Eat Train Prosper

February Q&A | ETP#146

February 27, 2024 Aaron Straker | Bryan Boorstein
Eat Train Prosper
February Q&A | ETP#146
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Once again it’s time for the monthly Eat Train Prosper Instagram Q&A episode. This week is a monster ep with 27 questions answered. As always, thank you for the continued interest and questions submitted for this episode. These are some of our favorites to continue to do.

0:00 - Life/episode updates
9:35 - Any changes to blood work panels since THC cessation?
14:18 - Pick only 3 meals to eat for the rest of your life (like the 10 exercises question) but for overall health and hypertrophy? 
18:46 - Tips on training for maintenance of muscle? 
22:07 - How do you recommend training during Ramadan (fast from sunrise to sunset)
24:30 - How to figure out what “works for you”
27:44 - Tips for trouble sleeping in a deficit?
31:52 - Experience with exertion headaches? Any known workarounds?
34:30 - Thought experiment: If you could do only concentrics or eccentrics, which one and why?
36:23 - How close to failure do you start a meso for lengthened movements? Still think 4 RIR is good? 
41:19 - Is the Sissy leg press a good alternative when you don't have a hack squat?
42:49 - Relatively, how important are training blocks vs ongoing autoregulation of fatigue?
44:50 - Purpose of warm-up sets beyond lower injury risk? Can you lift heavier if more “warmed up”?
48:40 - Would Bryan ever consider going on TRT like Aaron? Why or why not?
50:44 - Do fertility concerns play a factor in potentially going the anabolic route?
52:53 - Could you finish Leadville 100 in your current form? If so, what time?
56:40 - What creates more damage… 3-sec pause lengthened or 1.25 reps?
58:40 - Go to lunch/dinner meals?
1:01:01 - If natty is “too hard” then why choose settling for anabolic physique competition? Isn’t there a little glory in doing the hard thing?
1:06:17 - Does bench angle matter for chest/anterior delts?
1:07:22 - How do you not eat 3 hours before bed with edibles? I get munchies and then can’t sleep hungry…
1:09:13 - Is there a point at which optimization is in conflict with toughness?
1:13:13 - Any updates on misogi 2024?
1:14:57 - When does Bryson start his bro split? (what’s the right time to start training?)
1:16:15 - How often do you guys Dexa?
1:19:37 - Has Aaron picked out the best seated calf raise machine for undefeated gym?
1:20:07 - Can easily get 250g protein and 50g fiber with no digestive issues. Is this a problem? (Female)
1:21:15 - How would you structure forearm training?

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What's up guys, happy Tuesday. Welcome back to another episode of Eat, Train, Prosper. Today is our February 2024 Instagram Q &A, which is a staple episode structure for Brian and myself. Before we dive in, Brian, kick us off with some updates, please. Yeah, I really only have one update today and it's regarding just kind of a weird week of health for me. So last Tuesday was ETP and everything was fine. And then I just didn't feel super motivated to train on Wednesday for quad day. So I pushed it off to Thursday. But unfortunately that night before Thursday, I slept really poorly. My daughter came downstairs twice and woke us up. I had two and a half hours of awake time in, you know, nine hours of time in bed or something like that. And so I just felt off going into the quad session that ended up being on Thursday, I guess. And I pushed through. I wanted to kind of see if mentally I could get through because I had to tie a PR. for myself on my hack press. It was a 5 .50 for six with a pause at the bottom. And I really had my mindset to tie this. So I did, I went in, I tied my all time PR on it. And then some dude hit me up on Instagram afterwards and was like, do you ever find that you pay a price for pushing too hard after poor sleep or under recovery? And I was like, you know, that's an interesting point. Let's see how that plays out. Because sometimes I do, sometimes I don't type thing. Well, in this case, I'm still not sure whether it was because I'm paying a price for that hack set or if I was fighting some sort of sickness or something like that. But literally, as of that day and through the next five days, my heart rate has been artificially elevated way higher than I would have even expected for pushing one hack squat set too hard. So usually where my heart rate in the morning sits in the low to mid 40s. Um, it was between 54 and 62 every day since that hack squat set. And I didn't feel good either. Like I had headaches, I had sore throats. I just kind of felt off. I had no, no gumption to go train. I was just kind of going through the motions type thing. Um, and that persisted, like I said, for five days. And I started to doubt whether it was specifically from the hack squat set, or like I said, if maybe I was fighting something. Um, yesterday after not training hard for a few days, I was like, you know what? I haven't trained for a few days. My heart rate is still elevated. I'm going to do a normal training day. I did chest. I went for an hour long zone two bike ride after the zone two bike ride. I was super messed up. Like my heart rate was 90 for like hours after the bike ride. I was laying there in bed at 8pm watching TV and my heart rate is still like 88. And I'm like, what in the fuck is going on with me right now? I was like, do I need to take a week off? So anyway, I went to bed kind of demoralized last night, woke up this morning and looked at my, my stats, just something I can't help but do. And it said my heart rate got down into the low forties overnight. And I was like, wow, that is very interesting since it hadn't gotten down below the low mid fifties for five straight days. And then I'm sitting there doing my like HRV in the morning. It calculates my heart rate while I'm doing it. My heart rate hit 42 this morning and my HRV was 100 points higher than it was the last five days. So it seems like whatever happened, my inclination now is to believe that I was fighting something, some sort of minor sickness. And I don't think it was from the hack squat set, but it was just this convalescence of events where the hack squat set occurred right at the point where the sickness was commencing something along those lines. But I feel great today. I'm full of energy. really happy to see all of my metrics kind of correct themselves. And it just reminds me that heart rate is the true physiological sign that we can like fudge around and talk about like feeling this way, feeling that way, subjectively this, subjectively that. But my resting heart rate and my heart rate in general goes in line with the way that I feel. And if you're very in touch with yourself, I think most people would realize that they can feel when their heart rate is elevated 10 or 15 beats above where it usually is. And so yeah, I would just encourage people to be aware of that. Like if you take no other metrics, like I don't even care about HRV. If you just focus on what your resting heart rate is in the morning when you wake up, I think that can tell you a lot about your preparedness for that day and just your general sense of wellness over. I have two things. Yes, I agree with what you, what you wrapped up with a hundred percent. Um, when I had C 19 a couple of years ago, when it was like very still much in time, the way that I knew something bad was happening was like, I could, my heart rate, my heart was just pounding in like the middle of the day. And I'm like, remember it was a Tuesday. And I remember it was on an episode of the podcast. I was like, I just started feeling kind of strange. I'm like, what is going on? And like, I can just feel my heart thumping and literally like hours later, I was a mess. So like it will. It will say in my heart rate remained above 90 at baseline for days on end. Yeah. It's kind of scary. I mean, well, yeah, I mean, it's just your body's working hard. That's really what it is. Your body's working hard. And then on your hack squat comment, I have, again, this is purely theoretical, right? From my standpoint, I have this theory that if your body's kind of fighting something and if you push too hard on like a hack squat's a really, really good example, or you have like a very challenging leg day or whatever, it just that. that would otherwise be a normal spike of like a systemic stimulus or fatigue just kind of like bury puts you underneath like what your body was trying to fight and you like succumb to it from that external, you know, stressor that you're adding, which is that that hack squat set or something. I've experienced that before. The first time I turned with Brandy Kempter, I felt perfectly normal. Whatever the day like ruined me for some reason, I couldn't wrap my head around it. And hours after that, I was like full blown sick. So. It's just like, I think it can kind of just like tip you over the edge of like your capacity and then your body just succumbs to whatever you're fighting pretty much. Yeah, I agree. It can kind of be cumulative in that sense where you have this underlying thing that you're fighting and then you go and you push your body too hard and the two kind of work together and just create a perfect storm. And then on the note of what you said about C -19 and your heart rate, I always reference and think about this time when I was in Costa Rica at a wedding six or seven years ago. And I noticed in the morning, I felt fine, but I noticed in the morning my resting heart rate was up 20 beats. And I was like, why is my resting heart rate up 20 beats? I feel totally fine. I went and worked out. I took my rings to the beach and did some muscle ups and stuff like that. And then came back and immediately felt like deathly sick for the next 48 hours. Like, you know, out of both ends, couldn't go to the wedding, basically shivering and sweating in bed all day. And my resting heart rate predicted this like, you know, hours ahead of time. So kind of one of those cool things that I think most people could find value in. Definitely. Do you have another update? No, I was going to talk about my blood work, but that was actually the first question in the questions. So let's just go into questions and I'll talk about it there. Okay, I have a very quick update. So I was in the sauna today, I was by myself and I typically have my Garmin watch, which is I use, but it was dead. So I left it at home and took my phone. And then there's like a, there's a, the door in the sauna. You can set your phone up, you know? So I set a timer on my phone, 20 minutes, started or 20 minutes and five seconds. So I didn't steal myself my precious seconds of, of running in. And I'm in there and I'm like, I was talking to some guy or he was had some, you know, Bolly questions. So I was