Strength Training for BJJ – Episode 130

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [3:50] Football (Soccer) and Heart Attacks
  2. [11:56] Cold After Eating
  3. [15:42] Cholesterol Too Low?
  4. [23:49] Fecal Transplants
  5. [28:13] Viral Infections and Glucose Metabolism
  6. [34:50] Asymptomatic Pregnancy
  7. [42:53] Diastasis
  8. [45:32] Core Strength After Abdominal Damage
  9. [50:41] Trainer’s Personal Appearance
  10.  [58:53] Deadlifts vs. Squats and Linear Progression for BJJ



1. Football – heart attacks

Julia says:
I am an American living in London and have recently started listening to your podcasts (from episode 1, so it could take me a little while to catch up!). England is a bit behind the States in terms of health and fitness trends but CrossFit is really taking hold this year so I have high hopes of an increased focus on paleo eating and ancestral fitness in the near future. You should come visit and do some seminars!

My question relates to football (soccer). In the past month, two professional football players in England and Italy have suffered cardiac arrests on the field in the middle of games. Patrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers) has recovered despite the fact that his heart stopped for 78 minutes, but Piermario Morosini (Livorno) died on the field. As you can imagine, these men have made headlines for weeks over here. It is pretty traumatic to watch a man collapse in the middle of a televised sports event.

Both were in their early 20s and presumably under the care of specialized sports physicians. I know that these players have to go through really rigorous physical exams in order to get insured.

My question is, therefore, what the heck is going on? I know that running marathons has been linked to a higher risk of cardiac arrest, but marathons take 2+ hours. Football matches are 90 minutes, and the pace of play varies such that the players get some time during a match where they are stationary or moving slowly (interspersed with bouts of sprinting). Plus, these guys are professional athletes who have some of the “best” coaching, training and medical care in the world. Could the coaches and doctors be doing something differently to prevent this sort of thing happening? (I am assuming, perhaps naively, that there are no banned substances involved.)

I am sure the proximity of the two cases is coincidence, but frankly I wouldn’t expect ANY healthy and strong 25 year old to drop dead from a heart attack.

Many thanks for all of the good work you do. I am impressed and inspired.


2. Cold After eating

Paul says:


LOVE YOU and your work!!!!

Been paleo for almost a year.  Some periodic struggles of eating like ass, but able to quickly get back on it.  Good times far exceed the bad, and have seen great results across the board.

My question:  Lately I have been noticing that immediately after I eat for the first time each day I get chills for a while, like I have to throw on a sweatshirt and shit, have a cup of coffee to warm up and what not.  WTF?  FYI I often do not eat until late morning/around noon, and keep things really low carb.  My first meal typically is a big salad with a shit ton of veggies, hardboiled egg, grilled chicken, olive oil, maybe some avocado.

So what is going on here?

Many thanks.


3. Total Cholesterol too low ? (Lost 130 pounds in 7 months)

Clay says:
Back in January of 2011 I was 5 foot 11 and weighed 340 pounds (about to be 30 yrs old at the time, 31 currently). I went Primal at first and dropped 105 pounds in 5 months from clean eating and working out daily.

At the end of March of 2011 (2 months in) when I was around 285 pounds still I had blood work done and while I did not get the entire fact sheet I was given:

Total Cholesterol 121
LDL  83
HDL  30
Triglyceride 40

I did not think much of this and just kept plugging away at being Primal. Around last August (7 months in roughly) I was down around 130 pounds of fat and had put on a decent amount of muscle as I weight lift 4 to 5 times a week and love it. I purchased The Paleo Solution and after reading (and enjoying all the way through) I cut way back on the cheese and milk which really was about the only thing I did differently to “Paleoize” myself (I am sort of Paleo / Primal hybrid now)

Fast forward to march of 2012 and I had a full panel blood test done because I wanted life insurance and they paid for the testing. After twisting their arms I got the results.

Out of the 30 or so things that made no sense to me what I was able to recognize was:

Total Cholesterol 135
LDL  77
HDL  50
Triglyceride 40

So while my total Cholesterol went up by 14 I had lowered my LDL by 6 and raised my HDL by 20 with triglycerides staying the same.

