Podcast > Episodes

episode #52

Interview with Abel James: Abel’s Wild Diet, How to Stay in Shape at Home, Importance of Learning Music

September 3, 2021 in Podcast


This week I interviewed best selling author, podcast host and health crusader Abel James! Abel’s work has been featured in WIRED Magazine, Paleo Living, and hundreds of media outlets. He also hosts The Fat Burning Man Show Podcast which is one of the top health podcasts out there! We discussed Abel's health journey, his wild diet, his feasting and fasting routine along with: - How to Stay in Shape at Home - Abel's Morning Ritual - How the Message around Health has Changed - Importance of Music for Brain Health and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

0 (1s): Coming up on the get lean, eat clean podcast. It's, it's really amazing. You get a change in brain state is the most important thing. When you go out for a walk and that's just something you need that break, you need that time to breathe. That little amount of boost to your circulation really, really helps. And so many of us are just, you know, we get sucked into the vortex of, of technology that essentially every incentive for that technology or the overlords of that tech, or to keep you glued to it at all times. And so counteract that a little bit, even for your own nervous system and physiology, like get out there and take a 10 minute break a few times a day, and it'll really help your productivity as well. 1 (44s): Hello and welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. I'm Brian grin, and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was five, 10, even 15 years ago each week. I'll give you an in-depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long-term sustainable results. This week I interviewed best-selling author podcast hosts that health Crusader Abel James Abel's work has been featured in wired magazine, paleo living and hundreds of media outlets. He also hosts the fat burning man show podcast, which is one of the top health podcasts out there. We discussed Abel's health journey, his wild diet feasting, and fasting routine, along with how to stay in shape at home. 1 (1m 30s): Abel's morning ritual, how the message around health has changed the importance of music for brain health and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was. So I really enjoyed my interview with Abel. I know you will too, and thanks so much for listening and enjoy the interview. All right. Welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. My name is Brian grin, and I have a great guest on today. Abel James, welcome to the show, 0 (2m 0s): Brian. Thanks so much for having me 1 (2m 3s): Able yeah, you have, I can give you a, quite the introduction, author, musician talk show, host adventure. What's your favorite thing to do 0 (2m 13s): Before I do anything else? Usually I wake up and I play some music. 1 (2m 16s): There you go. Yeah. And actually, I know we'll talk a little bit about music cause I've, I've taken up piano over the last five, six years, so awesome. Yeah. Really enjoying that. So we'll touch on that. But before we get into that, maybe give a little background. I know you've had quite a health journey. I remember reading on your website, you were flabby and miserable to now, what do you got? Like a six pack and a long flowing here. So how did you, how did that transformation work for you? 0 (2m 50s): You know, it was, I kind of grew up in the world of alternative health because my, as an infant, I got very, and long story short, it became allergic to pretty, pretty much every antibiotic out there, which has remained true throughout my life. So health has really been more of a survival skill or at least that's the mentality. It certainly was for my mom who then at the time was a nurse in Western medicine and realized, you know, this, the system isn't going to help my kids. What am I going to do? And so she went back to school, got an advanced degree, studied holistic medicine, as well as herbs for healing and started incorporating those into a clinical practice. 0 (3m 34s): Well, I was kind of raised in this crazy world where if anything went wrong, mom would run face into the woods and come back after making like these bombs and tinctures and herbs and teas. And so that was kind of our, our normal back then, right. In a lot of ways. And then of course I wanted to prove that I was better than that, you know, and the first time that I got great health insurance, right after college to pay off my loans, I got a great job for the first time. You know, and it just came with this insurance plan that I'd never seen. I'd never seen anything like it. Like I could go into the doctor every two weeks and get my blood and urine analyzed and get all of this feedback and all these th the only problem was after following his advice really hard, which was to reduce dietary cholesterol, eat super low fat, you know, eat less exercise more. 0 (4m 25s): I was running about 20, 30 miles a week or whatever. After 18 months of that, all of the problems that we were trying to prevent like high triglycerides, high blood pressure issues with thyroid and that run in the family. And many of them there, things, those all got worse. I put on about 30 pounds. And after those 18 months, I was, I was basically on a half dozen different prescription medications that I really need. This is all in my early twenties. And around the time of all this happening, I, I came home one night and my apartment was up in flames and I lost everything I had to my name. And so when I went through that and I'm like, my life is out of control. 0 (5m 9s): This is terrible. What am I going to do? And I looked in the mirror and it's like, all I, all I had was what I was wearing and my fat face. And I was used to being a runner and an athlete growing up. And this is just kind of, I looked and felt like a 40 year old man or someone who's just kind of falling apart. And my biomarkers reflected that. And so after going really hard in kind of the traditional Western medicine, preventative health world, I ricocheted hard back to kind of the alternative health wacky world. And, and, but one critical piece that I really got into around that time was functional strength training combined with strategic partitioning of carbs, especially, but, but nutrients in general, protein, carbs and fats, if they're not, it's less of eating a percentage every single day than it is partitioning strategically, the macro nutrients in the, in the calorie load, in the right places. 