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episode #208

Interview with Dr. John Rusin: Pain Free Performance, Advantages of Sprinting and Best Ways to Recover! Hide Details

December 5, 2022 in Podcast


This week I interviewed internationally recognized strength coach, speaker, and writer, Dr. John Rusin!

Dr. Rusin is the owner of John Rusin Fitness Systems, an online fitness platform geared toward synergizing the best of high-performance and pain-free training to elite level athletes and general fitness clients across the world. In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to look, feel and function at your best
  • What is Functional Training
  • 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People
  • Top 5 Reasons To Implement Sprinting into Your Routine
  • Best Ways to Recover Faster
and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the Get Lean E Clean podcast.

John (4s):

Best recovery method is smart, intelligent programming For your big exercise days, mm, you need to be able to recover from a stimulus that is recoverable and that is a big mistake that many people make. They just crush themselves to the point of not being able to walk. And then it takes 'em seven to 10 days just to get away from the delayed onset muscle soreness, let alone the neurological recovery associated. So sprinkling in intensity, sprinkling in all the variables that make something feel hard and take a toll on recoverability, that stuff needs to be dialed in because you know, there's no magic hack to recovery, there's no compression boot or supplement or ice immersion that is going to fix a shitty training schedule or a really mishaps and miscalculated training schedule.

John (54s):

So I would say really looking at your volume, looking at your frequency, and also looking at the overall intensity, those should be the three biomarkers that we're looking at in order to ensure recovery.

Brian (1m 8s):

Hello and welcome to the Get Lean E Clean podcast. I'm Brian Grn 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 internationally recognized strength coach, speaker and writer, Dr. John Russell. Dr. Russ is the owner of John Russell fitness systems and online fitness platform geared towards synergizing, the best of high performance and pain free training to elite level athletes and general fitness clients across the world.

Brian (1m 48s):

This week we discussed how to look, feel, function at your best, what is functional training, the seven habits of highly healthy people, top five reasons to implement sprinting into your routine, best ways to recover faster, and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was. Definitely enjoyed my interview with Dr. John Russ. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show. All right, welcome to the Get Lean e Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gr and I have Dr. John Russ on welcome to the show.

John (2m 21s):

Thanks so much Bryan.

Brian (2m 23s):

Yeah, thanks for coming on. I've been a big fan of yours. I've followed you through Instagram and with all your different exercises and definitely something that I try to implement into my life. And Dr. John, maybe perhaps before we get into some questions, what, what, what got you into health and wellness and functional strength training and all your certifications and things like that?

John (2m 47s):

Well, that's a loaded question. Yeah, I know I started coaching 16 years ago. I started in high performance athletics, so I worked alongside professional athletes also at Olympic training centers across the world. And about five years ago or so, I shifted from high performance athletics into general fitness and that is where most of my methodologies, the certification courses and my general clientele come from today. People that wanna look, feel and function their best and aren't necessarily making 20 million on the field on Sundays anymore. But the combination between health and performance together, no matter if you are an athlete or somebody that is looking to have a better lifestyle or extend longevity, the same methodologies and the same systems are utilizing in a quite similar way.

Brian (3m 33s):

Yeah, and I've, I noticed you have a, a pain-free specialist certification. Tell me a little bit about that and and who's that geared towards?

John (3m 43s):

Yeah, so the PainFREE Performance Specialist certification is the fastest growing private certification in the fitness industry and arguably in fitness industry history. In the last four years, we've been able to certify over 13,000 coaches in person alive. And this is something that is geared towards fitness professionals and we have a myriad of different professionals coming from different ends of the spectrum. So we have physical therapists, we have personal trainers, strength coaches, and also physicians come through and even chiropractors. So it's very intriguing to mix and match different professions that are all allied in the same room, learning about PainFREE training system and preventative proactive healthcare.

Brian (4m 23s):

I love the name of it because I feel like, you know, it's like as we get older, I'm 42, it's like the the probably the, well how should I say this? You wanna get stronger, we don't, you wanna do a PainFREE and you see a lot of people in the gym doing the wrong thing. So it's that the basis behind the certification teaching you like the right ways to do certain exercises and things like that,

John (4m 44s):

Right. That's the, that's the basis of the entire model. Usually you have performance or you have pain free. Pain free is commonly associated with, hey, you're not gonna train hard and you have to kiss your results goodbye. Whereas performance on the opposite side is hey, you're probably going to be hurt in the process and you are going to have to deal with pain in order to get grab the gains, right? So it doesn't have to be either one of these polarized ends of the spectrum. Why can't we achieve both simultaneously in utilizing the systems, the strategies, and ultimately the programming methodologies to manage any sort of client from any different client avatar, whether they're trying to lose weight or gain muscle or perform their best at a triathlon.