talking to him and I'm in there and I'm like, okay, you know, it should be around this time. And it's like, timer's not going off. And I'm, and I'm in there and I'm like, this is getting kind of fucking hard now. Like my heart rate is thumping speaking around about heart rates, right? And I'm playing the mind games with myself and you know, making enemies of everyone sitting around me saying that I can outlast them until I'm like the mayor of the sauna, which is literally like the mind games I play with myself to keep me in the sauna. And then eventually like, it just keeps going and going. And I'm like, something's wrong. Like I feel very not well. And then I finally count, like I'm gonna count to 60 seconds. Like, and if it does, if the timer doesn't go off, like I gotta get out. I count, timer does not go off. Like I stumble out of the sauna and like grab my phone. My dumb ass said it for two hours, not 20 minutes. And I was in there for over 26 minutes, which I was like, yeah, but it was not what I was looking for. And I was like, dude, this like, well, all like Aaron, you had one fucking job to set your to your 20 minute timer. And like you just fucked it up and then crushed yourself in there. So that was my update. That was literally like, I don't know, six hours ago today. Well now you have to set it for 27 minutes next time. I will not. All right, cool. Well, the first question today was directed at me and it basically is just any changes to blood work panels since THC cessation. And this is actually something that I wanted to talk about. I mentioned to Aaron off air last week that we were going to talk about it this week. So it was a really pertinent question here. And yeah, so I took 33 days off of THC completely and I got blood work on the. the final day basically to just kind of see and detect whether there were any differences. I had had blood work only three months prior to that, which see, usually I do it every six months. So it was a little faster. I really wanted to see if there were changes after quitting THC at all. I didn't really expect anything, but the one thing I thought might happen was that because during the 33 days that I didn't really do THC, I also had extremely low. added sugar intake. And I would say overall, I ate way, way healthier than I usually do. So I didn't have any desserts or like post dinner sweets, any sugar that I had was within the food that I would usually eat. For example, Dave's killer bread has one gram of sugar or something like that. The Gatorade that I put in my peri workout shake has, you know, 20 grams of sugar in it, but I'm exercising around it. Mostly I was just eating like chicken, rice, veggies, beef, potatoes, things like that. Like really, really clean, healthy food, a lot, lot more veggies and fruit than I would usually eat. So I get my blood work back and mostly it's the same across the board, like no major changes except in LDL cholesterol, APO -B, which is a representation of, of cholesterol or lipids in your blood. Both were up like 20 points. So. I, and honestly, my fasting glucose was up as well, and my insulin was higher. So all of these numbers were low to begin with, just to give you context. My LDL cholesterol and my APOB were 50, and now they're 70. So they were up 20 points. My glucose was 70, and now it's 85. I kinda don't worry too much about that, because glucose can be a day -to -day thing. And then my insulin, which is always below one or 1 .5, came back at 3 .8. And so all these numbers that are still low and they're still within range and like it's nothing to worry about, but it really surprised me that every blood work I do, it's like clockwork. It's always the same numbers in those categories. They're always, you know, 50 LDL, 50 APOB, 1 .5 insulin. And this one time after eating perfectly for an entire month, all of these numbers go up. And so, yeah, I don't really know what to say because other than that, all of the numbers were mostly the same. HBA1C was down 0 .1, so it was like 5 .3 or 5 .4. And what else? Like Omega 3 index was mostly the same. My, the one thing that's been concerning to me and Aaron, I'm actually curious if you have any thoughts on this, but my white blood cell count was low when I did it in November. It was like a little bit low by it was like a 3 .6 and I think the bottom of the range is 3 .8. So it was like barely low in November. And then I did it again this time and it was 3 .3. So my white blood cell count seems to be dropping low. It's now 0 .5 below the bottom of the normalized range. But yeah, other than that, most of the things were pretty much the same and just kind of surprised about the way the cholesterol reacted to that week. Yeah, the typically if you're getting any changes or like fluctuations around like red blood cell count, white blood cell count and in the like monocytes and those sorts of things in that in that part of the the CBC, it's typically the most common thing is like an acute infection or something that like your body's battling. So like an immune system response to something is like the most common thing. Anything like slightly different, like low or high like that, that's typically what it is. If something is wrong in those areas, you get massive skews of them. And that's like the, maybe go buy another one and take it next week sort of thing, step one. If it comes like that again, it's immediately phone the doctor sort of thing. But if it's just minor fluctuations like that, it's nothing really to worry about because because when I get on Google and I'm googling it, it's like, oh, you have leukemia or something like that. And I'm like, no, I don't think I have leukemia. Yeah, yeah, those those ones are pretty minor. All right, sweet. Yeah, but really that's it. That's the update on there. So what's the next question? Pick only three meals to eat for the rest of your life, right? Similar to our 10 exercises episode we did. But the context in here is overall health and hypertrophy, which, do you wanna lead this one, Brian, or do you want me to? I can go ahead and take it. I think it's a tough question because there's so many foods and ways you can construct meals out there. And so my first inclination when I read this question is, well, if I only have three meals, I need to create these like super robust meals that have everything in them because I don't want to be missing out on anything, you know? So the way that I think about this is I'm going to choose three meals where basically each meal has... a protein, a starch, a fruit, and a veggie. And boom, I take three meals and those are my three meals. So if you're asking me to nail down specifics of what I'm gonna eat, like absolute foods or whatever, the first one is gonna be teriyaki chicken with white rice, raspberries, and broccoli. My next one is going to be some sort of Mexican, bowl of some sort like think think a chipotle bowl but homemade. So it has like maybe some ground beef in it like some 93 seven ground beef, a little bit of sprinkling of some cheese, some, some rice again, I just love rice. And then it would have like some bell peppers, some onions, some some avocado in there. And just because I want to keep it well rounded, I'd probably add a little bit of fruit for dessert, like call it some strawberries or something like that. And then as far as my third meal, I didn't actually get that far. So why don't we pass it over to Aaron and maybe he'll spark me some ideas for my third choice. Yeah, I think what I would do in this kind of case in building off the meals you went with, I would maybe do like a salmon, salmon, bring in some, some EVOO and in a side salad, we'll get a few different types of lettuce in there. Maybe we bring in the cherry tomatoes, maybe some avocado. And then let's do like a potato, maybe like a yam or a red skin potato, something that's going to be like a little bit higher in potassium and to bring in a different kind of. modality or not modality, different nutrients like that. That's what I would do. Honestly, I really struggled with this question, right? I was like, and before the episode, I was gonna put them down and I granted this is my like, optimal brain, but I don't think like, if you're picking meals and you're like, hey, give me meals for overall health and hypertrophy. I don't think they're the same end of the spectrum. You know, like if I'm being honest, if I was like, hey, what are three meals for like just health and longevity? We want to bring in a little bit more fats like the avocado. Maybe we bring in an egg. Maybe we bring in some like walnuts or selenium, not selenium nuts, fucking Brazil nuts and those sorts of things. Like I would, I would stand by it. I think those are really good suggestions for like overall health. They're quite suboptimal for hypertrophy, like objectively. So I kind of struggled with this one, but I do think what we gave was a pretty good middle of the road balance that kind of shotguns both of them. Yeah, for my third meal, because you reminded me that I wanted a potato in there. My third meal would be some sort of somewhat lean but tasty steak. So it could be like tri -tip that's trimmed or like we discussed on the last episode, maybe like a filet or a tenderloin or something like that, grilled with a side of, man, I love mashed potatoes. I would probably make them with like a little lower butter and fat content in them, but I would probably still mash up my potatoes and do it that way. And then it would have some sort of fruit veggie in there as well. And, you know, maybe, maybe some nuts because you did bring up nuts. That's a good point. Like I would have, I have a handful of walnuts or something along those lines as well. So, yeah, I don't think it's super hard to construct healthy meals that can be healthy and aid hypertrophy. But I do think at the extremes, as Aaron mentioned, they are different goals, but within the margins, I do think you can certainly accomplish both. Yeah. Cool. right, cool. I'll take this one over to you maybe. Tips on training for maintenance of muscle. Oh, actually this is actually a training question, but yeah, I have some thoughts on this. Go ahead. Yeah, I mean, this is one of the simplest, I would say, training solutions to solve it. If you're in a period of life of maybe you're like a new parent or something like that, or you're changing careers or in, oh sorry, not necessarily changing careers, but in a new job where you just can't dedicate as much time, really three, four sessions per week maximum hit your major muscle groups. Let's say, depending on the other stress in your life, like let's say it's the new job situation where, Maybe it's not overly stressful. You can just take things closer in proximity to failure and do less total work. Maybe you cut down on your time. Or if using that