Mike: Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews, your host. Thank you for joining me today to learn about stress and how it can hold you back from progressing toward your fitness goals and particularly how chronic stress can get in the way. And this is a tricky topic because stress can be a scapegoat in certain cases.
For example, stress can’t make you Eating too much food because you’re stressed can make you fat. However, stress is also often overlooked. Many people leave stress out of their fitness equation, so to speak. Or they focus only on the stress. That is caused by training and not the other sources of stress in their life and how the totality of stress in their life is impacting their physiology, impacting their performance and impacting their wellbeing.
And in today’s episode, my guest, Sam Miller is going to shed some light on those things. How stress can impact your metabolism, how it can impact muscle growth, how it can impact quality. of life and he’s going to share some practical advice for better dealing with stress and hopefully share at least a few things that you haven’t heard many times already.
A few tips for managing stress that go beyond the typical listicle advice that many people share. And in case you are not familiar with Sam, he is the author of a bestselling book called metabolism made simple, as well as a health fitness and nutrition coach with over 15 years of experience, helping health and fitness professionals get better results with their clients.
Hey, Sam, it’s good to see you again. Thank you for taking your time to do this.
Sam: I appreciate you having me back, Mike.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, our first interview did quite well. So here we are with number two to talk about chronic stress and how that affects metabolism, how that affects other elements of of our physiology and really just of our quality of life.
And I thought this would be a good topic because it’s something that I have spoken and written about here and there on and off for many years. I’ll comment about this topic, but it’s I think it’s been some time since I’ve had a. A more in depth discussion I may never have actually here on the podcast.
And, and I think it’s also just topical because a lot of the educational material that I see, at least even in the evidence based space and not bad educational material and not people who are trying to mislead or do anything wrong per se. But a lot of the material is focused on optimizing diet and optimizing training.
And that is what most people are looking for, because most people who are trying to get into better shape, that’s what they think. They think, I just need to either start working out or I need to work out better, or I need to start eating better, or I need to take, I’m eating well, but I need to take it to the next level somehow.
And there is less focus put on all of the stuff that we do outside of the kitchen and outside of the gym. And that stuff, though, can have a big impact, right, on what we’re able to do in the gym. What we get out of what we do in the gym, how well we can do what we want to do in the kitchen, like how well we can even stick to a plan that makes sense, a meal plan.
So here we are. I thought that would be a great discussion and something that you have a lot to say about.
Sam: Yeah. When you mentioned the idea of discussing the intersection of stress and metabolism, a few things pretty much instantly came to mind. And many of those were. You know, centered on what’s really going on the other 23 hours of the day outside of the gym.
Now, granted, a lot of the conversation around stress and quality of life will bleed into our training performance and recovery, but pretty much instantly, you know, when we begin the discussion of stress and metabolism, we have to first kind of go to an overview of what kind of happens when we’re stressed, um, in more of that state of fight or flight.
And then what are the consequences of chronic stress when it comes to our transformation? When I think of stress it play out for clients over the years. Really, what we’re talking about is the impact on sleep. Dietary decision making, micronutrient status, there’s definitely an impact on our gut health as well because chronic stress can lower stomach acid and we can talk about some of the implications of that and really all of those things, even if it’s only a few percentage points here or there to start, if we’re consistently, you know, in an irregular sleep routine, if we’re consistently in a state of micronutrient depletion, those sort of, uh, I think I’ve heard you refer to them as almost like a subclinical state over time, kind of compounds to where, okay, maybe if this happened, um, Just a couple days out of the month.
Maybe not a huge deal or a little bit across the year. But if this is a daily thing for you, that can really make a difference in terms of your training and that daily dietary decision making because so much of what we do in a fitness journey relies on, you know, consistency. And so if we have this high stress environment impacting our sleep, our nutrient status and our ability to show up and do our best in the gym, That’s really bleeding into our consistency and then our long term transformation results.
Mike: And something that immediately comes to mind is is some research that I recently posted about over on X that in this study found that people with higher levels of chronic stress gained less strength over, I believe it was a couple months or so, eight weeks or so of strength training compared to the group of people who had lower levels of chronic stress.
And as strength and muscle gain Become closely related, especially when you’re no longer a newbie, like if you’re, if you’re no longer gaining strength, if you’re an intermediate or an advanced weightlifter, you’re not getting stronger anymore. You’re probably not gaining much muscle to speak of. And so it would be, it would be reasonable to assume that if the studies finding were generally true, which anecdotally Uh, anecdotally speaking, I would say is in alignment with what I’ve experienced myself and what I’ve seen now with virtually meeting so many people over the years now and keeping tabs on them just because they share updates via email and just getting a lot of data points that does seem to hold true and that you would also see less muscle growth than over time.
So just to comment on, on a, on some research that, that shows there’s a direct effect. There and there’s it impairs performance and there are some physiological reasons for that. So just an interesting study that I just came across, I think a week ago that is relevant.
Sam: Yeah. And this is one area where the research sort of makes sense from a common sense perspective.
Sometimes we see research and we’re like, Okay, but is this actually what’s playing out in the real world? I think when dealing with chronic stress and remembering that cortisol is a catabolic hormone, it would make sense that there’d be consequences in terms of strength and also muscle gain. Now, cortisol is not all bad if we have it kind of in the right Time as far as our diurnal rhythm or circadian rhythm.
But if it’s wreaking havoc over a long period of time, and we’re someone who’s chronically stressed, that’s a completely different story. Also pointing out, I think you mentioned that study was about eight weeks in length. So let’s say we were to extend that over eight months or someone who’s been in their fitness journey for eight years.
There’s definitely this sort of implication in terms of your long term results. If we’re already seeing a difference in strength over an eight week time period, there’s definitely going to be a more significant impact over the long haul. So really, I think what could explain a study like that is first thinking, you know, in terms of strength, we obviously need to be performing our best in the gym and then recovering from those training sessions.
And how are we able to progressively overload those workouts? If we think of kind of the basics of strength training and fitness, we know that that’s paramount. And so Really where I think this starts for most people, do you have a stressful day or maybe a stressful week or maybe you’re chronically stressed over time and instantly the first thing to go is typically your sleep, you’re wired and tired in the evenings or you’re just not having that restful sleep that you were previously used to.
Um, and that can show up in a number of ways, not just in that, you know, your cortisol is high. A lot of people think of it in a vacuum of cortisol is bad, I’m stressed out and this is what’s impacting my ability to build muscle or lose fat. It’s really okay. Well, yeah. What are the downstream consequences of that?
And now are we, because we’re not sleeping well, maybe we’re not optimizing things like testosterone or getting that appropriate recovery and modulating inflammation when we sleep, which is really all part of our body’s natural process on a day to day basis. Then we mentioned, you know, things like micronutrient depletion earlier on.
We know that when you train, we already may have a greater need for certain vitamins and minerals, things like zinc, for example. When you add stress to the equation, that’s then increasing your need for B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients, then compound that with low stomach acid because stress can impact our vagus nerve and also just our ability to reduce stomach acid in the first place.