John (5m 25s):

There are many principles that can hold true across spectrums cuz we all are indeed human beings at the end of the day.

Brian (5m 32s):

Yeah. What would you say some of the main principles behind becoming pain free when you're training and things that probably people neglect when they're doing their training?

John (5m 43s):

I think having a more holistic approach to what a human being should be able to do physically. And we've lost this from a learned disuse model over the last, you know, 30 years but really more so in the last decade we are are having a more sedentary society naturally screen time is up to 13 hours and four minutes per day here in America, which is a pretty shocking statistic. And we have a learned disuse or a deactivation model of many of the fundamental movement skills that we were born to do. Squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, carry, being able to rotate locomote our body through space that is innate to being a human being and it's very unique to being a human being.

John (6m 23s):

But from many chronic stresses we have lost the ability to move properly and being able to reestablish a full movement system spectrum. That is one of the cardinal principles that we live by with our pain free performance training model is how do we reestablish the way that somebody is able to move for life so they can essentially enjoy their function for life and extend not only their lifespan but their quality of life and their longevity.

Brian (6m 51s):

Yeah, and you went through it, the seven standards of functional strength. It was hip hinge, lunge, right? Horizontal push, vertical push, horizontal pole, vertical pull and locomotion. Maybe explain locomotion a bit.

John (7m 5s):

Locomotion is interesting because obviously we have our loaded movement so we could be moving under load through space, but locomotion is anything that reciprocally moves your arms and legs opposite of one another while carrying your body through point A to point B. So when we think about it like that, it's anything that we can be moving with and able to locomote. So that could be loaded, carries carrying a weight across the gym. It could also be sprinting or jogging or dare I say walking the most undervalued health exercise out there today. Anything that truly allows us to move our body through spaces considered locomotion. But it's not only about getting cardio or getting conditioning in with the carry pattern, but it's also about being able to neurologically link these different segments together.

John (7m 53s):

So we have our arm opposite of leg structured around the central core, 10 the shoulders, hips in court working together. That is where we start talking about the the principles and the tenants of pain free training, having our entire body work as a functional unit the way that it's meant to be.

Brian (8m 10s):

Yeah and you talk about like loaded carries and things like that, probably people don't think about doing those things but they're, so I guess I know functional is is probably maybe an overused term but you know these are the simple things and you, and I know you talk a lot about glute training. I always say, you know, glu to your biggest muscle and a lot of people neglect those things. Do you find that a common theme?

John (8m 32s):

Oh that's definitely a common theme, but let's talk a little bit about what functional training is because 20 years ago functional training was like hey we're gonna have a kettlebell and a dumbbell and on stable surface and a band attached to your knee and you're gonna have your eyes closed, you're gonna chew gum at the same time you're gonna hum and you're gonna do a press. That was what functional training was deemed to be. It's this mon, this really transferable functional tasks to daily living, but it got bastardized in the process and now you got these bros out there that are fucking talking about, hey bicep curls are functional because I have goals to have bigger biceps. So anything that's your goal is functional. Sorry man, it's not, that's not the way that it's defined.

John (9m 12s):

So let's talk about what functional training actually is. It's having a rhyme and a reason for every single aspect of your body with a movement pattern that can transfer to skill and function for life. So that may be court sport, it may be field sport, it may be just living a better life out on the lake and like being able to like get on and off your boat. It depends how you train more importantly than what you train. And the basis of the functional model is more of a regional approach or dare rsa a full body global movement patterning approach as opposed to this muscle base approach. It's impossible physiologically and neurologically to isolate a single muscle out in an exercise.

John (9m 55s):

That information given everything really is functional because we have to have a more integrated approach. There's deeper layers to what a functional approach to standard programming is, but it really just comes down to hey, having a rhyme and a reason of why your body's doing what it's doing and knowing where your body is in space and having something meaningful happen from toe all the way up to your bald ass head like mine.

Brian (10m 18s):

And when you mentioned locomotion, you meant, you mentioned sprinting. What would be some of the reasons for someone to implement sprinting into their routine or some, some type of sprinting? I always say sprinting can also be done and you can maybe agree or disagree on on like a bike or a row machine or even in a pool. But yeah anyways. What were some, what would be some of the reasons to implement some type of sprinting routine?

