Exercise for Weight Loss – Episode 138

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [4:14] Massages, and Why People Have Back Problems
  2. [18:30] Pro Rugby Player with Plantar Fasciitis, and Orthotics
  3. [29:35] Blood Work
  4. [41:11] Hair Loss and Paleo
  5. [46:50] Exercise For Weight Loss



1. Nobody ever says “Wow, you carry a lot of tension in your abs.” OR Why don’t dogs need massages?

Marteen says:
There’s something suspiciously neolithic about massage therapy. Why do I live and die by when my last deep tissue massage was? I’ve minimized ‘sitting’ and get good sleep on a firm mattress. Maybe I have farther to go than I think reducing stress in general. And why is it everyone’s back? Maybe structured, repetitive workouts are to blame. More play and helping load moving vans? I always thought piano movers had the most primal occupations.


2. Pro athlete in New Zealand with a problem!!

Ben says:
Hi guys

Straight to it, I am a professional rugby player in New Zealand, have been for 8 years. Last couple of seasons I have had problems with plantar fasciitis when playing on hard grounds and so the medical staff prescribed me orthotics specially designed for me.

In the 4 weeks I have been using the orthotics, my Sacrum joint blocked up one week, got a killer bout of osteitis pubis the next week (never had it before), but it seemed to clear up my plantar fascitis, and also cleared up my pinch I have in my hip joint from a labrum tear a few years back and takes pressure off my old turf toe injury.

Maybe the orthotics have aligned me “perfectly”, however I have gone my whole life being imperfect as my left leg is slightly shorter than my right. Are these orthotics the cause and throwing me completely out of kilter?

Or do I persevere and will my body adjust to them over time?

p.s, my wife is threatening to divorce me if I scratch my balls one more time when in public with her. She says I am itchy from the gluten and grains I eat. This is probably a question for another day…


3. Blood Work

Luke says:
Background: Several outfits are offering various flavors of blood work: LabCorp, Quest, WellnessFX, etc

Question #1: What is “the list” of blood/urine tests to get done before, during, and after a paleo challenge.

Question #2: What is you estimate of the cost of such a blood/urine workup?

Question #3: From a regional perspective, where would such a blood/urine workup be most/least expensive? In other words, instead of getting it done in Silicon Valley, have it done in Reno during a previously scheduled Sierra weekend.


4. Hair Loss and Paleo?

Brad says:
I have been on a fairly strict Paleo diet since April of 2011, with maybe 1-2 cheat meals per week, with some period of challenge with no cheats.  I noticed a sudden onset of hair-loss once starting the diet and it has continued progressively over the past year.  Before Paleo, I had no hair loss. I curious to know what may have caused this. Is there a lack of vitamins/minerals in my diet?  Is a high level of protein causing the hair loss?

Is it possible a change in diet would inhibit re-growth of any loss hair? Also, are there specific foods that I should be including in my diet that may help in this?


5. Exercise for weight loss

Warhammer says:
Hi Guys,

Big fan of the blog blah blah like everyone says. Let’s get to the bidness.

I am 6’4” 325lbs, grey-blue eyes, Taurus. After following the “Neolithic Grad Student Functional Alcoholic Diet” (on shelves soon–Already on Kindle!), I am in serious need of this Paleo Solution. I read the book – super psyched about it. Can’t believe the cultural norms we carry about food — zeal of the new convert etc. I am working toward my 30 days of total compliance and feeling great. I literally shit diamonds yesterday.

Ahem. I have read in your blog that you are not a fan of exercise for weightloss. see: http://robbwolf.com/2007/10/24/exercise-ineffective-for-weight-loss/

It seemed though that you were mostly concerned with exercise-centric approaches. Anyhow, nowhere in your blog or podcasts do I see a theoretical or practical approach to the role of exercise in weight-loss. It was referenced a bit in the book, but not much. You mentioned helping Nathan get his Brad Pitt Abs in a podcast. But what do you recommend for someone who wants to lose a considerable amount of fat, say in my case, like 80lbs. I can’t believe that you would be anti-exercise for promoting weight loss considering your ass owns a gym. But maybe you just like being around sweaty people. That’s cool. It takes all kinds.

You seem to get a little pissed at people who want to “lose weight”. http://robbwolf.com/2012/02/06/paleo-diet-am-i-losing-enough-weight/
You tell them to pick a performance goal and stop talking about the scale. I think this is inconsistent because when people have asked about how to look like brad pitt, you have not balked about giving advice on how to get them from slim to sub-10% body fat. So why don’t you throw the fatties a frickin bone here and talk about how best to workout to promote fat loss over a longer haul. And if you need a performance goal, then it is to go tantric in the sack with a supermodel. There. Now get me in the gym and under 10%bf to increase the chances of this occurring.

