We’re back with Episode 402 of the Paleo Solution Podcsat – Q&A #8 with Robb and Nicki.
And don’t forget to submit your own questions for the podcast here: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/
1. [2:48] Diet after colectomy
Hi Rob, I have recently just had emergency colectomy surgery (unzipped the front of me)
so I have 2 questions I hope you can help me with, first; how should I structure my diet I.e food choices, I’m still having lots of loose stools and food still isn’t digesting properly, feel like I need to slow down the process.
Second one, I’ve lost a hell of a lot of weight nearly 20 lb in 2 weeks, so I’m keen to start some sort of exercise routine, how would you ease back into it and over what timescale
Many thanks, keep up the good work
2. [7:06] Blood sugar
Hello, real simple question. I’ve listened to Robb talk about it being beneficial to not exceed 6.4mmol/120mg/dl 2 hours after a meal but does it matter how high my blood sugar goes before that 2 hour period if it it’s at an acceptable level come that 2hour threshold. I always find my blood sugar below 6.4mmol by 2 hours but I sometimes notice it is above that at around the 1 hour mark. Hope to hear back soon.
3. [10:39] Question on PSMF vs. a low protein fast day
Hi Robb (and/or trusted associate), I signed up for the Keto Masterclass last week but have been following you (figuratively) since April of 2013. My goal back then started with Health and Fat Loss as I had gained some weight when our 3 kids were born in 6 years. At that point I started Paleo, and after 3 months I felt so good, and was “the healthiest patient in the clinic” according to my doctor when I went in to get bloodwork, that my focus changed to improve body composition without sacrificing health. I’m okay with where I’m at now but hoping this keto approach will get me over that last hurdle. I had a dexa last year and was at about 22% body fat, would like to get under 15. I’m 6’0, about 200 lbs, and 39 years old. I’ve tried all different things over these past 5 years (always keeping Paleo as a backbone) but haven’t been able to get there. So that’s my recent history in a nutshell. I’d love some advice on something new I wanted to try out along with this new keto approach. I’ve been all-in on with the restricted eating window for the past few years (about 16 hr fasts or more) and was thinking I’d mix in a low-protein day on Mondays. I liked hearing what you had to say about giving your body a break from processing proteins for one day a week. I heard Ben Greenfield advocating for that as well. But then I heard your most recent podcast on PSMF with Emmerich and that seems to make a lot of sense too. So, for someone who is doing keto and has a focus on getting from 20% body fat to sub-15% body fat, which approach would you suggest? A 1-day protein fast, or a 1-day PSMF? Or both? I think I could do both if you dont think that’s too much. Thanks for your time!
4. [19:05] Help me understand Healthy Oils!
I love fat. However, I find myself “afraid” of many oils and really limit myself as much as possible to your recommendations.
What is your take on a recent Men’s Health article promoting the Nordic diet, and it’s focus on rapeseed (canola) oil? The article touts the benefits of this oil, but it has been on my naughty list!
In other news, one of my treats always has to be potato chips, and I often look for variations. One such is the brand Boulder Canyon, which uses avocado oil in the frying process. Do these chips offer me any solace, or does the high heat from the deep frying end up spoiling all the goodness that avocado oil has to offer?
I love your work, thanks for all you do!
5. [26:07] Keto and lifting
Hey Robb! I have heard you talk in the past about some activities not jiving with keto (crossfit, glycolytic) but what other activities does this encompass? For someone who wants to get into lifting (namely a bodybuilding type routine) are there any conflicts/considerations that should be taken into account: such as high reps and glycogen depletion, workout frequency/length, etc.?
6. [28:12] Overtraining question
Hi Robb, my name is Dustin . I’ve recently started listening to your podcasts. I have a question that has been really troubling me and after listening to your podcasts ( on episode 14 now) I’m hoping you can give me some advice .
