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This week on the podcast I speak to Dr Mike T Nelson, one of the OGs in the space of exercise physiology, , human performance optimisation. and metabolic flexibility. In this chat we discuss metabolic flexibility, why it is important for both health and performance and some common myths or misconceptions. We also discuss strategies for improving it. We discuss fasted cardio, his thoughts around macros for fat loss, strength training, sleep and more.

Dr. Mike T Nelson is a research-fueled Fitness and Nutrition educator. 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 been called in to share his techniques with top government agencies, universities and colleges, fitness organizations and fanatics. 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. His podcast Flex Diet Podcast is a wealth of information on all of these topics and more.

Mike can be found at: https://miketnelson.com/
Flex Diet Podcast https://open.spotify.com/show/42TdIuiFnDYHNWK9deio5l

Contact Mikki:

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Creators & Guests

Mikki Williden

What is Mikkipedia?

Mikkipedia is an exploration in all things health, well being, fitness, food and nutrition. I sit down with scientists, doctors, professors, practitioners and people who have a wealth of experience and have a conversation that takes a deep dive into their area of expertise. I love translating science into a language that people understand, so while some of the conversations will be pretty in-depth, you will come away with some practical tips that can be instigated into your everyday life. I hope you enjoy the show!

Welcome, hi, I'm Mikki and this is Mikkipedia, where I sit down and chat to doctors, professors, athletes, practitioners, and experts in their fields related to health, nutrition, fitness, and wellbeing, and I'm delighted that you're here.

Hey everyone, it's Mikki here. You're listening to Mikkipedia, and this week on the podcast, I speak to Dr. Mike T. Nelson, one of the OGs in the space of exercise physiology, human performance optimization, and metabolic flexibility. And we discuss all of these things on today's show. Specifically, we discuss metabolic flexibility, why it is important for both health and performance.

and some common myths or misconceptions surrounding it. We also discuss strategies for improving metabolic flexibility, we discuss fasted cardio, Mike's thoughts around macros for fat loss, strength training, sleep, and a whole lot more than that. So I really think that these practical tips are going to...

be valuable to anyone listening to the show, regardless of whether you're an endurance athlete, you're just wanting to be healthy, strength or performance based. I don't think that there will be many people unfamiliar with Mike, but Dr. Mike T. Nelson is a research, field, fitness and nutrition educator. He 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 of course healthier.

Mike's been called in to share his techniques with top government agencies, universities and colleges, fitness organizations and fanatics. The techniques he's developed and the results Mike gets for his clients have been featured in international magazines, scientific publications and on websites across the globe. His podcast FlexDiet Podcast is a wealth of information on all of these topics and way more.

Dr Mike T Nelson is thought of and spoken of so highly amongst his peers and colleagues it was a real honour for me to be able to chat to him on Micopedia. We have links to how to find Mike both over on his website miketnelson.com and links to his podcast the Flex Diet podcast. It is such an informative listen I highly recommend it. This is

information that appeals to you guys. Just before we crack on into the podcast though, I'd like to remind you that the best way to support us is to hit subscribe on your favorite podcast platform, leave a review if there's a space to leave a review, and also share with your friends and family because this increases the visibility of micipedia and amongst the literally thousands of other podcasts that are out there. Alright team, please enjoy the conversation that

with Dr Mike T Nelson.

Dr Mike T Nelson, I'm so stoked to be able to chat to you this morning on Micropedia. Thank you so much for taking the time. Do you know Mike, I feel like I've been listening to you forever. How old are you? Oh, how old am I? Yeah. Yeah, I'll be 49 in a couple days. Seriously, like I feel like you should have...

be at least 15 years older than that. And I mean this in a good way. I do have lots of gray hair coming in. Actually, you look quite a bit younger than 49. I would not have picked that. Oh, well, thank you. Must be your metabolic flexibility and lifestyle. Yes, that's it. Yeah. But I just, you are definitely one of these OG voices in the space of health and fitness. And I feel like you're an early adopter of a lot of things,

now really interested in discussing and are sort of all over. So, and I'm definitely wanting to chat to you about sort of how you may have changed your mind on a few things and what you see out there. But like you're, so 49, you've obviously been in this space for a while. You didn't start out studying exercise physiology, did you? Not really. I did, my undergrad was a Bachelor of

a dual degree program. So I did a Bachelor of Arts and then I was going to do a BS in Mechanical Engineering. I ended up doing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, Biomechanics instead. And I just took exercise physiology classes for fun. I took anatomy and physiology for fun. I remember when I was doing my Masters in Engineering, I took a 400 level exercise

And they're like, you don't have any pre-reqs for this. And I'm like, oh man. So I went and talked to the professor and I said, hey, I don't even need credit for this. Like, I don't care if I get any credit. Like, can I just show up and take your class? And he looks at me and he's like, you wanna take a 400 level exercise physiology class basically for fun? I'm like, yeah. And he's like, why is this? I'm like, cause it's so cool. And he's like, well.

Technically, you've maxed out your credit, so you don't have any of the prereqs, but you don't need credit. You've already paid the max you can in tuition. So if you show up Monday and Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m., I'm not going to kick you out of class. I'm like, oh, perfect. Yeah, and it was super fun. I graduated from there and I actually worked in cardiac medical device company for about 10 to 12 years, looking at implantable pacemakers, defibrillators, that type of stuff. So it was kind of a...

A nice crossover between physiology and engineering. And then I started training people in person and then transitioned to training people online and eventually just switched over to doing that entirely. Yeah. And so throughout your, uh, the, your career for that sort of 10 to 12 years, you kept, you obviously continued your learning and that ex-phys, sort of health and fitness space. Yeah. I realized I could just.

go to conferences for fun. So I started literally taking my vacation time and as of, how was the first conference I went to? 2001, I think. And I remember going to it and sitting in the back and I'm all excited. And a couple of other people showed up and I'm just asking them, I'm like, hey, you know, did you see this one study about this or that? And they're like, no. I'm like, oh, but I'm sure you saw this other study about this thing. And they're like, no. And I'm like,

You guys are trainers, right? They're like, yeah. I'm like, well, you read research then, don't you? They're like, no, we don't read research. Like, what the hell are you doing here? And I'm like, well, I came here to learn. And they're like, well, we go to seminars to learn because we don't actually read research. I was like, oh, I mean, I just assumed everyone went home and read research for fun on the weekends, but turns out they don't. Yeah, it's funny you say that because one of my favorite things to do is to jump on PubMed.

What am I interested in? And then you just scroll through what you find when you put in those keywords. It's like what I do in my downtime. So I appreciate why you're so interested in that as well. Mike, interesting. So that was 2001. If you reflect back from now, for example, has that space changed at all? Do you feel like the...

attitudes of personal trainers and other people in that space have changed to want to keep on top of the research or is this something that you've sort of just noticed throughout? I think overall it's gotten better for sure. I mean even if you look at what is popular now, right, so if you said like take Joe Rogan's program like there'd be a three-hour podcast of this comedian who would have you know potentially some very hardcore.

science people on there, whether you agree or disagree with them, whatever. Andrew Huberman's podcast would be like one of the top podcasts in all of iTunes, like hardcore neurology guy talking about exercise physiology. Whether you like those things or not, I would have never predicted that would be a popular thing. So I think on one hand, it's good that there is more information, people definitely appear to be interested in it. Unfortunately, the fitness world being the fitness world is,

The more yelling and screaming people do about this one particular thing is still kind of the way to get noticed. So I think in one hand, it's got a lot better. I think people are more generally educated now. I do think people are looking to be more educated. On the other hand, it's almost gotten more polarized and extreme and fractured into these even smaller areas all the time too. Yeah, interesting. Interesting you mentioned Huberman. Feel free to not answer my next question. But...