John (10m 41s):

So the highest yield will be actual sprinting, like running on your two feet very fast through space. Sure. The reason that people tend to shy away from traditional sprinting is because of the high incidents of injury rates. We tend to get fucked up pretty easily if we don't have an intelligent on ramp for sprinting. And that's not something that you go, oh I've been inactive for the last three months, I haven't really sprinted in the last 10 years, but you know what, I'm gonna go play a flag football with my bros, I just drink four coolers lights and I'm gonna go like high step and boom hamstring goes, you pop something and you're on the sideline again. And that's the vicious injury cycle. But having an on ramp in terms of speed, like how fast you're running in terms of distance per sprint, but in terms of overall workload, those are three variables that you need to be working up little by little if you do indeed want to take full advantage of all the benefits of sprinting.

John (11m 36s):

Sprinting is the most dynamic power movement that a human being can go through. There are many, many different benefits for that from just straight up performance, from functional mobility to being able to integrate the kinematic chain the way that it's meant to be from a a human perspective. But also you talk about having high yield in terms of insulin sensitivity and being able to control some the hormones that are flowing through our body after specifically a training bout. There are so many different benefits but getting back to that thing that is always in the back of people's minds. Last time I was sprinted, I blew out my hamstring so I need to look at some unconventional or some alternative based sprinting approaches, bike elliptical, whatever you want to do.

John (12m 24s):

It's not gonna reproduce the same amounts of theoretical benefits but again, everything's a risk to reward. So we can work those same energy systems and maybe even the same patterns if our arms are working opposite of legs, something like an air bike or elliptical. But we really need to just stay into account what is our goal and how are we gonna manage injury risk mitigation and trying to stay consistent in working hard enough and staying healthy enough so we can create momentum towards that goal.

Brian (12m 54s):

Yeah, I love that. And I know you mentioned the the bike I, I put a rogue echo bike and that thing is just that thing's the real deal and I, I've been, I've enjoyed doing some sprints on that. If someone does want to implement sprinting, would you say like once every, what, seven to 10 days, what would you say a good sort of routine would be to implement sprinting in?

John (13m 18s):

For many of the clients that I manage that are median age and median skill set, we usually work in only about once per week and once per week would be more in a regenerative training day. So it wouldn't be programmed in on a heavy leg day or you wouldn't be smoking yourself with some high end conditioning and then going to sprint. Most times we place it in and we place it in very conservatively after a big leg day. So as your regenerative day on like a lower day where we get in maybe anywhere from four to eight minutes of total sprint time with big rest periods so we can keep quality quotient up with our movement patterns and then that's followed by something that is a little bit more joint friendly, it's a little bit more heart rate friendly, something like walking or something like the bike or elliptical at a zone two.

John (14m 6s):

But really sprinting a little bit goes a long, long way. And even you look at some of the top athletes in the world, they're not training their sprints more than three times per week, even if sprinting is your actual sport. So taking that into account, there's many different ways to locomote our bodies through space. Sprinting maybe once per week and working your way up to going balls to the wall is most likely a smart move for many people.

Brian (14m 31s):

And then as far as just, I know you talked a little bit about recovery, something that probably gets overlooked a lot of times when people get into fitness, right? They think oh I gotta work out five, six times a week. What some of what, what are some of good like recovery hacks that you have for your clients that you find applicable? For most people,

John (14m 48s):

Best recovery method is smart, intelligent programming. For your big exercise days, mm you need to be able to recover from a stimulus that is recoverable and that is a big mistake that many people make. They just crush themselves to the point of not being able to walk and then it takes 'em seven to 10 days just to get a away from the delayed onset muscle soreness, let alone the neurological recovery associated. So sprinkling in intensity, sprinkling in all the variables that make something feel hard and take a toll on recoverability, that stuff needs to be dialed in because you know, there's no magic hack to recovery, there's no compression boot or supplement or ice immersion that is going to fix a shitty training schedule or a really mishaps and miscalculated training schedule.

John (15m 39s):

So I would say really looking at your volume, looking at your frequency and also looking at the overall intensity. Those should be the three biomarkers that we're looking at in order to ensure recovery. And it's almost a, it's a non-negotiable for me right now as a coach for my many of my clients, especially the clients that have performance goals is that if they cannot feel good enough to do the normal things that they do on a daily basis that same day after a workout, then we really just pushed it too hard. You know, there's a lot of different tracking in terms of recoverability, you know, we have aura rings, we have HRV monitors, we have, we have everything in the world, but using common sense is almost like a superpower today and that is something that you feel in your own body different than any coach looking at a data sheet could ever associate.

John (16m 30s):

So taking that into account, the goal is to continuously take a step by step approach to get better over time. It doesn't matter how hard you train on Monday, if Tuesday and Wednesday is non trainable or is absolute shit training, we need to just keep the momentum moving forward and recoverability is huge for that but getting more specifically at actionable items for recoverability, we do a lot of walking, we do a lot of recovery zone zone one and zone two heart rate work and we like breathing, parasympathetic breathing specifically in addition to some easy joint friendly mobility that will create the constructs of many of our recovery off days.