0 (6m 6s): And combining that with fasting, especially with the fasting within a month or two, I was, I was down to single digit body fat, which was pretty much like the first time that I'd ever done that with more muscle mass and less time training. And it made me mad enough to start up my own podcast and blog and the rest of it, because I thought people should know if, if you're willing to do the work and follow the right principles that actually work. It's actually not that difficult. It's, it's way better than following the wrong advice. Really hard and getting fat and sick, like what happened to me? 1 (6m 42s): Yeah. I mean, for all that to happen when you're in your early twenties is, you know, beyond all those meds, I mean, that's crazy. Thankfully, 0 (6m 51s): It was only like a snapshot. That's what it feels like now. It was like my detour into that world. It's like, oh, that didn't work. Right. Yeah. And 1 (6m 58s): You know what to learn that lesson at such a young age is, you know, that's a blessing, right. People don't learn that stuff until they get to their sixties and seventies, 0 (7m 7s): For sure. You know, but I think it really helps that my mom and my family raised me in a world where it's like, I got acne growing up and like, I wanted to race to go get Clearasil and all these like drugs that you could take to make it better. And they're like, no, that stuff is poison. Like stay away from that stuff. And so I think that was reinforced so hard that I certainly can't take credit for that, but I can take credit for when I got the keys to my own health and could choose my doctor and what I did with it, and it didn't work out well. So I think it's important to recognize for everyone that you go through bumps, it's, you make mistakes, but those lessons at their best that can propel you into something that's much better with more meaning and more purpose and more just momentum behind it. 0 (7m 48s): Like, I'm pretty steadfast in my beliefs now. And I wasn't so much back then. I was, I was definitely trying different things out and exploring. 1 (7m 55s): Yeah. And so that led you to what was, so that was like 10 or you're 36 right now. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that was like 10 years ago. And then you said you started your podcast and did that sort of lead you into creating, like I know on your website and stuff, you have the wild-eyed that, that helps sort of forge you into, into creating that as well. 0 (8m 15s): Absolutely. Because one of the best ways to learn, I mean, it's, it's such a privilege and I'm so grateful for it. And I kinda got in early when it was easier, but being able to talk to the authors of the books we're writing on the subjects that you care about is freaking amazing like that what an incredible way to learn. And, and before, like one of the ways I think I stood apart and a lot of people do do this, but many people don't is like, before I do the interviews, I read not only their book, but often like their body of work, maybe not the entire body body of work, depending on who's coming on. But it's like, I do re a ton of research to make sure that you're the right questions and getting to the things that maybe are usually glossed over or somehow unique. 0 (9m 2s): But these people who are great writers are great thinkers. And if you ask them something on the spot, a lot of the times their responses are much more nuanced than, than you'd expect from, from their body of work. And so that's been one of the biggest pieces that I've taken away from this is it's. So when you're talking about health or medicine or healing or recovery, it's so individualized, and it's not just based on genetics, but genetics and lifestyle factors different, you know, I I've been wearing a CGM or a continuous glucose monitor, and the same foods will have a completely different effect on me on different days, depending on sleep or my insulin response based on how much I've exercised that day, you know, and how ready my muscles are to, to get that glycogen into the right places. 0 (9m 53s): Or if I've just been on a rest day, like eating that cake might not be such a good idea, whereas you can get away with that stuff in other cases. So I think the nuance piece is really important, but also just being able to learn direct from the, you know, researcher, a lot of these people are researchers and being able to ask them questions directly is fantastic because also just asking them, revealing things about their personal lives. Like, what did you eat for lunch today can be very revealing as well. 1 (10m 20s): Yeah, no, that's the one thing I really enjoy about having my own podcast is, you know, you meet people, you never thought you'd be able to meet like, I'm. I mean, I'm a big golfer. I got the interview, like a PGA tour guy. Who's big, big into fitness. And I, you know, I would never thought I'd be able to interview him. And obviously people like yourself. And I'm curious, what would you say the best way to describe your wild diet? Is it a basis of macros or how would you best describe that? 0 (10m 54s): Yeah, I think it's important to have something where you can kind of be grounded in the same idea, the problem with, you know, terms like paleo keto and a lot of the popular terms that come about and kind of rise in popularity and come back down is that they lose their meaning over time. And so at least for our own coaching community, that's where I kind of came up with the idea of wild, which connotes a relationship to the environment and honoring the environment. And so if you're going to eat the way that that would manifest to me and to our community generally would be whole unprocessed real foods as a start. 0 (11m 36s): Now we don't have to be anti-tech necessarily, but, but it's important to understand that most of the processed foods that are available or the mano crops, the foods that are grown on a large scale are done. So for reasons of profit, not our health. And so you have to have your shields up and kind of define what are the foods that are going to treat you best. And those are the ones from mother nature. So that's the prison to see the world through that hopefully will help people navigate on their own because I do have more dogmatic, you know, just like here are the macros, if you want to achieve this, here's what the plate should look like, which generally speaking should be not afraid of real unprocessed traditional fats, especially from healthy animals that were raised on pasture, not being afraid of ruminants either. 0 (12m 28s): I'm, you know, I tend to actually eat more red meat than poultry, especially here in Colorado and making sure that you're getting your protein kind of as the minimum nutrient, it's not even like caloric. And like, I, I tend not to really count calories and encourage other people as a lifestyle don't either, but it's important to know how to do that and build that skill. At some point, being able to kind of eyeball some tuna or a steak or chicken and being like, okay, I can kind of guess what the macros are and the caloric load, that's an important skill, but generally speaking, it's pretty reasonable veggies and meat with a good amount of fat to make the veggies taste good, not being afraid of traditional, you know, unprocessed salts and then carbs tend to be the majority of foods that are out there for most people, but they're totally scalable based on your, your goals and lifestyle. 