What do you reckon about him and his gurus guru status? People seem to look at him for the answer to everything. Whereas his actual, and I don't think that people necessarily need to stay in their lane. Like I do, you know, people who are intelligent and know how to read research and interpret it. Like I don't think it matters where you sort of come from, but, um, he certainly has, um, strong opinions on, on a whole host of things, which I don't know that he's necessarily got that knowledge base for, to be honest, but I'm just into.

know what you think. Yeah, I mean, my bias is like, in all honesty, like some of his earlier stuff, I didn't really like to be honest. I mean, his neurology stuff is top notch, his visual stuff, really, really good, anatomy, all the basics, like really, really good. So I felt like some of the earlier stuff, if I'm being honest, there was more errors of omission. Not that what he had was wrong. It was...

Well, you kind of miss this grouping of studies. And you may not necessarily know that unless you were pretty in-depth into those particular parts of the field. I do think from what I've seen, he's gotten much, much better on that. But with all these people, I have more of an issue with the people that follow them than the actual person, because I call it the fitness parents. You have all these people who show up who

like take one thing completely out of context from him or whoever. And now they're like, oh, this is the, you know, the greatest thing ever. You have to do this thing and only this thing. And this is the answer to all your ill wills. And, you know, a lot of times if you go back and listen to the original context, it's not really what they're saying, right? They are giving some recommendations. They are giving you some things to do, which I think is fine. But it it's just this weird human nature where it's like single factor thinking.

Everybody's looking for the magic button, the magic thing. And even if the person is saying, hey, here's something that may help you, and they're even talking about the context of where it's useful, people just forget the whole context, and they're like, ice baths are the greatest thing ever, or I must sauna every day, or. And again, some of those things have real benefits. I actually like both of them, again, depending upon context, right? And you get a nutrition, it's like, oh, carbohydrates are evil. No, they're not evil, they're good for performance. And

The reality is it's not the carbohydrate itself, it's are you talking about a high level athlete or someone who's recreationally exercising four to five hours a week, walking 10,000 steps, getting good sleep? Or are you talking about the barker, lounger Bob whose ass looks like a couch cushion, right? Like lots of carbohydrates for Bob, probably not the best thing in the world. Doesn't mean the carbohydrates were bad, it just means that his physiology is not set up to handle that real well. But everybody wants to know, are carbs good or bad?

They want to delineate, is it good or is it bad? As you know, science doesn't really work that way. My buddy Lonnie Lowry says there's no piece of lab equipment that says good or bad. That's great, actually. You're so right, Mike. I wonder whether part of our desire to take catchphrases or snippets of information from one particular person for the people who do that.

then allows them to ignore everything else because information is so available. It is divisive. There are so many different interpretations and, and I, and I don't think it's necessarily a lazy thing to just hook onto what one person says. It's all, you know, we all have our mentors and our, the people who might shape our thinking, but I like, maybe it is actually just the lack of ability to understand research that then makes everyone sort of tack onto something.

One of the things which I noticed a few months ago that everyone who I followed on social media seemed to be saying was never have coffee in the morning, never have it 90 minutes. And I'm like, really? Like that was the first that I had heard of it. And that everyone was doing that like super serious, like, you know, like coffee is the worst thing to have in the morning. I'm like, Oh, haven't we been doing this for like 150 years? I don't know how long to be honest. Um, but that was, that's in the, and the other one that I, um, sort of picked up on was.

the idea that creatine might make you go bald. And I got a few queries on that that sort of came out and I wonder, yeah, that's either taking stuff taken out of context or people or that other thing that you mentioned not necessarily knowing the full body of literature. Yeah. And I think from my understanding, the first coffee thing in the morning is in general, I agree with the idea, like, should you blast your body with a shit ton of caffeine first thing in the morning?

My bias is probably not. I mean, because what I've noticed in my own training over the past years is I'm 100% guilty of doing that in the past and I still do it on occasion. But I also know for myself personally, that is a very indicative marker that my stress is too high. I've got too many things to do. I usually skip my meditation. I usually skip my rowing. I just start drinking coffee right away. And so for me, that's like an indicator of, you know, something's off in my schedule. And...

Again, my understanding from listening to Huberman on this is that it's just a theory, right? That maybe you should try to clear some adenosine, you shouldn't have an overlap of caffeine all the time because it screws with your level of awareness. My interpretation of it was like never to have caffeine in the morning. It was just sort of a suggestion of here's something you should try. And in general, like if I work with clients that are very stressed, like I lived with a guy who...

couldn't open his eyeballs in the morning unless he had three cigarettes and half a pot of coffee. And that just kind of scared me. I'm like, I don't want to get to that point in my life. And the creatine, I think it was just a study that looked at DHT levels, I think, and was just kind of completely blown out of proportion. And there's no other data to support that. I even asked, I was at ISSN, asked my buddy Dr. Scott Forbes about it, and he's like, nope. You know? So, but...

People generally looking for the silver bullet and if something's negative, whoa, it's got to be creatine seems too good to be true. There's got to be some negative about it. And, you know, I lost my hair, so it must have been that damn creatine. You know, nevermind. Yeah. Like I've been taking creatine since 1995 and I still have hair. So you know. Yeah. Interesting. Like I've one of my good mates is Eric Helms. Oh, I love Eric. I told him I said hi.

Oh, I will. And he, he's like, you know, I'm, I started taking care of him when I was like seven or something. Although he has, you know, like, but he's still got almost a full head of hair. So Yeah, he just goes through the low profile like streamline. So Mike, how did you transition then from your sort of cardiac rehab equipment job into personal training? And when did you make that shift online? Because I

As I understand it, you're again, a bit of an OG in that online space. Yeah, I started off actually working in gyms part-time and I did that for quite a while and then the gym I was at filed bankruptcy and they said, Hey, if you want any of your money back, write to this address in Iowa. Like literally I was training people the day before I go there training myself the next day and there's this little sign on the door. I was like, crap.

And so I'm chasing around clients, like went back to their normal gyms, like trying not to be their trainer. I'm like, this is stupid, I hate this. And so I said, maybe I'll just, you know, put some training equipment in my garage and I'll just start training a handful of people there. So I started doing that, which was good. Then when I went back and did my PhD, I had an overlap of, I was working at the med tech company, I went to them and said, hey, you know, I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna do my PhD full time.

I don't have the bandwidth to work here full-time and be on call for you guys full-time. And so they said, wow, we don't have anyone work part-time. I said, okay, well, I'm going to quit then. They're like, whoa, wait, hold on, hold on. So they said, okay, if you work 32 hours a week for six months, then you can drop down to 24 hours a week. So I'm like, perfect. I still had to be on call full-time, but that was off hours. So I ended up doing that for about four years, actually. So I did that while I was doing my PhD full-time.

And then I started transitioning my business to online because I realized I just didn't have any more time. I kept two clients in person who literally just came over here to train so I could walk out my kitchen door into my garage to train them. And then started moving people about, God, probably over 11 years, 12 years ago now online. And it was more of just a thing where I just literally had no more time during the waking hours to do stuff. And then just, yeah, started doing that. And then...