I’m a marathon runner , and just enjoy working out for personal health . I work a full time job as a machinist . For 12 hours 4 days a week I’m constantly on my feet, constantly lifting heavy metal parts 75+ pounds . Im worried that if I’m doing all of this heavy lifting and moving everyday that I may not be benefiting from any workouts because of the lack of rest my body gets due to work. I’ve recently adopted the paleo diet hoping that eating right will help. But I still worry it may not be good enough . I dropped my workouts down to only 2 days a week. Focusing primarily on core workouts and the big 3. Dead lifts, bench press, and squats. Then I also run 3 times a week.
Can you please give me some feedback on how I can optimize all the work I’m putting in if I’m working this hard labor job . I feel as tho this is a question that a lot of people in my line of work could relate to.
I hope to hear back , love your podcasts. It’s all I listen to while I’m at work !
Paleo Solution – 402
Robb: Hey, folks. Welcome back. Another edition of the Paleo Solution podcast. It feels like we were just here. Does it feel like Groundhog’s day to you?
Nicki: We’re always here.
Robb: Wherever you are, there you are.
Nicki: There we are. You.
Robb: We, yes. So, wife, what’s new? Anything new?
Nicki: No. Just going to bring out this podcast and go to another session of jiu-jitsu.
Robb: Cool. I’m looking forward to you choking the pants off me again.
Nicki: That really happens.
Robb: You’re doing good, you’re doing good. Getting a very spicy open guard game. You’re doing well. Yeah? Nothing really new to report. We’re just motoring along at the Lazy Lobo Ranch. We are incredibly good at growing weeds. If you ever need weeds, we grow them in epic quantities. That’s about it.
Nicki: Let’s see.
Robb: You want to jump right in?
Nicki: Do you have anything else you want to say?
Robb: Not really. No.
Nicki: All right. Let’s see. Our first question today is from Neil and his question is regarding diet after a colectomy. Hi, Robb, I have just recently had an emergency colectomy surgery, unzipped the front of me. I have two questions I hope you can help me with. First, how should I structure my diet and food choices? I’m still having lots of loose stools and food isn’t digesting properly. I feel like I need to slow down the process.
My second question is I’ve lost a hell of a lot of weight, nearly 20 pounds in two weeks, so I’m keen to start some sort of exercise routine. How would you ease back into it and over what time scale? Many thanks and keep up the good work.
Robb: Man, on the food side, just making things really easy to digest. This might be a case for really minimal vegetable matter. Green salads might not be the place to go here if you wanted greens. It might be a case for putting that in a soup or a stew or a curry and then blending all that stuff. This has been the recommendation that we made to a variety of folks for years.
Whenever that digestive process is compromised, just making things as easy to digest as possible and really keeping an eye open for foods that are maybe a little bit problematic on the digestive process like maybe dairy isn’t a good fit for you or, conversely, maybe dairy is a fantastic fit and you’re doing a bunch of yoghurt or something like that. I would just really pay close attention to making the food easy to digest which usually means cooking and some sort of pureeing, chopping, decreasing the size.
Nicki: Chewing a lot.
Robb: And even when it’s liquid you want to chew the heck out of it. That really enhances the digestive process. Taking some NOW Foods Super Enzymes with each meal might not be a bad idea. Usually that stuff contains a little bit of Betaine hydrochloride. And if you’re low in stomach acid, that can help and it can help with other elements of just the digestive process. Again, on the food side–
Nicki: Not drinking a ton of water before you eat or with the meal.
Robb: Or with the meal, yeah. This is something that it just dilutes the digestive enzymes to some degree and can certainly be a problem if you have digestive problems. That’s a really, really good catch.
On the food side, don’t drink liquids with meal. Try to make the liquids ideally 30 or 40 minutes before the meal, something like that. Make the food really easy to digest. That means cooking it, blending it. And then over the course of time if the digestion starts improving then we can probably start lightening up on that stuff a little bit and then finally being really aware of food sensitivities, go with the stuff that works well, try to avoid the things that are clearly some sort of a trigger food.