0 (13m 26s): So if you want to lose fat, that's the one to turn down, generally speaking. And if you want to pump up your performance or gain a bunch of mass, that's the one that you pump up, but you keep the protein there pretty much all the time. Fat is also scalable depending on kind of your goals, but protein is the one that most people should be focusing. 1 (13m 45s): Yeah. I completely agree. I've talked about it before. It should be like the staple of the meal and then everything around that. Is there sort of like, you know, like you said, healthy fats and then, you know, I know some people are afraid of carbs. I think as long as it's nothing processed you're you should be just fine. And then it just sort of based off how you feel like I used to have like a huge big salad in the middle of my day with maybe some fish, which isn't, that sounds fine, but like, actually I've found that it weighed me down a little bit. Right. And so I've actually looked for my own good. I've actually pushed a lot of my carbs if I'm going to have them towards the end of the day, I'm like, yeah, what's your routine? Like, do your fasting and feasting routine. 0 (14m 26s): Yeah. Yeah. It that's the longer that I've done this, the more it looks like that. But when I first started, it was more a 16, eight, where I just basically pushed breakfast, breakfast into the more like noon territory and then stop eating after dinner. But the longer that I did that, the more I found that I could push lunch a little bit far. Like I wasn't hungry by lunch and I'm like, well, if I'm not hungry, then why would I eat right now? Let's try 2:00 PM. And you can push that too far. And you, you know, like experience what that feels like. There's no Nirvana waiting at the end. Like if you're fasting for 40 days straight, no, you'll die at some point. It's not the answer necessarily, but it's a really important skill to build metabolically speaking. 0 (15m 11s): And I really experienced a lot of the benefits running to, like, for me, I used to run marathons. I don't run that far anymore, but it's one of those things where if you have to be sucking on GU packs and making sure that your car bloating the night before with all this pasta. And I mean, that's not, that's not ideal because with health as a survival skill, thinking that way, you know, when things get real, it's not when you're well slept and well fed it's when you know, you haven't slept, you haven't eaten. And so I think it's important to kind of train for that, even if that means to just not eating for a certain portion of the day or going dinner to dinner, to dinner, or even every once in a while, I'll do a two or three day fast where I'm still drinking water. 0 (15m 58s): I want to be clear about that. I don't do dry fasting. I don't tend to do long fasts all that often, but I, the longer I do this, the more it's closer to one and a half meals a day, maybe even one meal a day where I'm eating for about four to maybe six hours or so. And I think it's important to, I go to bed early. I try to go to bed with sundown most of the year, and I try not to eat. I do eat carbs later in the day, especially post workout and workout in the afternoon, but I try not to eat it too close to when I go to sleep, because that can interfere with glucose during sleep and then even the next day and the next morning and lead to hunger and just kind of you're feeling off the next day, because it's not best to raise your blood sugar right before you goes. 1 (16m 45s): Yeah, I, I, I, I agree. And I'm in the same camp as you. I, when I started fasting, it was like just traditional 16, eight, and then you start to realize you're like, well, I don't, I'm not that hungry around noon anymore. You realize you don't have, when you start fasting, you don't have to eat you don't, you're not, you don't have to eat as much when you eat. It's awesome. You're full faster. And you just, I think, you know, you hear about, I know there's some books and like intuitive fasting or intuitive eating. It's sort of a hot trend word, but it is true. You sort of start to realize that I'm just going to, when I'm hungry, I'll actually eat. Instead of just like following the clock, you know, most people do. 0 (17m 24s): And when you're able to do that, it, it allows you to realize that some days you're hungrier than others and that's okay. Some, some seasons, some weeks you put on weight, you put on fat or muscle you're, it just feels right. And then other times it feels right to, to under eat. And I do find that it's based on season or, or timing or a cycle, but it's not predictable for me, but it's definitely real. I definitely experience it. And I don't mind going up or down five or 10 pounds, kind of just knowing that you can always turn that dial whichever direction you want, depending on your goals. And that's for most people, you know, before all of this, I didn't have that. 0 (18m 8s): I didn't have the confidence that, you know, if I wanted to lose five or 10 pounds of flab or whatever, if I want to lean down and get cut, I didn't have confidence that I could do that. But now after doing this for a while, coaching people and experiencing it myself, like once you have the confidence that you are able to do that, man, that makes a big difference for, for peace of mind and for maintenance as well. It's easier to have more fun and moderate, I think for a lot of people, if that makes sense. 1 (18m 37s): Yeah. And by no means, at least for me, like, I don't look at like fasting as calorie restriction, right? Like you, you're, you're eating till you're satisfied and I'm in the same boat. I don't count calories or I don't have my clients count calories. You just sort of, you eat until you're full, not like over full. Right. And, and then you move on with the rest of your day. 0 (18m 59s): That's a really important point too. Yeah. After I stopped eating a lot of garbage, you know, typical processed, breads, lots of gluten and grains. I still eat, you know, sourdough and homemade things and ancient grains. But, you know, I would get heartburn. I would get this feeling in my stomach where I was still hungry, but it was completely full, just, just really uncomfortable. And that went away. Like I haven't, I haven't really experienced that sense either of those things. And I'm not sure exactly what the, the causality might be there. I did clean quite a few variables up, but I think probably it just allowed my body to heal to the degree where that's not normal. 