NBT People: Greg White [transcript]

Written by Christopher Kelly

April 16, 2019

[0:00:00]

Christopher:    Well, Greg, thank you so much for joining me today. I very much appreciate you taking the time to record this podcast with me, as I very much appreciate you as one of the original NBT clients. You've been with me since 2015, how cool is that. I can't believe it that the time has flown. You have been wonderful all the way along, so, thank you so much.

Greg:    Wonderful, and I'm sure a lot of email coming your way over the years.

Christopher:    A lot of emails, but it has been fun. I love this stuff like you. You figure some stuff out and then you want to help someone else achieve what you've achieved. Yes, a lot of emails, but it's not like you really notice it at work. It's not like digging holes in the ground. Although someone listening to this is probably digging holes in the ground for a living, thinking, you know what, I'd rather dig holes in the ground than answer all of your emails. You get my idea, right, that it's not really work when you love it.

Greg:    Yeah, that's right. I'm glad that it hasn't been too much.

Christopher:    So, 2015, you were already well on your way to where you are today. So, at least 2015, perhaps even before that, tell me about some of the things you figured out. Tell me about how you discovered MAF and how your GI symptoms came about. How did that all go down?

Greg:    Yeah, I think I probably heard about Nourish Balance Thrive, first, I think you and Ben Greenfield were talking about the organic acids test --

Christopher:    That was a long time ago.

Greg:    -- in 2014 or something, a long time ago, and just it made so much sense, around the same time that I first became aware of MAF just through a podcast called Trail Runner Nation. There are certain kinds of people who are always searching for a better answer, a better way to do things, and we do things sometimes for so long that it's just inertia carrying us along in the way we're doing these things. Then you hear someone go, "Oh, here's the better way," and it just clicks into place. I've heard that experience a lot of times with meditation, for instance, which is, oh, that's the solution that I'm looking for, these other things.

    So, MAF was a first step of, yeah, I was the typical endurance runner, always injured, always running way too hard, 20 milers with my running club would be done at tempo pace or whatever. You hear about, oh, here's a better way to train. Here's a better way to look at your health, not just, I feel fine. In the morning, my leg hasn't fallen off, so I'm healthy I guess.

    Then here you're talking about, through the organic acids test where you can get so into 80 different metabolic tests within the larger test and really get a clear picture of what's happening in your body. So that was the beginning of it for me where you go, oh, yeah, I've been doing -- even if it was working, it was not working on an existential level. Then you hear someone talking about these -- I guess they're not new to you, but they're certainly new to me, and the whole functional health journey unfolds. It's a real journey for everyone.

    So getting down the right path and being the beginning of the correct path for you is always much more exciting and satisfying than being way, way down the wrong path. Then, of course, you take a step back from training and then the focus becomes, in this much more macro sense, health which prior to that point hadn't really been part of the conversation. It was just performance and training.

Christopher:    That's really interesting to hear you say that, and I wonder whether we are two peas in a pod in this regard. Simon has said to me, "Not many people are like you, Chris, that you can just spin on a dime like that." It seems like you just said that you did the same thing, right? You're doing tempo runs is your bread and butter and then you hear one episode of the Trail Runner Nation podcast. I bet it was an interview with Phil Maffetone, wasn't it?

Greg:    Yeah.

Christopher:    It just clicked with you right there and then. Okay, all right, I'm done with tempo running. I'm going to do this MAF method thing. Is that really how it went down?

Greg:    Yeah, and you're totally right. My brother-in-law and I always joke. A lot of people, when they're making changes, it's like, well, I'm going to stop doing this one thing first and then I'll do the next thing after a few weeks of doing that. For my brother-in-law and I, we're just the same way. We're like, we could be doing something the same way every day for our entire lives and then someone gives us a compelling reason not to do that thing, and it's just never done again. That thing is dead to us. Oh, you shouldn't eat XYZ.

Christopher:    It's gone.

Greg:    Done, and I haven't had that thing in a decade or whatever. I take no credit for that. I think it's just probably a quirk of genetics.

Christopher:    Yeah, you're right.

Greg:    It's just so logical.

Christopher:    I think what normally happens is they hear that episode of the Trail Runner Nation podcast and all it does is it creates ambivalence. It creates cognitive dissonance. They have feelings both for and against. On the one hand, I don't really enjoy being injured all the time, but on the other, I really enjoy my tempo runs. I'm not sure I want to go really slower. Then maybe you try the MAF method and you think, this really sucks. I'm having to walk going uphill. This is not running. I'm not enjoying this.

    So you've got, on the one hand, you don't really want to be injured anymore, but on the other, you don't really like walking uphills. So then you procrastinate. You don't really change anything. You just get back to the status quo and nothing really changes, and I think that's more common. Yeah, that's great. Would you say that that's something that you do in other areas of your life? When you're writing, for example, say you write screenplays. Is that the correct word?

[0:05:17]

Greg:    Primarily television so, yeah, but screenplays are movie, film. I do that as well, but my primary is TV but, yeah, teleplays, screenplays, scripts.

Christopher:    Have you ever had this experience in your professional life where you thought -- let's just say hypothetically, I don't really know what I'm talking about -- oh, this style of writing or this thing that I've been doing in my work, I can see that there's a better way to do that. You've just switched overnight in the same way you've switched to your training style overnight.

Greg:    Yeah.

Christopher:    Or was it just particular to your health and fitness stuff?

Greg:    Everything you do, you should have the same general approach. Your process to one thing, I don't think it can be different from your process to another thing if you're really doing all those things authentically to yourself. If you were to approach things very logically and methodically in one area of your life, whereas in some area of your life, you're a psychopath, just with raging impulses; that will be a hard thing to square.

    Yes, it's everything I do. Writing is maybe harder to -- there's no MAF method for writing unfortunately. You can't figure out what's sustainable for you in that instance, in that area of life, but I certainly do apply a very similar -- the way that you would approach any kind of training modality, I take a very long-term view of these things. So, yeah, when I'm writing something, it's so easy to get frustrated that you aren't --

    Similar to MAF, you're not, on day one, running 6:30 pace. You're running a ten-minute pace, but you know that you just committed to this process. In six months, that's probably going to bring you somewhere that you want to be. By doing that, A, you commit to a process that you're going to enjoy because that is the majority of your life, the process. The outcomes come in these little bursts. Beyond that, I don't know, you're going to just have a probably better experience of it, and everything seems to be better because it's that process.

    So, with writing, I just believe, yeah, in just chipping away, five pages a day. Maybe it's not great at first. I'm a big believer in the vomit drafts, getting just your first draft out as fast as possible and it's complete garbage. You have something now to respond to. You have something, some framework to begin addressing as opposed to just never writing a word unless you're convinced that it's going to be perfect, every line. [0:07:41] [Indiscernible].

    Yeah, I think it's probably more like a patient approach is probably what it is, and not needing the results to come that fast. I think changing that is easy because you're like on a big boat that's just thousands of miles from destination that you want to be at. If you're just turning this way or that way is easy because you're not really in a rush to get where you think you need to be.