On what program to do to get back after it, we definitely like to know a little bit more about Neil, age, body composition currently, training age, what have you done in the past, are you an experienced weightlifter, powerlifter? But, I mean, just basically at the beginning of this stuff, just getting in and walking is huge, walking hills is huge. That’s one of the most potent things to do initially. And doing some sled dragging, sled pushing if you have opportunity to do that, even a light wheelbarrow.
That weight bearing through the trunk, through the core is so incredibly important for recovery. And then from there, I mean, it’s the standard press, squat, dead lift, bench. But again, within the constraints of your movement and your ability and without being able to do a physical assessment on you it’s really hard to recommend that.
You definitely, in the beginning, you want to do less than what you think you can do. You should not knacker yourself. You shouldn’t be blown out. Every session, you should be like, “Oh, I easily could have done 20% or 30% more.” We’re probably a couple months away from you doing a volume or an intensity of training where you’re like, “Wow, that was buffalo in the sky, pretty hard.”
Nicki: Okay. Next question from Rody on blood sugar. Hello, this is a real simple question. I’ve listened to Robb talk about it being beneficial to not exceed 6.4 millimolar or 120 milligrams per deciliter two hours after meal. But does it matter how high my blood sugar goes before that two-hour period? If it is an acceptable level come that two-hour threshold? I always find my blood sugar below 6.4 millimolar by two hours but sometimes I notice it is above that at around the one-hour mark. Hope to hear back soon. Regards, Rody.
Robb: Yeah. This is one of those, when I wrote Wired to Eat and made some of these recommendations, when we first released the book, people were like shouldn’t we test before and at one hour and at two hours? And the answer is probably, yes. But then there’s the reality of getting people to do something. If you make to ask so onerous, then people were like, “Forget it. I don’t even care. I don’t even want to do it.”
The number that I picked was actually a bit more relaxed than what I would ideally recommend. I would probably recommend it being even a little lower than that at the two-hour mark. But then that brings up the question with regards to that one-hour mark. It’s tough. What I’m trying to emulate within this or maybe not emulate but what I’m using as a benchmark is the blood sugar responses that we’ve seen from an oral glucose tolerance test in pre Westernized societies, hunter-gatherer, horticulturalist, non westernized agriculturist.
They have great blood glucose control even if they eat very high carb diets. This is one of the things that is not well appreciated by very many people in the diet war story, is that even though these people are eating relatively high carbohydrate diets their blood glucose levels look pretty much the way that mine look like when I’m eating low carb. And this is one of the things that is really important. There’s all kinds of issues that arise from the elevated blood glucose levels. One of the most problematic is just that rebound hypoglycemia and the tendency to then overeat after the meals.
What I would do — this is a tough one. What I would do is just track this over time, keep an eye on your A1C and the fructosamine, these things that I’ve mentioned in previous podcasts and the basic blood work that I recommend in the Wired to Eat book. I would keep an eye on that stuff. We would like to see A1C and fructosamine and whatnot on that lower side and if the blood sugar excursions at one hour are occasionally higher than that 6.4 millimolar or 120 milligram per deciliter level, if those are occasionally higher than what we might exactly like but our A1C and whatnot is looking good, then I wouldn’t really be concerned about that.
But if the A1C is drifting much above 5.0, if the fructosamine is starting to ratchet up above that really bottom basement level, then I might consider reducing the amount of carbohydrate or really focusing on the type of carbohydrate that you get that more optimized blood glucose response.
Nicki: Awesome. Okay. Our third question is from Andrew and question on protein sparing modified fast versus a low protein fast day. Andrew says: Hi, Robb. I signed up for the Keto Masterclass last week but have been following you since April of 2013. My goal back then started with health and fat loss as I had gained some weight when our three kids were born in six years. Three kids in six years.
Robb: That will learn you.