John (17m 12s):

I am a big believer that you should be doing something seven days a week, even if it's going for a walk on day seven because your body will get used to it, your body will acclimate to the chronic stresses in a good way that it can again recover from. So having a daily movement practice, it's huge for many people but it doesn't always have to be, you know, 10 outta 10 efforts. You know, being able to cycle between high effort days, low effort days and continuously churn forward and get the process moving again. I said the word momentum, that's extremely important. That's really the end goal. Yeah, excuse

Brian (17m 49s):

Me. Those are all yeah great tips regarding recovery. Another one I know you mentioned a bit in in Instagram is soft tissue work. What type of curious cuz like it's something that I've been making a habit of myself to do, even if it's just like 15 minutes, you could literally do it for 15 minutes in front and watch a football game. It's like instead of just sitting there, you know you could do some soft tissue work. What are some of the, I know it's tough cuz there's so many different avenues to go down that but like what are some of maybe the big movers that people can focus on if they wanna do some soft tissue work on their own

John (18m 24s):

Soft tissue's, great. We devote one to two minutes in the pre-training sequence, we call it the six phase dynamic warmup sequence into soft tissue work. Essentially that's foam rolling 90% of the time and we are focusing in on chronically tight areas or areas that are gonna be actively trained as the prime movers that training day things like hey we're gonna squat so let's make sure the quads are going to be foam rolled before we do that. Or hey we're doing bench press that day pecks you, you can get the the kind of theme there, but that is one way to use it very, very quickly in a matter of one to two minutes in the pre-train sequence from a recover abilities perspective, you are going to have an immense amount of opportunity to maybe help your recovery a couple percent.

John (19m 6s):

You know it's not gonna be this absolute game changer from 10 outta 10 delayed onset muscle soreness to wow I don't feel anything in a matter of a couple minutes on a roller. It's not quite that but we can based on blood flow and based on just the lymphatic fluids, being able to move in and up through your body and then excreted back out of the body, the foam roller can do a lot of really good. And when recovery is the goal for soft tissue work or foam rolling, it kind of doesn't matter like, I hate to say it but the science is pretty clear on this. Just the stimulus of the foam roller regionally on an area of the body and as long as you're breathing deep diaphragmatic breaths, that's gonna be key because we do have science on that as well.

John (19m 49s):

Foam rolling's useless without the breath. Breath plus soft tissue work can be a really nice recovery modality but you wanna be focusing in on the big broadly attached muscles in the body. We're thinking about the lats, the pecs, the glutes, the upper back, the quads, the calves, things that have a dense muscle belly to them or a broadly attaching origin insertion point. Those just give you the best amount of ability to push blood flow where we want it. But also to have coursing of different regions that are a little bit more complete in terms of recoverability, you don't want to play your own physical therapist like trying to isolate out your super spins with your fingertip and thinking that it's gonna be a recovery tool.

John (20m 30s):

It's not global foam rolling is what we recommend for recoverability and that's done on off days or four to six hours after a training session in the same day after a training session. And this could be something as simple as a couple minutes up to, I have clients that really like it and they'll do an hour in front of the the Packers football game on Sundays.

Brian (20m 51s):

I'm curious just like what is your routine now as far as lifting and recover and also eating around either pre or post workout, what type of routine do you, I'm sure it's changed over the years, but what are you working on right now?

John (21m 6s):

I'm gonna practice what you preach model. So everything that we've been talking about today, I buy into it because I believe in it so much that I would put my own body on the line for it. I run a very specific training model very similar to the types of methods that I would be using with my one-on-one clients, with my team training clients on functional strain training and a lot of my programs that I've put out throughout the years, I, I base it off of a P four sequence. A P four sequence means that I have a six phase dynamic warmup, that's my preparation. The first p I have a big power primer is my second piece. Something ballistic, something explosive, something that feels athletic, moving your whole body through space and like being able to like actually feel good doing it.

John (21m 49s):

And that's usually a power or skill-based movement. The third P is performance, so I wanna be able to get stronger at a functional movement over time. We really sit within the squat, the single leg work and the hinge for the lower body and then pushing and pulling for the upper body more specifically pull-ups and some sort of horizontal base pressing. And then our off or the, the last P of the P four is a pump base effect, so working hypertrophy and metabolic stress. So that's driving a lot of blood flow into the localized tissues. It helps for recoverability but it also gets you jacked and builds muscle and builds capacity, which is always a good thing. And what I, what Ill deem this is a multi-modal based training approach, meaning that we're training power, we're training strength, we're train hypertrophy and metabolic conditioning all within one single training session.