I proudly posted this on a Primal health website and was told my cholesterol was too low and I quote

“TC < 160 is associated with increased risk of death by violence, suicide and cancer”

and also

“Sorry to say, your TC is not good. Very low cholesterol is not better than very high cholesterol.”

From your book I seem to remember you saying 120 – 140 was the norm for our ancestors, primates, and newborn babies.

I began this year long journey to be healthy for myself and my young children (having the 4th in August) and wanted your opinion on if I should worry about my Cholesterol being too low. Happy to furnish any further details. I have a whole blood work up sheet and realize that while your not a doctor you are someone whom I respect the opinion of. I feel great and as always have been a happy go lucky type guy that easily getd along with everyone. I don’t think I am going to off myself because of my Cholesterol or become randomly violent. Is there any merit to these studies suggesting violence and suicide with low total cholesterol or is this just from the same people that enthusiastically give whole wheat two thumbs up. I appreciate your time. Btw I am now around 215 pounds and healthy as a horse (built like a fireplug I beliece you always say). I wear size 34 jeans and L or XL shirts but XL due to chest and arm muscles and not gut for once. I have never taken any type of products other than a multivitamin and fish oils / Cod liver oil.


4. Fecal Transplants to improve gut health

Casey says:
I’ve been listening for a while but this is my first time submitting a question – thought I’d start with a bang.  I read this article about norovirus with some disbelief today.  Are doctors seriously performing fecal transplants to help with gut health?  And if so, who are the donors?!?!  I can’t believe the journalist didn’t cover this section of the article in more detail.  It’s about 2/3 of the way down on the first page.

Seriously.  I want to know.  (Not with the end of receiving or donating personally – this is just one of those things that is too far “out there” not to learn more about.)

5. Infection & type 2 diabetes

Merlin (Sam) says:
Hey Robb & Greg,
I just read this article (link below) in Wired Magazine about how a scientist at Stanford University used personal genomics to get an extremely detailed look at himself and discover that he had type-2 diabetes and finally fix the problem with lifestyle changes. It’s clear that this individual took “n=1” to an extreme degree.   What was interesting for me is that he concluded that there was a link between a viral infection and a change in how his body handled glucose.

What do you make of the notion of viral infections changing a body’s response to glucose?  I’ve heard you mention that Diabetes (all forms) is primarily an autoimmune disease and since the Paleo Template seems to be  protective against autoimmune issues, what do you think the implications are for people who follow the Paleo approach?

Link to article:

6. asymptomatic pregnancy

Tilly Says: Hey Robb,
My husband warned me to be very specific with you when I ask my questions. (He is a huge fan). We eat paleo – I have been eating rice lately because he said you said I can – Thank You! Question: I am 10w pregnant with no symtoms. My OB treats me like a freak who is ready to miscarry. I realize I am still really early but I was wondering if you have heard any other ladies who are active, healthy, paleo eating machines, who feel great preggers? Is it a paleo thing maybe? I am 30, been eating paleo for about 2 years… crossfiter (ish)… hope all the details help. Thank you for everything! Cheers


7. Diastasis

Dillon says:
Robb, Greg:
My wife has developed diastasis after her pregnancy and very much wants to repair that. Google shows Tuppler technique and other protocols some of which are contradictory ala “do pilates, pilates are evil…”. My instinct is toward doing exercises that cause the abdominal muscles to be used in their primary role of stabilizing, perhaps dumbbell squats. I would like your opinion so I can help ferret out proper info and find a PT who is dialed in. Love the show and keep doing good work. Rob, congrats on the wolf cub (pending at time of this writing)


8. Lower abdominals and core strength

Barbara says:
Hi Robb!  I eat clean approximately 85% of my meals, and I CrossFit 3x/week.  I’ve been Crossfitting and doing Paleo for 8 months, but I’m still struggling with core strength.  As time goes on, and I continue to struggle with certain movements, I realize more and more how important core strength is.  Here is the problem–I’ve had multiple abdominal surgeries for severe endometriosis.  While most of them were laparoscopic, 4 of these were open and major surgeries.  My last major surgery was a hystorectomy in November 2008.  Needless to say, my lower abdominals are shot.  I have no muscle strength in that area, and although I’m losing weight, toning up, and getting stronger, that area remains unchanged.  While I would like it to look different, I’m more concerned about how it’s hindering my improvement on many CrossFit movements.  Is there anything else I can do to help?  Will I ever be able to regain strength in that area, or is it just too damaged at this point?