Nicki: That would be right. At that point, I started Paleo and after three months I felt so good and was the healthiest patient in the clinic according to my doctor when I went in to get blood work. Then my focus changed to improve body composition without sacrificing health. I’m okay with where I’m at now but hoping this keto approach will get me over that last hurdle.
I had a DEXA last year and was at about 22% body fat and would like to get it under 15. I’m six foot tall, about 200 pounds and 39 years old. I’ve tried all the different things over these past five years, always keeping Paleo as a backbone, but haven’t been able to get there. So, that’s my recent history in a nutshell. I’d love some advice on something new I wanted to try out along with this new keto approach.
I’d been all in on the restricted eating window for the past few years, about 16-hour fast or more, and was thinking I’d mix in a low protein day on Mondays. I’d like hearing what you had to say about giving your body a break from processing proteins for one day a week. I heard Ben Greenfield advocating for that as well. But then I heard your most recent podcast on protein sparing modified fast with Emmerich and that seems to make a lot of sense too.
So, for someone who’s doing keto and has a focus on getting from 20% body fat to sub 15, which approach would you suggest? A one-day protein fast or a one-day protein sparing modified fast? Or both? I think I could do both if you don’t think that’s too much. Thanks for your time.
Robb: Man, a really good question, and we did a question somewhat similar to this in the last podcast. This is amounts of protein and mTOR and all this stuff. Fasting is a really hot topic and I’ve been looking at doing a three-part series, one on fasting, one on mTOR and then one on a more global take on effective aging and what I’ve arrived at is it is a massive topic because it’s funny you have to do so much background to set the stage on this stuff that it’s really looking like it may end up being a book.
I may be writing another book here before too long. It’s going to take me a while to put it together but it’s a really important topic and I think folks are making it unnecessarily complex, not to say that Andrew is here. This is really, really good stuff and it’s very practical. But just an aside, I know I’d been threatening to do a piece on this. What you all may end up getting is a very superficial piece with my general thoughts but not a lot of background support and then you may have to wait a bit to get all the background support and, God help me, sitting down and writing this thing. I think it’s an important piece.
In general, I could make a case for if we’re just looking for improved body composition, I would make a pretty strong case for that protein sparing modified fast, even just doing it a couple of days a week. Keeping a good strength training program, going in the midst of that. The interesting thing about the protein fast, like a low protein day is what it tends to do is it really improves the anabolic signaling to subsequent higher protein meals.
So, you could make an argument that on one day you do a low protein day and then on the next day you do a protein sparing modified fast, maybe even do that for a couple of days afterwards. And you do the strength training on — Day one is low protein, day two is protein sparing modified fast plus an upper body strength training program. Day three would be protein sparing modified fast, lower body strength training program.
And then day four might be a protein sparing modified fast and maybe some high intensity interval training on that day, with high intensity being a little bit relative because you’re going to feel like dog shit at this point. And then maybe days five and six are more at just maybe 10% calorie restriction keto, however it is you’re regularly eating. And then start that cycle over again.
I could make a pretty sound case for something like that. There’s just a million different ways to do this but that seems like a very reasonable approach to improve the anabolic signaling around the training days and the effects that we would get from the protein sparing modified fast.
Again, the intent, and this is something that I think is so important when people are thinking about doing something. What is the intent? What do you want to get from it? I get questions all the time. Robb, does coconut oil in my coffee break a fast? That’s not the question. The question is, what the fuck do you want to do? I mean, that’s the question.
Nicki: What’s the end goal?
Robb: Oh, I want cellular autophagy. Okay. Yeah, you really — when you start saying what is the goal then we can look at where you are today and then we can say, “Okay, this is my goal,” and then it makes whether you should or shouldn’t do something a lot more clear.