brand new parent example, we're probably not going to be getting as much sleep as we may otherwise want and stress might be higher. Maybe we, you know, keep a couple reps in the tank on each set and then just do an extra set or two. Um, because we, we, we, we can kind of take that approach there, but yeah, I mean, it's, it's one of the simpler. muscle problems to solve is maintaining the tissue that you already have. Keep calories isocaloric at a maintenance level. You can use auto regulation. This would be a great time. I would recommend not even tracking your food, really just leveraging hunger, fullness cues, approximate body weights, making sure you never fluctuate, fluctuating, you know, consistently north or below a certain threshold that's comfortable for you. And that's what I would recommend there. Yeah, that's all great advice. We get this question a lot in Paragon because it's a primarily female audience. And a lot of them reach a point where they were athletes in high school, college, whatever. Then they started training with weights and they just kind of reach a point where they're happy with their physique and they don't really want to add a lot of muscle. So I've got experience answering this question. And it's a lot of what you said. It's you can either dial back proximity to failure and you know, if you're doing everything at five, or I are something like that, you're likely not going to gain much muscle, regardless of how much volume you do, I mean, up to a point. And then you could just do much less volume and you know, go close to failure, do one set of each thing and just kind of go close to failure on that. Don't focus too much on progressive overload, mostly kind of just stick with the same weights and reps and just make sure they're not getting harder each week, because that would mean you're losing muscle. And then of course, the nutrition piece is completely key. That's good that you touched on that at the end, because if you're in a surplus, if you're training even semi-intelligently, you're going to gain muscle because that just kind of comes along for the ride with weight gain. Like even people that don't train with weights that gain body weight, gain muscle. It just comes along for the ride. So if you're training with weights and you're in a surplus, you are going to gain muscle. So it's very important that regardless of, you know, even taking the training advice that we gave that you make sure that you are, as Aaron said, in an isochloric state, maybe even erring on the side of like a slight deficit. I don't, I don't know. But somewhere in that range would be pretty good. And then, yeah, just less intensity or less volume across the board, less frequency. It doesn't really matter. We know maintenance of muscle takes a significantly less volume and effort than it does to build it. So you have a lot more freedom and kind of the way you go around. that. All right. Next question. I know you probably have more thoughts on this than I do. Hopefully you've dealt with someone that's done this before, but how do you recommend training during Ramadan where you fast from sunrise to sunset? Yeah, so apologies if I get some of the things wrong here, but I believe it's a full blown fast, not even water until sunset. My recommendation here is training at night. If I'm being honest, I have, again, please, please, please forgive my ignorance here. I believe Ramadan is 30 to 45 days. I want to say it's actually longer than in a month. I really would not recommend training fasted for that long of a time when you are not going to be eating for literally eight hours, like post -training or something like that. I would sunset goes down. Maybe, maybe you put in that really quick, like Brian style meal, Gatorade and whey mixed train immediately. Maybe you take in some extra intra workout carbohydrate during that time in the form of, of, of a liquid. liquid carbohydrate and then you have your post -workout and then just try to not train too close to Bedtime because that typically does not work for many people but you may find yourself an anomaly there But that that's how I would structure it in in this particular context with the current amount of knowledge that I have about ramen Yeah, I agree. I don't have a whole lot to add. I did find myself curious about whether they're in winter over there or not. I guess it doesn't matter where. People can live wherever and practice Ramadan. So I guess that's a really silly way of saying that. But if it is winter, then it gets dark earlier and thus you can train earlier. So like right now in Colorado, it's dark by 5 p .m. or whatever. So you could train at 5 p .m. and then you'd still have a number of hours before you go to bed. So I would kind of try and shift the whole life schedule back a little bit. So maybe then you can sleep in in the morning a little bit. You have less time where you're awake and not consuming. Yeah, it's a tough situation for sure, but I do think training primarily in the earlier parts of when you're able to consume calories would probably be the best way to go. Aaron, how do you figure out quote, what works for you? So one of its time, you have to spend enough, you have to be around the block enough times to try different things and figure out which has worked and which doesn't work. What I will say is I do find, or at least it's of my belief that I think this is much more psychological and more personality trait as opposed to like physiological. So there's that one. It can also be environment specific. Right, I've found myself where in certain environments things work for me and then in a different environment, the thing that worked for me before no longer works for me, but that's typically related to like my psychological, you know, changes, growth, whatever we want to call it there, but it's just spending time doing different things and formulating your own opinion, which I've talked about on the podcast before. I am a massive, massive fan. Yeah, I agree there. It's a tough question because it really does just take time as Aaron said. We know that, you know, there are many roads to Rome. So you can go with high volume further from failure or lower volume close to failure. So a lot of that is psychological as far as what do you enjoy doing? Because when you think about what works for you, it's not what works for you in the moment. It's not how do I get the best results in six months or in one year. It's about how am I going to find what works for me? for the duration because at the end of the day, 15 or 20 years in, it kind of doesn't matter which path you take because you're going to get close to your genetic ceiling either way. So finding the one that's enjoyable to you and that you'll actually continue doing and working hard on over the years is the right solution. And so after that, which is more of the psychological piece, I do sort of enjoy the proxy of of soreness. And I know that that's a bit of a faux pas, evidence based to use soreness in this way. But it at least tells you that that you're stimulating the muscles you're trying to work and that you're doing a sufficient amount of volume. So I would say that you don't want to be like soul crushing sore where you can't walk or function. But you do want some sort of something where you go to, you know, flex your quad or, you know, stretch your chest out and you're like, Oh, yeah, like I worked that the other day or whatever. And so I think if you are finding that you're getting some of those sensations in the muscle groups that do tend to get sore, that that's a good sign. And then as we've discussed on the podcast, there are just certain muscles that won't get sore. Like if you're trying to sit there and wait for soreness for your lats or your side delts, you might be doing 30 sets and being like, man, it took 30 sets to get sore. I now need to do 30 sets of lat work every day. And I don't think that's true. So I do think there are certain muscles that have a higher propensity to soreness and maybe just using those as a proxy for overall volume for your body is a decent way to go. But, but yeah, ultimately I think it's the psychology of enjoyment over time, which is going to lead you to, you know, in 15 to 20 years, a similar physique, no matter which road you take. Great tips for trouble sleeping in a deficit. So, yes, the first thing I would say is if it's, what is the reason that you're having a hard time sleeping? Is it, we are so lean that we are now experiencing the physiological detriments of how lean that we are. You might wanna bring in some of like sleep aids, melatonin, those sorts of things, magnesium at the end of the night, maybe L -tyrosine, these sorts of things. But let me be very, very clear, objective. you have to be very, very lean for these things to actually start to happen. I've had clients before who were like six weeks into a calorie deficit and they're down seven pounds, you know, and I'm talking, we're like objectively 18 % body fat. And they're like, ah, I think the deficit's messing with my sleep. And I'm like, dude, no, it's not. No, it's not. So if it can, but you have to be very, very lean. Now, if it's a hunger related thing, which could present itself much more early, what you can do in something that I will use commonly is reserving a little bit of fruit. I typically use strawberries most commonly to have like post dinner, maybe an hour before bed or something like that, just to give you a little bit of something to eat from a hunger standpoint. Maybe we pair it with a little bit of fat to kind of slow that down. If you're someone who handles casein well, you can use like a casein protein. to help slow the overall absorption of all of that there. So from a hunger standpoint, those are the kind of things there, but also it's important not to neglect the other sleep hygiene things. If you have air conditioning in your room, make it as cold as you possibly can. Make your room as dark as you possibly can. Make it as quiet as you possibly can from outside sources, those sorts of things. So cover your big three on the sleep hygiene. before looking at the sleep aids and different things like that. Or the last one is if we have been in a deficit for quite some time and maybe our caffeine intake has been kind of titrating up, that's another one that you can start to look at is either titrating that back down or using a harder cutoff time for the proximity to sleep of the caffeine intake. Yeah, all well said. I'll just add that I actually think sleep improves as you get into a deficit until you're too lean. That's been my experience and the experience I've had with clients as well. And so if you're just kind of using the deficit as an excuse to be like, Oh, my sleep is suffering. I don't think that that's necessarily the case unless