Christopher:    That's really interesting to hear you say that about the writing process that you just vomit out all of your ideas. What does it look like after that? Then you edit relentlessly. At what point do you feel it's ready to show to another human?

Greg:    I'm not very precious with my writing. I have managers and I have an agent and stuff, and they read everything that I am trying to sell or pitch. I get them stuff as soon as I have something that is down the road far enough where it's not complete garbage, but often I send them stuff at the point where I go, I've done as much as I can do with this draft. I know why it's not good. I don't know how to get it where it needs to be.

    A screenplay, for instance, I'm certainly new to that, the film as a medium, and the past year I've been really diving into and trying to make some inroads on that side of the industry. With film, you're really saying, here are the 60 or whatever scenes that are the only important story points that's a complete arc for this character. Here's the entire story. It has to fit and has to be satisfying. It's really a novel. It has really got to all fit together. So I'm so aware of my shortcomings because it is a new style for me or a new medium. I really try to adhere to the whole beginner's brain attitude towards things.

Christopher:    That's what I was going to say.

Greg:    Also Carol Dreck, is that it, Dreck?

Christopher:    Carol Dweck, MindSet.

Greg:    Dweck, yes, MindSet, and the whole fixed mindset. I think of that a lot actually because whenever you get frustrated, you can have two responses to that frustration. You go, okay, I'm frustrated because I'm not where I want to be, period, or I'm not where I want to be yet. The first one is the fixed mindset. Oh, I'm terrible with this. The other one is like, oh, I can learn to do this better. It just is going to take me a little while to do it maybe.

    So, I try to just get things out. I tend to work more in volume basis with everything where -- and we get off writing in a second -- I try to approach it more like, okay, I've gotten it as far as I can take it. Now I'm ego-less enough to know that I need help getting it to the next level. It lacks this kind of thing. It lacks a character, motivation, things haven't escalated enough or plot is being too determined by external events versus character decision. I know that those things have to be there but, hey, guys, can you help me out because right now, I've gone as far as I can go on this current iteration of this project.

[0:10:42]

Christopher:    That's amazing. It seems like we're talking about something that's completely off-topic, but it's really not, is it? This is a general framework that people can use to think about problems.

Greg:    Yeah, absolutely right.

Christopher:    It applies to everything.

Greg:    Well, I think so much of it too. Listening to the MindSet audio book was really interesting because a lot of it felt very obvious to me. I don't mean that as a way of tooting my own horn. It just felt like, well of course, you get better at things. Of course you just develop as a person. You couldn't walk. You couldn't speak when you were born. You didn't know how to write and read. We become so impatient as adults that, why haven't I mastered this thing? I have an iPhone. It's like, well, not everything is just an app, click away.

    Also causing the question, do you actually want to be doing the thing you think you want to be doing? If I fundamentally didn't like writing or believed in the power of storytelling or if I didn't have personal experiences watching movies or TV shows or listening to music where I really innately believed in the potency of that experience as someone making the thing but also someone who is very fond of watching and taking in those things, I wouldn't spend the time trying to get better at writing.

    Similarly, if you wanted to arbitrarily learn German and then you get into more challenging sentence structures and verb tenses and conjugations, if you don't care about learning German, you're never going to stick with it. So I think part of it comes down to actually knowing yourself on that level.

    It applies to sport as well. I'm sure you've seen a lot of athletes in your patient population who had been hard-charging endurance athletes, five marathons a year or whatever and then at a certain point go, "Why am I doing this? What am I even doing?" I think part of it comes down to just constantly questioning the things that we're doing, how we're spending our attention and time.

Christopher:    Yeah, absolutely. I think this is common when people read MindSet by Carol Dweck is that they realize they have the growth mindset in some areas of their life and then have a fixed mindset in others. When I read the book, I'm not sure, did I ever think this, but the classic one is people think that people are born musical or I'm born good at math. Some people are good at math, some people are not. I can't believe I just said math because I'm British and we say maths.

    Okay, so Simon has accused me of having a fixed mindset with respect to training. Up until very recently, and maybe even still to this point, the main thing that's going to determine your performance outcome is whether or not you're healthy. I don't care whether you do jumping jacks or some other form of training. The most important thing is that you're healthy. That's a fixed mindset, right? You think that nothing you do in training is going to make that big of an impact. It's probably wrong. Maybe that fixed mindset is dissolving a little bit over time.

Greg:    Do you mean that in the sense -- sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you -- do you mean that in the sense that your performance and training should not negatively impact your health?

Christopher:    No, I just think that -- this is all rooted in my own personal experience which is a red flag right there. I've done lots of different types of training on the bike. I've done long slow distance. I've done high intensity intervals. I've done a lot of different things. Nothing seems to have quite the same impact that getting healthy did.

Greg:    Oh, I see.

Christopher:    If I look at my blood chemistry from seven years ago and I look at it now, it's a totally different story. If I can put a point or even two points on your hemoglobin, that's going to have a massive impact on your performance. Whereas the type of training you choose I think is going to have a much lesser impact. I think that's going to be a much smaller game. To be fair, the two things are not mutually exclusive. You could have the health and go for performance and have your cake and eat it, so to speak.

    I think that many people, when they read that book, MindSet by Carol Dweck, they'll find they're probably in a fixed mindset when it comes to some things, and they have a growth mindset when it comes to others.

Greg:    And that's fine, right? One thing that I'm really leaning into as I go further into adulthood, I'll be 35 next week, and --

Christopher:    Happy Birthday.

Greg:    Oh, thank you. I was fishing for a Happy Birthday. It's a real joy to feel like you're gaining more self-awareness and better understanding. I think in the past, when you discovered you have some, not shortcoming but some, whatever, flawed way of looking at the world, we can judge that. Instead of going, oh, I have a fixed mindset here and growth mindset there, and isn't that a shame that I'm fixed mindset in the first category; it's like, okay, observe it, acknowledging the, okay, how can I begin to unwind some of those firmly held beliefs without judging it?

[0:15:32]

Christopher:    Talk about what you've learned with respect to diet. When you first came to us, you had a bunch of GI symptoms. I don't know. I feel like the gut thing is almost an ongoing battle. My last GI-MAP -- sorry to switch gears, but hopefully this would be useful to someone -- but my last GI-MAP I just did recently, it was completely normal. It's like the first really perfect one I've really ever had, and it has been seven years since I've started doing those tests. It has been a long journey.

    I'm still really sensitive. I can't just walk into any old restaurant and order whatever I like off the menu and expect for there not to be repercussions. So I think it's not right to say that it's a goal. Oh, I'm going to fix my gut. It's a goal. It's more like a value. It's like a direction that you're heading. It's a constant work in progress.

    When I asked you that question of what have you learned about your diet, I'm not expecting to say, "Oh, well, I just made these simple changes and then it was job done." I'm expecting maybe you do still get some GI symptoms from time to time, and usually you know why that has happened. But start at the beginning, go back to, I don't know, 2015 at least, probably earlier than that and talk about some of the GI symptoms that you were having and how that -- what's it like running when you have a bunch of GI symptoms?