Nicki: His goal is 20% body fat to sub 15. He could run with something like what you just described and see if that’s working, see how he feels. And then if he is able to reach that 15% then you would reevaluate. It wouldn’t be like you do this forever. You would then change things up. The one day protein fast, I’m not familiar. Is that no–
Robb: Not necessarily no protein but you could — And again, you could do it isocaloric so you could do it where you’re getting adequate calories on that day to maintain general body weight but it would be very low protein. You could do it hypocaloric. But, I mean, it’s basically like vegan day, is effectively what this thing turns into, lots of greens.
That’s even an interesting deal. You could do a higher fat protein or a protein fast day where it’s mainly nuts and stuff. Yeah, nuts have protein but it’s not that much. Or you could do a high carb protein fast day where it’s all fruit or squash or potatoes, whatever.
Nicki: It depends on the person. Do you tolerate those foods? How do you feel after? If it was you and you did, you wouldn’t do well on doing as a high carb day. You would feel like shit.
Robb: I would not, yeah. It would be terrible for me.
Nicki: You would have blurry, yeah….
Robb: But for other folks, occasionally there’s this thing called potato hack where all the people, they cook a huge amount of baked potatoes or boiled potatoes and then they stick them in the fridge to get the resistance starch and then that’s all they eat the next day.
Nicki: That’s if they could eat 50 bananas a day.
Robb: 30 bananas a day.
Nicki: Oh, is it 30?
Robb: Yeah. I mean, those are other ways that you could do this and inevitably that question comes up like what should you eat on the low protein day? You could do a low carb or a high carb day and I could make arguments for doing either of them. So, maybe one week you do a high fat approach and then the next week you do a high carb approach. But both of them are ultimately low protein days.
Again, there’s that other piece where you could be isocaloric, hypercaloric or hypocaloric. You could, again, depending on what you want to do, you could make an argument for in a hypocaloric. And it could even be mildly like 10% under your caloric recommendations, low protein, high carb or high fat. And this is where this stuff just becomes a calculus problem on acid, you know.
Nicki: On the flipside, it’s not like one recommendation for everybody because so many people, like you said, have different goals. They’re in a different starting position and they tolerate different foods differently. You really have to just fiddle with it and see–
Robb: But those are some pretty good guidelines around that. That might even be a good something for us to put together at some point.
Nicki: Could be a good something to put together. I’ll make a note.
Nicki: Okay. Question number four from Trent. Help me understand healthy oils. Robb, I love fat. However, I find myself afraid of many oils and really limit myself as much as possible to your recommendations. What is your take on a recent men’s health article promoting the Nordic diet and its focus on grapeseed oil a.k.a. canola oil. The article tags the benefits of this oil but has been on my naughty list. In other news, one of my treats always has to be potato chips and I often look for variations.
Robb: Me too. You and me both.
Nicki: One such brand is Boulder Canyon which uses avocado oil in the frying process. Do these chips offer me any solace or does the high heat from the deep frying end up spoiling all the goodness that avocado oil has to offer? I love your work. Thanks for all you do.
Robb: Yeah, that Nordic diet piece was just terrible.
It’s an interesting topic. We posted some — We had some requests where people asked us to post our meals. We’ve been doing that thing. We don’t really do food porn. Our meals tend to be pretty simple and just thrown together. One of the things I posted was some — It wasn’t sardines. It was oysters that were in cottonseed oil.
Oh my god, people freaked out. They’re like, “Cottonseed oil has omega six fat in it.” And it does. And then they made this point that there are other varieties that have olive oil in it, which they do, but what people are not really super aware of, olive oil itself has a massive variation in how much omega six it has. Sometimes it has quite a lot of omega six just as a baseline.
And then also what is considered olive oil can be an ungodly assortment of other things. It doesn’t necessarily all have to be olive oil. This is one of the reasons why I’m just not–
Nicki: Most olive oil is cut with a bunch of–
Robb: A bunch of other stuff, yeah.
Nicki: Poor oils, yeah.