0 (19m 42s): You should not feel like that. But I think for a lot of people that is that's, that's par for the course for them is just feeling after every meal, a burpee and just little bit upset stomach, but that's a good sign that something you're eating is not working, working for you. And the longer we do this, the more we see that different foods have a completely different effect on different people. And, and that's is something that you have to account for. It's not always convenient, but you know, like if, if my wife doesn't do as well with dairy as I do, you have to account for that. And, and also I think there's, there's a lot of, you can, you can get momentum that way, because if, if she's going dairy free for a couple of weeks, it makes it a lot easier for me to at least turn it down and or experiment with kicking it out too, which oftentimes kicking out some stuff that you love is very, at the very least educational and sometimes really useful too. 1 (20m 37s): Right. You learn a lot from just abstaining from things. Right. Totally. 0 (20m 41s): And, and you don't take it for granted. That's my, like even kicking out coffee. I don't do it on a regular basis, but the times that I have, it's like, I do miss coffee. I do. 1 (20m 50s): And you appreciate it more when you bring it back. Right. And 0 (20m 53s): Then it's like, okay, I know why I do this. And it, but every once in a while you forget, then you take it for granted. That's a good time to kick it out again. And then, then you remember, but this is one thing you have to be very protective over your good habits. Because like, I just starting to do a guy yesterday who listens to my show and he's just like, yeah, I was doing so great. I was working out all the time throughout the whole, you know, like terrible year when we were locked in our houses and all that stuff. But then contractor came over and ripped up my basement. So I haven't worked out since, and it's like, better than that, you know? And like I understand, but you still have to keep it going. Otherwise, you, you completely lose it. And once you're in the good groove of those habits, it doesn't take that much effort, but you have to play self-defense and adapt all the time. 0 (21m 37s): Try to protect that because life just throws you curve ball after curve ball. That's the biggest challenge with staying true to all of this is, is being honest when those curve balls happen and then making a quick adjustment to make sure that you can keep those good habits going. 1 (21m 52s): Yeah, no, that's a great point. And what would you say as far as staying in shape? I mean, obviously with the whole quarantine this past year, I've sort of changed my methods around a little bit. What would you say the best way to stay in shape even when you don't have a gym? 0 (22m 10s): Okay. Show up, you know, and, and be honest about it because it doesn't take a ton of know-how. It really just takes showing up and doing it. And I would say not on a daily basis, that's too much pressure for most people, but on a weekly basis. So the way that I like to think about it, I think it's achievable for me, but it's different being in maintenance than it is, you know, doing it for the first time. It's harder to get back into shape. It really is than it is to stay in shape. So I like thinking about it on a weekly basis where one day a week I'll do something that challenges my muscles and nervous system where I'm going not quite to failure, but it's definitely challenging. 0 (22m 53s): So heavy ish deadlifts, but not monstrous monstrous, you know, like having to go into the gym where you're dropping the weights with all these crazy, no, just like body weight, maybe a little above body weight, but doing it and getting some good solid reps until you can't really do that anymore. Or you can't do it with good form, but always focusing on safety. So anyway, if you don't have weights at home, that's probably fine because you don't really want to start with loaded weights. You want to start with good form. And so try to go down, but to the floor in a good, honest squat with good form, when you can do that without weight, then you can start loading it up with kettlebells, with dumbbells free weights, whatever it is. 0 (23m 36s): But I would encourage people to just focus on body weight stuff at the beginning, even just going through the motions of deadlifts, squats, pushes presses poles, great stuff. And that's kind of goal there. I don't split it up into leg day and just day and stuff like that. Like a lot of Bonnie bowlers do I mostly just do, let's say all the muscles today, let's do a strength day. So usually I do that on Mondays. You don't need to do that really more than once a week, especially for most people you don't need to. And then another thing I do once a week is high intensity interval training, usually sprints, and we live in hilly, Colorado. So I tend to do hill sprints and, and the longer I've done that, the more I appreciate the luxurious rest periods, allowing your body to fully recover in between these bursts of high intensity activity. 0 (24m 29s): So what it looks like is sprinting for about 20 seconds or so uphill, but that could also be sprinting on something that's, that's not that doesn't have an impact, you know, on your joints. Something like doing cycle spins on a stationary bike or even mountain climbers, you know, just like jumping back and forth, jumping jacks could even work even swimming. Was that even interval swimming, swimming. Absolutely. Yeah. Great one. Yeah. So just hit it hard about 20 seconds. Then take as much time. I would say, especially if you're just starting as much time as you really need take take minutes, even if it's five or 10 minutes in between these sets, make sure that you've recovered recovered enough to be ready to go for the next one. 0 (25m 12s): And if you're just starting, this six are probably going to be enough, which is if you add that up, that's 20 seconds, time six in terms of actual workload, it's very, it's small, same thing with these heavy lists. The actual time that you're doing work is ridiculously low. It's not a suffer Fest where you're like most people think you have to go two hours on a treadmill just like killing yourself the whole time. But this type of training really isn't like that. It's, it's training your body to adapt, to go hard and then recover and then go hard again, then recover. And you reach a point where doing more of that does not help. So I encourage people. And then this is what I do as well. 0 (25m 52s): Strength day, one day, a week, plenty. And then more of a sprint day type workout. One, one day a week is also plenty. And then the other ones, the other days of the week are just, I'm trying to break a sweat just with something usually light like a walk, maybe a couple of kettlebell swings or a couple of dips in between interviews today, or a couple of pull-ups between these kinds of like micro, micro workouts. Yeah, yeah. That add up Brent Curran's big fan. Right. And so essentially that allows you to just, instead of putting your work in one thing, when you're wearing all your workout clothes, you can, you can put in a few reps not to the point of, of sweating. 