And now we’re potentially looking at iron and B12 deficiencies. from that lack of stomach acid and, you know, popular plant based diets now. So many people are eating less red meat and things like that. Couple that with stress and you just have a recipe for disaster in terms of your micro nutrition, which can really be undervalued from a training perspective.
Obviously, we need to have our macros in order our total calorie intake and energy availability. But if our micros Aren’t where they need to be. We know that that can have an impact over time on our overall training. So those are really the, to me, I think what’s less obvious in the social media conversation around stress, but really speaks to, okay, this is how our lifestyle actually impacts how we show up in the gym.
Mike: And when you say chronic stress, what does that mean exactly? So, for people listening who are wondering, we all have stress. Most people listening probably live busy lives and there are various stressors that they just have to deal with. And maybe wondering, well, I, yeah, I’m certainly stressed now and then, but…
Am I dealing with chronic stress? What does that mean? At what point does it become an issue?
Sam: I’m really glad you mentioned this because as a business owner myself, I’m not someone who’s delusional to think that our clients in a transformation or anyone listening to this podcast is going to go through a meaningful life with zero stress.
Actually, there’s a very interesting Japanese concept and kind of the word ikigai in their culture really is tied to purpose. So even though you may experience stress, I think there’s. really different types of stress and how we are experiencing that in our life. If it’s tied to something of significance like our mission or meaning, maybe for you, you really truly enjoy muscle for life and legion.
And while there’s some stress associated with it, it may be different than someone who’s just kind of running around with their hair on fire all the time, you know, so to speak. When I think of stress and kind of classifying this inside a transformation, there are certain aspects of the stressor that may make it a little bit more of an insult to your physiology compared to other.
You know, just stressors in day to day life, and this is another great case for resistance training because resistance training can actually sort of, uh, buffer against future stressors and support that resiliency of your H. P. A. Axis. So it’s not always necessarily just about less stress, less stress, less stress.
It’s also what can I be doing In terms of my daily habits that can support my physiology in dealing with life stressors rather than thinking, Okay, I’m gonna live in this vacuum with zero stress. Nothing’s ever gonna come up. There’s never gonna be problems in my life. That’s not necessarily realistic.
And I think we have to take a realistic approach to transformation or it’s just not gonna be sustainable for most people.
Mike: Just to make a quick comment there. I also think that Taking that approach where we’re talking about some practical behavioral changes that we can make some lifestyle adjustments, we can make some things you’re going to go into that approach makes a lot more sense to me than simply trying to make internal changes, try to try to change the way that we view these stressors we’re dealing with.
And I am familiar with even even research on that, and I do understand there is validity in that. However, in my experience, I would say personally, but also. Also just working virtually, mostly with many, many people now over the years, especially people who are busy. It seems like generally it’s more effective to change behavior and allow that to change your mind and change your attitude rather than try the reverse.
There are exceptions, but that seems to be the rule and that’s, it’s, it’s something that I keep in mind in my life where if there’s a problem, if I’m not happy with something and it makes. Some sense, then I’m inclined to figure out, all right, how do I deal with this here externally and how do I change behaviors?
How do I change environment? How do I change factors that will then change my attitude or my beliefs or change my mind rather than go well…
Sam: if I just tell myself that it’s okay, then it’s going to be okay. I.
Mike: Correct, like psychological judo with myself, and then I just don’t address the issue. But now maybe I’m not as stressed about it because I don’t view it as stressful as I did previously.
Sam: And I do think attitudes are important, but I lean more towards your side as well, where if I can engage in a behavior or. better manage my time or do something proactive to manage my stressors is very, I think that’s more powerful than just wave a magic wand and tell myself, okay, this actually isn’t that stressful.
I’m just excited about this. And I know which research you’re referring to. I think there’s a professor from Stanford and she was sort of popularized, I think after a Ted talk around, well, we just need to view it as you’re not stressed. You’re not anxious. You’re just excited or your body’s just. Yeah, you’re challenged for this, and there may be some people who respond well to that, and there’s research to support that idea that she has.
But for me, what I just anecdotally in my own life and also with a roster of clients similar to you, and there’s lots of other stress management research, most of the stress management research. Focuses on shifting someone out of rumination mode, thinking about past or future events. Either they’re worried about something that has happened or something that will happen and bringing them into the present moment, which usually involves some form of creative therapy.
This is where some people also like cold exposure, breath work, journaling, really all of the stuff that sometimes gets classified as a little bit more woo woo in a way. Even those stress management interventions, you’re doing a thing. It’s not you thinking, Oh, my stress is different. That includes human randomized control trials on everything from being in nature, going for a walk, spending time with loved ones or pets.
A lot of times it’s doing an actual activity that may be either supports your physiology to deal with future stressors, or it gets you out of that mental state of just constantly thinking about the stressors that you have in your life. So I’m really glad you mentioned that. I do want to make sure that for the audience, we kind of unpack what might make something more stressful for someone, because I think that plays a big role in the stress they’re experiencing.
And usually it has to do with, it’s something new, you haven’t experienced it before, right? So let’s say you have something in your life, you don’t. necessarily have a track record with it, right? That could be stressful if you have a track record and evidence of completing something in the past, it’s probably going to be less stressful for you.
Another thing that can impact the stress level is if it’s predictable or not, like if you know that going to get your kids from school and bringing them to soccer practice is a stressor for you. There are certain things you can kind of plan or buffer against the stressor. Maybe you go a little early so you don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic and you decide I’m going to get there early reading the school pickup line, or I’m going to go and check my emails while I wait for my kids.
There’s a level of predictability that allows you to manage the stress. The next thing would be, is there some sort of continued threat of a stressor? And this is where I think, especially for folks who experienced stress and trauma earlier in life, if there’s kind of this repeated, Insult on our physiology that definitely plays a role in terms of our stress and immune system because no longer is this acute, but we have this continued threat of stress.
We see this mostly in animal studies. It’s not super ethical to do to humans as far as around restraint stress and different things that may impact our stress and cortisol levels. Also, our immune system and then our future behaviors as a result of that. And then the last thing is just. Does this person have some level of control over the stressor?
Because if it’s, let’s say you just have really poor time management skills, uh, or you’re just really busy, if you have a sense of control over that, it’s probably not going to feel as overwhelming or daunting versus some of the most significant stressors I’ve seen for clients over the years. Maybe it’s taking care of a loved one and being the primary caregiver for someone who’s Uh, not doing well from a medical or health perspective, maybe it’s, um, you don’t feel like you have a sense of control over.
You have limited experience as far as finances go. And so that’s a stressor for you. But for most everyday people, it’s usually is this something new? Basically, you don’t have the reps of dealing with it yet. But obviously, if we adopt the appropriate mindset of kind of getting those reps, maybe you get better at dealing with the stressor over time.
Maybe when you have your first kid, it’s a stressful but exciting experience. But over time, you kind of yeah. Get used to doing things that help you manage that overall. Um, and then I think, you know, the regularity of it, the predictability of it, that makes a big difference, too. So for most people, when they’re talking about a chronic stressor, it’s usually something that’s a continued threat of stress all the time.