Robb: Yeah. This is where I just haven’t been that concerned about it. I don’t eat baked goods. I don’t eat hydrogenated oils. I mean, in the grand scheme of things I’m just not that concerned. And also I’m not drinking the oil out of the oyster container. I mean, it’s whatever oil is on there. It’s interesting. In talking to Mat Lalonde years ago about this topic, the omega three-omega six balance and these omega six fats become a real problem if one is omega three deficient.
If you don’t have enough EPA DHA then the excess of these short chain omega six fats really do become a bit more of a problem. And also they’re highly oxidizable. There’s some issues around that. So, do you want to run out and chug canola oil? Probably not. But this is one of the things that when people are eating out, if you’re on the road and you’re trying to get the airport restaurant to cook your stuff in coconut oil and they’re like I’m going to spit in your food and put pubic hairs on it, it’s just — You’re fighting the wrong fight at that point.
In general, again, my point out of Wired to Eat, if you eat three meals a day, seven days a week, that’s 21 meals. If a couple of those meals have a little bit of deviation here and there, I just don’t see that being a big deal. I do like this idea around — what is it? Justin’s Honest potato chips. They do them in coconut oil.
Robb: Jackson’s Honest. That’s another funny enough–
Nicki: You say Justin and I start thinking chocolate peanut.
Robb: Like chocolate peanut butter cups, yeah. Those are also pretty darn yummy. Funny enough, Boulder Canyon, I wonder if that’s another Colorado thing. I think if you’re — These are in the food space. They call them better-thans. And so instead of just eating potato chips in corn oil then it’s potato chips in avocado or coconut oil. I don’t know that I would characterize it as health food but I could probably make an argument that–
Nicki: You’re living in modern environment and you have a social life and friends and, I mean, you can eat as clean as you possibly can but then at some point, like you said, your treat is a potato chip. There are far worst things if you’re having these Boulder Canyon chips in avocado oil. Unless you feel really strongly, you want to be 100% all the time, which I don’t think anybody really, really does.
Robb: Just as a quick aside, this is a complete diversion out into left field, but a lot of folks had been asking me, “Robb, why haven’t you tinkered with a carnivore diet?” It’s super cool. I like what Sean Baker is doing. There are a lot of people that have great benefits from that. But I’ve spent a lot of time tinkering with what I’m doing and I feel pretty good. I look good, reasonably good for me, good performance. My digestion is pretty darn good.
I finally reached the spot where this Paleo low-ish carb, even keto eating, the circle of friends that we have, it’s not that crazy. It’s like for once in 20 years, I’m at a spot where most societally and within our social network, it’s not that crazy of a thing. We can navigate it with family and friends and all the rest of that stuff. And this is one of those pieces. I don’t want to be the socially stigmatized dude again where it’s like, “Oh, sorry, I’m not eating asparagus because I’m on this carnivore diet.”
Nicki: Because you cook your asparagus in some sub par oil.
Robb: Well, even aside from that–
Nicki: Or a carnivore diet, yeah.
Robb: Just carnivore diet. And so I think that this does go — I am circling back to your point, which is you want to have a get together and you want to have some potato chips then you do these better-than options then I think that that’s great.
It’s a double-edged sword. Some people are really cranky about the Paleo cookies and the low carb cookies. Yeah, people can overdo that but I got to tell you, from a guy that’s been super gluten intolerant and not really doing that well with dairy and now I don’t do particularly well with eggs either unless they’re in really small amounts, when people put together something like avocado oil potato chip then I’m pretty damn thankful for that.
Because I can have a little bit “normal” life. Chicharones are great but potato chip is nice once in a while too. Just as an aside, that social piece and just being able to kick your heels up but make a decision that’s like it’s probably qualitatively a good bit better. And again, in the context of the overall approach, if 19 meals out of 21 are really on point, then those other two meals, man, it really doesn’t matter.
Nicki: Okay. Next question is from Nate. Hey, Robb, I have heard you talk in the past about some activities not jiving with keto, CrossFit, glycolytic. But what other activities does this encompass? For someone who wants to get into lifting, namely a bodybuilding type routine, are there any conflicts or considerations that should be taken into account such as high reps in glycogen depletion, workout frequency length, et cetera?