0 (26m 33s): And that adds up to like a good amount of volume over time. And that's what matters is pushing weight or pulling weight. Moving weight over time is what matters on a, on a weekly and even monthly basis, far more than a daily basis. So if you do that and then the rest of the days, you try to just like be relatively active, you know, instead of sitting for my interviews, I stand instead of sitting, when I play guitar for the most part, I'm standing up and you can make those decisions throughout your day to take two steps at a time, instead of one, when you're going up the stairs, just little things like that, trying to be more active than not. And one of the biggest reasons I do that is just the mental, the cognitive benefit of that is your nervous system's fired up and ready to go. 0 (27m 19s): You get blood flowing everywhere, you think better. And so it's really in terms of minimum amount of workout. It is minutes of work a week, but most of the time that you're going to be working out is recovery. And, and so I think a lot of people that's the secret is showing up and being willing to do those things, sleep well, stay hydrated. These are not sexy novel ideas at all. These are the pillars that everyone who's healthy just does every day and shows up. And doesn't usually talk about it because it's almost like it's just an assumption that you have to do these things for the people who have done it long enough. 0 (28m 0s): But some of the people who are newer to it might not be aware of that, you know? 1 (28m 4s): Yeah. And I always say it's like the small little things that you do over time that make the biggest difference. And one of those things, and I think it's probably been a positive to the quarantine is more dogs were adopted, right. So people were getting dogs and like, I have to, I know you have a dog. I have, there's my dog right there. I actually have two now, so I might have to change my logo. Oh yeah. I got to include the other one. Yeah. I feel bad. So I got to put him in there, but so two dogs I'm out walking more than I've ever walked in my life. And I usually do it after meals, which is great because it sort of blunts that, that insulin rise a bit when you go for a walk after a meal. 1 (28m 46s): So that I, you know, I talked to a few, a few interviews with regarding just the positivity of having a dog and the impact that can make on your life. 0 (28m 55s): Yeah. Yeah. And I encourage people who don't have a dog to pretend that you do and 2 (28m 60s): Go for a walk. That's 0 (29m 2s): What happens when the dog doesn't go for awhile, it's unacceptable, but people don't carry that over to their own lives. It's really amazing. You get a change in brain state is the most important thing. When you go out for a walk and that's just something you need that break, you need that time to breathe. That little amount of boost to your circulation really, really helps. And so many of us are just, you know, we get sucked into the vortex of, of technology that essentially every incentive for that technology or the overlords of that tech, or to keep you glued to it at all times. And so counteract that a little bit, even for your own nervous system and physiology, like get out there and take a 10 minute break a few times a day and it'll really help your productivity. 0 (29m 46s): Well, 1 (29m 47s): Yeah. So don't go out there and walk with your cell phone, looking at your, I see people do that. I'm like, God, they're on a walk with their dog and they're looking at their cell phone half the time. I'm like, what's the point of that? Yeah. I agree. What would you say? So you've been in this game for a while and podcasting your health podcast. What would you say some of the biggest things that have changed over the last 10 years, as far as the things that are just being, you know, spit out or spewed out, you know, with all these health experts, what has sort of been the shift would you say are some 0 (30m 20s): Of the shifts so much more saturated now? And most of the messaging is so much more superficial whiz, bam, clickbait, that a little frustrating for some of the, the old timers it's like, I was like, I've been at this for a while when it's, you know, because originally if you search for something that was around ancestral health, these professors who had been writing about it on blogs since 1996 would be the first ones who come up and now it's just fricking MSNBC and Fox news and all these, you know, kind of corporate mainstream websites and all the people who are doing the deeper work or have been doing it for longer or are doing it on their own terms or whatever have been delisted or buried or just put over it. 0 (31m 3s): And that's, that's a little frustrating. But one way around that I find is just, is by reading books. People don't actually, so 10 years ago when I started this, a lot of people read books and that it was the assumption that, that you would, and now, because I think there are so many other alternatives because, you know, they're interviews of people who are in video form and then there's there's audio. So why would you take the time to, to read their book? I would argue it's because it's so much deeper most of the time. And that's where you get the, the real insight is by not just listening to bits and bytes here and there, but really going deep and looking into the references and then exploring those and looking into the similar books or bodies of work and, and all of that stuff is as relevant as ever. 0 (31m 54s): You know, even if you're looking back in time, many of the best books are decades old and it doesn't matter because they all knew like most of the people who practice good health and medicine have known this for well over a century, it's just been buried in different circles. And, and now when you try to look something up or you try to get health information, it's hard to know what the incentives are and which words are sponsored and Hmm, 1 (32m 20s): Oh, even the studies, right? All the studies that are just being backed by big pockets. Right. And big companies. Yeah. And, and 0 (32m 28s): Just talking heads, celebrities, and all these sponsored posts and stuff like that. And I definitely partner with other companies too, but I think, you know, now it's such a mix of corporate messaging with automation that it's hairy for people who don't already have their feet on the ground in this world and kind of have good habits. You definitely have to practice yourself defense, but I would explore anyone to really go into books, even older books. 1 (32m 57s): Is there a book that sticks out for you 0 (33m 1s): Every time I do? So I'm doing like 10 or 12 of these interviews in a couple of days. Cause I like to batch them or that I just have a stack of books where I'm not like for the whole weekend and usually a few days, sometimes a whole week. I'm just reading these books in terms of a body of work. Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman I think is, is totally underrated. She has some great books that cover some, some vast territory. I'm talking to Rob Wolf after this sacred cow is a great, great book that he wrote with Diana Rogers about regenerative meat and sustainability. Let's see, those are the two ones that, that stick out right now. 0 (33m 40s): But, but I would say for anyone who catches your fancy, it's a bargain to get it for 15 bucks. You know, it's usually the value much more of a value than buying someone's course or some other like bigger hundreds of dollar program or even in person stuff. It's really just, if you go in there, it's incredible. The generosity of knowledge that's, that's usually available, especially when you go back historically. And it gives a lot of perspective to know that people were doing essentially keto, diabetic diets a hundred years ago, and arguing with vegans a hundred years, 1 (34m 17s): It's like, it all comes full circle the whole 0 (34m 20s): Time. It's, it's entertaining to know that. 1 (34m 23s): Yeah. I mean, well, I always say that you're never going to hear much about fasting in the mainstream because no one makes money when you fast. Right, 2 (34m 31s): Right. Right. 1 (34m 33s): So, you know, but fasting has been going on for a long, long time, you know, almost every major religion, you know? Yeah, 0 (34m 41s): Exactly. Exactly. And, and fasting is one of those things where I think it's, it's part of the human experience that a lot of people are missing out on it. Does you grow in terms of strength, resiliency, and I think even mental strength. Oh, for sure. You put that in your practice to some degree. Yeah. 1 (34m 57s): Yeah. It gives you the flexibility. I always say, I mean, you know, when you start getting into fast and you realize you don't need to eat all the time and it sort of yeah. Just like you saw, if you're traveling or doing whatever and you miss a meal, it's not a big deal. Yeah, 0 (35m 12s): Exactly. Yeah. Which becomes a superpower. 1 (35m 14s): It does. It does. Yeah. And I, you know, I know I wanted to touch a little bit on, I know you're obviously a big into music and musical training. What, what would you say some of the benefits of doing that? That's part of the reason I sort of got into piano was I was like, well, I work my mind. I work my body a ton and I've been in the fitness for so long. I wanna, I gotta start working in my mind other than maybe reading and yeah. So I know you studied that a little bit. What, what would you say some of the benefits of that are there 0 (35m 44s): Are so many, but I started this for a while in my first research project and book was about this called the musical brain. So some of this stuff is just, I think the most important stuff is more like N equals one, your own personal experience. But this part is proven by research, active listening is improved, which basically means, well, I'll explain it this way. They did several studies of musicians in their brains and, and it was based on language and the way that you understand language and they found that musicians could better understand the inflection of those words and the added meaning behind those words, whereas regular non-trained or non-musicians non-playing musicians, weren't able to hear the inflection and the emotional information that was in that. 0 (36m 41s): So like an example is I'm fine. If anyone's significant, other says, I'm fine. Like oftentimes that's not what they mean. And so those examples of the, the inflection of our language, not reflecting the meaning in the words are more common than most people would expect. And so that's an example of active listening where you're, you're kind of picking up on what someone's actually saying in a, in a bigger picture, but you can hone in on pieces of that to get more specific meanings. So how that shows up in music is a lot of people who aren't necessarily trained in playing music, can't hear the trumpet or the baseline app on its own, you know, in the same way that a dog can sell that can smell the tomatoes in the soup and the garlic in the soup separately because they have this 1 (37m 35s): Heightens your senses. Right? Exactly. 0 (37m 38s): It, it heightens the fidelity of your census. It allows you to deconstruct sounds and go in there and be like, what is that? And, and isolate that. So that's, that's definitely a powerful skill for language communication and, and active listening also in nature. You know, I, it helps me pick up bird sounds, but that's one of our hobbies is just like which birds are around based on, you know, which national park we're in or whatever, and being able to pay attention to those things is really important. But also dexterity obviously reflexes for me, I, I, I've learned a lot about tendonitis recovery and, and, and training even from running scales on the piano to fast tempo, because that's pretty much the same thing as running a sprint, you know, and if you develop tendinitis, then the way that you resolve it is similar or even the same based on these different domains. 0 (38m 34s): So I think it's, it's a way to cross train for fine dexterity, which is more important than, than people realize one, this isn't necessarily supported by science, but when you look at different, like I remember seeing in junior high BB king, who was diabetic and not doing well later in life, just wheeled out there on stage. 2 (38m 56s): And then he just ripped 0 (38m 59s): Par for out just ripping. It was amazing. And so cool. And he did live a relatively long lifetime, even though he was otherwise completely out of shape and really in horrible metabolic health, with different manifestations of advanced disease, really. And you see that all the time with these different, you know, musicians who are, who are, if they don't die by 26 or 27, then they live until they're 80 or 90. Even if they're chain smoking for 90 years, even if they're completely overweight. And I think a lot of that has to do with the health of their nervous system, because one of the biggest reasons that people die is, is muscle wasting falls, you know, your nervous system failing. 0 (39m 40s): And if you can still rip on guitar, if you still have the technique to do something with your voice or with, with piano, then your nervous system is going to be trained and finely tuned to, to have that snap that goes away from that quickness that does go away. And that's what, you know, once your nervous system starts degrading, then you fall ill and kind of die. And so if you can preserve that from multiple directions, sprinting with the whole body, big, heavy lifts and doing fine things, just tinkering around on the piano or guitar or other instruments. I think that's a great way to, to preserve the health of your nervous system and a target for longevity. 