Once I had graduated and once about a year after that, I had enough income where I'm like, okay, I'm making more doing training or about equivalent to what I was doing at the med tech job. And they had some layoffs coming up. So I just went in and said, okay, if I'm not selected as part of the layoff, then I'm going to quit in January. And they're like, oh, no, you're not supposed to tell us this. We can't pick anyone. It has to be this random thing. And I said, well, I'm just telling you, you do whatever you want with that information because I don't want to be the dickhead who

He isn't selected. And then January, I leave and now you're three people down instead of two people. So do whatever you want with the info. And luckily they, they kind of let me go. So I got like three months of a severance and some health insurance as a transition then. Yeah. Cool. And what was your PhD in then Mike? Yeah. So I did the 18 years of college full time, which I don't recommend anybody do. So I did my undergrad with a bachelor of arts in natural science, the two years of post-grad for engineering.

Two and a half years to get my master's in mechanical engineering, kind of biomechanics, heat transfer stuff. And then I actually did five years in a PhD program in biomedical engineering. I decided I've just got kind of tired of doing math, switched to exercise physiology, and then that took seven years. And then from exercise physiology, it was in kinesiology, I looked at metabolic flexibility and heart rate variability. Yeah. And so-

When you were doing your studies in metabolic flexibility, so what I think is a lot of the listeners now will be quite familiar with that term because they're interested in the exercise science space and also just health and wellness. And it is certainly, it's much more of a sort of gen pop kind of term now. When you were studying it, Mike, like what was, like was it as sort of known about? No, nobody had heard of it. I hadn't even heard of it.

Like I was doing exercise physiology for fun. And like 15 years ago, I had literally the first meeting I had when I transferred that fall to the department. I walk in, an advisor sits down, he's like, hey, we got two new projects and they both involve math. And I'm like, uh-oh. And he looks around the table and he points at me and he goes, you, math boy, whatever your name is. He's like, these projects are yours. And they were on heart rate variability and they were on metabolic flexibility. So it was, can we do some sort

you know, math to figure out how to do assessments for these. And at the time I'm like, what is metabolic flexibility? I've never even heard of this. And my first question after I realized what it was, was, isn't that just normal physiology? Like, isn't that just how stuff works? Like, why do we care about this? And then I realized, like, oh, you can become metabolically inflexible. Like it can change like how well you use carbohydrates, how well you use fat, how well you switch back and forth.

those things are actually plastic, they can be changed. And once I realized that, I was like, oh. And there's some even more interesting studies where recreationally active people were not necessarily always metabolically flexible either. So I kind of, I got lucky and I got more and more interested in it. And that was, I started all that work, God, 15 years ago now, which is kind of crazy. It is. You know, it's interesting. So my...

When I was, because I used to be a lecturer at an institute at a university here and we got interested in metabolic flexibility around 2009 or so, 2010. And we just assumed that everyone was, and particularly endurance athletes who were sort of the cohort we were thinking about before we were thinking about the health space, we were like, well, if you're an Ironman athlete or if you're a marathon runner, you're definitely going to be.

able to burn fat at low intensities. But we would get athletes in and they basically were sugar burners from the get-go. Oh yeah. Was that what your experience was as well? Yeah, so my first assumption was, okay, if you're a type 2 diabetic, you're a metabolic train wreck, you become metabolically inflexible, cool, that makes sense. And then I was like,

We found some other studies showing that, so a study Gudecky did, a study Helges did in 1999, a study I did as part of my PhD in 2015. All part of these studies, they took people off the street, they brought them into a lab, and these were recreationally healthy people, overnight fast, had them do moderate intensity exercise with a metabolic heart. Right, so they have a little tube in their mouth, they're watching all the air that goes in and out, and they can see what fuel they're using. Are they using more fat? Using more carbohydrates. And the assumption was,

Since they're healthy, they're generally relatively athletic, they're moving around, they're gonna be good at using fat. And what they saw was in all three of the studies, some people were really good at using fat, some people actually weren't. Like the variability on it was crazy. It was like 93 to, no, I'm sorry, 23 to 90% difference. Meaning some people were really good at using fat, some people were really horrible. And again, these people were not necessarily overweight either.

And once I saw that data, I was like, oh, okay, interesting. Well, if we increase enough activity and exercise, that must cure all, right? And all these high level endurance athletes have to be metabolically flexible. I was talking to a buddy of mine, Jeff, in California at the time, who had been doing a lot of metabolic testing on people. And he's like, well, I can send you an athlete that literally does not have a crossover, meaning...

they never get to 50% use of fat as fuel. And I'm like, what? I'm like, no way. So he sends me the data and I was like, holy shit. He sends me the data from another person. And then you start looking at it and you're like, oh, so if you're super stressed, your volume of training is super high and you're just throttling performance like you are literally putting carbohydrates in like all the time.

So your insulin levels will generally be high. Again, these people don't necessarily have metabolic issues because of the volume of exercise, but you're literally jamming them the whole time on the carbohydrate end of the spectrum and the body just learns to adapt. And over time, like they literally can't down regulate and use fat as a fuel. Yeah, and so Mike, before we get to the health implications of that, what are the performance implications? Because obviously these athletes, that's their primary concern. Like if they are,

going along great guns, does that, in your opinion, will that change the outcome for their performance? Maybe. It depends on what level of performance they're at. So if you look at the elite level athletes that I saw some data on, if they can keep up with the rate of carbohydrate intake, meaning they're feeling as good, they don't have GI upset, all that kind of things that can happen, performance-wise they're normally fine for a period of time.

In my opinion, they're not very resilient. Meaning, historically, what would happen is they're like, oh my god, I missed a fuel station, and then my race just went in the shitter, and I can't figure out why. Or, oh, I started getting cramps because I use a different type of carbohydrate, or my electrolyte balance was off, and then I couldn't take in as many carbohydrates, and my performance just went to hell. So to me, if they could keep up enough carbohydrates, and if they time everything appropriately and everything goes well, performance wise, they can do pretty good.

Because if you look at even there's a study where they did elite level half marathoners and they actually blocked the body's ability to use fat as a fuel. What they saw was like no downturn in their performance at all. Meaning that on the elite level, like you're running fast enough even for a marathon, you know, Kipchoge was taking in, what was it, 120 grams of carbohydrates an hour. Something just batshit crazy, right?

Again, he's just trying to run under a two-hour marathon. He's running ridiculously fast. So on that end of the spectrum, it is all about carbohydrates for sure. But I think you run the risk of potentially implications for health and then also resilience. And then if you scale back from that to a person who, let's say, just wants to run a three-hour marathon, I think it becomes less and less important.

to be like 110% on carbohydrates all of the time. So with athletes, the first question I ask them then, if they're endurance is, OK, where is your performance at and what are you trying to do? If you're like, I want to break a two-hour marathon, OK, that's completely different than a three-hour marathon or a four-hour marathon. So completely different strategies. Yeah, and Mike, I do like the way that you're like, if they only want to run a three-hour marathon, that's like,

Super easy and anyone can like take that out of the... Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's quite hilarious. But I totally take your point. If I think about elite athletes that I work with and then just your general sort of... It's funny we say recreational athlete like these, like recreational almost implies that they don't really take it as seriously as the elite, which we both know that's not the case. No, no. Yeah. That's not an effort level thing. No, it's not an effort level for sure.