Greg:    At the time, I wasn't even that aware of having symptoms necessarily. I can recall being a kid, we would always go to my grandma's house on Sundays and we'd have all these prosciutto and [0:17:06] [Indiscernible] and all these Italian cured meats on the table. I'd eat prosciutto and my throat would get scratchy. I get an allergy response. Now I can know it was an allergy response. Back then, I guess when you eat prosciutto, you get an itchy throat. [0:17:19] [Indiscernible] case.

Christopher:    That's how it works.

Greg:    At the time when I was coming to Nourish Balance Thrive, it was more like, oh, when I have meat, I get really not great GI symptoms. If I have sweet potatoes, I get really gassy. I guess this is how it happens when you eat sweet potatoes or if I eat meat.

Christopher:    Yes, that's what they do.

Greg:    Yeah, they were doing this, right? It wasn't until talking with you guys, and you're like, "Oh, you're a mess. Look at all these numbers." The organic acids test probably showed a bunch of that stuff initially.

Christopher:    Yeah, objectively, that's true. It's something that that testing is useful for is, objectively, this is not normal.

Greg:    Or it was normal to me. It was normal and then regular. Normal is maybe the objective and regular is, well, this is what's normal for me at the moment, but that's not what you want.

Christopher:    It could be common. It's not normal. It's certainly not optimal.

Greg:    That's right. So, that is the situation back then.

Christopher:    Yeah, and you're absolutely right. I think I spent most of my life, up until the age of about 30 years, probably at least, actually I'm 43 now, probably longer than that, not even knowing what normal was. I had to be constantly farting. I had a basketball where my belly was. I just didn't realize that wasn't normal because that had always been my normal. It had always been like that. So that was a discovery for you as well then that's not normal.

Greg:    Yeah, and then you started working on -- at the time, it was a lot of the fibers and those jugs of is it NOW Foods or whatever, the different probiotics and prebiotics, so taking all of those at the time. To your point, it is an ongoing thing because there are times, maybe during higher stress, where I have my gut symptoms come back out of nowhere for a few months and go, oh, this is weird. Or to your point, you go to a restaurant and have a meal, and the next day your gut is weird. Or maybe you have a period of bad sleep and that makes your gut weird. I don't know if my gut is more variable now or if I'm just more aware of it now. I think it's probably the latter.

Christopher:     Yeah, and I worry about the nocebo effect that Malcolm Kendrick called it. I did an interview with the British GP, Malcolm Kendrick. I think it's my favorite episode to date. Malcolm called it the no-brainer effect. I saw and got the joke after he said it. It's basically you would expect there to be bad outcomes so there is a bad outcome, but if you had a brain and you would see the thing, you would see that trap and you wouldn't fall into it. I like to think that I don't do that to myself. I'd eat something in a restaurant with the expectation that it's going to cause harm and then of course it will cause harm.

Greg:    Well, I think of it with sleep all the time too. I have this Oura ring that I wear that I've taken off for our conversation because I just shake my hands a lot. It often thinks that I've walked 10,000 steps during lunch or dinner because I'm talking so much like this with the hands.

[0:20:08]

Christopher:    I didn't know that.

Greg:    So it's currently off my finger, but having that, I'm sure I've always had similarly spotty sleep as an adult anyway. Yet now I'm just that much more aware of it. There's a trap that everyone goes through when they start to quantify anything, whether it's heart rate in their MAF training or quantifying their sleep in some way or another, or the HRV, where you do the first, it's interesting. Then you get a little more into it and it can be a stress to know, oh, I didn't sleep last night as well. My score is low. Oh, no, I'm going to die. Then you get past that phase and then you just learn, okay, well, whatever, I didn't sleep last night.

Christopher:    Accept it.

Greg:    Yeah, right, accepting it. That's right.

Christopher:     I don't like this, I don't want this, but I might make room for it.

Greg:    Yeah, and I work from home right now. I finished a show a few months ago, so I'm just at home working on my own stuff right now. If I don't sleep well, I can go, okay, take a nap then after lunch and sleep for a half-hour. Then you're okay. Don't worry about it.

Christopher:    No big deal, yeah.

Greg:    Last year was the year of sleep, I feel like, because I'd go on every podcast, a couple of books had come out about sleep. You hear all these data points about increased risk of cancer and Alzheimer's. You go, oh, my God, I only got seven hours last night. I'm going to be dead in a week. I'm going to die.

Christopher:    I don't think that was what any of the experts' intent when they give you this information.

Greg:    No, no.

Christopher:    It's interesting. It has kind of unfolded. You figured out you're eating now what I would describe as a Paleo-type diet but not necessarily low carb, right? It's a mixed diet, Paleo-type diet.

Greg:    Yeah. It's like the Nourish Balance Thrive diet, I would say.

Christopher:    Oh, blimey, you just coined that right there.

Greg:    Yeah, that's right.

Christopher:    I wouldn't like to say that there's one true diet actually. I don't think there's one true diet for humans in it's very much an individual thing. I think that's probably one of the mistakes that we're all making, is looking to experts for the exact number of carbohydrates you should eat. I don't think anybody knows. You've just got to figure that out for yourself which is great.

Greg:    It's frustrating. It's great and frustrating.

Christopher:    It's just frustrating. Yeah, wouldn't it be easy if somebody could just tell me, give me the answer. It would be so much easier.

Greg:    Yeah, 100 grams a day or something like that.

Christopher:    Yeah, it's 150.

Greg:    It does seem to be the number has turned out a lot in talking to you guys in the forum, 150 a day. How did you guys arrive at that just ballpark number without saying that it's the one true number?

Christopher:    Greg put me on the spot a little bit here, so I'm recording this addendum after we finished recording the interview so that I can give you our exact calorie and carbohydrate intake recommendations for athletes. Now it's important to keep in mind that these are just defaults. That is the first thing that we should try. Having said that, we think that athletes should be consuming at least 15 calories per pound of body weight per day. Otherwise we think we're just wasting our time. Ideally, it will be 10 to 20% above that, and that is not taking into account your training.

    We believe that carbohydrates are ergogenic, and we recommend at least one gram per pound per day for glycolytic sports around workouts. More than that, two grams per pound per day is more typical for our endurance athletes. Now this can be important for stimulating hunger. If you're not hungry, you don't eat enough food, you don't get any benefit from your training.

    It's also important to remember that real food is less calorie-dense. For example, one pound of sweet potatoes is 75 grams of net carbohydrates. That means for someone like me who weighs around 155 pounds, I'm probably going to have to eat 4, 5, maybe even 6 pounds of sweet potatoes per day. Now that is a lot of eating, so sometimes you just need to eat some ice cream to get those calories in. Although this is not what we would recommend for the general population, you have to remember that we're not working with the general population. We're working with athletes and like-minded people.

    So, I hope you find that helpful. If you'd like to know more then I'd recommend that you watch Tommy's AHS18 talk that is now available online. The title is The Athlete's Gut: The Pitfalls of Fueling for Modern Performance. There will be a link for that talk in the show notes that you can find over at nourishbalancethrive.com/podcast. Now, back to the interview.