9. trainer’s personal appearance?

Marshall says:
Dear Robb & Greg,

Hello and thank you for everything that you’ve brought to my life in the last 30 days.I’m one of your new followers but not the last I’m sure as I’m telling everyone who asks about the book and Podcast. I’ve been eating Paleo for 30 days. I’m down 9 lbs and feel great. Your book was so on-target and brought my new life into focus. The question I have today is about strength and conditioning coaches. Here is a little back ground. I started Crossfit 3 months ago,as a novice and was injured in 6 weeks. I’m well on my way to recovery after a ruptured plantars tendon and a torn gastroc muscle. I felt that the facility that I had started training at could have helped me avoid this injury, but they have no ramp up program. Like I even knew what a ramp up program was is my pre-Robb Wolf life. LOL! So after the injury I still wanted to participate in Crossfit and looked around at other available choices. I found a box close to my house. I called and had a great conversation with the owner/trainer I told him about myself and the injury and he guaranteed me that that was not the way the trained. To make it a short story he said everything I wanted to hear. So I made plans to meet with him and to check out his Crossfit gym. I showed up and was introduced to him by another member. I was surprised to find him in less then great shape and looking a little disheveled. How concerned should I be with my trainer’s personal appearance?


10. Deadlifts v Squats on linear progression

Dan says:
hi Robb and Greg,

Hope this finds you both well. I had a few quick questions: 1) I’ve been using the linear strength progression for Grappling that Robb wrote in the E-Journal of Jiujitsu (EJJ) from 2007.  In it, Robb advocates for a circuit of 5x5s of Deadlift, weighted pull-ups, and weighted dips.  This has been working pretty well for me — at 5’6″ 144lbs I’m now up to a 200 lb deadlift for 5×5, (3 years ago I had a 275 lb 1-rep pr on the deadlift, but I don’t think I was as strong for volume then,) 25 lbs on pull-ups, and 10ish lbs on the dips after about 3 months.  (This coming after a rest period where I was just doing jiujitsu 3-5x/ week for about 10 months, which in turn had succeeded about a year of Crossfit Endurance training.) My goal now is just to remain lean, (<12% bodyfat, around which I’m hovering,) be able to compete at the executive/30+ age group in BJJ and keep chugging along to get my purple belt.

So, my questions — I know in recent podcasts you’ve both mentioned being more inclined towards squats, (especially backsquats?) over deadlifts.  Would you alter this program to reflect that?  I haven’t been encountering too many back or hip problems, so I’m liking the deadlifts.  That said, at this point the response curve is sort of flattening out, only really going up by about 5 lbs every 4-5 sessions.  On pullups and dips it’s a bit the same.  How flat does that curve get before it’s appropriate to change over to a periodized program such as MEBB or 5/3/1, and, in the context of my goals do you think one or the other of those makes sense for me?

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  1. dave says

    cold beverage with meal in a cool/cold environment can make you cold. Larger meal in cool/cold environment can also make you a little cold too. Other than that, what Rob said.

  2. Stephanie says

    Dude, the thing where everyone thinks the world is scarier now than it used to be when it’s actually less scary due to external forces is annoying. The crime rate is way down from when I was a kid yet people don’t let their kids roam free anymore. People should worry more about their kids getting diabetes from eating crap and sitting in from of screens all day then about them getting attacked, unless you live in a really awful neighborhood. I enjoyed that rant!

  3. purplekaren says

    In regards to Paul’s question about getting cold after eating. Before converting to Paleo, I had eaten a weighed and measured food plan that had plenty of veggies some grain, protein, and was low in fat, especially saturated fat. I was always freezing cold after finishing a meal. I converted to paleo almost 2 years ago and I think when I added in the eggs and bacon, coconut oil, and grass fed butter I gained tons more energy during the day and I realized some months ago that I never get cold after meals anymore. I have noticed that people who decide to try paleo often hold on to their fat phobias. Eat like a caveman–they didn’t squeeze olives.