John (22m 39s):

I'll do that four days a week and on those off days between, it'll look very similar to what we talked about with the recoverability. So I've been doing sled work, we'll be doing bike aine bikes, banded walking on a treadmill, jogging, elliptical, little bit of everything. And then those days I also work in some linchpin work. So whatever it is that I'm working on, trying to bring up maybe a week link, I'll dedicate maybe 10 to 15 minutes of that. Lately it's been core so I've been working more of like a three dimensionalize trying to get all of my angles done, training my core from more of like a stimulatory perspective over the last six to eight weeks. But this is a training protocol that looks very similar to many of the clients that I have just because we all have similar needs today.

John (23m 26s):

Like no matter what you're doing, we're sitting at a computer right now doing this podcast and I have a lot of clients and a lot of athletes that are sitting front of their phones and their computers and have very similar lifestyles even though they may be doing things totally different in the professional world.

Brian (23m 43s):

So interesting. So you call it the the four P or the P four, the P four sort of progression I guess or outline for your workouts. So you're not necessarily you're, are you doing pretty much total body during those or are you,

John (23m 60s):

This is a good question. So I specifically at a four day like heavy lifting split, we'll do an upper lower emphasis and I'll put a key pattern emphasis on each and every one of the days. So day one will be a squat emphasis day for lower body. Day three will be a upper body emphasis push day, day five will be a hinge day for lower body emphasis and day six will be a pull day emphasis for the upper body. And the key performance indicators are the hardest and the heaviest mover that day will indicate the emphasis of that day. But when you have 4, 5, 6, 7 days a week to train full body is not gonna be your best approach.

John (24m 41s):

Full body is really geared towards one, two and three days per week. As soon as you have over three, just from a distributing of volume and intensities and recover abilities perspective, there are very, there are very good benefits to being able to split your intensities and volumes up a little bit over the course of an additional day. You essentially have 25% more time even if your timestamps on training per week are the same.

Brian (25m 8s):

Yeah, that's a good point because like for my training I've added in more volume throughout the week instead of, I never, I was never a total body but I would only hit legs once a week for a while. Now I do it twice a week and it, I find that yeah it's, I'm getting much more, much better gains from that.

John (25m 26s):

There's something interesting from a patterns perspective or even from a muscular hypertrophy and strength perspective, there's really quality research out there time and time again with every new study coming out showing the benefits of being able to hit every muscle group or with our terminology every muscle region two times per week, there is huge benefit compared to one time per week. And this goes against like this old school like dogmatic body building approach where you just like fucking hammer your biceps on day one, you hammer your triceps on day two, you do legs one time per week and then you cycle that all through. Yeah, take it with a grain of salt because we know that there's a little bit more to that sort of hypertrophy program than just what's being eaten and what's being done in the gym if you get my gist.

John (26m 14s):

But there are benefits to being able to hit two plus times per week at each region. That tends to be the real sweet spot and I was seeing programs crash and burn that are doing 3, 4, 5 times a week frequency in those areas, that's too much and then I've seen down to zero or one time per week, that is not enough. So I think always balancing out that pendulum swing, that's usually the best benefit that 80 plus percent of people can really get into.

Brian (26m 41s):

Yeah, that's a great point and what I, I noticed you say you have the seven habits of highly healthy people and number one was eating a quantity controlled whole food based diet. Maybe explain a little bit about what you mean by that.

John (26m 56s):

Well I changed my mind because that's not number one anymore. That article is from a couple years ago.

Brian (27m 2s):

Oh got you. Okay. I

John (27m 3s):

Would say it was pre covid. It was a pre covid, so back then it was like, yeah, you know, eating a quantity controlled whole foods based diet. Yeah it's still cool today but that's number two today. Okay number one, mental health. Mental health is the biggest key mover that we have today when it comes to our overall health, our biological health, our systemic health, our mechanical health, our orthopedic health really we've been struggling over the last three years and we didn't really realize it to the point where this is having a negative impact across our entire life, different avenues of our life and I think we need to just talk about that first.

John (27m 43s):

But secondly, more specific to your question, I defined it pretty simply there, right? It's like it didn't sound too dogmatic on like the nutritional recommendation. It's like no how much of what you're eating and try to eat quality things that are one ingredient, whole foods based sourcing. Wow, what it's not keto, it's not low carb, it's not high carb, it's not any of this other stuff that gets so much attention today. It's again very similar to our training. It's principle based and principle based allows freedoms where people need freedoms but it also makes sure that we are hitting the big key levers that we can continuously pull to make sure that people are moving in the right direction with their nutritional fueling and intakes.