Maybe it’s not as predictable as they would like. It’s kind of like, uh, whether it’s, let’s say you get a stressful email that you didn’t expect and you had limited control over it. But Something’s happening more frequently in your workplace, or maybe there’s some toxic relationships or things going on.
Those types of stressors can be very different for someone that say, Uh, you just have poor time management and you’re fairly busy. That I think is kind of the compass I try to use to navigate stress and then similar to you. Rather than just saying, Oh, this really isn’t that stressful, we try to create the appropriate habits and behaviors in someone’s daily life that may kind of buffer against that future stress or a big word that gets thrown around a lot is, is resiliency.
But we can actually see this in some of the research. Around things like resistance training, HPA axis function, there are things we can do and techniques we can deploy in our life to actually make us better equipped, especially from a physiological perspective to not have quite as extreme a response when it comes to our HPA axis, which really is just the scientific term for the connection between our brain and adrenals and how our body produces cortisol.
Mike: And that was just going to ask because you’ve mentioned that a few times and it’s it’s an important part of this discussion. Can you talk more about that physiological system in the body and how it responds to stress and how it can become, I suppose you could say deranged can become dysfunctional by.
Being exposed to too much stress too often.
Sam: Yeah, so typically what’s happening is we’ll perceive some sort of threat in our environment or some sort of stressor and the brain. We essentially have a few different important regions. We have our hypothalamus and pituitary, and then the pituitary is going to communicate with the adrenals to produce the hormone cortisol, which is in a family of hormones called corticosteroids now.
Unfortunately, what happens when we’re under chronic stress, where we truly perceive as though we are a highly stressed person, we identify as a very stressed person, we actually see brain structural changes where the amygdala, which is a fear center in the brain, actually Increases or hypertrophies and the other aspects of kind of managing stress in our mood state, our hippocampus may actually shrink or atrophy in size overall.
So this will impact, it’s kind of like a vicious stress cycle. So you, you get stressed and then you continue to be stressed and it makes you subject to future stress because you’re more stress reactive as a result of those brain structural changes. So a lot of people blame the hormones when in reality.
A big part of it is our habits, our behaviors, our environment, and then that environmental stimulus, how our brain is perceiving that stimulus. And the brain is really the governor or kind of captain of this whole system. And it’s sending essentially a releasing hormone to your pituitary. And then the pituitary sends another hormone that goes to the adrenals that then produces that cortisol.
Meanwhile, if it was up to late night infomercials and social media, we would just blame cortisol all the time. But cortisol has sort of a specific purpose and you can leverage it, you know, in a transformation and you can kind of keep it situationally at bay as needed. The problem most people run into though is, you know, cortisol is elevated at the wrong times.
So it’s not necessarily, Oh, cortisol is this really bad thing. You actually need cortisol.
Mike: I mean, it’s one of the, one of the things that helps us have good workouts, right?
Sam: Yeah, you actually, you know, if you have that appropriately heightened physiological state that actually helps to mobilize energy and you will have a better training session, but the problem is having that cortisol being elevated in the evenings or time when you need to be in more of that parasympathetic rest or digest state.
So the process I just talked about from like a scientific or physiological perspective is referred to as a sympathetic state or fight or flight versus that rest or digest. And as the name implies, That’s really where the implication comes from in terms of our digestion and not being able to get into that sort of restful mode that we need to to optimize other aspects of recovery.
Mike: There are a few things I want to follow up on that. You said the first one is just a comment you made about how people self identify regarding stress. And I just want to hear your thoughts. And some of this may sound like it’s going to run contrary to what we were saying earlier, which was maybe downplaying some of the psychological aspects of it.
But I don’t want people to Get us wrong in that, I mean, I think we’re probably both on the same page that we fully acknowledge that there is a psychological aspect to how we respond to stress. Our stress sensitivity, so to speak, there’s a physiological component that is strictly regarding a portion of the brain.
And if this portion of the brain gets bigger, your body’s stress system, so to speak, is now stronger. And so that’s a part of it. And then, and then there’s our subjective experience, which Yeah. I mean, it goes down to what is consciousness. Nobody really knows yet.
Sam: And those two brain centers are what impacts that subjective experience.
So let’s say you even if you were to look at other species in the animal kingdom, animals that have that larger amygdala react very differently in certain situations. And so it’s going to impact you socially and how you show up in the world. Even if you are trying to cultivate a different sort of attitude about your stress, the fact that you’ve experienced significant stress may be kind of playing against you.
And so what Mike is saying is, yes, the physiological aspect of it and what’s happening anatomically may impact how you show up in your stressors. And that’s why a combination of both the behaviors themselves. And yes, maybe you view your stress slightly differently, but I think that comes with actually taking some form of action versus sitting back and having this sort of passive attitude about your stressor and just wishing that you’re going to experience it differently or viewing that it’s a good thing when really your body and your brain are still thinking otherwise.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Or just venting to other people. It might feel good in the moment, but I’ve never found that to be an effective stress management strategy. It often. Can it just will make it worse because you get all riled up about whatever’s going on, right?
Sam: Yeah. And most of the people who identify, I think where you’re kind of going with that as far as the folks who identify as stressed, those are the people that like to vent about the stress.
They like to experience that day to day. It’s almost a part of their personality. There’s usually always that person that for some reason there’s a level of attachment to their stress and there may be different rhyme, kind of a different rhyme or reason behind why each person identifies that way, probably a lot to do with their childhood, upbringing and environment, different psychological factors that are probably beyond the scope of what Mike and I are going to talk about today.
But that really does play into A health and fitness journey, because I think sometimes when we have that sort of self identifying stress behavior, it can also play into other not so great attitudes around health and fitness journey that limit our ability to make progress, especially if that same self identification Transcription by CastingWords Pushes us more towards the really the term that comes to mind is kind of that victim mentality of things happening around you.
You’re very reactive to it. You just kind of blame you point the finger a lot versus taking responsibility. And I think so much of a health and fitness journey is really showing up, keeping promises to yourself, developing kind of this bank of personal integrity from taking action, even if it’s not always perfect.
And progressively overloading that over time, not just your weights in the gym, but your ability to kind of stack these behaviors and keep promises to yourself, whether it’s going to bed at the time you said you’re going to go to bed, going for that walk, eating the protein you said you were going to eat, it’s just all of these daily deposits that stack in that direction.
And I think it’s very hard for someone to do that and live. The congruent lifestyle that they need that’s aligned with their goals. If there’s someone who is this self identifying stress cadet that also points the finger and has the victim mentality around everything from their body composition to the reason that they’re stressed in the first place.
Mike: I want to, I want to come back to something else that you had, you had commented and on.
And, and that is for people listening. And again, if they’re wondering how they. Where they place kind of on the on the spectrum of, let’s just say it goes from healthy to unhealthy amounts of stress. What are some of the telltale signs or symptoms of too much stress too often that would necessitate some sort of intervention as opposed to a healthy amount of stress.