Robb: Yeah. In general, I think most strength training protocols, you could do a basic ketogenic diet just fine. Tyler and Luis over at Ketogains, they do make use — When people get to a reasonably advanced training status and they can really recruit, and by that, I mean, they can turn on their musculature and move some serious weight and they can dig a pretty deep metabolic whole by doing heavy and reasonably high volume squats and deadlifts and all that type of stuff, these guys will use a targeted ketogenic diet where they will put a targeted amount of carbs right around the training window.
It’s as low as five grams, maybe as high as 20 grams of a dextrose or a maltodextrin type thing right around the training period. Personally, and my situation is a little bit different, I do very low volume strength training because that’s the only thing I can really survive with and also do jiu-jitsu. I don’t really need any carbs at all for the strength training I do. It is a non issue. I could be totally keto fueled for that, no problems.
I do use a targeted ketogenic approach for my jiu-jitsu. I would say the higher the volume, the higher the intensity, the more full body an activity is. Something like CrossFit where like, let’s say you’re doing a 400-meter run, deadlifting 225 pounds, doing pull-ups. I mean, there’s no stone left unturned there. In that scenario, at a minimum, a targeted keto approach is going to be the recommendation, probably just doing a more moderate carb intake to fuel that.
Nicki: Okay. Let’s see. We have a question from Dustin on overtraining. Hi, Robb. I recently started listening to your podcast and I have a question that has been troubling me after listening to one of your podcasts. I’m on episode 14 now. He’s going way back, which is interesting. I’m not a podcast listener, an avid listener like you, but when you listen to new podcast, do you start? Do you go to episode one? I find this fascinating.
Robb: Five years ago, people tended to listen to podcasts serially and now people tend to pick and choose.
Nicki: Jump around a topic.
Robb: Yeah, very, very much.
Nicki: The few podcasts I do listen to, I’m looking at the subject and if that pulls me and pulls me in but like — Interesting.
Robb: Yeah, a couple of them like Dan Carlin History on Fire, those things I basically do the binge watch.
Nicki: Start from the beginning?
Robb: I start from the beginning, just take it all in, yeah.
Nicki: Got you. Okay. So, Dustin’s on episode 14. His question is: I am a marathon runner and just enjoy working out for personal health. I work a full time job as a machinest. For 12 hours, four days a week, I’m constantly on my feet lifting heavy metal parts over 75 pounds and I’m worried that if I’m doing all this heavy lifting and moving every day that I may not be benefiting from any workouts because of the lack of rest my body gets due to work.
I recently adopted the Paleo diet hoping that eating right will help. But I still worry it might not be good enough. I dropped my workouts down to only two days a week focusing primarily on core and the big three, deadlifts, bench and squats. Then I also run three times a week. Can you please give me some feedback on how I can optimize all the work I’m putting in if I’m working this hard at my job? I feel as though this is a question that a lot of people in my line of work could relate to. I hope to hear back. Love your podcast. It’s all I listen to while I’m at work.
Robb: Listen to Hardcore History too. You can’t go wrong with that. I’ll default back to some work that Pavel Tsatsouline has done a long time ago and he talks — Even Coach Christopher Summer, the founder of Gymnastics Bodies, they make a pretty good case that if you have a background of activity, say like this machine work or you have some people that do more other types of physical labor, even folks in the military, you will work hard into that exposure.
I won’t say that it will become inconsequential but you become very efficient at that activity and you can do it. This is always one of the interesting things that you get like a new kid into a job like this and they’re doing like the journeymen work and they may be fit and strong and young and it just crushes them initially. It’s because they’re very inefficient. They’re both inefficient and they haven’t worked hard into the process. Nicki has been noticing this with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Nicki: My ribs hurt for like the first three months just because you get all the weight of people laying on you. I had never had — yeah.