John (28m 31s):

That can again be a huge, huge contributor to overall health but also fitness goals.

Brian (28m 37s):

Yeah, so looking at the list, the last one was breathe, meditate and show gratitude daily. Maybe that goes to the top.

John (28m 43s):

That one's going up. Yeah

Brian (28m 46s):

Cause that'll help with mental health. What would you say, you know, you talk about, we talked about cardio and sprinting and I know you mentioned twice per week cardio's like something that I mess around with. Not a lot. I, I walk probably two, three times a day with my dogs but I don't do a ton of cardio but sprinting, what else could individuals do that maybe, you know, cuz you see, all you see is thousands of ellipticals and what maybe are better ways to implement cardio into your routine as opposed to just going on an elliptical.

John (29m 18s):

There are many ways, there are many ways to be able to train the heart and when you say cardiovascular training or cardiovascular conditioning, it's essentially trying to focus in on your heart's response to stress. If you think about it like that, you're like, oh cool, like I can do a bunch of different shit as long as my heart rate maintains or gains or goes up and down in the way that that I want it in these specific ranges, then the modality of your conditioning or cardio is less important than the overall stimulus. But let's just call it what it is. We have two different camps in the industry. We have the cardio only camp and that is very, very popular.

John (29m 58s):

It was started in the sixties where it got super popular where we had scientific journals saying like, yo fuck strength training, all we need for health and longevity is cardio, heart health is all that matters. Cool. We made it through the sixties, the seventies, late seventies, early eighties. Were like, okay, I think we're starting to see some benefit in resistance training. Eighties, nineties, two thousands, 2010 comes even this year we have an exercise study that's showing that hey, resistance training, not even strength training but resistance training, any form of resistance including a cardiovascular training component is most likely the healthiest thing that you can possibly do.

John (30m 40s):

And then a new meta just came out a couple months ago saying that, yeah, it doesn't really matter what you do but just have a well rounded approach to being physically active. Exercise in itself is the goal exercise in itself is the benefit. Even if you never lose weight, even if you never get stronger, just the process of exercising routinely and consistently provides immense amounts of benefits. Whoa, okay. What does that mean for cardio? For my clients, I like them to get two to three days a week of heart race based training in, and this looks two to three different modalities for us. I like to do things called functional strength circuits.

John (31m 21s):

Functional strength circuits take a sub maximal weight and we essentially do three to five exercises without rest while we're moving through extended ranges, we're moving through more cyclical based full body movements that tend to get the heart rate up but don't skyrocket it the way that like a Bulgarian split spot five RM would. And then we have a 60 to 92nd window where we try to bring the heart rate back down. So metabolic conditioning is what that is, you know, you could even call it hit, hit is super popular term today. So that is one way to get it in. You could do the same type of heart rate training on something like your air bike boom, work for 60 seconds or however long it took rest and get your heart rate back down into recoverable zone and then repeat that from multiple bouts.

John (32m 5s):

That is one way. So I like to do that one to two times a week with people. But then there are benefits for two to three additional days, anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes where we're doing low intensity, low joint stress, steady state cardio, L I I S S cardio and this could be done on anything. Again, loaded walking is a really, really nice one. It's accessible to people throw on a weighted vest or be a super weirdo and like push a sled or pull a drag a sled in your neighborhood. Like you'll meet some interesting friends doing that. That's really nice for people, people to be able to do at home. It's not gym dependent or just get on that cardio machine, get on that bike, get on that elliptical, get on that step trainer, get on the treadmill.

John (32m 50s):

The key is that you don't kill your joints in the process and you get the heart rate work necessitated for from what the science is pointing at a high quality and a life of longevity.

Brian (33m 3s):

Yeah, and and you talk about, you know, metabolic would you say not metabolic but you talk about just as far as getting the heart rate up, let's just say you could do strength training exercises that probably hit kill two birds with one stone sort of thing, right? Where you're getting stronger but you're also raising the heart rate quite a bit, right?

John (33m 21s):

I I mean you could, yeah, definitely. I need to be able to talk about where, you know, we have these two different stimuli, so strength training and doing strength training fast, yes that can be done and that can have a benefit for overall movement. But the way that the heart interacts with the pumping through the body without trying to get too technical, there are different benefits to having cyclical motions happen. So there is a combination between those two things being used at once,

Brian (33m 54s):

Right? I guess if you're talking just pure strength and you're doing lower reps, you're gonna have to rest longer and, and, and, and that's geared more towards a strength training. Like hypertrophy would be something where you're, what, eight to 12 reps in that range there. You could probably get some, get the heart rate up a little bit doing those. Sometimes what I'll do, and I don't know what your thoughts on this is, is like in between sets I'll do, you know, maybe I'll do ball slams or something like that in between my sets of lifting is a way to be just become efficient and get, you know, get it done.