And this is going to vary individual to individual. Some people can deal with tremendous amounts of stressful things pretty even heavily. And, and, and other people seem to respond much more negatively to much smaller problems.
Sam: So I’ll kind of run around different aspects of the stress response and how this might be showing up for you.
I mean, some of the. Conventional things that we might look at, uh, especially from like a Western medicine perspective might be like elevated blood pressure, for example. So if you have high blood pressure, that would be something sort of something you can track at home, you know, on your own would be something as simple as are you having a hard time?
Falling asleep. Are you fatigued in the morning when you’re trying to wake up? It’s okay to have a little bit of fatigue or lethargy, but if it is really kind of this burdensome level of fatigue where you have a hard time getting going no matter what, whether it’s movement, sun exposure, eating appropriately, you’re fueling enough, you’re not chronically under eating and you still have a really hard time.
There’s probably a level of stress there that might need to be examined. If your recovery from workouts is consistently compromised, I would definitely look there. So let’s say you keep a logbook and you kind of check the boxes from a nutritional perspective, you’re keeping a food log, you’re eating adequate protein to recover from your workouts.
And you notice that despite your nutritional efforts and giving your best in the gym, so let’s say you’re tracking on like an RPE or RIR scale, and you believe that you are Let’s say you’ve worked with a coach before and you have some idea of what training to failure looks like and you’re training with that requisite intensity and your food is checking out as far as what you may need to maybe let’s say you’re eating maintenance calories and you’re still struggling to recover from your workouts.
That to me would be an indication that there’s something else going on from a recoverability perspective. So that’s a very tangible thing that the everyday person can do if you are a little bit more into metrics and tracking a more novel sort of tool in the fitness industry is HRV, which I think we’re still, I think there’s still more that needs to be done there.
I don’t know that it warrants a full podcast discussion here, but. HRV and looking at recoverability or even your resting heart rate. That could be a tool if you don’t have something like an aura ring, you could just take your morning resting heart rate and examine those elevations over time. If you have a chronically elevated resting heart rate, that might be an indicator to me.
If coupled with some of those other symptoms and factors that you might want to examine. Your overall level of stress. And I think if you’re someone who’s a more laid back individual and you find yourself being more reactive or changes in your mood, I think we can also look to other hormones to assess our levels of stress.
So for a male client who’s not taking any sort of exogenous hormones or testosterone therapy or anything like that, we will see a transient decline in testosterone levels and free testosterone. So we can look outside of just cortisol when we’re examining stress. For a female client, this might impact their menstrual cycle in terms of ovulation and that healthy flow between the follicular and luteal phase that can be expressed via basal body temperature.
Or if you were to draw serum labs that would be reflected in the luteal phase in terms of your progesterone levels. So I would start if you’re Kind of just the lifestyle enthusiast in your transformation, trying to get healthier, leaner, build muscle, start with the basic things. If your, if your food logs in check and you’re training appropriately, but you’re not recovering the way you should or progressing as you should look at that.
Um, I think looking at your sleep and resting heart rate could be important. Everyone should be periodically monitoring their blood pressure just for long term cardiovascular risks. So when you go in for a physical or. Even if you have the opportunity, some grocery stores have the little cuffs. Now you can go in and check your your blood pressure as well.
Um, so start with sleep, food training, and then from there we can progress to some of the deeper items I would say, which would include things like your overall lab markers or that conversation around HRV. If you have the tools to do that, that wouldn’t necessarily be my first thing though. And then just overall being mindful of your mood and.
It requires some level of self awareness to kind of think about your mood and energy levels and all of those things. But I think if we audit and track it, um, that can be good over time. One little sort of acronym or device I use is SHREDS. So sleep, hunger, recovery, energy, digestion, and stress. And we can kind of evaluate that for ourselves almost like a weekly check in and give ourselves a quantitative score and a qualitative sort of subjective score.
And if we track that over time and we notice it’s deteriorating, Probably means that something needs to change in our overall lifestyle in order to make the progress that we’re really looking for.
Mike: And I think tracking some of these things, especially some of these subjective things that you can just rate on a on a scale is a good idea, especially if you’re a busy person and a lot of people listening, the idea is probably not to get away from stress.
It’s probably more toward what you commented on earlier, which is let’s improve our tolerance of stress. Let’s let’s improve our capacity for dealing with stress so we can do more so we can take on more. And yeah, that can. People can take that to the point of pathology. That’s true. But fundamentally speaking, or generally speaking, that is, it’s not a bad thing.
If people want to figure out how they can get more engaged with the different things that, um, they’re involved in and different people in their life. It’s not just about, can I work out two hours a day now, instead of one hour a day for many people listening, it’s, can I. Do what I need to do in my fitness, but then also be able to do what I want to do in my work and do what I want to do in my relationship, in my family, in my social life, the more things we, we try to do, but inevitably.
The more stress we experience and hopefully we’re also experiencing joy and pleasure. But with anything, it has ups and downs.
Sam: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned the ups and downs because there’s a seasonality to it, right? Just like, you know, you’re not meant to be in one phase of your nutrition all the time forever, like calorie deficit.
You may have seasons of your life that you’re pushing for. That job promotion or you’re getting ready for a wedding or something. And there’s some stressors present or you, you’re kind of in a phase of training that requires, you know, accumulating some additional volume or intensity to work towards a goal that you have.
So there’s definitely a seasonality to life stressors. I think Mike and I are pretty much in agreeance on the goal is not the avoidance of stress. And I would encourage anyone listening to Similar to how you might track your food or keep a food log, look at like a time audit and how you’re spending your time and how you’re allocating these different resources, because a lot of times our stress can stem from where we’re placing this emphasis and focus and how we are managing our resources in our life.
And so some of the same tools that may make you effective at, you know, getting Better in terms of your exercise and your fitness or, you know, being more mindful of your nutrition, we can apply some of those tools and skills to these other areas of life to be more successful and better manage our stress.
Um, it’s not that we’re going to have zero stress. It’ll probably ebb and flow in different departments and categories. But I think if we were honest. Do kind of that self assessment of our time. We look at, okay, am I actually like Mike said, maybe the stress isn’t so bad. Maybe I’m just not, uh, participating in things that bring me joy and, and experiencing these different dimensions and emotions in life.
You know, a stressor might be more tolerable. If there’s some joy on the other side, or there’s other things that you kind of have to look forward to in your daily life, and one of my favorite questions for clients way back in the day on intake forms and stuff is like, what brings you joy during your week?
What do you actually have fun doing? Because sometimes as adults, we get away from that. It’s like, what did you do before you’re an adult with bills to pay and responsibilities? Was it? Did you like to play music and you had an instrument that you played? Did you go outside on the swing set or go to the jungle gym at the park?
Was it? Yeah. You like coloring books and you like to draw and sketch and all of these things. And I think as adults we get away from that. But having some of those activities and basic habits that can serve as sort of tools in your arsenal can be helpful and doesn’t need to be an everyday thing, but it can be a nice way to kind of round out those different seasons that you’re experiencing in your life.