like Aaron said, you're too lean. At the end of my deficit, I was sleeping some of the best I'd ever slept in my adult life. And that's just because I was so exhausted from just the training, the deficit for the duration. I was sleeping so well, but it's because I needed to. yeah. I would say sleep hygiene is super important, especially if you think that you're struggling, like Aaron said. And then I use, I guess it also depends, is your problem sleep latency, like going to sleep, or is it staying asleep? And so I don't have a lot of suggestions for staying asleep. That's one that I struggle with as well. I tend to wake up a couple times a night, roll over, go pee, whatever it is. But as far as getting to sleep, I do think the sleep hygiene plays a huge role in getting to sleep. And when I was having my THC cessation, I used a product called ZMO. So it's zinc, magnesium and oyster from Transparent Labs. And I combine that with a low dose of L -theanine, that's the one that you take to mitigate caffeine, right? To kind of, yeah, yeah. So I would, yeah, yeah, not mitigate, yeah, yeah, balance. So I would take 200 milligrams of L-theanine with two capsules of the ZMO, and that was like super effective for me during the period of time that I wasn't using weed to kind of help get me to sleep, and I think stay asleep, so I don't know, it was helpful. Aaron, I do not have any experience with exertion headaches, so this question is asking, Do you have experience with them and any known workarounds? Yeah, so if you go back to last year around maybe March ish of the podcast, Brian, remember we had that those couple of weeks where we were both getting headaches for a while. So I was getting like the I would warm up and I would be OK the second I got into my first working set of the day, I was getting these splitting headaches. Mine ended up being like tension headaches from something in my trap or mid back. was like locked up and then it was pulling. And when I would tense up really hard for my top set, it would just like pull everything and I would start getting these headaches. So you can go to like a, get a body work or something like that, or dig in all through, through your upper back, upper back, mid back, those sorts of things. So that's one. The first thing though I would look at, look at your blood pressure. Right, if your blood pressure is getting high and then once you get into training and those sorts of things and the blood pressure from training, which is very normal, you get those elevations, you can get headaches induced in training from higher blood pressure. So maybe to first kind of cover your ass, check your blood pressure and then look into if there's any muscles or something that's locked up in your mid back, upper back traps, those sorts of things. Yeah, that's good advice. I had headaches at around that same time, March, April last year for five or six weeks, like literally incessantly, but I don't think they were exertion headaches. In fact, I'm almost sure they were not. And I still don't really know what the root cause of it was. So I don't have a great answer there, but I just generally, when I have headaches, because I don't have them very often. I do tend to just take ibuprofen because it really works like magic for me and makes me feel better, you know, within 30 minutes. So because I don't do it often, I know it has mitigating effects on hypertrophy and stuff like that. So I don't try to use it too often. But if it's a matter of I'm going to not train because I have a headache or I'm going to take 200 or 400 milligrams of ibuprofen so that I can train, I'm always going to opt to train. So yeah, it does not make it a habit, but something that you can use as a tool. Sorry we weren't more helpful there. I feel like I was very helpful. I mean, but neither of us really have like super like we don't know what exertion headaches specifically are right? Like if yours were tension headaches or your because your back or your trap was locked up, that's not exactly the same thing. Yeah. Alright, hey, this is a cool thought experiment if you could do only concentrics or eccentrics which one and why? I think I would only do concentrics. Man, I really don't have a good answer. I would say concentrics, I just think training would be very not fun if you were just lowering it. I feel like it's just different. You're stronger, right? You're objectively stronger with the eccentrics. It would probably be really great for your tendon and connective tissue remodeling. You'd probably have bulletproof tendons everywhere. That would feel great. But I just feel like I wouldn't enjoy it. too much. I think that's my answer. Yeah, you know, I think if it goes for enjoyment, it's 100 % concentrics. If you're talking about optimal hypertrophy, and like you said, tendon health and just general body wellness overall, I do think eccentric is probably the solution there. Either one would be really hard to actually put into practice. So like you can drop the bar super fast when you're from your the top of your concentric and, basically sort of avoid the eccentric, but if you drop the bar super fast, then you have to stop it. And therefore there is a ton of eccentric loading. So I don't know how in practice we would actually go about implementing concentrics only. And then for E -centrics, it's kind of similar because you can lower it down super slowly, but then how do you get it back up? Even if you have a partner, they're kind of helping you lift it up. You're still doing a little bit of the work on the concentric. So it's really hard to kind of have that binary comparison between the two. But it is an interesting thought experiment. And I don't know, anyone else that's listening to this podcast, let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below. I'm curious. yeah. This one I'll kick over to you, Brian. How close to failure do you start a meso for lengthened movements? Do you still think four RIR is good? Yeah, this is a cool question because it means that this person has been following me and my work for a decent amount of time because this is what I've talked about years prior as far as how I progress through a meso cycle. And then I think the context of why he's asking this is likely with all the new research that we have on proximity to failure and, you know, exponential increase of growth, the closer you get to failure, et cetera, et cetera. I still think that if you're doing a really demanding length and movement like a hack squat or an RDL, I still like four RIR. I think three to four is kind of my number. And that's how I tend to now implement it into my own training and into the training of clients is right around that three to four RIR number. And then that allows you to progress by half a rep to a rep closer to failure each week so that somewhere between the six and eight week mark, I usually butt up right against failure and then I feel fatigue is high and I need to kind of... reset and work forward again. So I do think that is the case for the demanding length in movements. When it comes to the less demanding length in movements, that's where I've maybe shifted my perspective a little bit. So take something like a chest press, an overhead press. I don't know what else would would be a semi demanding length and movement, but something along those lines. I would generally start it at two to three RIR now. So knock maybe a rep, a rep and a half off of that number and then progress it forward from there. And then I'm much more likely to use intensity techniques on those types of movements. So where I would very rarely use a drop set or rest pause set on a hack squat or an RDL, like probably never on an RDL, but. possibly on a hack squat. I think I would use those much more quickly on like a chest press or an overhead press type like moderately challenging length and movement. But this actually, I wanted to kind of kick this over to Aaron because I think this is actually an interesting opportunity for him to talk about the way that they structure their training in his training camp because to my best of knowledge, you guys don't really do. messo cycle progression from further from failure to close to failure, you kind of just always go balls to the wall all the time. So is that accurate? And then what do you do when fatigue is high? What is like a reset week or a D -load week or something like that look like for you guys? Yeah, so that is accurate. There is very little to none reps in reserve used on anything. What I will say in how things are, how I do things personally myself or like with Jackson or some of the other people in camp and stuff, they are larger deviations from the research because again, I'm, this is come, this, you could say this is bro science. I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. There is very little research done on people at those levels. And I don't feel confident extrapolating research from someone who has two years of research or two years of like lifting or something like that to someone who's literally going for like an IFBB Pro card. I feel like a collective anecdote from, again, this is only my opinion, holds more water in that specific context. So. Again, it's really important to understand the context of what you're talking. So, and then what I kind of do with clients is it depends on the client, right? If it's someone who's more advanced in those sorts of things, I might start them off at like a two RAR because I just don't feel confident that a four RAR or even a three is really the best use of our weeks together because they're, again, in my standpoint, not really honest progressions, whereas it's like, hey, if you try as hard as you can, you get eight next week, you try as hard as you can, we get nine. Like that's a very honest progression. Now to get in kind of the second part of the question is what happens as things like stall or fatigue, you know, starts to build. That's another benefit of the way that like, you know, I don't want to say campus structured, but how certain coaching and stuff is structured is like, I have my hands in much more than just training, right? So it's like we can either bring in a strategic refeed, maybe we reduce volume for a couple days or we take like, what I really like to do is like three complete days off of training or we look into other facets. Or were we like just severely under recovered? Did we have a very poor night of sleep? Like there's oftentimes many more factors that are not training specific that positively or negatively impact the outcome of a training session or. or numerous sessions. Cool, dig that. All right. Is the sissy leg press a good alternative when you don't have a hack squat? I think it can be. Yeah. Um, it depends on what other equipment you may have. I think it's, you're getting