But it's, you know, to run a 115 half marathon is quite different from running like a sort of 145 half marathon. Oh yeah. Yeah, which is then also like the half marathon event is really, and even the marathon event is really different from an Ironman. Whereas, you know, that being out there for eight hours or even less than eight hours compared to those people who are out there for sort of 14, 15 hours. And I wonder if that's, that does

change the focus of whether or not you should be trying to be metabolically efficient in burning fat versus if you can just get away with all of those carbs. Yeah, I mean, my bias now for pretty much everyone would be push your body's ability to use fat as high as you possibly can. In the literature, they call this MFO, so maximal fat oxidation. So make that as high as possible.

can't compete with carbohydrates for the rate of ATP or the rate of energy production. So yes, carbohydrates are still going to outperform fat, but have fat be as high as possible, but don't inhibit that high end speed and power ability for carbohydrates. So you kind of want to bring both up as high as possible. And you still want to switch because like you said, like I did some stuff, I was a volunteer for an America that have the race across America or the Ram race.

Yeah, so I was on a four person team. I was just helping with nutrition and stuff. Started in San Diego, finished in Atlantic city, New Jersey. Uh, like the top teams are finishing in literally seven days. It's 24 hours. Someone is on a bike for literally every hour of the day. And so you would think my thought going into was we're in the middle of like freaking Nebraska, like halfway through the race. If you asked me beforehand, does speed and power matter? I'd be like, hell no. Who?

Who gives a rat's ass about speed and power? It's just endurance. You just have to finish. But it's a race. And so there's also no drafting. So we had a guy who was behind, I think a cyclist from Austria. And the guy who was riding for us, this was a little bit crazy. And he's kind of bored. And he's like, hey, I want to pass this guy. We're like, okay, yeah, if you want to, you know, go ahead, we're in a follow car behind him. And he's like, well, I want to screw around with him for a little bit first. We're like, okay, sure, whatever.

So he would ride up on him like he was gonna pass, but then he would drop back. And then he would ride up on him again, like he's gonna pass, and then he would drop back. And he could see the guy turning around, watching him each time. And you could see the other guy trying to pick up his pace, but he's still following him. And he's like, I'm gonna pass him now. We're like, all right. So he drops the hammer, goes by him, and we're in the car, literally passing both of the cyclists at the same time. And you see him pass the Austria guy, he like waves at him as he's like going by him.

And the Austria guy looked like someone just pulled the string out of his back. You could tell that he was trying as hard as he could because he didn't want to be passed, but he just, just couldn't do it. And just the absolute look of like defeat on his face was just like, Oh, Oh, so even in a seven day race, like speed and power does matter. Yeah.

For sure. And you know, it's really interesting. Like I wonder how much, like there is so much individual variation as well. Right. If I think about Zach Bitter, for example. Yeah, I love Zach. He's awesome dude. Yeah, totally. And he's, you know, he's very much on the lower carb spectrum yet does a bit of carb cycling. And when he pushes his power and his speed up, his carb intake goes right up to say 250 grams, which I say right up. Like

That's actually not that high if you're comparing him against... Not comparative. Yeah, not comparative, but for his usual, that's quite a bit. But then he goes out easily and races on 40 grams of carbs an hour is where he has reported his sweet spot to be, which is a third of that 120 grams an hour, which we know other people push and can get away with. Yeah. And there's even Jack and Roripa has written some stuff saying that...

maybe your gut is even trainable, right? So depending upon the type of polymer of carbohydrate you use, the transporters, the fructose adding because you use a different transporter, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But what I've noticed with people over time is you can actually push that up higher. Now, I don't think everyone's going to hit 100 grams per hour. There might be some genetics and some stuff related to that. But most people I've had luck with taking a very

And then as you know, are they biking or are they running? Because that's completely different. If you just think about the impact you're seeing running versus biking, yes, they're endurance sports, maybe you're going a similar distance, but I've just noticed that that makes a huge difference on ability to take in carbohydrates too. Yeah, no, absolutely. Like that change in the mechanics, right? Your gut just cannot handle to the extent, and even when I talk to, when I...

I chat to my Ironman athletes, like we have a really good structure of nutrition for that 180k bike. And even though it's a marathon that they're getting off, I'm just like, oh, just survive that. Just do what you can on that run. Don't stress so much about that. Just frequent intake, but don't stress as much because it's the bike that you really want to nail because of the mechanics. Yeah. And that's, I mean, I've only worked with a handful of triathletes and I mean, the big things that we stress, which everyone looks at me weird, are...

What is your carbohydrate tolerance for? I don't really care about swimming. I know it's important, but whatever. Get a little bit more efficient swimming. Just survive. Go out on a lake. Get hit in the face. Have your buddy go out and punch you in the stomach as you're trying to do it so you don't freak out and end up dead last. Other than that, I don't care, unless you're an elite level. You're running. What's your carbohydrate tolerance? Is there anything we can do to get your form to be more efficient?

If you're more efficient, that is a huge benefit without training. Right? Obviously training isn't important. For God's sakes, practice your transitions. Like literally practice your transitions. Like the amount of people who completely screw up in a transition boggles the mind. Like you don't need to practice it a lot, but I know stuff happens and things like that. But you know, you see people thinking around with their bike for whatever and stuff's missing and just weird stuff. And then what is your carbohydrate tolerance for the ride?

Like most people, if we could do anything, we'll try to maximize that first over running. Because if you can just do better than when everyone else is doing worse, like you can make up some pretty big differences doing that. Yeah, totally. Mike, what is your, before I get you to sort of maybe spell out if you can, your approach to improving metabolic flexibility for your athletes? I'm actually almost a side.

tangent conversation. Do you have any experience with exogenous ketones? Oh yeah. I'm actually doing research now for an exogenous ketone company, Tecton. So they have one that is a newer ketone ester. It's a BHB molecule bonded to glycerol. And it appears to work pretty good, although there is limited data on it. And it doesn't taste too bad.

Like a lot of the ketone esters, if you've tried them, holy shit, they're bad. This is a Delta G. Delta G, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, like, I mean, I... My little ester. Yeah, and I haven't had it for a while because I'm just getting back into running after an injury. But I certainly noticed... It's interesting what you see in the literature as to how they use and what we understand of their function, how to use these ketone esters.

But I just remember taking even a third of this bottle and it was like rocket fuel actually, it was one, not that I've ever had rocket fuel, but I imagine not to do something. So this one that you're working with, a little bit more palatable? It's actually not bad. I mean, I wouldn't say it tastes amazing, but it's palatable. So I've given it to people who've never had any of the ketone esters. I'm like, hey, just try this, what do you think? And they're like, it's kind of bitter, but it's not bad, right? And then...

I did some stuff with the HVMN, the mono ester, which they licensed from them before they switched to the butane diol with the Kerrig group. So we would do some exercise performance. I did this in the US a couple of places, did it in Sweden when I taught over there. And so we had to do three different trials. They would come in, they would do fasted, and then they would do a 2K on the rower. The next day they would come in, they would do the ketone ester, which we used the mono ester from HVMN at that time.

And then third day they would have a high carbohydrates the rest of that day. And so they would test under a high carbohydrate condition. And we monitored strupe tests, we did some RPE, a whole bunch of other stuff. And it's unpublished results, so it's anecdotal, but we didn't, we saw a couple people hit a PR on the fastest day. We didn't see too many people hit a PR on the ketone day, although their strupe scores were better and their RPE was less. Like they just felt like it wasn't as hard and cognitive.