Greg:    Going back to the diet question, I definitely feel like now, the thing that I struggle with, eating a much more -- I never ate a bad diet by any means, but the things that I thought were good were like -- for a while I was vegetarian by accident, maybe in 2000, I don't know, say, '11 or '12. I would think that a great meal was a big bowl of quinoa and some broccoli and whatever else. Whereas now I would look at it more like, okay, well, that's not the worst thing you could eat. It's definitely not a jug of soda, but that isn't necessarily ideal.

 

[0:25:14]

    Now I would say my diet is much more ancestral-Paleo kind of thing. It's liverwurst and ghee and coconut oil and a lot fatty cuts of meat. I have some [0:25:27] [Indiscernible] behind me actually right now. I will say, to your point about not eating enough food, I think the challenge when we eat a much more Paleo diet and more "clean diet" is getting enough calories depending on your activity level. I certainly am aware, I've been working with Zach now since about May, on more of the strength-build. Now I'm just starting to get back into running, and I noticed immediately upon getting into even a four-hour-week mark of running, like, oh, I'm not eating that food.

    My sleep tanked a little bit once the running started to go up. I almost tracked with my Oura ring, for instance, if I plot two data points, one is activity and one is recovery score or sleep, overall sleep quality, those two things then generally seem to go in different directions. So, the more activity I'm getting, the worse my sleep and recovery is. The only thing I can really attribute that to is I'm not eating enough food to keep pace with even a moderate amount of exercise. So that is still the thing that I'm working on, I would say, and probably could be eating more carbs, I suppose. I don't know. It's one of those ongoing tinkering projects for me.

Christopher:    I think 1.5 grams per kilo of body mass for carbohydrates do seem to be a good starting point for the people that we work with who are typically very active. For me, that's over 150 grams of carbohydrates do seem to be -- it's a reasonable default, shall we say.

Greg:    Yeah, you can always scale back if you are getting weight or something or whatever. I guess going lower, it's harder to know -- it's similar to what we were talking about before really, isn't it, with gut stuff where you don't know what's normal until you've experienced normal. Then you can go, oh, now I'm plus or minus. How would you know that someone was not eating, say, enough carbohydrates, without going down a super rabbit hole because this is a tangent, but is it just fatigue, energy levels, performance, sleep?

Christopher:    Yeah, all of the above.

Greg:    All of the above, everything worse.

Christopher:    We're asking people questions both subjectively with the health assessment questionnaire and we're looking at objective markers in blood chemistry, for example. So, a very typical athlete profile for someone that's just under-fueled in general, and it won't just be carbohydrate. People are just not eating enough of everything. Then you might often see an elevated fasting blood glucose, but it has nothing to do with diabetes. It's the highest number that you'll see throughout the day. If you get that person to wear a continuous glucose monitor, you would never see a number higher than the number that you see first thing in the morning. Then you might also see very low triglycerides. It goes on.

    It's like, subjectively, we're looking at the health assessment questionnaire. We ask people questions, like, in the last seven days, I felt tired. In the last seven days, I was too tired to exercise strenuously. You see this constellation of signs and symptoms that might indicate they're -- then you look at a food diary and you see that somebody is eating 30 grams of carbohydrate a day and then training to be an elite spartan racer. I don't think this could work.

    Of course everything is an experiment. You never know with certainty that this is the answer. Even though once you've done the experiment and things seem to have improved, you still don't really know that the thing that you did was the right answer. It's almost like, oh, here's an idea. Let's investigate this and see where it takes us. Maybe it takes us nowhere, and maybe it's the answer. We don't know. It's all about generating a hypothesis and then testing it in your day to day life and figuring it out. Even though I like the idea of the Nourish Balance Thrive diet, superficially, in practice, I would not be able to describe that diet.

Greg:    Yeah. It's funny, as you're talking about all those things, I'm like, yup, yup, yup, check, check, check.

Christopher:    I should mention, Brad Kearns has done a series of excellent interviews with Tommy on --

Greg:    Yeah, those were great.

Christopher:    Yeah, you've heard them, on his new Get Over Yourself podcast. So, if you want to understand this phenotype better then listen to those interviews with Brad Kearns because Brad has definitely been there and done that and gotten better from it too, so, yeah, listen to it back then.

Greg:    It's funny because he was one of the big components. You always hear him going keto and low carb and MAF and high fat. You realize, oh, yeah, that's all and well but look at your blood chemistry and all these markers are in the tank. Maybe there's some moderation to be applied here.

Christopher:    Yeah, it's actually working until it doesn't work and then you're like, oh, crap, I guess it's not working. It creeps up on you, doesn't it?

Greg:    Well it's funny, to your point about normal. You get used to being very groggy in the morning. Well, I'm just groggy again. Then you go, ah, that shouldn't be the case. I'm still working on that. I don't know. It's one of those ongoing things with sleep, for sure.

[0:30:13]

Christopher:    I think what's going on with the athletes that we work with is that -- so everybody else is eating a highly processed diet. If I were to just grab one of my neighbors here and look at what they ate for breakfast, it would be the usual suspects. It would be breakfast cereal, it would be orange juice, just a bunch of refined carbohydrates. For those people, it's very difficult for them to regulate their food intake because the hypothalamus is just not used to seeing food like that. Whereas, the food that we're eating is a lot less calorie-dense, and it's a lot easier for our brains to regulate food intake.

    I think we've had decades of telling ourselves that we have to be really careful that we don't eat too much food. So we apply some of the same rules that we learned from the highly processed diet to our now minimally processed diet and the result is, especially when you combine it with exercise, a lot of it, probably more than our genes were ever expecting then you end up with this under-eating phenotype that can be quite harmful.

    So, you just have to forget some of the stuff that you learned whilst you're eating a highly processed diet and shove that in. Sometimes that means eating when you're not hungry which is very counter-intuitive. I worry about talking about this on the podcast because there are probably some people listening to whom this doesn't apply at all.

    Really, it's just the people like you and me who are trying to do crazy stuff, either with running for you and mountain biking for me, that this applies. Obviously there are lots of different types of athletes out there, but if you're largely sedentary, just walking 5,000 steps a day and that's it then probably these rules that I talk about, they don't apply to you. Again, you have to become your own expert and figure this out.

Greg:    Yeah, that's right. Did you ever hear that TED Talk, Run for Your Life but not too Fast, at a Moderate Pace? Have you heard that?

Christopher:    No, I love the title though. I will now.

Greg:    Yeah, it's a great title. It's kind of crazy. I get some small quibbles with how he defines certain things. He tends to say easy pace. I would say, well, easy heart rate because pace is very relative to a million different things. He makes the point that beyond many minutes a week of just moderate jogging basically, that's where the benefit really stops. Beyond that, it's neutral and beyond, way above that, it's actually harmful. How people like high-endurance athletes have all this scar in their heart tissue and you talked about the sarcopenia of high-level endurance athletes. It call on the question, why exactly would someone do this?