a great degree of knee flexion. Uh, it's going to be very, very quadriceps bias because of that great degree of knee flexion. Um, there are some hack squats that provide that really great degree of knee flexion. And then there's some other ones that, that honestly kind of don't. So it can be, but there may be other things in your gym that may be even better, like a potentially a Smith machine. you know, squat with a heel wedge or something like that. All depends on what you have available to you. Yeah, I don't actually think the sissy leg press is an equivalent to a hack squat. I think a sissy hack squat would be an equivalent to a sissy leg press and a leg press would be equivalent to a hack squat. So my thought would just be why not just do regular ass leg press with your feet low and keep all of the foot on the plate so that you can get maximum force production. And that's kind of the way I think about that. Yeah, the only time I really will ever like personally use the sissy leg press is on one of the like plate selectorized ones. If I wanted to keep like a really like a really constant tension or if we were like really limited on equipment or something like that. yeah, it wouldn't be like a primary movement part a would be like a way to finish the thing off with lower loads and part C or D or whatever. Yeah. Okay, I think this one is really good for you, Brian. Relatively, how important are training blocks versus going auto -regulation of fatigue? Yeah, I like this question. And ultimately, I think that it's probably not important. Like I design all of my training for myself and clients with training blocks. But that's just because that's the way my brain likes to make sense of things. And I think that when you have a group program where you have thousands of people following a training program, you can't expect them all to be able to auto regulate their fatigue. So you hear me talking a lot about training blocks and progression through mesocycles and stuff like that. mostly because I speak to a mass audience of people following group programs. And I have to have fine, I have to have some way of managing fatigue on a global level. But ultimately, I think if I was just Brian who wasn't in the fitness industry running group programs, and I was just training myself to optimize hypertrophy, it is very unlikely that I would have such structured blocks of training. And I think that I would probably just, trained more similarly to the way that Aaron trains and probably just auto-regulate days off as needed, which is kind of similar to the way I used to train back in the day before CrossFit. So, yeah, I think training blocks can be a great way of organizing things and keeping structure and kind of allowing you to say, hey, in week two of this block, I did this weight in reps and in week two of this block, I'm going to try and exceed week two from the prior block. I think it adds a lot of kind of diagnosis and ability to assess progress in a nice way. But you can also do it similarly like the way Aaron does by just going balls to the wall every time and then being like, oh, I haven't exceeded in two or three weeks. I think fatigue is high. Let's take a few days off or deload and reset. So a number of ways to, to skin the cat here, multiple roads to Rome, however you want to say that. And I think again, it kind of comes down to psychological preference here. This one I wanna kick over to you. I know my answer on it, so I'll obviously add it, but the purpose of warm -up sets beyond lower injury risk. Can you lift heavier if more warmed up? So I think there's a priming of the central nervous system that applies to both hypertrophy and powerlifting. But I think that in strength sport, like powerlifting, it's much more relevant because there is science in post activation potentiation, basically meaning that you can, the way I interpret that, and there's ways athletes interpret it by doing an explosive movement before a static movement or a slow movement. But the way I look at it is doing a heavier single before doing a lighter higher rep set. So in powerlifting, that might look like I'm going to do a single at 105 % of the triple that I'm about to do. And so by doing that single, it makes that triple feel a little bit lighter that you do subsequently. So I do think there is great rationalization for that in the powerlifting realm. He says beyond injury risk, but I don't think that we can completely take that out because if you did just jump to your heaviest weight without that, aside from the priming characteristics, I do think, you know, injury becomes such a large concern that it requires, it necessitates that there is a warmup in there. As far as hypertrophy goes, I think what the warmup sets do is they help you establish, a mind muscle connection. And if you went into lifting your top set cold, possibly injury risk is not as high as powerlifting because you're doing an eight to 12 or 15 rep set instead of a three to five rep set. So the loads are, you know, comparatively lower. But I do think the process of the warmup sets and building mind muscle connection and creating blood flow to the working muscles. are a key contributor to optimizing hypertrophy at the heavier weights. Yeah, the injury risk I think is pretty self -explanatory there, but. I, and this could be age related to with the thing about just getting a little bit older, but the example that always comes to mind, and this is where I experience it most is on the leg extension. I like, for me to get to my top set on the leg extension, I literally need like four warmup sets. And if I only like sometimes one of our training partners, Cade, he's young, he's 23 and he just like wants to get into it. He's like, I don't need a warmup. Let's just get into it. I'm like, dude, no, no. Like I will literally cut my load in half. if I can't warm up. And I think it's kind of a middle ground because it's like, my knees are screaming at me if I just go to like, you know, 130 pounds on the stack. Like I need to touch 40, then I need to touch like 70, and then I need to touch like 100. And I can get up like really heavy for really quality reps, but I need multiple warmups of like putting that load through my like joints in order to get there. Yep, I agree. I actually take a lot of warm -ups. That's for leg extension too. And that's because I do it first. Do you guys do leg extension first as well? We have been moving them, yeah, as they get deeper into prep and some of the fatigues accumulating, you know, and those sorts of things. It's just a little bit safer per se, yeah. Yeah, because it's my first movement, I find I need four warm -up sets. But when I would have leg extensions, you know, after other movements, maybe two warm -up sets is fine. But then I would need four or five warm-up sets for the first movement, regardless of what it is, you know? Like, when I do leg extensions, I do four warm -up sets. Then I go to hack squat, and I need four warm -up sets there as well. So, yeah, there's a lot of warming up going on. Yeah, same. This one we will kick over to you, Brian. Would Brian ever consider going on TRT like Aaron? Why or why not? TRT is just the topic du jour, man. Yeah, I would say that I'm not completely opposed to it. I'm not tied to my noble natty card or anything along those lines. If I went on TRT, this is maybe a controversial opinion, but I don't really want to get bigger per se. Like for someone that's pursuing hypertrophy, I don't wanna be. 210 pounds at 10 % body fat at this point in my life. I kind of think that with the other goals I have with cardio and just general health overall, that that doesn't suit me at this point. So if I went on TRT, it would be primarily about improvement of quality of life. That's why you guys hear me keep asking Aaron about his sleep on TRT, because that's one of the things I keep hearing is sleep improves when you go on TRT. He hasn't. said per se that he's noticed that, which I've been continuously curious about, because if I were to do it, that would be one of the main reasons I would do it would literally be because I want to stop waking up in the middle of the night two or three times and tossing and turning a little bit. So, you know, my energy throughout the day is fine. I have testosterone in the mid 300s for pretty much the last few years. I feel fine. I don't notice any symptoms per se. I guess I don't know because maybe I go on TRT and I feel amazing and I'm like, oh, this is what I've been missing forever, which is certainly possible. And I'm not saying that it's beyond a reason that I would go on it. I always thought when I was in my 20s that maybe I would do it when I'm in my 40s and now I'm in my 40s and now I'm saying maybe in my late 40s or my 50s, I'm honestly just gonna kind of wait until life quality dictates it and I'm not really gonna do it as a reason to. try to gain more muscle or anything like that. I think that is a wonderful answer. Yeah, this one for you, Aaron. Do fertility concerns play a factor in potentially going the anabolic route? Honestly, no, they don't. I believe I disclosed this on a previous episode, maybe I didn't. I have sperm frozen back in the States. I did that in like September of 2022. Like I've said, I've known this day was coming for multiple years. And with the whole, there are cultural, what's the word I wanna use? Like, Generally, the cultural accepted opinions and those sorts of things around certain classifications of things and like, you know, fertility and TRT and steroids is another one very similar to like nutrition, right? Like people think like, like in the example we used last week, potatoes are like a fattening or bad food to eat if you want to be in a diet, which is literally the exact opposite of the truth. And fortunately, we have this day and age where like we have PubMed, you know, Like you can go on PubMed and learn anything that you want. And there's like protocols out there for restoring fertility, you know, post androgenic anabolic steroid use. There's protocols for, for restoring fertility, like while on, if you work at, for example, Chris Bumstead, one of the most popular bodybuilders in the world, you know, right now, like two weeks after he, his most recent Olympia win was like, Oh, surprise. Like we're pregnant. Right. And it doesn't take a genius to put together the math of like when people typically release pregnancy information and where he would have been, he would have been in the middle of his prep, which is when drugs are arguably the highest they ever get. And he was still producing sperm at that time. So it's just one of those things like the science is out there. You kind of have to go digging for it a little bit. There are people, you might lose the genetic lottery and you do get completely shut down. but it's