They were better after the end of the event. Most people hit an absolute PR on carbohydrates. But the fact that you can take an ester in literally 20 minutes and be somewhere between one to two millimolar of ketone levels to me is just fascinating. Yeah. Come right. I know.

And so what have you, so in your experience with working with ketones, despite, you know, what we, in the literature, as I understand it, recovery is, is one of the places where we're thinking that, that these ketones work well, the cognitive aspect of them, particularly maybe in these extended endurance events. My personal experience is taking them pre a hard run and it just doesn't feel as hard. So a little bit like what you described with the,

Mike, any anecdotal other reports that you have seen ketones work well in that might not be in any of those things? So if I were to bet right now and say, okay, you can only bet on one area and what would your bet be for the most beneficial effect of just ketone esters in general? My bet would be reducing cognitive decline or fatigue.

under physical fatigue. So for sports performances could be golfers on the back nine, NFL players on the fourth quarter, hockey, soccer, later games, because you're going to have a physical load that is placed on the system. But all sports are cognitive demanding, even cycling, even endurance sports. There's a huge cognitive component to it. And I think if you can...

even possibly get better or stay good while everyone else is declining. I think that's like a huge advantage. From a pure fuel standpoint, the data is like super mixed. I'm not convinced that ketones are the best for fuel, although the data on that is kind of mixed. We know for speed and power, they're not the best. Carbohydrates are still better. Longer events, it gets a little bit more mixed.

Yeah, maybe. So I'm working with a guy who's trying to be the first solo expeditioner to cross Antarctica unsupported. Oh wow. So myself and actually Zach Bitter did a podcast with them. So really cool dude. There, our argument, both of us, was that there's probably a huge role for staying in a ketogenic type diet because you have to carry all your fuel with you. Yes. Right? And it's literally almost a pure endurance type event.

So I think for some things like that, I think ketones are pretty amazing. The other part too is for potential reduction of risk from concussion or even TBI, so traumatic brain injury. I did a whole program for the Kerrig Institute. Kerrig Institute does a lot of clinical neuroscience. My argument was a ketogenic type diet or using ketone esters for potentially prophylactically or especially post-concussion.

So if you imagine what happens, you take a big walk to the head, a couple things can happen. Your glucose metabolism can kind of go offline. It just doesn't work that well. Your blood-brain barrier can actually start to open up. So now you've got all these compounds flooding into the brain. You have a high level of neuroinflammation already. You have a massive energy crisis, which just causes more worse inflammation. What's interesting, though, is lactate and ketones

their metabolism appears to not be affected by the concussion. George Brooks has done some work on lactate infusions. There's some interesting stuff on ketones. And the theory is if you could provide an alternative energy source in the form of maybe ketone esters or something like that, could you reduce kind of this huge energy crisis? Also ketone esters do have some anti-inflammatory properties related to them also. Dom Degostino has done some of that work. There's not a lot of human.

data right now because no one's going to prove an IRB of like, yeah, let's give these people a concussion and then give them ketones. And, you know, so there's very limited on what you can do on the clinical side. But for me personally, I've been carrying the ketone esters in my kiteboarding bag for four years now. I thought being if I get dropped out of the sky 20 feet from the air and have a concussion, hopefully I don't. But if I do, I'm literally going to put myself in a state of ketosis as soon as possible.

and do a ketogenic diet and probably try to keep myself one to two millimolar as long as possible and I have my neurologist on speed dial, I'm going to call. That sounds- That's kind of long-winded answer to your question, I guess. No, no, that was great. And in fact, that sounds like the perfect plan actually, and that's how I understand it as well. Mike, if we go back to metabolic flexibility and just the potential importance for athletes, what are your best-

tools for helping an athlete get more metabolically flexible. And I wonder whether these will differ depending on if you're working with an endurance athlete or with a strength and power athlete. What's your protocol if there is one? If you have technology, you can do a metabolic heart. I'm a weirdo. I have a metabolic heart at my house now and I'm actually set up to measure muscle oxygenation and all this fun stuff. If you have that, you can give someone a whole

see what happens. You can have them do low to moderate intensity fasted exercise because you can see fuel usage. If you look in the literature, there's still a huge debate about what markers do we use to assess metabolic flexibility. So there is no gold standard right now in the literature. My field test, if you don't have any fancy equipment, like you're not doing pinpricks of blood glucose or anything else, would be on the carbohydrate side. Can you have...

What I call the two pop tart test. Could you have, I think they have pop tarts in New Zealand, right? They do. Yeah. They're kind of everywhere now for better or worse. So could you have two pop tarts for breakfast and still feel okay? Like cognitively fine, not, you know, go into an insulin induced stupor and take a nap for four hours. So high levels of glucose. And can you handle that? Also on the fat side, could you use fat as a fuel, primarily during a longer fast? Could you do a 19 to 24 hour fast?

You're probably going to be hungry, but could you still perform most of your day to day tasks and it wouldn't be like a massive hindrance. So those are kind of the two tests I use to baseline both ends of the spectrum. Yeah, nice. And then if you have an athlete who isn't metabolically flexible and you think, okay, well your health notwithstanding, your performance will actually benefit from working on this. Like, what are some of the things that you do to get them to do that? Like, are you a fan of fasted cardio?

or absence of that glucose, this sort of train low model. Like, so what are your things that you do? Yeah, it depends on what end of their missing. So let's say, because that's what's hard, right? So like a ketogenic diet, right? People are like, oh, ketogenic diet increases metabolic flexibility. Well, kind of, and it can dramatically increase your body's ability to use fat.

But if you're in a ketogenic diet for a long period of time, you see a down regulation enzyme called PDH, probably really dehydrogenase. And so your carbohydrate metabolism will actually go down, even if we gave you a piss ton of carbohydrates the night before a race. You're missing that kind of top gear. So it depends on which end of the spectrum you're talking about. So on the carbohydrate end, normally with that, I'm going to look at how much muscle mass do they have?

Is their blood glucose okay? Is their glucose markers for blood work okay? What is their performance level, especially their VO2 max? If their VO2 max is very low, I'm thinking that aerobic engine is just not very big. What is their lifting performance? Again, if that's on the lower side, odds are they probably have a little less muscle mass or not trained as well. Obviously stress is a huge component.

If they're really stressed all the time, stress is generally gonna push you to that sympathetic side. And when you're on the sympathetic side, it's gonna push your body to use more carbohydrates. So if they're training too much, they're overreached or non-functional overreaching or whatever term is in vogue now. If their sleep is poor, sleep is poor can obviously cause carbohydrate issues. So those would be some things I would look at on the carbohydrate end of the spectrum. If it's the fat end of the spectrum, ironically, I would also look at VO2 max.

If they just have a small engine, like don't even worry about what fuel it's using, you're just usually not using as much fat. If we even take your VO2 max from 30 to let's say 50, so huge, huge change of VO2 max, and we don't do anything else, you're going to be burning a lot more fat in general. Yeah. So what is the size of the engine on that? And then I am kind of a fan of a faster cardio, which I still get a lot of hate mail over it.

It's low to moderate intensity exercise. So you don't need carbohydrates. You don't need carbohydrates for performance because it's low to moderate intensity exercise. And I'm a fan of doing that in a fasted state. Your lower levels of insulin will push your body to use more fat as a fuel. So I do wanna upregulate that end of the spectrum. Is it the BLN doll for body composition? Yeah, it might help. Like the data on that is definitely very split, but I'm not necessarily thinking only body comp.