Robb: There’s virtually nothing you can do to train that. You just have to do jiu-jitsu and get through it. But now, you’re six months, seven months into it, I mean, you’ll get a little–
Nicki: It depends if I roll with a bigger guy.
Robb: Right. But it’s interesting. Your body has work hardened on the one hand and so you’ll feel a little knackered but it’s not like before. Before, it was like you felt like you got dragged behind a truck down the dirt road. And then the other piece is just metabolically you’re also not as knackered, not as smoked, you’re more efficient now. You’re not as tensed throughout the training. I think that those are all things to consider.
So, the point being is that, and this is Dustin, I suspect that you probably work harden to that machine work. Even though I know it’s probably demanding, can make you tired and everything, I think your body is probably work hardened to that stuff in general. I really like the adjustments that you’ve done with regards to the frequency of your training and whatnot.
Again, I made a point about this earlier. What specifically are the goals? The way that this question and commentary is worded, there’s a general anxiety around are you doing too much? But absent a goal, absent a vector about where we’re going, we really can’t assess that. And so if we see retrograde performance of any variety, whether it’s in the running or the lifting, or even the ability to do the machine work, then that starts telling us that we’ve got some problems brewing in and we need to modify what we’re up to.
But if we are generally seeing beneficial progress and things going in a good direction, then no harm no foul, will just keep going with that and that’s largely what I’ve done with my Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I tried to get as many days a week of that and as I can. I’ve cut my strength training down. It’s been a two-day a week generally strength training program for almost ten years now. That’s been working pretty well.
One thought is that, for Dustin, you could get some heart rate variability platform. Joel Jamieson has this Morpheus platform now which is really jiggy and pretty interesting. It can give you a pretty good sense of what your readiness is. What I would recommend doing is getting in and delineating some goals. Do you want to run a marathon in X time or maintain some frequency of competition or something?
Within the lifts, do you have some goals that you’re trying to meet within those lifts? And then in that context, we can also assess what you’re up to and we can periodize your training a little bit and get some focus around that. But again, absent goals, absence of a direction that we’re going, really it gets a little bit hard to comment on this stuff because — Are you overtraining? Overtraining for what? And in what context?
Nicki: And how old are you?
Robb: Age and all that stuff is also a factor.
Nicki: How much sleep are you getting?
Robb: A heart rate variability platform could be helpful to give you a little objective feedback about what your readiness is. But then I would also get in and ask some questions about what exactly are you wanting to accomplish? Like this anxiety around are you just doing too much, it could be well founded, but again, it’s absent any context. I would recommend having some goals tied into what you’re up to.
For me, I’m just — I try to progress my lifts a little bit here and there but the main thing is that I just want to be injury free and healthy to get in and do the jiu-jitsu. The jiu-jitsu is the benchmark that I assess everything else by whether it’s my cardio or my strength or what have you.
Robb: Is that it?
Nicki: I think that’s another episode of the Q&A.
Robb: Cool. Well, thank you, guys. The best questions on the interwebs because they are your questions, the smartest listeners of any podcast anywhere.
Nicki: Six of them. Six questions, one from each.
Robb: That’s what’s been playing out. We’ve been six questions each show. Follow me on Instagram @dasrobbwolf, Twitter @robbwolf. I’m on Facebook. I’ve got a personal page where you’ll get some goofy stuff. I’ve got the robbwolf.com online where you get just the orthodox missionary style nutrition related information. Wife, anything else?
Nicki: I think it’s time to go roll.
Robb: If you could pick what we’re going to cover jiu-jitsu today, what would it be?
Nicki: Oh, goodness.
Robb: Side control bottom?
Nicki: No. I think I’d still keep working some back escapes.
Robb: Nice. Awesome. Well, guys, thank you again. Wife, thank you for tolerating me and we’ll talk to you all soon.
[0:36:10] End of Audio
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