    Now that I'm getting back into -- having done a purely six-month just strength-build in the gym with Zach's guidance and very, very minimal running, a jog or two per week of 30 minutes in my little LUNA sandals -- now I'm getting back to maybe two days in the gym with four days of running and starting to build a back-up into a base period. I do have marathon goals that are intrinsically valuable to me. It's one of those things where it's like, I don't know, maybe you moderate the goals. It's once per year, and you spend half the year training for and then half the year, pure strength.

    That performance versus longevity podcast that you guys did really put it in very stark terms for me where it's like, yeah, you can do this without a lot of harm, but is that the best metric of the validity of a pursuit that it doesn't just kill you? Strength training, for instance, has a real benefit. That's plus in the category. If the best you can say about endurance training is that it's not going to necessarily be the worst thing in the world, oh, it's the healthier cigarette; it makes you question the whole thing a little bit.

    Now there's the joy component. I enjoy being in a race environment. I enjoy the whole pursuit. I enjoy the structure the marathon build comes with. I enjoy the fact that it's an interesting, just an old, simple sport, go out your front door. Again, that podcast is one that I've referred a lot of friends to, that you guys did with Simon, you and Tommy, where it's like, yeah, maybe take a second look at the very least.

    I'm not saying don't do this endurance training but know, at least, what the trade-offs are and what the balancing act is. It's like a vegan diet. You can do a vegan diet really well, but you have to supplement very carefully around it to do it well. It's marathon training at this point for me. You can do it really well but then you have to supplement it with strength training and then periods where you're not doing it.

Christopher:    Interesting. This is quite recent, isn't it? That podcast with Simon and Tommy is quite recent. I'll link to that in the show notes. I guess we've been talking about the importance of strength training on the podcast for a long time and the importance of the type 2a fast twitch fibers. Those are the ones that are going to keep you well-balanced when you slip in the bathtub and prevent you from breaking your hip and ending up in a hospital which you may not come out of.

[0:35:24]

    I just recorded a podcast with Paul Laursen on high-intensity interval training where he talks about that intensity is one of those important inputs that helps you hang onto those fast twitch fibers. Was it just another Greg White, oh, I'm just going to spin on a fucking dime here and have my goal being, oh, I want to run a sub three-hour marathon, to I want to live as many quality years as I can possibly get my hands on? Or was it a gradual process?

Greg:    Again it comes down to, you can do things for so long in a certain way and then at a certain point, you're like, this is not working. What is the realization that's going to push you towards realizing that the thing isn't working? For me, it was really last winter, winter 2017 into 2018, the beginning of 2018. I had some race on the calendar in that way of signing up for some race almost at random, training, training, training, cramming for the final exam, getting injured, canceling the race, deferring. If I go on my Google Map or rather my Gmail and type in 'race deferral', I'd probably find a thousand results for different races I've tried to defer out of injury.

    I got injured again last year. I was running in the snow a lot back in Jersey over the Holidays in these little Yaktrax, these little icy grippy things you can put on your shoes so you can run in the snow.

Christopher:    I never heard of that.

Greg:    They're great but it's like, if it's snowing, just don't run. What are you doing? Oh, no, this is great, a flame-retardant gel that I can apply so I can jog through fire, just don't jog -- it's fine. It's fine if you don't run today. It's a blizzard out. You're okay.

Christopher:    It's because you're not running from something now, Greg. That's what it is.

Greg:    That's it.

Christopher:    I was biking away from something, and you were running away from something. Now you figured that part out.

Greg:    Maybe now I'm running toward something. So I was running a lot in the snow last year, tweaked my, I don't know, high quad hip flexor, a new injury, a fun, new injury to add to the injuries that I've had over the years. I was like, what am I doing?

    This is just so stupid to be worn down, running in the snow, injured again and then you go through the cycle of -- this is really the junkie in every endurance athlete where you get injured and you're trying to bargain with the injury. Well if I only do 42 minutes then it doesn't hurt so much. Or if I go to the PT afterwards or the guy with the lasers and the scrapers, I can maybe run tomorrow. Just rest. What are you doing? At a certain point you look in the mirror and you've got the figurative equivalent of a needle in your arm. You're like, oh, this is not a good look, as you're limping back from the chiropractor or something or the massage therapist.

    It's funny. I went back and looked at an early post I made on the Nourish Balance Thrive forum, and it's so funny to have a look at it because I very tentatively posted: Thinking about taking a break from the marathon. As though I were saying I'm a Mormon priest, and I'm like, I'm thinking of taking a step back from the church, you guys. It was like a sacrilegious kind of thing. Oh, you're out of the fold now, go, you're exiled. Now it's like, hey, guys --

Christopher:    Sorry, I'll just go ahead and cancel your contract.

Greg:    Hey, I'm thinking of quitting smoking, guys. I don't mean to be crazy here, but I'm thinking of stopping smoking. Then I talked to Zach on Message Board or in private messages or over email, and, hey, how would it work if I were looking to incorporate more strength training?

    In the past year or two or three, I got into the kettlebell stuff which is enjoyable, and the steel clubs and the steel mace, some of the Onnit equipment. I was enjoying that side of things. Even before that I had started working with Tawnee Prazak as my coach back in, I don't know, 2013, '14-ish, '15 maybe. She's wonderful and also the proponent of strength training and MAF.

    So I started doing some strength work through her in a much more structured way, but that's ever only to support running. I'll do some kettlebell swings just to help the running. Then at a certain point, after this last injury last year, I said, you know what, this is just stupid. So I talked to Zach and said, you know what, let's just -- I've always wanted to see what it would be like to do a pure strength-build, so we just went for it. It was one of the best things that I've ever done in my life, is just going to committing to a pure --

    My goal is, all right, I'm going to just do strength. I will run for fun, what a concept. I'm not supporting a race goal or anything, just, oh, I'm going to go out. I love running in LUNA sandals, so I'll go as far as I can go with those things. It's good for functional strength. It's good for the lower leg functionality. It makes your feet stronger. It's just an enjoyable way to run, so I'll do maybe one, maybe two half-hour jogs a week, just pure fun. That was the only goal with running at that time. The rest of the days it was either rest or three days in the gym doing, at the time, early on, it was built around front squat, back squat, deadlift and then we started to make some progress. It was just great.

[0:40:37]

    You can feel good after a long run. You can feel good having achieved a certain level of fitness, but it's more with a narrative construct, I feel like, around running. I got a good, long run in. I can relax now. I've got that runner's high. I'm going to have a nap later on and a big lunch. These are all nice things but it feels really good to be strong in a way that running fast does not feel.

Christopher:    No shit.

Greg:    You know what I mean?

Christopher:    It's incredible.

Greg:    When you're buying new pants, because your quads and butt and hips are bigger --

Christopher:    I like that.

Greg:    -- it's a great feeling. Oh, this is what it feel like to be a functional human being, not a functional triathlete or functional marathoner because it's a very different definition of functionality. It's like, can you run in a straight line really fast or be in arrow position for four hours really well versus, hey, I just deadlifted 2x body weight or something like that where you feel much more embodied or emboldened in an embodied way.