    • Erin says

      I was thinking the same thing: Saturated fat. As soon as he mentioned the olive oil and occasional avocado I was thinking, where is his energy?

  4. says

    Aww- Robb’s not down with fecal transplants!

    I agree that, at least in some cases, it’s hard to know which way the association between bad bugs and pathology go… Dysbiosis associated with obesity is definitely one of those cases- is the dog wagging the tail, or is the tail wagging the dog? Some scenarios are easier to tease out, for example alcohol consumption leads to dysbiosis, which leads to gut pathology- we’re pretty clear on what causes what in that case, but dybiosis associated with obesity and metabolic derangement isn’t so clear. One case where I think fecal transplants (microbiota transplantation sounds so much less gross) are really promising are with chronic infection of the gut, especially after prolonged antibiotic therapy. I wrote a post about transplants for treatment of C. diff (here: ) and the results really are striking. People who have suffered with infection for years finally see resolution.

    And if it’s the poo thing that has everyone freaked out, look- they’re making synthetic!

  5. Derek says

    Awesome news about Dr. Tara Dahl being on the show! I actually saw her as a patient last fall for a full lipid work up and ended up geeking out with her on stuff from your book for most of the appointment. It mainly to ensure thing were heading in the right direction after a year of clean paleo living and thankfully it all checked out great.

    She definitely is a bright spot in the medical community.

  6. Martin says

    >> England is a bit behind the States in terms of health and fitness

    with all due respect, it might be that England is a bit behind the rest of Europe with these regards, but it’s still well ahead of the States.


  7. says

    Regarding the first Q about the soccer players with cardiac arrest, I can almost guarantee they both or at least one had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I know about this disease because being an anesthesiologist (a paleo one!), I had to extensively study cardiac physiology as part of training. While there are a few etiologies and subtypes, the classic young athlete dying on the court/field is an inherited autosomal dominant variant, and they die because no one has dx’d it prior to a situation where conditions are such that the heart stops working. It is a disorder where the main pumping muscle of the heart is abnormally thick. During normal conditions walking around, people usually don’t have any problems unless their disease is very advanced (the muscle has gotten very thick). However, when the heart gets pumping fast combined with low volume in the chamber (such as when someone is doing athletics and/or gets dehydrated), a perfect storm happens to close off the main outflow path of the blood pumping out of the heart and to the rest of the body. The only way to diagnose this is to do an echocardiogram, and thus it wouldn’t be caught unless the person had undergone an echo and/or their parents had been tested with a positive result. As R&G said in their comments, the main thing Is that it’s not something to worry about in terms of keeping you from doing exercise out of fear of dying.

  8. Hank says

    Good CrossFit gyms exist. Sure these days they may be as rare as unicorns and leprechauns, but they are there. So, does your coaches appearance matter? NO!!

    Oftentimes the best coaches are NOT the best athletes. The best coaches are mid level or high level athletes that weren’t the most gifted. They are the ones that had to work harder than the more gifted athletes to get to the elite level. Gifted athletes can become disconnected from coaching because things came more naturally to them.

    You know how now days everyone thins the are DJs? Case in point the countless frat boys that have their mac-book, mixer, shitty speakers, and way too much confidence to impress the ladies. The same goes with CrossFit trainers and CrossFit owners. Many are completely unqualified. But hey, they passed their 16 hour certification. BTW I am an avid CrossFit athlete – just keeping it real.

  9. Craig says

    Like Paleo, Quantified Self is an outgrowth of dissatisfaction with a sluggish to innovate medical industry. As a movement with momentum, Paleo is a little older and more robust, but since they’re reactions to the same problem we can probably expect some long term convergence. QS might seem not much more than a few engineers collecting lots of data and once in a while getting together to report their n=1 results, but they represent a real market demand. Robb, a few podcasts back you said your goal is to obsolesce yourself. QS might be Paleo’s ultimate vindication. Really all it’s lacking is a little more momentum for the network effect to kick in and some better tools. The market demand is there and companies are scrambling to get all sorts of personal infomatics devices to the public. When enough people are continuously monitoring blood glucose non-invasively at negligible cost then pooling their data, for example, n no longer equals 1, and at a certain point doctors have to say, “Gee I guess this does work.” It’s been a little surprising to hear the lobbying against QS recently on the podcast (although Robb, your reasoning that people want to collect more data than they can process rather than just sticking with the diet is right on the mark)–but Paleo and QS always seemed to me perfect for a more formal relationship.