Mike: How would you like to know a little secret that will help you get into the best shape of your life? Here it is. The business model for my VIP coaching service sucks. Boom. Mic drop. And what in the fiddly frack am I talking about? Well, while most coaching businesses try to keep their clients around for as long as possible, I take a different approach.
You see, my team and I, we don’t just help you build your best body ever. I mean, we do that. We figure out your calories and macros, and we create custom diet and training plans based on your goals and your circumstances, and we make adjustments. Depending on how your body responds and we help you ingrain the right eating and exercise habits so you can develop a healthy and a sustainable relationship with food and training and more.
But then, there’s the kicker. Because once you are thrilled with your results, we ask you… to fire us. Seriously, you’ve heard the phrase, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Well, that summarizes how my one on one coaching service works. And that’s why it doesn’t make nearly as much coin as it could.
But I’m okay with that because my mission is not to just help you gain muscle and lose fat, it’s to give you the tools and to give you the know how that you need to forge ahead in your fitness without me. So dig this, when you sign up for my coaching we don’t just take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process of building a body you can be proud of, we also teach you the all important wise.
Behind the hows the key principles and the key techniques you need to understand to become your own coach and the best part It only takes 90 days. So instead of going it alone this year, why not try something different? Head over to muscleforlife. show slash VIP. That is muscleforlife. show slash VIP and schedule your free consultation call now.
And let’s see if my one on one coaching service is right for you. And that’s a good segue to my next question because that can also be a great strategy for dealing with much of the stress that we need to deal with to achieve our goals, to achieve meaning, you had mentioned that earlier. I think there’s a direct relationship.
It’s hard to think of any activities that are deeply satisfying and deeply meaningful that are not also stressful. To some degree that don’t involve exposing ourselves to stress. So my question for you, um, is what are some of these practical strategies and I’ll let you go wherever you want to go with that.
If you want to start with diet or if you want to start with things related to sleep or even, even having fun, I think that’s a great place to start because it’s not talked about. Much and it’s something I’ve experienced myself where I, I don’t want to, I don’t want to hijack the conversation and just talk about my life, but I’ve, I’ve gotten to that point.
And then I decided to change some things, but I had gotten to that point where I had filled my days with. A lot of work that, that needed to be done. It was important work, but it got me away from the work that I enjoyed the most. And really the work that got me into this in the first place, which was writing books and creating content.
That’s what I like to do the most. And as I became more of a, an entrepreneur and more of a business owner, business operator, I had to do more and more of that stuff that was. Rewarding and it was satisfying in various ways, but it didn’t bring me the joy of just writing an article that I really liked.
Like I really liked how it came together. Like over here, do something for Legion that makes a big difference in Legion’s revenue, let’s say. So it’s pretty significant and that’s great. And I’m not, I’m not saying that doesn’t mean anything, but as far as just what brought me the most joy, the actions that went into that were not as joyous to me as.
The actions that go into just writing the next fitness book that may or may not matter at this point in the scheme of things like I may just be doing this more for my own. I mean, people read the books and like them, but if I, if I have to objectively assess what’s the highest and best use of my time, what’s the highest leverage thing I can do with my time?
If the goal is simply to grow legions top and bottom line as much as possible, writing another fitness book number 9 or whatever, probably. Not very high. However, it means something to me because I enjoy the work. And so anyway, I had to, I had to kind of audit my, my life and how I was spending my time and really look at what are all these things I’m doing.
And do I find any of them, how much interest, how much fun is in those activities and how much value truly is in those activities and then make some changes because I mean, I would joke about it. I guess maybe at least I had some self awareness that I’d gotten to a point where I didn’t really have much fun.
Like at all, because I was working six or seven days a week. And again, most of the work wasn’t particularly fun. It just needed to be done. I would joke that it’s kind of like chores. Like, well, today I have, I sweep them off the floor and then I’ll, I’ll clean up the kitchen and then, you know, I’ll go do my chores.
So, so, I mean, again, I’m not, I’m not asking for sympathy and I’m not even complaining. It’s just, I can just say that personally, I’ve experienced a bit of the imbalance that can come about when. You are no longer giving any priority to what you really enjoy and what is actually fun really inside work or outside of work because there wasn’t much time outside of work because there was so much time in the work.
You know what I mean? One of the reasons why I’m not the CEO of Legion anymore, and I have somebody who, I mean, he’s been with me since the beginning and he’s come up. He started in customer service, actually, and, um, not there’s anything wrong with customer service, but that’s where he started. And now he’s the CEO of the company.
He does a very good job and he’s a very good guy and he loves it. He loves running the business and being that operator. That was something that I never loved. I did it and I did it professionally and I read books and I took it seriously, so to speak, and I think a lot of the people who worked with me, they wouldn’t have necessarily thought that I didn’t particularly, it wasn’t something that.
Sparked joy in me per se, because I was going to do it as a professional. Um, but that helps, that helps to have somebody now to just fully take all the CEO related things, all the business management things and do them and allow me to spend time on things that are more, more fun to me.
Sam: Yeah. And so for you, you know, hitting again, there was seasonality there, right?
So for a period of time, you needed to be the CEO of Legion and now you’re able to spend your time on other things, really more your zone of genius and content creation, the stuff you really love. And so for some folks that may just be. That little bit of an audit and self awareness that you had to realize, Hey, I’m doing six or seven days a week of this stuff and not actually carving out any time for Mike centered activities.
And for you, maybe that’s writing for someone else. That could be music. It could be going for a walk. It could be family time. We don’t all have the same preferences and priorities. Just like we know that Fruit is good for us, but Mike may prefer a certain berry compared to the berry that I like. Right.
But they both have nutritional value and we can incorporate them, um, you know, in our day to day intake as part of that. So a lot of these same things that we talked about from nutrition and fitness can directly apply. And I think because you had some tools available, you were able to go through that season of higher stress.
And, uh, you know, I appreciate you didn’t take on the victim mentality there and point the finger at other folks but…
Mike: no, no, I was a victim of my own tendencies.
Sam: Yeah, I think we realized that we all have such a high level of sort of that personal responsibility or extreme ownership over some of the stuff we get ourselves stuck into at times.
And I can definitely relate to that in coaching and business and life. I think the further you go along, you realize, Oh, that was actually my fault that that happened. And then we did that but
Mike: I mean, that’s, that’s my, that’s my default now, even when things happen to me that seem kind of out of the blue and it’s not just random things that can happen in life and you just deal with them like something negative that, that, that happened, that I didn’t seem to have any control over, didn’t seem to play any part in, I still have just fully adopted that extreme ownership perspective and I still always Look at situations through the lens of what did I do to contribute to this?
I mean, I would be hard pressed to think of anything probably in the last 10 years where I couldn’t find an answer to that and not something, an answer that, that is, there’s a direct cause and effect relationship, even if maybe the reaction seems completely disproportionate to my input, like fine. But, but I can find some element.
That I can take personal responsibility for, even if it was not paying enough attention to something or not thinking enough about it and maybe taking action before I should have or whatever. And then what lesson can I learn from this to prevent something like this from. Happening again, and I find that to be very productive.