John (34m 26s):

My, my big argument to strength training, if it's done correctly is that if you have to do something as a feeder between your sets of strength work, then you're simply not pushing the strength work hard enough. I know we get done with a set that's taking to form failure and it's really taking to the brink of where it needs to be from a a stimulus perspective, you're gonna need that minute, two minutes, maybe even three minutes if it's a power or strength based movement to come back in and repeat about, to get the necessary volume to create a, a really nice stimulus. But there are different ways to like feed in fillers into your workouts. One of my favorite ones is not to just sit there and fucking text or Instagram for three minutes between squat sets, but to be able to do mobility work to be able to do something like breathing or even isolated core movements and being able to not take away from the strength but also not waste three minutes, wasting three minutes over multiple sets.

John (35m 20s):

You're sitting around on the bench texting half your session and there's nothing healthy about that. I'm sorry. You know, it might be what's necessitated to make gains, but we can do other non-competing things in the rest periods. And I think that's the beauty of what we call like a density based session. How much total work can you get in in X amount of time? The more density goes up, the more overall workload goes up and that's a form of progression in itself.

Brian (35m 45s):

Yeah, that's a good point. You see that nowadays more and more, right? Just like everyone's on their cell phones and in between sets and you could be doing, like I, I noticed some of your posts like accessory work, right? Like on your shoulders, just working on building like the small muscles per se as opposed to just sitting there or doing like some core work as well. So love that. What, let's see, what else? What would you say that some of the big levers that you move with your clients as far as, I don't know if you were gonna say food based, I know you said whole food based diet. What if someone says, well how can I eat before and after a workout?

Brian (36m 26s):

What would be optimal ways to what, I guess what are your thoughts regarding that? You hear a lot of different things with science coming out as far as pre and post, but what, what are your thoughts regarding that?

John (36m 36s):

It's really gonna be dependent on people's lifestyles and their sustainability for that specific mode of eating in their lifestyle. Yeah, I'll take myself for an example. I get up five or six, I'm already training by 7, 7 30. I tend to go in faster the last three or four years. I drink electrolytes, I drink carbohydrates while I train and I feel just fine. My performance doesn't dip towards that. I have clients, they go, Hey, what are you doing? Well I'll tell you what I'm doing but you shouldn't be doing what I'm doing. You need to be doing what you need to be doing. And they'll try something like that and they'll be half as strong and they'll feel like shit and they'll be puking in the bucket. Finding what works for you in terms of timing is key cuz this is the ultimate goal.

John (37m 21s):

How do I fuel appropriately throughout the day in order to feel my best when it's time to perform? Ultimately we are going to be performing in the gym maybe 45 to 75 minutes per day, multiple times per week. And the rest of our life should just be like super chill. It doesn't always work out that way, but that is what our goal is. So trying to figure out ways that fuel that and feel your best while you need to be performing, that is really gonna be key. But I, I'm not a huge one on the dogmatic diets. I'm not a fad dieter. I, I listen to my clients when they have specific goals or wants or needs, but ultimately kind of being middle of the road in a common sense, a habitual approach to nutrition, especially fueling and frequency timing.

John (38m 11s):

I, we don't do anything too crazy but too crazy are usually the things that get somebody excited and then let them down and then they end up saying things like, oh, diet didn't work for me, exercise didn't work for me. No, the process was unsustainable and that didn't work for

Brian (38m 26s):

You. Right. Yeah, you make a good point. I think long term sustainability of anything that you're doing, whether it's workouts or diet, is important. You see this, this in the diet industry cuz I have a lot of people on my podcast where you have people on all ends of the spectrum, the carnivores to the, to the vegetarians and you know, one could work for one person probably might not work for the other person. So I like the fact that, you know, not being dogmatic about that I think's important.

John (38m 54s):

It's huge because if you're gonna be a coach, you have to strive to be a generalist and you have to have an appreciation for different ends of the spectrums. But being a generalist means that you need to problem solve no matter who's in front of you. And if you're just trying to give everyone the same thing, you're no longer a coach, you're a dictator and you're a pusher of bias and that's not necessarily a great thing for 80% of the people that will likely end up falling through the cracks.

Brian (39m 21s):

Yeah, and I noticed on one of your posts you mentioned forget the scale, focus on small wins. I love that. Maybe can you dive into that a little bit?