actually quite rare. And like I said, I do have my insurance policy of a bunch of sperm already frozen for, you if that were to potentially occur. All right, the next question, yeah, go ahead. Could you finish Leadville 100 in your current form? If so, what time? Yeah. So Leadville is a race. They call it the race through the sky in Colorado. It starts at 10 ,000 feet of vertical and it ascends up to almost 13 ,000 feet. Uh, so over the course of the hundred miles, it's actually 105 miles. Um, you have 10 or 12 ,000 feet of elevation climb, like 3000 in actual front. You like, you go from 10 ,000 feet to 13,000 feet, but throughout that there's ups and downs. You end up climbing a total of 10 or 12 ,000 feet over 105 miles. It's a, it's a mountain biking race. So the terrain is not like you're on a road or gravel where it's nice and friendly. There's a lot of, you know, rocks and roots and things like that. Man, this is an interesting question because there's actually a, there's a really cool video, Aaron, that I just watched called chase the storm. It's on a CrossFit mayhem's YouTube page and it basically has rich frowning. as he's training for Leadville 100 and his goal is to try to do it in under nine hours. And nine hours is a savage time for Leadville 100 because the best mountain bikers in the world, the world record is six hours, just under six. This is the fastest time ever recorded. And so Rich did this shit in nine hours or under nine hours. He actually finished in eight and a half, which is insanely impressive. And they have a 12 hour cutoff, I believe. which would mean that if you're going to do a hundred miles in 12 hours, you need to average a little like eight and a half, eight and three quarters miles per hour, something like that, which seems very reasonable to me. So because you have all of that elevation that you're climbing, that also means that you have a lot of elevation that you're descending. And during the time that you're descending, in most cases, you should be averaging at least 20 miles per hour, if not more. There's also a decent amount of road on there. So you'll have periods of time where you're just kind of on nice smooth terrain and you can make up a little bit of time there. The hardest part is the actual climbing. 10 or 12 ,000 feet is a shit ton of climbing to be able to do over, call it a 12 hour period. But I do believe that I could finish it in 12 hours in my current form. And the reason I believe that is because, I think that even if I had to walk my bike in certain spots, I could still be averaging three miles per hour. And I think that that period of time would be made up for by the descents and the road where you can kind of do significantly more than the average eight and a half that you would need to get through it. So it's a great question. I've thought a lot about it. And I do think I could finish in the 12 hour cutoff. but I guess I gotta sign up and do it to find out. next year. Yeah, I don't know about that. I have a couple buddies here. They actually the guy that asked the question. And so we've been we've been titillated by the idea. And maybe we put in a year of training or something like that, you know. Okay. Yeah, it'd be crazy. I mean, it would be the race I did last year was 50 miles and it only had 3000 feet of climbing. So this would be 100 miles with 10 to 12 ,000 feet of climbing, it would be a massive change. And also instead of a three hour race, it would be a 12 hour race. So there's a whole other component of nutrition and fueling yourself that goes into a 12 hour race more than a three hour race. So. All right. This is an interesting question. I don't know if there's an answer, but curious on your thoughts here. What do you think creates more damage? A three second pause in the lengthen position or one and a quarter reps or integrated partials as they're called. I think I'm gonna go the three second pause in the lengthened. And I think that's just such a significantly longer time in a range where we, even when we say like, okay, we have like a one pause or something like that, it's still pretty, pretty brief. And I think it's like an exponential increase in the time spent in arguably, you know, the quote unquote, like most damaging position. So I think that would, uh, create more damage. And I'll also kind of add on the back of that. When we do the one and a quarter reps or integrated partials, because we know that we're doing that, we inherently kind of rush them a little bit, right? Or that it just becomes a little bit more of like a bounce on the integrated one. And I think there's the true honest, like three second pause and they'll fully lengthened, I do believe would be more damaging. Yeah, I struggle with this. I think it's pretty similar, but I think the context is how you perform them. So you alluded to that at the end. If you do your three second pause lengthened, but the machine is bottomed out, then that's completely different than you hovering above the bottom and being in the lengthened position. It's also different when you do your one and a quarters. If like Aaron said, you bounce out of the bottom versus maybe you do a one second pause in the bottom and then you go up and you do another one second pause the second time you get to the bottom. Now you have two second pauses in the bottom, plus you have the quarter rep. I think that might shift the balance a little bit. So I think they're similar. But I think that it depends on kind of the context of how you execute it. Yeah, that's a really good addition. Yeah, Aaron, what are your go to lunch and dinner meals? Yeah, so lunch is chicken breast, white rice, and I've been doing a mix of vegetables lately. So my mix here is there's a little bit of garlic on it, broccoli, I have bok choy and asparagus. So that's been a go -to. I've been eating that one for quite a number of months now as my go -to. And then in terms of dinner, like, A favorite that I would always make, I haven't made it in a long time, because I'm honestly not making a lot of my own meals right now. Top sirloin on the grill, the red skin potatoes, like diced and baked, and then a side salad. Side salad, like a mixed salad, olive oil as the dressing, maybe a little bit of feta on there, and I really, really like that. I would feel like another. side of maybe another type of green veg. Like those would be two of my favorites right there. Yeah, mine are not so different. My go -to lunch for the last few months, and I don't see it changing anytime soon, is a teriyaki chicken with white rice, broccoli, and a bowl of raspberries. That's pretty much perfect for me for lunch most days. And then for dinner, it's similar to kind of what Aaron said. Usually it would be something like a beef because I'm having chicken for lunch. It's either, you know, leanish burger patties. or a sirloin like he said or tri tip or something like that. Usually I'll mix that with potatoes. So I'll take either a sweet potato yam type thing or a russet potato. I'll mix it up, slice them really thin, put them in the oven, bake them for like 30 minutes at 400. And they end up pretty crispy flip them halfway. I'm a huge fan of that. And then usually I'll put onions and garlic and all that stuff on top of that. And as far as a vegetable to go along with that. I would say I eat less veggies like onions. I'm not really counting because they're, yeah, there's water basically. But I don't eat a ton of veggies at dinner usually if I have them at lunch. So, you know, good on Aaron for having a salad there. I'll usually have some more fruit with that dinner as well. So yeah, those are pretty solid. But any way that you can combine meat and starch and a fruit and veggie I think is a pretty solid way to go. Yep, yep. All right, Aaron, this one's for you. If natty is too hard, then why choose settling for anabolic physique competition? Isn't there a little glory in doing the hard thing? I feel like this question is just like a shot at my ego or something like that. Like, if I'm being honest, it almost kind of like pisses me off, you know, because they're like, what's the natural competition like too hard for you? And I can, unless like Berto Nunez asked this question or like Brandon Kempter or someone like that, I kind of want to be like, honestly, shut the fuck up. You know, if I'm being really honest, I was like, this is what I achieved. I was really proud of that. And I just don't have interest in competing in natural bodybuilding. Like it's really hard and it's not just the hardness. It's like, I even talked about, I didn't have a libido for two months at the end of my diet and I was still at least five months away from stage. There's a lot like, it's a lot for a wife or a girlfriend to sign up for like, hey, six months. It is what it is sort of thing. And it's, you know, that proverbial juice. just wasn't worth the squeeze for me. And like I said, I really respect the people that do it. I just don't want to. And, you know, untested or on gear bodybuilding, I do find more enjoyment in that because you kind of look like a superhero. You know what I mean? With 98 % of natural bodybuilding, and I don't mean to offend anybody, you kind of look like a swimmer unless you're like a Birdo or a Brandon Kempter or some of the bigger guys in... or like a Steve Hall, like he's another one I think looks great, but unless you're at the top, many people just look like swimmers. And I think I would look like a swimmer. And I just don't have any interest in it, if I'm being honest. Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, I think that's a good response and fair. I think that you were much closer to being stage ready at the end of your diet than you think. You said you were still like many months away. I don't know, dude. Based on what your physique looked like at that point, I would guess that your body fat was seven, 8 % at that point. And most people are getting on stage at five, 6%. So you're talking about maybe another like four to six weeks at most to get to like really peak. Like you could have gotten on stage at that point when you took those pictures, you could have gotten on stage right then and you would not have been laughed off stage. You might've even placed. Like no, you wouldn't have made it with walnut glutes into worlds or something like that. But you could have had a really solid showing on a natural bodybuilding stage at the point where you took those pictures. I would agree with that and I'm glad you brought that up. I think I could have essentially peaked and let's just say I knew how to pose in all these other things that I definitely do not know how to do. I think I would have not been laughed off if I would have gotten on stage. However, and I actually, when I was reading through the questions first, I wanted to bring this up, so I'm glad you said this because I had forgot about it. I'm at the point in my life where I don't... partake in things to like partake, right? I don't, if I'm going into something, it is to win. And if I don't think I can win, I'm not even going to compete. I played on losing sports teams my entire life. Like, and it's at this point in my life, like I don't get much joy from like partaking. If I'm doing something, it is to win. And I just, I just knew that one, I don't think I could win in the natural bodybuilding world. And Again, the juice is not worth the squeeze to me for what it would cost me, my relationship, the businesses that we have going on right now. I just don't see any upside to it, really. That's a good answer. And then last question on this is, uh, do you, uh, how much easier do you think it is to get stage ready when you're on some sort of anabolic? It's really hard to say and I don't want to speculate on things that I don't have direct experience with. You being on TRT for a month is a lot different than than prepping and stuff. I. I really don't know. I told Jackson and I don't know if I've I've shared this on the podcast or not. I told Jackson I would let him know by March 1st on whether I will do a competitive season or not. So that by the time this podcast comes out, we're talking days away there. It's really hard to say. I think prep affects people differently, you know, and it's really, really hard for me to say. Typically, they're a lot faster in the more, you know, enhanced side of space. People are doing 12 week reps, you know, a 16 week prep is like a pretty good standard long one, whereas natural bodybuilding world people are doing, you know, 40 something. I mean, they're literally two and three times as long. So I just I really don't know. But. In like a year, maybe we can revisit this conversation and I may have a more appropriate answer. Cool. Super fair. Okay. I guess I, yeah. So does bench angle matter for chest and anterior delts? I'll just say yes. Bench angle does matter. But at some level, when you do any sort of chest pressing, like if it's a flat chest press, you're going to get anterior delts as well. It's just going to be significantly more biased to the chest. And then as you raise the angle, to a steeper incline, it's going to be more and more biased to clavicular upper pec and anterior delt. And then there'll be a point where I think it's too steep and you have like that super arched low back and you're basically sitting completely vertical. And I think that that's not super ideal either. So somewhere between 60 to 75 degrees, I think is usually going to be pretty optimal for that. anterior delt focus where you get a bit of that kind of upper shelf of the pack. But you can of course, oscillate between the different ranges based on how you want to parse out the specific bias for each. Yep, I agree completely with everything you just said. This one for you. How do you not eat three hours before bed with edibles? I get munchies and then can't sleep hungry. Yeah, that's a fair question. I pretty much just have to set my mind to it. I used to struggle with this a lot in the past. But what I've found is that by eating more throughout the day and specifically in the late afternoon really helps. So I try to basically eat more or less like a full meal at two, a pretty robust snack at four, and then dinner at six. And by that point, I'm pretty stuffed. And I actually don't have any hunger. After that point, back when I used to have more hunger, and I wasn't eating enough leading up to it. This was when I was doing like long intermittent fasting. So I would fast until you know, one or 2pm. And then I would eat a lunch and then I wouldn't eat again till dinner. So I was basically eating two meals a day. Yes, I would really struggle with that because my body was craving a third meal. And so I would eat a third meal closer to bed and then struggle to sleep that night as a result of it, or wake up really hot in the middle of the night. That was the other thing that would always happen if I eat too close to bed, wake up like sweating and hot and bothered in the middle of the night as you know, the liver and the body's kind of digesting all that glucose. But yeah, I think the bigger meals earlier in the day are key. And then mentally, it helps me a lot to brush my teeth as soon as I finish dinner. So once I finish dinner, go brush my teeth, make sure that that's out of the way. Not like I couldn't re -brush my teeth, but I don't super enjoy brushing my teeth. So just having done it keeps me from having to do it again, which is nice. So yeah, that's my advice. I don't really, I would just say the best advice is eating more earlier in the day. This one, let's, okay. Yeah, I wanna kick it to you first. Let's do that. Is there a point at which optimization is in conflict with toughness? Maybe, I think this is actually a really poignant question for the time of the evidence -based space that we're in right now, where optimal movement seems to be the thing that everybody is focusing on. And then you have a lot of these like new age, younger, kind of Tik Tok -y influencer people that are joking on a lot of, they're poking fun at a lot of what Cass does, which is unfortunate, but they're showing how like, You know, you can use this perfect form, but you have to use 30 pounds to do it or whatever. And Cass has kind of been on a crusade recently of demonstrating that you go into a set with the perfect form and the optimal form in mind, and you've practiced it and you've rehearsed it, and it's kind of become second nature in a sense. But once you get in it and you're in a set, and that shit is really pushing the boundaries of your ability to actually do the work, sometimes it doesn't look exactly the way that it would look if you were using 30 pounds. And I think that that also creates a conflict in the industry too, because you have a lot of these demo videos that people are doing where they're like, this is a single arm iliac lat biased pull down, and they're literally doing a demo video with 30 pounds. But what... you would actually use as 200 pounds. And so if you were to do your demo video with 200, it might look a little bit different than it looks at 30 pounds when you're just doing it for the purpose of demonstrating proper movement pattern and execution. And so, yeah, I do think at times the way that it's perceived can be in conflict. But I think that once you actually have the experience of doing this, for years and you know what working to failure is, you can have both. Agreed. I mean, I think you answered that wonderfully. And when I get that, I don't get it often, but sometimes I get it in person. And honestly, my response to be like, put your money where your mouth is. Go to the practical. It's 1200 bucks, right? Go. And of course people aren't going to do that because they're just like, oh, well, well, well, and you know, float off into, into whatever else. But I, when I think of optimization, you know, now I really think of like the setups. Right? Cause that's what, that's really what it is. Like you can be, let's talk about like a hack squat. You can put your feet high up in the corners and get a lot of hip flexion and no knee flexion. And you can load up, you know, six plates per side and you can, you know, be really tough and slam it off the bottom and all that shit. And like, you can work really hard and, or you can optimize it and be like, what's the goal is the goal quads. Let's get to a greater degree of knee flexion and just set you up better. And then you just work just as hard anyway, but you're it's like, it's like you're using a more each rep, you get a higher stimulus to rep ratio because you're not like expending off energy in these inefficient ways and those sorts of things. So how I really like to think of it is like optimization is pretty much like setting up better and then still working just as hard as you otherwise would. Yeah, I love that. I think if you go to failure for the execution that you're trying to achieve, you are working towards toughness. You are, you are being tough. If you're using optimization as an excuse to train easy, then yeah, that is directly in conflict with toughness. Agreed. Yeah, really good point. I think this next one is for you. Okay. I was like, I hope so. Cause I'm going to be really confused. Okay. Any updates on Missogi 2024? That is, yep, Masogi, well said. So a Masogi is taken from the book, The Comfort Crisis, I believe, by Michael Easter. And it's talking about how in our life we're living in a state of comfort and we don't do anything to really push ourselves outside of our boundaries of comfort too often. And so his proposal was that once a year you do something that he calls a Masogi, which is essentially a... challenge that you put for yourself where there's only a 50 -50 chance that you'll be able to complete it and So a buddy of mine the guy that actually is my doctor that prescribes my blood work and stuff like that. He did a challenge with some buddies of his over Halloween for their annual misogi where they loaded up a sled with 600 pounds and Between four of them. They wanted to push it five miles in eight hours and They did not succeed. So that was the 50 -50, like, hey, we may succeed, we may not type thing. And that's a crazy challenge. Like loading up a sled with 600 pounds and try to push it for five miles in eight hours is really hard. I think for me, Misogi that's now on my mind is Leadville 100 in under 12 hours. So that is possibly Misogi 2025. I don't have one in mind currently for 2024, but Greg, maybe at our next guys night, we can discuss it and figure out what we want to do for 2024, because I'm certainly game to try something. I really like that, that's really cool. Yeah. All right. Well, the next question is kind of tongue in cheek. It's a, when does Bryson start his bro split? Bryson is my son. And so I kind of put in parentheses, maybe the question is actually what's the right time to start training. So my son is six. He, he likes to mess around in the gym when I'm training and he actually can do a pull -up now, which is kind of crazy. He'll dangle from the angles, 90 grips. and I'll make sure he starts at full extension and he can get himself up for one, one and a half, almost two pull -ups at this point, which is kind of cool. And he'll also, you know, pick up the dumbbells and do deadlifts and farmers carries and stuff like that. But in reality, like, like I think if I'm mostly waiting for him to come to me and ask me to do a program. And I don't think there's a time that's too early. If he wanted to do it right now and he showed the maturity and dedication to listen to me in form instruction to follow kind of a semi rigid set of stipulations that I would have, I