  10. Tyler says

    After I finish meals I go through the same kind of deal. My problem is I actually lose feeling in my fingers and toes, I always though that it was my body focusing on my gut to break down the food, no idea if that has any truth behind it.

  11. Ty Fyter says

    hahaha sweet potatoes are win!
    On a serious note; Robb with the notation 5×5 then 6×4 then 8×3: is it setsxreps or repsxsets?
    Thanks guys, great podcast! Keep it up both of you :)

  12. Traci says

    I think if you get cold after you eat it means your body is using energy to digest food vs. putting out energy to heat you up. I experience it sometimes and have never worried about it. You could try eating less.

  13. None says

    Regarding the linear progessions – I have arrived at a similar workout in what I am pleased to call my backyard gym. I do 5×5 sets of trap bar lifts, ring pullups and ring pushups.

    I have, however, been doing complete sets of each movement: 5×5 trap bar lifts, followed by 5×5 pullups and finally pushups.

    How does doing a circuit of sets of three differ?

    I’m going to try it out, but I’m curious about the theory.

    – D

    • says

      The circuit, could be more metabolic if you really hustle between movements. But if you take your time it could actually be better for strength as you will have looong rest periods between each time you do a movement.

  14. elizabeth says

    Avid listener, first time commenter – maybe it’s just because I have the same problem, but I thought your answer to the person who’s getting cold after eating was a bit dismissive. I’ve been listening for a while, and ordinarily I find your responses both thoughtful and thorough, so I was surprised you didn’t take more time to research this guy’s concern (maybe because I was so eagerly awaiting your usual detailed ANSWER).

    Anyway, he’s not making it up. I get SUPER cold after eating a large meal. It’s not an every meal phenomenon, but it is very frequent. I’ll inevitably have to put on a sweater, if not a coat. All year round. Can’t go into a restaurant, even in July, without a cashmere sweater. I also do the IF thing, but not intentionally, and before your show, I didn’t even know it had a name. I thought of it as eating the first meal of the day not according to the clock but when I felt hungry. The only time I’ll get a “thermic” effect (that is, feeling warm after eating) is with VERY spicy food. Or with hot beverages. So yeah, drinking very hot tea after a meal helps me to warm up a bit, so this is my custom.

    I’m slender (5’4″, 106) but my appetite’s great, I average 1800-2200 calories a day.

    If you ever get to the bottom of this question, I’d love a more thorough answer.

    Thanks for your good work.

  15. Erin says


    I listened to this podcast this morning.. I would like to comment on pregnancy.

    I’m 13 weeks pregnant, and the only symptom I noticed was I wanted naps. A lot of them.

    I wasn’t sick, I never got dizzy, my blood sugar isn’t out of control. I just neede a little more sleep, and I completely understand the need for that.

    I wouldn’t say I’m intentionally low carb, but I noticed the more carbs I ate the more “out of it” I felt and the more naps I wanted. Not messing with my blood sugar; I get the feeling if the baby needs more carbs, I’ll want them.

    I eat pretty clean Paleo, the only exception being a little nibble of goat cheese now and then (like every few months). My carbs consist of sweet potatoes, yuca, very little white rice, and sometimes plantains. I’ve gotten very good at listening to my body.

    My Dr wants me to take the stupid glucose test and I’m trying to talk my way out of it.

    Apparently not having symptoms is, indeed, not normal Shame on us healthy people. We’re going to run doctor’s out of jobs…

    • Paleophil says

      I also experienced what Paul and Elizabeth reported and was surprised that Robb and Greg had never heard of anyone reporting coldness after a meal. I too am a fan of Robb’s and am hoping that he’ll look into the issue and report on it with his usual incitefulness and thoroughness.