John (39m 30s):

Small wins are huge when it comes to being able to again, have a movement or a health practice for life. You know, what does it mean about your workout today or even tomorrow or a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, the focus should be on moving forward, leaner, healthier, stronger, more resilient than ever decade by decade. And the small, the seemingly small things that we can do today, they compound over time and it sounds super cliche, but having a strong and stable lifestyle that you can count on, that you can automate with your own self so you can focus on other key movers. That's gonna be a slow moving process, but it's gonna be a process that will work and is battle tested and time tested to get you eventually where you want to be.

John (40m 16s):

So many times we think about the process as being an end goal or an end destination, but that's not the way health and fitness works. It is the journey that needs to be enjoyable. It is the journey that needs to keep that fire kindling inside of yourself. And if you're not having success with the journey or you're not easing the journey as you go, then most likely that journey is going to come to an end. You're gonna have to restart it 10 miles back from where you started before. So thinking about it like that, it's the most unsexy answer in the world, but it's just straight up truth.

Brian (40m 49s):

Yeah, and you mentioned that and like, I enjoy my workouts, I look forward to going to the gym and working out. Maybe it takes some time to get to that point and, and that's not to say that has that, you have to like love it per se to do it, but I think it just comes with time and if you're doing things that you're enjoying, you're gonna be doing 'em for a long time. So maybe you need someone, maybe you need a workout partner, right? Maybe you need a, a coach to sort of help you through that process.

John (41m 15s):

We hear this a lot and it's not like you have to be in love with the process of exercising, right? Majority of people will not be, but there are two things that tend to motivate people at a deeper level where they no longer need motivation. It is part of their life and the way that they live. One is having a process that they are autonomous with and they choose themselves. It's not dictated upon them, but they naturally and organically are gravitated towards X training approach or nutritional approach. Cool. They have ownership in it. Second thing is this shit's gotta work. You know, if all day, every day you're thinking and putting in the mental, emotional, monetary investments into this stuff and it simply lets you down, results are still king.

John (41m 57s):

Yeah. If it doesn't produce a result, then it most likely will not be adhered to long term. Taking that approach needs to make sure that the things are fun enough, but also hard enough to elicit the stimulus that we can get better from. But over time people are gonna ebb and flow into different evolutions, especially with my clients. I see it all the time. I'm there to facilitate these evolutions and find things that excite them, but also know very well that there are certain non-negotiables in sort of their lifestyle, their training and their nutrition, their health practices that they know are going to be those cornerstones of the way that they live.

John (42m 37s):

But it's no one set in stone thing. We are constantly rebuilding ourselves and I think that's part of the beauty of the journey.

Brian (42m 46s):

Yeah. And I know we're coming up on it here in a little bit, what would you say, and you've given a lot of good tips, so I'll just, but I usually ask this for all my clients and not my clients, all my, all my guests. What one tip would you give an individual that's looking to, you know, maybe they're in their forties, fifties, and sixties and they wanna sort of get their body back to what it once was maybe 5, 10, 15 years ago? What one tip would you give that individual?

John (43m 9s):

Start today, but don't start everything today our biggest mover is going to be resistance training mixed with cardiovascular training in addition to knowing what's going in your body and monitoring that over time. It's the triad that will essentially give you results if you can maintain it. So thinking about that is going to be an approach going into New Year's, right? We're gonna wanna do everything all at once and that's not gonna be a smart move. What we need to be doing is taking a step by step approach forward, prioritizing the biggest movers that also excite you, and you're also really bought into and simply moving forward and getting on that path to success.

John (43m 52s):

You know, staying on the path is really the key, but again, this is going to be hard to communicate without the support, without the accountability, the motivation, the education from a fitness professional, a coach, a mentor by your side. That's the reason that we're in the profession.

Brian (44m 9s):

I love that. Start today, but don't start everything. Good point. Great points. Right. Dr. John, well thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I appreciate you dropping all this knowledge on us. And where's the best place for people to find you?

John (44m 24s):

Dr. John Russell, Instagram, Facebook, dr john.com and the PainFREE performance specialist certification is@getppsc.com. Can check out free information, resources over there and also our products.

Brian (44m 38s):

Awesome. I'll put links in the show notes for all that. And thanks again for coming on.

John (44m 42s):

Thank you so much.

Brian (44m 45s):

Thanks for listening to the Get Lean E 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 that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

Dr. John Rusin

Dr. Rusin is an internationally recognized strength coach, speaker, and writer, whose work has been popularized throughout the sports performance and fitness industries in some of the most prestigious media outlets in our industry such as Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Testosterone Nation, Bodybuilding.com, Stack Magazine, and Muscle & Strength, to name a few.

His innovative pain-free performance training systems have been taught to thousands of personal trainers, strength coaches and rehabilitation professionals from across the world.


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