PS I fucking know to sleep already. You have drilled that into me, so If you tell me to sleep I’m going to go fetal and cry.

All ribbing aside, I am so thankful to you and am just really hoping to get your opinion here. All the best to you and the new babe.

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Categories: Podcasts


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Rose says

    Okay, but you really didn’t answer Warhammer’s question about what specific exercise to do in much detail. I know you it’s tough to give general exercise advice because you don’t know everyone’s specific orthopedic issues, etc.

    I won’t speak for him, but my question – I’m a novice exerciser, haven’t done much of anything in the past 10 years. I’m also “super obese”, by any standard, which is not a superpower I ever wanted. Your book lists “lifeline” exercises that require equipment that is not standard — I joined the Y, but they don’t have gymnastics rings or a sled to push around, and I feel really stupid standing around trying not to topple over doing lunges and air squats. I even bought gym rings off amazon but I have nothing to hook them to.

    I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made in the past, when I was doing machine isolation exercise full body workouts three hours a week with a bodybuilding-oriented minimally-qualified personal trainer and probably 10 hours a week of what Mark Sisson calls “chronic cardio.” I never really learned how to do the basics of squatting and pressing, and pull-ups were never in the realm of possibility. I did lose a lot of weight doing that and counting calories, but eventually I stopped being careful about what I ate and could no longer afford the personal training and I put it all back and then some, so now I’m back where I started except older and broker and fatter, and with more aches and pains.
    There are several Crossfit affiliates in my area but that is not approprioate for me, or maybe I am not appropriate for it.

    So assuming I have the diet and sleeping and vitamin d and fish oil all dialed in, but I need to see the scale changing faster in order to keep convincing myself that this stuff is worth doing, in what way should I be moving my body in order to encourage it to shed its flab more quickly?

    My condolences about Keystone. I’m a cat person myself and I know how awful it feels when you let a pet out and it doesn’t come home.

  2. Derek James From says

    Greg, in the first few minutes of this episode, you solidified your place in the pantheon of my heroes. Oysters encounter sand and make pearls. You encounter idiocy and produce wonderfully mysanthropic sarcasm.

  3. paleoslayer says

    digging in your backyard? you can admit it, we know you’re constructing an underground dwelling for the coming apocalypse.

    nothing to be ashamed of. actually, on my digging days I supplement w L-glutamine. combined w lack of sleep you gotta ramp up the immune system. it helps me hit the gym and play tennis in addition to streunous yard work.

    I have an infant as well, and ever since reading lights out I work hard to get my 8.5-9 hrs of beauty sleep. But that has been compromised. So Ive started researching sleep and even purchased a Zeo sleep monitor.
    It seems to be Deep Sleep that’s crucial for basic physical function and recovery. However, most of this phase is achieved w/in the 1st few hrs of sleeping. That’s why its so hard to get up bw 11 and 3 (depending on your bedtime). But the other critical phase is REM sleep- which is crucial for optimum mental functioning. Get adequate REM and Deep and you feel great. May even hit a PR. If you can maximize these 2 phases while minimizing your light sleep phase you can potentially sleep 5-6 hours and feel like you got 8 or 9! How to do this? The obvious first- diet, pitch black, minimize stress, installing F.lux.
    What’s crucial to understand is that we have an internal clock based on light/dark cycles, but there is also a secondary clock which relates to feeding/fasting. Here’s one study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12748412
    My own n=1 experiment (w my Zeo as instrumentation) shows that eating ard 4-5 pm as the last meal and then sleeping bw 10-11 (ie a good 6 hours of no food/snacks) allows for maximal Deep and REM phases.

    • paleoslayer says

      in theory, if your body is not busy digesting food, it can focus on what needs to be done- ie-sleep. I think 6 hrs is about the amt of time it takes to enter bodyfat burning mode-YMMV. It’d be interesting to know your sleep patterns during the I Caveman gig. however, many confounding variables there.

  4. says

    I just wanted to tell you I was super pleased to hear you talk about the importance of massage, and abdominal massage in particular. I am an LMT who uses a technique called visceral manipulation, and it’s pretty incredible! Yes, it is very helpful in helping with issues related to digestion and breathing, but it also can really help with orthopedic issues, improving range of motion and chronic tendonitis issues. It’s pretty awesome!