I find that it helps emotionally, uh, helps prevent extreme emotional outbursts and helps me stay pretty well balanced by being able to accept. All right. I actually did have a, I did play a role in this. It wasn’t just their fault, or maybe it was, it was actually more my fault than their fault. So now I just have to deal with the consequences and then looking for that lesson of, okay, so is there something I can take with me now that can help me win next time or help me do better in such a situation next time?
Sam: Which probably makes it less stressful to learning from those lessons and having. Uh, kind of that lens of I think when you do take responsibility, it gives you a greater sense of control because you realize you played a significant part in the outcome. Uh, there was a contribution that happened there, whether good or bad.
Um, so that’s probably something in your life that’s Played a pretty big role as far as interactions, and I think it kind of takes the sting out a little bit if you’re always looking at through the lens of how did I contribute to this? Or what was the role that I played? Um, I think that’s super important.
One thing you also mentioned earlier that I wanted to just include for the audience on the fitness side of things is, you know, you mentioned fun and joy and finding things that you like. I think we get very caught up in our programming from time to time where we forget that Part of training is meant to be recreation, and it’s important to take it seriously and exert effort, but that doesn’t mean that you abandon the idea of doing some fun things that contribute to your fitness.
So if that’s, you know, riding a bike, that can be done in a way that’s good for you, contributes to your fitness, gets you outside, but also may be good for your stress management.
Mike: Or running. And I say that in particular because I’ll often hear from people who they like running, but they’re concerned that the running is going to get in the way of their muscle and strength gain, and it can if you do too much running out of all the different types of cardio that that most people do. Running is probably the one that would get in the way the most. However, you do have to do quite a bit of it to get in the way.
And even if it did get in the way. To a small degree is going to be for most people of your muscle and strength gain. If you really like running, then you should include it in your regimen. You shouldn’t drop it because maybe that is not maximally scientifically optimal for maximizing the hypertrophy.
But if it is optimal for maximizing your enjoyment of your life and of your, of your lifestyle, then it’s important.
Sam: Yeah, and just showing up to do it right. So if you if that makes you more active overall and makes you more consistent with the rest of your routine, then probably good to have it in there.
I think from a resistance training perspective where I see this, I think continuity and having some mainstays in your programming is important. Uh, for progressive overload, and maybe that’s a metric based movement in some of, you know, in your training sessions, but with your accessory work, I think that’s an opportunity where you can keep training fun from a resistance training perspective.
So also understanding how to be kind of adaptable and flexible in our programming where, okay, I know that. I need this row based movement to be, you know, this is my metric based compound of some kind. And maybe on your lower body days, let’s say you’re progressing on like a Romanian deadlift, and that’s going to be consistent.
Well, there’s opportunities to do things you enjoy, and there are going to be weak points that maybe are things you don’t enjoy that you still need to do from time to time. But I think sprinkling in. Things that you regularly do in your accessory work gives you something in your sessions that maybe you look forward to.
And there’s a way to have that well rounded approach. And that’s one of the great aspects of coaching is a coach can work with you to kind of give you what you need, but sprinkle in a little bit of what you want in order to make it a more enjoyable journey towards your goals. So I think that’s true of whether it’s Mike’s example, like a preferred cardiovascular activity.
Or, um, I think it holds true with your weight training, too. I think there’s ways that you can still have a science based approach and follow the evidence and try to optimize things so that you make the best progress. But there’s room for some individual preference along the way, too, I think.
Mike: Last comment on fun, and then we can, um, we can get back to other strategies for either Reducing stress or increasing our capacity to deal with stress.
So let you go wherever you want with it. And that is just a simple little, little tasks and a little homework for people listening. If you feel like you’re not having enough fun, if fun has fallen by the wayside because of obligations is usually how it goes. And again, I understand it. I’ve been there. Try to try to just end every day.
With something fun, and if you can’t end the day because of your schedule, just try to try to give some part of your day, even if it’s 15 max 30 minutes to just doing something that you like to do solely because it’s fun to do. It’s not a part of some. Goal of any kind. It’s not, it’s not a self development activity.
It’s not a meditation or breath work unless you really find that fun. Most people don’t find it fun per se. It’s a means to an end. No, it’s something like you said, playing an instrument. Maybe it’s, it’s drawing. Maybe it’s playing a board game or playing Legos with your kid, whatever it is, but you’re doing it just because you like to do it.
Sam: Yeah, that’s great. You know, so for me, probably music and maybe it’s playing fetch with the dogs or something, just getting outside for other people. We all have our sort of individual interests and flavors and preferences. And I think that’s important. It’s a balance of both. So some of it is kind of expanding your horizons and testing that threshold and incorporating things and trying them on for size, knowing that there are some health benefits, you know, obviously cold exposure, heat exposure, exercise.
They’re all hormetic stressors. So in a way, even if it is something that you own, Enjoy doing there’s, there’s a little bit of, uh, um, still, uh, good stress that can come with that, but we can overdo it at times. And so I’m glad Mike mentioned everything from Legos to just, you know, maybe for you, it’s
Mike: even listening to music.
I mean, some of the, they just, you know, you just like to, if you just like to sit down and listen to some music, you really like to listen to and for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever that is. And it’s, you, it just brings you joy.
Sam: Yeah. Ideally not on social media, hopefully for folks listening to this, it’s like, I feel like we’re all plugged into technology.
I’m glad Mike had some non technological examples. I think aside from having fun and joy just to kind of round out the episode, a lot of the things we can deploy inside a fitness journey. Fortunately, fitness does seem to help us with managing our stressors. But I think the biggest practical takeaways from today’s episode, aside from resistance training, would be things like getting outside.
You know, nature is actually very powerful. Natural settings seem to reduce People’s perception of stress also, um, you know, pets and animals can, can be very powerful sticking on kind of the natural front. As far as creative therapies, there’s research on art, music, and different sort of creative avenues that can play a role in your stress management.
That’s a very research based kind of human trials approach to that. There’s certainly more. Mindfulness related exercises, whether that’s journaling, breath work, even things like counseling and therapy can be considered a form of stress management if if you are someone who finds value in that and you feel that you’re in a season of life where that would be beneficial to you.
So there’s really no shortage of techniques, I think, like many things when it comes to Food exercise and other elements of a transformation. It’s trying some stuff on for size. And what can you be consistent with participate in? And what are you deriving the most value from? Um, as far as your personal R. O. I. Goes. And just remember, there are probably things in your life right now where maybe you can make some of these stressors more predictable, or you know that there’s something that’s bothering you. And Mike was able to delegate some stressors maybe for other folks. It’s just planning and time management or communication that can go into it, being mindful of finding ways that we might be able to better control or prepare for those stressors, kind of auditing what’s coming up in our day to day, almost like you would with just tracking your macros or keeping a food log, uh, and then exploring.
You know, ways that you can contribute to being part of the solution instead of pointing the finger finger and kind of viewing everyone else or your environment as the problem. Obviously that will play a role, but all of these things can go a really long way. And then if you are someone who’s in a season of your life where there’s some stress, just do what you can in terms of your sleep hygiene.