0 (40m 20s): And it's it's, if you're not growing and getting better than you usually you're atrophying in some way. And I don't feel unless I'm in fighting like on guitar, you know, I just don't feel right. And I think that's a healthy way for people to exercise frustrations, to grow, to make mistakes without the stakes being too high publicly. And it's just like, it's fun to have multiple hobbies. It's good to have to practice in multiple domains, just like we all did in elementary school. We should never give that. 1 (40m 52s): Yeah, I agree. Yeah. I mean, just, you know, learning an instrument or anything at an older age, you know, I'm 40 and you just got to have a greater appreciation than when, if your parents just forced you to do it when you're like 10 years old and you don't really want to do it, but when you learn something at an older age, you're like, wow, you really appreciate that learning. And just what it, what it takes to get better, 0 (41m 15s): A luxury really. You only have so many things that you can do that with. You only have so much time and willpower. And for me, it's like, w we didn't always have the luxury of having a piano or a keyboard around. And like, you didn't always have the time because you're going to school and you have to go to work and all this other stuff. So really, if you are able to, to set up your life and carve that out, I appreciate now that it is a luxury to be able to spend your time doing those things, creative things, but you have to prioritize that and protect it. And it's not easy. It's not easy, but it's yeah, 1 (41m 49s): Right. Yeah, no, I, I try to do a little bit every day, right. It's like anything else? Yeah. 0 (41m 55s): It's so much better. That way. I used to teach guitar in college and the adults would pay me money. And they're like, why am I not getting better? And the kids would come in, they'd play a little bit every day, you know? And they would always get better. They would, they would come in every week and they would get better. Cause they would play a little bit every day. And the adults would just think that they would get results because they paid money. And we have to coach that out of our own thinking, because for some reason we're all conditioned in that way. Once we reach a certain age or maturity or something, we all just kind of have these expectations, 1 (42m 27s): Same thing. I mean, I coach golf a little bit and it's like, I tell them a mic, this lesson that I'm helping you with. It's a waste of time. If you, if I see you in a month and you haven't done done anything with it, cause golf lessons, you know, it can be expensive and a lot of people get them and they never do anything with them. So 0 (42m 45s): Yeah. Yeah. You got to put in the work, but that becomes fun. That becomes very rewarding. Right? It's not supposed to come from the teacher. It has to come from you. And that's what keeps you going. 1 (42m 57s): A few more things I wanted to touch on routine. I'm a big like morning routine and night routine. What type of things that you do that, that make, you know, let's just say your morning and night routine unique to yourself. 0 (43m 11s): I'm really protective of the first part of the day. So when you first wake up before anyone's gotten to you with text messages, with emails, with whatever expectations or responsibilities are there for the rest of the day, treasure that time, because it's, it's kind of, you have a purity of mind that you just won't get back. Once you start checking your email and once you start getting into this reactive state. So I wake up and typically try to hammer out a lot of stuff that I know is going to be good for me all at the beginning. And that way no one can touch me for the rest of the day. Cause I've already done the things that I wanted to do. And then I just have to show up for my commitments. 0 (43m 52s): This is the way that I think of it, you know? Yeah. So the first, third of the day is kind of that protected time, the creative time. So the second, third will be more fulfilling my responsibilities for, for work or for just things that are more procedural or administrative. And then the end of the day is more where I'll put the, I guess, consumption. That's where I'm eating, that's where I'm kicking back. And that's where I'm actually like watching an interview or listening to something or kind of relaxing. Cause I'm, I'm a bit out of gas by the end of the day. And I like that. I like being tired by the time I go to sleep. But in terms of the beginning of the day, waking up hydrate, a lot of these things I take for granted. 0 (44m 34s): So I have to like, right, 1 (44m 36s): Right. And they're big things, but they add up, right? Yeah, exactly. 0 (44m 40s): But hydrating for short with actually some electrolytes I enjoy, I make just one cup of pour over coffee that I drink over the course of like literally two hours of practices, sometimes an hour and a half, sometimes an hour. If I have to squish it in, you know, and it's a really busy day, but I'll practice running scales and just drills and technique to warm up on the piano and then I'll play some stuff that I want to work on. Then I'll do the same thing on guitar. Then I do a little spirit reading. I, I read the I Ching every day and some other just kind of studying, I'm reading a book about dark runes and what the meaning behind those are and symbolism and things like that. 0 (45m 26s): But, but things to try to advance our spiritual understanding in some way for just a few minutes. But I usually do that with my wife and then let's see, what am I, what am I missing sometimes a little micro we'll take your 2 (45m 40s): Dog for a walk. My wife 0 (45m 43s): Usually does it in the morning. Okay. Later in the day. But cheek gong, I usually do like right after I've finished my practicing music. So it's kind of like yoga or Tai Chi where I'm, I'm moving through different positions, squishing my organs and just kind of doing things that aren't taxing to the system, but do require balance and do require mental concentration and a breath work along with that. I don't count it as breath work cause I just, I've never gotten into breath work on its own, but I find if it's included in something else, I love it. So those are breath holds there. 