I'm just thinking, OK, how well can I run fat through the system? So we're going to make your engine bigger and we're going to try to change the partition of fuel that it's using. And then I also would probably do some type of longer fasting. Have people work up to a 19 to 24 hour fast, you know, probably once per week. And then depending on their body comp, like they, you know, just getting leaner will probably help.

There's some interesting stuff on just being in a caloric deficit also is probably beneficial for that. Again, you have to weigh that against what is their performance, what type of athlete are they, where is the phase of the training they're in, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, sure. And you're, I imagine that you've worked with thousands of people actually now, and what are your thoughts on females in fasting actually?

That seems to be quite contentious in amongst it. And I, to my mind, I think it's really individual rather than that you can make any sort of blanket statement on no, woman shouldn't be fasted or woman should always only be fasted. I'm just keen to hear if you make any adjustments or it's just an individual sort of thing for you. Yeah, that's a good question. I don't make any.

adjustments based on gender, if they're male or female. Although I will say, if you look at most of the people I work with, like most of the athletes I work with are female, like 70% of the people I work with are actually female. Do I have them do less fasting than most males? Yes. Yeah. But I would say the reason I find for that is generally their stress levels are just a lot higher, whether it's other responsibilities or training, everything else.

I just find that their stress levels tend to be higher and it's also a little bit harder for them to spend time on recovery on themselves. I just find that as a whole, that's more difficult. And I think for those reasons, I don't wanna push fasting as much because it is a stressor, right? I mean, you know, doing a 24 hour fast, even when you're adapted to it, you will see HRV changes a little bit the next day and most people, it is a stressor again.

It's not bad, but you do kind of have to be more careful with that. Yeah. I don't know if that's what you see also. Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. I do. And it's, um, it's, um, that sounds really sensible to me. And it's interesting how you phrase that, that woman just tend to be a bit more stressed because there's a bit more sort of going on with them. And I agree with you, like for whatever reason, it seems like some women have the responsibilities of the world on their shoulders, in addition to trying to sort of, you know, um,

do things for themselves. And then you mentioned body composition. I'm really keen, Mike, to get your thoughts on the protocols you might use with people to help them improve their body composition in terms of calories, protein, macronutrient distribution. Obviously, everyone is an individual. So I know that that's probably just something that we, of course, we both acknowledge.

Do you have any sort of general guide as to where you go with that? Yeah, I would say in general, obviously it'd be in a caloric deficit. Yeah. Right. I mean, there's no getting around that. I don't know why that's even the point of discussion anymore, but I always, I've realized I've actually started adding that in on podcasts now, because in the past I would get mail from people that are like, ah,

You talked all about metabolic flexibility, but it's just being a caloric deficit. You don't worry about anything else. It's like, yeah, does that make a huge difference? Absolutely, it makes a huge difference. But my thought pattern was, well, I thought people kind of already knew that, but now I've kind of realized maybe they don't. So the question then is, well, how do you generate that and what do you do? Right. I'm a big fan of higher protein. So, you know, at least in US units, you know, one gram per pound of body weight.

for protein. So a 200 pound individual, you're looking at about 200 grams. Is it on the higher side? Yes. Most of the literature would support, 0.7 grams per pound of body weight. But it's really, really hard for your body to turn extra protein into fat. It's almost damn near impossible. Could it happen in some circumstances? Maybe, but in reality, it's just very unlikely. Higher levels of satiety, all those things that go into it, recovery. So just higher protein is gonna be good.

I tend to go with a lower fat approach, even with women 60 to maybe 80 grams per day, maybe 100 grams per day. It's low, but it's not crazy low. It's not like 10 grams or 20 grams or something stupid. You'll screw up all their hormones and all sorts of stuff. And the reason for that is that in general, if fat comes in more of a surplus, it's just easier for your body to store it. And then also we're trying to also prioritize performance.

We know that carbohydrates are gonna drive performance more than fat, especially once you're above the threshold of fat. And you only have so many calories to play with. So I would rather allocate more calories to carbohydrates to try to keep performance as good as possible for as long as possible. At some point, yeah, it's probably gonna, you know, drop off a little bit. And then training split, most of the times the training splits I use like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, do some type of lifting, you know, assuming it's a...

of a performance athlete if it's a triathlon or something like that, it's going to be a little bit different. But for the general person, you know, lifting, health goals, that type of thing. Tuesday, Thursday, do some cardio. Probably Saturday, do some cardio. Sunday, take the day off, do your food prep. You know, that works pretty good for most people. And then I also do a lot with step count. So if you're only at 5,000 steps, like increase that quite a bit. You know, so like for now, for example, I'm trying to go down in body weight.

So I pushed my step count from 8,000 over the last month to right now I'm averaging like 11,000 per day. Because I know I can keep my calories a little bit higher longer and still have a deficit and still keep performance okay. So I kind of hedge my bets a little bit in that direction. Again at some point that's going to start to degrade, but I want to try to keep the performance up as high as possible. Yeah. And what about diet breaks? Mike?

Like I'm a bit of a fan of that for some, in many circumstances actually, but I'm interested to hear what your sort of thoughts are. The recent literature I read on that would say from a physiologic standpoint, they may not matter that much. I know Eric Helms has talked about some of this. Jackson Peisos has done some very...

cool studies on that. He was from Australia. He's hanging out in Bali doing stuff now. He is. Um. Okay. Sounds, looks good. Looks fun. Yeah. In reality, I, I still use them, but it's very individual. If someone is making progress and they're not complaining too much, don't fricking worry about it. Yeah. You know, if they're really complaining, they're really symptomatic, their sleep's not on par, their stress, their HRV is going in the shitter.

Yeah, I'm like, hey, let's just take a week off, right? Don't go bad shit crazy. But I think of it almost more as a mental reset. And I get it. Like you're hungry all the time at some point, like you have low energy. And again, it all depends on what level you're trying to go down. You know, Eric Helms has talked about, he's like, oh, you mean bodybuilding? You mean competitive starvation? Yeah, totally. That's a good way of thinking about it. How little can you eat, totally. Right.

Right. I mean, if you're trying to get down to those levels, that's a whole different thing. But even for people who haven't done it, who are just learning the skill set, I just tell them frankly, I'm like, hey, here's the deal. We can kind of back off for a week or two. From a physiologic standpoint, do I think this is going to make a massive difference? Probably not. It's actually probably going to take you a little longer to get to your goal. However, if this makes you consistently more compliant in the future and you don't fall

I'm totally down with it because over the long haul, it is going to be a better outcome. And it's not bad. They're like, oh, I'm a weak person, so I need a break. It doesn't have anything to do with that. It just has some more to do with your lifestyle, your experience. How big of a priority is it for you? For myself, in all honesty, up until recently, I didn't really care that much about body comp. I'm not extremely overweight, but I wasn't very lean. And that was just...

didn't care. It wasn't a priority. All my health metrics are good. There's nothing wrong, you know, with that, all the blood work, everything's fine. I'm not in any danger. It was just, I had other projects going on. My goals are more performance related. It just, I just didn't want to put in the effort to do it. Now, once I got to a certain point, I'm like, oh, that's a little bit too high. It was time to start to go back down again. And how's it going, Mike, then? How long have you been focused on it? It's...