would start him training right now. But I don't think that that's realistic. He's not at a stage of maturity or desire himself to do it. But whenever that time comes, I will be there and I will help him with that. Yeah, I think it's a really good answer. Yeah. Aaron, how often do you Dexa? So, I mean, right now, I mean, I officially live in Indonesia now and there, I mean, I could probably find one in Indonesia if I really wanted to, but it would be quite the journey. And I just, I don't see much utility in it right now. Back in the States, I would do about maybe two per year. I've recently learned about the calibration process of the Dexa, which has really kind of... changed my thoughts on that. Like if you if you have a place that you go to, like let's say, for example, Brian, right, you live in Boulder, you've lived in Boulder for a number of years, you guys live in the same neighborhood. If there was like a place that you could go to consistently to get on the same DEXA that has the same technician calibrating it and those sorts of things, I think the repeated use has as a higher utility. But like when I was doing the DEXA during my like, you know, digital nomad days, I did. a couple in Arizona, I did some in Utah, I did some in Austin, Texas, I did one somewhere on the East Coast that I can't remember right now. You're not comparing apples to apples. Like you have different models of the Dexa, different technicians doing different calibrations and I mean, yes, at a high level, it can have a high level comparison, but if you're really looking for those nitty gritty, like there's just gonna be a Delta from the variation there. Yeah, you're right. I do have the same DEXA machine with the same technician both times I did it. But it's an interesting question because the truth is I've only done two DEXAs in my entire life and they were both in the last year. So I did one at the beginning of my one arm training experiment and I did one at the end of my one arm training experiment. And those are the only two DEXAs I've ever done. I just bought another one that was on sale for a holiday package. I bought Kim and I each a DEXA. because she's never had one. And I feel like at 40 years old, when she's about to turn 40, it's a good time to do one for bone density purposes and just kind of establish baselines. So I bought Kim and I a Dexa and our plan is to do it in June. So I did one in August. I did another one in April or May, and then it'll be another year basically until I do this one in June coming up. So that'll be my third Dexa ever. I don't think there's a ton of value in doing DEXA super often. My thought would be that unless there's drastic changes in your life and you want to assess a very significant change, you probably don't need to do it, but every few years. I think every few years would be prudent as we get older to assess bone density and whatever, whatever. But if most of your body weight is the same, your strength is the same, there's not a whole lot changing in your... body composition from an outside perspective, it's probably just not worth it. Because the Dexa isn't gonna be acute enough to be like, you have gained one pound of muscle and lost one pound of fat in the last two years. Like, maybe, maybe not, you know? All right. So I think this next question will be our last one and then we'll have three kind of short ones that we can maybe start next episode with. Or actually next episode we have a guest, but, yep. this question and turn it into an entire episode, which I think we can provide a lot more value around there. And then we'll answer the final three, because there's shorter ones. they'll be super short. Okay. Has Aaron picked out the best seated calf raise machine for undefeated gym? Let's just go with yes, right? Fortunately, seated calf raise is very, very straightforward. It's one where you're not gonna get a huge amount of variation. But one I do like is the foot angle. You know how a lot of the seated calf raise will have a flat foot plate and then you're kind of operating over the corner? Ours is like angled, which is cool. Yeah. question was tongue in cheek, but I love that. I love that you have the slanted one. All right, cool. This is a female asking, I can easily get 250 grams of protein and 50 grams of fiber with no digestive issues. Is this a problem? I think she's like subtly flexing on us and then like masking into the question. No, I would say this is not a problem that you just have, it sounds like really quality digestion that can handle a high volume of both fiber and protein. I wouldn't necessarily think that's a problem at all. It's probably a positive, if I'm honest. Yeah, I mean, that's a lot of protein. I don't know how big this woman is specifically, but that could be two times body weight in protein every day, which is at the upper limits of that protein overfeeding study that Antonio's group did. So it's a significant amount of protein. I think it's an unnecessary amount of protein, but if that's the way you prefer to live, I think that's fine too. Yep, agreed. All right, last question. So the one that we skipped by the way is, can you both discuss your supplement stacks, brands, dosage and timing? And so that will, like Aaron said, I think that's smart. We'll make that one into a full episode. But the final question is, how would you structure forearm training? So we had a fun laugh about this one off air. So I'll let you start and I'll finish up. Yeah, honestly, I wouldn't. If I'm honest, like if you're really concerned about your forms, do some like rest pause sets of like a grip intensive thing, like a supinated pull down or something like that. I have some of that in my program and the forearm pump I get is so absolutely disgusting and it hurts so bad. You would just, I would recommend if you do really care about the forum, do some very grip intensive things for like. rest pause sets that go on for a long amount of time. Or really, like there was times where the time that I would get the worst forearm pump of my entire life was when I was in like grade nine or 10 and we had the powerlifting competitions in high school and all the younger grade kids had to re-roll the knee wraps tight. And that just wrecked your, I mean, we got like the calluses on the backs of the feet. It was horrible. and your wrists and forearms were in absolute shambles, but they obviously have those like roller machines or you have like the PVC pipe that goes around the barbell with like a nylon rope attached to it and you hang weights from it. That's what I would recommend if you want like one forearm exercise, but really just doing more like grip intensive stuff and just like pulling heavy off the floor and those sorts of things. Yeah, one of the things Aaron and I were talking about off air when we addressed this question pre -show was that you kinda just need to get bigger all over and the forearms will follow. They're like a really small muscle group and if your body is not big, your forearms are not going to be big. Like how often do you see really small people with massive forearms? It's just not the case. You have to get your body big and the forearms will follow and that just means doing a lot of really big compound movements close to failure for a long period of time. With that said, I do have two additional things you can add in. So I like what Aaron said about the rolling of the PVC pipe with the weight hanging, but my personal preference, when I was younger, I bought the captains of Crush Grippers. So these are things you can go online. Literally, it's like a spring thing that you just hold in your hand and close, and they have five different levels of them. Most people starting out will even struggle to close level one, and then getting to level three is like super savage. and there's only like a few people in the world that can close level five. So if you get these little grippers, you can just kind of sit at your desk all day and just kind of practice gripping. And then once you find one is too easy, you can upgrade to the next one from there. And then I also love farmer's carries. I think farmer's carries have really solid benefit across the entire body. They help you with conditioning, they help your forearms, they help your traps. They kind of are a move that just makes you look manly. And so I love farmer's carries and if I didn't have to lug my weights up the stairs to get them outside, I think I would do farmer's carries a lot more often because I truly think there's a lot of value in them. But just that little bit of like, oh, I got to carry these hundreds up like two flights of stairs and then out the front door is a little bit of a deterrent. Yeah, agreed. Good, good additional context on that one. Yep. All right, that's all we got. Cool, that's what we got. So as always guys, thank you for submitting some really cool and quality questions. Brian and I will talk to you next week.

Life/episode updates
Any changes to blood work panels since THC cessation?
Pick only 3 meals to eat for the rest of your life (like the 10 exercises question) but for overall health and hypertrophy?
Tips on training for maintenance of muscle?
How do you recommend training during Ramadan (fast from sunrise to sunset)
How to figure out what “works for you”
Tips for trouble sleeping in a deficit?
Experience with exertion headaches? Any known workarounds?
Thought experiment: If you could do only concentrics or eccentrics, which one and why?
How close to failure do you start a meso for lengthened movements? Still think 4 RIR is good?
Is the Sissy leg press a good alternative when you don't have a hack squat?
Relatively, how important are training blocks vs ongoing autoregulation of fatigue?
Purpose of warm-up sets beyond lower injury risk? Can you lift heavier if more “warmed up”?
Would Bryan ever consider going on TRT like Aaron? Why or why not?
Do fertility concerns play a factor in potentially going the anabolic route?
Could you finish Leadville 100 in your current form? If so, what time?
What creates more damage… 3-sec pause lengthened or 1.25 reps?
Go to lunch/dinner meals?
If natty is “too hard” then why choose settling for anabolic physique competition? Isn’t there a little glory in doing the hard thing?
Does bench angle matter for chest/anterior delts?
How do you not eat 3 hours before bed with edibles? I get munchies and then can’t sleep hungry…
Is there a point at which optimization is in conflict with toughness?
Any updates on misogi 2024?
When does Bryson start his bro split? (what’s the right time to start training?)
How often do you guys Dexa?
Has Aaron picked out the best seated calf raise machine for undefeated gym?
Can easily get 250g protein and 50g fiber with no digestive issues. Is this a problem? (Female)
How would you structure forearm training?