0 (46m 24s): I'm kinda manipulating my breath throughout those different positions and things like that. So I think that's a really important part of the day that adds up over the longterm. I meditate afterwards for just a couple minutes and that adds up over the long-term to just kind of a balanced piece of mind that I didn't use to have where you have more control over that. Just all the voices in your head that are nagging you to say this, or do this or interrupting your thoughts that calms down a little bit. Once you have this daily practice of calming yourself down and trying to separate all of that stuff out. So I think that really helps. And I'll also usually do red light and near infrared in, in the first part of the day, sometimes in the later part of the day too, in like a targeted part of the body. 0 (47m 8s): But there's some bio hacky things, blue blocking glasses. I try to get sunlight as soon as it comes up over the mountains in the morning. It's it's, it's usually I'm playing piano and the sun is rising and it's coming and hitting my eyes. That's important for regulating melatonin and things like that. So also grounding. I tried to go outside a few times a week, at least barefoot, but even if it's a really cold and just have my feet, touch the ground and experience a little bit of cold, but I don't do cold pledging plunging or, or great cold thermogenesis or anything. You got 1 (47m 39s): To get into that. Yeah. Are you into it? Yeah. Yeah. I've gotten into, I know Brad, Brad Kearns is big into that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I love it. I think, I think you should give it a go and it's just another way to just, it's a stressor, but it's like, it's, it's almost like fasting, it's just sort of a mind thing. And once you just learn, you know, talk about breathing, that's what it's all about. And so that'll actually help with breathing. And so I would definitely even, you know, even if it's just like filling up your tub and just going in there for a minute or two, I'm sure that I'm sure you can get your tub pretty cold here in Chicago. I can get mine for sure. Pretty cold. So yeah. No, I think you would enjoy it. 1 (48m 20s): I really do. Cool. Yeah. I'll give it a shake. You'll have to let me know. I also wanted to ask a question. I ask all my guests, what would be like your one tip. If you had to give someone who's like middle-aged and they want to get their body back to what it once was back when they were, you know, maybe in their twenties, 0 (48m 41s): I would say practice intermittent fasting or, or, or cycles of under eating and then partitioning your indulgences and especially your carbs too, after those workouts. So a lot of people say, and, and I agree that nutrition, if you have to throw next week, each other is more important for getting back to your ideal body size or body composition than then, you know, working out is when you just can't really get there. Once things get hard. I think, especially if you're talking about middle age hormones or, you know, not what they were when you were a teenager in your twenties, once it starts getting difficult, then I think you just have to be a little bit more strategic, a little bit more specific to your own individual needs, but combining the intermittent fasting with the partitioning of carbs, which are scalable, I think you, for most people, they do better with, with some than none. 0 (49m 40s): And so putting them after an honest work out, you know, once or twice a week can lead to just wonderful changes over time. And I have coached people down really fast to lose weight extremely quickly. I don't recommend that for most people, but if you're motivated, then essentially a protein sparing modified fast, where you get your protein in first, you scale your fat based on your hunger. And then you kind of just avoid carbs. You still eat some vege, but you basically just avoid carbs for as long as you want to lose weight, you can lose an incredible amount of weight over time, oftentimes pretty quickly, because instead of you're getting plenty of protein from, from your diet, you're getting a little bit of fat, but most of the fat is coming from your body fat stores. 0 (50m 29s): And then you're not really getting carbs, which prevents you from going into a storage state with nutrients that are coming in. And so that can be really effective for, for some people. But it's really about the try not to think about it in a daily way. Think about it more in a weekly schedule. And that will help a lot of people cope with the days where they feel like they should eat more or the days where they feel like they should eat less. And intermittent fasting is a great inroads to understanding true hunger. 1 (51m 5s): I love that lot, a lot of good insight in that. And we didn't have a ton of time to, to touch on your, your kids book that came out. And it's interesting. Cause I actually wrote a kids book about five years ago. Yeah. So I saw that you wrote a kid's book. I'm like, oh, yours is designer babies. Still get scabies. Is that right? Okay. Anyways. Yeah. I want to check that out. I came out with one called the magic zoo and I know yours is based around poetry, right? Yeah. 0 (51m 35s): Yeah. And it's more for teenage and up than necessarily, but it's one of those things where I realized that I could get away with saying some relatively scandalous things if I was willing to rhyme them. So I made sure to rhyme bones, but it's one of those things where I find that creating music, art just expressing yourself in various ways is a great way to exercise your emotions and get rid of all of the frustrations that come with living in the modern world. And there are plenty, there are, there are plenty. So when I feel a little bit down, a lot of times I try to create my way out of it. 0 (52m 17s): And hopefully by adding a little bit of humor or a little bit of satire, you can, you can just laugh off all, most of the darkness in this world. This is a great way to cope. 1 (52m 28s): Yeah, no, I love that. Yeah. And where would be the best place for people to find what you're doing next? Probably 0 (52m 36s): Fat burning man.com or just looking up Abel James, the podcast is also called fat burning man. And then for the more music and artistic minded stuff, it's a, B E L James. Stop come for that 1 (52m 47s): One. Awesome. Well, this was great. We probably could have talked for another hour, but yeah, 0 (52m 52s): That'd be great. Anytime you want to do it again, just 1 (52m 54s): Hit me up. Awesome. All right. Well thanks so much for coming on. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. Hey, get lean, eat clean nation. Are you a man between the ages of 40 and 60 years old looking to lose inches around your waist have significantly more energy throughout the day and gain muscle all while minimizing the risk of injuries. Well, I'm looking for three to five people to work one-on-one with in my fat burner blueprint signature program, which I've developed by utilizing my years experience in the health and fitness space. This program is designed specifically for those committed, to making serious progress towards their health goals. 1 (53m 34s): Over the next six months, we will focus on sleep stress, nutrition, meal, timing, and building lean muscle. If this sounds like a fit for you, email me@brianatbriangrin.com with the subject line blueprint. That's brian@briangrin.com with the subject line blueprint. Thanks for listening to the get lean eat clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine. And I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode, feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member who looking to get their body back to what it once was. 1 (54m 20s): Thanks again, and have a great day.

Abel James

wanna talk to brian?

Schedule a free 15 min consultation