Pretty good. Like I came back from, we did a trip, I came back from Colorado and I was at like 239 pounds and that was probably the highest I wanted to get. Like I said, 240 was kind of my cutoff, you know, and so I was like, okay, so I'm going to start going back down. So you know, the lowest I got to recently was 225, I was 229 this morning, but I averaged around 228. Yeah, you're tall, aren't you? I was 63. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so Mike, what, like one of the things that...

people get often confused about is how to set this calorie deficit. And, you know, I know, you know, there are a couple of great apps actually out there now like Carbon and MacroFactor, which sort of take the thinking out of it for people. But how, which equation and stuff do you use to sort of determine that for your clients and maybe for yourself? Like what's your protocol around that? Yeah, I've tried every equation known to man. Yeah. And. Because there are so many as well.

Yeah, I mean, this equation, that equation, here's Benedict, blah, blah, blah, whatever. If you look at the population data on them, they will get you in the ballpark, right? They are generally pretty decent. The caveat is on an individual basis, I find that the variability can be quite high. And so what I do is I'm like, hey, let's just do a seven-day nutrition log. Here's a scale. Here's how to use it.

Yes, I know this is a pain in the ass. Yes, I'm asking you to weigh your broccoli. Yes, I know it sucks, but I just need a baseline where you're at and then get on the scale every morning after you use the bathroom and just give me a daily weight every single day. I don't care if it's good, bad and different. Don't care. I just look at that and like, OK, here's your, you know, just do your normal training, do your step count. We'll monitor that. And at the end of that week, I just go, OK, are you neutral? Are you gaining weight or are you losing weight? And

I just kind of guesstimate calories from there. You know, if you were around the same weight, cool. Then I know about what your baseline is. If you were gaining weight, let's put you back to maintenance. Let's maybe cut three to 500 calories per day off of that. If you're losing weight, cool. You're already making good progress. So we're just gonna kind of hang out at those numbers. Yeah, cool. And then as you know, that the thing that gets harder is as you continue.

It's normally the neat or non-exercise activity, thermogenesis that just goes in the toilet. And there's some stuff you can do about that, trying to be more cognizant of movement, step count, all that kind of stuff. But that's usually the biggest component that's gonna change, assuming you're doing it in an intelligent way, you're lifting, you're eating your own higher protein, that kind of stuff. So I do watch step count a lot. I do watch HRV, because I do find that HRV is a really good indicator of stress. And like we said, when do you take a diet break?

I have someone who's a weight class athlete, then it's different because body comp is important, but performance is still probably a little bit higher. So in those people, I will do diet breaks more often to kind of resolve a lot of the physiologic stress because they still have to perform whenever they get to the goal that they're at. If it's a physique athlete or someone who just generally wants to look better naked, yeah, we don't want to see all their lifts go in the toilet, but we got a little bit more playing room.

afford to see a little bit higher levels of stress and they can get away with it. So I do like looking at stress as one of the other variables because if stress just all of a sudden goes you know exponential the wheels are going to fall off at some point right either performance is just going to take it in the crap or you can't white knuckle it anymore and you know you're face down in the Chinese buffet on Friday night and you know.

Go from there. Totally. And that makes perfect sense. And that's how I hear a number of people do it too with regards to the real time data in terms of where someone, what someone actually doing in real time and how that's impacting on their weight and then using that as a really good starting point. Mike, mindful of your time, I just have one other question. I'm not sure. I don't even know if you will have an answer to this.

over your years of experience, and I do not mean to say that in a way that makes you sound a thousand years old, but are there any sort of aspects of health and nutrition, diet, training, which you think might deserve more attention than it's getting because you know that it's effective? Like, is there, because obviously we've, you know, you mentioned cold and hot therapy earlier on, there are a lot of hacking things sort of out there.

Do you have any sort of tips and tricks that people might not be aware of that might move the needle a bit more than what we even sort of think about? A couple things. I mean, I'm biased because I have a whole level two to the Flexdietzer, which is physiologic flexibility. Yes. So my bias was there's people with a lot of really good information on breathing and, you know, cold and hot and all these different modalities. I'm like, that's cool.

What framework is it based on? Because my background is engineering, so I'm really big into systems and looking at it from kind of a, I don't know if you say it, like a holistic perspective. Like okay, so your sleep's solid, your nutrition's good, and your exercise is pretty good. Okay cool. Like those are the basics. By all means, execute those with violent consistency. But then what? Because high level athletes are always like, well, what do I do now? Like do I do this crazy enema? Do I do this coffee thing? You know, like stop drinking coffee? What do I do?

And I spent a lot of time thinking about, okay, so if metabolic flexibility is carbohydrate to fat and back and forth, what other systems are regulating physiology that we may see a performance increase? Again, my bias is that physiology is wired for survival. If you want to perform better, you need to learn how to survive better. So survival is a thing that your body is absolutely 100% hardwired to do above everything else. What other systems

do you need for survival? So I looked at things which are called homeostatic regulators. So number one is going to be temperature, right? Humans are homeotherms. We have to keep about 98.6, it's actually 97.7, but we could do hot therapy. We can do, you know, cold therapy. We can vary the temperature because of adaptation and training. The second one would be pH, right? We have to keep blood pH very, very close.

we can do again heinous things like you know doing multiple 500 meter repeats on the concept 2 rower or tobadas or wingate testing you know whatever. Third would be fuels so everything from fats to carbohydrates we can include all the way down to ketones and lactate in there if we want and then fourth would be breathing so just air oxygen regulation and co2 as those two systems. So if those are the four systems we have to hold constant

Can we increase the physiologic headroom or the buffer space within those systems? And I think if we do that, you will increase your baseline level of performance, but I think you'll also become more resilient and adaptive and just generally harder to kill. Like what I've noticed with those athletes is that they can perform well and they can usually consistently perform well. They don't tend to be...

like completely on or completely off. Like they tend to be much more consistent. I don't have any data to back that up. So that would be my main thing. The second thing I would say is the stimulus that you give your body and the output is probably the number one thing to monitor. As much as I love HRV, that's more of a cost metric. That's more of what did it cost you to do that in terms of stress? And it's amazing to me like how many high level people

don't monitor output. Like, oh, we looked at RP and it was really hard. Okay, did the athlete get better during that session or not? And they're not gonna get better in every session. But what was the goal? Did you hit the goal? Whether it's lifting, aerobic stuff, performance, whatever. I think we sometimes get caught up in, oh, I've got this metabolic heart and this fancy thing and this temp change and we're measuring electrolytes and all this stuff and cool. Like, what was your output? Like, cause I've gotten.

streams of metabolic data from people. And I'm like, OK, cool. Well, did they do better on the test? Did they improve over time? And they're like, oh, I don't know. I didn't look. Yeah. So I'm a big fan of things that can be measured, like lifting, weights, reps, sets. If you're doing some type of output, just even have a speed thing on your bike. You don't need to get into power and all that stuff. If you can, great. I mean, cyclists are the extreme. They measure so much stuff it almost makes your head spin. But.

just measuring basic output. I think you can get a long way by just seeing are you literally getting better? And if you're not, you probably need to change something up. But I'd rather base that decision on data. And yeah, how you feel and your RP and all that stuff is important. But I want to know first, what is your output? Yeah, awesome. So basically, with regards to the systems, it's it's are you resilient to cross? Like, are you metabolically flexible? Can you

sort of put yourself in extreme sort of environments, the way that you discuss with regards to hot and cold, the whole pushing pH by doing that lactate producing type exercise, all that sort of thing. And then what's performance like? Is performance improving? And these are good things to consider. Yep, yeah. And with the physiological flexibility stuff, it doesn't always have to be, for pH changes, it doesn't always have to be high intensity exercise either. You could do...