Christopher:    It's a great feeling that lasts. You live in your body all the time. It's not just when you're running that you exist as a human. It's all the time. I feel like being stronger, carrying more muscular mass, it just improves your quality of life all the time. Although you do notice it in certain circumstances like, for example, I'm carrying both my kids up really steep steps that lead up to my house. I can do that, and I've got a bounce in my step. I'm thinking, wow, this feels really good.

    Whereas, in the peak of my endurance training days, I can really vividly remember actually. I recorded a podcast interview with a former client, Will Caterson, and he talked about this, that you'd be climbing a set of stairs and you feel this burning sensation in your quads like you're in the middle of some hard interval. You're thinking, what the heck, I'm supposed to be an athlete. I can't even climb one set of steps without getting a bit of a burn on. This is not right. Something is going on here.

    From what we've said so far, you might think that Nourish Balance Thrive is against running. It's not that we're against endurance activity. It's just that we're pro-strength training. We're trying to make a case for strength training, and we would encourage the endurance athletes to add a strength regime as part of their training plan, as many others have argued too, Tawnee being one of them.

    I hired Tawnee as a consultant a couple of years ago, and she said something very similar to me. Another important thing that she said to me was that you need to broaden -- when she looked at what I was doing, she said, "Oh, you need to broaden out the movement of your team." Because when you look at it, you're only really doing one thing, so she had me do all kinds of interesting stuff.

    Think about the difference between -- we were talking about this on the forum recently -- the difference between exercise and physical activity and movement. They're not really the same thing. Exercise is a subset of movement. You need to think about all the things that a human is capable of and not just spinning tiny circles in a sitting position whilst on a bicycle.

Greg:    Well, that's actually right. I think that is the crux of the whole thing for me. At a certain point, you realize that you've defined yourself in one very specific way, whether or not your ego is attached to that pursuit, whether you think of yourself as I am Chris the mountain biker, I am Greg the runner.

    I've had those periods of time when I had really been gutted, existentially, from not being able to run. Well if I don't run, who am I, truly, which is insane now to think of. I do think there's this addictive relationship that even if it's not an unhealthy or the worst -- I mean, it's not an addiction because we're not doing sex in an alleyway in exchange for a long run.

Christopher:    Right. I talked about this with Simon and it's an important point. Addictions normally come with some sort of serious downside, some sort of deleterious side effects.

Greg:    Yeah, you're skipping work to go for a long run or something.

Christopher:    Yeah, they're generally destructive. It's pretty difficult to say that about running.

Greg:    It's probably offensive to people with actual addiction problems. It's more just like though you've had this very -- maybe we can talk about meditation later on too because it does tie into this -- you have this very narrow definition of health or Phil Maffetone talks about fit but unhealthy. Oh, you're super fast, you're a really good runner, but you are a disaster in every other way you measure a human's functionality.

[0:45:02]

    I think at the end of the day, it comes down to, do you want to limit the experiences you can have being in your body or do you want to be great at running in a fast line and a complete disaster? Or as Katy Bowman says, "You want to have a broader movement nutrition diet." Your foot, for instance shouldn't just be on the flat pavement. It should be on grass and walking over roots and gravel. It should have different loading rates. It's the same with your body.

    Until you know what it's like to do a heavy back squat and really experience that -- I mean, heavy, relative to you. My max set is literally someone's warm-up at the gym. I'm not saying that I'm some strong man here, but it really is just a different experience of being alive. Do you want to be limited or do you want to be robust? Kelly Starrett talks about this quite a bit too. You should have a robust expression of a healthy human body, should be able to go in a lot of different directions versus just -- I mean, figuratively, but also not just sagittal plane.

Christopher:    Talk about when you first started getting into the gym and performing some of the movements that Zach was programming for you, was that not hard? I hear a lot of endurance athletes that when they start strength training, they say things like, "I just don't enjoy it like I do the running," or biking or whatever it is.

    What I think is going on is they haven't yet achieved any competency, and they're very, very good at the other things that they've been doing like running or cycling. Generally, those things require a low level of competency anyway. It's not like running is technically particularly difficult. You could say the same is true of cycling especially on the road. It's, technically, not very demanding.

    Whereas, some of the movements that you've been performing with Zach, personally, I think they're quite technical, and it's very, very helpful to go backwards and forwards with the video and have them give feedback to you because it's not terribly intuitive especially for people who like you and me that spend a lot of time running or cycling. Did you not experience any of that? Did you not get through a session, you think, I wouldn't mind going for a run tomorrow rather than doing all this? That never happened to you?

Greg:    When I started lifting -- I grew up North Jersey, and it's always, when in high school, you go to the gym and upper body only, bis and tris, so I had some basic background in the gym since I was a teenager.

Christopher:    Okay, so you already had some level of competency.

Greg:    Yeah, and I enjoyed it always, and I always felt like I was missing it when I was doing a lot of running. Oh, it would be so cool if I could get back in the gym and deadlift. I really just believed -- I don't know. I believed in it. I liked the idea of it. A lot of the things that we're interested in that give our lives meaning, we've built these narratives around them.

    I've been following the Kelly Starrett camp a lot in the past years with M/WOD. I thought it was cool. Look at these strong guys, hanging out, squatting together, very Top Gun, playing volleyball in gym shorts kind of thing. So much for that, but that's not me.

Christopher:    You're not an at-home-gym guy then. You're actually going into a real gym.

Greg:    I used to be but, well, just to answer the question more accurately, by the time that I got back into the gym with Zach's guidance, I was so over endurance training for that time period. I knew I needed to have a long break from doing things the same way because I was so tired of I'm just not moving well.

    I went to the Olympic trials in February 2016 here in Los Angeles for the marathon. Everyone who has run under a certain time gets into the trials, and the top three men, top three women get onto the Olympic marathon team. So I went to watch it. It's probably 150 men, 150 women, something in that ballpark, a few hundred runners, in other words.

    You could see a difference. These are all fast runners but the top ten, let's just say, men and women versus the bottom ten men, women, the gap between movement quality was like the Grand Canyon. Someone could be a very fast runner, but they're movement is garbage. So that was always an interesting part of it for me too, is let me take a big step back. Let me get this foundation of actual strength.

    I, in my head, had these general metrics of what strong meant. For me, it was 2x body weight on deadlift, one-and-a-halfx body weight on the squat and then one-to-one on the bench press, say, for reps, for two to three reps at an 8, 9 RPE, so then I got there.

    

    Then I began doing -- maybe even before that, I was doing a thing called FRC, functional range conditioning, which is a mobility modality where it's not just -- M/WOD is tissue work, and it's more passive range of motion. This is training active range of motion at the joints, so the shoulder capsule, the hip capsule and trying to improve the internal, external rotation as well as flexion extension.

[0:50:08]

    So I always felt like, all right, if I'm going to take this big step back, let me -- and also the LUNA sandals are part of this picture as well. So the gym was part of this overall product that I had, this goal of achieving better movement quality to the ultimate goal eventually of being able to own the miles in an eventual marathon build as opposed to, yeah, I can do it. I can do the work. I can do the run. I can do 60 miles a week, but what's the quality of movement? What's the integrity of my strength? Am I really doing this or am I patchworking around this very basic human self-expression?