  5. Hair-loss Brad says

    Thanks for the hair loss answer…I have had a thyroid test done since sending this question. Normal to low range, but was slightly enlarged. I did realize that I probably had an iodine deficiency, due to lack of dietary sources, since I was not eating much seafood and no dairy. Oddly enough I noticed some odd symptoms disappear after I had a few days of morning yogurt and seaweed supplements. I am not convinced that is the sole cause of the hair loss, but do believe it could be a part of it. I think the testosterone could be related…I made a huge diet change to Paleo and also to a strict personal cross-training/crossfit-style training plan. I could see where I may have had a spike in testosterone. I find the rapid hair thinning to be puzzling, as well, since I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and eating a clean diet…

  6. Daryl says

    Ah! Annoyed by the last question as well. I remember Robb being interviewed on another podcast that told people to “lift weights and walk,” and stay under the cortisol radar to lose weight.

    I feel like the question was “answered” but not answered. Not sure how to apply it…

  7. brnwshdbypsudoscienc says

    Nicotine gum, huh? Have any thoughts on e-cigarettes?

    I’m an ex-smoker, kicked the habit a couple years back, no relapses but sometimes miss the ritual. I gained a lot of weight after I quit and have since worked hard to Paleo it off and am now bigger, stronger and faster than ever.

    Probably best to stay all the way quit at this point but just curious.

    • says

      Not sure on that. the main habit forming chemicals are in the tobacco, so the gum is (IMO) all the good, none of the bad. i use the gum pretty consistently but will then go a week without a piece. both parents smoked their whole lives, so i obviously have some genetic predisposition for this dopamine tweaking, but this seems to be a safe way to do it.

  8. says

    Great Podcast Gregg and Robb. I cant help but think there are a number of other grad-school and or college aged kids who need a Paleo solution.

  9. Chris says

    Hey Robb & Gregg,

    In the spirit of Stump the Chumps on the Car Talk, I wanted to add to the discussion on weight loss from episode 138 and provide an answer of sorts or rather feedback on WarHammer’s question regarding weight loss.

    First off you’ll need to know that I am an avid cyclist, 5’10” ~180 (and dropping) and have been paleo since January, with a few intentional slips now and again (see the subject line). At the beginning of this adventure I was up around 208 and my cholesterol values were good, not great, but I’ve a doctor with enough knowledge to know medication isn’t always the best solution. Rather than put me on meds he allowed me through diet & cycling/ weight training/ running to kept the values on the good side.

    I used to be one of those cyclists Robb referred too. The ones who’d ride the extra miles/ long rides and think they could eat anything after and be okay, because the bike would take care of it. Concurrently I was also one of those gym folks Gregg described with the shitty diet (although to be honest, I thought I was doing okay based on my blood values)and no noticeable changes in appearance, yet strength markers kept going up.

    It wasn’t until I went paleo (specifically Paleo for Athletes) and eliminated all the garbage from my diet that I saw any physical changes i.e. weight loss like Warhammer is hoping to achieve. For me at least the weight loss through exercise and performance gains are a symbiotic relationship. Going fast on a bicycle and or rocketing up climbs boils down to a strength to weight ratio. I could bore you to tears with the gains I’m seeing, suffice to say, there are 4 and 5 minute time gains as well as personal record average speeds for various rides.

    The biggest performance goal I set for mmyself was to ride, not walk up a notoriously steep 2 mile climb – Hurricane Mt, whose gradient in some places reaches 17%. And I did just that, rode up the entire way. In fact, amongst the group of us riding that day, I was first to the top. Railroad tracks, road rash and a cracked helmet ended my ride earlier than planned that day. I healed real quickly though, not Wolverine fast, but really frakkin’ fast, which I attribute to the anti-inflammatory properties of paleo. Moreover after hitting the deck at 23+ mph and sliding, you’d assume one would be a bit stiff the next day at most and sore at the very least. I was neither, again something I wholeheartedly attribute to the anti-inflammatory nature of paleo.

    Back in April or early May, I shared my story with Dr. Cordain and he had it posted to his website, where anyone can go and read and see how my cholesterol values plummted from January to April. Suffice to say between my weight loss and the values dropping, my doctor almost feel completely over. When I told him what I’d done to achieve those goals, he was on board 100% with it and added he wished all his patients were as fastidious and approached their goals like I do.

    p.s. Robb my wife & I were sad to read about Keystone, we’ve 4 cats and can’t imagine life without any of them.
    p.p.s.s by no means am I saying Robb & Gregg are Chumps. 😉

  10. Lawrence says

    Hey Robb, I work for Labcorp and get all my testing done for free, but I have to go to a doc and have him/her write a script for it before they’ll do it. Ive been eating Paleo and been going at the gym for the last year or so trying to get my health in order- I feel better than i’ve ever have- and want to get as much as I can tested so that I can start adjusting and tweeking what I’m doing. I’m 35, going from average flabby American to *just* getting the strength to do full Crossfit. Since money really isn’t an issue for the testing, is there anything else that you can recommend that I should ask the doc for beyond what you mentioned in this podcast? Thanks for what you’ve been doing, its been turning my life around in a really good way, keep it up!

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