      Before I went Paleo, going back to my childhood, I would often get cold extremities and tiredness after eating normal to large size meals and was told by multiple people that it was “normal” and was due to the blood going to the stomach to aid digestion (apparently an “old wives’ tale”). My grandmother even used to tell me that people should nap after meals. The coldness was worst when I was dutifully following conventional advice to eat plenty of “healthy whole grains,” fruits and veggies and keep fat low. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties before someone told me that they did not experience this and told me it was not “normal.” I’ve also seen multiple other people report this symptom at dietary and health forums.

      When I cut out gluten it improved, and when I went Paleo it improved further, and when I increased my animal fat intake and cut out winter squashes and nightshades and reduced my fruit intake it improved still further. Animal fats rich in long chain saturated fats seem to be the most warming food for me, which fits with what are traditionally regarded as warming winter foods by modern Americans and Europeans, Inuit peoples and others. For example, the Inuit say that agootuk, rich in animal fats, is a warming food and hunters bring it with them to stay warm during the hunt.

      Also, some folks like Richard Nikoley have reported improvements in cold extremities by using cold therapy.

  16. says

    Regarding pregnancy, I just finished reading Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and am working my way through 1491. Women have been eating real food and having babies for along time, not sure what the issue is.

    Agree that physicians see a lot of sick people who are not quite on it. When my daughter had Hodgkin’s Disease, the nurse commented on how well she was doing. When we said we’re just taking the meds like we were told. She said that very few patients take all their meds. This is in pediatric onocology!

    re: Lower abdominals and core strength
    In addition to the great advice from Greg and Robb, I would add that it would be a good idea to quickly look at, anatomically, if you haven’t already, what happens during a hysterectomy. In addition to all the muscles and ligaments that get cut, internally, your body has been rearranged. All of your muscles and even bones have proprioceptors that have to be re-educated after major trauma like a hysterectomy.

    Some things to consider when you are planning your rehab:

    1) There is a school of thought called Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization that says when you are trying to rehab, it is good to relearn the movement patterns as we learned them as an infant. So some of your exercises will have to be done lying first (facing up, then facing down), then rolling, then kneeling, etc. You wold be surprised at how few people can roll from their back to their front without a bunch of contortions.

    2) Remember, as Kelly Starrett from Mobility WOD likes to say, we are chain of chains. And some of the parts of those chains are not driven consciously but reflexively, many of the muscles that contribute toward core stability, and may have been injured in your operations, like the transverse abdominis and the multifidi (the little muscles between each vertebrae) may need a different kind of training and/or a different progression than what you would see for traditional ab strengthening. My experience has been that very strong people can have some fundamental issues with their core activation because they just haven’t taken the time to start deep and work outwards. We are a chain of chains, lengthwise, widthwise and from the inside out.

    3) Robb mentioned exercises that are hard, but are there positions that are hard for you? Is it easy for you to keep neutral hips and spine? How’s your death or couch stretch ( and The main thing is that you have tests for both mobility and strengths to gauge your progress. Get your mobility issues sorted out first, it will make your strength gains much easier.

    4) Consider getting a coach or, better yet a PT who specializes in your situation, who has a really good eye. Rehabbing your core is technique driven. The majority of your time will be spent on movement patterns rather than strength exercises. Like Robb says, and KStarr for that matter, athletes are compensators. Take your time, get the movement patterns right then get strength in those patterns, it doesn’t work the other way around.

    5) Finally, consider some of the good DVDs by Gray Cook and Brett Jones on KB technique. I have a couple of these and they are really good, I think the Turkish Get-ups and windmills would be great exercises to work up to.

    Good luck with your rehab!

  17. says

    I just wanted you to be aware of some information for women, both before and after pregnancies. Although women *are* designed to give birth and it does usually go “OK,” diet is not the only thing that affects our health and there are movement (and lack of movement) habits our culture has that contribute to both birthing difficulties and to diastasis. I’m not talking about exercise or no exercise, it is more about positioning of our bodies that affect pelvic opening (for birth) and affect abdominal musculature (for diastasis). has a tremendous amount of information on this (and I am in no way representative of or affiliated with Katy Bowman or Restorative Exercise). Her program is very compatible with a paleo lifestyle. A post on diastasis for consideration:

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