    I think even looking at a video of a running shoe, if I were to just run in, say, a LUNA sandal, even -- I realize I'm on a tangent here but just to tie in. I even looked at LUNA sandals as part of that strength training background because you had to start from scratch with those even. HOKA, you can put a HOKA shoe on and it's a tool that allows you to do the work that you want to do, but how cool would it be if you could get to a 20-mile run or a marathon in those LUNA sandals because you really built up from the ground up, some base of real functionality.

    So, for me, I looked at the strength training side of that as part of this overall project. By the time I got into the gym, I had such a belief system built around the importance of this thing, so it wasn't, oh, I've got to go for a run, and I don't like doing pull-ups or something. It was like, oh, I'm going to transform the way I move and then a marathon is secondary. It really becomes, oh, I'm going to become a functional athlete. I can do stuff.

 

    As opposed to some of these people I see, these top-level runners, they're fast. They're achievements are impressive in that forum, but they looked like they have survived a Civil War. They don't look healthy. So, yeah, it was sort of an existential thing, and that's probably why I can turn on a dime so fast because --

Christopher:    Yeah, because it's not really a dime. We're not talking about these guys like -- no, yeah -- we're not talking about these guys that say, "Oh, I just don't enjoy the strength training as much as I do riding my bike." Those people are just in a very different place from where you were when you went into the gym. You had already been through a long journey of transformation before finally, you were ready to take action. The guys that I'm talking to, they're in a totally different place. They're contemplators, you might call it. They know they have a problem, but they haven't done anything about it yet so asking them to perform some action is a bit much. It's rushing things.

Greg:    Yes, it's arbitrary to them. It feels very arbitrary. I think there's a post on the forum recently about someone wanting to make a change and how I make habits stick. The thing I always come back to that Simon has talked about a lot is you need a why to make a real change in your life that's going to stick. If they're at a high-level endurance hobbyist or amateur or professional level, you have that why for those things, but sometimes you need to take a step back to really reexamine those convictions.

    Maybe if you do really believe in making some kind of change, it comes down to taking a good long look at maybe, yeah, it's going to feel uncomfortable and new but if you believe it enough, that conviction sustains the periods of discomfort until it becomes this real relationship with whatever the new thing is.

Christopher:    Yeah, motivation is what comes later. I did a whole podcast on this on Patreon with Simon. You can find this on Patreon by searching for Nourish Balance Thrive. I did a series of in-person interviews with Simon Marshall, and that was one of the things we talked about, was motivation. Essentially what Simon said is fuck your motivation. In the beginning, I just need commitment. The motivation comes later. Once you get competency, you start to enjoy it and you start to develop an identity as a strength training athlete. Then the motivation will come. You'll feel like going to the gym.

Greg:    Exactly.

Christopher:    In the beginning you won't have that. You just need the commitment.

Greg:    One of my favorite quotes about the creative profession, it was Chuck Close, the painter. It's just a great line that applies to everything in life. He's talking about painting. I apply it to my writing, but I apply it to everything. It's just someone asked him about the nature of inspiration in his painting. He said, "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up." I love that. Right?

Christopher:    Yeah, that's right.

Greg:    Anyone can get super hot on an idea or pick up some big book or set some big ambitious goal for themselves and do it for five minutes. We can all do that, but the real success and the real achievement and also the things that you learn from these processes only come from showing up. It's not always going to feel very good. It's going to feel very uncomfortable sometimes or you're going to feel like you're not quite doing it right.

[0:55:20]

    With meditation, they talk about the first step of progress is just that you make time to do it every day, not that you become some yogi or some guru on a mountaintop. It's just, did you or did you not make the time to do it for, whatever, ten days in a row, a thousand days in a row? If it's yes, that's progress. We're so in need of immediate gratification sometimes or some Instagram-worthy image of our commitment to this thing when it's like, yeah, but actual commitment and actual progress comes at this much more intrinsic and subtle level.

    It's just, did you do the work? Yes or no. It's not what your childhood was like or the reason you maybe didn't do it is because of a comp -- no. Did you do the work, yes or no? If it's no, that's it. It's binary. I like that simplicity so much with all these things. It's like you're not going to get strong immediately. You're not going to get fast immediately. You're not going to get smarter or more mindful or more patient or anything more, immediately. Are you just trying to bring a little bit of awareness and chip away at it every day? That's me, and with health, same thing.

Christopher:    Well, Greg, I could keep you talking all day, but I think that would be a really good place to wrap up. I've got to jump on a client call and talk to him about the blood chemistry calculator for just a moment, but let me ask you one more question. I see this similar journey in a lot of the people we work with, of course this is true for myself, is you learn some stuff and then you have this desire to help people achieve what you've achieved. It's almost like you're helping the next person up into the lifeboat. Is that true for you? Do you have an online presence? Have you any plans to help people perhaps --

    I mean, I think the ideal place is when you're just six months or a year ahead of the person that you're helping. It's a really core place to be. It's true in health coaching as it's true in computer science. If you've just learned a new skill in computer science, you've just learned to code a new language or use a new library and then you work with someone who is where you were six months ago, that's a really powerful thing because you know exactly the problems that people are going to run into. If you wait five years, like I'm now five years out, I kind of forget the things that people run into when they're just starting this journey.

    My question is, do you have any plans to help people achieve what you've achieved?

Greg:    I love to. I feel like when I encounter anybody, and I've learned to not offer advice unsolicited because it's a problem.

Christopher:    Oh, yeah, don't do that.

Greg:    I used to do that all the time, and I still probably do it a lot with my parents and stuff for various reasons.

Christopher:    I actively avoid it. When I ride bikes with friends, I would do anything. You'll really have to twist my arm to get me to say anything about blood levels and cholesterol.

Greg:    You haven't twisted my arm. My arm is already pre-twisted. I'm like, just give me the slightest hint of a question mark, and I'll take it up. So when I encounter somebody that has a real question about particularly things that I really believe in as transformational aspects of life, so the strength training thing for me right now, on a basic level, man, if I was emperor of the world, I would dictate that everyone has to be deadlifting and squatting and with a coach also, somebody who can, in person, teach them so they believe and they feel it and then they're on --

    There's almost a complete certainty that if you are squatting heavy for a year, that will change your life probably in a lot of ways. Even as the physical and body -- you walk into a room and you're upright. You're feeling strong and confident. That's going to have a ripple effect on everything. But to the larger point, I don't know how to -- one of the cool things about the forum, especially with you guys, is that someone asks a question and then everyone can chime in who is six months, a year, two years ahead or whatever. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

    I don't know how to access the broader population, and there are so many great podcasts and people doing this work already, like you guys, that I feel like my contributions could come on a one-to-one level if I meet someone out and about. I don't know where I fit it on that larger conversation because I'm not an expert. I'm just someone with a very enthusiastic set of beliefs around these things that I've learned.

