if it’s bothering your stomach?

And I [00:52:00] said, That’s the problem, , you got, there’s zero barrier to entry in the supplement market. If somebody has a high level past, like you are a pro athlete, you are a Navy seal, you are a special forces soldier, now everybody believes you’re an expert at anything. Yeah. So the person who created that had a high level, title in the past.

So now they just believe this person when it’s the ingredients are not actually of benefit to you. We gotta get past that. So we also gotta teach this younger generation how to critically think, how to do research, how to, dig in and utilize the internet. My buddy he’s in Wisconsin Brian bought, and he, what they encourage their athletes to do is smart screen time.

So if you’re gonna use the phone, do some research, study some film, don’t just scroll through and do nothing. Hey, let’s do a little bit of research on this [supplement. Let’s see if we could find anybody who’s giving a, non-biased review on YouTube. Okay, we can’t find, all right, let’s look at the ingredients.

Let’s each look up what is the benefit or is there a downside to the ingredients to this. Now let’s come up with a conclusion, or. I see somebody who’s using this. Let me send them a message on Instagram and just ask them, How’s it working for you? Oh, they’re sponsored by it. All right. , maybe it doesn’t work, right?

They’re just sp So we need to teach this younger generation critical thinking. Teach them basic exercises. Dude. That’s why I think now everybody has written a book, right? But in the early days, there weren’t a lot of books to choose from. I came across Arnold’s Education of a bodybuilder. Yep.

And the encyclopedia of Modern Body Building. Yes. Now Arnold did quote unquote crazy workouts. Rightfully he became Mr. Olympia. But there was a lot of just common sense stuff in there that gave me knowledge that I still [00:54:00] implement to this day. Like how, what kind of rep ranges athletes need to put on muscle.

How you gotta change your eating style to gain muscle or lean out the mindset required to achieve success. That stuff’s important, right? That, that, to me that stuff’s important. So we’re in a scary place now. But as a dad, I feel really good about, you know what my wife and I have done, We’ve got our two kids and the knowledge they have.

I think it starts at home. We got a really handle our own business at home and not count on the schools or the government to save us, cuz they will not, it’s pretty evident of that.

[00:54:38] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for all your time today. It was fun to chat, Fun to connect, brother.

And where can people who may not be familiar with you, where can they find out more about you? I love your daily newsletter. It’s one of the few I actually still read and you’ve got the certification, all the wonderful stuff, A lot of

[00:54:57] Zach Even-Eshe: stuff. So I think the easiest way is my newsletter, which is

The free training course you get as I think like a pretty challenging training course. So it’s, even though the newsletter is for everybody, the training course might be a little bit challenging, although there’s like a body weight, body building introductory free course there. So I think it’s, the newsletter would be where people should start.

And then depending on where you wanna learn, YouTube, Instagram, my username is z Evans. But YouTube, I’ve been working real hard. We hired, or I hired a videographer Nice. And really working on. Educating people. And I get it, like on YouTube, I gotta get videos to be shorter, but I also don’t wanna make every video one minute or 90 seconds.

Cause you gotta sometimes stop, sit and watch a video and really learn. YouTube, Instagram, and if they just Google Zach Even-Esh, they’ll come across all the resources and products I have. But I’ve been making videos since oh six, so I think we have 5,000 plus videos on YouTube, a thousand plus articles easily on

So a lot of free stuff for people, free of money, but not free of the time. It takes to learn. To their benefit. Yeah.

[00:56:16] Dr Mike T Nelson: And it’s nice to see that someone, at least from my perspective, can make a living and still, challenge people and put out just consistently solid stuff like year after year, decade after decade.

Consistency. Yeah. Like that to me is oh, it’s possible you can do it even if someone is new to fitness, Like there is a lane for you and I think you’re helping everyone at the same time, which is great. Yeah. So it’s always awesome to see

[00:56:42] Zach Even-Eshe: The key to my, I’d say these past like 10 years, I just really think of like consistency.

Same with training. It’s consistency over intensity. And so if you could stick to it, you will, you can change mind,body, and life. And Oh, Strong Life podcast, for sure. Listen,

[00:57:04] Dr Mike T Nelson: Awesome. Dr. Mike. I love it. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Always good to chat. Yes, sir.

[00:57:14] Dr Mike T Nelson: Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. As always, huge thanks to Zach for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule to do the podcast. Always enjoyed talking with him and what he’s up to and his perspective on everything. And we didn’t even get into too much old man ranting, which was surprising.

So I highly encourage you to check out all of his material. Starting with a newsletter. We’ll have links to all of those below here. Thank you once again for listening to the podcast. If you could take just a few seconds and leave us whatever stars you feel is appropriate, or even just a one or two sentence review really helps the podcast push us up in the rankings so we can get other super cool guests on here.

For you. If you’re interested in a complete nutrition and recovery system, check out the Flex Diet certification. Go to for all the information there. If it’s on a wait list, you can put your name into the little box there and you will get information as soon as it opens.

Again, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Really appreciate it. Heads up. Next week I will have Dr. Pat Davidson on the podcast. You wanna stay tuned for? In the meantime, really appreciate you listening. Have a wonderful week. We will talk to you again next week.