Obviously Mike has a ton of different episodes on recovery and things like that. Get your, uh, you know, increase your micronutrient status to support that state of heightened stress as much as you can. And, uh, understand that. When you are stressed, if it’s impacting your sleep, it may play into some of the decisions that you’re making and behaviors that you have.
So some level of kind of tracking in there might be helpful just to audit and have kind of some tools for self awareness as you’re moving through those seasons. Those would probably be some of my best advice, you know, hopefully through this episode, you know, people are able to adopt. Some of those strategies would say, don’t do all of them at once, uh, pick something and, you know, apply it in their journey to hopefully improve their health and their training and ability to stick with their nutrition as well.
Mike: And what are your thoughts about dealing with people who are causing stress? That that has to be one of one of the one of the major factors and I’ll just lead with, uh. Something that just has kind of stuck with me that if you, if you look at the people, uh, who you deal with on a regular basis, and if you were to, if you were to just look at the amount of stress, the amount of problems, if you were to this person brings into your life, and you were to rate that on a scale of one to five, and look at the amount of joy or value or meaning or satisfaction that this person provides a scale of one to five and any people who are.
Bringing a lot more problems and stress than meaning value satisfaction, you should, and again, I’ve done this myself, so I’m not, I’m not, um, trying to moralize, but I think that it’s worth considering who these people are and how you are interacting with them. And should you change that? It doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of them because sometimes you can’t.
Sometimes it’s your boss. Sometimes it’s somebody in your family, but. You almost always can take some actions to maybe you can’t even change the proportions, but you can turn the volume down. You can bring the amount of problems that they’re in stress that they’re creating down. And what are your thoughts though on navigating?
Sam: I think that’s a great perspective. I really like the radio analogy of turn the volume down on the people who are stressful. And, you know, in some ways there are times where you kind of outgrow certain friend groups or people who maybe become more distant in your life. Yeah, there are people that may need to be cut out of your life.
Now, I’m not the person. Who’s qualified to tell you to do that? I don’t know everyone listening to this well enough to make that determination for you. But I think as Mike said, if you’re kind of weighing some of these inputs and outputs and the level of stress relative to growth and contribution and joy that the person’s bringing you, I think it’s a fair discussion to consider, um, who’s just like.
You know, in a health and fitness journey, who’s supporting my goals and these decisions I need to make with my nutrition and who’s the person who’s encouraging me to hit that workout or who wants to tag along and go with me and get that training session in versus the person who’s being critical of your choices to better yourself.
And I think there will be times in your life where you either have to have that conversation or you just slowly kind of remove yourself from. That stressful group and ideally surround yourself with people who contribute more to the joy or growth in your life. Um, and generally speaking, if just kind of Mike mentioned, if we have some level of personal responsibility in terms of stress, most human conflict seems to stem from miscommunication and unfulfilled expectations.
So if you. Find yourself in a situation where you are repeatedly ending up in conflict with folks, kind of audits the role that you played as Mike mentioned earlier, as far as did I set expectations that would lead this person to be upset with me or stressed in the way that they’re acting? Or did I maybe miscommunicate and they’re just upset with me because this is a miscommunication?
So I think if you can look at that fairly and say, because It’s one thing you have the occasional miscommunication, but if this is happening all the time, maybe there’s just something deeper going on. But I think if you can look at yourself and say, Hey, I haven’t really set expectations in such a way where this person should be, you know, upset with me or that there should be this level of conflict or stress.
Then maybe it is that conversation Mike talked about of kind of distancing yourself or removing them from from your life. I don’t think Mike and I are really the ones to make that decision, but this is a helpful frame to look at in terms of thinking of that. And with miscommunication, I think the occasional one off someone misunderstood you or something, that’s fine.
But if someone’s constantly either overreacting or dragging you down, um, that’s probably a red flag or good indication. We’ve seen this with clients over the years where. You know, someone is kind of this person who’s repeatedly sort of inserting themselves and interjecting in a not so positive way when it comes to your goals or making it known that you’re trying to better yourself.
Um, and that can be anything from your fitness journey to educating yourself or growing a business. A lot of times people will root for you in the beginning and then you start to grow and. Those folks, um, maybe are less positive than they used to be. So I think Mike certainly shared some great, uh, different stories and tools and analogies.
And my perspective is, I’ll first look at, okay, did I play a role in terms of the communication here or setting an expectation where I let this person down and they have every reason to be upset with me? But if that’s not the case, then They may just be a negative individual that doesn’t belong in that same dose in your life.
So kind of like Mike was talking about, turn that dial down in terms of the volume. Um, and hopefully, you know, you’re able to kind of move on towards better things.
Mike: Absolutely. And I also wanted to ask you about diet and how that can play into minimally exacerbating stress. Uh, like for example, because, uh, just we’re, we’re talking to a lot of people who care about body composition, maybe that’s not.
That’s not all they care about. So you often will have a lot of dieting going on. You’ll have, especially for people who want to stay fairly lean, I’m sure as you know, that means that generally you’re going to under eat rather than overeat. Like if you’re a guy and you want to be at least, let’s say you want to be 10 percent body fat or lower, or you’re a woman, you want to be 20 percent body fat or lower.
You’re just going to have to err on the side of being in a small calorie deficit. Rather than a small calorie surplus. And so there’s that. There’s also low carb. That’s obvious. That’s obviously very popular, but that can make stress even worse. So you want to get your thoughts on those things and any other dietary considerations that people should be thinking with in this context of improving our ability overstressed.
Sam: Undereating can definitely contribute to your overall stress and think of the calorie gap that you’re creating as kind of compounding, uh, some of the existing stressors that may be present and the longer we’re dieting now truly in a deficit, not just the feeling or sensation of thinking that I’m on a diet, but if I am restricting my energy intake for long periods of time.
Mike: Like my body fat levels are going down.
Sam: Yeah. If your body fat levels are very low and you’ve been lean for quite some time and you’re restricting calories, what happens as far as the physiological response to dieting and what’s known as metabolic adaptation in the health and fitness world actually has a lot of parallels as far as what happens when we are stressed.
So when we go through a season of chronic dieting or we’re just trying to stay very, very lean and we’re under eating, yeah. We actually have that elevation in HPA axis that we talked about earlier. We’re downregulating thyroid hormone and reproductive hormone. A lot of those same things happen to a person under chronic stress.
So you’re almost adding insult to injury. If we were to chronically diet through a phase like that, we can use certain macronutrients to help. As far as from a recovery perspective, getting adequate carbohydrate post workout insulin serves as sort of this counterbalance. It’s a bit. counter regulatory to cortisol.
So you can use macronutrition and supplementation to help offset some of that. But I think really, uh, we shouldn’t, a lot of that is kind of like making minor tweaks to optimize things. Ideally, you’re not doing this all the time because, you know, hopefully you’re applying some of the things we’ve discussed in today’s episode with Mike to where We’re not always having to, you know, hack our nutrition to make up for this highly stressed lifestyle, but you can do that getting adequate protein intake and remembering that if we are on a lower carb diet, we’re also we may exacerbate some of the effects of that chronic stress.