    I get emails from alumni from BU where I went to college in Boston, who want to get into writing, and they email me off this directory for alumni. The answer is always yes, give me a call, we'll meet up for coffee, whatever you want. Let's talk about writing, how to dive in. So, I would love to find a way to talk to more people about the three things that I'm interested in basically.

[1:00:10]

Christopher:    Oh, come on, Greg, 10,000 things.

Greg:    Yeah, most probably, but I think they all come from the same place though. Passion for whatever it is, passion is a thing. So when you meet someone else who has a passion or speaks some similar language, you're like, oh, you've got passion. Let me talk to you about this thing that I'm stoked about. Then maybe it lights a fire for them. The best thing we could be doing for each other is just trying to light small fires and giving people the right true north orientation and then just letting them go because that journey is so satisfying, the outcome, whatever.

    It's just get on that journey, start down the path of some kind of personal transformation. This is like Tony Robbins stuff where we're dancing and walking on coals. It's like, just deadlift, man, be in your body. Your head is too small to live in. Get outside more and be a person, be a better person, put it that way, be a human.

Christopher:    Yeah, I'd say this type of talk does inspire me to organize a getaway, shall we call it, for people who are curious to get better at strength training. Because as you rightly point out, there's no substitute for spending time in-person with someone like Zach, and how are you going to make that happen? Well, I don't know. It would be nice to organize some holidays where people, maybe specifically endurance athletes who are interested in becoming better at strength training, but I wouldn't like to limit myself too much by just the endurance avatar. I would like to include my wife, doesn't identify as an endurance athlete but she too is interested in strength training and would greatly benefit from such a holiday. So I think that that's something I see in our future.

Greg:    Absolutely, and I think the idea of saying, oh, strength training for endurance athletes, that automatically assumes that endurance athlete is a different species when it's really like strength training for human optimization. It's such a spiritual experience. It sounds like I'm overstating things but when you're getting to the point where you're deadlifting. The other day I was in the gym, and I'm up to 305, comfortably, for reps right now, and I want to get to 320 or so, [1:02:20] [Indiscernible] about 160. I'll keep going beyond 320 if I get there. I was loading the hex bar up, and I was like, that's a lot of weight, look at all those playtime there, which is, again, someone else will walk in and that will be like a joke for them. I hired a coach at one point --

Christopher:    Who cares?

Greg:    That's it. That's precisely it. It's just your own personal journey. I hired this coach at one point, a powerlifting coach, to really teach me to squat hands-on because I needed -- you can hurt yourself. You do it incorrectly for too long. I think his squat is something like, I don't know, 500 pounds, something crazy like that. I don't know. It's some huge amount of weight.

Christopher:    Bonkers.

Greg:    I'm not that guy, but I was looking at him, wow, given that I started at 225 or whatever it was, 235 I think it was, when I was first -- so that was my heavy set, my first, again with Zach. It sounds so simple. Who cares? It's just picking up a thing and putting it back down. I really feel like that there are a handful of things in your life that you can do that if you can gain some basic competency and a real intrinsic relationship to those things, the ripple effect into the rest of your life is going to be profound and lasting. I don't know why that is, what it is about strength training but probably some genetic, deeply ingrained thing in us. We should be able to, I don't know, run fast, pick up stuff, hide in a tree if a cougar is coming. I don't know what it is, but I believe in it.

    Also for women too, I feel on the endurance side but even beyond that, this is a very gendered thing about, well, women can do small pink weights and men can do the big weights. I thought even with that because I try to talk a lot with my female friends. Man, if you can be squatting and deadifting, I guarantee it's going to just change something in your life. You've been told to do things one way. I don't know. I just feel like, again, it can't be overstated how I think the benefits are so profound, but now I'm rambling, so.

Christopher:    That's okay. No, it's all good stuff, thank you. I really appreciate it. Is there anywhere you would send people online? I know that you have a YouTube channel. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Greg:    A very small YouTube channel. No, not really, I don't have much of an online presence.

Christopher:    We can watch your TV shows. Can you namedrop some TV shows so people would know?

Greg:    Oh, that's true, yeah. There's no deadlifting in my shows though. I just finished working on Season One of Animaniacs Reboot for Hulu. That will be out in 2020. I've written for Comedy Central, a show called Ugly Americans, TripTank. Netflix, there's a show that I was head writer for, called Puss in Boots or The Adventures of Puss in Boots, I think it's called. It was like a Shrek/Puss in Boots spin-off series that we did for Netflix.

[1:05:01]

Christopher:    That's cool.

Greg:    That's out there. I did a bunch of stuff, a lot of things that no one has read because I sold them and then they never went series. I have PDFs of my scripts on my computer. I don't know. There are times I wish I had more of an online presence but then I'm like, there's enough. There's enough content. We have enough that I don't need to be contributing.

Christopher:    Okay, that's very nice.

Greg:    But I appreciate this forum and the whole Nourish Balance Thrive team that's --

Christopher:    Of course people could connect with you on the forum, so if you --

Greg:    Oh, yeah.

Christopher:    -- if you are our patron on patreon.com or one of our clients or a blood chemistry calculator user actually or you're one of Josh's patrons as well, we all have access to this same forum that we've been talking about during this interview. You can ask Greg questions over there or interact with any of the other like-minded people you'll find there, ask us questions, ask Josh a question. I'm really enjoying that forum actually. It has been my --

Greg:    It's great.

Christopher:    -- my antidotes to Facebook. I'm just going to close Facebook and just spend some quality time with some [1:06:04] [Indiscernible].

Greg:    There hasn't been one argument. Everyone is so encouraging. Even if you all disagree or have points of disagreement, it's like very compassionate, wonderful. Everyone wants to see everybody thriving. It's in your name. It's Nourish Balance Thrive. Everyone wants to see everyone crushing it in whatever discipline they're trying to approach.

Christopher:    That's right.

Greg:    It has just been a really --

Christopher:    I'll be posting the videos of the form.

Greg:    Oh, that has been fun too, yeah, seeing everyone doing things.

Christopher:    It's a poor substitute to -- when I say poor substitute, I mean, you can make progress much faster if you were to see someone in person, but posting a video of your form is very helpful. It is getting something --

Greg:    Also, it does give you a little more confidence. I've emailed Zach videos or posted on the forum, "Hey, how does this look," he's like, textbook, it's perfect, keep doing it. Oh, I've done something, as opposed to, I don't know. Even the critiques are very helpful. It's never like, hey, bro, you're anterior dominant. Get more posterior. I don't know. It's a wonderful thing, and it has been a real -- rare you can say about an online platform that it has been a real net positive in your life so, yeah, thanks to you and everyone else from the Nourish Balance Thrive team for creating this great space where people are trying just to optimize but not in a douchy, I don't know, biohacker way. It's a nice, hey, be a person, connect with your wife more, socialize, get a community. It's just wonderful, so, thanks.

Christopher:    Thank you. Excellent, well, this has been fantastic, Greg.

Greg:    Yeah, it's great.

Christopher:     Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Greg:    I'm sure we'll talk very soon.

Christopher:    We will.

Greg:    All right, thanks, Chris.

[1:08:00]    End of Audio

 
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