everything from a Wim Hof super ventilation method to breath holds. So you can get at it by doing a non-movement based strategy also. Yeah, awesome. Yes, I agree. Yeah, no, that's great, Mike. You're such a wealth of information and you do such an amazing job of putting it out there with regards to your podcast and of course the courses that you run too. Do you and as I understand it, you just had another intake of the Flex Diet Cert.

maybe in June or something? So yeah, it was in June, correct? Yeah. Can you like just give us a little bit of details on maybe what's covered in that particular sort of search for practitioners or professionals, but then also how do like do can can people work with you on a one-on-one basis as well? So can you just give us a little bit of that info? Sure. Yeah. So I do have some spots for one-on-one. Just go to the website, mikejennelson.com and

apply. Like right now I don't have any spots open, but who knows by the time somebody listens to this, I may have some spots open. So they can just go there and find out or just get a hold of me. For the FlexDiet Cert, the issue I had was, okay, for nutrition, there's lots of stuff like physiologic-wise for, I don't want to say basics, but where people should start, that makes sense. But the issue I was having was, I was having these weird conversations with athletes and clients that

didn't really move the needle. So for example, sleep is all super popular now. There's tons of physiologic reasons people should sleep longer and sleep better, 100% agree. But every conversation I've had with sleep generally ends up after a 20 minute conversation of arguing back and forth of, oh, well you're telling me that two hours I hang out with my spouse at night and watch Netflix, I shouldn't do that and I should just go to bed. Yeah. Kind of, yeah, that's kind of what I'm saying. You can maximize your sleep.

make your room a cave, all that stuff is helpful for sure. But if you're getting five hours of sleep at night, no matter how good the sleep is, you probably just need more unless you're a deck two mutant, which most people are not. So I realized that how do I set up a priority factor? Because trainers would hear stuff about sleep and very well-intentioned would then go and have these conversations with their client, like the first conversation they have, and then they get frustrated because it...

doesn't end well, the client gets mad. They're like, you're supposed to help me with nutrition. You're yelling at me about my sleep. So I set up something called just basically a way of equating it. So I said the physiologic impact times the client's ability to change, which I just called coaching leverage. So physiologic impact of sleep on a one to 10 skill, probably a nine, maybe a 10. Client's ability to change sleep in the short term is like a one. It is extremely difficult.

However, we compare that to protein. Protein is probably a nine or a 10. Lots of good physiologic reasons for body recovery, all that kind of stuff. Most people, if you tell them you want to lose weight, you can eat more of something in particular, they think you're insane. I'm like, no, literally, eat more protein, I guarantee you will probably lose weight. Even if you just did this alone, most people actually lose weight. And they're like, what? That's crazy. You want me to eat more of this? I lose weight. So with some education, they're like, oh yeah, I'll definitely do that.

So when I equated them, you know, the first lever would be number one would be protein. The last lever, number eight, would actually be sleep because the aggregate score of sleep was like a 10, protein was like 90. And so I have people rig the system in the client's favor. So that way it makes you look better and the client looks better because they're actually doing the thing, they're getting a better result. You're not having these weird discussions right away. And then I've got all the other ones ranked in between.

And then we talk about metabolic flexibility, how each one of those eight interventions impacts it. And then I have five specific action items for each one. Because one of the things I didn't like about some certifications was, it still didn't tell the person like, what do I actually do I do? Like how much protein? So we have five different action items that the client then helps pick that they're gonna actually do. So it's a constrained program, but it's actually a client focused and led.

So you're rigging the system in the client's favor as best you can so that they actually shocker do the things you want them to do, and you make sure they're doing the things that have the correct amount of leverage. Yeah, that's awesome. And particularly what you're saying with regards to sort of ranking them, like when you get wins for your client, they're more likely to listen to you when you then have that weird conversation about sleep. They're like, oh, well, you were right about XYZ. Maybe they're onto something there. That's awesome, Mike.

Now tell me when is the next time you're opening your cert? So the FlexDiet cert will probably open again later this year. And then the Level 2, the Physiologic Flexibility Certification, will probably open again in September. Awesome. That's great, Mike. So, thank you so much for your time. You mentioned your website. Can you re-mention that and also where other people can find you on the socials? Oh, sure.

Yeah, best place is the website, which is MikeTNelson.com. Most information I have now goes out over the newsletter, which is free to get. You can just go to MikeTNelson.com and there's a bunch of different opt-ins there. You can get on it. Just tell me you heard me on this podcast and send me a reply. I'll send you a cool free gift. And then on social, probably the only place I use sometimes is Instagram, which is Dr. Mike T. Nelson. And then the Flex Diet search is at FlexDiet.com.

And the podcast, FlexDive podcast too. Yeah. It's such a great podcast. You have, you talked to super interesting people and I love the conversations. And I think that's the thing because you've got such a foundation knowledge. And of course your guests do as well. And it's always like sort of being a fly on the wall and a room of really, you know, smart people. So I always love listening to it. So thank you so much for that. Yeah. It's, it's been super fun. Like over the past year, I think I just transitioned to.

And I'm super lucky. I know a lot of really smart people in the industry. I can literally like, call up on the phone and be like, hey man, what do you think of this? And I realized I'm like, oh, I'll just have them on a podcast because then other people get to listen to the conversation. So a lot of times it's just for my own knowledge and catching up with people. But I think what I found is that it's more interesting to listen, like if it's really hardcore academic lectures, it's...

Even for myself, it's harder for me to get through some of that stuff. You know, so just it is geeky, but, you know, I'm trying to make it a little bit more accessible and I just like doing it because it's fun. Yeah. No, you do a great job of that. Cause I certainly listened to podcasts, which are conversational yet so incredibly geek, like I can't even get my head around them and I'm like, and this isn't even from this, I should be able to understand this because if I, and this is not, um.

You know, with my level of education, they're sort of speaking to people like me and I, and it's over my head. So how is a gen pop going to do it? So you, there are absolutely no issues there with your podcast. So that's awesome. Thank you. I appreciate that. Awesome, Mike. Well, hey, thank you so much for your time and enjoy the rest of your day. Yes, thank you so much and enjoy your day. I know it's morning over there. So very cool.

Alrighty then, so that is Mike, he is amazing and I don't doubt that you got a lot from our discussion. Absolutely give him a follow on Instagram and certainly his podcast, it is awesome. Next week on the podcast I have the pleasure of chatting to my very good friend Anastasia Boulet. Some of you may know her from her Ancestral Health New Zealand days. She is a

doctor, she is such an intellect and she's such a great human being and we discuss her experience on adopting a bodybuilding lifestyle up until her first show. Currently Anastasia is in fact on her way to Seattle to compete in worlds for bodybuilding and natural bodybuilding so this was recorded prior to her decision to go there.

And I really wanted to chat to Anastasia because she brings a different perspective that you probably can't get from a professional who has done this several or multiple times. So that is next week on the show. For now, though, if you haven't already signed up to Fat Loss in the festive season, don't know what you're waiting for. The link is in the show notes today. And it is a free webinar this coming Sunday, the 12th of November, 4pm New Zealand time.

giving you practical tips and strategies to help with continuing your body composition goals up into the new year. Because hey, the year isn't over yet, let's make the most of it. Alright team, catch me on Instagram, threads and Twitter @mikkiwilliden, Facebook @mikkiwillidennutrition, head to my website mikkiwilliden.com, sign up to that webinar. See you later.