So chronic dieting, low carb dieting and not managing our lifestyle overall will contribute to that. And some folks notice on that low carb diet, they may have a harder time sleeping. So That sleep then will make us less resilient to future stressors. So really, we want to structure our nutrition in a way that allows us to recover from exercise and optimize sleep.
And then if we can optimize sleep, that may help deal with life’s daily stressors. Um, and if you happen to be in the deficit for a period of time, probably not a huge deal or the end of the world. There’s a lot of good things that can happen there but if we’re overdoing that or overstaying our welcome.
Mike: Making, making the, the calorie deficit, the lifestyle.
Like I, I remind people this is a dietary intervention. It’s not meant to be a lifestyle .
Sam: Right. I think, yeah, we, we have very similar thought process on this. I think I’ve tweeted, or now it’s X as well. I’ve talked about how, um, you know, if you know, a deliberate calorie deficit for fat loss is not a problem.
But attempting to achieve that calorie deficit in perpetuity that that is the problem, right? So what is meant as a temporary dietary intervention is not meant to be something that you do over the long haul. Ideally, we make those bodies composition changes, and then we adjust our caloric intake, um, and have some sort of seasonality in our approach or what people.
In the evidence based community referred to as periodization, uh, we can apply that to help maintain our body composition while not eating minimal bare bones rabbit food, you know, to try to keep our abs year round. So definitely there are some nutritional strategies. I would say if the low hanging fruit is your lifestyle though, um, don’t.
You know, kind of like step over dollar bills to pick up pennies.
Mike: Or don’t avoid the bigger, more powerful changes that you kind of don’t want to make. But, you know, that sounds nice. I’ll just eat more carbs.
Sam: Yeah. If you’re like, I’ll have carbs after my workout, but you’re dealing with a lot of the things we’ve discussed in today’s episode.
We might be missing the forest for the trees. So there’s definitely some, uh, something to be said about, yes, use these tools at your disposal. Uh, but let’s not kind of, uh, ignore the big rocks, so to speak. Yep.
Mike: Yep. And the last question I wanted to ask was supplements. Are there any supplements There are
supplements that certainly are sold as effective stress busters at worst, or maybe stress modulators if they want to be a little bit more honest. But what are your thoughts?
Sam: So in the evenings, if sleep is the issue, a big fan of glycine, theanine, and magnesium. Those are some really great low side effects options that can be titrated and dosed in a way that I think can be used responsibly.
And there’s some good evidence to support their use. You can get fancier than that, but I think for most. beginner to intermediates. Um, that’s a good place to start with glycine coming in at probably the highest dose. You need several grams of glycine.
Mike: I do about three grams about an hour before bed.
Sam: We’re waiting for that reformulation, Mike.
Mike: Well, it’s actually it’s in the gummies phase of this. So the formulation is done. I like it. And I just I want it to be gummies because we have a lot of powders already. We have a lot of pills and especially if it’s something you’re taking before bed, Yeah, you don’t want more water. At least I don’t.
Sam: So glycine, I think, is great. Uh, theanine, usually most capsules are going to be in a 100 to 200 milligram serving size. And dose, you’ll kind of figure out what’s best for you there. Um, as far as magnesium, usually, um, most capsule sizes there are going to be anywhere in the hundred fifty two hundred milligram range and you can kind of titrate most better quality magnesiums will avoid kind of that gastric upset that you see with magnesium citrate.
So you should be able to increase your dose accordingly. But I always recommend with things that are micronutrients, check your food log and see if you have, you know, good dietary sources of these versus solely relying on supplementation. And then as far as the morning goes. You know, we can use certain things to combat fatigue like rhodiola, um, it has evidence as an adaptogen.
There are other adaptogens that exist in the, you know, on the marketplace. But as far as ones that I’ve personally found success with, and there’s also good research behind them and overall pretty good safety profile. Um, rhodiola, I think, There’s other evidence for Ashwagandha, KSM 66 and other products.
I think there’s differences slightly in response in regards to mood and how people really achieve kind of maximal benefit from that product. But I do think those are probably the two most researched. herbal adaptogens, or like you said, kind of modulating your stress response. Uh, but I usually start people with more basic items and then dealing with some of the micronutrient depletion that may happen under chronic stress, which is, you know, getting your good B complex vitamins in, magnesium, zinc, in some cases, uh, vitamin D.
But that’s really where we start. And then if someone’s experiencing digestive symptoms as a result of their high stress, we may want to consider looking at what’s going on with their stomach acid levels and just kind of monitoring certain foods that may or may not be irritating them as well. But I start pretty basic on the supplement side.
We want to assess that response first. And then you can always scale and titrate your dosing or incorporate a variety of products. Uh, there and then the last thing would just be your workout recovery because typically if you’re in a season of higher stress, you know, other than supporting sleep, really, the other thing we could do there is just support workout recovery to help you, um, as you move through that season, which is going to be adequate protein intake creatine.
And then depending, you know, on the person, we may adjust that carbohydrate intake. You know, up or down depending on their total macronutrient allocation and overall energy balance that that person has, um, as far as their day to day intake goes.
Mike: Great answer. And, uh, and that’s more or less exactly how I would answer it.
So great advice. Uh, well, this was, this was a great discussion, Sam. Again, thank you for your time. Thank you for, uh, your patience. We were having some technical issues before and it turned out, it looks like it’s a hardware thing on my end that, uh, it. It held, so my, it looks like my hypothesis was probably, probably true.
Um, so thanks again, Sam. And why don’t we wrap up with where people can find you and find your work? And if there’s anything in particular that you want them to know about anything new coming out.
Sam: For sure. So I’m Sam Miller science on all major platforms. And, uh, by the time Mike and I will record next, who knows one of these platforms will have a new name that happened between last time and this time, similar science.
I spent a lot of time on the podcast and Instagram a little more so than some of the other platforms. My website similar science dot com. Uh, in 2022, I wrote a book called Metabolism Made Simple can grab that either on the website or metabolism made simple dot com. Um, and then my program for health and fitness professionals is metabolism school, and you can find that at metabolism school dot com.
Really, the name of the game there is kind of bridging this gap. A lot of the stuff that Mike and I talked about today as far as, uh, you know, components of health. The other 23 hours of the day, we do look at nutrition and fitness, obviously, but also conversations around things like stress management and making sure that, uh, you know, this next wave of health and fitness professionals understand how to help people in their daily lives.
Um, and actually, you know, getting some traction in their transformation to move forward. So, uh, those are really the places I hang out, best places to find me, and you can really all find it from that main hub. Uh, which is sammillerscience.com.
Mike: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Sam. I appreciate it. And I look forward to the next one.
Sam: Okay. Thanks, Mike.
Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful. And if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people.
who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, Mike at muscle for life. com muscle F O R life. com. And let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about.
Maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode and I hope to hear from you soon.